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PAST NEWS DEC 11-17, 2000

  • Changes at PPI and the #32? UPDATE 4: hearing that Scott Pruett and PPI Motorsports may part ways and that Kevin Lepage is a possible candidate for the driver of the #32 Tide Ford. ALSO hearing that Mike Beam, who recently left the #21 Wood Brothers team as a crew chief to take the #75 Galaxy Motorsports Team Manager job will be the new crew chief of the #32 Tide Ford. No word on what would happen to Scott Houston who was named as the crew chief of the 32 a few months ago, but the #96 McDonald's Ford of PPI Motorsports could be a possibility since Andy Houston, Scott's brother is the driver for that car(12-13-2000)
    UPDATE: hear it is true, that is/was the sponsor's decision. Beam is now with PPI Motorsports but it may be as a Team/General Mgr or/and crew chief
    UPDATE 2: hearing now that Beam has come aboard PPI in an unspecified capacity, but that Pruett has NOT been released and is still with the team but that the team is "looking at everything", including driver, to improve in 2001
    UPDATE 3 - Beamed named: Mike Beam has joined Hickory-based PPI Racing, which will field two Winston Cup teams next season. Team spokesperson Amy Riley said Beam's role for now is to work with team manager Joe Garone through an off-season evaluation of the Cal Wells-owned team's first year in NASCAR, in which Scott Pruett drove the #32 Fords. Rookie Andy Houston will join the team as driver of the #96 Fords next season(That's Racin'), no word on why Beam left the #75 Galaxy Motorsports team only a month after leaving the #21 Wood Brothers team to go there. No comment on if Pruett will drive the #32 car in 2001(12-14-2000)
    UPDATE 4: Beam was hired away from Galaxy Motorsports to join PPI, not as a crew chief, but as a senior consultant to team manager Joe Garone as well as crew chiefs Scott Houston (32 car) and Pat Smith, who moves up from the Busch car to lead the No. 96 team. The team made no statements about the future of Scott Pruett as the driver of the #32 car except to say that he is still under contract through the year 2001, and is planing to be the driver of the Tide-sponsored Ford(SpeedVision)(12-15-2000)

  • #90 Ride Open? hearing #90 Owner Junie Donlavey is talking to a few drivers for the #90 Hills Brothers Ford ride in 2001 including: Hut Stricklin, who drove the car for most of 2000; Greg Sacks, who last made a Daytona 500 attempt in the defunct #96 Perry-Huggins team in 2000; Geoffrey Bodine; Rick Mast; Jeff Fuller; and Ed Berrier, who started the 2000 season in the #90. Sacks recently coached CTS drivers Ricky Hendrick at the ARCA Daytona testing. Hendrick will run a few ARCA events in 2000 also(12-17-2000)

  • TV News: NBC won't ask local affiliates to help pay for NASCAR telecasts during its six-year contract that begins in 2001, the network's president said, after Fox said it might request financial help from affiliates as soon as 2003. General Electric Co.'s NBC, Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Sports, News Corp.'s Fox and its cable sister FX will pay more than $2.4billion over at least six years for rights to televise NASCAR races beginning next year. NBC's promise not to make the 202 affiliates it doesn't own pay for NASCAR comes as escalating costs have networks keeping more 30-second advertising spots for themselves, rather than letting affiliates have them(That's Racin')(12-17-2000)

  • Sad News: Donald O'Reilly, 87, of Sea Pines Circle, an award winning photographer, free-lance writer and broadcaster who retired in 1981 as The Dyatona Beach News-Journal's Flagler County bureau chief, died Friday at Coquina Center, Ormond Beach. In 1939, he accepted a full-time position at the paper, where he began his lifelong association with motor racing while covering the Thompson Speedway in South Attleboro. After working at the New London Day in Connecticut, he enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1940. He later worked at the Washington Post. In 1947, he and Jerry Quisenberry founded Speed Age Magazine. A pioneering auto racing publication, the magazine reached a peak publication of 150,000 a month before its demise in 1953. First exposed to Daytona Beach's burgeoning racing scene through his publication, O'Reilly received an offer in 1953 to work for Bill France Racing, the predecessor of NASCAR. He later served as public relations director for the Atlanta Speedway. He also produced documentaries for Ford, Pontiac and Chrysler, and for ABC Television's "Wide World of Sports" and served as a public relations officer for American Motors from 1971-1975. O'Reilly authored "The Road to Daytona," as told by Curtis "Crawfish" Crider; "Mr. Hockey: The World of Gordie Howe"; "The Complete Book of Motor Camping"; and "Auto Racing Guide." The recipient of numerous awards, his memberships included: Who's' Who; National Auto Racing Hall of Fame; Living Legends of Auto Racing; Honorable Kentucky Colonels; National Motorsports Press Association; National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association; National Press Photographers Association;Halifax Historical Society; and the Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club, where he was both a charter and life member.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-16-2000)

  • #7 Driver? UPDATE 2 Wallace is it!! #7 Team owner Jim Smith says he has talked to several drivers about the vacancy created by Michael Waltrip's jump to Dale Earnhardt Inc. "Our driver selection for the #7 car is obviously not done yet," said Smith. "Mike Wallace is either going to be in my #1 Mopar truck or the #7 Taurus, and hopefully we'll have an answer in the next couple of days on that. We're also looking at Rick Mast." Smith indicated he's waiting on his sponsor, NationsRent, to offer its input on a driver and said the process is taking longer than he expected. On the surface, Smith looks like a one-car team owner. He's actually got a staff the size of Joe Gibbs Racing. Why? Because of his two truck teams, which are housed next to his Cup operation. He's drawing all his resources together to form one big team pulling the rope together. Smith said he's got 10 engineers on the payroll to compete with other high-tech operations(Speed Magazine)
    UPDATE: hearing Mike Wallace has signed to drive the #7 Nations Rent Ford for the 2001 season - also hearing the Official Announcement will be made at 6:00pm/et tonight Friday, Dec 15th
    UPDATE 2: Ultra Motorsports President Jim Smith had promised to bring his winning ways from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to his #7 NationsRent team when he purchased it this spring, and he kept his word. Mike Wallace, one of the most successful drivers in the history of the truck series, will drive the NationsRent Taurus next season in NASCAR's Winston Cup Series. Smith made the announcement today. Wallace, 41, is the middle of three Wallace brothers, including Rusty and Kenny, but the only one to have won races in three major league national touring series. His first Winston Cup victory will give him a family unprecedented four premier touring series(Williams Company)(12-15-2000)

  • Mast - #7? #32? - After talking with Rick Mast on the radio Monday night, he admitted that there was a handshake deal with Chip Ganassi to drive the #01 Dodge for next year, but that deal is pretty much over. The latest rumors have Mast in either the Jim Smith #7 Ford or perhaps a deal with the #32 Tide ride is not out of the woods(Racin' with Russ)(12-15-2000)

  • #75 News/Testing: Providing sponsorship can be found, Galaxy crew chief Newt Moore already has most of Wally Dallenbach's testing schedule for 2001 lined up. Dallenbach will join the other Ford teams at Daytona for testing there on Jan. 8-9. He will test at Las Vegas and Darlington in February, in Bristol on March 13-14, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in mid-July, and at Watkins Glen International in late July two weeks prior to the race the upstate New York road course. ... Dallenbach's cars for a Jan. 27-28 test at Las Vegas are ready to go. All that remains is to install the engines(FoxSports), Looks like the Pizza Hut sponsorship is not locked up yet(12-15-2000)

  • Roberts Honored: Tom Roberts, veteran publicist for the Penske South/Miller Lite team and driver Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 Ford Taurus, swept the first-ever Speedway Scene Ole Carburetor Awards. The awards, voted on by members of the news media that regularly covers the NASCAR Winston Cup stock car series, are for the best public relations person of the year and the best press kit of the year. Not only was Roberts voted the best in his profession, but Roberts ' press kit also was voted top, too. Of the 27 votes cast, Roberts got 23 votes. Others receiving votes were Chip Williams, Jimmy White, Steve Post and Kinnon Marshal. Other press kits receiving votes, besides the one of Miller Lite, were CITGO, M&Ms and the one for the late Adam Petty(TRPR)(12-15-2000)

  • Hamilton/Nemechek/Hamilton Jr Tests at Kentucky: #55 driver Bobby Hamilton and #33 driver Joe Nemechek of Andy Petree Racing (APR) will test at the Kentucky Speedway Friday and Saturday(Dec 15th-16th). APR is taking three #55 race cars with different configurations and two #33 race cars to Kentucky. With just two drivers and a short time with which to work, team owner Andy Petree has enlisted the help from a driver with a name he could trust - Hamilton's son, Bobby Jr. Hamilton's main off-season goal is team chemistry. According to the 10-year veteran, the ability to communicate is what builds successful race teams. On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the Square D Racing Team took its first step towards developing that relationship at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, site of the #55's first test with Hamilton after the 2000 season(AutoChannel)(12-15-2000)

  • 100 Most Powerful People in Sports: Golfer Tiger Woods was chosen as The Sporting News the Most Powerful Person in sports for 2000. Where did NASCAR fare? Bill France Jr., is 20th on the list this year after being ranked eighth along with his son, Brian, last year. Brian, is 65th on this year's list. New NASCAR President Mike Helton is listed 34th, he was not on the list in 1998 or 1999. No drivers made the list.(Sporting News)(12-15-2000)

  • #60 - sponsor and a crew chief needed/announcement and 'The Rock' - UPDATE 4 postponed: Crew chief Jim Long has left Bessey Motorsports, leaving the NASCAR Winston Cup team without a crew chief as well as a sponsor. The group, owned by Joe Bessey, fielded the #60 Power Team Chevy in 2000. Power Team, however, has announced that it would not return as a sponsor for the upcoming season. Long, 43, served as crew chief for the team and driver Geoffrey Bodine in 1999-2000. He previously worked for owner/driver Ricky Rudd (’97-98), Lake Speed (’96) and Kyle Petty (’94). He left the group shortly after the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta(Kingsport Times News)
    UPDATE: hearing that Bessey Motorsports has been sold to BGN driver Hermie Sadler and WWF star "The Rock". Supposedly Bessey is going to run at least Daytona in the BGN and then go from there as he has no sponsor(not srue if Bessey is the BGN owner or it is part of Sadler's Cup team). No sponsor known for Sadler's Cup team and supposedly Jim Long will be the crew chief(12-7-2000)
    UPDATE 2: World Wrestling Federation Superstar, "The Rock", will make a major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 at 11:00am/et. The press conference will also be open to a limited amount of general public attendees. Where: Jillian's at Concord Mills Mall, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, North Carolina 28027(Cox Marketing)(12-8-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Hermie Sadler is expected to purchase Bessey Motorsports and compete for 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors. According to published reports, the car will be sponsored by the World Wrestling Federation. The WWF has scheduled a press conference for Dec. 19 in Concord, N.C., with "The Rock" to make a "major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement." Bessey Motorsports spokesman Mike Twist had no comment on the reported sale.(Winston Cup Scene)
    UPDATE 3 - correction: Actually, The Rock has scheduled the press conference, not the WWF, who no involvement in the announcement
    UPDATE 4: Due to scheduling conflicts, "The Rock" NASCAR press conference for Tuesday, December 19 has been postponed until further notice. Once additional details for the re-scheduled press conference are available it will be posted(12-14-2000)

  • #98 Deal Gone? UPDATE 2: hearing that the sale of the #98 team to Chip MacPherson has fallen through and Cale Yarborough has retained ownership of the shop. No word on the future of the #98 team or driver Jeff Fuller(12-10-2000)
    UPDATE: heard from a source that Cale Yarborough says by no means is his deal with the #98 team and Chip MacPherson falling through. MacPherson has cut back on the number of people working at the shop until a sponsor is found. Plus MacPherson is building a new shop at the Concord airport which the team hopes to move in by January and that Jeff Fuller will be in the #98 Taurus in 2001(12-11-2000)
    UPDATE 2: MacPherson Motorsports has released driver Jeff Fuller and is working toward acquiring sponsorship for 2001. Owner Chip MacPherson was out of the country and unavailable for comment Dec. 11, but a spokesman said a report indicating that MacPherson's purchase of the team from Cale Yarborough Motorsports had fallen through was incorrect. The team is talking with one potential sponsor about running the entire schedule next year, while four other companies are talking about deals that would allow the team to race 15 to 20 events with a driver to be determined. Yarborough also confirmed Dec. 11 that "everything is still on go," regarding the sale to MacPherson(Winston Cup Scene)(12-14-2000)

  • NASCAR Official Injured: Carl Wolf, chief engine inspector, was injured in a traffic crash in late November, apparently in the Charlotte area, and remains in Carolinas Medical Center. Apparently, Wolf is in bad shape and requests "no visitors, flowers or phone calls at this stage of his treatment." SpeedVision reports that a fax asks for donations of blood in Carl's name at Red Cross offices(SpeedVision from the Insider Racing site)(12-14-2000)

  • #31 Sponsor? UPDATE: hearing that Top Choice Lumber, which is sold at Lowes, will be the sponsor on the #31 RCR Chevy driven by Mike Skinner for the first half of the 2001 Cup season. Lowes announced a few months ago that it wanted out of its contract to sponsor the #31 but team owner Richard Childress says he will hold Lowes to it deal which runs thru 2002. So it looks like companies associated with Lowes will be on the car(12-5-2000)
    UPDATE: Car owner Richard Childress confirmed Dec. 7 that Lowe's will return as a primary sponsor next year for his #31 Chevy and driver Mike Skinner. Childress did confirm that a lumber company that is a Lowe's vendor will be on the hood of the car with the home improvement store continuing on the quarter panels(Winston Cup Scene)(12-14-2000)

  • All Stars: The 2000 Chase Racing All-Stars, the informal version of NASCAR’s All-American pit crew, was announced earlier this week. Driver Bobby Labonte, the Winston Cup champion, and his crew chief, Jimmy Makar, were selected to the first team, along with the following crewmen, listed with the driver with whom they work, in parentheses: Earl Barban (#2-Rusty Wallace), jackman; Doug Yates (#88-Dale Jarrett), engine specialist; Darren Jolly (Jarrett), front tire carrier; Bill Wilburn (Wallace), front tire changer; Scott Hewitt (#18-Bobby Labonte), rear tire carrier; Barry Cook (Labonte), rear tire changer; Derick Jennings (Labonte), catch-can man; Norman Koshimizu (#28-Ricky Rudd), gas man; Butch Hylton (Labonte), chief mechanic; and Kevin Stimberis (Jarrett), fabricator.(Gaston Gazette)(12-14-2000)

  • Sad News: Condolences to Morris Metcalfe on the death of his wife. Jeanne Metcalfe, 74, died Dec. 6th after a lengthy illness. Metcalfe retired earlier this year as NASCAR's chief scorer(Winston Cup Scene)(12-14-2000)

  • Petty Enterprises Changes UPDATE: Rick Mann, head engine builder at Petty Enterprises, left the team after Atlanta to pursue other opportunities. Petty Enterprises continues to search for a replacement for Mann and hopes to have someone in place by January 1. Also the #44 PE Georgia Pacific team hired Mark Tutor to be the crew chief for new driver Buckshot Jones. As for the PE #45 BGN team, plans are still a go for that team, with Steve Grissom behind the wheel of the #45 Chevy, they are still looking for a sponsor for the car(contact info on the Engine Builder job is on my Team Addresses page)(12-8-2000)
    UPDATE: The new #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge will enjoy a lot of experience in 2001. Mark Tutor has been hired as crew chief for the team and new driver Buckshot Jones. Tutor, 38, joins Petty Enterprises from Haas-Carter Motorsports, where he spent part of the time as crew chief for retiring legend Darrell Waltrip. A native of Raleigh, N.C., Tutor has worked with such teams as Cale Yarborough Motorsports, Robby Gordon Racing and Loy Allen Motorsports. The 2001 season will mark Petty Enterprises' 52nd year of racing, evolving from a small A-frame shop in the middle of North Carolina into one of the most successful racing organizations in motorsports history. Combined, the Pettys have won 273 races. For the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season, all three Petty drivers will race Dodges. Kyle Petty will drive the #45 Sprint Dodge, while John Andretti will handle the #43 Cheerios Dodge(Williams Company)(12-13-2000)

  • Olds Gone: General Motors has decided to shut down Oldsmobile. Late this morning, CEO Rick Wagoner and president of North American operations Ron Zarrella announced that GM will phase out America's oldest car brand "over the next few years." The reasons given were that the division's sales were off markedly and that it was no longer profitable.(SpeedVision). Some NASCAR Oldsmobile Info - Oldsmobile accounted for 116 Winston Cup wins, the last coming in 1992 when Harry Gant won at Michigan in August of 1992 in the #33 Skoal Bandit Olds Cutlass. Olds left the sport after 1992(12-13-2000)

  • Gordon Announcement UPDATE new Paint Scheme - it's official: During the audio chat at NASCAR Online Thursday, Jeff Gordon said there will be a press conference on Tuesday, December 12th at 9:30am/et to officiallyannounce the 2001 paint scheme. To catch a few images of the scheme, see my Paint Scheme Gallery 2001 page(12-8-2000)
    UPDATE: see full story at NOL: Gordon has fiery new look for 2001(12-12-2000)

  • Congrats to DW: kind of missed in the whole banquet thing was a rare honor given to Darrell Waltrip: the Bill France Award of Excellence. Probably the best speech of the banquet with wife Stevie up on stage with him. Not sure who else has won the award, but it is not given out every year but only when someone has done something special(12-11-2000)
    UPDATE: past winners
    1997 - Bruton Smith (mainly for founding Speedway Children's Charities)
    1990 - Chris Economacki
    1988 - Bobby Allison
    1987 - Richard Petty
    1985/6 - Richard Childress
    1965 - Goodyear (developed the inner liner)(MotorsportsTV)(12-12-2000)

  • Hotel Alone UPDATE: 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)
    UPDATE: A North Carolina couple that left two children at a Florida motel while they went to a NASCAR race at Daytona have been sentenced to six months in jail. Harold and Sara Hadnott of Greensboro pleaded no contest to charges of child neglect. The Hadnotts were arrested in July after returning to their motel room at the Georgian Inn in Ormond Beach. The couple subsequently lost custody of a third child, a 6-month-old boy. John Maxwell, a social worker with Child Protective Services in Greensboro, testified at a hearing in August that the Hadnotts had a long history with social services. Maxwell said he received a report one week before the Florida arrest that Sara Hadnott had taken one of the children with her to buy drugs. The children are being cared for by other family members(ESPN/AP)(12-12-2000)

  • ESPN to launch RPM Online: is launching RPM Online, the companion online service to ESPN and ESPN2's vast motorsports event and news programming that will cover the world of motorsports. The site, launching prior to the Daytona 500 in February 2001, will provide news, analysis, multimedia, games and other interactive elements for racing circuits such as NASCAR, Formula One, CART, IRL, NHRA and IROC(WDIG Site)(12-12-2000)

  • Waltrip runs another marathon: Michael Waltrip ran in this past weekends inaugural Hop's Marathon by the Bay in Tampa, FL. He was 1209 over all (out of approx 3200 marathoners). His time was 4:36:07.(Hops Marathon Page/Tampa Bay Online)(12-11-2000)

  • #01 and #7 UPDATE 3: hearing Mike Wallace will accept the #1(could change to #5) CTS ride from Ultra Motorsports and that Philips may move from the #7 team and go with Michael Waltrip on either the #15 NAPA Cup team or Waltrip's own #99 Aarons Rent BGN team. From what I hear, Ultra Motorsports is now looking for another co-sponsor with Nations Rent and may hold off on a driver announcement for a few more weeks
    UPDATE but: am now hearing Rick Mast will be driving the #7 Ford in 2001, no word on the sponsor sitiuation(12-4-2000)
    UPDATE 2: There's still no definitive word - or any substantive trend, for that matter - to report about the open drivers' seats in the #7 Fords and the #01 Dodges for the 2001 season. Rick Mast's name has been rumored for both rides, but apparently, sponsor BellSouth wants a younger driver. It now appears that if Mast is to have a ride for next season it would be in the #7 Fords owned by Jimmy Smith. Mike Wallace's name is also in the discussions about that ride but will probably be back in one of Smith's trucks. Kevin Lepage, ousted from the #16 Fords after the 2000 season, also could be a player in either opening, but it appears that neither seat will be filled until next week at the earliest(That's Racin')(12-6-2000)
    UPDATE 3: hearing Rick Mast will be named the driver of the #7 Nations Rent Ford soon, no word on the #01 BellSouth car yet(12-11-2000)

    see the Dec 4-10, 2000 Archived News

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