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PAST NEWS DEC 18-24, 2000

  • Paint Schemes: one of the most popular section of this site is my Paint Scheme Gallery pages, but did ya ever think what a new paint scheme/sponsor changes does to a team? From the Gaston Gazette: "Ever wonder what teams that are changing sponsors go through during the off-season? Everything in the shop must be converted to reflect sponsor changes and new paint schemes. The transporter has to be repainted, repaired and decaled. It takes 26 gallons of paint to re-coat a 53-foot Winston Cup transporter. Paint schemes must also be changed on drivers’ helmets, pit and tool boxes, pit-wall banners, car covers, windshield covers, sign boards, umbrellas, chairs, headset decals and in-car camera decals. Obviously, all team apparel also changes. Traveling crew members get new clothes for Daytona, including jackets, sweatshirts, turtlenecks, dress shirts, T-shirts as well as uniform shirts, pants and firesuits." and that doesn't even take in to account the fan and the changes they make when their driver switches teams or gets a new sponsor. My Uncle, a huge Dale Jarrett fan for about three years now has more Dale Jarrett Quality Care/Ford stuff then I could imagine having. Now with UPS, does he buy more?? I am sure of it(Gaston Gazette and a story at NOL)(12-24-2000)

  • Craven to the #32? UPDATE 5: hearing from very good sources that Ricky Craven will leave the #50 Midwest Transit team and take over the wheel of the #32 Tide Ford at PPI Motorsports. No word on who will drive the #50 Chevy in 2001 AND see story at the Fayetteville Observer: Craven looks for Winston Cup ride by Thomas Pope. Doesn't mention the #32 ride but says Craven is leaving the #50. The #01 is still open, the #7 is filled and like I said, I hear he will drive the #32 Tide Ford(12-16-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing Craven will announce his 2001 plans on Wednesday, Dec 20th(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE 2: while sources continue to tell me Craven will drive the #32 Tide Ford in 2001, it looks like no official announcement will be made for a week or two(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Less than a month ago Ricky Craven said he planned on being behind the wheel for the Midwest Transit Co. team for the 2001 Cup season. On Friday, Craven changed his mind and resigned as the driver of the team in order to pursue other driving interests, he confirmed on Tuesday. "It was absolutely a matter of being fair to everyone,” Craven said of his decision to leave the #50 team and try to iron out a deal with an undisclosed race team. My intention is to compete full time in Winston Cup next year and so it was a decision that was made with that in mind,” Craven said. Industry rumors point to Craven as a potential driver of the #32 Tide car owned by Cal Wells and the Precision Preparation Inc. Motorsports team. Craven wouldn’t “speculate on … speculation” on Tuesday, but admitted that he was close to ironing out a deal that would give him the security he seeks. “I am hoping that things can be finalized soon and an announcement made before we leave for Christmas,” Craven said.(Bangor Daily News)(12-21-2000)
    UPDATE 4: hearing that it was reported on WMTW, a local Maine ABC affiliate that Ricky Craven will announce his new deal with the PPI #32 team at the Winston Cup Preview January 6th.(12-23-2000)
    UPDATE 5: Ricky Craven, who resigned from his duties as driver for the #50 Midwest Transit Racing team owned by Hal Hicks on Dec. 15, is in line to drive the #32 Ford owned by Cal Wells, according to published reports. WMTW-TV in Maine reported Saturday that Craven will announce a deal with Wells on Jan. 6 at the Winston Cup Preview show in Winston-Salem, N.C. Wells has said that driver Scott Pruett is still under contract for the 2001 season.(USA Today)(12-24-2000)

  • #01 Driver Close? The fact that Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (formerly Team SABCO) has no driver for its #01 BellSouth Dodge team doesn't seem to bother team manager Andy Graves all that much. Graves reported that Ganassi has a candidate for the #01 and was closing in on closing the deal. Even though Ganassi Racing has charted a course, Graves would realize a great comfort level knowing the #01 seat was filled. Many expect Ganassi to make an announcement during the annual Winston Cup media tour which begins on Jan. 8. (Speed Magazine)(12-24-2000)

  • THANKS: The stock car racing community raised more than $1 million for charities this year. From a light show at the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway to Rusty Wallace's Stocks for Tots to several online auctions, race teams and race tracks on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series got into the holiday spirit generating both money and awareness for more than 50 causes(Savannah Morning News), for current charity happenings, see my Racing Charities page(12-23-2000)

  • #77 News: On Friday, December 22, several members of the team, including crew chief Ryan Pemberton, traveled to NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia to test two cars at the wind tunnel. Preparations for the Ford testing session planned for January 8 and 9, as well as the session planned for Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the end of January, are also right on schedule. The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford Taurus driven by Robert Pressley will have a new look for the 2001 season. Fans and competitors who may have become accustomed to the blue Jasper Ford will have to be on the lookout for Pressley in his new yellow Taurus. The car is solid yellow with blue letters and numbers(see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery). On the crew member front, tire carrier Larry Robinett was named Jasper Motorsports MVP for the 2000 season at the Ford Motorsports Team Taurus party on December 15. Robinett, who hails from Dallas, Texas, has been with Jasper for one year and serves as a machinist and front tire carrier.(Jasper Motorsports Site)(12-23-2000)

  • Pardoned: NASCAR team owner(#'s 5,24,25 in Cup, #'s 24 in BGN, #'s 17,24 in CTS) and Charlotte car dealer Rick Hendrick, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud three years ago, was granted a full pardon by President Clinton Friday, federal officials said. Hendrick was fined $250,000 and sentenced in December 1997 to 12 months home confinement and three years' probation in connection with an ongoing government investigation into a bribery scandal at American Honda Co. He also was banned from the sport and the car-dealing business for a year. Hendrick was among 59 people pardoned by Clinton on Friday.(That's Racin')(12-23-2000)

  • #60 - sponsor and a crew chief needed/announcement and 'The Rock' - UPDATE 6 Fell Thru? 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)
    UPDATE 5: not sure what happened yet, but am hearing the deal between Bessey Motorsports, Sadler and 'The Rock' fell thru(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE 6: World Wrestling Federation superstar "The Rock" apparently has put his plans to buy Bessey Motorsports on hold. The Rock planned to make a "major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement" on Dec. 19 at Concord, N.C., but he canceled those plans a day before he was expected to say he and NASCAR Busch Series driver Hermie Sadler were buying out Joe Bessey. Now that the sale has broken down, Bessey plans to compete at the season-opening Daytona 500, although insiders said the former Busch Series driver is close to closing the doors on his shop(Savannah Morning News)(12-23-2000)

  • Mast to the #50? UPDATE: hearing Rick Mast is talking to the #50 MidWest Transit team about driving for them in 2001 as Ricky Craven has left the team (to go to the #32 Tide ride). Other possibilites include Hut Stricklin and Kevin Lepage
    UPDATE: Rick Mast looms as odd man out as the final pieces fall into place for the 2001 Winston Cup season. After being told last fall he wouldn't return to the A.J. Foyt-owned #14 team, Mast was in line for the Jim Smith-owned #7 team and the #01 team of Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. But Smith announced late last week that Mike Wallace will be his new driver(Daily Press)(12-22-2000)

  • #7 Crew Chief? UPDATE 2: hearing that #7 Crew Chief, Bobby Kennedy has left Ultra Motorsports and will be going to Michael Waltrips #99 Aarons Rent BGN team. Crew Chief at the #7? Hearing it'll be Tim Brewer(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE: Bobby Kennedy, who as crew chief at Ultra Motorsports in the 2000 Cup season achieved results well below his car and driver's potential, has been reunited with driver Michael Waltrip. Kennedy, 38, starts as the crew chief for Michael Waltrip BGN #99 Aaron's Chevys on Wednesday, the veteran mechanic said Tuesday. He said the expansion of the Cup schedule and his family situation in part led to the move, along with a desire to win races with Waltrip, 37. Kennedy informed team owner Jimmy Smith and newly announced driver Mike Wallace on Friday that he had decided to make a switch from the NWCS program. As of Tuesday afternoon, Kennedy's replacement had not been announced at Ultra. Kennedy's wife Andrea is expecting their second child in July, which also is fine for the crew chief. Kennedy said Aaron's program "right now is 17 races next season." He said there had been some talk of doing "a little bit more with Ted Christopher," the 2000 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series New England Region champion who also has extensive NASCAR Touring Division experience in the northeast. Waltrip ran 12 races in 2000 with two top-5 and four top-10 finishes. Christopher also ran three races in Waltrip's cars. Waltrip had indicated earlier this season that his previous sponsor, Band-Aid, potentially might do some races with his team(NOL)(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Former NASCAR Winston Cup champion crew chief Tim Brewer will return to that role in 2001 with Ultra Motorsports and driver Mike Wallace, team owner Jim Smith announced Friday. Brewer, 45, who has worked in a research and development position for Ultra for the past two years, has already assumed his position with the NationsRent Ford team(NOL)(12-22-2000)

  • Dodge News UPDATE 2: Lou Patane, Vice President of Motorsports for DaimlerChrysler and the man responsible for carrying out the launch of Dodge's new NASCAR Winston Cup effort, has decided to retire, effective date unclear, it was learned over the weekend. Company representatives said the retirement was voluntary. "It's not a sports resignation, not a part of the merger or the change in motorsport," said Debby Robinson, vp at Chicago-based Golin/Harris, which handles aspects of Dodge's publicity.(SpeedVision)(12-18-2000)
    UPDATE: Lou Patane says his decision to retire sometime next year is a family and lifestyle one, not a corporate one. Patane revealed Friday that he would retire from DaimlerChrysler at some time next year. Patane says he plans to move to the Charlotte area first of the year to pursue business opportunities, but he makes clear that he intends to maintain his involvement with DC racing, at least through the near future(SpeedVision)(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Regarding Lou Patane's announcement of his retirement sometime in the future as the head of Dodge's racing programs, the StockCarFans Newsletter reports that a good source speculates that Patane's position will probably be eliminated as all the motorsports decisions will be coming from Germany in the future. Daimler-Chrysler is unfortunately becoming less and less of an American company and almost totally a German one. Also don't be surprised if Patane ends up being involved in ownership of a NASCAR team somewhere along the way(12-22-2000)

  • Inside NASCAR gone? The site is reporting that "An insider tells us that Inside NASCAR may not be just saying goodbye to TNN this weekend, but perhaps goodbye for good. They may not be moving to Speedvision or one of the Fox cable networks in 2001 after all". ALSO looking for race re-air info? See their Race Rerun page(12-21-2000)

  • Sad News UPDATE: According to reports at NSSN, longtime midget car driver Stan Fox of Janesville, Wis. was killed in a highway accident Tuesday night in New Zealand. While he was not racing, Fox was in the country as part of a U.S. contingent competing at Western Springs Speedway. Fox competed with USAC and the Badger Midget Auto Racing Ass'n for many years, winning countless races in midget cars. Fox went on to make eight Indianapolis 500 starts, with a best finish of seventh in 1987. Fox, driving for Ron Hemelgarn at Indy in 1995, was involved in a violent crash in turn one early in the race. Fox survived but was never able to compete again despite his many efforts to gain doctor's approval(National Speed Sport News) AND Well known race driver, Stan Fox, originally from Janesville, WI, was killed yesterday in a traffic accident in New Zealand. Fox was a familiar face to all who followed IndyCars, midgets and many other forms of racing. Stan started the Indianapolis 500 eight times, won the Badger midget championship in 1979, the Belleville Midget Nationals in 1979-80, the Copper World Classic in 1980 – 90 and 93 and a huge number of local short track races in between. Many will recall Stan's frightening crash at Indy several years ago that left him broken, but not down. There currently is no word on services(Speedway Illustrated)(12-19-2000)
    ALSO Fox competed in two Winston Cup races in 1992 at the July Talladega and August Michigan races, driving the #13 Chevrolet fielded by Clint Folsom(Motorsports One). Fox started 36th and finished 36th at Talladega and starting 38th and finishing 37th at Michigan(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE: Services for Stan Fox will be held in Janesville, Wisconsin., on December 29th. The funeral is scheduled to begin at 11:00am December 29th at First Lutheran Church, 612 N. Randall Ave in Janesville, Fox’s hometown. Fox will be buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Janesville. The wake will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 28 at First Lutheran Church(12-21-2000)

  • Bud the King: 2000 Joyce Julius and Associates’ Sponsors Report, which calculates the exposure value of NASCAR Winston Cup sponsorships by comparing the on-screen time of a logo or verbal mention against the cost of purchasing a commercial spot during those same broadcasts reports that Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave Budweiser the most bang for its buck during his solid rookie campaign, enabling the Anheuser-Busch brand to earn nearly $58 million worth of exposure, leading all sponsors. Budweiser’s position in the report ended Valvoline’s seven-year run at the top of the annual report. In all, series sponsors saw the value of their investments rise more than 12 percent over last year, continuing a five-year growth trend that has seen a rise of 92 percent. The report also determined that 182 separate sponsors earned over $1m in mentions on network broadcasts, and the typical sponsor earned time worth $57,000 at each event. Miller Lite with driver Rusty Wallace was second on the list followed by Texaco, Valvoline and Interstate Batteries. NASCAR sponsors earned more than $1.6 billion in advertising exposure last season(SpeedVision)(12-21-2000)

  • Tire Changes: The 2000 season was not a good one for Goodyear, which struggled with constant complaints about its Winston Cup tires and faced an embarrassing tire shortage at Charlotte in October. Goodyear also faced a series of blown tires in a few races, a development that always causes drivers and teams to lash out at NASCAR's lone tire supplier. Part of its problems in 2000 were a result of different tire compounds being used at nearly every track. Goodyear used at least 25 different tires, for instance, for the 34 Winston Cup races. In 2001, Goodyear will reduce its inventory to about 15 different compounds. That means it will supply the same tire for as many as five or six different tracks, giving teams some conformity it did not have last year. By reducing the number of compounds it uses, Goodyear will also produce a harder, more durable tire at many tracks. The harder tire will not only improve tear wire, but could improve the racing. A harder tire will make it more difficult for drivers and crews to get a handle on their cars, a development that could play into the hands of the sport's top drivers and possibly lead to closer racing. A harder tire could also lead to slower speeds, another critical development following a season in which three drivers were killed. Teams have already begun to prepare, conducting tests in December when most drivers and teams typically take a vacation. And Goodyear is hard at work producing tires for a heavy schedule of January testing.(in part from CBS Sportsline)(12-21-2000)

  • Longtime Writer Retires: Bob Latford, long a mainstay in press boxes and media centers around the NASCAR world, has retired after working in the sport for over 50 years. See full story at SpeedVision(12-21-2000)

  • Motorsports Media Tour: The International Union, UAW and General Motors Corporation announced today they are the presenting sponsor of the 18th Annual UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Beginning Monday evening, Jan. 8, and continuing through Friday, Jan. 12, over 150 motorsports journalists from across the country will descend on the home of major league stock car racing, Charlotte, N.C. This premier media event will kick off an exciting NASCAR season as reporters tour race shops, meet with drivers, crew chiefs and owners, and discuss the latest developments and breaking news in racing with industry leaders. Media members from 23 states and as far away as The Netherlands are registered to participate. Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing, Bill Davis Racing, A.J. Foyt Racing and Evernham Motorsports are among the teams scheduled to host media functions during the week while Jack Roush Racing’s drivers will give media members race car rides around the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway quad oval(LMS PR)(12-20-2000)

  • Labonte Honored: Bobby Labonte, who drove the Joe Gibbs owned, #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac to his first NASCAR Winston Cup driving title, and earned the car owner championship for Gibbs, was voted the Al Holbert Memorial Eastern Motorsport Press Association Driver of the Year Award. Ted Christopher, the winningest asphalt Modified stock car driver in the Northeast for the second straight year, was voted the EMPA's Northeast Driver of the Year. When the annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention is presented, January 5-7, 2000, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA (north of Philadelphia) Labonte and Christopher will receive their awards. More than 150 media who regularly cover motorsports are expected to be in attendance. In addition four new names will be added to the prestigious Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame. 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with six time NASCAR National Modified champion Jerry Cook (now a NASCAR executive), the late Larry Nuber the pioneering motorsports television personality, and 1960 NASCAR National Sportsman champion and 1961 co-champion Bill Wimble who also notched five championships at Fonda, NY Speedway. The EMPA membership also selected Kyle Petty & The Petty Family to receive their T.Wayne Robertson Memorial Newsmaker Award for their outstanding charitable activities. The Eastern Motorsport Press Association is a non-profit organization made up of more than 250 media that regularly cover motorsports as print journalists, photographers and broadcasters. The EMPA continues to strive to improve the media coverage given the sport and the conditions under which the media work as they cover the sport(Eastern Motorsport Press Association PR)(12-20-2000)

  • Burton to IROC: Jeff Burton will return to the International Race of Champions for a fourth consecutive year. Burton is the sixth driver to be named to the 2001 campaign. A total of 12 will compete in the four-race series at Daytona, Talladega, Michigan and Indianapolis. Eddie Cheever, Dale Earnhardt, Scott Goodyear, Buddy Lazier, Ricky Rudd and now Burton are the six drivers who have been selected, so far(NOL). See my IROC 2001 page for info and my IROC 2000 Page for info on the past series(12-20-2000)

  • Gordon Tests the #4: Morgan-McClure Motorsports tested the #4 Kodak MAX Film Chevy at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Friday, December 15th. The test session marked the first time Robby Gordon, the team's new driver, was behind the wheel of the familiar yellow car. The road crew (with the exception of two) were on hand to familiarize themselves with the California native. They focused on communications, along with finding a comfortable baseline on the car. Several tests had been planned to help form a mold between driver, crew chief and crew, but they had to be canceled due to weather-related problems. Once the Greenville-Pickens test had been completed, Gordon and crew chief David Ifft debriefed. The team worked on running race trim during the session. They ran a speed of 19.90 second. More tests are planned during the first of January, with the most important being the Daytona test on January 11th and 12th(Morgan McClure PR)(12-20-2000)

  • Robinson gets Yates: Shawna Robinson’s ARCA RE/MAX Series team will have have engines from Robert Yates Racing. Robinson’s #8 ARCA Ford team has been participating in a three-day test at Daytona over the past weekend in preparation for the ARCA season opener. Along with the new engines, Robinson has a new crew chief in Joe Dan Bailey. Bailey has crewed for Dale Earnhardt, Jeremy Mayfield and Derrike Cope, but his stint with Robinson in 2001 will be his first as crew chief. Along with the Feb. 11 opener at Daytona, Robinson plans to run 12 other ARCA events and seven NASCAR Winston Cup races in 2001(That's Racin')(12-20-2000)

  • A Mears in Cup? #01? UPDATE 2: hearing Casey Mears, Indy 500 Legend Rick Mear's nephew, tested for the #01 BellSouth/Chip Ganassi Racing team recently at Lakeland, FL and is under consideration for that ride. Mears ran in the CART finale this past season
    UPDATE: hearing the Mears test was for a limited ARCA ride in 2000 with Ganassi(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE 2: actually hearing that Mears has not tested yet but will on Thursday and Friday, Dec 21st and 22nd(12-20-2000)

  • Derrike Cope/#37 Update: All of the team's planning and effort is focused on the 2001 Daytona 500. The team planned chassis dyno testing on their completed super speedway car recently and anticipate using the car for testing at Daytona on January 11th and to add asecond super speedway car when they test at Talladega later in January. The team has sufficient staff on board to prepare for Daytona and will expand as sponsorship entities are added. The team continues to make progress in securing sponsorship(Derrike Cope Site). For past info, see my #37 Team News and Links page(12-19-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel News: Two #14 AJ Foyt Pontiacs are at the N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA testing their Daytona cars(12-18-2000)

    see the Dec 11-17, 2000 Archived News

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