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PAST NEWS JAN 1-7, 2001

  • Fellows back with Nemechek: Road Course ace Ron Fellows hopes to run the Watkins Glen and Sears Point Winston Cup Road Course races in a Joe Nemechek-owned Chevrolet as he has done the past few seasons(along with others in the BGN and CTS). "I really want to win a Winston Cup road race before I get too old or too slow, not necessarily in that order," said Fellows. "I really enjoyed working with Joe Nemechek's team. Right now we're tentatively talking about Sears Point and Watkins Glen and the Busch race at Watkins Glen." Fellows keeps hoping to do a Winston Cup oval race but he hasn't found the time in his schedule just yet(Speed Magazine)(1-7-2001)

  • Wix Renews: WIX Filters, a leading manufacturer and distributor of filtration products, today announced that it has renewed its associate sponsorship of the Joe Gibbs Racing teams. The multi-year agreement provides for WIX Filters to remain the Official Filter of NASCAR's top team and to be identified on the Joe Gibbs Racing team cars and the uniforms of 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion driver Bobby Labonte(

  • Dodge Lives.....: been many questions speculating on Dodges demise before it even hits the track next month. So with that in mind, from a column at CNN/SI: Look for Daimler-Chrysler to kickoff a huge advertising campaign trumpeting the return of Dodge to NASCAR Winston Cup racing in the coming days. Everything is in place for the debut at Daytona, from the engineering and track tests to the selection of the drivers and the approval from NASCAR to go racing. Now, Dodge is ready to roll out what a company spokesman boasts will "probably be the single biggest marketing program in America this year." Full story at CNN/SI's NASCAR Notebook - Dodge to unveil massive ad campaign around Cup return AND in a story at the St Louis Post Dispatch, it is mentioned: ....that even though there have been some cutbacks in the automobile industry as a whole in recent months, the Dodge venture back into NASCAR has not been affected. "We're committed to this program, and any talk of cutbacks has not been an issue here in engineering. This is a major event for Dodge."(1-6-2001)

  • #27 still looking for a sponsor: Kenny Wallace, whose Eel River Racing team also currently has no sponsor, came to the preview with a silver frame with the words "Sponsorship Search Continues - Cross your fingers" on a piece of paper in the frame. Wallace said his team also expects to hear a decision from a potential sponsor by midweek(That's Racin')(1-6-2001)

  • Earnhardt/Park News: Dale Earnhardt, scheduled to attend Chevrolet's mid-afternoon news conference Friday at Daytona International Speedway, instead stayed away with a virus that has been dogging him all week. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said his father was seeking help from local sports physician Michael Fulton. AND: Steve Park has joined his car owner, Dale Earnhardt, and the other NASCAR stars here for the sportscar testing at DIS, possibly looking to compete in a Rolex 24 support race. Park is testing in a Corvette, this one entered by MTI Racing, which is vying for Motorola Cup honors awarded on the Friday before the Rolex 24 at Daytona(Speed Magazine)(1-6-2000)

  • Kyle in the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona too UPDATE: Kyle Petty will join Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Grand American Road Racing Association’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona on Feb. 3-4. Petty will drive a brand-new GT-class Porsche GT3RS fielded by Rodger Hawley's Orbit race team, a long-time entrant in road racing competition. He will be joined in the entry – appropriately wearing No. 43 – by Leo Hindery (former president of TCI Cable, Global Crossing and a business partner of Richard Petty), Gian Luigi Buitoni (former president of Ferrari of North America) and Peter Baron. This will not be Petty’s first foray in the Rolex 24, as he co-drove a Ford Mustang for Roush Racing at the classic enduro in 1986 with fellow NASCAR drivers Bill Elliott, Ricky Rudd and Ken Schrader.(SpeedVision)(1-4-2001)
    UPDATE: story at Speed Magazine - Petty is latest to bid for around-the-clock race by Godwin Kelly(1-6-2001)

  • Craven signs another deal: Hawk Sports Management announced Wednesday that they signed Ricky Craven to a multi-year agreement. This comes following the announcement that Craven will drive the PPI Motorsports #32 Tide Ford in 2001(Speed Magazine). The offical press release in part - Hawk Sports Management announced that they have signed NASCAR Winston Cup Driver, Ricky Craven to a multi-year agreement. This comes following the announcement that Craven will drive the PPI Motorsports #32 Tide Ford in 2001. "The existing relationship between PPI Motorsports and HSM makes the agreement with Ricky a natural fit," said Don Hawk, President of HSM. "I am very excited to have the opportunity to represent Ricky." HSM will handle Craven's personal endorsements and business and will seek out sponsorship opportunities as it relates to his position as the driver of the PPI Motorsports #32 Tide Ford. Hawk Sports Management was formed in 1998. During the 2000 SpeedWeeks in Daytona, it was announced that Don Hawk would leave DEI to dedicate all his time to his own consulting company. His involvement of the sport began in 1987 while assisting Alan Kulwicki and the Wood Brothers in developing sponsorship programs. He joined Kulwicki fulltime in 1992 and in 1993 joined Dale Earnhardt, Inc. where he helped to build one of the most successful business entities in motorsports history(1-4/6-2001)

  • TV Stuff: Jeff Gordon will be Regis Philbin’s co-host on the Jan. 15 edition of "Live with Regis." Dale Earnhardt Jr will be featured on Fox Sports The National Sports Report, Friday Jan. 5th(check Local listings)(1-5-2001)

  • #91 News: The sponsorship hunt continues for the Chesapeake, VA native Joe Falk, who owns the #91 LJ Racing Winston Cup team. It was this time last year that Falk was closing up on a sponsorship deal that had Andy Hillenburg behind the wheel for the Daytona 500. This year, Falk is trying once again to seal up a sponsorship deal (either in the Cup or Busch Series) for his driver Blaise Alexander, who last year attempted a few races at the end of the season with Falk(Catchfence)(1-5-2001)

  • Lowes to stay on the #31: Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse will continue its primary sponsorship of the #31 Richard Childress Racing team for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. RCR president Richard Childress said he is looking forward to a strong season from driver Mike Skinner & Company with Lowe's backing.(RCR PR)(1-5-2001)

  • Penske Cars in the Wind Tunnel: hearing that Penske South racing/Penske Racing LLC is testing four restrictor plate cars at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(1-5-2001)

  • Nadeau to DIRT: Jerry Nadeau, driver of the #25 Delphi Automotive/UAW Chevy in Cup, has agreed to drive a dirt modified car owned by R & C Motorsports Ventures of Harrisburg, NC in three to five races during the DIRT series season. His first appearance will be April 7 at The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway(Gaston Gazette/SpeedVision)(1-5-2001)

  • Mast to the #50? UPDATE 2 Looks like Mast: 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)
    UPDATE 2: #50 Team Mgr, Charley Pressley's first impression was right when it came to finding a replacement for driver Ricky Craven, who announced on Dec. 15 that he was leaving the team. Queried Pressley that day: "You know the guy that I'm surprised doesn't have a ride? Rick Mast." That's the driver Pressley went out and got, too, announcing Tuesday that Mast has agreed to drive for the Midwest team in 2001. "All that's left to do is dot the i's and cross the t's," Pressley said. "As soon as Ricky announced his deal, I called Rick and asked him if he didn't have anything going, would he consider us? He said he would, so he sat down with (team owner) Hal (Hicks) and talked about it. Now it's just a deal of hopefully finishing it up and getting the contracts signed." Pressley and Mast worked together on Richard Jackson's Skoal-sponsored team in the early '90s. Owner Hal Hicks plans to run no less than 26 Cup races in 2001 and his team is gearing up to run the entire slate if an associate sponsor can be found who is willing to kick in $1-2 million.(FoxSports)(1-4-2001)

  • Petty and horses: Montgomery Lee Petty, Kyle Petty's daughter, is featured on the cover of the Quarter Horse Journal, the story is not online but there is an image of the cover for those interested at AQHA Online(1-4-2001)

  • Talladega Testing UPDATE: The first test session of 2001 at Talladega Superspeedway will involve the defending Busch Series championship team as well as the team that put Joe Nemechek and the #33 Chevy on the pole in last October's Winston Cup Series Winston 500. The test session starts Wednesday, Jan 3rd. Andy Petree Racing's #33 Winston Cup Series Chevy joins several BGN teams, including the #10 PPC-owned car which took Jeff Green to his first Busch Series championship. Racing teams in the Busch Series will be challenged with new rules for 2001, including a larger engine that will provide more horsepower. Scheduled to join Andy Petree Racing and Green at Talladega is the PPC-owned #57 driven by Jason Keller. Also scheduled is the Carroll Racing #26 Chevy driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr. and the Lewis Motorsports #46 Chevy driven by Ashton Lewis. In the next 37 days, 25 of those days will hold test sessions for Cup, BGN or IROC cars(Talladega PR)(1-3-2001)
    UPDATE: Jeff Green's PPC #10 Ford team was among 10 racing teams at Talladega Superspeedway Wednesday for the first day of a two-day test session. Joining Green at Talladega Wednesday were fellow Busch teams Carroll Racing #26 Chevy driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., the Lewis Motorsports #46 Chevy driven by Ashton Lewis and Green's teammate, Jason Keller in the PPC-owned #57 Ford. Bobby Hamilton and Mike Dillon were testing the Andy Petree-owned #55 Winston Cup Chevy. Also on hand was the Hamilton-owned #18 Dodge from the Craftsman Truck Series, driven by Joe Ruttman(Talladega PR)(1-4-2001)

  • Earnharts to test at Daytona - for the 24 hours: Grand American Road Racing Association competitors will begin an extensive three-day test session today at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Rolex 24. Grand Am officials expect at least 60 sports cars for this last shakedown run before the twice-around-the-clock endurance race begins Feb. 3. The grandstand area behind Daytona USA will be open for spectators. There's no admission to watch the test session. Among those expected to shake off some of the winter racing rust are Grand Am rookies Dale Earnhardt and his son Dale Jr., who will be wheeling a front line Corvette C5-R with teammate Andy Pilgrim, a veteran road racer. The three-day session includes a unique night driving session from 6:00 - 8:00pm/et Friday. (Speed Magazine)(1-4-2001)

  • Craven to the #32? UPDATE 7 It's Official: 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(link updated). 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)
    UPDATE 6: Cal Wells, owner of PPI Motorsports, has scheduled a teleconference for 3:30pm/et on Wednesday, January 3rd, to make what the announcement calls team/driver announcements. The teleconference should answer questions surrounding the #32 Winston Cup team for which Scott Pruett drove in the 2000 season. There has been speculation that Pruett will be replaced in that ride, perhaps by Ricky Craven, for 2001, but the team has officially said only that Pruett was under contract for 2001(That's Racin')(1-2-2001)
    UPDATE 7 - Craven to the #32: PPI Motorsports announced the following new team appointments in a reorganization of the company’s two-car entry in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series: Ricky Craven, 34, of Concord, N.C., has been named driver of the team’s #32 Tide Ford. Mike Beam, who recently joined PPI Motorsports’ senior management team, will serve as crew chief for Craven and the #32 Tide Ford. Joe Garone, current NASCAR program manager for PPI Motorsports, has been named crew chief for the #96 McDonald’s Ford driven by Andy Houston. Scott Houston, who had been serving as crew chief for the Tide Ford since the October Charlotte race, has returned to his duties as project coordinator for PPIM’s engineering department. Pat Smith, crew chief for the McDonald’s/PPI Motorsports Busch and Cup efforts last season, has been named car chief for the #96 McDonald’s Ford. Nick Harvey, PPI Motorsports’ Atlantic program manager for the past four years, will take on administrative duties for the team’s two-car Winston Cup effort in support of Garone’s more focused role.(PPI Motorsports), from NOL: Pruett remains on the PPI payroll and could drive for the team again at some point in the future(1-3-2001)

  • #75 Sponsor/Crew Chief News UPDATE 4: #75 Galaxy Motorsports owner Darwin Oordt has his fingers crossed for a very merry Christmas. He is confident that a meeting this week will produce the signed sponsorship contract with Pizza Hut that will keep the team rolling for somewhere between three and five years. The Galaxy team has also signed an Internet-related associate sponsor whose debut on the #75 Fords is scheduled for midseason 2001(FoxSports)(12-22-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing that Pizza Hut did indeed sign with Oordt last week and that the team has hired a new General Manager to replace Mike Beam (who went to PPI Motorsports): former Cup crew chief - Brad Noffsinger(12-29-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Holidays stall Pizza Hut deal. Galaxy Motorsports will have to wait until after the holidays to get final approval on the Pizza Hut sponsorship agreement. Team spokesman, Gus Larkin said, "We had a great meeting with Pizza Hut in late December but we were unable to iron out some details before entering into holiday scheduling conflicts. We have agreed to address some issues after the first of the year in a meeting that will hopefully bring closure to the deal". Larkin added, "If we are not able to secure Pizza Hut as a full time primary sponsor Galaxy is prepared to continue the sponsorship strategy we successfully launched last year in which a number of marketing partners rotate as the primary sponsor. We feel the Galaxy program offers a cost effective opportunity for sponsors to utilize a NASCAR Winston Cup marketing platform with a Primary role on our racecar". Galaxy Team Update: Jim Long replaces Newt Moore as Crew Chief for Team 75. Galaxy Motorsports announced today that Jim Long will take over the Crew Chief duties for the 2001 season. Team owner Darwin Oordt said, "We feel that Jim will give Galaxy the ability to satisfy certain performance expectations I have established for the team". When asked about the status of Newt Moore, Oordt said, "Newt added stability to our race package during a difficult rookie season but I'm looking to improve the chemistry of the Galaxy team so we agreed that was best that Newt explore his options elsewhere."(Galaxy PR)
    UPDATE 3: Noffsinger has been hired to replace Mike Beam as GM. Moore will help get Jim Long up to speed and then leave the team(1-2-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Darwin Oordt, owner of the #75 Galaxy Motorsports team, has yet to secure a sponsor for the upcoming season and yesterday said time is running out. Oordt said he remains optimistic that something will develop, and is making plans to go to Daytona soon to begin testing. Wally Dallenbach will return as Oordt’s driver if a sponsor is secured. Oordt says they have some prospects and a possible sponsor who is interested in joining the team for a half-season, the 2nd half. There have been reports that Oordt is close to securing a sponsorship with Pizza Hut. Oordt said his immediate objective is to secure at least a temporary sponsor which will allow his team to start the season next month at Daytona(Tennessean)(1-3-2001)

  • RPM2Night Dissed? hearing that ESPN2's RPM2Night will not be on location for the Daytona 500 as they are not being granted credentials for track access, so ESPN supposedly decided not to send the whole crew to Daytona to cover the event if they are not allowed access. RPM2Night, the weeknight version, debuted at Daytona during Speedweeks of 1996 and has kicked off each of its five seasons at Daytona. RPM2Night will still continue to air each weeknight and on the weekend on ESPN2 during the season(1-3-2001)

  • a NASCAR Cafe Closes: Three years after opening, the owner of the NASCAR Café has closed the Nashville, TN theme restaurant, citing parking expenses and declining tourist traffic. Knoxville-based H&C Racing Inc., which owns the chain of four ongoing restaurants, announced the closing yesterday. Its last night open was New Year’s Eve. In its place, H&C said it is looking to develop a new, smaller version of the restaurant in the Nashville suburbs about one-third the size of the current downtown venue(Tennessean)(1-3-2001)

  • #60 - Sadler announcement and 'The Rock' - UPDATE 7 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)
    UPDATE 7 - Sadler, Johnson Dissolve NASCAR Partnership: The partnership between Sadler Motorsports and Dwayne Johnson (WWF Superstar, "The Rock") has been dissolved according to Hermie Sadler. Sadler had planned to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series during the 2001 season. "For reasons I am not fully aware, Dwayne has decided not to follow through with our plans of having a Winston Cup team," stated Sadler. "It's impossible for me to do it alone. This has been very discouraging for me but I plan to look at what options are available in NASCAR for 2001 and go from there."(Cox Marketing PR)(1-2-2001)

  • Sad News: Jim Gilmore Jr. died Sunday when his pickup truck slid on an icy road in his hometown of Kalamazoo, MI. Gilmore, 74, died after his pickup truck overturned in deep snow and slid into a fence, reported the Kalamazoo Gazette. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Gilmore sponsored the first of several Indy drivers before linking up with A.J. Foyt in 1972. Foyt, the winningest driver in the sport, was the first four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, the last one while driving a Gilmore Special(Evansville Courier). Foyt now owns an IRL team and NASCAR Winston Cup and BGN teams and has won the Daytona 500 as a driver(1-2-2001)

  • Heat for Kids: announces that it has agreed to be the primary sponsor of HEATFORKIDS.COM, a site dedicated to the Hasbro developed game called NASCAR Heat. The site is focused toward on-line racing enthusiasts under the age of 16, and is dedicated to the groups tag line of "Hooked on Racing, Not on Drugs". The site features a dedicated game server to play the game, every Friday night during a typical NASCAR racing season, which runs from February until October. Children are assigned to racing divisions based on age grouping, with an ARCA division for ages 10 and under, a NASCAR BUSCH division for 11 to 13 year olds, and a NASCAR Winston Cup division for the 14 through 16 age bracket(BusinessWire)(1-2-2001)


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