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PAST NEWS JAN 8-14, 2001

  • Derrike Cope News UPDATE: Sources indicate that Derrike Cope may drive the full Craftsman Truck Series schedule for Impact Motorsports this year, while running a limited Winston Cup schedule with the team he's started in conjunction with drag racer Warren Johnson. Impact Motorsports fielded three full-time teams in 2000, but has yet to announce any sponsors or drivers for 2001(Winston Cup Scene) AND from the Derrike Cope Site(in part): Cope will test at Daytona during the GM testing on Jan 11th-12th. Crew Chief Joey Knuckles and the crew have put in a string of long days and have prepared the team for the testing session. The team recently completed their initial in-house chassis-dyno tests and were pleased with the results of the testing and the data obtained. On the sponsorship front, Cope says they continue to have on-going discussions with potential sponsors and continue to work toward securing sponsorship for the entire season. However, they are also working with several entities to put together associate sponsorship and limited race sponsorship packages. Also see images of the new Quest Motor Racing shop and the testing at the Derrike Cope Site(1-11-2001)
    UPDATE: Derrike Cope has been signed to drive the new #86 Impact Motorsports Ford in the opening race of this yearís CTS on Feb. 16 at Daytona. The race will mark the third time Cope has driven for Impact Motorsports. He piloted Impactís #86 RC Cola Dodge in the final two races of the 2000 season, in Texas and California(Impact MS Site)(1-14-2001)

  • NASCAR, TV and Canada: After years of bringing up the rear, Canadian NASCAR fans are going to find themselves in the television fast lane this season. Because to the new NASCAR broadcasting deal, coupled with TSN and CTV Sportsnet's response to the sport's growing popularity in Canada, NASCAR fans will get better service than ever when the season starts. Virtually every race will be seen live for the first time in Canada, with one or two races tape-delayed. But what about races carried exclusively on FX, which is not available in Canada? Those races have also been picked up(Toronto Star)(1-14-2001)

  • Safety News: NASCAR is conducting safety meetings during each manufacturer's test at Daytona this month to provide Winston Cup drivers with data about safety issues and devices that may consider running in their cars. Ford teams had their meeting on Tuesday during a luncheon break on their second day of testing. General Motors teams are scheduled to have the same meeting Friday and one is also planned during the Dodge test next week. Ford drivers interviewed during Thursday's stops on the UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour said that a consultant talked with them about changes they may want to consider in their seat belt systems and about the head-and-neck restraint system commonly called the HANS device. Ford has offered to pay the bill for any driver who orders a HANS device for his car(That's Racin') and a story at The State(1-13-2001)

  • RPM2Night Dissed? UPDATE: 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)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials have recently denied credentials for Daytona Speedweeks to two weekly motorsports television shows, TNNís "Raceday" and ESPN2ís "RPM 2Night." Several of those officials familiar with the situation say the move was made at the behest of Fox, the network that will televise the Daytona 500. The requests were denied on the grounds that the shows were termed "magazine" rather than "news" shows and because of Fox exclusivity clauses relative to live coverage. A TNN official confirmed that the cable network would also not be provided race footage for "Raceday" and that TNN, in order to receive such footage, would be required to enter into a NASCAR licensing agreement and pay a substantial fee(Gaston Gazette) and see a story at PitNow: Racing Notebook - 'Feature' shows could get boot during SpeedWeeks. NOTE: wish to complain? See my TV/Media page for email addresses, website info and phones/address for contact(1-13-2001)

  • Rudd Tests at Atlanta: #28-Ricky Rudd tested the #28 Texaco Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway today(1-11-2001)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd became the first competitor of the new year to turn laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway, concluding a two-day Goodyear Tire test on Wednesday. Rick Campbell, Goodyear's team leader for stock car tire development, said the session was used to test several different compounds in hopes of improving consistency and wear rates AND With an eye toward reducing speeds and increasing competition, NASCAR president Mike Helton announced this week that NASCAR was experimenting with a new aerodynamic package for several tracks, including Atlanta Motor Speedway. Helton said the aerodynamic changes would be similar to what NASCAR used at last fall's Talladega race - including a rear damper and roof strips, but no restrictor plate.(AMS PRs)(1-13-2001)

  • Nelson News: Gary Nelson may indeed have other duties in the organization by next year, NASCAR officials say. Nelson was rumored last fall to be on the way out, but NASCAR President Mike Helton insisted in December that Nelson would stay in place for the time being. Darlington Speedway's John Hunter said Friday, however, that Nelson's duties would change and perhaps expand, possibly by the end of this year, noting that Nelson would remain with the company in some unspecified capacity. Asked about successors, Hunter agreed that present BGN director John Darby is a likely candidate, and that others not currently in NASCAR, or in NASCAR garage roles, also are on the radar(SpeedVision)(1-13-2001)

  • #19 and Mountain Dew? UPDATE 4: hearing Mountain Dew, a Pepsi soda product, may be the sponsor of the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge that Casey Atwood will drive in 2001. Motorola may also stick around as a major associate(10-3-2000)
    UPDATE: now hearing Mountain Dew will be part of a rotating sponsorship package of some sort, not sure what other companies or brands may be involved(10-4-2000)
    UPDATE 2: from what I understand, there will some sort of rotating sponsorship between the seven original Dodge teams, Evernham Motorsports(#'s 9 and 19), Bill Davis Racing(#22 and #93) and Petty Enterprises(#'s 43,44,45), sounds pretty unique
    UPDATE 3: as known, many of the new Dodge drivers are Coca Cola drivers, how this will affect them or how it may work is unknown. It may only include some of the sponsors and some of the drivers. Anyhow, something unique seems to be happening in regards to sponsors with some of the Dodge teams(10-5-2000)
    UPDATE 4: Pepsi-Cola Company, makers of Mountain Dew, announced a multiyear agreement with Evernham Motorsports to sponsor the over-the-wall crew of Atwood's #19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T Winston Cup race team. The crew will be known as the "Dew Crew." Mountain Dew also picks up associate sponsorship of Atwood's Dodge Intrepid R/T. The car will race in a special Mountain Dew-branded paint scheme for one race in 2001. The last time Mountain Dew was this involved in NASCAR, it was the lead sponsor on Darrell Waltrip's Winston Cup Champion car in 1981 and 1982.(in part from a Pepsi PR)(1-12-2001)

  • Walker to drive for Evernham: Tyler Walker was announced as signing a deal with Evernham Motorsports to run a full season in the USAC Silver Crown Series. Walker will run the lone Mopar engine in the Silver Crown ranks and will partner with long-time sprint-car ace Johnny Vance in the effort(SpeedVision)(1-12-2001)

  • Marcis Plans: #71-Dave Marcis, who'll cut back to a partial schedule and do more testing, says Daytona, Talladega and Darlington are on his schedule for sure and Indianapolis and the new Chicago race are probable. "We're probably going to do 10 or 12 events and hope that we can be more competitive like we were at Talladega last fall," Marcis said, referring to the Alabama superspeedway where he qualified ninth and raced competitively until an engine failure. "We worked hard on that car after we missed a race with it in July until we went to Talladega in October and it showed that the car had a lot of time and effort put into it."(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-12-2001)

  • Melling Assoc: Autoliv ASP Inc., the largest supplier of automotive safety systems, announced that they have teamed with Melling Racing(#92-Dodge and driver Stacy Compton). The sponsorship will provide Autoliv the opportunity to develop, validate and implement additional protective technologies. The rigorous conditions of NASCAR racing could also facilitate the development of new safety technologies for production vehicles(

  • Whatever Happened to....D.K. Ulrich: who was a Winston Cup driver/owner in the 1970-1980's? The former Winston Cup driver competed in 273 races, never won a pole, never flirted with a championship and retired with official winnings of $682,000. Now 57, Ulrich has turned his years of flying around speedways into a flying business of his own, a charter air service that he runs out of Statesville. His personal best day on the track was a fourth-place finish at Dover in 1981. Ulrich started Raceday Express in 1992, with various teams and racing related businesses using his service. They fly out on Sunday morning and get home later that same day. He doesnít personally fly the Raceday Express, but will taxi people down to his island in the Bahamas(Pittstown Point Landings on Crooked Island). Yes, he owns an island with a lighthouse and exclusive guesthouse on it. He also owns a hotel on a nearby island and has deep-sea fishing, bone fishing and other water-related activities for his guests. Ulrich also owns helicopters and a fleet of 10 planes he uses for his charter business. He still attends about 10 races a year, but no more than that because he has been to so many of them.(see full story by Tim Packman at NOL)(1-12-2001)

  • #7 in the Wind: hearing that the #7 Nations Rent Daytona Ford is testing at the N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center wind tunnel, located in Hampton, VA today(1-12-2001)

  • Not a Joke: a few days ago it was reported in many stories about Dale Earnhardt Jr saying he dreamed he would win the 2001 Daytona 500 that his father Dale, recently had a piece of metal removed from his head, ya know, the Ironhead nickname, many took it as a joke(me included), but from a story in today's Tennessean: During a recent checkup, Earnhardtís doctor discovered a piece of iron lodged in his head. "I wasnít even aware of it until a lump came up," Earnhardt said. "The doctor cut it out and Iím fine now."(Tennessean)(1-12-2001)

  • Wallace and Utz: Utz Quality Foods announced a sponsorship partnership with Rusty Wallace(#2 Miller Lite Ford) for the 2001-2002 racing seasons. Because of Wallace's love for the Utz product, he approached Utz about forming a partnership, which led to Utz's first entry into NASCAR's Winston Cup Series(Catchfence)(1-12-2001)

  • Miller Fired: The sometimes acerbic, usually comical, and almost always right-on-target racing writer for the Indianapolis Star, Robin Miller, has been fired after 33 years with the paper (Indianapolis Star and Speedvision). ESPN still plans for him to be a big part of RPM 2Night, reflecting his popularity with the viewers(MotorsportsTV)(1-12-2001)

  • Tire News: Goodyear, the exclusive tire supplier for NASCAR's Winston Cup Series, will be cutting back on the number of rubber compounds it uses in its racing tires this season in an effort to make them more consistent from track to track(Speed Magazine)(1-12-2001)

  • ESPY's: Driver of the Year ESPY nominees: CART Champ - Gil de Ferran; NHRA Funny Car Champ - John Force; Winston Cup Champ - Bobby Labonte; IRL Champ - Buddy Lazier(ESPN)(1-12-2001)

  • Bruton and the President-elect: President-Elect George W. Bush has invited Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith and Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Eddie Gossage to the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20. Smith and Gossage will attend the inauguration to witness the swearing-in ceremonies of the former Texas Governor. They will also attend a "Black Tie & Boots Ball" honoring Bush the evening before the inauguration. Smith and Gossage will view the Presidential Parade following the inauguration from a balcony along the parade route as guests of the Vinson & Elkins law firm and then will attend one of the inaugural balls(TMS Site)(1-11-2001)

  • CUP testing at Vegas UPDATE: Nearly every Cup team and many NASCAR Busch Series teams will participate in preseason practice at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Jan. 29 through Feb. 2, fans will be able to attend each of those sessions at no charge(LVRJ)(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will ask some of the teams testing at Las Vegas later this month to test aerodynamic packages aimed at disturbing the air moving over their cars at that track. Similar tests were done last year at Talladega before changes were implemented for the Winston 500 at that track in October. Those rules are also planned for use in this year's Daytona 500. The test at Las Vegas would be aimed at finding a combination to make competition closer at that 1.5-mile track, which hosts the season's third race on March 4, and that also might work for other races later this year(That's Racin')(1-11-2001)

  • Some TV Info: Representatives of Fox, NBC and NASCAR said Wednesday that fans not only will receive all the coverage they were accustomed to under the former TV package, but will also enjoy week-to-week broadcast continuity for the first time and subtle graphical enhancements. Coverage of qualifying and "Happy Hour" practice will not be reduced, and the end of rain-delayed races will be shown on some network. NASCAR will not exercise editorial censorship of the announcers. This was stated strongly by NASCAR vice president for broadcasting Paul Brooks and NBC lead announcer Allen Bestwick, a veteran of Motor Racing Network, a radio company owned by NASCAR. The announcers will not be precluded from mentioning a car sponsor's name if that sponsor doesn't purchase a commercial or pay the network a fee(Dallas Morning News)(1-11-2001)

  • Spanish Radio: The April 1 Harrah's 500 at Texas Motor Speedway will be broadcast in both English and Spanish by the Performance Racing Network, which broadcasts several NASCAR races. The Spanish broadcast will be the first in NASCAR history(Dallas Morning News)(1-11-2001)

  • #92 In the Wind: hearing a #92 Melling Dodge is testing at the Lockheed Wind Tunnel in Marietta, GA today(1-11-2001)

  • Mast to test the #50 but: Rick Mast will be testing the #50 Midwest Transit #50 in Thursday and Friday's GM test at DIS. BUT Mast still remains unsigned for the up coming season... at this time. The #50 team will be using Claude Queen motors during this session, Rick and Claude worked together when both were with Richard Jacksons team(

  • Evernhams New Digs: Evernham Motorsports has moved into the Statesville, N.C., shop formerly owned by Bill Elliott, the driver of Ray Evernham's #9 team(Winston Cup Scene)(1-11-2001)

  • Compton and the trucks: #92 Melling Racing driver, Stacy Compton said that he's trying to put together a deal to drive in the season-opening truck race at Daytona. Compton would likely drive for Impact Motorsports, the team he drove with before moving to Winston Cup last year(Winston Cup Scene)(1-11-2001)

  • Johnson is #48: Hendrick Motorsports also will field a fourth Winston Cup car out of the #24 team's shop for four events in 2001. Driving the #48 car will be 25-year old Jimmie Johnson, who last year competed in the BGN, driving the #92 Alltel Chevrolet for Herzog Motorsports. The rookie finished 10th in the point standings, claiming six top-10 finishes. Hendrick has plans to field the #48 car in a full schedule in 2002(HMS Site), for past news see my #48 Team News and Links page(1-10-2001)

  • Names on Uniforms: Winston Cup teams will be pushed to put the names of pit crew members on the backs of their uniforms this year to help promote the idea that racing is a team sport, NASCAR president Mike Helton said Tuesday. Helton, speaking to journalists on the UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway, said that NASCAR eventually plans to make the names a mandatory part of the crew uniforms. Lowe's Motor Speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler proposed a few years ago that pit crew members wear numbers and their names on the backs of their uniforms for the same purpose(That's Racin')(1-10-2001)

  • #28 has a spot: Robert Yates Racing has a major associate sponsorship opportunity available with the #28 Texaco Havoline Ford team. Raybestos, Coke and Fleetwood RV will continue as associates and they have re-positioned UPS and Mac Tools therefore providing an opportunity with the #28 team and Ricky Rudd. See my Team Address page for contact info(1-10-2001)

  • TV Money: NASCAR president Mike Helton also announced that as many as 31 different team owners could get at least a share of the money from stock-car racing's new television deal. Part of the TV money will go into race purses, the vehicle by which all TV money has been distributed in the past. Another part will go into the points fund. But a third part will go into a new plan that will pay car owners equal shares of that portion per each race entered. No car owner will get more than two shares in this plan, even those who list their spouse or some other relative or friend as owner on the entry blank for each race. Helton said a formula based on performance over the past three seasons makes as many as 31 car owners eligible to participate in this plan. Not all of them will own Winston Cup teams in 2001, but those who do would get a share of the money set aside for each race entered(That's Racin')(1-10-2001)

  • Roush Recovering: Roush Racing owner Jack Roush has been walking around the garage area at Daytona with his left arm in a sling. He underwent surgery in mid-December to repair a damaged tendon in his shoulder. Roush originally suffered the injury while celebrating the victory by Jeff Burton's team in the World Pit Crew Championship last October at Rockingham(That's Racin')(1-10-2001)

  • #24 Pepsi Car unveiled: For the first time since 1983, NASCAR fans could see a Pepsi car in a Winston Cup winner's circle. Beginning this spring, Jeff Gordon will race the #24 Pepsi/DuPont car in two races - the spring race at Talladega on April 22 and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona on July 7. In addition, DuPont Automotive has developed a special pearlescent blue paint for the car so fans won't miss it. For the past four years, Pepsi-Cola has enjoyed a successful relationship with Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports, highlighted by its associate sponsorship of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet in the Cup Series and its two-year title sponsorship of Gordon's #24 Pepsi Chevrolet on the BGN. But now, the Pepsi car graduates to the Cup, where a Pepsi car has not been seen since Darrell Waltrip's Pepsi Challenger finished second in points in 1983(actually Ernie Irvan ran a few cars with Pepsi on the hood in the late 1980's). Last June, Pepsi extended its relationship with Gordon through 2005 and will continue to include him in promotional activities. Pepsi serves its products at 18 of the 23 Winston Cup Series tracks and is the title sponsor of NASCAR Winston Cup Series races in Daytona, Fla. (Pepsi 400), Brooklyn, Mich. (Pepsi 400) and Darlington, S.C. (Pepsi Southern 500).(in part from a Pepsi-Cola Company/Millsport PR). See the image of the car in my 2001 Cup section of my Paint Schemes Gallery(1-9-2001)

  • #01 Sponsor: Cingular WirelessSM today announced that we will become the primary sponsor of the #01 car with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Cingular have not named a driver for the #01 car yet, but plan to make an announcement within two weeks. With BellSouth's wireless business now part of Cingular Wireless it was decided to transition the racing program to Cingular(in part from a BellSouth Internal Memo)(1-9-2001)

  • Dodge Test at Vegas UPDATE 2: Hearing there is a private Dodge test scheduled for this Sunday and Monday(Jan 7th-8th) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Drivers scheduled to test are #22-Ward Burton and #93-Dave Blaney of Bill Davis Racing, #40-Sterling Marlin for Chip Ganassi Racing, #92-Stacy Compton for Melling Racing, #19-Casey Atwood and #9-Bill Elliott for Evernham Racing and #43-John Andretti, #45-Kyle Petty and #44-Buckshot Jones for Petty Enterprises. The test is closed to the public(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing Dodge's two-day test was cut short because of rain that wiped out the afternoon session on Monday. Unofficially Stacy Compton was fastest on Sunday and Sterling Marlin was fastest on Monday. There were 11 drivers here testing including Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood (Evernham Motorsports), Marlin (Ganassi), Compton (Melling), John Andretti, Steve Grissom, Kyle Petty, Buckshot Jones (Petty), Ward Burton, Dave Blaney, Scott Wimmer (Bill Davis). Richard Petty visited the track briefly on Monday and Jimmy Vasser, who lives in Las Vegas, was hanging around the Ganassi team on Sunday. There were no incidents and most seemed to feel it was a pretty successful test(1-8-2001)

  • Same Rules at Daytona UPDATE - slight change for Fords: NASCAR has told teams the same aerodynamic and engine package used in last fall's race at Talladega will be used in testing(the next two weeks for Ford, GM, Dodge at Daytona). Those rules helped create 49 lead changes and a spectacular finish. Dale Earnhardt went from 18th to first in the final five laps to win. The engines will have 15/16 of an inch restrictor plates, which reduce the airflow to the carburetor and reduce horsepower. The aerodynamic changes include roof strips, increased rear spoiler angle, increased front air dam clearance and a forward-facing flange on top of the rear spoiler(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE: NASCAR made one slight aerodynamic change for the Ford Taurus in preparation for the Daytona 500 - a change the 20 Ford teams who arrived Monday for the manufacturer's test implemented right away. Each Ford team needed to slightly alter its roof spoiler. The original strip for all car makes was set at 1 and 3/8ths of an inch across the full width of the roof, but the curved shape of the Taurus' roof created more square inches of spoiler area compared to the flatter-roofed Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Ford officials were pleased with the change, saying the move would make the Taurus more in line with other makes as far as the amount of drag the car creates on the superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega(That's Racin'). As for the race? I guess we'll see after testing(1-8-2001)

  • #01 Driver? UPDATE for 2001: now hearing the driver for the #01 BellSouth Dodge may be Kevin Lepage, former driver of the #16 Roush Racing Ford(12-30-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing it'll be Lepage in the #01 BellSouth Dodge (at least for 2001). But I hear he wasn't at Las Vegas testing with the other Dodges over the weekend(1-8-2001)

  • Melling Reorg: Mark Melling, owner of the #92 Kodiak Dodge, borrowed the tag line from Dodge's ad campaign when he planned his team's transition to the manufacturer's Winston Cup program. "We simply had to do something different," explained Melling. "Being competitive in 2001 is not an option, so we made a number of significant changes to our team over the off-season. Those changes began with the hiring of crew chief Chad Knaus last October. Melling then restructured the management team, and empowered Knaus to reorganize the chain of command in the shop. Melling and Knaus also addressed staffing issues. "We had to adjust our staff to fit our objectives," explained Knaus. "We outsourced some departments, and we added manpower to other departments. We've got a lot of new guys in the shop, and the changes have greatly increased productivity. Plus, the guys are just learning how to work together." Driver Stacy Compton likes what he sees already. "It's a night and day difference from before," said Compton. "There's no comparison. It's closer to a brand new team than the old #9 team. As a driver, I've never been more excited. I'm ready to go." And his team is working hard to be ready to go. The Melling team sold off most of their Fords, and they're building a fleet of brand new Dodges. The shop is full of new chassis waiting for bodies(Melling PR)(1-8-2001)

  • Labonte Receives Award: NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte completed his run through the 2000 major auto racing awards Sunday by accepting the National Motorsports Press Association Richard Petty Driver of the Year award. Voted on by writers, broadcasters and photographers who cover NASCAR racing, the award is named for the Winston Cup series' all-time victory leader and seven-time champion. As Labonte pointed out at the award ceremony, both he and his wife, Donna, now have received awards in which Petty played a significant role. Petty was a judge in 1984 when Donna was named Miss Thomasville (N.C.) High School.(Greenville Times)(1-8-2001)

    see the Jan 1-7, 2001 Archived News Page

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