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PAST NEWS JAN 15-21, 2001

  • #11 Testing: Brett Bodine will test Talladega on Jan 23-24th and Rockingham on Jan 29-30th in the #11 Ralphs Ford(1-21-2001)

  • Leffler in the Indy 500? Jason Leffler doubts he will run the Indy 500 this year as he wants to concentrate on his new #01 Ganassi Racing Winston Cup ride - per TNN's Raceday(1-21-2001)

  • Bodine, Todd that is .... news: hearing Todd Bodine will drive the #00 BGN car at the BGN race in Daytona and may drive other races for the team but that has yet to be determined. No sponsor has been named yet(1-20-2001)

  • Labonte in Texas: Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte will spend part of Monday in Dallas at Interstate Batteries, visiting with employees of his primary sponsor of his #18 Pontiac(Dallas Morning News)(1-20-2001)

  • #17 Special Scheme: With a year of Winston Cup experience and the 2000 Raybestos Rookie of the Year(ROTY) crown under their belts, the only thing "rookie" about Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Racing team in the year 2001 will be the paint scheme of the #17 Ford Taurus. In honor of last season's well-deserved title, the #17 car will feature yellow paint with the Raybestos Rookie of the Year logo on the hood. The paint scheme will be featured at Daytona, Rockingham and Las Vegas. In addition to the Rookie of the Year paint scheme, DEWALT Industrial Tools is launching a new product line for 2001 which is expected to be larger than their original launch in 1992. To market the new tools, DEWALT has decided to use the #17 car to help create excitement about the launch. Kenseth will have four new paint schemes throughout the season to compliment DEWALT's new power tools(DeWalt Racing PR). See images of the car at my Paint Scheme Gallery(1-19-2001)

  • #24 Car for sale: The Hendrick Motorsports DuPont team is selling the #24 "NASCAR Racers" car body to make space in the racing shop for 2001 race needs, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to charity. For more info, see my Racing Charities page(1-19-2001)

  • Blaney to run in the BGN: Dave Blaney, driver of the #93 Amoco/Siemens Dodge Intrepid in NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition, has agreed to join DIRT Modified owner Bryan Goewey in a limited BGN effort for the 2001 season with veteran owner/crew chief Mike Greci directing the program. The agreement marks the second time that Blaney, the 1995 World of Outlaws champion, has driven for Goewey. The Busch Series deal with Blaney is the second NASCAR effort as an owner for Goewey, a former DIRT Modified and NASCAR Featherlite Busch North Series driver, who is entering his 15th season as a modified owner with Team Goewey. Goewey ran a limited Busch North Series schedule as an owner/ driver in 1994, with a best- finish of fourth at Watkins Glen with Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli—now Crew Chief for WC standout Tony Stewart. The team—which will use engines prepared by Bill Davis Racing and Head Busch Engine Builder Brad Thrower—will operate out of the Team Goewey race-shops in Latham, NY where Goewey’s trio of DIRT Modified cars are housed. The BGN Team is starting with a plan to run five races—including both races at Charlotte—and then go from there. In an unusual move, Goewey is offering up visibility to potential sponsors on his Busch cars—which will be Chevrolets—but also on his DIRT Modified entries as well as the #10 World of Outlaws team owned by Blaney and driver by Dale Blaney, Dave’s brother and the seventh-place finisher in last year’s WoO standings. Team Manager/Crew Chief Mike Greci, most recently served as Team Manager/Crew Chief in the Busch Series for Innovative Motorsports, which whom he won the July, 1999 race at Pikes Peak International Raceway with 1998 Rookie-of-the-Year Andy Santerre(BDR PR). No word on Car #.(1-19-2001)

  • Petty's on TV: Beyond the Glory, a feature/documentary show on Fox Sports Net, will devote the entire show to the Petty family in February's show. It will debut on February 18th. It looks like the show will air at 8:00pm/et locally in most markets, check local listings for air times(MotorsportsTV)(1-19-2001)

  • Sad News: not NASCAR but...former CART onwer Carl Hogan died Sunday in New Hampshire, he was 71. Hogan's tenure as a team owner in CART started in 1992 with driver/part owner Bobby Rahal winning the CART championship. In 1996, Hogan entered a partnership with Roger Penske, with Emerson Fittipaldi as driver. Hogan formed his own team in 1997 with Dario Franchitti as driver. Hogan's driver in 1999, his final season as an owner, was Helio Castro-Neves. Hogan, who spent millions of dollars financing his teams, got out of racing after the 1999 season and retired to New Hampshire(KC Star/AP)(1-19-2001)

  • Education: Educators at Concord’s Cannon School will host Motorsports Engineering Day Friday in an effort to help students better understand the wide variety of job opportunities in the motorsports industry, as well as the tremendous impact auto racing has on area communities and their economies. The program includes brief presentations by professors and students from UNC Charlotte’s motorsports engineering department, as well as presentations by Cannon School family members involved in the motorsports industry. The Motorsports Engineering Day program will be held at the Cannon School in Concord, NC on Friday, Jan. 19th begining at 9:15am/et. Cannon School is a private pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school serving the Charlotte/Mecklenburg and Concord/Cabarrus areas. A variety of racing show cars will be on display and Lug Nut, the Lowe’s Motor Speedway mascot, will entertain students. Among those scheduled to participate in the Motorsports Engineering Day program are NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Jeff Burton, John Andretti, Ricky Craven, Steve Grissom and Ernie Irvan. Former crew chief and current television analyst Larry McReynolds, along with NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director Gary Nelson; television executive Patti Wheeler and H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, are also scheduled to be in attendance(LMS PR)(1-19-2001)

  • Testing at the Rock: #27-Kenny Wallace and #10-Johnny Benson are scheduled to test Thursday and Friday at North Carolina Speedway(the Rock, located in Rockingham, NC). #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to test Sunday and Monday. #5-Terry Labonte and #25-Jerry Nadeau are scheduled to test Monday and Tuesday. PPI Motorsports drivers, #32-Ricky Craven and #96-Andy Houston plan to test there on Jan. 23-24. #19-Casey Atwood and #92-Stacy Compton are scheduled to test Jan. 30-31 and #93- Dave Blaney is set to test Feb. 5-6.(Roanoke Times)(1-18-2001)

  • #5 Seeks Assoc Sponsor: The Hendrick operation says it has opened its doors to talks with associate sponsors about teaming up 2-time Cup champ, Terry Labonte. A new associate sponsor's logo would appear on the deck lid and in the tire area in front of the rear wheels. The sponsor's logo also would be featured on the team's transporter as well as on driver and crew uniforms. In addition to exposure at Winston Cup events, a sponsor would gain access to the car and driver for advertising and promotional needs throughout the year. See the Hendrick Motor Sports site for more info(1-18-2001)

  • Testing at Atlanta: #9-Bill Elliott, #33-Joe Nemechek, #88-Dale Jarrett, #28-Ricky Rudd and #19-Casey Atwood are scheduled to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb 20-21st. On Feb. 27-28, #45-Kyle Petty, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #96-Andy Houston and #32-Ricky Craven are scheduled to test their Cup cars there(Roanoke Times)(1-18-2001)

  • Earnhardt Jr on Turn Ben Stein: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. brakes for Ben Stein to talk about the perils and perks of life in the fast lane. Date: February, 15th, 2001 on Comedy Central - see local listings in your area(1-18-2001)

  • Exide PR Update: Chris Dirato, who handled the PR for Exide's Winston Cup and Craftsman Truck Series programs the last two years, apparently is still looking for any public relations opportunities which may remain in NASCAR's three major series. While the agency he works for, Kermish-Geylin Public Relations, has been in contact with a number of teams/organizations, nothing concrete has surfaced. Interested parties may still contact Dirato via email at

  • Sporting News and NASCAR UPDATE: When Joe Gibbs made his first big public splash, The Sporting News weekly magazine covered it every step of the way as his Washington Redskins marched to the Super Bowl 17 championship. Now they'll cover Joe Gibbs again. The Sporting News will be covering Gibbs, along with all the other owners, drivers and pit crews, when TSN becomes the only national sports magazine to cover Winston Cup racing every week of the year. The Sporting News coverage will feature the same kind of incisive, analytical approach as it does with other sports and will be anchored by a top-notch racing insider who will write a weekly column and an inside dish to get readers behind the scenes at the track and in the garage. The magazine will also report on the trends, the people and the top races the circuit has to offer. Their website address is and their e-mail address for Winston Cup fans is from the cover letter in the 2001 Sporting News Stock Car Racing Preview - available in stores now)(1-15-2001)
    UPDATE: see the new section of the Sporting News site:

  • Fuller News: Jeff Fuller, formerly the driver for the #27-Viagra car(now unsponsored with Kenny Wallace as the driver), did a Viagra commercial last week and apparently Fuller is becoming a Screen Actors Guild member. He got his card due to doing a bunch of high-speed driving and a jump. Pfizer(makes Viagra, now the sponsor of Mark Martin's #6 Ford) loved his work. The commercial is scheduled to first appear during the Budweiser Shootout.(Catchfence)(1-18-2001)

  • Daytona 500 Pace Car UPDATE: Pontiac continues its tradition as the supplier of the Daytona 500 Pace Car in 2001 with a specially modified Aztek. Seeking something new, fun and exciting to usher the competitors around the track, the Daytona International Speedway selected Aztek to pace the Feb. 18 race. The Aztek Pace Car has a 340-horsepower engine with a supercharger and intercooling(Pontiac Insider, Marketing Udate)(1-14-2001)
    UPDATE: DIS announced today that the Pontiac Aztek will serve as the official pace car for the “Great American Race.” “This will be the 34th year that Pontiac has paced the Daytona 500, the world’s most prestigious race,” Daytona International Speedway President John Graham said. The version of the Aztek that will pace the field of the most watched motorsports event in the world has been enhanced in a number of areas to better its performance as a pace vehicle. It features a Magnuson supercharged powertrain by Vrbancic Brothers with headers done by Doug Thorley and Mike Cook. The supercharged engine, which has enlarged exhaust valves and Manley rods and pistons, will turn out 330 horsepower - an increase of 145 horsepower over its 3.4-liter V6 showroom counterpart. Additional ride and handling enhancements include stiffer bushings, springs and shocks, and the vehicle has also been lowered(DIS PR).(1-17-2001)

  • IROC Drivers? UPDATE 3: hearing the following will be the 2001 lineup of IROC drivers: From NASCAR Winston Cup: already announced Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Jeff Burton along with Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte. From the IRL: already announced Eddie Cheever Jr, Scott Goodyear, Buddy Lazier along with Mark Dismore. From CART: Gil de Ferran and Kenny Brack. From the Busch Series: Jeff Green. For more info on the series, see my IROC 2001 page(1-3-2001)
    UPDATE add Green: Jeff Green is the latest driver named to the 2001 12-driver IROC field. He joins fellow NASCAR drivers Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Rudd who compete in the Winston Cup Series. Open-wheel veterans Eddie Cheever, Buddy Lazier and Scott Goodyear will also compete in IROC XXV(Talladega PR)(1-4-2001)
    UPDATE 2: add Jarrett and Labonte - The last two NASCAR Winston Cup champions – Bobby Labonte (2000) and Dale Jarrett (1999) – will join four-time and defending IROC champion Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 line-up. The three top-ranking stock car aces join the seven previously announced invitees: Buddy Lazier, Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever Jr., and Mark Dismore from the Indy Racing Northern Lights Series; Winston Cup stars Jeff Burton and Ricky Rudd; and Busch champion Jeff Green. Who will get the other two seats? Four-time IROC champion Mark Martin, plus a number of CART FedEx Championship Series drivers are possibilities(SpeedVision) AND It's apparent that IROC wants to diversify its lineup. Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett likely are in, meaning only last year's top-5 made the cut. Among the notables left out: Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr. CART Indycar champion Gil de Ferran likely will be invited, along with CART star Kenny Brack. That's a 6-6 split between stock car and open-wheel drivers, a far cry from recent years when NASCAR drivers dominated the lineups.(Daily Press)(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE 3: The 2000 CART FedEx Series Champion, Gil de Ferran and The 2000 CART FedEx Rookie of the Year, Kenny Brack will participate in the 25th running of the True Value IROC series. de Ferran and Brack's invitation acceptance brings the field of 12 to six open wheel drivers versus six stock car veterans. They join previously announced IRL drivers, Buddy Lazier, Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever, Jr., and Mark Dismore. Also previously announced were NASCAR Cup drivers, Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd and NASCAR BGN, Jeff Green. 2001 will mark de Ferran's first True Value IROC series. Brack was unable to compete in the 2000 True Value IROC series due to scheduling conflicts. Brack's True Value IROC debut came in 1999 for his IRL Championship. The 25th anniversary season of the True Value IROC series begins on February 16 with race one at Daytona International Speedway. The race will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday, February 18 at 5:00pm/et(IROC PR)(1-17-2001)

  • #33 Crew Chief Change? UPDATE: hearing that #33 crew chief Danny Gill and APR have parted ways, hearing that Chris Carrier could be the new crew chief for Joe Nemechek and the #33
    UPDATE: With the 2001 racing season only weeks away, Andy Petree Racing has put the pieces of the puzzle together for a successful campaign for the #33 Oakwood Homes Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek. Chris Carrier has been named interim crew chief, and Richard Buck has been named Team Manager. Buck brings to the team a technology and leadership role that was developed in over 20 years of working in the CART series, much of it spent with Penske Racing. Over the last three years Buck was the Director of Racing Operations for PPI/Toyota Racing. Buck most recently worked with Robby Gordon in the Winston Cup Series(Williams Company)(1-16-2001)

  • #01 Test Driver UPDATE: hearing Greg Sacks will serve as the test driver for the #01 Ganassi Racing Dodge at Daytona testing on Jan 16-17th. No word on if he is a candidate for the 2001 #01 ride(1-15-2001)
    UPDATE: Greg Sacks will not test the #01 car since Leffler was released in time to test the car and of course, Leffler was named as the driver of the #01 for the next four year(1-16-2001)

  • Benjamin goes from TNN to SpeedVision: Rick Benjamin who was the host of TNN's Motorsports program, Raceday, has left TNN to join SpeedVision and will serve as the play-by-play announcer for Speedvision’s coverage of Grand American Road Racing, U.S. F2000, USAR Hooters ProCup (Northern Events), and ARCA RE/MAX Series as well as being a regular contributor to Speedvision News RaceWeek(SpeedVision)(1-16-2001)

  • Inside NASCAR Winston Cup to return: SpeedVisions Monday night NASCAR show with Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson, Ken Schrader and Allen Bestwick will continue, but not from a studio but on the road in the city of the race. It is not know who will host or be on the show but that negotiations were on-going with NBC for the services of Allen Bestwick. The working name of the show is Inside Racing.(SpeedVision)(1-16-2001)

  • #01 Driver...for 2002 UPDATE 7 Leffler is it: BGN driver Jason Leffler confirmed Friday night that he will take over the driving duties of the #01 Dodges for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Winston Cup series beginning with the 2002 season. Leffler has agreed to a three-year deal, but will complete the 2001 BGN series schedule with Joe Gibbs Racing. Ganassi is still looking for a driver for the #01 for the 2001 season. Leffler said he could run a few Winston Cup races this season with Ganassi, but has not worked out the details(That's Racin')(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Leffler reportedly had a three-year contract with the Gibbs team, with 2000 being the first of the three. Leffler told the Charlotte Observer Friday night that he intends to drive Gibbs' MBNA car in Busch this season. As for the 01 deal with Ganassi, Leffler told the paper, "It's not official yet, but it's what we're planning." Details are not clear. It is not yet known whether Leffler would drive the 01, per se, in 2002, or whether Ganassi would set up a third team to accommodate him. Another possibility is that Ganassi would hire a driver such as Kevin Lepage, then move that driver to a third team in 2002(SpeedVision)(1-6-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Leffler does not have a 3 year contract with Gibbs (as reported) but that Leffler's contract is up at the end of 2001 and is free to do pursue other options(1-8-2001)
    UPDATE 3: hearing that Leffler went to his Busch shop on Monday and was asked to leave until after owner Joe Gibbs holds a meeting with his BGN sponsor(MBNA) on Tuesday(1-9-2001)
    UPDATE 4: It appears likely that Ganassi is going to name someone Friday to drive the #01 - Lepage or Leffler(1-11-2001)
    UPDATE 5: This season's driver of that car could be named as soon as Friday morning when Ganassi is scheduled for a breakfast meeting on the media tour's final day, which will be devoted to Dodge teams owned by Ganassi, Mark Melling, Petty Enterprises and Ray Evernham. Jason Lefler has signed to drive the #01 for three years beginning with 2002. Lefler was scheduled to drive an MBNA-sponsored BGN car for Joe Gibbs Racing this year, but those plans are in limbo after his decision to sign with Ganassi. Porter Cable has withdrawn as primary sponsor of a second Gibbs BGN team for driver Jeff Purvis. That leaves Gibbs with only the MBNA sponsorship next year, giving rise to suspicions that Purvis could be moved into that car in Lefler's place(That's Racin')(1-12-2001)
    UPDATE 6: Although owner Chip Ganassi passed up an opportunity to make the announcement on Friday, Jason Leffler will be the driver of his #01 Dodge Intrepid this year. Leffler began negotiating with Ganassi over a week ago, and reportedly his Busch car owner, Joe Gibbs, found out Leffler was leaving by reading a newspaper account. It now appears as though Gibbs will cut back from two to one BGN teams, with Jeff Purvis moving into the #18 car being vacated by Leffler. Leffler was not present when Ganassi held a media briefing on Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s media tour. Ganassi’s other driver, Sterling Marlin, was on hand to answer questions(Gaston Gazette) and a story at That's Racin': Ganassi mum amid Leffler's turmoil AND Have heard that Leffler could remain on as a test/back up driver with Gibbs for 2001. Have been told if Lefler is released, several drivers are lining up for the opportunity to drive the #18. Joe Gibbs Racing has also confirmed that they will be running both BGN cars in 2001. The team is seeking sponsorship for a sponsor for the #4 car. Have heard that the incentives for the prospective sponsor could include ties to the championship Cup team and truck program(1-13-2001)
    UPDATE 7: Jason Leffler, a three-time USAC Midget Champion, USAC Silver Crown Champion and former NASCAR Busch Series driver, signed a four-year contract today with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and will immediately take over driving duties of the #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Leffler, 24, ran in 31 Busch Series events last year in the #18 car with Joe Gibbs Racing(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(1-15-2001)

  • Dodge and General Mills: In celebration of Dodge's upcoming return to NASCAR Winston Cup racing after a 15-year absence, General Mills is teaming up with Dodge for the "Dodge Countdown to Daytona" promotion. This promotion will give NASCAR fans the first opportunity to collect 1/64-scale die-cast replicas of eight new Dodge Intrepid R/T racecars. The General Mills "Dodge Countdown to Daytona" promotion will run from mid-January through February 2001, and will involve four food categories and more that 40 million packages, making it one of the largest package promotions ever assembled at General Mills. As part of the promotion, over 14 million specially marked packages of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Wheaties and Golden Grahams will feature one of five 1/64-scale Dodge Intrepid R/T die-cast racecars inside. The five replica cars include Bill Elliott's #9, Casey Atwood's #19, John Andretti's No. #43, Kyle Petty's #45 and Stacey Compton's #92 Dodge Intrepid R/T and are featured in a "visible value" window on the package that will allow customers to see which car is inside. Bill Elliott, who will pilot the #9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T in 2001, is featured on the Wheaties package. Consumers will receive one of three "gold edition" 1/64-scale die-cast Petty Enterprises cars when three UPCs from Hamburger Helper packages are redeemed. The Petty Enterprises "gold edition" die-cast cars include John Andretti's #43, Buckshot Jones' #44 and Kyle Petty's #45 Dodge Intrepid R/T. Other General Mills brands involved in the "Dodge Countdown to Daytona" promotion include Betty Crocker desserts, Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn, Chex cereals and Bugles. When three participating Betty Crocker dessert products are purchased, consumers will receive a free 1/64-scale die-cast of Ward Burton's #22 Dodge Intrepid R/T. Consumers will receive a free die-cast replica of Dave Blaney's #93 when two three-count packages of Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn are purchased and a free die-cast of Buckshot Jones' #44 Dodge Intrepid R/T when two participating Bugles packages are purchased. Specially marked packages of Chex cereals will feature collectable trading cards of the Dodge Intrepid R/T drivers(Business Wire)(1-15-2001)

  • Fox Sports Show: John Roberts, a weekend sports anchor with WBTV (Channel 3) in Charlotte, NC, is joining Fox Sports. Roberts, who has been at WBTV for fiveyears, will host "NASCAR This Morning" from 10:30a.m. to noon on Sundays on Fox SportsNet and "NASCAR Prime Time," 9 to 10p.m. on Sundays. Both will begin Feb 11th.(Charlotte Observer)(1-15-2001)

    see the Jan 8-14, 2001 Archived News Page

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