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PAST NEWS MAR 26-APR 1, 2001

  • RIR Testing: #28-Ricky Rudd and #88-Dale Jarrett are testing at Richmond International Raceway on Tuesday and Wednesday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-1-2001)

  • Geoffrey Bodine in the #75 car? UPDATE: Driver Geoffrey Bodine says he's ready to go racing again if he can get a ride in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Bodine is working on a deal that could put him behind the wheel of the dormant #75 Galaxy Motorsports team for the second half of the Winston Cup season. The #75 team released driver Wally Dallenbach after failing to land a sponsor for this season. But Bodine says that owner Darwin Oordt is negotiating with a potential investor. Bodine also is interested in broadasting and has interviewed with NBC and TBS(Elmira Star Gazette/Speedway Scene). Also hearing from another source that the #75 Team has closed up shop, but have not confirmed that(4-1-2001)
    UPDATE: Geoffrey Bodine and an "investment partner" are in the process of deciding whether to acquire an existing NASCAR Winston Cup operation or to start from scratch by assembling a team and a fleet of rolling stock. Last week they toured Galaxy Motorsports; but after that visit, talk is they are more seriously considering building their own team since the most critical element of a team is its personnel and Galaxy currently is down to about three employees in the shop. One of the most pressing considerations right now is sponsorship, but the plan would be to align Geoffrey's new operation with brother Brett's Brett Bodine Racing team to cooperate on sharing test information and other technology transfer without having the administrative tangles of a true multi-car operation( Buzz)(4-1-2001)

  • Green in the #30 AOL car: Richard Childress announced the races Jeff Green will be running in the #30 (AOL) Winston Cup car this season. Green will attempt to make his (2001 Cup) debut at California Speedway on April 29. He also will run the races at Dover (June 3), Chicago (July 15), Indianapolis (Aug. 5), Bristol (Aug. 25), Richmond (Sept. 8) and Lowe's (Oct. 7).(Richmond Times Dispatch) AND Richard Childress Racing Saturday named 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion Jeff Green as the driver for the #30 America Online NASCAR Winston Cup team for a limited schedule this season. Childress said plans for the 2002 season and beyond will be forthcoming(

  • #97 Sponsor? UPDATE 7 Sunday Announcement? heard nothing: rumor floating around that Newell-Rubbermaid may be a sponsor for the #97 Roush Racing team and driver Kurt Busch. But sources with the team say they have not heard that at all(3-5-2001)
    UPDATE: actually hear the sponsor will be Sanford with their Sharpie Marker Line being featured, Sanford is owned by.....Newell Rubbermaid. An announcement could come in Texas in a few weeks, if that is the sponsor. Sharpie will also be the title sponsor of the race at Bristol in August, the Sharpie® 500(3-6-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing, which fields four Winston Cup, two BGN and two CTS teams, has had several high-profile sponsors and two dot-com companies leave or reduce their participation because of economic reasons. Despite losing companies like Northern Light, Exide and John Deere, Roush has been able to find new sources of cash, company president Geoff Smith said. Smith said he expects to add sponsors for rookie Kurt Busch's #97 Winston Cup car and for one of the two trucks. Gain detergent recently agreed to back Jeff Burton's Busch car(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE 3: the weeks Speedway Scene mentions Pizza Hut as a possible sponsor for either the #97 or one of the Roush CTS teams(3-10-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith expects to announce a sponsor for Kurt Busch's Winston Cup team and the truck team of Chuck Hossfeld at Bristol. He would neither confirm nor deny that the sponsor would be Sanford, the company that manufactures Sharpies. Earlier this year it was announced that Sharpie would sponsor the August Bristol race(Winston Cup Scene need to be a subscriber to read online)(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE 5: hearing the announcement will probably be at Texas and not Bristol that Sharpie®/Sanford/Newell Rubbermaid will be Kurt Bucsh's sponsor. Hearing the car will be primarily black with a white hood having "Sharpie" in black letters with a blue Sharpie pen underneath it on the hood. The lower left side of the car is blue ... the lower right side of the car is red (almost like somebody's been scribbling on it with a ... Sharpie) or an all black with a red "Rubbermaid" logo. Sharpie is on the quarter panels and Paper*Mate is on the deck lid(3-22-2001)
    UPDATE 6: Roush Racing’s sponsorship announcement set for Sunday at Texas will include programs for both the #97 Ford Taurus driven by Kurt Busch as well as one of Roush’s two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series programs, which have run sponsorless for rookie drivers Nathan Haseleu and Chuck Hossfeld this season( Buzz)(3-30-2001)
    UPDATE 7: There was a morning news conference at which team owner Jack Roush announced that beginning with next weekend's race at Martinsville, Kurt Busch's #97 Fords will be sponsored by the Newell-Rubbermaid organization through the Sharpie brand of permanent markers and Rubbermaid home products. The company will also sponsor Chuck Hossfeld's #50 team in the Truck series(That's Racin')(4-1-2001)

  • AMS Not Happy UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway executives are not happy with Fox officials for changing the on-air name of the Cracker Barrel 500 three weeks ago. Fox declined to mention Cracker Barrel as the race sponsor, instead calling it a Winston Cup race 'presented by UPS.'(Winston Salem Journal)(3-31-2001)
    UPDATE: The Winston-Salem Journal reports that "Atlanta Motor Speedway executives are not happy with Fox officials for changing the on-air name of the Cracker Barrel 500 three weeks ago. Fox declined to mention Cracker Barrel as the race sponsor, instead calling it a Winston Cup race 'presented by UPS.' " Sorry, folks, but this is inaccurate. Fox did indeed mention Cracker Barrel by name as required by contract. Lap 35 - 36:42 into broadcast: Mike Joy - "Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500", Lap 188 - 2:08:42 into broadcast: Mike Joy - "Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores 500", Lap 305 - 3:34:54 into broadcast: Mike Joy - "Cracker Barrel 500", There may have been one more, but the tape was reviewed quickly by MotorsportsTV. Actually, Fox's primary use of the UPS tie-in was "NASCAR on Fox presented by UPS," never attributing race title sponsorship to UPS. This is very common on TV sports now. That's a far cry from title sponsorship. The key point though is that Fox did mention Cracker Barrel as they were required to in Atlanta(MotorsportsTV)(4-1-2001)

  • Boycott Unlikely, but...: A comment made by reigning Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte last weekend at Bristol has mushroomed into reports that drivers are considering a boycott of the April 22 race at Talladega. Labonte said last week that he had heard talk that some sponsors had told their drivers they would support them if they didn't want to go to Talladega because NASCAR plans to use the same rules there that were used there last fall and at Daytona in February. There is virtually no chance any such boycott could materialize, of course. Late last year, before a return trip to New Hampshire International Speedway where Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin had died earlier in the season, drivers floated the same kind of suggestions to put pressure on NASCAR to change the rules(see full story at That's Racin')(4-1-2001)

  • Pemberton may sit out UPDATE no Texas: Robin Pemberton, crew chief for Rusty Wallace's #2 Miller Lite Ford, was not with the team Friday at Texas. Pemberton was, instead, back home in the Charlotte area undergoing medical tests to seek the cause for the fatigue he has been feeling in recent weeks. "I was really feeling pretty normal as far as being run down and stressed out - just like about 400 other friends of mine feel like every day," Pemberton said. "But my doctor didn't like the way I was looking and he told me to come in for some tests." Pemberton had a heart stress test before last week's race at Bristol and then had a heart catheterization. Those tests did not reveal any blockages. On Friday, he was having his carotid artery checked. Pemberton wouldn't rule out coming to the race on Sunday. If he doesn't, team general manager John Erickson said that Jeffrey Thousand would likely be on top of the team's pit box on Sunday communicating with the driver(That's Racin')(3-31-2001)
    UPDATE: Rusty Wallace's crew chief, Robin Pemberton, opted not to fly to Texas yesterday. Pemberton has been undergoing a series of medical tests, but he had considered joining the team in time for today's race. Now he is taking the weekend off and planning to be back with Wallace next weekend at Martinsville(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-1-2001)

  • Family OK: A family of six is recovering after inhaling fumes from an motorhome heater that appears to have kicked out some carbon monoxide gas at the Texas Motor Speedway. The family was in the motorhome which was parked in the infield. Three ambulances took them away from the Speedway for treatment. Doctors say they are going to be OK.(AP/ESPN)(4-1-2001)

  • Another #15 Crew Change: The #15 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., which has not quite matched its season opening Daytona 500 winning performance in the five races since, has made a change. Jackman Britt Goodrich was let go Friday morning after struggling the past few weeks( Buzz)(3-31-2001)

  • No HANS for Dale Jr: Earnhardt Jr. said that he's not ready to try the HANS device, a head and neck support system that some contend might have saved his father's life. Since Earnhardt's fatal crash, the number of Cup drivers using the HANS has more than doubled. About 15 drivers are expected to wear it for Sunday's race and another dozen are expected to wear a different type of a head-restraint system. "I'm not going to be too quick to start strapping on all kinds of gizmos," said Earnhardt Jr., one of the few drivers in the series who wears an open-face helmet. "I've been running for several years and I've been using the equipment that I feel is necessary. I think it should be [driver] preference. Nothing should be mandatory aside from what we have until they really come up with a sure-fire invention that isn't commercialized."(Roanoke Times)(3-31-2001)

  • New Seat: #32 and #96 team owner Cal Wells just received a full-blown prototype of his proposed new Winston Cup seat, which he plans to crash test soon(Winston Salem Journal)(3-31-2001)

  • DW interviews Little E: Fox's Darrell Waltrip interviewed Dale Earnhardt Jr today in Earnhardt Jr's first "official" interview since his fathers death, the interview will air on Fox on the Texas pre-race show from 12:30-1:00pm/et. (the CBN interveiw was not official, see my #8 Team News and Links page for info on that)(3-26-2001), see link to a FoxSports story about the interview by Darrell Waltip on my Story/Column Links page(3-30-2001)

  • 1-2 #21 and #43 and vs: After the historically reminiscent 1-2 finish by the 21 and 43 cars last Sunday a lot of people wrote to ask me when was the last time that happened. I finally broke out the books and a half cup of rock and rye to research it. The best I can tell the last time the 21 and 43 cars finished 1-2 in that order was the 1976 Southern 500. (The 43 and 21 cars finished 1-2 three times that year, most notably in the Daytona 500, with Pearson winning all three races.) The last time the 43 and 21 car finished 1-2 in that order was the June, 1977 Riverside race. ( Petty and Pearson also finished 1-2 in the race previous to Riverside, the World 600.)(SpeedFX - Random Thoughts)(3-30-2001)

  • Dale Jr attends a Hockey game: Dale Earnhardt Jr attended a NHL hockey game in Minneapolis, MN where the Minnesota Wikd set an attendance record for NHL expansion teams Wednesday night. Earnhardt Jr. led the crowd in the Let's Play Hockey cheer before the opening faceoff.(St. Paul Pioneer Press)(3-30-2001)

  • Mike Wallace to run in the BGN: Mike Wallace is expanding his 2001 race schedule to include the BGN beginning with the Auto Club 300 at California Speedway on April 28th. Wallace will drive the Biagi Bros. Racing Chevy in seven BGN races. "This is a new program excited about doing," said Wallace. "Fred Biagi, who has become a good friend of mine, wants to get more involved in this sport. So, we're going to run seven competitive races that will hopefully enhance our Winston Cup program and possibly grow into something more in the future." Wallace, who is competing full-time in Cup for the #7 Ultra Motorsports team , has known California businessman and race enthusiast Fred Biagi for more than four years through Biagi's associate sponsorship on his CTS team. "My association with racing began as a fan and grew into an associate sponsorship of the Ultra Motorsports Truck Team for two years," said Biagi. "We wanted to get more involved, so we decided to put something like this together. We're going to start with a limited Busch Series schedule and hopefully build that into a full-time Busch program followed by a full-time Winston Cup program." In addition to the event at California, the Biagi Bros. Racing Team plans to compete in the races at Chicagoland, Michigan, Homestead Miami, Phoenix and both events at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Biagi Bros. Racing Chevys will be prepared in a shop located in Mooresville, N.C. with the engines supplied by Gasoline Alley Engines. The team does not have a sponsor for their limited BGN program, but that will not interfere with their plans to run these seven races in any event(Motorsports Decision PR)(3-30-2001)

  • Falk to run ARCA: #91 team owner Joe Falk is supposedly putting together a car, but this one is not for Winston Cup. The latest effort is for his son Jeff Falk, who will make his ARCA debut at Kentucky Speedway in May. And if things work out, they will try another debut for Jeff in a Busch race at Richmond (fall race?)(Victory Lane Online)(3-30-2001)

  • Another Allison UPDATE: Robbie Allison, son of Davey and Liz Allison, is slated to make his racing debut March 30 in the Bandolero division at Twin Fountains Raceway Park in Shelbyville, Tenn. Robbie was just a few weeks shy of his second birthday when father Davey died July 13, 1993.(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to see online)(3-29-2001)
    UPDATE: been told that Allison will be driving in a new car developed by Pro Chassis called "Jr Racing League" not a Bandolero(3-30-2001)

  • Musgrave back in Cup? hearing Ted Musgrave, currently running the full 2001 CTS season for Ultra Motorsports will run a Ddoge in some selected races during the year as a teammate to #7 Mike Wallace in Winston Cup, Wallace will supposedly stay in a Ford but the #7 could switch to a Dodge in 2002(3-29-2001)

  • #32 to look different at Texas: The familiar orange #32 Tide Ford has undergone a minor facelift for the Cup race at Texas, courtesy of regional grocery chain Albertsons. Albertsons has joined the Tide team as a race sponsor for the popular Texas Winston Cup event, adding their blue and white logo to the rear "TV panel" of the Tide Ford for race weekend(PPI Motorsports Site), no images seen yet(3-29-2001)

  • Nadeau hits the Dirt: Jerry Nadeau, driver of the #25 UAW/Delphi Chevy, tested a big-block DIRT modified at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway in preparation for the April 7 Eckerd 100 Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series event. Driving a car owned by Hendrick Motorsports team members and former DIRT modified mechanics Charlie Langenstein and Ray “Rizzo” Schepler, Nadeau tested for nearly three hours Monday night on the four-tenths-mile clay oval. It was the first time in more than 10 years that the 30-year-old Danbury, Conn., driver had been on a dirt track. Langenstein, who has over 200 DIRT modified victories on his résumé as a crew chief, was pleased with the results of the team’s initial outing. The team plans to run four or five DIRT races this season beginning with the April 7 Eckerd 100. Nadeau had a literal army of support as several members of his UAW-Delphi Winston Cup team, including crew chief Tony Furr, were on hand. Former dirt late model driver Rodney Combs and Tony Hunt, an open-wheel racer who will drive a pavement sprint car co-owned by Nadeau and Tom Cotter later this season, were also in attendance.(LMS PR)(3-29-2001)

  • More NASCAR Personnel News: Tom Deery is relaxing at his Florida home this week after resigning Monday as a NASCAR vice president. The former Rockford Speedway(IL) general manager said he reached an impasse with top NASCAR management and decided to resign.(See full story at the Rockford Register) AND am hearing that NASCAR is looking to upgrade its public relations effort as well in the form of two high-level media relations experts. As stated in a recent issue of PR Week, which is a public relations trade magazine, NASCAR has hired a New York City search firm, Marshall Consultants, to help fill these spots. The Marshall Consultants representative in charge of the search, Justin Meyer, was quoted as sayinig "They (NASCAR) are restructuring the (PR) department, designing it to ensure they have first rate coverage of the Winston Cup Series." As an aside, Meyer denied that the hires were connected to the Dale Earnhardt tragedy. Hearing that the former Director of Racing PR for Exide, Chris Dirato, may be a candidate for one of the two positions(3-29-2001)

  • Murry Looking at the Glen and Sears Point: While it's only March and the Winston Cup Series still has many venues to visit before embarking on trips to the road courses at Sears Point and Watkins Glen, Road Racer David Murry has already begun formulating plans to try and grab a ride for both of those races. "I've had one discussion with a prominent Cup owner and hope to speak with several more about those races," said the Atlanta resident. "I'm getting started much earlier this year than I've done in the past. I'm really intent on getting in those races. I'm confident, with the right equipment, I can make some team real happy." Murry, who is competing in the American Le Mans Series with the Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche Team, attempted to land a ride at Watkins Glen last season, but Mother Nature wreaked havoc with his plans. Murry's last foray into Winston Cup racing came at Watkins Glen in 1999 when he drove for an ARCA team out of Cartersville, GA. He got in the show on time, qualifying 31st, and ran as high as eighth in the race, before suffering an oil line problem. He ended up finishing 36th( PR)(3-29-2001)

  • #43 Too Low UPDATE Penalty: John Andretti's second-place finish will stand, but there will be a penalty coming to his #43-Petty Enterprises team because his car was found to be lower than the minimum height requirement for a Winston Cup car in postrace inspection. NASCAR spokesperson Danielle Humphrey said the penalty will likely be announced Monday. Andretti's finish is the best for a Dodge so far this season in the manufacturer's return to Winston Cup racing(That's Racin')(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Greg Steadman for rules violations found in post-race inspection following Sunday's Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. Steadman, crew chief for the No. 43 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $20,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-T in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: "...any car found to be under the specified height requirement after the completion of time trials or the race..."(NASCAR PR)(3-28-2001)

  • #10 Paint: Team Valvoline's Johnny Benson will roll out the special Eagle One Pontiac at Texas Motor Speedway for the Harrah's 500 Sunday. The car features the "Screaming Eagle" design. It will be the first of three consecutive Eagle One cars for the coming weeks' Winston Cup races(Valvoline Racing)(3-28-2001)

  • New #97 Crew Chief: Effective immediately, Ben Leslie has been promoted to crew chief of the #97 Roush Racing Taurus driven by Kurt Busch. Matt Chambers, Busch's crew chief in the Craftsman Truck Series and Winston Cup since the 2000 season, will be assuming another role within Roush Racing. Leslie gained his experience at Roush Racing by working with several of its teams and drivers, including Mark Martin and most recently as car chief for 2000 Rookie-of-the-Year Matt Kenseth(Roush Racing PR) AND NASCAR>com's Buzz is reporting that Chambers could end up back in the CTS series as the crew chief of the #99 truck driven by NCTS rookie Nathan Haseleu.(3-28-2001)

  • New Cup Team? UPDATE: from the USA Today - Phoenix Suns(NBA) forward Rodney Rogers has a need for speed that he hopes to satisfy by becoming a team owner on the NASCAR circuit. Rogers and Barry Dodson, crew chief(and part owner) of the #27-Eel River racing team owned by Jack Birmingham, are seeking sponsors to field a team for next season. Rogers said he needs roughly $15 million to field a team.(USA Today), seems odd as Dodson is already looking for sponsorship for the #27 team, let alone a new team, unless Rogers is going to buy into the #27 team(3-26-2001)
    UPDATE: from a Kenny Wallace chat on the Kenny Wallace Site: "My father, Russ called me and told me about the deal. I laughed so hard because all that amounts to is Rodney, a great friend of Barry's and all it was about is saying he would like a WC team. There is no truth to it and Barry is surprised as much as everyone else. I think one day it would be cool to have Rodney involved with WC because we don't get enough athletes involved in WC(3-28-2001)

  • Billy Ray on the #90: Donlavey Racing will display the image from the cover of Billy Ray Cyrus' latest album, "Southern Rain," on both doors of the Hills Bros Coffee Ford at the Harrah's 500. The decal will be located just behind the familiar #90.(Keystone Marketing)(3-28-2001)

  • Testing at Martinsville UPDATE 3 Speeds: A few teams will be testing at Martinsville Speedway in the new few weeks: March 20-21 – #1-Steve Park, #24-Jeff Gordon, #6-Mark Martin, #97-Kurt Busch, #21-Elliott Sadler. and on March 27-28 – #12-Jeremy Mayfield, #44-Buckshot Jones, #96-Andy Houston and #??Hermie Sadler(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE: Originally there were supposed to be several Winston Cup teams testing today and tomorrow, but rain has just about washed all of that out. Steve Park may or may not test on Wednesday, but won’t know until in the morning. With everyone getting washed out this week, the testing schedule has doubled for next Tuesday and Wednesday. Drivers scheduled to test both days include: #12-Jeremy Mayfield, #44-Buckshot Jones, #96-Andy Houston, #??-Hermie Sadler, #29-Kevin Harvick, #6-Mark Martin, #97-Kurt Busch, #01-Jason Leffler, #10-Johnny Benson, #25-Jerry Nadeau, #24-Jeff Gordon, #27-Kenny Wallace and #21-Elliott Sadler(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-21-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Johnny Benson's #10 Valvoline Pontiac will test at Martinsville Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Texas on Thursday. #21-Elliott Sadler tested at Martinsville on Monday(3-26-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Fifteen teams tested at Martinsville Tuesday. Kevin Harvick had the best time Tuesday, posting a 93.742mph lap in the Goodwrench Chevy. Kenny Wallace was next best at 93.372mph in the unsponsored #27 Eel River Pontiac. #24-Jeff Gordon was 3rd at 93.189mph, 4th was #21-Elliott Sadler at 93.051 and fifth was #1-Steve Park at 92.960mph(from ESPN2's RPM2Night and Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-28-2001)

  • Mercedes Benz In NASCAR:? No - April Fools: Been getting email about a story in a recent Mercedes Benz Newsletter(called The Star), a story talking about Mercedes Benz competing for three years starting with 2002 starting at the Daytona 500 with an announcment at the end of April. Been told that this is an April Fools joke(3-27-2001)

  • Junie switches engines: Hills Bros Coffee Racing Team owner Junie Donlavey has announced a decision to switch to Robert Yates Racing engines for the remainder of the season. Donlavey Racing fields the #90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford driven by veteran Hut Stricklin. The team will use Yates horsepower and engineering for the remainder of the 2001 season. "We went through this engine change with the understanding that Mark Smith with Tri-star motors was doing an outstanding job," Donlavey said. "We have an obligation to be on the track and we decided to try something new so we can represent Hills Bros Coffee in the manner in which they expect." Yates Racing engines are currently run by eight teams in the Winston Cup Series and have a win, seven top-five finishes and two poles in the 2001 season. Donlavey Racing will begin using Robert Yates Racing engines this week at Texas Motor Speedway for the Harrah's 500.(Keystone Marketing)(3-27-2001)

  • California Testing: Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 Citgo Supergard Ford, along with Shawna Robinson, the first woman to attempt to compete in a Winston Cup race in 12 years, will be at the speedway April 2nd and 3rd to test. The two-day test session will serve as a tune-up for the drivers heading into the NAPA AUTO PARTS 500 weekend, April 27-29.(California Speedway PR)(3-27-2001)

  • Questions on the Earnhardt probe: More than a month after Dale Earnhardt died at Daytona, the detective leading the death investigation knows little more about how Earnhardt died than he did Feb. 18. From Day 1 of the case, according to the lead investigator, Robert Walker, Daytona Beach police have abandoned previous procedures and blocked detectives from making routine inquiries about the death of Earnhardt. Some points noted in the story: Walke was ordered by a supervisor on the night Earnhardt died not to attend the driver's autopsy or to inspect and photograph the racer's wrecked car; Earnhardt's helmet and racing suit went to his family and have never been examined by police or the Volusia County Medical Examiner's Office; NASCAR never told Walker about the broken seat belt it later blamed for Earnhardt's fatal head injury; Police have done more thorough investigations of previous racing deaths at Daytona. For example, after the 1994 death of racer Rodney Orr at Daytona, Walker attended the autopsy and examined the car. See Full story(very long) at That's Racin': Earnhardt investigation was unusual, detective says(3-27-2001)

  • TV Ratings at Bristol: For the sixth consecutive week, FOX Sports scored a solid overnight rating for its coverage Sunday of the Winston Cup race from Bristol. The 5.3 overnight rating, 12 share was a tenth of a point higher than last week's Darlington overnight, which jumped to a 6.1 final national rating.(SpeedVision)(3-27-2001)

  • Labonte Honor Postponed: Corpus Christi City Council members gave the green flag on Tuesday to renaming Nueces River Park after NASCAR drivers Terry and Bobby Labonte. The unanimous vote to change the name to Terry and Bobby Labonte Park was great news for NASCAR fans like David Gibson, a state construction inspector. In a time when news about athletes often is negative, such as drug abuse or domestic violence, it is great to recognize role models like the Labontes, said Gibson, 56.(Caller-Times 2/28) AND A ceremony to rename Nueces River Park in Corpus Christi, TX after NASCAR drivers Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte has been delayed until June, officials said. The Labonte Brothers Special Recognition Committee initially wanted to rename the park to coincide with the April 1 NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth(Caller-Times 3/18)(3-27-2001)

  • Bass to Expand: Five months after expanding his Charlotte-based gallery, Sam Bass is once again expanding -- this time to Texas. Members of The Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway will now have the opportunity to experience the artwork of Sam Bass, NASCAR's premier artist, first-hand as the new Sam Bass Gallery is set for it's grand opening on Saturday, March 31. The gallery, located on the 8th floor of The Speedway Club(Catchfence)(3-27-2001)

  • Stewart/Gordon UPDATE Stewart Penalized: ....#24-Jeff Gordon had been working #20-Tony Stewart from behind for the fourth-place position for several laps, but entering Turn 3 on the last lap, he slid all the way down to the apron to try to get past Stewart. As Gordon tried to pass, he and Stewart collided and Stewart spun out. Gordon was able to hang on and finish fourth. Stewart ended up 25th. But it wasn't over. Stewart came back around and drove onto pitroad and hit Gordon's car causing Gordon's car to spin. The drivers, their crew chiefs and team owners were all called to the NASCAR hauler following the race to discuss the incident. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR's director of operations, said penalties may be forthcoming and would likely be announced by Tuesday.(That's Racin' and see a story at Buzz)(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Tony Stewart for intentionally running into the car driven by Jeff Gordon during the cool-down lap of the Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. Stewart, driver of the #20 team, was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 29th. Stewart was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: "...actions deemed by NASCAR Officials as detrimental to stock car racing..."(NASCAR PR). Been asked too much so here it is: What does probation mean? "Probation may be for a specified time period to review the conduct of a member to determine whether a more severe penalty is warranted". In other words, stay out of trouble. Probation is NOT a suspension.(3-26-2001)

  • Drivers skipping Talladega?? UPDATE 2: in part from the Winston Salem Journal - ...But the big story of the day was furious driver reaction to NASCAR's continued inaction on Talladega rules. Bobby Labonte, the Winston Cup champ, said some sponsors have told their drivers if they want to skip the April Talladega 500 they'll support that decision. See the comments at the :Winston Salem Journal in the middle of the article(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: ..Everyone is scared to death over the Talladega race right now. There is even talk, not that anything is likely to materialize, of sponsors telling their teams they will allow them to skip the race, or of some drivers talking about running only a token lap and then parking their cars in protest. They aren’t telling NASCAR that. They’re afraid their car won’t get through inspection, or that NASCAR will start hitting them with arbitrary requirements that make it impossible for them to be competitive.(Gaston Gazette) AND see a story at the Stock Car Reporter: Talledega?(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE 2: No one seriously expects any of the stars to pass up the April 22 race(at Talladega). But the fact that sponsors are getting into the safety debate is significant, because NASCAR executives who might dismiss complaints by drivers won't easily write off worries by the companies whose advertising dollars keep this sport running.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-26-2001)

  • New Changer for the #10 UPDATE: Two team members who changed the rear tires on Johnny Benson's #10 car last year will be back in that role this weekend. They will replace two crewmen who've moved to the crew of #36 Ken Schrader, Benson's teammate(That's Racin'), AND Two pit crew members for the #10 MBV Motorsports Pontiac have been relieved of their duties at the track. Those two individuals, which were unnamed, still hold positions at the team's shop, but were replaced at the track by two former pit crew members of the #36( Buzz) (3-24-2001)
    UPDATE: The rear tire changer and carrier on the #10 Valvoline Pontiac at Darlington served as the rear tire changer and carrier for the #36 car at Bristol. On the #10 car at Bristol, Gary Putnam, car chief, served as rear tire carrier and Carroll Luft, general mechanic, served as tire changer. Both Putnam and Luft worked on the rear tires the entire 2000 season on the #10 car. Nobody was fired or lost their job on the #10 team(Team PR)(3-26-2001)

  • New Belts for Labonte UPDATEs: #18-Bobby Labonte will use a different seat belt system in today’s Food City 500. Labonte will use a system designed and manufactured by the European company Willans( — making him the first driver in recent memory to use a restraint device not manufactured by Bill Simpson and Simpson Racing(Kingsport Times News)(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: also been told that Terry Labonte, Michael Waltrip and Steve Park also use Willans belts, not Simpson AND Bobby Labonte used belts from a different manufacturer Sunday. Labonte, who had been using Simpson products, had belts from Willans in his car. The company is in England and provides seat belts for some Formula One teams. Crew chief Jimmy Makar said that Terry Labonte has been using the belts for about two years and the team began to look into those belts. Makar says that teammate Tony Stewart used seat belts from that manufacturer when Stewart drove in the Indy Racing League. Makar said Stewart's car would be outfitted with those belts soon(Roanoke Times)(3-26-2001)

  • Lepage stays thru Texas and helps Test: team owner Larry McClure quote: " Kevin was new driver, we had new pit guys. They all communicated well. That helped us. Everything was really smooth. We changed the car every pit stop. His first performance with us was admirable. That is what we needed. We needed a settling factor as much as anything. We will go to Martinsville and test with Kevin this week then we will move on to Texas. We will talk next week. One race does not say everything. This team just went through something that I do not want to go through again. I will make sure the right decision is made this time for Morgan-McClure."(Morgan-McClure PR)(3-26-2001)

  • New Series Rumor...again UPDATE: CBS, the first network to carry a Winston Cup race live from start to finish, a daring decision back in 1979, has been approached or will soon be approached about a proposed new stock-car racing series, according to NASCAR sources. And various stock-car teams have been approached to gauge interest in such a venture, according to team owners. Winston Cup team owners have been watching Fox's on-camera handling of car sponsors with an increasingly skeptical eye, some noting that Fox's coverage at times appears to be avoiding or downplaying teams whose sponsors haven't bought into the big TV advertising package(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2001)
    UPDATE: Last weekend there were reports that CBS might be interested in counter-programming a new racing series. Now ABC executives have confirmed that such talks have taken place at their network. ABC and CBS have invested some 20 years in Winston Cup coverage, but they lost out in bidding to Fox and NBC for the next six years. When asked about the possibility of a package of counter-programming to NASCAR on Fox and NBC, Mark Quenzel, the senior vice president of programming for ESPN, said: "I know it's been brought up once or twice in the last year, that various people have discussed it. But my opinion is that this isn't football or baseball, where you have fields all over the country. There aren't that many race tracks, and the ones you do have are pretty much tied up. It would be very tough to start a competitive series. That is an expensive sport to run.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-26-2001)

  • News rules for the Winston UPDATE: Drivers this year will make a four-tire change instead of a two-tire change on their pit stop at the start of qualifying for The Winston all-star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 19. Teams were allowed to pit anytime during a three-lap qualifying run until last year, when the stop was moved to the beginning of the run. This year, teams will make a four-tire change, then complete a three-lap run with total time being used to determine starting order for the event. The Winston will again be run in segments of 30, 30 and 10 laps, with only green-flag laps counting. After the first segment, as few as the top six and as many as the top 12 positions will be inverted using a process that will be announced later. Drivers not qualified for The Winston can earn a spot in the event by winning the 30-lap Winston Open or the 16-lap No Bull Sprint that precede the main event on May 19. There will be no 25-lap qualifying races for the Open or the Sprint this year - a two-lap qualifying run will be used instead. If there are no more first-time winners between now and May 19, John Andretti and Joe Nemechek will be in The Winston. If there is a first-time winner, however, both Andretti and Nemechek would be knocked out(That's Racin')(3-24-2001)
    UPDATE: it happened - Elliott Sadler's victory earned him a spot in The Winston and knocked John Andretti and Joe Nemechek out of the field(unless they can win by Richmond or Win the WInston Open of No Bull Sprint).
    see my 2001 The Winston page for drivers eligible and the rules(3-26-2001)

  • #27 almost had a full sponsor: Barry Dodson was close to gaining sponsorship for the #27Eel River racing team driven by Kenny Wallace, but NASCAR turned down the liquor company that was offering to pay the bill for the season. Crown Royal, with its sponsorship of several fishing tournaments, was barred by the sanctioning body. Beer but not liquor sponsorships are allowed in NASCAR(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-26-2001)

  • Sad News: Legendary stock car driver Kenny Shoemaker died at his home in Albany, NY, on Thursday after a long battle with heart disease. He was 71. Shoemaker, known as "The Shoe," thrilled generations of racing fans with his "take no prisoners" driving style on both dirt and asphalt. He raced from 1948 to 1978-a period that saw the sport grow from infancy to its present form. He won a heat race on opening night at Fonda in 1953, and developed a love affair with the Montgomery County oval that transcended three decades and included 140 heat wins, 54 feature wins, and the 1958 Fonda track championship. He raced regularly at Fonda, Rochester, Victoria, Stafford Springs, Utica-Rome, Malta, Plattsburg, and Lebanon Valley. He drove the high banks of Daytona in the first modified race held on the super speedway in 1958, and again in 1961. Funeral services are at 10:00 AM Tuesday from the DeMarco and Stone Funeral Home, Heldeberg Avenue, Rotterdam, NY. Visiting hours are on Monday from 5:00 - 8:00 PM. Contributions may be made to the Community Hospice of Albany County, 445 New Karner Rd., Albany, NY 12205, or the New York State Stock Car Association, P.O. Box 1136, Clifton Park, NY 12065(Vintage Modifieds)(3-26-2001)

    see the Mar 19-25, 2001 Archived News Page

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