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PAST NEWS APR 2-8, 2001

  • Pruett Wins: Scott Pruett took the overall checkered flag at the 25th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race from a field of celebrity and professional drivers -- just edging out last year's winner Josh Brolin. Toyota dealer Tom Rudnai barely won the celebrity category over Olympic Gold medalist swimmer Dara Torres -- the best-ever female finisher in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race and the pole position winner. As part of the event, Toyota raised over $200,000 for "Racing for Kids," a national fund-raising program to benefit children's hospitals in Long Beach, Los Angeles and Orange counties through its involvement with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The 10-lap race, held on the 1.99-mile Champ Car track, features a field of 17 drivers and will be broadcast in its entirety on ESPN, Saturday, April 28 at 3:00pm/et.(Business Wire/SpeedVision)(4-8-2001)

  • Nadeau, Stewart and Blaney hit the dirt at Lowes UPDATE: Jerry Nadeau plans to drive a new DIRT modified owned and prepared by Hendrick Motorsports employees and veteran DIRT mechanics Charlie Langenstein and Ray “Rizzo” Schepler in the April 7 Eckerd 100 Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Eckerd 100 is scheduled to be Nadeau’s inaugural race in a big-block DIRT modified and his first dirt-track appearance in nearly a decade. The Eckerd 100 is slated to be the first of three to five races Nadeau runs this season in the #2L R&C Motorsports Ventures DIRT modified. Tony Stewart is slated to drive the #20 GE Sealants & Adhesives-Extreme Silicone Tech/TEO entry owned by long-time DIRT Motorsports supporter Brian Goewey while Dave Blaney, a veteran of the DIRT Modified ranks whose father still campaigns a similar car in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, is entered in a #74 TEO machine also owned by Goewey. The Eckerd 100 will be run in conjunction with the April 5-8 Food Lion AutoFair, one of the nation’s largest car shows and automotive swap meets. More info at the LMS Site(4-5-2001)
    UPDATE: 10,846 fans cheered during the inaugural Eckerd 100 Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series event Saturday night at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Steve “The Hurricane” Paine of Waterloo, N.Y., and Brett “The Jet” Hearn of Sussex, N.J., shared the victory podium as the New York-based DIRT Motorsports organization brought its unique brand of modified stock car racing to the Carolinas for the first time. Both Paine and Hearn took home $5,000 for their victories. Paine started fifth in the first 50-lap event and took the lead on lap 20 en route to his second straight Super DIRT Series feature victory of the season. Hearn finished second in the first race with Billy Decker third, Alan Johnson fourth and Pat Ward fifth. Nadeau finished 31st in the 1st feature, Stewart finished 14th in the 1st and 13th in the 2nd feature and Blaney finished 35th in the 1st and 23rd in the 2nd feature(LMS Site) and see a story and pictures at Speed Illustrated(4-8-2001)

  • Another Driver Death: The latest NASCAR driver to die of a basilar skull fracture was eulogized here with about 60 people present. He was no Dale Earnhardt. Just an obscure rookie driver who died the same way as the NASCAR legend. Michael Roberts was a 50-year-old single parent who left behind a heartbroken daughter, Taylor -- two years younger than Earnhardt's 12-year-old daughter, Taylor. Roberts, who was memorialized Friday, died March 24 at I-44 Speedway near Lebanon, Mo. He was driving 80 mph on the 3/8-mile track -- 100 mph slower than Earnhardt was when he hit a concrete wall on the last lap of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. Roberts was the fifth NASCAR driver in 11 months to die of injuries caused by violent head movement and the fourth to die of basilar skull fracture.(see full story at the Orlando Sentinel)(4-8-2001)

  • New Team: #13-Hermie Sadler failed to qualify for the Virginia 500 in his driving debut for the Virginia Lottery-sponsored team yesterday. Sadler owns the team and is housing the Winston Cup cars in Lyndon Amick's Busch Grand National shop. Amick's team is helping to work on and pit Sadler's car. Sadler bought a couple of Chevrolets from the now-defunct Larry Hedrick team and is building some cars of his own. Tony Lambert, Mark Martin's former Grand National crew chief, is working as crew chief..(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    AND All revved up for it's first-ever NASCAR Winston Cup Promotion, the Virginia Lottery is pleased to announce that Virginia native veteran driver Hermie Sadler will be behind the wheel of the new Lotto Virginia car for four Winston Cup Series races in Virginia this year. "Racing for the Virginia Lottery will give me a chance to promote the good work the Lottery doesin supporting education and will also giv me a chance to have Lady Luck on my side during the races," said Sadler. "Thirteen is the lucky number for the Virginia Lottery this year," said Penelope Kyle, executive director of the Virginia Lottery. "That's the number of the Lotto Virginia race car and the Virginia Lottery is celebrating our 13th lucky year of giving people a chance to have fun while trying to win prizes and giving the Lottery the opportunity to support education."(Sadler Fan Club Site)(4-7-2001)

  • Park to run NHIS: Steve Park, who drives the #1 Pennzoil Chevy in the Cup series, will enter the CVS/pharmacy 200 Presented by Bayer BGN race on May 12 at New Hampshire International Speedway. It is an off weekend for Winston Cup(NHIS PR)(4-7-2001)

  • Hills Bros to the #27? Rumor had it Friday that Hills Bros. Coffee, primary sponsor of Junie Donlavey's #90 Ford, was contemplating a full-time move to the #27 Eel River Pontiac. Hills Bros. sponsored the #27 at Las Vegas(NASCAR Buzz)(4-6-2001)

  • Interesting UPDATE: In the past four Winston Cup seasons, the top 10 in points after seven races has provided a good indication of which drivers will be in the top 10 at season's end - 33 of 40 drivers in the final top 10s were there seven races into the season: see the chart at That's Racin': Signs of things to come?
    UPDATE: and an addition to the story: Others in early season points peril by David Poole(4-6-2001)

  • Harvick Scheme: #29-Kevin Harvick will run an AOL/Goodwrench painr scheme at the Winston. See a diecast image on my Paint Scheme Gallery(4-6-2001)

  • #75 News: Darwin Oordt, owner of the #75 Ford which has not raced in 2001 says, ''Right now we're at a standstill,'' in reference to his search for a sponsor for his idle #75 Winston Cup car. For the first time, Oordt admitted he may not make it in NASCAR's big league. ''We're looking at all of our options,'' he said. ''Butch Mock [from whom Oordt bought the team two years ago] may get back in it. Oordt said recently printed reports that he might team up with driver Geoffrey Bodine were inaccurate. ''Geoffrey and I talked, as I've talked with a lot of people, but that's all there was to it,'' he said. Oordt hoped to put together a deal to get his car back on track by the third race at Las Vegas, but that also failed to develop. His aim now is to find a sponsor for the second half of the season and return to the circuit at the July Daytona Pepsi 400. So far, nothing has turned up.(in part from the Tennessean)(4-6-2001)

  • Lepage in thru Talladega: Kevin Lepage has been granted another week as driver of the #4 Kodak Chevy for McClure-McClure Motorsports and will stay in the car at least through the April 22 race at Talladega. Lepage was notified of owner Larry McClure's decision this week(That's Racin')(4-6-2001)

  • Dyno's UPDATE - some numbers: The top six cars in Sunday's race were tested on a chassis dynamometer after the race by NASCAR. The dyno measures horsepower to the rear wheels. The cars tested were the Dale Jarrett(#88) and Kurt Busch(#97) Fords, the Steve Park(#1) and Jeff Gordon(#24) Chevys, Johnny Benson's (#10) Pontiac and Dave Blaney's (#93) Dodge(That's Racin')(4-1-2001)
    UPDATE - some numbers: According to results from NASCAR's chassis dyno tests after Sunday's Harrah's 500 at Texas, Robert Yates had by far the most powerful engine. Yates' edge(the #88 was tested) over the two Chevrolets tested, #1-Steve Park's and #24-Jeff Gordon's, wasn't that significant, less than 10 horsepower. But Yates' edge over the two Jack Roush engines tested, in #97-Kurt Busch's third-place car, and #6-Mark Martin's eighth-place car, was considerable. According to NASCAR sources, Dale Jarrett had a peak horsepower advantage of 38 horsepower over Busch and 52 horsepower over Martin. And the Dodge engine from #93-Dave Blaney's car, though pulling more horsepower than either Roush motor, wasn't as strong as either Chevrolet motor or Yates' motor(Winston Salem Journal)(4-6-2001)

  • Mark Martin's Speedway has an accident UPDATE 2: James Neaves, president of the New Smyrna Quarter Midget Racing Association, is in critical but stable condition with head injuries in the intensive care unit at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, a hospital spokeswoman said. The 35-year-old Spruce Creek Fly-In resident was injured during a caution lap when a slow moving car driven by a 6-year-old Deltona boy hit him from behind. The impact at the ankles threw Neaves in the air and he landed on his head, a Sheriff's Office report said. Robert Hart, owner of New Smyrna Speedway where the midget track is located, said it was an unfortunate incident. There was no ambulance on site nor an emergency medical technician on duty during the races. The Little New Smyrna Speedway -- geared toward children between the ages of 5 and 15 -- officially opened during Speed Weeks in February. Founder and Winston Cup driver Mark Martin, Neaves and Dye worked nearly a year to get the track operational for area kids to learn about competitive racing at a young age. Benny Ertel, spokesman for Martin, said the NASCAR driver was upset about the news and rushed to the hospital to be with Neaves' family late Sunday night when he returned from the race at Texas Motor Speedway. Martin was unavailable for comment Monday.(see full story at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE: have heard that James Neaves is doing better, nothing official
    UPDATE 2: The youth auto racing official injured at New Smyrna Speedway Sunday has been upgraded to serious condition, a Halifax Medical Center spokeswoman said Thursday. James Neaves, 35, was thrown into the air after being struck from behind by a 6-year-old Deltona boy during a caution lap. The impact from the car, which weighs about 235 pounds, threw Neaves onto the asphalt track, causing severe head injuries. Neaves is president of the newly formed New Smyrna Quarter Midget Racing Association, which built a track in the infield of the speedway. He had just finished fixing a section of the low wooden wall following an accident during the practice session when he was struck. He was transported by helicopter to the hospital's intensive care unit where he had remained in critical condition until Thursday morning(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-6-2001)

  • Earnhardt Honor at Talladega: The late Dale Earnhardt will be honored with the Governor's Award for 2001 by the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The award will be presented to members of the Earnhardt family as part of the induction ceremony on April 19 in Talladega. Past recipients of the award include Bill France, Jr., Tony George, Robert Penske and T. Wayne Robertson. The award is presented to ''an individual or group that has made significant contributions to the growth of motorsports.'' Earnhardt, who died in a crash in the February Daytona 500, won his 76th and final race at Talladega Superspeedway last October. He is Talladega's all-time winner, with 10 victories in Winston Cup, one in Busch and three in IROC. Earnhardt's long-time friend, Neil Bonnett, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with Jimmy Bryan, Mike Hailwood and Fred Offenhauser.(Tennessean)(4-6-2001)

  • #14 Tests: Ron Hornaday and the #14 Conseco Pontiac tested at Greensville-Pickens Speedway on Wednesday in preparation for Martinsville this weekend(Garagepass)(4-6-2001)

  • #8 Special Paint? UPDATE 3: hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr will have a special Ducks Unlimited paint scheme at the Winston with an announcement at Talladega in April. Also hear Earnhardt Jr will also run a All-Star Baseball scheme sometime in the summer, possibly at the Pepsi 400 in July(3-8-2001)
    UPDATE: sorry folks, been 'asked' by Action Performance to remove the image and will honor that request, do not email asking for me to send the image, I won't, sorry. The car is white, with red lettering, the All-Star or baseball was blacked out. Will be announced at Texas on March 31st (3-16-2001)
    UPDATE 2: the Ducks Unlimited car will be run at Charlotte in October, the Baseball scheme at The Winston and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE 3: been told by Action that the Duck Unlimited scheme has been canceled for 2001(4-5-2001)

  • DW Statue: Kentucky Motor Speedway and Tide will dedicate a life-size bronze statue of Darrell Waltrip and walkway at the track's Fan Center June 16, prior to its inaugural Busch Series event. The statue depicts Waltrip after he won the 1989 Daytona 500. Set on a 4-foot solid granite base, the statue weighs more than 8,000 pounds. Surrounding the statue will be the Darrell Waltrip Memorial Walkway, a park-like setting linking the Fan Center to the monument. Country music entertainer Brad Paisley will also stage a pre-race concert(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to view online)(4-5-2001)

  • No Split Advertising: Because of advertisers' concerns that it distracted viewers, NBC may not carry continuous coverage during commercial breaks of NASCAR races as it did during two events last season, network spokesman Mike McCarley told Bloomberg News. The network, which begins its coverage of NASCAR in July, had planned to set aside 25 percent of the screen to advertisers who agreed(St Petersburg Times)(4-5-2001)

  • Good for him: and another Web company have pulled advertisements from the DeLand-based(Florida) Web site that posted autopsy photographs of two dead NASCAR drivers. The companies said they wanted nothing to do with the Web site, which has been virtually inaccessible all week. Operator Michael Uribe said Wednesday that visitors overloaded the site trying to see pictures of Rodney Orr and Neil Bonnett, who died at the Daytona International Speedway in 1994. Uribe continues to seek access to recent autopsy photos of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt, although he refuses to say whether he would post those pictures online. A judge in Volusia County has scheduled a hearing today on whether Uribe and the University of Florida’s student newspaper can argue for an opportunity to see the images(Orlando Sentinel)(4-5-2001)

  • No HANS for Burton: Jeff Burton is wearing the Hutcherson Device (note: thought it was the Hutchens device), an alternative to the HANS (head and neck safety) Device that is supposed to prevent the neck-whipping action that may have caused Dale Earnhardt's death. "The reason I like it is because in a rearward impact, there is absolutely zero problem with the device causing some sort of issue that we don't know about," Burton said. "When I look at the HANS Device, with the parameters that we have to work in, the HANS is crammed into the car, crammed up against the driver's head and crammed against the seat." The HANS Device was designed for open-wheel racing and has been adapted for stock cars, although not to a universally acceptable degree. Some drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., are not wearing any head-and-neck restraint system. Burton concedes that the Hutcherson Device is not as effective in a head-on impact as the HANS, but he says that at a 30-degree impact, it works just as well.(Dallas Morning News)(4-5-2001)

  • Testing UPDATE: hearing quite a few Winston Cup teams are testing at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in SC this week. It is similar to Martinsville. Hear #8-Dale Earnahrdt Jr, #11-Brett Bodine and #14-Ron Hornaday are among the drivers testing. #40-Sterling Marlin will test there on Wednesday. Also hear a few CTS teams are testing there this week as well(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the following teams tested at Greenville Pickens on Wednesday - #01-Jason Leffler; #7-Mike Wallace; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.; #15-Michael Waltrip; #26-Jimmy Spencer; #33-Joe Nemechek; #40-Sterling Marlin; #55-Bobby Hamilton; and #92-Stacy Compton(4-5-2001)

  • Wind Tunnel: hearing that the #11 Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Ford of Brett Bodine is testing at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(4-5-2001)

  • Robinson and Burton test California: #99-Jeff Burton tested at California Speedway Monday and Tuesday of this week in preparation for the NAPA 500 on April 29 in Fontana, Calif. They not only became familiarized with the track, but they learned a number of things that will be helpful at other NASCAR tracks. "This was probably the most effective test we've ever had," Burton said. "We went there with some goals, and we achieved all of them while we were there. We used this test for many things, one being to learn more about the tire. I am happy with the results we got, and I feel more comfortable with the tire." Burton spent the first day of the test working on his qualifying setup, while the second day of the test was spent specifically on his race setup. The team tested its Atlanta car that competed in the Cracker Barrel 500 last month along with the Atlanta car that raced last season. #84-Shawna Robinson was the only other driver to participate in the two-day test with Burton at California Speedway.(Roush Racing)
    AND Some quotes from Shawna Robinson regarding her test at California Speedway and her desire to be the first woman in 12 years to compete in a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. Robinson tested at the speedway in preparation for the upcoming NAPA AUTO PARTS 500. (On how her test is going): "The car is getting better and better, but not where it needs to be. We are making progress; small gains, but gains nonetheless. Every time I think I have the track figured out, we change something in the car and the comfort level goes down. One run could be fine and the next could be completely different. Basically, we've been concentrating on short runs and not focusing on time right now. This is my first experience with a Cup car, and my first time at this track. I have a pretty good comfort level at Michigan and this place is similar, but this place is really fast. Getting into the corners is very important here. We are going to stay tomorrow and do some more work. We need it. We need every minute of track time we can get." and (On her desire to compete in the Winston Cup Series): "My goal is to drive full-time next season. That is what it takes to be successful. I would not be at this level if I didn't think I deserved to be. My time is now. I have a lot of experience, but things have to be done right. That is why we are testing - to get a good feel for the car and get the team working together and on the same page. I feel I'm in my place when I'm in a race car. It is what I'm supposed to be doing."(California Speedway PR)(4-5-2001)

  • Alabama NASCAR License Plates: On Wednesday, the Alabama Legislature's License Plate Oversight Committee approved a plan to decorate vehicle tags with the names, numbers and racing colors of some of the top stock car drivers. Committee Chairman Gerald Dial, D-Lineville, said the order forms should be available in county tag offices in about a month. Dial said motorists who want the tags will have to pay a $50 fee with the order form. Once the state pre-sells 1,000 tags for all racing drivers combined, the state Department of Corrections will begin production, and the tags will be mailed to the motorists who placed orders. West Virginia and New York already have license plates with racing drivers, and South Carolina and Indiana are considering them. The Alabama tags will feature drivers who have signed licensing agreements with Race Plates Marketing, which got the program started in West Virginia. Bob Brant, president of Race Plates Marketing, said agreements have been reached with Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Skinner, Steve Park, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Jerry Nadeua, Terry Labonte, and Michael Waltrip. Discussions are going on with other drivers. Out of the $50 cost of the tax, $3.50 will go to the state and county governments to cover various expenses, and $5 will go to the Penny Trust Fund, which supports children's programs. Of the remaining $41.50, the licensing organization will get 23 percent, the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega 45 percent, and the state Department of Corrections 32 percent.(Alabama Live/AP)(4-5-2001)

  • RCR Doctor: Dr. Jay Golding has worked with Richard Childress Racing since the fall of 1999 and his role continues to evolve. In addition to seeing team members and their families at his practice in Lexington, N.C., he tries to provide some continuity at the track as well. When RCR BGN driver Mike Dillon was involved in a wreck at Bristol, Dr. Golding was there to help when he reached the infield medical center. Golding was able to order the tests he felt Dillon should undergo, allowing him to get in and out of the hospital correctly. And while accidents would seem to be the biggest reason to have a team physician, owner Richard Childress says Golding is invaluable for a number of reasons. "It's good to have someone in an organization like ours who can help you with everything from the flu shots to whatever," Childress said. "He's been a tremendous help. He's been in Daytona with us (when Dale Earnhardt was killed) and I think he helped us all (deal with that). And he can head off a lot of stuff that would cause (crew members) to be out of work." NASCAR does not have a physician that travels the circuit, preferring that local physicians work with the hospitals in that area. Golding says everyone he's encountered has been receptive to his presence and he sees pros and cons to NASCAR having its own doctor.(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to view online)(4-5-2001)

  • Gordon's Glasses: FosterGrant, the nations top manufacturer of popularly priced sunglasses, announced today that it has signed a multi-year endorsement and licensing agreement with 3-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon. As part of the deal, Jeff Gordon will be featured in the latest series of the company's famous "Who's That Behind Those FosterGrants?" ad campaign, scheduled to break in spring of 2002. FosterGrant will also create a special line of FosterGrant sunglasses to be endorsed by Gordon, as well as a collection of sunglasses featuring Gordon's #24 and the famous Dupont #24 car colors(Foster Grant Site)(4-5-2001)

  • goracing news: Action announced it has re-established its online interactive merchandising presence by entering into an agreement with QVC in which QVC will assume the day-to-day operations and related promotion of the Web site as an online motorsports retail store that will market Action Performance die cast and apparel racing merchandise. QVC will also integrate with its weekly prime-time racing collectibles show. Under terms of a 10-year agreement, QVC will rebrand its "For Race Fans Only" show to "For Race Fans Only-as Sponsored by," which will promote the Web site as a 24/7 merchandiser of Action Performance products, as well as other products featured on the show. The rebranding is expected to occur by July 30, 2001. The Web site is expected to be operational no later than Oct. 1, 2001.(Business Wire)(4-5-2001)

  • #7 Crew Chief change? UPDATE: hearing Tim Brewer and the #7 Ultra Motorsports team have parted ways and that Jim Long could be the new crew chief
    UPDATE: Veteran crew chief Jim Long has been named as the new crew chief for the NationsRent, Ultra Motorsports Racing Team. The team fields the #7 Ford Taurus for driver Mike Wallace. The personnel change is effective immediately. In making the announcement, team owner Jim Smith said: "We needed to make a change with our Winston Cup program at Ultra Motorsports, and we needed it to be an immediate change. It was a mutual decision between our former crew chief, Tim Brewer and myself. This NationsRent, Ultra Motorsports team was not running anywhere near its' potential. As a team we set some weekly and monthly goals at the beginning of the season, however we have not been attaining our objectives. This decision was a very difficult one for me to make. I've known and have been close friends with Tim Brewer for close to 30-years. I will still remain as best of friends with Tim." Jim Long has functioned in the role of crew chief for five years. Most recently, he was with the Darwin Ordt owned, #75 Ford racing team. Prior to that he spent two years with Bessey Motorsports. Long was also with the defunct Stavola Brothers racing organization. He has two Winston Cup wins to his credit with driver Ricky Rudd.(Ultra Motorsports PR)(4-4-2001)

  • Change at the #14? UPDATE: hearing that crew chief Philippe Lopez and the #14 AJ Foyt Racing team have parted ways?(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE: Phillipe Lopez, crew chief the past year for A.J. Foyt's #14, has left the team, and Fred Graves will handle the duties until a permanent replacement is named. Foyt hired Ron Hornaday as driver in December, and Graves, father of Ganassi/SABCO team manager Andy Graves, drafted aboard with Hornaday. Graves and Hornaday had worked together successfully on Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s championship CTS program. Foyt team manager Tommy LaMance said Wednesday that Lopez had quit Monday afternoon, and he said long-term plans were not yet clear. Lopez's plans are not known(SpeedVision)(4-4-2001)

  • Wind Tunnel stuff: hearing the #9 and #19 Dodge teams are testing at the Lockheed wind tunnel in Maretta, GA today and that the #96 McDonald's Ford was at the wind tunnel in Ottawa, Canada on Monday or Tuesday(4-4-2001)

  • Pemberton Back: #2 Crew chief Robin Pemberton was at the shop Monday after missing his first race last weekend since joining Rusty Wallace 's team at the end of the 1994 season. Pemberton skipped the race at Texas because of fatigue. He plans to be at Martinsville this weekend(Roanoke Times)(4-4-2001)

  • DW to race in England: Darrell Waltrip has agreed to drive in an exhibition race this summer in England. He'll be driving the vintage 1985 #11 Budweiser Chevrolet in which he won the third of his three Winston Cup championships. Waltrip will race during the July 6-8 Goodwood Festival of Speed on a road course on an estate outside of London.(Tennessean)(4-4-2001)

  • Sad News UPDATE 2: On lap 34 of the 40-lap Late Model season opener at Rockford Speedway, (Rockford, IL) Al Papini was involved in a one-car crash. Reports say Papini's car suddenly turned left, went through the infield area and impacted the outside wall between turns one and two, vaulting out of the speedway. Rescue crews extricated Papini and he was airlifted to Rockford Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival from severe chest injuries.(Speedway Illustrated). Thoughts are with Papini's family and friends(4-2-2001)
    Services for Al Papini III, 41, of Machesney Park, IL will be held Friday, April 6 in Saint Bridget Catholic Church, 600 Clifford Avenue in Loves Park, IL. The Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11am. with Monsignor John Mitchell officiating. Visitation will be held Thursday, April 5 from 4 to 78 p.m. in Delehanty Funeral home Ltd., 401 River Lane, Loves Park and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 6, in the church. A celebration of Al's life will be held at the Forest Hills Lodge, adjacent to Rockford Speedway, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Al Papini Memorial at any Rockford area NorthWest Bank or mail to PO Box 1060, Rockford, Illinois 61105-1060(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Late-Model driver Al Papini III died from a heart attack before hitting the wall Sunday at Rockford Speedway, according to a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday(Rockford Register)(4-4-2001)

  • Eagle One: Johnny Benson is flying the black-and-white colors of Eagle One car care products three times in April. The usual blue-and-white #10 Valvoline Pontiac first took on the different look last Sunday in Texas, and that will continue in this Sunday's (April 8) race at Martinsville, and again April 29 in the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway(Valvoline PR)(4-4-2001)

  • Flagman ok: hearing that NASCAR Winston Cup Chief Starter Jimmy Howell was absent from the flagstand on Sunday at Texas as he spent Friday and Saturday in the hospital having test run. BGN Chief Starter Matt Abernathy took Howell's place on Sunday. Howell plans to be back in the stand Sunday at Martinsville. Howell and Rodney Wise rotate week to week, so it was Wise's turn to flag on Sunday(4-3-2001)

  • Spiderman? hearing the #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Casey Atwood Dodge's will run a Spiderman (the movie) paint scheme at Charlotte, not sure if it's in May or Oct(4-3-2001)

  • BBBSA and Benson: Johnny Benson's performance in the #10 Valvoline Pontiac, combined with contributions from Valvoline and NASCAR fans, has brought the current total raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters since 1999 to $556,845. Valvoline is donating $5,000 for every Winston Cup race Benson wins, $2,500 for each pole, $1,000 for a top-10 finish, $500 for a top-20 result and $20 per lap Benson leads in this "Caring Hands" program. Valvoline will donate $1 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters if Benson is able to win both the Winston Cup pole and race on the same weekend(Valvoline PR)(4-3-2001)

  • The Winston to Move? UPDATE 2: It is possible, but not likely, that The Winston will move to another track after this year's May 19 running of Winston Cup's all-star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Rick Sanders, president of Sports Marketing Enterprises, the marketing arm of series sponsor R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., said Saturday that discussions are under way about the future of the event. The Winston has been held at the Charlotte track 15 times in the 16-year history of the event. It was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986, the second year of its existence. Sanders said that Winston would prefer having The Winston continue to stand alone on its own racing weekend, rather than be included as part of activities during a regular points event. Another option that is being considered for The Winston, Sanders confirmed, is naming the trophy that goes to the winner of the event the Dale Earnhardt Trophy.(That's Racin')(3-31-2001)
    UPDATE: There is speculation out of North Carolina that The Winston all-star race could move after this year and that it might wind up at Texas Motor Speedway. A contract with Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway runs out after this year. Sponsor R.J. Reynolds can keep the race in Charlotte, where it has been a major success, or make a change. Options include some kind of rotation system or taking it to another track(Dallas Morning News)(4-1-2001)
    UPDATE 2: heard from some readers that Eddie Gossage of Texas Motor Speedway said on local (Texas) radio NewsTalk 820 (WBAP) out of Dallas that the Winston would not be moving to Texas Motor Speedway despite the rumors and that Bruton Smith was not buying Darlington Raceway(4-3-2001)

  • Sad News: Cathy Bodine, Geoffrey Bodine ex-wife, passed away in Florida on Sunday(ESPN2's RPM 2Night). Thoughts go out to family and friends(more at

  • Marlin's Crewmen OK: Two members of Sterling Marlin's crew sustained sprained ankles but escaped serious injury when they were hit by Rusty Wallace's car in the pits on the 266th lap. Darren Wolfe, the right front tire carrier, was treated for a sprained left ankle but returned to the pits for the end of the race. Rick Reling, the right front tire changer, also was cut on the right calf. He also continued to work in the pits(That's Racin'/AP)(4-2-2001)

  • Lepage in the #4 at Martinsville: Larry McClure, who owns the #4 Kodak Chevy, informed interim driver Kevin Lepage over the headsets on the cool-down lap that he had earned himself another week in the seat. Lepage finished an impressive 11th Sunday. He finished 15th at Bristol last week(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(4-2-2001)

  • Quite an Impact: Last season's Texas 500 was ranked the sixth-biggest professional sports event in the country, based on economic impact in the local market, generating $165 million. The top 10, according to the business survey by Street and Smith were: the Indy 500 ($336 million), the Daytona 500 ($240 million), the Brickyard 400 ($219), the Super Bowl ($215 million), the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis ($170 million), the Texas 500 ($165 million), the August Bristol 500 ($119 million), the March Bristol 500 ($80 million), the Kentucky Derby ($60 million), and the Winston 500 at Talladega ($42 million).(Winston Salem Journal)(4-2-2001)

  • Dale Jr's Monday: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will spend Monday with representatives from Remington Arms and the U.S. Secret Service, as he takes target practice with Remington's custom sniper rifles. Remington, an associate sponsor of the #8 team, produces many of the weapons used by law enforcement officers all across the country, and the sniper range allows officers and secret service agents to hone their skills( PR)(4-2-2001)

  • Earnhardt Honored: Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Eddie Gossage was joined by Denton County Judge Scott Armey, Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr and Texas Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff to announce a special tribute to the late Dale Earnhardt. A new interchange being built at the northeast corner of the speedway and Interstate 35-W will be named Dale Earnhardt Way. The announcement, which was well received by the fans, also included an unveiling of a highway exit sign which will be erected along I-35W. A special No. 3 flag was then raised above victory lane.(TMS Site)(4-2-2001)

    see the Mar 26-Apr 1, 2001 Archived News Page

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