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PAST NEWS APR 9-15, 2001

Happy Easter - no news Story/Column Links page for a few stories

  • Seat Belt Cut? on Friday's RPM 2Night(ESPN2) and the ESPN Site, it is being reported that - Bill Simpson claims a fan has come forward with video showing Earnhardt being cut from his seat belt. Simpson, founder and chairman of Simpson Performance Products, which made the seat belt Earnhardt was wearing during his deadly crash at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, told ESPN radio's Jack Arute that a fan sent him the video of the crash. According to Simpson, he believes the video shows that an EMT cut the seat belt. "Since this whole thing has surfaced and since NASCAR did their press conference, there's a spectator that has come foward with videotape and it clearly shows an EMT getting into the car with a knife – and that's what it looked like to me – like it had been cut," said Simpson. "I have a copy of it now and it's out being enhanced at the moment." After Dale Earnhardt died at Daytona, NASCAR reported that a broken seat belt was discovered in Earnhardt's car. But, earlier this week, an independent doctor who viewed autopsy photos made the claim that a broken seat belt did not cause Earnhardt's death. More at the ESPN site(4-14-2001)

  • Schrader wins ARCA race at Nashville: Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader captured the ARCA RE/MAX Series PFG Lester 150, the inaugural race at Nashville Superspeedway. Schrader, who recently drove in his 500th career Winston Cup race, took the lead for good with less than 15 laps to go and held on to beat Frank Kimmel and Shawna Robinson in the 113-lap race. Officials with Dover Downs Entertainment, which operates the track, did not release an attendance figure for yesterday's race. But media covering the race estimated the crowd at around 20,000.(Tennessean)(4-14-2001)

  • TV News: Fox Again Pre-Empting NASCAR for Actress with Silicone Implants; #1 TV Market in the U.S. Won't Get Talladega Busch Race First it was FX deciding to pre-empt live NASCAR qualifying for Tori Spelling and "Beverly Hills 90210." Now, fans in New York are going to be treated to Pamela Anderson and "V.I.P" instead of the Busch race in Talladega. On Saturday, April 21, WNYW in New York will broadcast the Yankees game live instead of the Busch race. However, the local Fox braintrust then decided to not even show the Busch race on tape delay after the Yankees game, despite a three-hour window. Instead, viewers will get a rerun of the "X Files" and syndicated shows "Sheena" and "V.I.P." (more info at MotorsportsTV) AND Boston Fans Stuck with Delays; Getting No Sympathy One of the hottest TV topics right now is the delays that Fox is giving NASCAR fans in Boston on WFXT. See the full story at Boston Fans Stuck with Delays; Getting No Sympathy; and from the Boston Herald: Lee, `Gerbil' at odds by Jim Baker; and see a RacingOne column: Second-Class Fans by Richard Huff(4-14-2001)

  • Marcis to the BGN? UPDATE: Rumor has it that #71-Dave Marcis is considering moving to the BGN Series.( Buzz)(3-1-2001)
    UPDATE: Dave Marcis said team manager, Dwayne Leik will be back in a race car soon (he attempted the Daytona 500 in the #72 Chevy owned by Marcis), running a limited Busch Series schedule in two cars Marcis purchased from APR(Andy Petree Racing). Marcis plans on going to The Winston Open at Charlotte next month. He also hopes to make upcoming races at Chicago, Indianapolis, Dover and the season-ending race at Atlanta as well as Talladega next week(Hendersonville Times News)(4-13-2001)

  • Herzog in Cup: Herzog Motorsports, operated by Bill Herzog and sons Randy and Stan, has progressed from winning off-road championships in California and Nevada deserts and Colorado mountain trails to contending for a Busch Grand National victory. Their Busch driver, Jimmie Johnson, has four top-10 finishes and ranks fifth in the points standings going into Saturday's Pepsi 300(at Nashville). The Herzogs plan to run a two-car Busch team and five to eight Winston Cup races in 2002 and field a full Winston Cup effort in 2003. The Herzogs' future Busch and Winston Cup plans hit a speed bump this week when they released Toby Porter because of personal differences. Porter had posted third- and 10th-place finishes in three American Speed Association races. Billy Parker filled in for Porter during last week's ASA race in South Boston and finished seventh. Porter's departure comes at a critical time because Johnson's association with the team ends after this season. Under the terms of his contract with Herzog, which expires at the end of 2001, Johnson was allowed to negotiate a new deal with Rick Hendrick, who signed him to a multiyear deal to become Jeff Gordon's teammate, beginning in 2002(an run some Cup races in 2001 in the #48 Chevy). The Herzogs had planned to move Porter into Johnson's ride next year, so now they'll be trying out some drivers during the next few months. For their crew chief, the Herzogs this year hired respected Tony Liberati, who had experience with Winston Cup teams owned by Jack Roush and Hendrick(Kansas City Star)(4-13-2001)

  • New Cup team/driver UPDATE: ARCA driver, Brian Conz recently came to an agreement with new to NASCAR Field & Stream Watches® Racing and other soon to be announced associate sponsors. Plans are being made for the #78 Field & Stream Watches® Chevy to make their Winston Cup debut at Talladega Superspeedway on April 22, 2001. Conz plans on running five Cup events, Talladega 4/22, Daytona 7/7, Michigan 8/19, Talladega 10/21 and one event that the sponsor hasn't decided on yet(Brian Conz Site)(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE: The team has postponed their debut until Daytona in July. Also: Other divisions of Field & Stream have signed on and the official title is now Field & Stream Lifestyles Racing. Conz has been in Mooresville/Charlotte area recently purchasing new equipment and all of the team's equipment is purchased or ordered now, but won't be ready in time for Talladega(next week Apr 22nd). New team Cup schedule: Daytona, 7/7, Chicagoland 7/15. Brickyard 400 8/5, Michigan 8/19, Talladega 10/21 and Homestead-Miami 11/11. Plans for the 2002 season are being worked on now. Conz has talked to several people regarding the crew chief position but has not decided on anyone yet. The team has found a shop in Mooresville plans are to move into it sometime this season. The team plans on doing quite a bit of testing and running some ARCA races between now and Daytona to get ready for the Pepsi 400(Brian Conz Site)(4-13-2001)

  • Two Sites dissed: TachZone and Stooges Racing, linked here for over a year now will be dropped by a dying, see the stories at TachZone: Belly Up: The Loss of a Sponsor and Stooges Racing: Stooge's Racing Moves, Stooges says his site will live on TachZone will not and will be missed. Both Stooge, Ryan(TachZone) and their staffs have been supporters of NASCAR and I wish them the best(4-13-2001)

  • Earnhardt Autopsy Photos - continued: A University of Florida student newspaper Thursday filed a new request to see the Dale Earnhardt autopsy photos. The new cross-claim filed by the Independent Florida Alligator against the Volusia County Medical Examiner's Office addresses developments in the case that weren't present when the original request was filed last month. A Deland-based Web site also is seeking access to the autopsy photos. The new cross-claim challenges the constitutionality of a state law passed late last month restricting access to autopsy photos and argues that it can't be applied retroactively to the Earnhardt autopsy photos(CNN/SI/AP)(4-13-2001)

  • Evernham Hires Pit Crew Coach: Ray Evernham now the owner of Evernham Motorsports, a first-year Dodge team for drivers for #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Casey Atwood has a new pit crew coach – Terra Flynn, a former classmate at Raritan High School in Hazlet, N.J., who recently completed a distinguished career as a Navy Seal. "When I was putting this deal together, I knew I needed someone to train and motivate our team," Evernham said. "I thought he would be really good if I could teach him the racing side." As the title implies, a pit crew coach recruits and trains the pit crew. Flynn has shared those duties with the more experienced Ed Watkins, who doubles as the jackman on the Atwood's #19 car.(Dallas Morning News)(4-12-2001)
    AND also see a story about this from a few weeks ago at Winners Magazine: High School Reunion - Ray Evernham’s New Pit Coach - Lessons From The Navy SEALS by Claire B. Lang(great shot of Ray Evernham)(4-13-2001)

  • Gordon and AJ Foyt at Indy: A.J. Foyt has entered a car for Robby Gordon in next month's Indianapolis 500. Gordon finished fourth in the 1999 edition and sixth last year, driving for Team Menard(ESPN)(4-13-2001)

  • Weekend Off: After eight straight races, Winston Cup teams get their first weekend off for Easter. Vacation plans for some of the drivers: Bill Elliott is hiding eggs with his 5-year old son; Ward Burton is camping with his children; John Andretti is celebrating the 80th birthday of his grandmother in Moorestown, Pa.; Stacy Compton is playing four days of golf in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Jeff Burton is flying his family to the Bahamas; Mark Martin is watching his son race and being a "couch potato."(Atlanta Journal Constitution) and Jayski is just gonna relax(4-13-2001)

  • Another Racing Oriented Restuarant Closed? Yep - UPDATE: hearing that Race Rock Restaurant in Las Vegas has closed its doors, at least temporarily. The Pettys, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Mario and Michael Andretti, John Force and Don Prudhomme are among the owners of the restaurant. The restaurant was full of memorabilia from various race teams. It was the site of numerous NASCAR related press conferences, and a favorite hangout of race teams and fans during NASCAR events in Las Vegas. There is a possibility it may re-open in February. This has no effect on the Race Rock Restaurant in Orlando.(4-10-2001)
    UPDATE: The multimillion-dollar Race Rock restaurant became downtown Las Vegas' perhaps most expensive empty storefront Monday after managers said that delays at the unbuilt Neonopolis entertainment complex across the street had cut too deeply into their business. Race Rock's closing means taxpayers must continue to wait for the downtown casino-funded Fremont Street Experience to repay more than $5.6 million in public funds spent to obtain the land that the restaurant was built on, city officials said. Slightly more than $8,000 has been returned, officials said. Tourists walking by the motorsports-themed Race Rock on Monday saw a locksmith barring the entrance. A sign taped to the door read, "If circumstances allow it, we expect to reopen our Supercharged Restaurant when Neonopolis reopens in our block of Fremont Street early next year. However, we cannot continue to sustain the significant operating losses we've been experiencing until that happens."(Las Vegas Review Journal)(4-13-2001)

  • More Seat Belt News: The physician who said a faulty seat belt might have been responsible for Dale Earnhardt's death at the Daytona 500 admits that he was quick in blaming the restraint system. "I was trying to answer the questions the media and the public had to the best of my ability and I think I speculated more than I should have," Dr. Steve Bohannon told The News-Journal of Daytona Beach on Wednesday. "Sometimes you should just say it's too early to speculate." Bohannon, the director of emergency medical services at Daytona International Speedway, withdrew his assumption after a court-appointed medical expert said restraint failure didn't play a role in Earnhardt's death Feb. 18.(That's Racin'/AP)(4-12-2001)

  • Hills Bros to the #27? UPDATE um...NO: 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)
    UPDATE: A spokesman for Hills Bros. Coffee said April 8 that rumors the firm would withdraw its Winston Cup sponsorship from Donlavey Racing and move it to Eel River Racing were untrue(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read online)(4-12-2001)

  • Where is Mike Bliss? Mike Bliss was at Martinsville Speedway April 6, but he had neither a driver's suit nor a helmet in hand. Bliss began last year with A.J. Foyt Racing, then moved to Eel River Racing. His rookie year in Winston Cup left something to be desired and several top teams in CTS inquired about him driving for them last fall. Instead, Bliss had other ideas, ones that never quite panned out. "I wanted to run Busch this year, (and) I picked the wrong year to want to go (there)," he said. "I probably should have ran a truck. There are some things happening in Busch. I don't even know on the Cup side. I can probably say I don't really care over there anymore. I'm mainly focused on the Busch Series." With the season nearly two months old, Bliss never dreamed he'd still be on the sidelines. "I thought something would have come up by now," he said. "But the way that everything's going, everybody wants younger people in their cars. It's kind of the younger-than-25 thing now. They don't want experience. When I was 25, I couldn't get a job." Bliss had a ride for the BGN season opener at Daytona with Emerald Performance Group(#19) and he thought it was going to be a 20-race deal. Instead, it was for one race only as the team went on the inactive list while it searched for a sponsor(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read online)(4-12-2001)

  • Mark Martin's Speedway has an accident UPDATE 3: 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)
    UPDATE 3: good news on Jim Neaves - he is sitting up and having limited conversation and things are actually going quite well. The track was back racing last night(4-12-2001)

  • President Bush meets with the Earnahrdts: To a round of cheers, President Bush arrived on Air Force One at the North Carolina Air National Guard terminal near Charlotte/Douglas International Airport about 10:15 Wednesday morning, the first president to visit Charlotte in five years. Bush stepped off the presidential jet alone, and met briefly with the family of late NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt. He kissed and embraced Earnhardt's widow, Teresa, and shook the hands of Dale Jr., Kerry and daughters Kelley and Taylor. The Earnhardts were given a tour of Air Force One after Bush spent 13 minutes shaking hands and signing autographs for about 100 Air National Guard personnel and their families. The Earnhardt family spent about 50 minutes touring Air Force One. At one point, family members were seen inside the plane's cockpit, sitting in the pilot's seat. As they emerged, the family posed for pictures with crew members and Air National Guard members(That's Racin')(4-11-2001)

  • Yates to Dodge? Third Team? unlikely UPDATE no: Might car owner Robert Yates be considering a switch from Ford to Dodge next season? That's the buzz in Detroit, although it's unlikely that Ford Motor Company would let Yates, its biggest NASCAR star, get away. And after his third win of the season yesterday, why would Yates even think about leaving Ford, the company he has called home for so many years? "Money," says one man familiar with Detroit's inner secrets. "After all, Robert gave up (Ford's) Quality Care for UPS." Although few key figures in the Winston Cup garage expect Yates to make a move to leave Ford, the Dodge report is another twist on how tense things may be in Detroit, where for the first time in 25 years, all three of the Big Three are playing NASCAR again. Not since the mid-1970s have General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all been in this game, and it's not quite clear how the balance of power might be shifting. And Yates said that Ford officials asked him to start a third Winston Cup team this season, with an unnamed driver, but he declined in order to focus on his current teams, with drivers Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd. And Yates said he has no plans to start a third team next season either, despite reports that Ford executives have approached him again. See full story at the Winston Salem Journal(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE: been told by RYR sources that this is totally untrue and they are NOT considering a switch from Ford to Dodge or any other manufacturer(4-11-2001)

  • Harvick to test 'Dega UPDATE: #29-Kevin Harvick will test at Talladega next Tuesday and Wednesday. The April 22nd 500 will be his first (Cup) restrictor plate race for car owner Richard Childress and crew chief Kevin Hamlin(Winston Salem Journal)(4-7/10-2001)
    UPDATE: Close to a dozen teams continued testing at Talladega Superspeedway on Wednesday for the upcoming NASCAR Winston Cup Series Talladega 500, on April 22. On Tuesday at Talladega, 17 NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Series teams turned 900 laps – nearly 2,400 miles – on Alabama's 2.66-mile tri-oval testing for "Track Attack Weekend." Testing were #1-Steve Park, #29-Kevin Harvick, #40-Sterling Marlin, #4-Kevin Lepage, #71-Dave Marcis and #22-Tom Hubert, who was substituting for Ward Burton. "Track Attack Weekend" begins on April 19 with John Deere Qualifying Day for the Busch Series 300 and IROC practice. Advance Auto Parts Qualifying Day for the Talladega 500 is set for April 20. Fans can purchase a commemorative Jeff Gordon Pole Day ticket for $10 good for Friday's activities. On Saturday, April 21, fans can watch the NASCAR Winston Cup Series extended Happy Hour, the True Value IROC XXV and the NASCAR Busch Series 300. The Talladega 500 is Sunday, April 21. Tower seats remain for both days. (tix info at the Talladega Site). No speeds reported.(4-11-2001)

  • Penalty Rescinded: On April 11, 2001, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Petty Enterprises. The appeal pertained to a $20,000 penalty issued by NASCAR to Greg Steadman, crew chief of the #43 car following the March 25, 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition to other matters arising from the appeal hearing, the commission considered the issue of non-conformance to rules specifications at the conclusion of a race based on a claim of racing conditions or racing contact. In most cases, a claim of racing conditions or racing contact is not sufficient to reduce or rescind a penalty in the eyes of the Commission. The Commission notes that non-conformance to specifications at the conclusion of a race may occur by design so as to gain an advantage. The Commission recognizes and reaffirms that, per Section 8-7 of the Rule Book, NASCAR Officials have the flexibility to exercise discretion in matters pertaining to racing conditions or racing contact and to evaluate each claim on a case-by-case basis. The commission feels strongly that, unless it can be determined that the non-conformance was directly attributable to racing conditions and to no other plausible explanation, a penalty would have been correct. However, during the appeal hearing the Appellant made a persuasive argument that the only plausible explanation for the height variance at the conclusion of the race was the cracked chassis welds resulting from the conditions of the race. It is extremely unlikely that a cracked chassis would have occurred by design. Further testimony indicated that the resulting height variance did not provide a significant competitive advantage over other competitors. Therefore, it is a unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission that the penalty is hereby rescinded(NASCAR PR)(4-11-2001)

  • Tire Carrier Hurt UPDATE: Kevin Garband, 35, of Winston-Salem was injured during a late-race pit stop when a loose tire from Bill Elliott's #9 Dodge rolled into the pit stall of driver Mike Skinner. Garband is the front-tire carrier on Skinner's pit crew. Garband had just jumped off the pit wall and was running around the left side of the car when the tire clipped his left knee and sent to the ground. Garband has had surgery in the past on the knee for a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He was treated and released from the infield care center and will see his personal physician Monday for further evaluation(That's Racin')(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE: Kevin Gabard, front-tire carrier and car chief for the #31 Lowe's Chevy, will undergo surgery on Monday, April 16, to replace the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee and repair a torn meniscus. Gabard was injured during a late-race pit stop Sunday at Martinsville Speedway when a loose tire from another team rolled into the Lowe's pit and clipped Gabard's left knee. Gabard has undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the same knee seven times since 1991, most recently in November 1999.(RCR PR)(4-11-2001)

  • Dillon Out UPDATE Skinner In: Mike Dillon has stepped down as the driver of the #21 Rockwell Chevy co-owned by father-in-law Richard Childress in an attempt to improve the team's performance, and not because of injuries he sustained in a multicar wreck March 24 at Bristol. Mike Skinner, who drives Childress' #31 Winston Cup Chevy, was behind the wheel of the #21 car at Texas, where he qualified fifth and finished ninth. Despite initial word out of the Childress camp that Skinner was simply filling in, the move is all but permanent. There's a possibility that Dillon may drive "a race or two" later this season, but that's it. Dillon's focus seems to have almost completely shifted from driving to a new, as-yet unspecified role within the Childress organization. A search would begin for a driver to run the races Skinner couldn't. Skinner will most likely drive most, if not all, of the remaining races run in conjunction with the Winston Cup tour. With an eye toward 2002, the team might opt for a young, unproven talent in stand-alone events, much the same as it did with Kevin Harvick last year(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to view online)(4-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup driver Mike Skinner will drive the Richard Childress Racing/Brant Motorsports #21 BGN car this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway and the balance of this year's races that coincide with Winston Cup events. Skinner, the full-time driver of the RCR #31 Lowes Chevys in the Winston Cup series, replaces Mike Dillon as driver for the #21 team. Dillon, recovered from injuries sustained in a March 24 crash at Bristol and another during testing at Nashville a couple of weeks before, will remain with RCR in an as-yet undetermined role. Subbing for an injured Dillon March 24 at Texas Motor Speedway, Skinner qualified fifth and finished ninth, both season bests for the team. A driver for the races that conflict with the Winston Cup schedule is being sought(That's Racin')(4-11-2001)

  • Martinsville TV and Golf: Nielsen Media Research suffered a meltdown this weekend and all of the rating's reports for the weekend have been delayed, some of the overnights until late Tuesday. What we know so far is that FOX Sports finally came back to earth with a 4.5 overnight rating and an 11 share for NASCAR's Virginia 500 at Martinsville Sunday. The Tiger Woods phenomenon had to have impacted viewership later in the afternoon, his unprecendented and successful quest for a fourth consecutive major, drew a 13 overnight rating with a 28 share for CBS' coverage of The Masters(SpeedVision)(4-11-2001)

  • Earnhardt Crash Info UPDATE 3 - Ford to Join: NASCAR remains tight-lipped about the progress of its investigation of the Daytona 500 crash which killed legend Dale Earnhardt. NASCAR officials say the matter is complex, and that definite answers may be a couple months off(SpeedVision)(4-8-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials are expected to release an update on the Dale Earnhardt crash this week, possibly today(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    UPDATE 2: In a Monday afternoon teleconference, NASCAR officials announced their investigation of the Feb. 18 Daytona 500 crash that took Dale Earnhardt's life included a reconstruction of the accident and would likely last until August. See the full text of the statement at That's Racin': Text of NASCAR update on Earnhardt crash investigation(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE 3: At least one automobile manufacturer, Ford, apparently will participate in the "comprehensive accident-reconstruction review" proposed by NASCAR in its "safety update" Monday.(SpeedVision)(4-11-2001)

  • Roush Says Team OK: Jack Roush insists his NASCAR empire is not in a slump. That, despite only two combined top-5 finishes and six top-10s in 32 starts this year among Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch. Until this year, Roush has always had championship-caliber teams. Martin has been top-10 in 12 of his 13 full seasons, nine of them within the top five. Burton has been top-5 in four of his five seasons with Roush. Never has the organization struggled like this. But Roush dismisses most of it as bad luck. "How can an owner prepare for some of what's happened to us?" he said over the weekend. "We've had a hard year because we've been involved in wrecks and had structural failures and broken parts that we've never broken before. Jeff had a tire problem at Bristol that wasn't his fault, and when he ran into Mark, we lost two cars right there. Over the winter we prepared our engineering effort, our aero program, our chassis program and our motor program better than ever. But we couldn't have prepared for the chain of events that have occurred one after the other. We understand some of the parts failures, so I've taken steps to see they don't happen again. If you're talking about points, yes, we're struggling. But we've had some very good runs this year."(Daily Press)(4-11-2001)

  • Stewart Gives: "I've been overwhelmed by the support I've received through donations to pay for my Bristol fine. And while I still feel what I did on pit lane wasn't right, it is nice to know you have fans that are with you through thick and thin. As part of my appreciation, I've decided to match the money that has so kindly come in to both the Gibbs shop and my offices in Indianapolis and send it all to the Make A Wish Foundation. It's nice to see a positive come of a negative in this situation. The people at Make A Wish make a difference and hopefully with this they can make an even bigger difference. Enjoy the Easter weekend!" - Tony Stewart (Tony Stewart Site)(4-11-2001)

  • Sadler Testing at Michigan: Elliott Sadler and #21 Wood Brothers Racing team are testing at Michigan International Speedway this week. Tuesday got off to a late start due to weather. It rained in the morning and, even with the help of a jet dryer, it took close to three hours to dry the track due to temperatures in the 40s and an overcast sky. Despite the conditions, Sadler and his crew felt they made progress at a track, where the team has produced less than stellar results the past two years.(Campbell/Ford PR)(4-11-2001)

  • Sad News: Former Grand National driver J.T. Putney, who loved to go fast -- on the ground or in the air -- passed away Wednesday in Gainesville, FL. Actively competing from 1964-1967, the Arden, NC, native entered 125 races and garnered 16 top-fives and 49 top-10s. He finished a career best of second twice in his career. Julian Taylor Putney is survived by his wife, Joyce.(

  • Seat Belt News UPDATE 2: No one was more astonished than Bill Simpson when NASCAR officials suggested at a news conference in February that a faulty seat belt made by his company might have been responsible for the death of racing icon Dale Earnhardt. Horrified, the longtime maker of racing safety equipment polled his factory workers and suppliers about the nylon belts and quality control. He sent six sets of lap belts, made from the same batch as those in Earnhardt's car, to an independent testing laboratory. The verdict: They should not have sheared when Earnhardt's car crashed on the last lap of February's Daytona 500. Seven weeks after the accident, however, Simpson knows little more about the belt in Earnhardt's mangled Chevrolet than what he learned during that news conference. See full story at the Orlando Sentinel: NASCAR's lips sealed on seat-belt analysis, some great images and explanations at the site(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE: Seat-belt failure did not cause the head injuries that killed NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt during February's Daytona 500, a court-appointed medical expert who studied the racer's autopsy photos reported Monday. Dr. Barry Myers, a Duke University expert in crash injuries, said Earnhardt died when his head whipped violently forward in the moments after his #3 Chevy struck a concrete wall at 150 mph. Rejecting NASCAR's theory of the crash, Myers said that, even assuming what he termed "a worst-case scenario," Earnhardt's head probably would have suffered the same damage even if his lap belt had not torn on impact. See full story at the Orlando Sentinel: Expert: Seat belt no factor in Earnhardt death
    UPDATE 2 - NASCAR Statement: "We have said before and re-iterated Monday we're conducting our own detailed review with a team of experts ranging from occupant safety-restraint analysis, and crash analysis to medical and biomechanical specialists," said NASCAR president Mike Helton. "This latest report will not change that. "Contrary to several reports in the media, this report is not an opposing theory to anything NASCAR has presented. Since the Daytona 500, NASCAR has made clear that we will not suggest or speculate on the circumstances surrounding Dale Earnhardt's accident until our study is complete. No one from NASCAR has ever suggested what may have happened in this accident other than to say in our preliminary investigation we found issues of concern involving the occupant restraint system. "As referenced in the report compiled by Dr. Barry Myers, better understanding can be achieved through biomechanical, sled and crash testing, which is consistent with the process we announced Monday. "We respect the varied theories from the medical field and welcome their input as to what likely could have occurred and we remain committed to a thorough, comprehensive review."(NASCAR PR) and That's Racin' has a bunch of columns up about this
    AND Bill Simpson, president of Simpson Race Products, says he plans to consult with his legal team before commenting on the report on Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash at Daytona, released today by the Orlando Sentinel(SpeedVision)(4-10-2001)

  • Another Allison UPDATE 3 Injured but ok: 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)
    UPDATE 2: Robbie Allison, 9-year-old son of late NASCAR star Davey Allison, was injured in a crash last night while practicing for what would have been his racing debut. Allison was taken by ambulance from Twin Fountain Speedway to Bedford County Hospital after complaining of dizziness following the crash. He was treated for a sprained neck and released. ''He's OK, just a little sore,'' said Robbie's mother, Liz, who was watching at trackside with husband Ryan Hackett and other family members. ''It scared him a little when they put a neck brace on him. He said, 'Mom, did my daddy ever go through something like this?' ''(Tennessean)(4-7-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Robbie suffered a strained neck, and his parents — mother Liz and stepfather Ryan Hackett — sustained badly jangled nerves. ''It scared him — and us — more than anything,'' Liz said afterward. ''As soon as things calmed down a little, he asked, 'Mom, when can I race again?' '' Not for a while. ''The experience has made me re-evaluate the situation,'' Liz said. ''We will continue to let Robbie practice, but we'll wait awhile before he ventures into the competitive part. I know how badly he wants to get on the track, but I've got to make decisions that I feel are best for him.''(Tennessean)(4-10-2001)

  • Dodge to ARCA: Officials with the Automobile Racing Club of America(ARCA) series announced Monday the new Dodge Intrepid body style, used in the Winston Cup series this season, will be eligible for use in ARCA competition effective April 20. The first series event in which the Dodge Intrepid is eligible to compete is at Winchester Speedway in Indiana on April 22. (That's Racin')(4-10-2001)

  • Four Roush CTS Teams in 2002: Roush Racing on Monday announced its plans to field up to four teams in 2002 in the CTS. Roush currently fields two teams, with drivers Chuck Hossfeld and Nathan Haseleu. Roush plans to add teams for 18-year-old Jon Wood, son of Wood Brothers Racing owner Eddie Wood, and Tim Woods, a 24-year-old African American driver from California. None of the teams currently has sponsorship in place for the 2002 season. (That's Racin')(4-10-2001)

  • Seat Safety News: The cocoon-like racing seat being developed by PPI Racing went through a series of crash tests last week, and team officials said they saw "extremely positive results." Team officials plan to share their results with NASCAR officials soon. Jeff Burton and Dr. John Melvin, a Michigan-based biomedical engineer, also are involved with the project. The next step is to have a driver run test laps while using the seat to check its practical applications. Any changes needed there and based on the original crash testing will be made for a second prototype seat, which will undergo more testing(Roanoke Times)(4-9-2001)

  • Earnhardt NOT to replaced in IROC UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt's entry will not be filled in the remaining three International Race of Champions (IROC) events this season. Earnhardt, a four-time IROC series champion - including the past two seasons - died in the Daytona 500 in February. According to sources, IROC officials will issue a news release this week explaining their decision not to use a replacement driver in Earnhardt's car the remainder of the season. Earnhardt had 11 wins in 58 starts in the IROC series, with his last victory coming in the 2000 season opener at Daytona. He was series champion the past two seasons. In addition, Tony Stewart is expected to continue to fill in for Gil de Ferran, last season's champion of CART. Stewart substituted for de Ferran in the season opener because de Ferran had injured his foot in a CART test session weeks earlier. Since de Ferran has not had any practice or test sessions in the IROC cars, he is not expected to compete this season(That's Racin')(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: True Value IROC officials announced they will run an 11-car field for the remaining three races of the 2001 True Value IROC schedule. In tribute to four-time True Value IROC champion Dale Earnhardt, the 12th car will remained parked. Series President Jay Signore said, "Dale's career in the series is one to be revered. He accepted a record 17 invitations to represent his sport and went on to capture the title four times. The decision to start only 11 cars in honor of Dale is a first for us, but one we believe is well deserved. With the support of all the competitors and Dale's family, we will keep the 12th car parked as a tribute to honor and remember Dale as the champion's champion." An 11-time winner in the True Value IROC series, Earnhardt won back-to-back championships in 1999 and 2000 adding to his previous triumphs in 1990 and 1995. He most recently added to his legend during the season opener in February at Daytona International Speedway. While battling for the lead, Earnhardt's Pontiac Firebird was sent into the infield grass where he never missed a beat. He returned to the track at full speed and finished the event in seventh place. Eventual winner of the race, Dale Jarrett cited the incident as, "proof that Dale Earnhardt was one of the best race car drivers in the world." Race one from Daytona will be rebroadcast on ESPN2 Saturday, April 14, at 8:00pm/et. The True Value IROC series will continue with race-two at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 21.(IROC PR)(4-9-2001)

  • Photo Privacy Issues takes step backwards UPDATE: A judge allowed a student newspaper to challenge the sealing of the Dale Earnhardt autopsy photos and test the constitutionality of a new law that restricts access to such images. Circuit Judge Joseph Will said Thursday he wants to try to answer the many legal questions that remain on whether the public has the right to view autopsy photos. The NASCAR legend's widow, Teresa Earnhardt, protested the decision. Allowing the challenge negates a compromise reached with the Orlando Sentinel to permanently seal the autopsy photos after an independent medical expert had viewed them and written a report, her lawyers argued. "Is she basically back to square one with her privacy rights?" Earnhardt attorney Judson Graves asked the judge. The judge responded, "Yes, I think so."(AP/ESPN)(4-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt's widow appealed again to keep her husband's autopsy photos private, fearing they will wind up on the Internet for everyone to see. "I want to let the NASCAR community and the people of Florida know just how much pain this ordeal is causing my family," Teresa Earnhardt said in a statement released at Martinsville Speedway, site of Sunday's race. (see full story on That's Racin'/AP: Earnhardt's widow seeks help in autopsy photo fight and Teresa's comments at: `We just want it to end,' Teresa Earnhardt says )(4-9-2001)

  • Sader Bros Returns: The #95-Sadler Brothers race team is excited to have Steadman Marlin on board. Steadman is the son of former Sadler driver and two time Daytona 500 winner, Sterling Marlin. The team is planning to run the upcoming ARCA and BGN races at the new Nashville Superspeedway April 13 and 14.(Sadler Bros Site)(4-9-2001)

  • #43 Scheme UPDATE: not sure when but hearing the #43 Cheerios car and driver John Andretti will run a 'Helping Hands' scheme sometime this season(4-6-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing this could be a 'Hamburger Helper' scheme(4-9-2001)

  • Lepage and #4 Close to deal? Due to his performance in the #4 Kodak Chevy, Kevin Lepage may well get himself a full-time gig with Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Rumor has it serious negotiations between Lepage and team owner Larry McClure are underway( Buzz)(4-9-2001)

  • Black Boxes?: A General Motors representative said Sunday that NASCAR will mandate data record systems “black boxes” in the cars by the end of the season. The "black boxes," record data on the crash upon impact( Buzz)
    AND: Expect an upgrade for GPS boxes in Winston Cup cars before the end of the season, according to General Motors. Once NASCAR gives teams the green light to install more sophisticated black boxes, it will enable them to gather accurate g-force data and arrive at a better understanding of what happens to a car on impact in a crash. NASCAR and the race teams would be able to use the information to aid the development of new safety measures.(Sporting News)(4-9-2001)

  • What were those Ribbons? been asked, didn't know, here ya go - NASCAR on FOX's crew wasn't making a flashy fashion statement with those brightly-colored ribbons last week at Texas Motor Speedway. The team was showing its support for autism awareness. The jigsaw-puzzle design represents the puzzling nature of autism, but the bright colors is meant as a sign of hope for finding a cure. Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects the development of the brain. It often makes communication and the ability to interact with others incredibly difficult and, in some cases, nearly impossible. The disorder affects one in 500 people. Wearing the ribbon has become a tradition at FOX Sports. NFL on FOX broadcasters began sporting the colorful emblem in 1999, and Major League Baseball on FOX broadcasters followed suit last year, showing support for FOX Sports director Artie Kempner, who has a son with the disorder and serves as the president of the Autism Society of Delaware. The NASCAR on FOX crew plans to wear the ribbons throughout April, which is National Autism Awareness Month. For more information on autism, contact the Autism Society of America at 1-800-328-8476 or (Fox Sports)(4-8-2001)

    see the Apr 2-8, 2001 Archived News Page

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