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PAST NEWS APR 23-29, 2001

  • Kenseth to RCR? it was reported on ESPN2's RPM 2Day on Sunday that #17 DeWalt driver, Matt Kenseth could be headed to Richard Childress Racing in 2002. Didn't say which car, the #30 AOL Chevy or the #31 Lowes Chevy if Skinner leaves(4-29-2001)

  • Wallace Wins the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway. #2-Rusty Wallace won the race at California, his 54th career win (ties Lee Petty for 7th all time - my mistake, Gordon has 53, not 54) and his first of 2001. The win was Wallace's first in 21 races, Bristol in Aug 2000. Wallace is the 8th different winner in 2001. It is the 16th straight year Wallace has won a cup race (see the current list on my Richmond Race Info page). The win by Wallace allows Ford to close the Manufacturers Championship to 2 points behind Chevy, each has 5 wins each. Winston Cup Points Leader #88-Dale Jarrett(finished 24th) maintains a lead of 66 points over #24-Jeff Gordon(finished 2nd). #77-Robert Pressley had his first top ten of 2001 and best finish since a 5th last June at Michigan. #90-Hut Stricklin had a nice run, finishing 12th, his best since a 9th at Michigan in August of 1999. See for the Results and Drivers Standings and from the AP/That's Racin': NAPA 500 Results(4-29-2001)

  • Not NASCAR but shocking - CART race at Texas called off: The Firehawk 600 was cancelled Sunday after CART drivers and officials decided it wasn't safe to race at Texas Motor Speedway, leaving prospects for a rescheduled race unclear. CART spokesman Mike Zizzo said officials were meeting with car owners, drivers and a doctor. There was no immediate word on prospects for holding the race, but transporters for the Champ Cars were seen loading up at the track.(ESPN)(4-29-2001)

  • NASCAR Cafe News: Rumors that a NASCAR Cafe might replace MacArthur Center's now-extinct Rainforest Cafe appear to be off track. Virginia Beach or Hampton are more likely locations than the downtown Norfolk mall, said the man who leads NASCAR Cafe, one of the latest concepts in the ``eatertainment'' industry. Headquartered in Knoxville, NASCAR Cafe has outlets in Myrtle Beach; Orlando, Fla.; Las Vegas; and Sevierville, Tenn., in the Smoky Mountains. The 25,000-square-foot cafes feature full restaurants offering dishes like Winston Cup Wings, Talladega Tenders and Collision Chicken. Racing decor, videos, arcade-style games and rides, and a retail shop with racewear and collectibles complete the concept. (full story at the Virginian-Pilot), the NASCAR Cafe in Nashville, recentlt shut down(4-29-2001)

  • Blood Drive: Compelled to do something for his favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt, Andy Kinworthy organized a blood drive to honor the NASCAR legend known as "Intimidator." The drive, with two Florida Blood Services buse Kinworthy said. "I'm planning on this taking place every year on his birthday." Kinworthy said today's memorial includes celebrations at times significant to Earnhardt's life: 3:07 p.m. and 7:03 p.m. for the driver's car number and seven championships, and 4:29 p.m. to recognize the month and day the driver was born in Kannapolis, N.C.(St Petersburg Times)(4-29-2001)

  • Raceday Cancelled UPDATE: the Speedway Illustrated site is reporting that as of this morning that TNN's long-running motorsports magazine Raceday has been cancelled. The show scheduled for this Sunday will be their last broadcast. So far, there has been no word how this change in programming will affect the ASA or the World of Outlaws, whose events TNN currently broadcasts. It has been noticed that there has been no TNN on-air promotion of these racing broadcasts this year, as they commonly did in the past. The future of the Raceday staff is unknown at this writing(Speedway Illustrated)(4-27-2001)
    UPDATE: TNN/Viacom spokesperson David Schwarz says Raceday was cancelled "because the ratings steadily declined over the last six months, and in fact, for the past two years." Schwarz also took a slight jab at NASCAR and Fox by saying that "not being allowed to carry NASCAR highlights" hurt the show, and he further pointed out, "TNN had exclusive rights to carry NASCAR, but we permitted other networks to carry our highlights." Additionally, Schwarz said, "'Raceday' was the lead in to a popular WWF show, but it just wasn't holding its own." When asked about TNN's commitment to its other motorsports programming, ASA, IHRA, and World of Outlaws, Schwarz said there are no plans to stop or minimize coverage of those series. Producer Mark Smith differs with Viacom's assessment, stating that ratings have not declined. In fact, he says, they have been fairly consistent over the past three years, including the best ever 1.8 rating this year the week after Dale Earnhardt passed away. Smith also says, "I think this is the best staff of people we have ever had on Raceday during the 4 years I have produced it," and that there may be other opportunities for the team(MotorsportsTV), well that frees up my Sunday mornings since my local FSN affiliate doesn't show NASCAR Tech and NASCAR This Morning(4-28-2001) - THANKS Guys, nice final show!

  • Didn't Hear This but - the false Labonte rumor UPDATE the response: is reporting - All rumors that NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte was injured Friday in a crash -- be it plane or on the track -- are completely untrue. An ABC affiliate out of Nashville, TN(WKRN-2), incorrectly reported Friday morning that Labonte was injured in a plane crash Friday morning en route to California Speedway AND False rumo Winston Cup Series practice started at 1:30pm/et, well after the story broke. False rumors also swirled throughout the East Coast that Labonte was hurt in a crash during practice. Oddly enough, Cup practice started at 1:30pm/et, well after the story broke. (, see it's not always the Internet sites(4-27-2001)
    UPDATE: Rumors of an accident involving 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, Bobby Labonte, are completely false. Earlier today, reports of Labonte being involved in some sort of accident were being spread nationwide and being talked about in the garage area of the California Speedway where the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will be running the NAPA Auto Parts 500 this Sunday. In addition, the initial reports of these rumors, which were reported to the team through the track and other sources, were erroneously attributed to WKRN-Nashville. Unfortunately, before all of the facts could be verified and sifted through, WKRN was falsely attributed to something they had nothing to do with. “This is really bad, and strange, that’s for sure,” said Labonte. “It’s hard to believe a lot of stuff you read or might see on TV. It’s bad because of my family being back home, even though I just talked to them about 30 minutes before that. When there’s a rumor like that out there, and now it’s just so spread out it just becomes a big catastrophe and probably like a death threat, I guess you might say. So it’s pretty bad. When you listen to something next time you’ll wonder, is that true or not? I’m not sure. It makes you think you’ve really got to be on top of the game, everybody needs to be, to make sure they’ve got the right information before they say anything. When asked if he knew how it got started, Labonte responded, “No, I have no idea. We didn’t even have any close calls this morning (in practice) or last night getting here, so I have no idea.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/Site)(4-28-2001)

  • Hut and Hills Bros to the #75? Lopez to the #90 UPDATE 2 Hills Bros STAYING: Anonymous sources indicate that Hut Stricklin and Hills Bros Coffee may be moving to the #75 Galaxy Motorsports team. The Galaxy Motorsports front office says "I can't comment on anything at this time." has heard rumbles from the garage and from Hills Bros racing site(only on the unreliable message boards) that the #75 Galaxy Motorsports might be trying to lure Hills Bros sponsorship along with driver Hut Stricklin. Sources say Junie, who's old fashioned, has a hand shake agreement with Hills Bros & driver Hut Stricklin. This old fashioned agreement brought up speculation that Hills Bros might move to Kenny Wallace and the #27 ride after the #90 team failed to make Martinsville(which was squashed by Hills Bros) but, now that the team missed Talladega with Yates Motors the Hills Bros site stated Hut Stricklin will drive for Hills Bros and will be in Atlanta in a Hills Bros Ford and the end of this year...they failed to mention if that Ford would have #90 on it(pure speculation). Also rumor has it now that Hut & Hills Bros might unite with #75 Galaxy Motorsports and hire Phillipe' Lopez as crew chief after being released(he left wasn't released) from the #14 AJ Foyt team(, so far none of my sources have heard this and seems to be quite a few holes, but we'll see(4-25-2001)
    UPDATE: Hills Bros Coffee Racing team owner Junie Donlavey has hired Felipe Lopez as a consultant for his #90 Cup team that fields Fords for veteran driver Hut Stricklin. "I think Felipe is an excellent addition to the Hills Bros Coffee Racing team," Donlavey said. "He has experience with Hut and they communicate well with each other." Lopez was released earlier in the season by Foyt Racing and was previously employed by Dale Earnhardt Inc. to work as crew chief with driver Steve Park. "I'm excited to work with (crew chief) Bobby King and Hut," Lopez said. "I'm here to help them get back on track and to help Bobby continue the excellent job that he's been doing. I feel they have the pieces laid to make this a competitive team. I'm here to help them get to that point." Lopez worked alongside of Stricklin in 1996 and two races in 1997. The duo combined for Stricklin's career-best, second-place finish at Darlington in 1996. "I'm happy to see us get Felipe," Stricklin said. "He has a lot of experience that can help this young team gel together as we progress through the season. He's a good friend and understands Bobby and myself very well." Lopez's first race with the Hills Bros Coffee Racing team will be this weekend at California Speedway in Fontana, CA(Keystone Marketing PR)(4-26-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Junie Donlavey denied Internet reports that sponsor Hills Brothers would be leaving his Richmond-based team. Donlavey said he had been in contact with the CEO of the parent company of Hills Brothers. "He assured me they would be with us all year long," Donlavey said. "We have a good relationship with Hills Brothers." Philippe Lopez, former crew chief for A.J. Foyt's team, has joined Donlavey's team as a consultant to crew chief Bobby King on a race-to-race basis. Driver Hut Stricklin had failed to qualify for three of the past four races before securing the 30th spot yesterday for tomorrow's NAPA 500 at California Speedway. "We're right on the edge of good vs. bad," Donlavey said. "We need that tip to push us to the good side."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-28-2001)

  • Busch/Bud Changes? Anheuser-Busch(Budweisers/Busch) officials may be considering a shakeup in their sponsorship of the Busch tour, according to NASCAR sources. The St. Louis-based company has been a long-time sponsor of NASCAR's number two division(Winston Salem Journal)(4-28-2001)

  • Standard Springs? NASCAR officials are considering adding spring limits, such as used at Daytona and Talladega, across the board at all tracks, which has crew chiefs up in arms(Winston Salem Journal)(4-28-2001)

  • Simpson Restraint UPDATE: Simpson Performance Products has developed a head restraint system that is quickly catching on in NASCAR's Winston Cup and Busch Series divisions. The Simpson Decelerator, a concept originally developed by NASA and common among mountain climbers, restrains the head and neck and also features a tear-away strap that slows the acceleration of the head during violent impacts. Like the HANS device and other head and neck restraint systems, it is designed to reduce the violent whipping motion of the head that causes basilar skull fractures, injuries that killed Dale Earnhardt, Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin. Several Winston Cup and Busch Series drivers tried the system at Talladega April 20-22. Among them were Ron Hornaday, Joe Nemechek, Jeremy Mayfield, Kenny Wallace, Buckshot Jones, Jeff Green and Jay Sauter. Others who have the system and plan to try it include Mike Skinner, Ward Burton, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Unlike the HANS device, the Decelerator features no bulky collar that limits head motion and vision. It also features two quick release points that make it easier to climb out of the car in the event of an accident. Unlike the Hutchins device, which wraps around the driver's chest, waist and crotch and connects to the seat belts, the Simpson system features straps that mount to the roll bars behind the driver's seat and runs through the same route as the shoulder belts. Those straps connect to the decelerator strap, two pieces of webbing that is folded and sewn together and connects to a mount on the front of the driver's helmet. Upon impact, the stitching in the decelerator straps tear apart, slowing the acceleration and forward motion of the driver's head. The sewn straps must be replaced after a crash. The Simpson system has been tested by noted biomechanical engineer Dr. John Melvin and proved to be nearly as effective as the HANS device, Malone said. The system costs about $200, plus the replacement straps, compared to about $1,200 for the HANS device.(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read online)(4-26-2001)
    UPDATE: "Are you going to wear the HANS device?" With safety at the forefront of recent headlines, Kenny (Wallace) has been asked this question almost as many times as people have asked "When you gonna get a sponsor?" Kenny experimented with the HANS device during recent practice sessions at both Nashville and Talladega but wasn't yet comfortable with the device. "We've got to make some adjustments to the HANS to get it to fit in with my seat, and do some more testing before I'm comfortable with it." Kenny stated after a run in Talladega. For now, Kenny has put his trust in a new restraint system developed by Simpson Performance Products. See full story and image at the Kenny Wallace Racing Site(4-28-2001)

  • Driver to Attempt the Coca Cola 600: Jeff Fultz will attempt to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte next month. Fultz, 30, said Thursday he has landed a one-race deal with car owners Gene DeHart and Mike Clark for the Coca-Cola 600, May 27 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. DeHart's father, Gary, is crew chief for Winston Cup driver Terry Labonte. “I've been waiting for this all my life,” said Fultz, “NASCAR approved me this week, so we'll give it a good shot.” Fultz is a star on the NASCAR Gatorade All-Pro regional circuit, having finished second in the 2000 points race. He stands third this year. Fultz lives in Mooresville, N.C., where he works as a fabricator in the race shop of Winston Cup driver Robert Pressley. He will drive a Ford Taurus and get some help from Pressley's main sponsor, Jasper Engines. But his main support will come from two other sponsors, whom he did not name(Cincinnati Enquirer)(4-28-2001)

  • Autopsy Photos: Brevard County(FL) authorities investigating the death of a woman whose body washed ashore got a court order Friday so they could use an autopsy photo to help identify the body. Otherwise, they feared they would run afoul of the Earnhardt Family Protection Act, which was intended to shield such photos from public view. Investigators said the hassle cost them hours they could have used to track down the identity of the victim whose body was found near Melbourne Beach on Thursday morning. The new law, hastily passed by the Legislature after the Feb. 18 death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, bars medical examiners from distributing autopsy photos without a judge's permission(full story at the Orlando Sentinel). For past news and stoires on this, see my Dale Earnhardt Tribute Site - Reactions page(4-28-2001)

  • No #4 - First time since 1988: Kevin Lepage's #4 Kodak Chevy, owned by Morgan-McClure Motorsports, missed the Cup race at California, the first time that team has failed to qualify for a race in 408 races - since Rick Wilson missed the field at Richmond in February of 1988. Robby Gordon began the season as the team's driver but was replaced by Lepage after five races. The team was expected to make Lepage its permanent driver this week, but that announcement had been put off until at least next week before Friday's disappointment. "The results of this weekend will not affect the signing of Kevin Lepage as our driver, from our standpoint," McClure said. "The contract is not signed yet, but we are close to signing a deal(That's Racin')(4-28-2001)

  • No Yellow Line Rule at California: Winston Cup series director Gary Nelson said Friday the use of black-flag penalties last weekend at Talladega for racing below the yellow line would likely be used only at the series' stops at Talladega and Daytona(That's Racin')(4-28-2001)

  • Another Wood UPDATE: Jon Wood starts second today in his second Winston West race. His father is Eddie Wood, one of the co-owners of the Wood Brothers #21 Winston Cup team. Jon Wood, 19, is competing in selected Winston West and truck series races this year to gain experience. Roush Racing has announced that Wood will drive for one of the organization's truck teams provided sponsorship is found. Wood finished 11th in his Winston West debut at Phoenix in February. He plans to compete at Winston West events this year at Kansas Speedway and Las Vegas. He also plans to compete in the truck series races at Richmond and South Boston Speedway(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE: Jon Wood led quite a few laps and finished 2nd(4-28-2001)

  • New #45 Scheme: Sprint, Kyle Petty and Kyle's father, Richard "The King" Petty, today unveiled a special paint scheme for Kyle's #45 Sprint Dodge revealing the 2001 Sprint/Kyle Petty Charity Ride logo during a special ceremony at the California Speedway. Petty will drive the Sprint/Kyle Petty Charity Ride car at the Winston Cup race June 24 at Sears Point Raceway. With the 2001 Sprint/Kyle Petty Charity Ride already at capacity, Sprint also announced that they have created a variety of promotions and customer events that create opportunities for more riders to participate. Sprint's local telephone division is also awarding one lucky customer a spot on the Charity Ride through a sweepstakes being conducted at the Sprint Stores in select markets. Besides the sweepstakes, customers who sign up for Sprint SolutionsSM while at the stores will receive a miniature die-cast Sprint 45 Dodge car with their purchase. The special paint scheme features the colors of the 2001 Sprint/Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. The Starbright Foundation, one of the benefactors of the charity ride, is also featured on the c-post of the car.(Three Wide Marketing PR), for more info on the Charity Ride, see my Racing Charities page(4-27-2001)

  • Martinsville Track Worker Update Story: see full story at Catchefence - Safety, Something Randy Hall Wants All To Be Aware by Mark Stiles(4-27-2001)

  • Bodine to Return UPDATE: Geoffrey Bodine hopes to begin a comeback next month at Lowes Motor Speedway. The 51-year-old Bodine plans to drive a second car for the team run by brother Brett in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He hopes that will lead to a full-time ride with Brett or someone else(ESPN/AP) AND Geoffrey Bodine said he's going to be testing at Charlotte in two weeks with hopes of making the field for the 600, if he can get a sponsor. And he says he's still trying to make a deal for Darwin Oordt's idle operation in Mooresville, the old Butch Mock shop. Bodine in January feared his driving career was over, because of lingering effects of last year's near-fatal crash at Daytona. But now he says that was simply an issue of side effects from medication(Winston Salem Journal)(4-22-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the car will be #91 and is awaiting NASCAR's approval on the sponsorship package - hearing the sponsor could be Smirnoff (liquior) which could be interesting as NASCAR squashed a supposed deal between Crown Royal and Eel River Racing a month or so ago, or it could be their new malt beverage called Smirnoff Ice(4-24-2001)
    see a story on NASCAR and Liquior sponsorships at NASCAR's prohibition means no liquor license by Marty Smith(4-27-2001)

  • Talladega and TV: Once again, FOX Sports' Winston Cup telecast topped the week's national television sports ratings with a final 6.4 national rating for the Talladega 500 Sunday. The show carved out a 17 share with 6.541m households tuned in. The Knicks/Raptors NBA playoff game running opposite the race on NBC pulled a 3.2 final national rating. To date, the nine Winston Cup races on FOX Sports this year have averaged a stunning 6.8 with a 17 share. That's compared to the 4.9/13 combined broadcast/cable average for the same nine races(SpeedVision)(4-27-2001)

  • Wide World of Sports and Petty: Seven-time Winston Cup champion Richard Petty will be among the athletes, and the only stock car driver, featured in ABC's Wide World of Sports 40th Anniversary show. The show will be broadcast nationally at 4:00pm/et Sunday, April 27th (yep, right during the Cup race). Petty was interviewed a couple of weeks ago as a staple of the well-known sports show, which broadcast events such as the Southern 500 from Darlington. "I'm just glad they are using me in the `thrill of victory' part, instead of the `agony of defeat,' " Petty said. "For a long time, they were all we had if we were going to be on television," he said. "For a long time, if you were going to watch sports on television, that's pretty much all there was. Just about anybody who has been around for any length of time knows the show."(That's Racin')(4-27-2001)

  • Petty's Honored: Kyle and Pattie Petty are this year's recipients of the Racing Angels Award. The award is presented annually at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction banquet by Linda Vaughn and sponsor Prolong Super Lubricants. Previous winners of the award are Bill France and the late T. Wayne Robertson. The induction ceremony is slated to be telecast on Speedvision on April 29.(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read online)(4-26-2001)

  • #100 for Park: #1-Steve Park will start his 100th Winston Cup race this weekend at California Speedway(Pennzoil PR)(4-26-2001)

  • Wind Tunnel: hearing that Penske South Racing has an intermediate #02 Ford at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(4-27-2001)

  • Harvick to go for it: A spokesperson for Watkins Glen International said Wednesday that Kevin Harvick, who drives Richard Childress's cars (#2 AC Delco in BGN and #29 GM Goodwrench in Cup) will fly from Daytona to New York on Friday night, July 6, after Winston Cup qualifying for the Pepsi 400 to qualify his BGN car at Watkins Glen on Saturday morning, July 7. After his BGN qualifying run, he will fly back to Daytona, run the Pepsi 400. Then he'll fly back up to Watkins Glen to run the BGN race on Sunday, July 8.( Buzz). Harvick is going for both the BGN and Cup drivers title, somthing that has never happened in the history of NASCAR(4-26-2001)

  • Sad News: Michele Alboreto, a one-time Formula One star, was killed when the Audi he was test driving crashed in eastern Germany, the carmaker said Wednesday. The 44-year-old Italian was behind the wheel of a new A8 car when it spun out of control and turned over on a straight section of the Lausitzring circuit, in what Audi’s sporting chief Wolfgang Ullrich called an “incomprehensible tragedy.” See more of the AP story at FoxSports(4-26-2001)

  • No More Winston in 'Winston Cup'? R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., stands accused of violating the 1998 multi-billion dollar tobacco settlement with state governments by advertising year-round at race tracks. If the signage is struck down, it could cause RJR to re-evaluate its financial support of racing, which industry sources believe approaches $40 million a year. See full story at the CNN/SI site: RJR accused of violating tobacco settlement, to much info to cut down or post here AND also at the CNN/SI site: What's in a name? - Future of 'Winston' Cup remains uncertain some highlights: If by some long-shot, R. J. Reynolds decides to withdraw its NASCAR sponsorship after the season, who'll fill the Winston Cup void? You might expect several corporate giants -- like soft-drink producers, for starters -- to eagerly line up and hand over tens of millions, industry sources say. It's also a fair bet NASCAR would ignore the big-money guys tied to edgier products, such as major beer companies Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing.(4-25-2001)

  • Radio on the Internet: now has quite a few radio shows available via the internet at their site. From PRN - Performance Racing Network: Garage Pass, Fast Talk, hosted by Benny Parsons(boy do I miss him on TV), The Pit Reporters(which I even did once). From MRN - Motor Racing Network: NASCAR Today and NASCAR Live. Listen to them at Broadcasts, available in Real Audio(4-25-2001)

  • Lepage To Sign Up? UPDATE 2 not after California: Kevin Lepage is expected to sign a contract soon to drive for #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports the rest of the season. Lepage joined the team after Robby Gordon 's departure after Darlington last month(Roanoke Times)(4-22-2001)
    UPDATE: Kevin Lepage has been offered the full-time driver position with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and its #4 Chevy. Lepage, 38, is expected to sign a three-year contract with owner Larry McClure. A formal announcement of Lepage's hiring is planned for next weekend at California, sources said. Lepage has filled in on a temporary basis since the team and it's original driver, Robby Gordon, split after five races. Lepage has 100 career Winston Cup starts. His best finish was fifth in September 1999 at Darlington. He also has one pole, November 1999 at Atlanta(That's Racin')(4-23-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that that Morgan-McClure Motorsports will NOT have an official announcement at California this weekend regarding the signing of Kevin Lepage due to the team testing and a tight schedule to get to California. Lepage will be doing double duty, trying to compete in the BGN race and the Winston Cup race. A contract, however, should be signed and announced during the Richmond race weekend(4-25-2001)

  • #36 and Snickers: To promote its newest candy brand, Snickers Cruncher, M&M/MARS, Inc. has a special paint scheme this weekend at California Speedway. The "M" Characters are taking a one-week break while the #36 Pontiac with driver Ken Schrader, displays the chocolate and caramel colors on the Snickers Cruncher wrapper.(MRN Radio Site), also see an image of the scheme on my Paint Schemes Gallery(4-25-2001)

  • Compton Goes to School: #92-Stacy Compton had an appointment at Sears Point Raceway for Tuesday evening with driving instructor Bill Cooper. Compton made some laps in a Dodge Viper street car, therefore not burning one of his allotted seven tests allowed by NASCAR( Buzz)(4-25-2001)

  • The Mummy Returns? hearing that #26 Jimmy Spencer will drive a Mummy Returns (the sequel to The Mummy) / Kmart Ford at California to promote the release of the movie. The car will supposedly feature characters from the movie, most notably Duane Johnson better known to WWF Fans as the ROCK, (he'll be playing the "Scorpion King") and be be black and gold(4-25-2001)

  • Kranefuss Buys Into BGN Team: Brad Akins has formed a partnership with Michael Kranefuss on the #98 Starter/Hot Tamales BGN team. Kranefuss will also bring his former general manager from the #12 Winston Cup team Marty Gaunt and his son Dan Kranefuss to work with him. Kranefuss, a former worldwide leader of Ford Motor Company racing programs and Winston Cup team owner(#84-Shawna Robinson), is excited about this opportunity. "Brad has built a great program that now needs more time and experience than he has to give to it. I'll be jumping into a good team operation and this will allow me to return on a day to day basis to what I have been doing for many years," said Michael Kranefuss. Long time Akins Motorsports driver Elton Sawyer is also pleased. "Michael Kranefuss has done just about everything you can do in motorsports with great success. The #98 team has been in the Top Five range the past three years and I think Michael can help take us to the championship level. Brad has always wanted to give this team everything we need to win a championship, but he can not be here every day to stay on top of things, and Michael can. I think this will be the final piece in the puzzle to get us there."(Akins Mororsports PR)(4-25-2001)

  • Sears Point Completes More Work - REPOST - UPDATE Testing this week: Construction crews have completed work on the modified Chute and NASCAR Winston Cup drivers will get their first opportunity on the re-configured segment during a two-day test session, April 24-25. The new Chute, which connects Turns 4 and 7 on the road course, will be used for the first time in competition at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup event, June 21-24. Drivers confirmed for the NASCAR test are: #2-Rusty Wallace, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Terry Labonte, #29-Kevin Harvick, #17-Matt Kenseth, #31-Mike Skinner, #55-Bobby Hamilton, #01-Jason Leffler and #87-Ron Fellows. The entire segment will span 1,170 feet, nearly 300 feet more than the original Chute (890 feet). Construction crews have also broken ground on 40 permanent garages that will be ready for the Dodge/Save Mart 350. In the past, teams have worked on their cars under the hot sun, but that will no longer be the case. Each garage will be 12 feet wide and 25 feet deep, giving race teams ample room to work on their cars. Sears Point Raceway will build additional garages for the 2002 season to handle the entire qualifying field. The original 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course will still be used for all road-racing events at Sears Point Raceway that are not NASCAR-sanctioned(Sears Point PR)(4-7/23-2001)
    UPDATE: #2-Rusty Wallace was the fastest driver during a two-day test session at Sears Point Raceway as track officials opened up the modified Chute for the first time. Wallace, a two-time winner at Sears Point Raceway in 1990 and 1996, turned the 10-turn, 2-mile road course in 1 minute, 17.31 seconds(93.132mph) to record the fastest lap over the two-day session. He was followed by #29-Kevin Harvick (1:17.70 - 92.664mph) and #87-Ron Fellows (1:18.10 - 92.190mph). The modified Chute, which connects Turns 4 and 7 on the road course for all NASCAR-sanctioned events, will be used for the first time in competition at the Dodge/Save Mart 350, June 21-24. Other drivers who competed in the two-day test were #5-Terry Labonte, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #01-Jason Leffler, #17-Matt Kenseth, #31-Mike Skinner and #55-Bobby Hamilton. The Chute was originally constructed in 1998 with the intention of giving fans better visibility of the road course. The original move also shortened the course - from 2.52 to 1.95 miles - and provided fans with 40 additional laps, meaning more opportunities to see the stars. The third objective was to provide better competition. The first two objectives were met, but the third didn't work, which is why officials are now correcting it, with the aid of drivers. The modified Chute features the following elements: A 300-foot straightaway from Turn 4 to what will become the new Turn This segment will feature straight-line braking before entering Turn 4a; A sharp 70-degree right-hand turn from Turn 4a into the Chute. There will also be 150 feet of runoff room available outside Turn 4a; Once out of Turn 4a, drivers will navigate an 870-foot pure straightaway, which will feature speeds in excess of 110 mph. This will be one of the fastest segments of the track; Turn 7 will boast a 90-degree right-hand turn placed 100 feet beyond the current Turn 7 apex. The turn will feature 120 feet of runoff. The modification will increase the length of the road course from 1.95 to 1.99 miles. The number of turns remains the same (10). Other top times for the two-day test session were: Hamilton (1:18.10 - 92.190mph); Labonte (1:18.20 - 92.072); Kenseth (1:18.39 - 91.849); Skinner (1:18.51 - 91.708), Earnhardt Jr. (1:19.41 - 90.669) and Leffler (1:19.45 - 90.623). The original 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course will still be used for all road-racing events at Sears Point Raceway that are not NASCAR-sanctioned(Sears Point PR)(4-25-2001)

  • #55 Sponsor News: MGE UPS SYSTEMS, the technology leader in Uninterruptible Power Supplies (backup power systems), will support the Square D Racing Team at this weekend's NAPA AUTO PARTS 500. The #55 Square D Chevy will display the MGE logo on the decklid(trunk) of the car during the race for the race held on Sunday, April 29th at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. MGE UPS SYSTEMS' logo will be featured on the decklid of the Square D car during the race. MGE's Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) back up 90 percent of the Fortune 500, including most of the world's largest Web Hosting and Internet Services companies.(Business Wire)(4-25-2001)

  • Testing News: #20-Tont Stewart and #93-Dave Blaney completes a two-day Goodyear tire test today at Michigan and #10-Johnny Benson participated in a two-day Goodyear tire test Monday and Tuesday at Pocono(Roanoke Times), no speeds reported. Commenst by Benson: The #10 Valvoline Pontiac team feels like it received a high compliment this week when Goodyear asked the team to take part in Goodyear’s tire test on Monday and Tuesday in Pocono. In addition to gaining track time without having to use one of his seven NASCAR-allotted tests during the season, driver Johnny Benson said taking part in the test, usually limited to the better NASCAR Winston Cup teams, is a compliment to his crew. Benson said the work done by Goodyear has produced better and safer racing in the 2001 season. “Its an honor for us as well as an opportunity for us to get on the track without costing us a test. As a driver it will help me get a good balance and a good feel for Pocono as well as help Goodyear out and I think most race fans know how important Goodyear is to all of us. Goodyear has a good plan as far as what they want to bring to the track, but I think they want to know for sure what they want to do. They need somebody to test the tire and make sure there aren’t any problems. By that I mean we will run and hopefully show them the type of tire wear and tire temperatures they want to see. It’s a safety thing. They need to make sure there are no problems when every one gets to Pocono in June. We will make laps for them this week. I think we will gain small bits of knowledge. It’s not a full-blown test where you get to change springs, change shocks and anything else to make your car faster. Goodyear is looking for us to turn consistent fast laps so they can evaluate their tire. We are going to Pocono with a few less crew guys than we normally would at a regular test. This still gives me a good feel as far as the track goes and the tires go. We have to get the car to where it is balanced. So we can work some there. To get right down to it, if the car is decent we will bring it to Pocono in June. If it isn’t then we will bring another car. This week will give us a good idea of what we want when we race there.”(MBV Motorsports PR)(4-25-2001)

  • Funny Man: Mike Calinoff, spotter for #17-Matt Kenseth, will be a guest performer at the Comedy Store, a club on Sunset Blvd. in LA on Thursday April 26th from 9:30-10:00pm(changed from 8:00pm). Calinoff, a former stand up comedian, will get his chance to joke about racing in the club where comedians like Robin Williams and David Letterman started out, hearing it will be shown in part on the Fox pre-race coverage(4-25-2001)

  • Re-released Earnhardt Book: Two months of testimonials and moving tributes have done little to remove the sting of that heartless day in February when Dale Earnhardt died on the final lap of the Daytona 500. However, in a recently re-released book entitled Dale Earnhardt: Rear View Mirror, only a small portion is devoted to the legendary driver's tragic death. Most of the book, which features dozen of newspaper stories and more than 160 photographs from the archives of the Charlotte Observer, focuses on Earnhardt prior to last February's crash. Rear View Mirror is a good book for fans seeking to learn more about what made Earnhardt tick. Full story at the Arizona Republic: Earnhardt looms in Rear View Mirror. Another recent book, Trading Paint : Dale Earnhardt Vs. Jeff Gordon Classic Photos from a Classic Rivalry was just released also, along with a few other Earnhardt books. More info on these and many other NASCAR Themed books can be found on my Racing Bookstore page, including a way to order them (proceeds to charity)(4-24-2001)

  • #01 Special Scheme: hearing that Jason Leffler will be running a Special Olympics logo in June on the #01 Cingular Dodge. Cingular is a Special Olympics sponsor and it is part of this years promo(4-24-2001)

  • Waltrip Paint at Daytona: many readers saw on For Race Fans Only (QVC) the other night that Michael Waltrip unveiled a paint scheme for the July Daytona Race. It has the NAPA Slogan "We Keep America Running" on the hood. Also had red/white stripes on it to give it an american flag feel(4-21-2001)
    IMAGE: see an image of the car on my Paint Sceme Gallery(also added the #51 Subway, the #24 Jeff Gordon Foundation car and others)(4-24-2001)

  • Mayfield to be Honored: Last year's NAPA AUTO PARTS 500 champion Jeremy Mayfield will join past champions Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin in the California Speedway Walk of Fame at Gate 12 on Friday, April 27th at 9:30 a.m. Mayfield will have a plaque permanently installed in the ground along with his footprints and autograph.(California Speedway PR)(4-24-2001)

  • Pole but No Wins: did ya know? No pole winner has gone on to win the race in which he won the pole this season(4-24-2001)

  • Oakwood Homes Gone UPDATE: Advertising and marketing have become cost-cutting targets, and NASCAR is feeling the pinch. Team Owner Andy Petree said hard economic times for Oakwood Homes are the reason the mobile home manufacturer is not renewing its sponsorship of his #33 Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek. Petree is looking for a primary sponsor for the 2002 season, but said he would welcome a new company this year as a joint sponsor. Petree is also searching for an associate sponsor on his #55 car, which is sponsored by Square D and driven by Bobby Hamilton.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE: Because of the current state of the manufactured housing industry, Oakwood Homes will not be a primary sponsor on Joe Nemechek.s #33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet beginning next season. That means Petree is seeking sponsorship. "We would like to be able to continue our association with Andy Petree Racing, Inc. and know Andy would like for us to stay," said Mike Taylor, Senior Vice President, Oakwood Homes Corporation. "The fact of the matter is we are not in a position to continue our sponsorship of the #33 car after this season. We told Andy that because of ongoing cost reduction initiatives at Oakwood Homes, because of the deep downturn in the manufactured home industry, we are simply not able to exercise our option to extend, for a third year, our primary sponsorship," Taylor said. "This has been a tremendous association for us and one we have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. Outside forces, things that have nothing to do with the race car, are dictating this." Petree, who also owns the #55 Square D Chevrolet of driver Bobby Hamilton, said he understood Oakwood's situation and also regrets Oakwood Homes will not be able to continue sponsorship of the #33 car after the 2001 season.(Williams Company PR)(4-24-2001)

  • : CNN/Sports Illustrated has introduced two weekly programs with "NASCAR Plus" and "Sports Illustrated - Cover to Cover," according to an announcement made Monday. "NASCAR Plus" debuted Monday evening. "Sports Illustrated - Cover to Cover" debuts May 3. "NASCAR Plus" will offer viewers thirty minutes of NASCAR news and features, plus in-depth analysis and reporting from Turner Sports analyst Benny Parsons and reporter Marty Snider. The show is hosted by CNN/SI's Johnny Phelps. Check local listings for details.(That's Racin'), see more on the CNN/SI Television page(4-24-2001)

  • Fox to buy SpeedVision? is reporting that Fox Cable Networks is in serious negotiations to acquire the 66% of Speedvision that it does not already own. To get the deal done, Fox is talking to Cox Communications, AT&T, Comcast, and minority investors. Reportedly, the deal would include both Speedvision and the Outdoor Life Network. See full stories(2 of them) at

  • Martin Wears HANS: quoted in the past as saying he wouldn't wear the HANS or similar device, #6-Mark Martin donned a Hans safety device for the race at Talladega(Anniston Star)(4-24-2001)

  • Testing at Talladega on Monday UPDATE 4: Officials are making plans for a Monday test at Talladega Superspeedway that could impact future events at stock car racing's biggest speedways. Several Winston Cup teams are expected to participate in test runs with the goal of studying alternatives to the current rules package used at Talladega and Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. "We're talking about it, and right now we don't know at what level it will be," said Kevin Triplett, NASCAR's director of operations, Wednesday.(more at the Greenville News)(4-19-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will hold a major rules test here Monday, with hopes to find new aero rules for the July 400 at Daytona. But only one team will apparently be able to provide a car and driver, because these teams have to be loaded and on the road to California on Monday night for next weekend's Napa 500. The test will involve what is described as "a bigger car," with a larger "greenhouse" and wider front fenders. NASCAR has also scheduled a second test here for May 6 and 7, with all Winston Cup teams invited. That session will be open to the media, as part of a surprising new NASCAR public-relations campaign to repair the sanctioning body's image, bruised by negative reaction to the secrecy in handling the Dale Earnhardt investigation(Winston Salem Journal)(4-21-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing and Hendrick Motorsports each will participate in a NASCAR test Monday at Talladega Superspeedway. Another test with more teams is likely in early May as NASCAR officials search for aerodynamic solutions so the cars are not bunched so close during races at Talladega and Daytona. Drivers have complained about the rules for the restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega since the Daytona 500. They say the aerodynamic rule changes made last year have tightened the pack and led to the 19-car crash at Daytona where Tony Stewart 's car flipped down the backstretch(Roanoke Times)(4-22-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Only Chip Ganassi Racing will test today at Talladega Superspeedway as NASCAR examines possible aerodynamic changes for Talladega and Daytona. Hendrick Motorsports planned to test but had to withdraw. Sterling Marlin will drive in the test. Although it will be only one car, NASCAR director of operations Kevin Triplett said the test would be helpful in showing series officials what might work(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE 4: The following are comments from Gary Nelson, NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director, regarding Monday's test by NASCAR at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Sterling Marlin, driver of the #40 Coors Light Dodge, participated in the test. Several ideas were experimented with that included various width and height changes to the rear spoiler and front fenders. The concentrated effort was on the green-house area in which a steeper-higher angled windshield and higher and wider green-house were used. The green-house is the area above the door-tops, cowl and deck-lid and contains the roof and all of the windows. "What we did today was a continuation of a test we conducted last year and actually several tests we've conducted over the last couple of years, where we tried a wider green-house area. Many well-respected teams offered a few suggestions to try and (Chip) Ganassi's team and Sterling (Marlin) did a great job in preparing the parts and components needed to conduct the test. "We ran about 50 laps with speeds ranging from 182 to 187 mph. The test was conducted without the use of the current aero-package that the teams used in last fall's race at Talladega and both restrictor-plate races this season (Daytona 500 and Talladega 500). "As we move along, the theory behind putting a wider and taller green-house area on the cars, should have given us another step in our ideas of enhancing the safety of the cars, while keeping the level of competition on the same playing field. However, the results we received were not promising. While the test did not provide us with any immediate answers, we will still study what we learned and possibly regroup to organize another test to continue to build on the theory of a bigger, less aerodynamic green-house."(NASCAR PR)(4-23-2001)
  • Said to run the #77 at the Road Courses: Jasper Motorsports President Doug Bawel and Driver Robert Pressley announced today that long time road racer Boris Said will take over the driving duties of the #77 Ford for the two NASCAR Winston Cup road course events run this season. Said's first appearance for the Jasper team will be in June at Sears Point Raceway. He will also pilot the car during the event at Watkins Glen International in August ( NOT September as the PR had). "Boris is a road course specialist," said Pressley. "We need to do what's best for this Jasper team. That has always been our goal. When we needed a strong leader a couple of years ago, we went out and got (Crew Chief) Ryan Pemberton, because that's what we needed to do to make this team strong. It's my turn now to do what's best. I have every confidence that Boris's experience will make this worthwhile. And, I promise I'll be cheering on the team, because they are there every week rooting for me." Said, who competes full time in the SCCA Trans Am Series as well as the Speedvision World Challenge Series and the American LeMans Series, has seen the twists and turns of both Sears Point and Watkins Glen before. In 1998, he qualified fifth in Winston Cup regular Jimmy Spencer's car before relieving him during the race and finishing 20th. At Sears Point in 1999, Said posted the fastest time in practice but experienced engine failure in both qualifying sessions and was thus unable to make the field. He also encountered bad luck during last year's event when suspension problems put him out of the race on lap 26 of the 112-lap event.(Jasper Racing PR)(4-23-2001)

  • #55 - a Former Show Car: Chances are you may have seen the Chevrolet Hamilton drove to victory at Talladega here Sunday at a K-Mart or Chevron station not long ago. "We took it to the 1999 Daytona 500,'' car owner Andy Petree said. "It had a bad body on it and we really just had a lot of bad luck with things. We made a show car out of it and it was on our show car circuit for the entire year. We resurrected it from the show car department when they changed the rules back. And now, it's back on the track.''(Times Daily)(4-23-2001)

  • #92 Car: The Dodge that Stacy Compton qualified on the Pole in Talladega was the same car that he qualified on the outside pole at Daytona. This car was fabricated by Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. which offers fans the opportunity to see how these cars and others are fabricated via LIVE WEB CAMS at

    see the Apr 16-22, 2001 Archived News Page

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