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PAST NEWS APR 30-May 6, 2001

  • Wallace and Petree: After #27-Kenny Wallace went out of the race with a broke motor, he was interviewed and said that if the #27 team didn't go to Richmond, his former owner, Andy Petree(#'s 33 and 55) was goning to field a car for him. But the #27 team got Geico as a one race (hopefully longer) sponsor and was able to go(FX Race Coverage)(5-6-2001)

    LI>Jeff Burton to test restraints: #99-Jeff Burton says he has scheduled to crash test the HANS device, the Hutchens device, the Simpson Decelerator and compare the results(Roanoke Times), no word on where or how(5-5-2001)

  • Stewart Wins at Richmond: #20-Tony Stewart who ran well on long runs, won at Richmond for his and Pontiac's first win in 2001. #24-Jeff Gordon and #2-Rusty Wallace duked it out for 2nd with Gordon getting the spot, some heated words on pit road. The race was red flagged with 4 laps to go and a few cars had trouble getting started including #88-Dale Jarrett who ran out of gas and wound up 15th. Jarrett now leads Gordon by 14 points in the Drivers Championship with Wallace 62 points behind. See That's Racin' for Pontiac 400 results by the AP or for Unofficial Results and Unofficial Standings(5-5-2001)

  • Racing Student Killed: A 17-year-old Everett, WA girl died Thursday of massive head injuries after a race car she was driving slammed into a concrete wall at the Yakima Speedway racetrack. Ashley Bergman was in the second day of a two-day racing class with Yakima's Competitive Edge Racing School, said Yakima County Coroner Maurice Rice(Yakima Herald Republic), thoughts go out to family and friends(5-5-2001)

  • Dyno Testing UPDATE: NASCAR put eight cars on the chassis dyno to measure rear-wheel horsepower after the NAPA Auto Parts 500 in California. The cars checked were those of #2-Rusty Wallace, #24-Jeff Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #40-Sterling Marlin, #28-Ricky Rudd, #9-Bill Elliott, #55-Bobby Hamilton and #33-Joe Nemechek(That's Racin'). What is Chassis Dyno Testing? See my Racing FAQ page for the explanation(4-30-2001)
    NASCAR's post-race testing at California showed Wallace the decisive winner with 722 horsepower at the rear wheels, considerably more than runner-up Jeff Gordon's 702, according to unofficial reports(Winston Salem Journal), these were the only two cars reported in the story(5-5-2001)

  • Worker Injured but Ok: A track worker was injured at RIR. Shirley Mae Lincoln of Richmond was working for the Burns Security group when a dumbwaiter door fell off and hit her in the head. Lincoln was treated at MCV(a local hospital) and kept overnight. She was released last night.(Times Dispatch)(5-5-2001)

  • Playboy and the #27? UPDATE more sponsor news: Kenny Wallace acknowledged that the #27 Eel River Racing Pontiac team recently discussed the possibility of accepting a sponsorship from Playboy magazine. Wallace defended the decision to pursue sponsorship from an adult magazine by stating that Playboy offered a "cleaner" form of nudity. "It was Playboy, not Penthouse. That's a lot better, because Playboy is a little bit cleaner magazine than Penthouse," Wallace said. (Playboy publisher) Hugh Hefner is a pretty cool guy."(in part from the ESPN site)(5-4-2001)
    UPDATE: Barry Dodson and Kenny Wallace said that rumors of the imminent demise of their stock-car team have been greatly exaggerated: "Bust their chops, because we're not only going to run Richmond but we've got a sponsor," said Dodson, the veteran crew chief and part owner of Eel River Racing. Part of that battle has been in trying to keep rival car owners from getting his driver. "Larry McClure wanted Kenny, but he's our driver," Dodson said.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-5-2001)

  • Same Engine? UPDATE more engine stuff: NASCAR is rumored to be considering a “one-engine rule” for races in 2002, meaning that teams would have to qualify and race using the same power plant(Gaston Gazette)(5-4-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials are seriously considering a common engine rule for next season for their top three divisions, and the engine would be the current Busch series engine, a 358 c.i. with a small 390 CFM (cubic inch per minute air flow) carburetor and 9-to-1 compression, according to NASCAR sources (Jayski NOTE: actually BGN engines are now 12:1 compression now, same as Cup). NASCAR officials are close to ordering the one-engine rule into effect, requiring a team to race the same engine it qualifies. That may go into effect at Loudon, N.H. in July, in an attempt to cut some horsepower. And...NASCAR officials are again considering ordering weight limits on engine parts, to keep teams from going to ever-lighter and more expensive parts to gain horsepower(Winston Salem Journal)(5-5-2001)

  • Aarons and Robinson? more? hearing Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership may sponsor #84-Shawna Robinson for her other two planned races. Previous annoument's had Aaron's sponsoring on the car for California, Michigan, Indianapolis and Atlanta. The other two planned races for Robinson and MK Racing are Kansas and Homestead(5-5-2001)

  • Sponsors Leaving? At least eight major Winston Cup tour sponsors are talking about buying up their racing contracts and dropping off the tour because of NASCAR's continuing bad PR over safety issues and the Earnhardt affair, according to NASCAR sources(Winston Salem Journal)(5-5-2001)

  • No Coverup: NASCAR president Mike Helton issued a statement to the media Friday at Richmond, following a meeting with Winston Cup drivers and team owners to answer their questions about the on-going investigation into Dale Earnahrdt's death in a crash at Daytona on Feb. 18. See That's Racin' for the Transcript of Helton's statement (5-4-2001)

  • Kenseth to RCR? UPDATE: 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)
    UPDATE: Matt Kenseth comments on Roush - "Why would I consider going anywhere else?" Matt Kenseth said. "I have the crew chief of my choice, a great group of people building cars for me, the support of DeWALT and the unlimited resources of the equipment and employees at Roush Racing. I'd be foolish to give this up."(Roush Racing Site)(5-4-2001)

  • Penalties UPDATE: NASCAR Officials announced today the suspension of a NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief for rules violations discovered in inspection prior to Sunday's NAPA 500 at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. Mike Beam, crew chief of the #32 Ford Taurus, received a two-race suspension (until May 22, 2001-suspended from the next two NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship or Invitational Events) and a $5,000 fine for not having the manufacturer's date visible on the seat belts. Beam was penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book, "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform... or have not been approved by NASCAR..." Along with the above-mentioned penalty, Beam was issued another $500 fine for rules violations (roof camera shell not within the proper dimension) discovered in inspection prior to the Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. He was penalized under Section 12-4-Q, "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform... or have not been approved by NASCAR..." Robin Pemberton, crew chief for the No. 2 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was penalized for rules violations (fuel cell top rack) discovered in inspection prior to the NAPA 500 at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. Pemberton was fined $500 and penalized under section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book. Additional fines were levied against the following crew chiefs for rules violations discovered in inspection prior to the Talladega 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and were penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: #96-Joe Garone, Roof camera shell not within proper dimension, $500; #28-Michael McSwain, Fuel cell top rack, $500; #8-Tony Eury, Sr, Fuel cell top rack, $500; #15-Scott Eggleston, Fuel cell top rack, $500; #1-Paul Andrews, Lightened lug nuts, $500(NASCAR PR)(5-2-2001)
    UPDATE: PPI Motorsports will not appeal the seat belt related fine and two-race suspension of Tide crew chief Mike Beam announced yesterday by NASCAR. Statement by Cal Wells, owner, PPI Motorsports, regarding the penalty: "As safety conscious as this team is, we would never do anything to impede the safety systems in our race cars. It's not uncommon - nor against the rules - to remove the manufacturer name labels from seat belts to help tighten the buckles. There was an error in judgment at the car prep stage when the date labels, not just the manufacturer name labels, were also removed from what are essentially new belts. We are extremely frustrated and embarrassed by the penalty and Mike's suspension, especially since this was not his mistake. However, I have to commend NASCAR for being consistent in enforcing the importance of paying attention to seat belts and other safety elements in Winston Cup cars." Roy McCauley, race engineer for the No. 32 Tide Ford, will serve as interim crew chief for the next two races(Richmond and The Winston)(PPI Motorsports PR)(5-4-2001)

  • Ward Hospitalized UPDATE 6 Will Race - Wimmer(not Sacks) to stand by: Winston Cup driver Ward Burton was admitted to Loma Linda Medical Center in Riverside(actually in Loma Linda), CA Sunday after he was involved in a wreck during Sunday's NAPA 500 at California Speedway. Burton and Mark Martin were involved in a wreck on Lap 225 in Turn 2. Martin apparently hit Burton from behind, putting Burton's car into a spin and then the wall. Burton was diagnosed with a concussion but was awake and alert at the hospital. He was being held for additional CAT scans(That's Racin')(4-29-2001)
    UPDATE: A NASCAR official confirmed that Burton was wearing the Simpson Decelerator, a new head-restraint system from Simpson Performance Products. Like the HANS device and other head restraints, the Simpson Decelerator is designed to reduce the violent whiplash a driver can suffer in a crash and lead to a basilar skull fracture, which killed Dale Earnhardt, Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin(Roanoke Times) UPDATE 2: hearing Ward Burton will not the Cup race at Richmond due to the concussion and possible torn neck ligaments he suffered at California. No word on who will be sub for him but am hearing it could be Kenny Wallace if the Eel River Racing team decided not tot run at Richmond
    UPDATE 3: Rumor has it that Ward Burton will sit out this weekend's Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway( Buzz)(4-30-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Ward Burton, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, was released from Loma Linda University MedicalCenter last night at approximately 10:00pm/et. He was released following hospitalization for observation and a series of tests after a late-race incident at California Speedway Sunday. Burton was diagnosed with a concussion and was given clearance from the medical staff to return to his home in Virginia(Bill Davis Racing PR). No word on his plans for the race at Richmond this weekend
    AND ESPN2's RPM 2Night reports that Burton has been cleared to race at Richmond and a team spokeman says Burton is scheduled to run at Richmond, but Burton is still experiencing pain in his neck(5-1-2001)
    UPDATE 5: Winston Cup driver Ward Burton returned to his Virginia home Tuesday following two nights in a California hospital but his status for Saturday night's Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond, Va., remains questionable. While Burton recovers from injuries he sustained in a wreck in Sunday's NAPA 500 at California Speedway, NASCAR continues to examine the head-restraint system Burton used in the race. Although Burton's team hopes he can compete this weekend, it is making contingency plans. Bill Davis, owner of Burton's team, contacted driver Kenny Wallace this week about driving for Burton at Richmond. Wallace's team was rumored to be shutting down this week. Wallace, however, informed Davis his team had picked up a sponsor, Geico, and would be racing this weekend. Davis has contacted other potential replacement drivers as well, sources said. Dave Blaney, would likely replace Burton in the team's scheduled test Monday and Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway in preparation for The Winston and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte later this month(That's Racin')
    UPDATE 6: PRN's Garage Pass radio show reports Ward Burton will run Richmond with Greg Sacks standing by as a back-up driver. Burton was checked out today by a neurosurgeon at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC and was cleared to race.(PRN Garage Pass)(5-2-2001)
    UPDATE 6: Scott Wimmer of the Busch Series(#23 Bill Davis Pontiac) will be on stand-by for Ward Burton for Saturday night's race at Richmond. Burton suffered a concussion after being involved in a crash at Fontana and stayed overnight in a local hospital. He has been cleared by doctors to race(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(5-4-2001)

  • Stewart in the Indy 500 Part II and an UPDATE 4: Tony Stewart is close to heading back to the Indianapolis 500. Sources close to Stewart's Joe Gibbs racing operation say that Stewart has been granted permission to compete in this year's 500-miler, provided that he meets several stipulations. Stewart must agree to a rigorous strength and conditioning program to prepare him for the potential 1,100 miles of racing he will put his body through on May 27. Gibbs reasons that such a program will provide his driver with some much needed athletic development that will pay off during the remainder of NASCAR season. The proposed ride for Stewart is rumored to be in the Target car owned by Chip Ganassi Racing. Target's sponsorship is another stipulation the source indicated needs resolution before Stewart can drive at Indy. Home Depot must have a presence on any car that Stewart races at the Brickyard. As late as last week, Stewart scoffed at his rumored return to the race that first thrust him into national prominence. During FOX TV's pre-race coverage, Stewart told Chris Meyers that he was "bringing a two-car team to Indy with Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond (two former NASCAR mechanics and current Fox commentators) as my drivers." When asked about a possible Stewart ride, Chip Ganassi said "the drivers in the cars now are the ones scheduled to run Indy." Those two drivers are Ganassi's CART team of rookies Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian. Previous reports linked both Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy as potential Ganassi Indy 500 drivers, but Ganassi denied any move to replace either of his two rookies with Vasser or Tracy.(ESPN)
    (NOTE: I missed this interview, but my understanding is that Tony Stewart's comments on Fox last week concerning him possibly running the Indy 500 to Chris Meyer's were.. .that he was bringing a two car team to Indy with Darrell Waltrip and Matt Yocum as the drivers,(not Larry & Jeff), makes more sense, but it was just a tongue in cheek statement by Stewart because of all the rumors). See the past news on this on my #20 Team News and Links page
    UPDATE: Despite recent rumors to the contrary, seeing Tony Stewart in the Indianapolis 500 is wishful thinking, a team spokesman said Friday. The spokesman said that the major conflict with the issue, other than the obvious fact that the Coca-Cola 600 is run the same day, deals in the high-dollar realm of sponsorship equity in drivers( Buzz)(4-27-2001)
    UPDATE 2: from a story on ESPN's site by Robin Miller - A story that started out as a rumor on RPM2Night two weeks ago is almost a reality. Tony Stewart will drive for Chip Ganassi in next month's Indianapolis 500. Despite Ganassi's contention it's not a done deal, has confirmed that Stewart will be in a Target G-Force/Aurora for the 85th Indianapolis 500. A source close to the NASCAR star said the contract was agreed on Friday(more at ESPN)(4-29-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Tony Stewart has not finalized a deal with Chip Ganassi to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and said Tuesday that he is running out of time to make it happen. Reached at his home in North Carolina, Stewart said he has until Thursday to pull the Indy Racing League program together. Stewart would not elaborate on the specific obstacles standing between him and a chance at a fifth 500 start. Left unresolved though is the business relationship between Ganassi's sponsor (Target) and the company that funds Stewart's Winston Cup ride with Joe Gibbs Racing (Home Depot). Gibbs and Ganassi could not be reached for comment Tuesday(Indianapolis Star)(5-2-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Tony Stewart said Thursday he still does not have a contract to drive one of Chip Ganassi's IRL cars in this month's Indianapolis 500, although rumors continue to swirl that he has one. Stewart previously said he wanted the deal finalized before he went to Richmond, Va., for today's stock-car qualifying. The 500 opens for practice Sunday. Ganassi has been pursuing Indy veterans to possibly replace his CART rookies, Nicolas Minassian and Bruno Junqueira. In Nazareth, Pa., where CART will race this weekend, Minassian said he would be disappointed if he's replaced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But he would abide by Ganassi's wishes(Indianapolis Star)(5-4-2001)

  • TV at California: A NASCAR Winston Cup race on FOX Sports posted an overnight rating under 5.0 for the first time this season. Nonetheless, the 4.8 overnight for the race at California Speedway was up nearly 40 percent from last year and the small-market bump pushed the final national rating to 5.4 with a 14 share, keeping the string of 5m-plus household audiences intact through 10 races.(SpeedVision)(5-4-2001)

  • Foyt and Childress Team Up at Indy UPDATE: A.J. Foyt has taken on a partner for this year's Indianapolis 500. NASCAR Winston Cup championship team owner Richard Childress is now the co-owner of the No. 41 Dallara/Oldsmobile Aurora Indy car to be driven by Robby Gordon in this year's Indy 500. A.J. Foyt filed an entry change listing RCR Racing as the co-entrant (along with A.J. Foyt Racing) of Gordon's car last Saturday. .I was talking to Richard at Talladega,. said Indy's first four-time winning driver, .and asked him if he wanted to be my partner in the second car at Indy this year. Richard and I have been friends for many, many years and I know he has enjoyed coming to Indy in the past so I figured I.d give him a reason to come again. The difference is he.ll be a team owner this year. "Being involved in some way in the Indy 500 is something I've always wanted to do," said Childress. "A.J. and I have been friends for a long time and there isn't anyone else I'd rather be a co-owner with for that race. We have both been fortunate enough to get to Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I think we have a real shot at getting there together this year with Robby, who is a very talented driver." Childress was a frequent visitor to the Speedway in May during practice and Pole Day qualifying in the 1980's. Childress won the Brickyard 400 in 1995 with the late Dale Earnhardt, who led the race's final 28 laps. Foyt last visited Victory Lane at the Speedway in 1999 when Kenny Brack won the 500 in Foyt's No. 14. Foyt's last victory as a driver came in 1977 when he became the first man to win the race four times. Eliseo Salazar is driving Foyt's famed No. 14 Harrah's entry in this year's 500. Salazar is currently second in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series standings(Foyt PR)(5-3-2001)
    UPDATE: A.J. Foyt announced that he will team up with his NASCAR marketing partner Conseco for the Indianapolis 500. Robby Gordon will pilot the #41 Conseco/Dallara-Aurora which is co-owned by Foyt and Richard Childress.(Foyt PR)(5-4-2001)

  • NASCAR meets with BGN drivers: NASCAR president Mike Helton met with drivers and car owners from the Grand National series Thursday night to speak of safety concerns raised by a number of media reports over the past week involving the death of Dale Earnhardt. The group left the infield of Richmond International Raceway about 6:20 p.m. in a caravan of vans to a location outside the track and returned at 7 p.m. The Grand National series held qualifying Thursday night in preparation for Friday night's Hardee's 250. (Matt Kenseth won the pole). Helton said Thursday night's meeting was one of two planned for the weekend - a similar meeting will be conducted Friday morning with owners and drivers from the Winston Cup garage. "It was just a conversation with drivers and owners about the current headlines and our issues that we wanted to make sure they knew where we were coming from," Helton said. "It wasn't a conversation about us being in a (peeing) match with anybody and it wasn't a conversation about down-playing anything. It was a very frank conversation between NASCAR and the core of the sport - the drivers and the owners - about where we stood and about why we were doing things the way we were doing them and did they have any questions. We owe them answers. That's basically what it all boiled down to." Jeff Green, last season's Grand National series champion, called Thursday night's meeting "very productive."(That's Racin')(5-4-2001)

  • Nemechek and Jarrett: The Jarrett/Favre Driving Adventure announced that Joe Nemechek has joined its ranks. Nemechek and Dale Jarrett said the company's focus is becoming the nation's premier driving adventure company this year. Nemechek is taking a significant equity position in Jarrett/Favre and has signed a personal services contract with the company that allows the use of his likeness for endorsements as well as personal appearances. For more information, visit the company's Web site at or call the company at 1-888-GO-RACE-1 (1-888-467-2231) with any questions(Williams Co PR)(5-4-2001)

  • NASCAR Lawyers meet with firefighter: NASCAR attorneys met Thursday with an Orange County firefighter who says the driver’s seat belt did not break during a crash at the Daytona 500. During a 75-minute meeting at the firehouse where he works, Tommy Propst continued to insist that he found Earnhardt’s seat belts intact after the #3 Chevy hit the concrete wall of Daytona International Speedway. "He was interrogated, and he told the exact same story he has always told," said his attorney, Elizabeth Faiella of Winter Park. "They believe Tommy is telling the truth, but that he’s mistaken that the belt is not severed." Controversy about the belt and whether it broke occupied NASCAR lawyers in Orlando and Daytona Beach on Thursday. While two interrogated Propst, another blocked an attempt by seat-belt maker Bill Simpson to win an apology from NASCAR officials he accuses of maligning his product.(Orlando Sentinel)(5-4-2001)

  • Ride the Rails...with Rusty: Rusty Wallace rode the rails from Charlotte to Richmond on Thursday as part of an Amtrak promotion. Amtrak unveiled plans for a "Monster Mile Express" -- a special train to Dover, Del., on June 3. Instead of driving, fans can board the train in New York, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del., for the ride to the Winston Cup MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway. The Monster Mile Express, complete with race stripes and special fares for riders, is promised to be a "party on wheels," according to the release from "NASCAR and Amtrak have always been the fastest thing on the tracks," Wallace was quoted as saying. "Now people can enjoy the speed and ease of both by riding the Monster Mile Express to Dover." Amtrak claims fans can get to 32 of 38 Winston Cup races via train this season.( Buzz), more info see the Amtrack Promotions section(5-3-2001)

  • Musgrave back in Cup? UPDATE: hearing Ted Musgrave, currently running the full 2001 CTS season for Ultra Motorsports will run a Dodge in some selected races during the year as a teammate to #7 Mike Wallace in Winston Cup, Wallace will supposedly stay in a Ford but the #7 could switch to a Dodge in 2002(3-29-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the Ultra Motorsports team is going to run a second car at Indy in the Brickyard 400. Supposedly will use the #07 and Ted Musgrave supposedly will drive it, no idea on a sponsor or if it'll be a Ford or Dodge(5-3-2001)

  • Yunick Sick: Legendary racing mechanic Henry "Smokey" Yunick was battling for his life April 30 at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. The 77-year-old Yunick was diagnosed with leukemia more than a year ago and had recently started a series of chemotherapy treatments. He was first admitted to the intensive care unit April 22 to fight off pneumonia. He stayed there for three days then was transferred to a private room, where a steady stream of friends and family came to visit(Winston Cup Scene - need subscrition to read online)(5-3-2001)
    Address: Halifax Medical Center 303 N. Clyde Morris Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32114

  • Lepage Signed? Kevin Lepage was scheduled to formally sign a contract with #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports May 1, a development unaffected by his failure to qualify for the April 29 Napa Auto Parts 500(Winston Cup Scene - need subscrition to read online)(5-3-2001)

  • Johnson's Plans UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson, who is scheduled to run for Winston Cup rookie of the year with Hendrick Motorsports in 2002, will hold off on the Cup series for now as he attempts to improve his BGN performance. Johnson will probably run four to six Cup races, but none before the August race at Michigan Speedway(Gaston Gazette)(2-9-2001)
    UPDATE: Initially, Johnson thought his debut might come at Michigan in August, but it now appears he'll wait until the October event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. A tentative schedule he won't divulge calls for at least four races with his future #48 team and possibly as many as seven(Winston Cup Scene - need subscrition to read online)(5-3-2001)

  • Simpson to meet with France and Helton on Thursday UPDATE 4 no meeting: Bill Simpson, founder and chairman of the company that made the seat belts in Dale Earnhardt's race car, said Tuesday that he will ask NASCAR's top two officials to issue a statement that the seatbelts in Earnhardt's car had nothing to do with Earnhardt's Feb. 18 death in the final lap of the Daytona 500. Simpson told ESPN's Kelly Neal that he would make the request in a meeting he has scheduled for Thursday morning with NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. and NASCAR president Mike Helton in Daytona Beach(full story at ESPN)(5-1-2001)
    UPDATE: Word on the street is that, in what appears to be a miscommunication, there will be no meeting Thursday morning between anyone at NASCAR and Bill Simpson of Simpson Racing Products. A spokesperson at Simpson's office in Mooresville, NC, said she could not reach Simpson or his pilot but "NASCAR apparently had canceled the meeting." A NASCAR spokesman said, "There never was a meeting -- there is nothing on Bill, Jim or Mike's calendars," referring to NASCAR chairman of the board Bill France, NASCAR executive vice president/secretary Jim France or NASCAR president Mike Helton.( Buzz)(5-2-2001)
    UPDATE 2: but the Orlando Sentinel is reporting: With a showdown meeting between Simpson and NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. looming at 10:00am/et today in Daytona Beach, Simpson offered his version of events in the days after Earnhardt’s death during an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. Simpson wants to be exonerated by NASCAR, whose officials did not return repeated phone requests for comment
    UPDATE 3: Bill Simpson came to Florida on Thursday looking for an apology from NASCAR over remarks that the failure of one of his products may have been responsible for the death of Dale Earnhardt. Instead, he waited alone in NASCAR's lobby for 15 minutes before being told that his lawyer didn't want him to have any contact with NASCAR without legal representation.(That's Racin'/AP)(5-3-2001)

  • Nemechek Racing Book for Kids: To be sure, NASCAR racing attracts all ages. The speeds and sounds can be unbelievably exciting for adults and chilcken alike. Enter, driver Joe Nemachek. A veteran of both the Winston Cup Series and Busch Grand National circuit, Nemechek is promoting a children’s book about NASCAR racing as seen through the eyes of his young son, John Hunter. “Racin’ Buddies,” which recently went into circulation, takes its readers on the road with Nemechek and John Hunter as they travel the racing circuit. “There are so many young race fans, we tbought this would be a fun thing to do for them,” said Nemecbek. “Peter Roe was an integral part of the book’s production. If it is well received, he and John Hunter will be back hard at wwk putting out the next racing adventure.” The thee characters who play the role of John Hunter’s Racin’ Buddies are Woohoo, Dangit’ and Otto Miway. Each character comes to life during the racing action and is appropriately named for the role they play. “Woohoo is the good guy whose name everyone shouts when they come in first"(Kermish Geylin PR), see the Joe Nemechek site to buy the book(5-2-2001)

  • Sponsors TV Exposure Value Way Up: The mid-term exposure report card for the Fox portion of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series broadcast season is out and the results are stellar. Through the first eight events of the season, sponsors have combined for some $880,000,000 of comparable exposure value, up a whopping 114% over the same time period in 2000. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates’ Sponsors Report – which specializes in documenting exposure received by corporate entities during national television broadcasts – the 409 sponsors monitored during the Fox coverage thus far have filled the screen with their logos for more than 57.5 hours, while also being mentioned on some 2,500 occasions. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the amount of time each sponsor appears clear and in-focus, as well as all mentions of sponsors, to the cost of purchasing a commercial during the network’s broadcast. See the full story at the Joyce Julius and Associates site: Sponsors Exposure Value Way Up During Fox NASCAR Broadcasts(5-2-2001)

  • Wind Tunnel: hearing that Ultra Motorsports has an intermediate #7 Ford at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(5-3-2001)

  • Earnhardt's Seatbelt OK? UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt’s seat belt did not break during his fatal crash at the Daytona 500, according to one of the first rescuers to come to his aid. Tommy Propst, a veteran Orange County firefighter and emergency medical technician, said he found the NASCAR legend strapped inside his crumpled car in the infield of Daytona International Speedway. Propst said the seat belt was tight enough that he had to pull the seat-belt buckle repeatedly before it popped open. "Somebody hollered, ‘I’ll cut it.’ I said, ‘No, let me try it.’ I reached over, pulled, and I had to really jerk. I pulled hard, and that’s when it come open," Propst told the Orlando Sentinel. "If it would have been broke, the whole thing would have come open because I was jerking. . . . It was in one piece at the time." Propst’s account breaks two months of silence by the men and women who tried to save Earnhardt. To this day, Propst said, he has never been questioned by anyone from NASCAR. NASCAR officials Saturday refused to respond to Propst’s statements. See full story at the Orlando Sentinel: Rescuer: Earnhardt seat belt was intact and a 2nd story: Firefighter wrestled over whether to come forward
    UPDATE: The NASCAR Winston Cup series was racing in Fontana, Calif., where director Gary Nelson disagreed with Propst's account. NASCAR has refused to display the seat belt and hasn't said if the results of its own investigation by unidentified experts will be made public. The probe is expected to last throughout the summer. "I don't know of anybody that does a big investigation and tells the world their conclusions on a daily basis until the investigation is concluded," NASCAR chairman Bill France told the AP.(That's Racin'/AP)(4-29-2001)
    UPDATE 2: better explainations at NASCAR disagrees with seat belt claim and That's Racin': Rescuer, NASCAR at odds on belt(4-30-2001)
    UPDATE 3: The woman who climbed into Dale Earnhardt's car after his fatal crash at the Daytona 500 said Monday that she was too busy trying to save him to tell whether the seat belt was broken. But Patti Dobler, a member of the rescue crew at Daytona International Speedway, said the man with the best view was Orange County firefighter Tommy Propst, who continued to insist Monday that Earnhardt's five-point safety harness was intact after Earnhardt's Chevrolet hit the track wall(full story at the Orlando Sentinel)(5-1-2001)

  • Lazarro to run Cup races: After a sudden cease in operations for Cal Well's PPI Racing BGN #97 Team, half way through the 2000 season, former Toyota Atlantic Champion Driver Anthony Lazzaro, didn't know whether or not he'd ever get the chance to compete in the NASCAR ranks again. In no more than half a season, Lazzaro was able to make the Busch field for 10 of the 13 races, his PPI Racing Team qualified for. But unfortunately, PPI had other plans for their newly acquired NASCAR operations. So Lazarro chose to sharpen his skills throughout the remainder of the 2000 season competing in the ALMS series. Late last summer, Asheville, NC, based TWC Motorsport, Ltd., Inc., owned by Tom Coleman, who's team has over 15 years of experience in SCCA, ALMS, USAC, IMSA, Grand-Am and Trans-Am, decided to test Lazzaro in their Trans-Am car with hopes of landing a sponsor for the 2001 Trans-Am Season. But, as the motorsport's gods would have it, the sponsorship deals began to unravel. And although Coleman and Lazzaro continued to talk, the hopes of finding funding to join TWC's expertise and Anthony Lazzaro's experience began to fade. That is until this spring when Dave Marcis, long time Winston Cup driver and team owner of the #71-RealTree Racing Team Chevy, based out of Arden, NC, offered Coleman the opportunity to purchase one of his 2001 Winston Cup Chevys. This was the opportunity Coleman had been considering for years. "When we tested Anthony and Ron Fellows last Fall, there was no doubt in my mind Anthony could drive," Coleman said, "we just had to find the right deal at the right time. Anthony is fast, technically in tune with the racecar and has the experience and the desire to be a winner. Just look at his record and you'll see…this guy's the real deal." The TWC Motorsport, Ltd., Inc., NASCAR Winston Cup Chevrolet Monte Carlo will make its debut at both Sears Point and Watkins Glen this season. Lazzaro, who has won in everything he's run from WKA, Formula Fords, and including winning the 1999 Toyota Atlantic Championship, will bring his over 14 years of road course racing experience, to the two tracks he has had success with in the past as well. "I am excited to have the opportunity to get back into NASCAR again," Lazzaro said, "and I couldn't ask for a better team than TWC Motorsport, Ltd., Inc. I've known Tom (Coleman) for quite some time and he's always got the best equipment and a great crew. I won't sugar coat this…it isn't going to be easy; NASCAR is the premier series in North America. Qualifying for any race in Winston Cup is an enormous hurdle in itself. But once we finish testing, we'll have the information we need to make sure this car's ready for the big leagues. And if we can just make the field in both events, I see no reason why we can't compete nose-to-nose with those guys at Sears Point and Watkins Glen." Look for the #68 Chevrolet Monte Carlo during both races this season. Future plans also include running a limited NASCAR schedule next year with the hopes of competing full time in 2003 and beyond(TWC Motorsport PR)(5-1-2001)

  • Eel River Racing - dead or alive? which is it? UPDATE 3 At Richmond with Geico not to be confused with gecko:
    from's Buzz: Kenny Wallace's Pontiac will carry the logo of FX's "The Man Show" this weekend(actually Comedy Central's The Man Show). Wallace is still seeking primary sponsorship for his Pontiac, but said Wednesday that NASCAR might change its mind on the Crown Royal issue and allow him to sign on with the Seagram Company after all. Earlier this season, Crown Royal was set to hand Wallace and his Eel River Racing cohorts a multi-million dollar sponsorship, but NASCAR shot it down. They may have reconsidered......and.....
    from That's Racin': It's possible that Sunday's race could be the end of the line for Eel River Racing, the team that fields the #27 Pontiacs for driver Kenny Wallace. The team has not decided if it will be in Richmond next weekend. It has been running without a sponsor so far this season. Wallace did not make the field last weekend at Talladega.
    AND some rumors even have Wallace going to the #4 Kodak Chevy starting at Richmond and that is why the announcement of Kevin Lepage's signing with the #4 Morgan-McClure team was postponed. But sources say it's a done deal with Lepage and testing and travel is the reason for the delay
    UPDATE: Hounded by reports this weekend his Eel River Racing team was close to shutting its doors following this weekend's race at California, driver Kenny Wallace said Sunday he was told by the team's vice president that the reports were not accurate. "I talked to (team vice president) Devin Birmingham and he said it's not true," Wallace said. "He said we're still scrappin' and clawin'. I told him I needed to know what was up, because I'm his driver and I got everybody telling me we're closing up. As of now, he says no," Wallace said. "I guess if we don't show up at Richmond next week, we closed up. There's no announcement. I'm as confused as anybody right now."(That's Racin')(4-29-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Kenny Wallace says his Eel River Racing Team might sit out this weekend at Richmond if a sponsorship deal is not signed. Wallace says that at a rate of $200,000 a race, the team's budget is being stretched. Wallace is grateful for the support owner Jack Birmingham has offered and would like to continue with the team, but Wallace might be in consideration to get the No. 4 Morgan-McClure car, which is being driven by Kevin Lepage on an interim basis(Sporting News) AND The demands of running the circuit without sponsorship finally caught up with Kenny Wallace and Barry Dodson. Wallace announced on Sunday that the Eel River team, owned by Jack Birmingham and Dodson, would not be competing next week at Richmond, Va.(Gaston Gazette)(4-30-2001)
    UPDATE 3: "We are very pleased to have 1-800-Geico on as a sponsor with us at Richmond, they came out of the woodwork to save ERR from possibly making a very hard decision this weekend. We will give them something to be proud about."(Kenny Wallace Racing Site) AND ESPN2's RPM 2Night interviewed Wallace who says the Geico deal could turn into a full season sponsor if things work out well at Richmond(5-1-2001)

  • Burton's Safety Equipment Seized: NASCAR officials confiscated the helmet and head restraint worn by driver Ward Burton, who was hospitalized Sunday after a crash at the California Speedway. Burton suffered a concussion and strained tendons in his neck when he hit the concrete wall during the NAPA 500 at Fontana, Calif. He remained hospitalized late Monday at Loma Linda University Medical Center, and his status for Sunday's race in Richmond remains questionable. Burton was wearing a new head-and-neck restraint designed to slow the forward motion of a driver's head in a wreck. But some drivers and teams on Monday questioned how well the device performed. Racing safety architect Bill Simpson designed the new restraint and began giving it away at last week's Winston Cup race in Talladega, Ala. A handful of drivers wore the device during Sunday's race in Fontana, according to Simpson representatives. Burton's wreck was the first on-track test of the restraint. One source told The Charlotte Observer that Burton's head moved forward enough that he hit his chin on something in the car. Monday, several drivers phoned Simpson's company with questions. Some wondered whether the device contributed to Burton's injuries or whether it saved his life. Simpson said he couldn't draw definite conclusions until he studies Burton's restraint, but he said the device showed promise in a sled crash test. Winston Cup Series Director Gary Nelson, who picked up Burton's helmet and restraint Monday, was unavailable for comment as he travelled back to NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach. It is unclear whether NASCAR will return the restraint to Simpson for research.(That's Racin')(5-1-2001)

  • Not Cup but.....Race Car Shot: here is an odd story - The Douglas County(Georgia) Sheriff's Department is trying to determine whether someone shot at a race driver during the running of a race at Seven Flags Speedway on Saturday night. Chief Deputy Stan Copeland said officers are studying videotape and talking to witnesses to see when the Modified Ministock car driven by Craig Scott was hit by gunfire. Copeland said there was one bullet hole in the left side of the car, behind the driver's door. Investigators said that if the car was hit during the race, the bullet could have come from the pit area or outside the track(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(5-1-2001)

  • Dyno Testing: NASCAR put eight cars on the chassis dyno to measure rear-wheel horsepower. The cars checked were those of #2-Rusty Wallace, #24-Jeff Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #40-Sterling Marlin, #28-Ricky Rudd, #9-Bill Elliott, #55-Bobby Hamilton and #33-Joe Nemechek(That's Racin'). What is Chassis Dyno Testing? See my Racing FAQ page for the explanation(4-30-2001)

  • TV Ratings Update: While Sunday’s NAPA 500 at the California Speedway marked the start of the second-quarter of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season, first-quarter television ratings averaged a 6.8 and are up 39% compared season-to-date with last season. The week-by-week household share is averaging a 17, a 31% increase, compared to the same time last season. Television ratings numbers are based on information and numbers provided by Nielsen Media Research. The schedule has included an unprecedented nine consecutive broadcast network appearances on first-year rightsholder FOX Sports, comparatively last year’s schedule included five events on two different broadcast networks and four on cable among two different rightsholders. Each race in the first quarter of the season gained significant year-to-year ratings and significantly more household reach with each event having been on broadcast network television. FOX Sports’ NASCAR Winston Cup Series coverage is the only broadcast sports package that is enjoying year-to-year growth. Through Talladega, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series total viewer comparison in millions is 191.7 (2001) vs. 103.9 (2000), an 85% increase in viewership season-to-date. See the full story and race by race ratings and 2001 vs 2000 comparisions at NASCAR Ratings Up 39% After Reaching Quarter Point of Schedule(4-30-2001)

  • Waltrip's Seat Breaks: When #15-Michael Waltrip hit the Turn 2 wall on lap 154 of Sunday’s NAPA 500 at California Speedway, the inside of his car was dismantled. According to a team spokesperson, the bottom of the driver’s seat was cracked. The buckle on the right side head net, which is a safety device that prevents the head from hitting a roll bar or other parts inside the car and is made of the same material as the window net, was broken and not affixed. Also, the head rest on the right side was opened up towards the passenger’s side window and the ignition box, which is bolted to the car, fell off. The team spokesperson said NASCAR took pictures of the inside of the car for further evaluation( Buzz)(4-30-2001)

  • Waltrip OK: #15-Michael Waltrip also hit hard after a flat tire on Lap 153. Waltrip was examined at the infield facility and released(SpeedVision)(4-30-2001)

  • Hills Bros Stays with #90, Lpoez Hired UPDATE Lopez Short Term? 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)
    UPDATE: Hills Bros had been rumored on the way to the #27 of Kenny Wallace, although Donlavey has firmly denied the rumors. Wallace, meanwhile, has said his team may or may not be at Richmond next week, with hints that the end may be near for the unsponsored group. One key to the improved work by the Donlavey #90 team was consulting work by Phillipe Lopez, who recently walked out of the crew chief's job for A.J. Foyt's #14. Lopez says he has another job offer in the works, with only money details remaining to be finalized(SpeedVision)(4-30-2001)

    see the Apr 23-29, 2001 Archived News Page

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