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PAST NEWS JUNE 25-JULY 1, 2001


(7-1-2001)

  • Night Races in June? Ed Goren, president and executive producer of Fox Sports, said that 24 hours after the final NASCAR telecast on Fox June 24, ``we gathered all of the production people in a meeting to review the season and talk about possible changes in 2002. You won't see us resting on our laurels.'' One possible alteration, he said, is an increase in the number of primetime NASCAR telecasts to drive the ratings ever higher, particularly in June, when the May sweeps have wrapped up and the Fox Network is filling its schedule mostly with reruns.(Yahoo Daily News/Reuters/Variety), this years June races were: Dover, Michigan, Pocono and Sears Point, only Dover has been rumored to be looking into installing lights(7-1-2001)

  • Nice Story: When Tony Stewart found out Nicole Childs was waiting to see him at Michigan International Speedway, he immediately stopped taping a radio commercial and went to visit her. Childs was at the racetrack in Brooklyn to get her wish of meeting the NASCAR star. The 18-year-old from Midland County's Sanford has a rare form of ovarian cancer. But Childs got more than she ever dreamed of that day, which was made possible by True Value and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. What was expected to be a 15-minute meeting between the two turned into a thrilling weekend. Childs met other NASCAR drivers, rode along with Stewart in the Winston Cup pace car, watched the IROC and Winston Cup races from the pits and hung out with Stewart, who also offered to fly her in his private plane to any other race. Childs was impressed because the weekend didn't focus on her illness, but instead on racing and everyday talk, including fishing and an upcoming wedding in Stewart's family. She said Stewart, 30, only asked about her illness once. "He asked me where I'm getting treatment and if I like my doctor. If not, he said, he'd get me a new one," Childs told the Midland Daily News on Tuesday. Stewart also invited Childs to attend the Sunday Winston Cup drivers' meeting with him, where she and her family were introduced. Many of the drivers, she said, talked with her and gave her autographs(Times Dispatch/AP). Note: this is just one of many stories about how NASCAR drivers go out of their way to help out(7-1-2001)

  • Hammond to Roush? It looks like Jeff Hammond may be close to finalizing some of his plans away from Fox in the second half of the season. At the Milwaukee Mile, Jeff said, "One of the biggest things I've got going right now is that I'm trying to put the finishing touches on an agreement to do some product representation for Roush. Jack has come and asked me and said, 'Hey, I've got a lot of technology that I think a lot of racers don't realize that they can get.' Maybe they're not comfortable talking to Jack, or maybe they're not comfortable talking to who is there at this point in time. He's given me an opportunity to represent him in that capacity and let people know that, hey, I can be a lead guy and I'm willing to answer questions, and can interact with their team, and it doesn't conflict with what he's got going on with his race teams. He feels very comfortable about that, so I'm looking forward to trying to get all of that finalized and put in place where I can do that for him, so I can stay involved. With that opportunity I get a chance to see what's going on with the latest technology, understanding where teams are still having problems and issues. It keeps me in touch without having to be committed day in and day out like being a crew chief or accepting a full-time role with a team." Jeff also stated that he has talked to some Busch and Truck teams about serving as a consultant.(MotorsportsTV)(7-1-2001)


    (6-30-2001)

  • Helton Says NASCAR is Fine: The president of NASCAR believes Winston Cup racing remains in good shape despite the death of Dale Earnhardt, increased skepticism about driver safety, and scrutiny over how the circuit handled the tragedy. "I think there's a human factor you attach to sports that prevents you from being completely adequate," Mike Helton said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Still, I don't think we would have handled anything differently." Helton acknowledged that NASCAR's public-relations effort may have left some room for criticism. The sport once known for catering to the media and its fans was left open to accusations of a whitewash in the Earnhardt case. See interview at ESPN(6-30-2001)

  • Harvick Talked to? UPDATE NO: Hear Kevin Harvick got an earful from NASCAR and from Richard Childress Monday. Someone from NASCAR called him, told him the bumping of Robby Gordon was unnecessary, and also talked about his "no mercy" comments after the race. Apparently, a few drivers besides Gordon talked with Childress, telling him to calm Harvick down in the future. So, hearing Childress sat Harvick down too, explained why the bumping wasn't smart and told him to make peace with Gordon. Two reasons: (1) it is too early in his career to make enemies and (2) Gordon might be his team mate next season
    BUT another RCR source disputes the other RCR source: Kevin Harvick was not talked to by NASCAR following the Sears Point race on Sunday. Robbie Gordon did not talk to Childress either. Childress was not unhappy with Harvick's actions. Harvick was racing hard to get his lap back and he's very comfortable about how things played out. He gained 19 spots by finishing on the lead lap. And that helped him remain 9th in the Winston Cup points standings.(6-26-2001)
    UPDATE: from a NASCAR.com Interview with Kevin Harvick - Is the rumor true that Richard Childress sat you down and talked to you after that? Harvick: "Richard left with 10 laps to go and has been on vacation all week, so I haven't talked to him at all since Saturday. I read all that, too. Richard pays me to drive his racecar as hard as I can drive it. NASCAR never said anything. Richard never said anything. I don't think Richard would expect anything less out of me."(6-30-2001)

  • Johnson's Plans UPDATE 2: 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)(5-3-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Johnson said Saturday at The Milwaukee Mile that he'll make his Cup debut at Charlotte in October in the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. Johnson also said he plans to run at least four Winston Cup races in 2001, in preparation for his 2002 rookie season, Charlotte(Lowes), Rockingham, Talladega and Atlanta and possible up to six races. Johnson will test a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy for the first time early next week at Kentucky Speedway. He's never driven a Winston Cup car before. In past weeks, rumors had arisen that, rather than add another team, Hendrick might just replace a current HMS driver with Johnson. Johnson says there's no truth to it. "I think that's pretty bogus," Johnson said. "Terry's(Labonte) under a long term contract, Jerry(Nadeau), too, and of course Jeff(Gordon) signed a lifetime deal."(NASCAR.com)(6-30-2001)

  • Robinson In Magazine: Shawna Robinson is featured in the current edition of U.S. Weekly. It's only the third time the news magazine has done a story on a NASCAR driver(Winston Salem Journal)(6-30-2001)


    (6-29-2001)

  • TV Ratings Up: Ratings for the inaugural season of NASCAR Winston Cup coverage on FOX Sports and its FX cable network rose 29 percent from the first half of last year. FOX, which finished its coverage this season with last weekend's Dodge/Save Mart 350, said Thursday it averaged a 6.1 rating and rating and 15 share for its 14 Winston Cup Series race. That was up 17 percent from the 5.3/14 last year on ABC and CBS for nine races during the first half of the season. FOX estimated it averaged 19.9 million viewers per race, up 1 million from last year. FOX Sports and FX combined to average a 5.3/13 for 19 races, 29 percent above the 4.1/10 for the first 19 races last season on ABC, CBS, ESPN, TNN and TBS(CNN/SI/AP)(6-29-2001)

  • Kroger colors on the #11: #11-Brett Bodine is working all sponsorship angles trying to convince the Kroger Co., the corporate parent of Ralphs Supermarkets, to take a stronger role in his NASCAR Winston Cup #11 Ralphs/Red Cell Ford. Look for the #11 to carry Kroger colors this fall at least at Richmond and Martinsville; and maybe elsewhere if Bodine gets his wish(NASCAR.com Buzz)(6-29-2001)

  • Stewart Wins, Blaney 4th: Tony Stewart was the winner of the 100-lap DIRT 358 modified race at Lebanon Valley Speedway Thursday night. I Love NY and CARQUEST Auto Parts presented the evenings event. It was two in a row for Stewart fresh off his victory last Sunday in the Winston Cup race in Sonoma, California. It was the first time Stewart has won in a DIRT-modified style car. An overflow crowd saw Stewart take this historic victory. Dave Blaney was also in competition Thursday night as well. Blaney won his heat and finished the feature a very respectable fourth(Lebanon Valley Speedway Site)(6-29-2001)

  • Sad News: A driver was killed in a crash Thursday during a qualifying run for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Witnesses said 31-year-old Ralph Chandler Bruning Jr.'s 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo crashed three-eighths of a mile from the starting line at 6:50 a.m., race officials said. Race officials said it was the third fatality in the competition's 79 years. "It is as if we've all lost a close family member today," said race spokesman Tim Bergsten. An autopsy showed Bruning died of chest injures after a tree entered the driver's compartment through a side window, said Teller County Coroner Debbie Smith. Bruning was pronounced dead at the scene, becoming the first driver to die on the mountain. The other two drivers died in hospitals. Race Director Bill Connor said Bruning's family asked for the event to continue, and qualifying was to resume Friday. The race is scheduled for Saturday. Bruning's father, Ralph Senior, was the winningest driver(with 8) in the race's stock car division. He competed in his last race in 1998 and died from pancreatic cancer in March 2000. This was Bruning's fifth year driving the race. Tuesday, he said he was dedicating it to his late father. Bruning is survived by his wife Amy, his mother Marsha, and sister Dawn(ESPN/AP). thoughts out to family and friends of Chandler(6-29-2001)

  • Hammer to Evernham? UPDATE: hearing former ST Motorsports crew chief (BGN #59) Phil Hammer is taking a position with Evernham Motorsports. Hammer used to work at Hendrick Motorsports with Evernham(6-8-2001)
    UPDATE - Evernham Motorsports Change: Gene Patient, Chief Fabricator at Evernham Motorsports has parted ways with the team. Forner Cup/BGN Crew Chief will take over the position. Patient is currently weighing out a few options before deciding where to go next(6-29-2001)

  • Contest Goof: Just one lucky fan was supposed to drive away from the big race in a brand new Dodge Ram pickup in a promotion tied to the July 7 Pepsi 400 at Daytona. And just five couples were to get all-expense-paid trips to the race. Now 11 folks will get new trucks, and 55 couples will get free trips. The problem came when Pepsi and Circle K launched the promotion in May. There were supposed to be five winning tickets for the trip; a printing error issued 55. Cost of mistake? $400,000(Orlando Sentinel)(6-29-2001)


    (6-28-2001)

  • Kodiak out a sponsor of #92 after season: NASCAR Winston Cup team owner, Mark Melling, announced today that his team is actively pursuing a primary sponsor for the #92 Dodge, driven by Stacy Compton, for the 2002 racing season and beyond. After more than 20 years of involvement in the sport, Conwood Sales Company, L.P., the parent company for the Kodiak brand of smokeless tobacco, gave notice to Melling that in 2002 they will no longer be a sponsor of a Winston Cup car. "Team owner Mark Melling and driver Stacy Compton have represented the Kodiak brand in an outstanding fashion for the last two years," said Conwood's VP of Marketing, Woody Cothren. "We cannot say enough good things about our involvement with Melling Racing. This was purely a business decision." Sponsorship inquires for the Melling Racing Team should be directed to the Melling headquarters (800-777-8172), attention Steve Brown (x106), or to Lake Speed. Jr. in the Melling Racing shop (704-786-4635).(Melling Racing PR)(6-28-2001)

  • DeWalt Supports Firehouse.com: DEWALT Power Tools is joining forces with Firehouse.com in a collaborative effort to enhance brand and product awareness through the fire community. Firehouse.com is the preferred destination website for the Fire and Rescue community. For three races this year, the #17 DEWALT Ford Taurus driven by Matt Kenseth, will sport Firehouse.com on the rear quarter panel, the Brickyard 400 at Indy, at Dover in Sept and at Phoenix. DEWALT was recently recognized by the Transportation Emergency Rescue Community (TERC) for its outstanding contribution to the field of extrication(Firehouse.com)(6-28-2001)

  • Announcement UPDATE Spiderman Schemes for Elliott/Atwood: There will be a web launch/announcement on www.4adodge.com today at 7:00pm/et and at the same time goracing.com will also be announcing a new special paint scheme with graphics and a press release(6-27-2001)...spiderman maybe?
    Spiderman?/REPOST: hearing the #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Casey Atwood Dodge's will run a Spiderman (the movie) paint scheme at Charlotte, not sure if it's in May or Oct(4-3-2001)
    and the UPDATE: found the web launch about the two spiderman cars at www.4adodge.com but no announcement, but it is about #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Casey Atwood driving Spiderman paint schemes at the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowes Motor Speedway on Oct 7th. See images of the cars on my Paint Scheme Gallery and/or get wallpapers at www.4adodge.com(6-28-2001)

  • #31 Car Chief to Return: Kevin Gabard, front-tire carrier and car chief of the #31 Loves Chevy of Mike Skinner, will resume his pit road duties at next Sunday's Pepsi 400 Daytona after recuperating from knee surgery. Gabard underwent anterior cruciate ligament replacement surgery on his left knee on April 16 to repair an injury sustained on April 8 at the Martinsville race. The 35-year-old crewman was injured during a late-race pit stop when a loose tire from another team rolled into the pit and struck Gabard as he stepped off the pit wall. This latest surgery marked the eighth procedure on his left knee since 1991. He had undergone surgery for a torn meniscus in the same knee seven times previously, the most recent in November 1999(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-28-2001)

  • Get Well UPDATE 3: It was mentioned during Fox's broadcast of the Coca-Cola 600 by Dr. Dick Berggren, that Shawn Parker's wife, Tara, is in a Winston-Salem hospital. Mrs. Parker is listed in critical condition and has A-1 status on heart transplant, which means she is the next person on the list when one that will match her comes available. Parker is the Car chief/Rear tire changer for the #6 Roush Racing team and driver Mark Martin(5-29-2001)
    UPDATE: Shawn Parker, was poised to leave the race on a moment's notice. Parker's wife, Tara, is on the priority list for a heart transplant. She had two hearts become available in the past couple of weeks, but doctors thought one was too small and the other carried hepatitis. Team owner Jack Roush has his plane on standby to fly Parker out if he receives word his wife is heading into surgery.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-4-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Shawn Parker, the car chief and rear-tire changer for Mark Martin's #6 Ford has been balancing his time between his race duties, shop duties and husband duties the last few weeks. Splitting his time between the shop just northeast of Charlotte and Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., Parker said the waiting has been tough. "All she can do is just wait," he said. "She's on medicine right now to help her with the congenital heart defect. The best way for me to explain it is, she doesn't have a full-size heart like most others do. She already had open heart surgery in July last year to put in a new heart valve and make some repairs. As she grows and gets older, it's tough to keep up with the surgeries because her body changes. Since that surgery, she's had problems with other organs because the heart can't provide enough blood to them. As the heart she has now deteriorates, the only thing that can help her is a heart transplant." Shawn, 27, and Tara, 26, met at Daytona Speedweeks in 1994. He was working on Rusty Wallace's team and she for Winston promotions. An unplanned meeting between the two clicked and they have been together ever since. Married last November, the couple now reside in Cornelius, NC. Some of the factors involved for matching a heart include blood type, size and age to make a true fit with a donor. Tara currently experiences shortness of breath and fatigue from most types of physical exertion. As she awaits her possible life-saving phone call, Shawn makes a daily 130-mile round-trip from Monday through Wednesday to see his wife, then leaves Thursday for the races.(see full story at NASCAR.com)(6-11-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Shawn Parker's wife, Tara, remains hospitalized in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she is awaiting a heart transplant. She has now been in the hospital for eight weeks(Winston Cup Scene need sub)(6-28-2001)

  • Pruett Still Looking: Scott Pruett and PPI Motorsports(#'s 32/96) owner Cal Wells have settled their negotiations over Pruett's release from his contract, freeing him to drive for other teams. His only obligation to PPI is to help the team with its road course preparations, which he did prior to Sears Point. Had Pruett known that his inaugural venture into Winston Cup would last just one year, he probably would have stayed in CART. Pruett is currently considering a full-time return to road racing teams and a move to the Indy Racing Northern Lights Series(IRL). He would like to return to NASCAR, but only with a competitive Cup or Busch Series team. He has had some feelers, he said, but none from teams he is interested in(Winston Cup Scene need sub)(6-28-2001)

  • Chicagoland Testing UPDATE: Seven drivers tested at the new Chicagoland Speedway on Wednesday. #26-Spencer and #66-Bodine joined five drivers who tested Tuesday, #55-Hamilton, #84-Robinson, #30-Jeff Green, #12-Mayfield and #9-Elliott. No word on any speeds but Jeremy Mayfield compared it to Las Vegas with more banking and faster. Joe Nemechek took a few laps in the #55 Chevy of his teammate(Hamilton) to test his progress with his injuries. Usually this is against NASCAR rules (a teammates testing one car) but they relaxed the rules for the injury situation(PRN's Garage Pass)(6-27-2001)
    UPDATE: Stacy Compton described the track as "the fastest on the circuit, possibly faster than Texas. We'll all be curious to see how NASCAR attempts to slow things down out here, if at all. After turning 197 mph in the corners, I can honestly say, it's going to take a lot of confidence and control to get around this place.''(Winston Cup Scene need sub)(6-28-2001)

  • NHIS Testing UPDATE ??: New Hampshire International Speedway on Monday, June 25th, will hold a NASCAR Open Test Session from 9:00am to 5:00pm/et. The testing session is open to teams from NASCAR Winston Cup Series; Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring; and Featherlite Modified Series, NASCAR Touring.(NHIS PR)(6-14-2001)
    UPDATE: no Cup, BGN or CTS teams tested at NHIS, some Busch North teams and a modified team tested there on Monday(6-28-2001)


    (6-27-2001)

  • Congrats: #77 Crew Chief Ryan Pemberton, will spend the final off-weekend of the season getting married. Pemberton will wed Andrea Spruell on Saturday evening in Mooresville, NC(Jasper PR)(6-27-2001)

  • Full Time for Robby in the #7? UPDATE 2 Wallace back for Daytona: Ultra Motorsports team owner Jim Smith has offered Robby Gordon the No. 7 Ford ride. Gordon, subbing in the #7 Sunday at Sears Point, posted his best career Winston Cup finish with a second-place run. "I don't want to come to Winston Cup just to race," Gordon says. "I want to win." Gordon, who began the season driving for the #4-Morgan-McClure team but was dropped after five races, might have his pick of offers. One possibility is Richard Childress' third Cup car(hmm..teammates with Harvick?). Jeff Green has been auditioning that ride but apparently isn't in Childress' plans for next season, when the #30 will run the full schedule. Chip Ganassi's CART program might be another possibility for Gordon(Sporting News-Inside Dish)(6-25-2001)
    UPDATE: Gordon said Tuesday that he has been offered the seat of Jim Smith's #7 Ultra Motorsports Ford, and that he plans to have an answer for Smith by Wednesday. Gordon said the offer has been extended for the rest of the year, but nothing has been finalized. Gordon was unsure whether or not he'd be in the car at Daytona July 7. He's slated to race Richard Childress' #21 Chevy in the BGN event at Watkins Glen that same weekend, and wants to keep that option open, as well(NASCAR.com)(6-26-2001)
    UPDATE 2: but ESPN2's RPM 2Night reported on Tuesday's show that Mike Wallace has been told he will be in the #7 Ford for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona(6-27-2001)

  • Marcis to Retire? UPDATE: Dave Marcis, a race car driver for 44 years, is approaching a decision about his future in the sport. A competitor in the NASCAR Winston Cup series since 1968 and a starter in 879 races, Marcis, 60, is expected to decide soon if the approaching months will mark the end of his driving career. Marcis operates his own team from a shop located in Arden, NC near the Asheville airport. There may be an announcement about Marcis' future during Pepsi 400 race activities at Daytona International Speedway next week. But Marcis said Monday he has not made a decision about retirement. Marcis is attempting a limited schedule this year and has raced in one event(Talladega). He said Monday he plans to attempt to qualify for five or six additional races this year, including next week's race at Daytona Beach. His short-range plans also include driving in the Daytona 500 next February in Daytona Beach. Marcis started in 32 straight Daytona 500s, a streak that ended last year. "I'm leaning toward working something out on saying something soon," he said. "I don't want to announce a retirement and then come back and race. Maybe I'll look at something like a semi-retirement and run a few races a year." (Greenville News)
    UPDATE: just got this - Team Realtree Announcement, Press Conference on Thursday July 5, 2001at 2:00pm/et, Daytona International Speedway's Benny Kahn Media Center(Champion Sports Group PR)(6-27-2001)

  • Speculation and Rumors UPDATE 2 no about Yates - No About Waltrip: from the AutoRacing1 site:
    Darrell Waltrip: He said a possibility of returning to racing, if he does return look for it too be the third Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford.
    Doug Yates: hearing a rumor from a source that says Doug Yates is strongly considering starting a new team with a good pal of his, Yates would own either a 1/4 or 1/2 interest in the team the number would be #82 possibly sponsors are Mountain Dew, Burger King, Motorola, Square D or Exide.
    Austin Cameron: supposedly one of the top three drivers RCR is looking at to drive the Chevy(doesn't say which one) next year it is rumored that he is near the top of the list.
    Tom Kendall: If Mike Wallace stays until the Watkins Glen race look for road racer Tom Kendall to drive the #7 Nation Rent Ford for Car Owner Jim Smith.
    Wells looking for replacements for Houston: Rumor is going around that #96 car owner, Cal Wells replacements being considered are Dick Trickle and Scott Pruett(see AutoRacing1 Rumors section).
    Notes and Observations by Jayski: Why wouldn't Smith bring back Robby Gordon who just finished 2nd for him at Sears Point? Wells disputes that he is replacing Houston, see below. Cameron was rumored a few months ago, possibly for the BGN, Yates has said many times, no third team(6-25-2001)
    UPDATE: sources at Robert Yates Racing(RYR) say there is definitely no truth to the rumor of a third team or Doug Yates starting a #82 team(6-26-2001)
    UPDATE 2: DW contacted me directly and says there is no truth to the speculation that he will get into the #46 Ford(6-27-2001), so three of these five rumors have been squashed

  • Haas-Carter Third Team? UPDATE 3: Haas-Carter Motorsports has booked Daytona International Speedway for two test days next week, but neither of that team's regular cars is expected to participate in the session. Travis Carter, who co-owns the #26 and #66 Fords with Carl Haas, plans to test his #46 entry at Daytona. No driver has been named to run the car(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-19-2001)
    UPDATE: Also, Haas-Carter Motorsports will test its #46 Ford June 26-27 at Daytona. Kirk Shelmerdine will be at the wheel of the Haas-Carter entry. The grandstand will be open at no charge for the test with entry through the Daytona USA lobby(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-20-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Haas Carter Motorsports has a two-day test scheduled this week(Tuesday and Wednesday - June 26-27th) at Daytona and will use their "third team," a #46 Ford, to conduct preparation for the July 7 Pepsi 400 rather than either the #26 or #66, driven by Jimmy Spencer and Todd Bodine, respectively. Kirk Shelmerdine, the late Dale Earnhardt's former crew chief and a race winner in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, will be the designated driver for the test(NASCAR.com Buzz)(6-25-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Haas-Carter Motorsports participated in a two-day test session on Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway with driver Kirk Shelmerdine and the #46 Ford. Owner Travis Carter says he’s unsure whether or not he’ll field a third team for the 43rd annual Pepsi 400 on July 7. “We want to run it sometime, but I doubt (the car) would be ready for the Pepsi race,” Carter said. “Perhaps Talladega. (The test) is a good opportunity to learn something for all the cars. In order to do that, we need a third car to do it. “We hope to learn a little something for the 26 and 66. You’re always looking to expand your operation and that’s what we’re doing, looking to expand to a third car. As much as I hate to say it, it looks like it’s the nature of the beast.” Shelmerdine, a veteran of the ARCA RE/MAX Series, knows his way around tracks like Daytona International Speedway. He won the pole for the 2000 Discount Auto Parts 200 Presented By ACDelco at the “World Center of Racing.” Said Shelmerdine of the test: “You can’t just jump right in there. There’s a lot of research that goes into it. From our standpoint, we’re going to test a lot and see what happens after that. I don’t think there’s time to get prepared even if you had a year. There’s so many more things on the list to get through in order to hit the ground running.” Carter says Shelmerdine would be a potential driver to put into the #46 Ford if the team chooses to enter the car in a race. “If we run the car at one of these races, he would be probably a good candidate to run it,” Carter said. “We’re tweaking the minor stuff,” Carter said. Said Hillenburg: “We’re a lot better than our last trip here. We feel a lot better about this test.”(DIS Site/PR)(6-27-2001)

  • More Testing at DIS UPDATE: besides the #46 Hass-Carter Motorsports Ford and a Goody's Dash team, I hear that Morgan Shepherd will test the #80 Hover Motorsports Ford Tuesday and Wednesday at Daytona. If the test goes well, the team will try to qualify for the Pepsi 400. The team hopes to run at Indy in the Brickyard 400 and is still looking for sponsor at both races(6-26-2001)
    UPDATE: Other teams testing at Daytona include #80-Stan Hover Motorsports and driver Morgan Shepherd and #49-BAM Motorsports and driver Andy Hillenburg. Both Kurt Shelmerdine(in the #46) and Hillenburg turned laps in the 179 mph range while Shepherd had not turned any laps by late afternoon(DIS Site/PR)(6-27-2001)


    (6-26-2001)

  • Smokey Book: Smokey Yunick, the legendary stock car racer, who passed away on May 9th, 2001, has tell-all book of his life and racing a that was just released. Best Damn Garage in Town — The World According to Smokey is now available for order. That real story is told in four main sections, or "books," contained in three volumes: Section 1: Smokey’s Life, "Walkin’ under a snake’s belly" (Volume I). Section 2: Stock car racing, "All right you sons of bitches, let's have a race" (Volume II). Section 3: Indy, "Li'l skinny rule book." Section 4: Inventions, "Eatin' an elephant." (Sections 3 and 4 make up Volume III). Initially, the book will be published in a Racer's Edition — a boxed set of three volumes of over 400 pages each. Smokey covers it all: growing up on the farm in Pennsylvania, flying B-17s during WWII, the real stories from the early days of racing, his Winston Cup Championships, the glory days of Indy, his inventions and patents, and everything in between. The entire book is just as Smokey wrote it over the past 5 years – he wouldn’t let it be done any other way. For more info or to order the book go to www.smokeyyunick.com(6-26-2001)

  • Harvick Talked to? R Gordon to RCR? BUT Hear Kevin Harvick got an earful from NASCAR and from Richard Childress Monday. Someone from NASCAR called him, told him the bumping of Robby Gordon was unnecessary, and also talked about his "no mercy" comments after the race. Apparently, a few drivers besides Gordon talked with Childress, telling him to calm Harvick down in the future. So, hearing Childress sat Harvick down too, explained why the bumping wasn't smart and told him to make peace with Gordon. Two reasons: (1) it is too early in his career to make enemies and (2) Gordon might be his team mate next season
    BUT another RCR source disputes the other RCR source: Kevin Harvick was not talked to by NASCAR following the Sears Point race on Sunday. Robbie Gordon did not talk to Childress either. Childress was not unhappy with Harvick's actions. Harvick was racing hard to get his lap back and he's very comfortable about how things played out. He gained 19 spots by finishing on the lead lap. And that helped him remain 9th in the Winston Cup points standings.(6-26-2001)

  • Kranefuss to Chevy or Dodge? hearing both Chevrolet and Dodge have made overtures to Michael Kranefuss concerning his Winston Cup(#84) and BGN(#'98 part owner) teams for next season. Apparently, they noticed the tremendous exposure Shawna Robinson and that team have received in two races this season, and are talking to Kranefuss about being part of the picture for next season. Heard Ford wouldn't talk to Kranefuss about a tractor for the team's transporter or even a loaner car at the Michigan race. Apparently, so did Chevrolet and Dodge - both mentioned loaner cars almost immediately in their conversations. Since Kranefuss also has the BGN team of Elton Sawyer, talks have included that team has well to some degree(6-26-2001)


    (6-25-2001)

  • Kyle at New Hampshire? Kyle Petty has not decided if he or the #45 Sprint team will race at the New Hampshire race on July 22nd(CNN/SI-NASCAR Plus TV Show)(6-25-2001)

  • What Happened to at Sears Point? #87-Ron Fellows got wrecked with 10 laps to go and went from the top 10 to a 38th-place finish. Terry Labonte suffered the same kind of sad fate, finishing 36th after some of his best racing of the season because he got mussed up in a Turn 11 dog pile on the next-to-last lap.(That's Racin') AND John Andretti ran 11th entering the final lap but ran out of gas and finished 30th(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-25-2001)

  • Sad News: Newt Moore, crew chief for #36-Ken Schrader, wasn't at Sears Point. Moore's father died Saturday and he returned home(Fox Coverage and Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-25-201)

  • Gilligan's Island to be Cancelled: The pit areas for the slowest nine cars in qualifying are across from the main pits. The area, dubbed Gilligan's Island because of its isolated location, will disappear by next year after more track changes. Drivers using Gilligan's Island lost 18 seconds over the rest of the field, which reflects the extra time it takes to get in and out(Santa Rosa Press Democrat), more explanation of Gillian's Island on my Sears Point Past News page(6-25-2001)

  • 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)
    UPDATE: While Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith pursues Gordon to drive his #7 Ford, he also becomes a Dodge team owner in Winston Cup this week when the organization finishes up the Intrepids it will carry to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400. Ted Musgrave, whose three wins this season are tops in the Craftsman Truck Series(and drives for Smith in the CTS), will be the driver(Sporting News-Inside Dish)(6-25-2001)

  • Andretti to the #96? UPDATE 2 No: Rumor has it that John Andretti could be in for a switch to the #96 Cal Wells Ford. According to the source, Andretti could be headed to Cal Wells' #96 McDonalds Ford in 2002, replacing Andy Houston, who has endured a season full of headaches so far this year, his first in the series(NASCAR.com Buzz)(6-18-2001)
    UPDATE: sources at PPI Motorsports say that this report is false and that Andy Houston is not going to be replaced as the driver of the #96 Ford(6-19-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Cal Wells insists rookie Andy Houston's job is not on the line, despite rumblings that things were not going well at the Hickory team. "Yes, I've heard those same rumors, too," Wells said. "In fact, I read where John Andretti was going to drive the car. I talked to John two years ago about possibly driving for me, but he said he was going to drive for Richard Petty, so I backed off, and I have not talked to him since, other than to say 'Hi.' "So there are a lot of rumors going around. But McDonald's is solidly behind us; I was with them on Friday. And they are solidly behind Andy Houston. And it is incumbent on me to provide the right package for Andy, and I haven't done that yet." So, Houston will be in Wells' car the rest of the season? "Absolutely," Wells said. And next year? "I have a five-year contract with him, and he has a one-year contract with me," Wells said. "In other words, I can option him up. And I would certainly option him before our due date, which is sometime in September. I fully expect him to be in the car next year. I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-25-2001)

  • Nice to see Benny: thought it was cool to see Benny Parsons interviewed at the end of the Sears Point broadcast and it was handled well by all involved. From the Sporting News: Fox broadcasters passed the torch on air last Sunday to NBC's Benny Parsons, who says he worked on his golf game the first half of the season. Parsons, who will be joined in the booth by Allen Bestwick and Wally Dallenbach, says he found Fox's style entertaining and hopes "to keep the excitement level high."(6-25-2001)

  • Nice Gesture: UltimateTV from Microsoft made a quick transfer of funds following qualifying for Sunday’s race. UltimateTV was to adorn the rear quarterpanels and deck lid of Kenny Wallace’s #27 Eel River Pontiac, sharing the rear of the car with a logo of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, but Wallace narrowly missed the race. UltimateTV took the program, which called for the Victory Junction Gang Camp to receive $50 for every lap Wallace completed on Sunday, and moved it to the #45 team driven by Petty(RacingOne). Petty ran all 112 laps for a total of $5600 donated, thanks(6-25-2001)

  • Another Andretti? Preston Countryman has had a lifelong passion about auto racing, and now he's getting an even bigger thrill by participating. First he started driving race cars, then this year he decided to start a NASCAR team. Now he's having five race cars built, he's bought a couple of car carriers and he says he's signed a big-name rookie driver to launch a $1 million effort to win the 2002 Featherlite Southwest Series. Countryman has been in business for 24 years, but his work as a certified public accountant and business consultant doesn't fire him up like his latest venture: building a NASCAR race team around driver Adam Andretti. Now he says he's about to employ one, the 22-year-old nephew of racing legend Mario Andretti, to be his lead driver. The hiring of the younger Andretti couldn't be confirmed by the family, but NASCAR officials did confirm that Countryman has a team owner's license. In addition to Andretti, Countryman said he will have another driver to race in the 2002 Featherlite Southwest Tour, which is a regional stock car racing minor league to the NASCAR Busch series, which is itself the league of up-and-coming race drivers before the championship NASCAR Winston Cup series(Sacramento Business Journal)(6-25-2001)

  • Lowes and the #31 UPDATE 2 Gordon/Lowes Connection: Lowe's officials admitted last week that they want to find a driver who can compete with the popularity and success of Tony Stewart, who drives the #20 Pontiac for their competition, Home Depot. Lowe's officials have informed Richard Childress, owner of the #31 Chevy, that they will pay whatever it takes to get a top driver to replace Mike Skinner, who has not won a Winston Cup points race in five seasons as the Lowe's Chevrolet driver. Lowe's and Childress would love to get Jeff Burton, who is under contract with Roush Racing, but Burton says he's staying with Jack Roush's team. Greg Biffle, who drives the Grainger Ford for Roush's Busch team, was seen touring the Childress racing facility last week. Childress also is looking for a driver for the No. 30 AOL car, which he will run on a full schedule next season. Jeff Green, the defending Busch series champion who will turn 39 in September, withdrew his name from consideration after AOL officials said they were looking for a younger driver(Dallas Morning News)(6-21-2001)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress, owner of the #31 Chevrolet, said he has made no final decision about whether driver Mike Skinner will be with that team next year. "We have a contract with Skinner through next year," Childress said. "We both discussed that if we're not both completely happy here in another few weeks, we'll sit down and talk about the direction we're going to go." Childress plans to have three Winston Cup teams next year, with a #30 car joining the #'s 29 and 31. Rumors about who'll drive that third car have been circulating for weeks(That's Racin')(6-24-2001)
    UPDATE 2: since this question has been posed to me numerous times since the race at Sears Point, it'll be addressed: Since the #7 Ford driven by Robby Gordon has a Lowes decal on the rear lower 1/4 panel, he must be the next driver of the #31 Lowes Chevy for RCR. Nothing but speculation and a jump to conclusion, the decal has been on the car for months(as NationsRent and Lowes have a marketing agreement and some NationRents stores are located in Lowes), see my Paint Scheme Gallery and an image there of the #7 Ford taken at Martinsville, the decal was on the car then. It has been reported in the past that Gordon may run a BGN car for RCR either in 2001 or 2002 and Gordon is scheduled to drive the #21 BGN car for Richard Childress at Watkins Glen(6-25-2001)

  • #18 and #20 Brakes at Sears Point: #18-Bobby Labonte and race winner #20-Tony Stewart's Pontiac's were equipped with AP brakes for the first time this season. AP Racing has been in the racing business making brakes and clutches for over 50 years. Over the last 30 years, Formula one driver and constructors championships have been won on AP brakes. Over the past two months there have been several teams in both Winston Cup and Busch Grand National testing the new brake system. Jimmie Johnson and Hank Parker Jr, two of the fastest cars during testing at Watkins Glen recently had AP Brakes on them. Supposedly the Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiacs are the first Cup cars to run the brakes in a race. Coy Gibbs in the #20 truck in the tested the brakes and has had them on the truck since Martinsville. In the Watkins Glen BGN race, I hear the have the following cars will use the AP system: #43-Jay Sauter, #92-Jimmie Johnson, #56(52?)-Hank Parker Jr, #01-Andy Santerre, and #25-David Donohue(6-25-2001)

  • Fox wants a change? UPDATE 3 Las Vegas/Rockingham to switch? No? There is talk Fox does not want to begin its 2002 telecasts with the Rockingham race, currently second on the schedule. NBC has the rights to the Daytona 500 to open the 2002 season(Sporting News) UPDATE: hearing the Las Vegas Cup race could be moved to the 2nd wwekend of the 2002 Cup Schedule and Fox would start their 2002 race broadcasts with that race
    UPDATE 2: Sources tell me that Las Vegas will still have the first Sunday of March race date, and that unless NASCAR leaves an open date after Daytona (unlikely) some race will be run between Vegas and Daytona(6-18-2001)
    UPDATE 3: There have been reports that Fox would rather not return at Rockingham, the site for the second race on this year's schedule, preferring to have Las Vegas moved to the second race in 2002. "We'd be very happy to start with Rockingham," said Ed Goren, president of Fox Sports. "There are some scheduling issues NASCAR is dealing with. At one point, because it was our first race they were looking at the possibility of going to Vegas but there were some conflicts with hotel space. "We will just sit down with the folks at NASCAR over the next week or so to take a look at next year's schedule and hopefully try to put together a schedule that works for NASCAR but also produces the best opportunity to continue to increase ratings."(That's Racin')(6-25-2001)

  • Nemechek Eyes Daytona to Return UPDATE: Joe Nemechek said Thursday he will be back behind the wheel (of the #33 Oakwood Homes Chevy) for the July 7 Pepsi 400 at Daytona. "I felt like I could have been back in a car this week (for the Pocono 500), but the doctors wouldn't release me," Nemechek said. 'I'm looking forward to returning."(Lakeland Ledger)(6-15-2001)
    UPDATE: Nemechek plans to test for as much as 500 laps at the end of the coming week at his hometown USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla. The track is a .750-mile oval similar to Richmond International Raceway(NASCAR.com Buzz)(6-25-2001)


    (6-24-2001)

    see the June 18-24, 2001 Archived News Page


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