PAST NEWS OCT 15-21, 2001
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- NASCAR plans changes: NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said Sunday the sanctioning body is "going back to work" to try to find a way to eliminate the close, packed racing that has become common on the Winston Cup series' biggest tracks. Sunday's EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway - which along with Daytona International Speedway requires the use of carburetor restrictor plates to reduce speeds - ended with a last-lap wreck that included more than 15 cars. Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd's crew chief, Michael McSwain, were among almost a dozen drivers, crew chiefs and car owners who visited with NASCAR President Mike Helton following the race to vent their anger over the current aerodynamic package used at Talladega and Daytona. "There was a lot of complaining that we didn't do anything before this race and as long as we don't, there is the possibility of the big wreck," Hunter said. "Our response is. `What should we do?' and we don't have the answer right now. "We're going to work with the teams between now and Daytona (in February 2002) and figure this out. We're just as concerned as the drivers are about this." Hunter said the primary focus will be to develop a way to allow drivers and teams' abilities to show through during races. "We need a way for different abilities of drivers to come through and make their cars handle so they have to back off (the throttle) in the corners," Hunter said. "We need to make their cars work."(That's Racin')(10-21-2001)
- #93 Close to a deal? #93 car owner Bill Davis said he's close to putting together a driver and sponsor deal for his second Winston Cup team for next season, after Dave Blaney's decision to move to the [#77] Doug Bawel-Ryan Pemberton team, replacing Robert Pressley.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-21-2001)
- Hut and the #96? UPDATE: #90-Donlavey Racing plans to continue running next season but has not announced sponsorship or driver. Driver Hut Stricklin, team advisor Philippe Lopez and sponsor Hills Brothers are looking for a Charlotte team to work with. They could land with Cal Wells, whose second team ran its last race of the season last week(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-5-2001)
UPDATE: #32 Team Owner Cal Wells is trying to revive his second team [#96], with a possible Hills Brothers' sponsorship. Now at least he'll have a tour win to promote [#32-Craven's win]. Wells said, "The good thing about (a second team with) the Hills Brothers' deal with Hut (Stricklin) is he's got experience and he can do some testing. But Andy is a rookie and we couldn't benefit that much. My total focus is this, and hopefully getting back to running two cars. The only thing we've got cooking is that Hills Brothers deal. It does look like they're playing the field. I think they're still talking to Bill Davis and Andy Petree. I don't know if they'll pick us or not. I don't know if I'm competitive, price-point-wise. I try to be." Of course if it comes down to price alone - and the Sara Lee brand sponsorship is worth over $6 million - Petree would likely win, because he's vowed to beat any rival's price. "We were talking to Hills a couple of months ago about becoming an associate on the McDonald's car (with Houston), because they were thinking about doing some coffee business with McDonald's," Wells said. "Then at Dover I thought it was all dead, but someone walked into my trailer and said they wanted to talk about it again. I don't know if it will happen."(in part from a column about Wells at the Winston Salem Journal)(10-21-2001)
- Little E's Helmet: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains one of the few drivers not to use a full-face helmet. Earlier this year, Earnhardt Jr. wore a full-face helmet in the 24 Hours of Daytona race and used one in the first Cup practice at Daytona before his father saw it. "My father asked me to put it up and not use it anymore," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He was really adamant about that." The late Earnhardt used an open-face helmet. Part of his reasoning was that he felt an open-face helmet was lighter and was less weight on the neck in a severe crash. Earnhardt Jr. says that he'd like to use a full-face helmet soon.(Racing Extra)(10-21-2001)
- Gordon's streak in jeopardy UPDATE streak ends: #24-Jeff Gordon has won at least one restrictor-plate race in each of the past six seasons, and that streak is on the line in Sunday’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega. The streak began with a victory in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July 1995, and Gordon’s most recent restrictor plate win was at Talladega in the Talladega 500 in April 2000.(Gaston Gazette)(10-20-2001)
UPDATE: Gordon's streak ends as he did not win at Talladega; Gordon also did not win a short track race in a season for the first in six seasons(10-21-2001)
- Stewart wears Hutchens AND: A few minutes before 11, Tony Stewart and crew chief Greg Zipadelli came from the hauler and walked to the car. Zipadelli helped Stewart latch on the Hutchens device, under the unblinking eye of competition director Steve Peterson.(SpeedVision)
UPDATE: After some tense moments early Friday, Tony Stewart finally relented and wore a head and neck restraint device before he began practice at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR on Wednesday mandated the use of either the HANS or Hutchens device by all drivers in its top three series - Winston Cup, Grand National and Trucks. Stewart was the only regular Cup driver who did not wear one of the devices on a regular basis. After the practice session started, Winston Cup series director Gary Nelson stood by Stewart's car and asked him if he had received the bulletin about the use of head and neck restraints. Stewart replied, "Yeah, but I didn't get the one about helmets being required." Stewart then left his car and went to the NASCAR hauler, where he had a heated exchange with Nelson. When it was over, he returned to his hauler, removed his uniform, dressed in street clothes and went to his motorhome.
After a short while, he returned to his hauler, put on his uniform, put on a Hutchens device and got into his car. After exchanging words with NASCAR official Steve Peterson, he pulled out of the garage and onto the track. He ended up posting the 40th-fastest speed.(That's Racin'), Stewart will start 37th at Talladega, using a provisional to make the race(10-19-2001)
COLUMN: a few interesting columns about Stewart - Tony Stewart, back to the wall, is raging in solitude by Monte Dutton of the Gaston Gazette; and There's another side to the Stewart story by David Poole of the Charlotte Observer/That's Racin'(10-21-2001)
- #12 Team to go away? UPDATE 3: Mike Wallace will replace Mayfield in the #12 Fords for the rest of this season. The future of that car beyond that point is undetermined. It's possible that Roger Penske's operation could be a two-car team again next year with Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman and the #12 team's sponsor, Mobil, as an associate on both cars or sharing primary sponsorship with Alltel on Newman's Fords(That's Racin')(10-5-2001)
UPDATE: Officials at Penske's shop say that there will be a No. 12 team next season, despite the loss of Mayfield. For one thing, Mobil's sponsorship, an $11 million a year deal, has another season to run.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-7-2001)
UPDATE 2: Rusty Wallace held court yesterday at Martinsville Speedway, offering his opinion on everything from the surface of the track to the future of the #12 team that recently cut loose driver Jeremy Mayfield. Wallace said he would not be surprised if Roger Penske's No. 12 team did not run next season. "We don't know if we're going to continue on with the  car or not," said Wallace, who co-owns his team with Penske but has no financial interest in the other Penske Racing teams. "We might just take the 12 car and shut the team down. . . . I wouldn't bet against it and I wouldn't bet for it. Right now, they're trying to find out what they want to do."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-13-2001)
UPDATE 3: Rusty Wallace said the fate of his brother Mike's [#12] team is still up in the air, and he's not convinced a three-car team is the way to go. Ryan Newman will be stepping up to a full Winston Cup deal next season, leaving the Penske team that Mike Wallace drives for under an uncertain cloud. "If they want to keep the 12 car team going, I'm all for it," Wallace said. "But if Mike wasn't in the car, I'd say just close the sucker down."(Winston Salem Journal) AND Whether Mike Wallace’s performance will pay off in that car is undetermined. Roger Penske, who owns both Rusty’s #2 and Mike’s #12, is considering shutting the #12 team down and pairing the #2 next year with rookie Ryan Newman, whose car at present wears #02.(Gaston Gazette)(10-21-2001)
- Nemechek to the #26? UPDATE 6 Announced: hearing Joe Nemechek will take over the #26 Kmart Ford ride that Jimmy Spencer is vacating at the end of 2001(10-1-2001)
UPDATE: FSN's Totally NASCAR reports that Nemechek will not be back in the #33 APR Chevy in 2002(10-2-2001)
UPDATE 2: sources tell me that Nemechek agreed to drive the #26 Haas-Carter Motorsports car in 2002(10-3-2001)
UPDATE 3: Travis Carter is close to signing Joe Nemechek as Jimmy Spencer’s 2002 replacement in the #26 Ford owned by Carter and Carl Haas(Gaston Gazette)(10-5-2001)
Nemechek and the #26 UPDATE 4: FSN's Totally NASCAR reports #26 team owner Travis Carter says that he is strongly pursuing Joe Nemechek to drive his 26 car next year.(10-10-2001)
UPDATE 5: Travis Carter confirmed that Joe Nemechek would be his driver next season, barring any unforeseen problems, pairing Nemechek as Bodine's new teammate. Car owner Andy Petree, who would be losing Nemechek, said he had nothing new to report on his driver-sponsor search(Winston Salem Journal)(10-13-2001)
UPDATE: Travis Carter confirmed Friday at Talladega that Joe Nemechek will replace Jimmy Spencer in the Haas-Carter Motorsports #26 Kmart Ford next season. Nemechek will leave the #33 Andy Petree Racing team, where he’s been for two seasons. The team’s contract with sponsor Kmart runs out after the 2002 season.(RacingOne). #66-Todd Bodine drives for Haas-Carter also, in the #66 Kmart Ford(10-20-2001)
- Mast in the #90 in 2002: Car owner Junie Donlavey has announced that Rick Mast will drive the #90 Ford next season. Mast will replace Hut Stricklin, who is moving to another, still-undetermined team along with sponsor Hills Brothers Coffee.(Birmingham Post), supposedly C. F. Sauer, who sponsored the #27 car in 2001 and was on the #91 Ford Mast attempted (but failed) to get into the race at Talladega, will be the sponsor of the #90(10-20-2001)
- Brett Bodine full time in 2002 UPDATE: hearing that #11-Brett Bodine plans to run the full 2002 Cup season even though he is losing sponsor Ralph's Supermarkets. Hearing Bodine will run with "five or six" sponsors, depending on race and location, but have not heard who any of the sponsors will be and have not heard if Geoffrey Bodine will run as a teammate of his brother or not in 2002(10-19-2001)
UPDATE: during the qualifying show on CNN/SI, Brett Bodine was interviewed and says his team is about 25% funded for 2002 and is still looking for sponsors. Bodine also said he is looking to field his brother Geoffrey in a 2nd team once his #11 team is funded. They could run Geoffrey in a limited schedule also(10-20-2001)
- Pennzoil on the move? there is evidence that some other sponsorships may now be in play. Pennzoil's sponsorship, with Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt Inc., may be one of them.(Winston Salem Journal). But as far as I know, Pennzoil is signed with DEI at least thru 2002(10-20-2001)
- #31 Announcement at Atlanta: Richard Childress continues to insist his plans for his #31 Chevrolet will not be announced until sometime around the Nov. 18 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway(Gaston Gazette)(10-20-2001)
- Doctor, Doctor: NASCAR is in the process of hiring "three or four doctors," all specialists in trauma and emergency medicine, to care for drivers at Winston Cup races, NASCAR President Jim Hunter said Friday. In what Hunter called "a major philosophical change," NASCAR also will hire at least four engineers to work at its new research-and-development center near Conover, N.C. "Safety is going to be the primary focus of the R&D center," he said. NASCAR stopped short of creating a full-fledged, highly specialized, traveling medical and emergency team, such as those employed by all other major motor racing series in the world. Pressed on that issue, Hunter said, "You got your HANS," meaning NASCAR's mandate Wednesday of head-and-neck restraints for drivers.(Orlando Sentinel)(10-20-2001)
- Sad News: former Grand National (now Winston Cup) driver Jack Smith died Wednesday. He was 78. A winner of 21 NASCAR races over a 15-year career and member of the National Motorsports Press Hall of Fame in Darlington, Smith was a native of Illinois. Smith is survived by his wife, Betty DeLay, three sons and two daughters. Smith won his first race at Martinsville Speedway in 1956, won the Most Popular Driver Award in 1959 and moved to Spartanburg in 1960 to work with legendary team owner Bud Moore. His 21 wins are 24th all-time. Smith was also known as an innovator. In a race at Charlotte in 1960, he became the first driver to use a two-way radio with Moore. Smith's son said his father was going to be inducted into the Daytona Beach Hall of Fame in February.(GoUpstate)(10-20-2001)
- Rudds Engine Woes: [#'s 28 and 88] Car owner Robert Yates said that a broken piston and broken valve caused Ricky Rudd 's two blown engines at Martinsville last weekend. Yates said the piston was a lightweight piece for the qualifying engine. With component weight limits for next season, that shouldn't be a problem next season. He said team was working on ways to avoid future valve problems.(Roanoke Times)(10-20-2001)
- Biffle to debut in Cup at Daytona? during the rain delay at Memphis for the BGN race, Greg Biffle was interviewed and said it looks like he would run the 2002 Daytona 500 for his Winston Cup debut in a Roush Ford and probably run at Las Vegas and both Charlotte races(10-13-2001)
UPDATE: hearing Biffle will run #16 in Cup for 2002 (Roush used this number in the past)(10-20-2001)
- Skinner at Talladega: Mike Skinner returned to the Winston Cup garage yesterday, hobbling around on a crutch as he continues to recover from knee surgery two weeks ago. Skinner said it was tough being at the track and watching everyone else drive. "I sit on the couch and try to drive everybody's car at home on Sundays," he said. Skinner said he "probably" will not start driving for the Larry McClure's team until testing for the Daytona 500 next season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-20-2001)
- More Hills Bros: The sluggish U.S. economy has left Sara Lee's Hills Brothers coffee sponsorship as the hottest item in the Winston Cup garage, although it's estimated to be only a $6 million deal, not that much in a sport where top teams spend as much as $15 million a year. The battle for that deal is down to car owners Bill Davis [#93], Andy Petree [#33] and Cal Wells [#96]; the sponsorship comes with a driver, Hut Stricklin. According to team sources, Sara Lee wants to see some serious financial numbers from those owners before making a commitment.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2001)
- Inspection Troubles: Several teams had trouble with Winston Cup inspectors Friday morning. The rear deck lids of two cars, the #90 Ford of Hut Stricklin and the #28 Ford of Ricky Rudd, were confiscated. A "front suspension travel limiter" was taken off the #55 Chevrolet of Bobby Hamilton and an unapproved fuel cell container and "underpans" removed from the #12 Ford of Mike Wallace. Several teams had to make adjustments to their cars before they were cleared. The #8 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr., the #26 Ford of Jimmy Spencer, the #10 Pontiac of Johnny Benson and the #91 of Rick Mast required extensive work.(That's Racin')(10-20-2010)
- Elliott Wins: Bill Elliott started second in a 22-car late model field at the 3/8 mile clay oval Sugar Creek Raceway in Blue Ridge, GA Friday night October 19 and proceeded to lead all 50 laps in front of a packed house. Elliott led by as much a straightaway at times but the margin of victory was three car-lengths over polesitter David Payne at the checkers as Elliott was pinned behind some cars he was attempting to lap. His dirt late model was white and Friday evening carried the #9 and plus Coca-Cola logos on each quarterpanel. Immediately following Elliott's win, the siren switch was turned on at the Dawsonville Pool Room. The marquee in front of the Dawsonville Pool Room informed those passing through town about Elliott's dirt track win Friday evening.(10-20-2001)
- Sad News II: Daytona International Speedway claimed the life of a third racing competitor this year when a motorcycle rider crashed and died on pit road Friday. Stuart Stratton, 35, who carried an Expert motorcycle racing license, struck a Championship Cup Series race official at the start of the GTO Expert warmup lap then careened headlong into the pit road wall. More at the Daytona Beach News Journal(10-20-2001)
- NASCAR Changes: NASCAR announced a restructuring and expansion of its Competition Department, with special emphasis on NASCAR.s new Research and Development Center in Hickory, N.C. These changes are aimed at facilitating further advancement in the areas of research, development and race-site management involved in America.s fastest-growing sport. As part of this restructuring, several longtime NASCAR officials are moving into new positions, assuming new and/or additional responsibilities.
Gary Nelson, formerly NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director, has been named Managing Director of Competition.. Nelson will be responsible for on-track race activities, rules and off-track research and development programs.. He primarily will be based at the Research and Development Center.
Kevin Triplett, formerly NASCAR Director of Operations, has been named Managing Director of Business Operations.. Triplett will be responsible for schedules, sanctions, credentials, timing and scoring procedures, plan development, point fund management and all other business aspects of NASCAR.s three national divisions (Cup, BGN, CTS).
John Darby, formerly the BGN Series Director, will replace Nelson as Winston Cup Series Director, overseeing all competitive aspects-including technical inspections, rules changes and rules enforcement-on the Winston Cup Series.
Brian DeHart, formerly a Technical Inspector on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Grand National Series, will replace Darby as Busch Grand National Series Director. DeHart will oversee all competitive aspects of the Busch Grand National Series.
Wayne Auton, Director of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since June 1995, is continuing in that position.
Joe Garone, a longtime crew chief in various NASCAR divisions, including Winston Cup, has been named the Research and Development Center Director.
All of these individuals will report to NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR. Senior Vice President George Pyne.(NASCAR PR)(10-19-2001)
- Hermie Diecast: The Hermie and Elliott Sadler Fan Club has a limited number of die-cast cars of the #13 Original Virginia Lottery Chevrolet Winston Cup Car. To this point, they have not been available to the general public.. The Fan Club is now offering these cars to the general public, autographed by Hermie Sadler. For more info on how to order, see my Collectible News and Links page(10-19-2001)
- Subway to the #77 in 2002? UPDATE3 or is it #33? or is it Hills Bros?: hearing Subway (sandwich shops) will be the primary sponsor of the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford and driver Robert Pressley in 2002(8-21-2001)
UPDATE: hearing Subway could be announced as the primary sponsor of the #77 for 2002 within the next few weeks, of course, the driver will be Dave Blaney in 2002(10-18-2001)
UPDATE 2: hmm...now hearing Subway could be the 2002 sponsor of the #33 APR Chevy. Anyhow, looks like Subway will sponsor a car in 2002 but most sources say it'll be with the #77 NOT the #33(10-18-2001)
UPDATE 3: and also hearing that Hills Bros Coffee (currently on the #90), could end up on the #77, without Hut Stricklin as the driver. But still continue to hear the best bet is Subway as the sponsor of the #77 with Jasper Engines(10-19-2001)
- Sad News: Steve Crowe, who covered auto racing, boxing and sports broadcasting for the Detroit Free Press, died in his sleep Wednesday evening. He was 47. His death was attributed to heart disease. Crowe died while taking a nap before a scheduled appearance of his rock band, Skillet, at Motor City Casino. Besides his wife Sandy and siblings, Crowe is survived by his mother, Joyce; his son, Ricky, 15; and daughter, Mallory, 14. Visitation is 1-8 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday at Harry J. Will Funeral Home, 37000 Six Mile in Livonia. Funeral is 11 a.m. Monday at Grace Lutheran Church, 25630 Grand River in Redford Township, followed by burial at Glen Eden Cemetery in Livonia, MI.(see full story at the Detroit Free Press), have linked many of Steve's columns on the site and he was a regular contributor to That's Racin', Jayski's partner, he will be missed(10-19-2001)
- Boris Said Injured UPDATE: Driver Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., was hospitalized Thursday following a testing accident in an American Le Mans Series car at Road Atlanta. Said, 39, suffered a minor skull fracture when the Panoz LMP-1 Prototype he was driving crashed in turn 11 of the circuit. He climbed from the car on his own and was awake and alert when transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Ga. Said was to be held overnight for observation.(Trans Am Series Site)(10-19-2001)
UPDATE: Boris Said was released from a Georgia hospital this morning after suffering a minor skull fracture in a testing accident yesterday at Road Atlanta. Said was held overnight for observation at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Ga. Said, 39, from Carlsbad, Calif., was driving a Panoz LMP-1 Prototype when the car crashed in turn 11 of the Road Atlanta track. He exited the car on his own and was awake and alert when transported to the hospital.(Professional Sports Car Racing Site).
Why do I post this? Said has driven this year and others in the Winston Cup series and was a full time CTS driver for a few years(10-19-2001)
- Park visits DEI: Ty Norris, executive vice president of motorsports for Dale Earnhardt Inc., said driver Steve Park - injured in a Grand National series race last month at Darlington, S.C. - has made marked improvement in recent weeks. Kenny Wallace has been substituting for Park in the DEI-owned No. 1 Chevrolets in the Winston Cup series since the accident. Park suffered bruising of his brain and a moderate concussion and has battled double vision. Park visited DEI headquarters the Wednesday before the Martinsville race, meeting with team members and owner Teresa Earnhardt. "He really lifted everybody's spirits. He looked so good. He was himself, had his personality about him and he really got everybody excited at the shop again because obviously a lot of the stories have been going on around him," Norris said. "It's one thing to hear it from someone in a team meeting and say, `Everything is going to be fine,' but it's another thing when Steve walked in the door. It's been devastating to lose him at this time of year." Norris said Park is still struggling with double vision, but has been able conduct this physical therapy at his personal trainer's, rather than at the hospital. "He's getting better every week we see him," Norris said. "We're completely compared to not have him not race for us again until the Daytona race next year. If he's ready, he will race as soon as he's ready."(That's Racin')(10-19-2001)
- New Crew Chief for Kyle and more hires for PE: The #45 Sprint Dodge of driver Kyle Petty has added new leadership. One of the top young minds in stock car racing will become crew chief for the team beginning next week in Phoenix, Ariz. In addition, Richard Buck has joined the team as Technical Director. Steven Lane, 30, at native of Winston-Salem, N.C., now living in Mooresville, has been named crew chief for the team. Chris Hussey, who had been in a dual role, will move into an overall operational role. "We've been looking for someone with Steven's capabilities and attitude. His expertise and new ideas will help us on the track. His personality and demeanor is going to be great for us off the track too," said Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. Lane joins Petty Enterprises from Penske Racing, where he was car chief for the #12 car of driver Jeremy Mayfield. Buck joins the team from Andy Petree Racing, where he was Team Manager. Prior to that position, Buck spent 17 years in Indy car racing - 14 years as a crew chief and chief mechanic with Penske Racing and four years as Director of Operations with PPI Motorsports(Williams Company)(10-19-2001)
- Rudd Walks: The current driver of the #28 Ford will be honored this race weekend during festivities at the park named for the driver that got the ride rolling. Ricky Rudd won the fans' voting as the active driver to be inducted at the Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame. He'll take the stage during ceremonies at Davey Allison Memorial Park in downtown Talladega at 8:00pm on Saturday. Two inactive drivers, Buck Baker and Joe Weatherly, also will enter the Walk of Fame. The ceremonies are free and open to the public(Alabama Live)(10-19-2001)
- Wheeler defends the Bumper: Lowe's Motor Speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler took issue Thursday with NASCAR's comments regarding the so-called "Humpy Bumper," an energy-absorbing bumper designed by Lew Composites of Las Vegas. The bumper, which would fit on the front of NASCAR race cars, is made of a composite material called directional carbon fiber. "With all due respect to NASCAR's `experts,' we obviously need to do a better job of explaining how this energy-absorbing bumper works," Wheeler said. "The difficulty in understanding this bumper is that it is made of directional carbon fiber. "Only five percent of all carbon fiber usage is directional. Therefore, only those who work closely with it really understand its remarkable ability to redirect energy." Wheeler also took issue with statements from Pyne that testing conducted with the bumper had not been done at speeds close to those in accidents that have killed five stock car drivers over the past 17 months. "While some tests were run at slower speeds, most were in the proper range. The crash test at Charlotte, witnessed by the media, was at a wall speed in excess of 40 mph, similar to Dale Earnhardt's accident," Wheeler said. Wheeler said he hoped NASCAR officials and Lew and his associates could meet to help establish "better communication" regarding the bumper(That's Racin')(10-19-2001)
- TV Ratings - Memphis beats Martinsville: last weekend's Memphis Busch race had roughly three times the audience of the Cup race from Martinsville. One could say that fans tuned in to the Busch race, expecting a Cup race and stuck around. No matter. Those that did stick around comprised the second largest audience for a Busch race this season – the largest being FOX's July [actually February, not July] Daytona race, which was viewed in 2.964m households. Memphis had a audience of 2.657m households. The 1.295m households that tuned in to the Cup race Monday morning is about what you'd expect under the circumstance.(SpeedVision)(10-19-2001)
- Green helping out: Jeff Green, driver of the #10 Nestlé Nesquik Ford in the BGN, believes so strongly that NASCAR drivers should be wearing a head and neck restraint device, that he's willing to put his money where his mouth is. Green wasn't sure why some drivers were not wearing any type of device, so he decided to do a little investigating. He knew that most full-time BGN regulars were wearing some sort of system, either a HANS device or Hutchins device, but he wasn't sure about the other drivers; the ones competing in the series from time to time, not necessarily every weekend. He guessed that the drivers who competed on a limited basis possibly did not have the funds available to purchase a head and neck safety restraint system. The costs for a HANS device can range anywhere from $1,500 to $1,800 and the cost of a Hutchins device is lower, around $300. Either can hurt a budget when money is so tight trying to make a name for yourself. After doing some research with NASCAR, Green found out his theory was true. Most drivers not using a device were the drivers that did not compete full-time. He did not want cost to be the reason a driver would not be wearing this essential safety equipment. So Green decided to take it upon himself to offer to pay for a system for any driver who does not have the means to do so(Speedway Illustrated)(10-18-2001)
- #50 Team Done? UPDATE: Employees of the #50 Midwest Transit Racing team were forced to hit the streets in search of employment this week when a long-running dispute between former trucking company and race team partners Mike Witters and Hal Hicks apparently came to a head. The team’s closing unfortunately came after Rich Bickle made a respectable run in the Brickyard 400, starting 17th and finishing 32nd in the Speedway Records Chevy(NASCAR.com Buzz)(8-9-2001)
UPDATE: The 50 team is not closed. Due to not having a sponsor they have streamlined (laid off employees) the team. The team will not run the full schedule this year and is getting ready for Bristol and Richmond at this time with Rich Bickle driving at Bristol(ESPN2's RPM 2Night) AND The #50 Chevrolet, driven by Rich Bickle, will take the next two weeks off to prepare for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol on Aug. 25. Tammy Paxon, office manager, said reports that the team has shut down are not true. "We're just regrouping and getting ready for Bristol," she said.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(8-10-2001)
UPDATE 2: hearing from sources and many former team members that the #50 Midwest Transit Racing team owned by Hal Hicks will not return to racing and has closed up with all employees being released (ands owed paychecks). Supposedly there is litigation between Hicks and former co-owner and the team's lack of sponsorship. The team's website has been disbanded also(10-18-2001)
- An Earnhardt Honor by Chevy: Chevrolet has decided to honour racing legend Dale Earnhardt, and has done so by creating a limited edition Monte Carlo in his name. The 2002 Monte Carlo SS Dale Earnhardt Signature Edition makes its debut this month at select high-volume Monte Carlo dealers in the US and Canada, and only 3,333 units will be made.(AutoNet)(10-18-2001)
- Bill Davis Racing Keeps Two: Bill Davis Racing is now looking for both a sponsor and a driver for its # 93 Dodges after Tuesday's announcement that Dave Blaney would leave the team at season's end to drive the #77 Fords for Jasper Motorsports in 2002. Bill Armour, a team spokesman for the #93 team, said Wednesday that Davis intends to field a two-car Dodge team next year, filling the seat Blaney is vacating with a new teammate for Ward Burton and his #22 Dodges.(That's Racin')(10-18-2001)
- #51 Team gets a 2002 sponsor: Lance Snacks has reportedly agreed to sponsor Phoenix Racing and driver Jeff Purvis in four to eight Winston Cup races next year. Purvis and owner James Finch are slated to run the Oct. 21 Winston Cup race at Talladega.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read)(10-18-2001)
- #85 News: The #85 Mansion Motorsports team and driver Carl Long will skip the next two Cup races and plans are to run at the North Carolina Speedway on November 4th. The team will run the Dodge and Petty will supply the engines.(MM Site)(10-18-2001)
- Special Shoes: Red Wing Shoes has developed a Limited Special Edition Richard Petty Series boot, which will soon be available only at Red Wing dealers and only for a limited time. The boots are embossed with Petty.s likeness and the number 43, and are unique in motorsports. Red Wing Shoes, an associate sponsor on the Petty Enterprises 43 and 45 cars of John Andretti and Kyle Petty, developed the limited edition boot with assistance from Petty(Williams Company)(10-18-2001)
- NASCAR: No to Humpy Bumper...at this point: The energy-absorbing bumper nicknamed the "Humpy Bumper" is not close to being approved for use in NASCAR because of inadequate testing and concerns about the material used in its construction, NASCAR officials said Wednesday. "The data that is available and testing that has been done do not allow us to draw any conclusions that are meaningful because of speed at which the tests have been done will not allow us to," said George Pyne, NASCAR senior vice president.(more at That's Racin')(10-18-2001)
- Hutchens Responds: Hutchens Comments on NASCAR's Mandate of Head and Neck Restraints(10-18-2001)
- NASCAR mandates head and neck restraints: NASCAR on Wednesday made mandatory the use of a head-and-neck restraint device by drivers in its top three series - Winston Cup, Grand National and Trucks - effective immediately. NASCAR has encouraged drivers to wear such devices, either the HANS or Hutchens device, this season, but had not required their use. "NASCAR has worked closely with safety experts, drivers and manufacturers to address issues that led some drivers to feel that these devices might make them less safe," said George Payne, NASCAR senior vice president. "NASCAR's decision making drivers'-side windows wider and our educational seminars for drivers have created greater comfort with using these devices. The willingness of the manufacturers to work with drivers in addressing potential drawbacks and explaining benefits also has allayed drivers' concerns. We will continue our educational efforts." A majority of all NASCAR drivers currently use a head and neck restraint device. In Winston Cup, only one driver, Tony Stewart, currently does not use such a device. "This is a smart decision that will make racing safer for all drivers," said three-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon. "NASCAR's efforts to connect drivers with safety experts and its willingness to work with manufacturers has helped most drivers recognize the benefits of these devices."
Pyne also updated the progress of other safety initiatives:
An occupant-restraint study announced in August is under way. The results of the study will be implemented prior to the 2002 season.
Progress continues to be made in the driver compartment, including seating and additional padding throughout cockpit area.
Accident-data recorders have been tested in all three major NASCAR series. NASCAR remains on schedule to have the data recorders in full use for the 2002 season.
Interviews are in progress for a full-time medical liaison that would attend every Winston Cup event and keep detailed medical histories on all drivers.
Candidates for the position of full-time accident investigator are being reviewed. Pyne also said Wednesday that NASCAR currently has no data that would indicate the so-called "Humpy Bumper," designed by Lew Composites of Las Vegas and initiated by Lowe's Motor Speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, would provide additional safety for cars. Pyne said NASCAR would continue to look at additional data as more crash testing is done with the bumper. NASCAR also will continue to work with the Indy Racing League in the development of new "soft-wall" technology and with manufacturers in addressing concerns with the designs of the cars as well as energy absorbing materials.(That's Racin'/NASCAR PR) for more info see my Safety Section - Restraint page, with past news, columns, pictures and links(10-17-2001)
- Stewart's Response to Head Restraints: On the second day of a two-day test at Atlanta, [#20] Tony Stewart took time to respond to NASCAR's mandate that drivers use either a Head And Neck Support (HANS) or Hutchens device beginning this weekend at Talladega. "I think a head and neck restraint is a good idea," said the driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, "and I think it's great that a lot of drivers are wearing them. But I also believe that a head and neck restraint has to be right for each individual driver. What is right for one person may not be right for another. I want to wear something, but I haven't found anything yet that I'm comfortable with. It's not that I don't want to wear it, and I'm not being bull-headed about this, but there is nothing right now that I'm comfortable wearing inside the race car. When I ran Indy cars, there was a time once when I had the foam headrest that goes around the rim of the driver's cockpit touch the top of my shoulders. I ran one lap, pulled in and bailed out of the car because I felt like I was getting trapped inside the car - just because the headrest was touching the top of my shoulders. It wasn't because of anything mechanical, it was because of my own anxiety that comes from being claustrophobic. That's how the HANS device makes me feel. If I have a helmet device that doesn't fit properly or isn't comfortable, then how comfortable am I going to be six inches from guys who are on all four corners of my race car? I tried out the Hutchens device during a Talladega test back in August, put it on three different times, and it was on me three different ways. It was never in the same spot on my body twice. That concerned me, because there didn't seem to be any consistency in how it formed to my body. I'm still committed to finding an appropriate head restraint system that suits my safety needs, while at the same time allowing me peace of mind inside the race car."(Edelman PR), one of Stewart's biggest problems with using a device is that he is extrememly claustrophobic(10-17-2001)
- 2nd Donlavey Car at Talladega? UPDATE 2: Junie Donlavey's team could have an increased presence at Talladega next week. The Richmond-based team is considering running a second Cup car (No. 91) with driver Rick Mast and a C.F. Sauer product logo.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-13-2001)
UPDATE: [Rick] Mast said he'll be at Talladega next weekend, but he didn't say which team he'll be with. Any deal would be for that weekend only. In the past two weeks, Mast has served as a standby driver for Dale Jarrett and driven for Harvick.(Roanoke Times)(10-15-2001)
UPDATE 2: Winston Cup team [#90] owner Junie Donlavey will field a second car for driver Rick Mast in the EA Sports 500 at
Talladega Superspeedway. Mast will drive the #91 C.F. Sauer/BAMA Ford, a Richmond-based company that sponsored the #27 Pontiac for several Winston Cup events this season. Donlavey received permission to use the #91 from Joe Falk, who owns the rights to use the number in Winston Cup events.(Keystone Marketing)(10-17-2001)
- AMS Testing day 2: Johnny Benson set the fast lap of the day in a test with four other NASCAR Winston Cup drivers preparing for the Nov. 18 NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The speeds:
#10-Johnny Benson, 184.493
#19-Casey Atwood, 184.309
#20-Tony Stewart, 183.942
#18-Bobby Labonte, 183.273
#28-Ricky Rudd, 181.949 (AMS PR)(10-17-2001)
- #92 Done? UPDATE not according to the team: from FSN's Jeff Hammond column: "With all the speculation that Jeremy's [Mayfield] going to go to Ray Evernham's third deal since the 92's going to close up, it looks like Evernham Motorsports is going to absorb a lot of the 92 team's stuff. It's still probably next week or if not next week, the week after for sure before we get some of this stuff laid to rest.(FoxSports)(10-17-2001)
UPDATE: per a PR from Melling Racing - "We are not closing the shop, and we are not merging with Evernham Motorsports. We have a Winston Cup team and a Craftsman Truck Series team. Both teams are going forward, and I'm confident that we can secure
sponsorship for both teams. "Silly Season" rumors are an enemy to every team, and we will not let an unfounded lie go unchallenged. We've got a great driver in Stacy Compton and a great Crew Chief in Chad Knaus. This team has really pulled together recently, and it is
showing on the race track. We've qualified and raced well over the last four or five races, so we know we have a solid race team to offer
our sponsors. Melling has been in NASCAR for over 20 years, and we plan on being here at least another 20 years. We've won poles, races and a championship over the course of our involvement in NASCAR, and with the assistance of Dodge and our sponsors, we will continue our winning tradition."(Melling Racing)(10-17-2001)
- More on Stricklin: With Hills Bros.’ backing, [Hut] Stricklin is considered a serious contender to replace Joe Nemechek in Andy Petree’s #33 Chevy. Petree has been seeking sponsorship for that team almost all season after Oakwood Homes announced it was pulling out after 2001. Stricklin confirmed that Hills Bros. has also talked with Cal Wells about the #96 team that lost McDonald’s as its primary sponsor and ran its last race of the season two weeks ago at Kansas. Stricklin may also be in the mix for the #93 car of Bill Davis and several others.(Anniston Star)(10-17-2001)
- Autopsy Photos UPDATE: Citing a loophole in a law named for racecar driver Dale Earnhardt, Volusia County's medical examiner on Friday sought access to autopsy photos and videotapes so they can be used for education and training. The motion filed late Friday afternoon asks for court permission to use post-mortem photos and videotapes at an upcoming conference of medical examiners in Volusia County. The request did not specify which autopsy photos Dr. Thomas Beaver wants to use at the conference, which begins Oct. 31, but they will not include Earnhardt's. A hearing on the request has not been scheduled(Orlando Sentinel)(10-14-2001)
UPDATE: The attorney for a student-run newspaper filed an appeal Tuesday with the 5th District Court of Appeal, hoping to overturn a judge's ruling denying it and two other parties access to autopsy photos of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, who died in February's Daytona 500. The appeal was filed by Miami attorney Tom Julin on behalf of Gainesville's Independent Florida Alligator. It wants the appeals court to overturn Circuit Judge Joseph Will's June 13 ruling upholding the constitutionality of a new state law and barring the newspaper from gaining direct access to the photos.(Daytona Beach News Journal), for past news on this, see my Dale Earnahrdt: Reactons page(10-17-2001)
- Earnhardt Diecast: Action Performance, together with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Richard Childress Racing Enterprises Inc., announced a special tribute program that will honor seven-time NASCAR(R) Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and give Earnhardt's "legendary fans" a special way to be a part of history. The Dale Earnhardt Legendary Series will start with a series of die-cast replicas crafted to commemorate key moments in the racing legend's stellar career. Thanks to months of research -- including interviews, referencing personal photo albums, and securing the cooperation of many other individuals in the racing industry -- each Dale Earnhardt Legendary Series collectible will include the history behind the replica(Yahoo Biz)(10-17-2001)
- Blaney in the #77? Pressley Out UPDATE 3 YEP: Latest silly season rumors have Dave Blaney moving to the #77, but insiders say he could be trying his hand at Indy cars next season if Bill Davis doesn't find a sponsor for the #93 team.(Sporting News)(10-8-2001)
UPDATE: The word around the Winston Cup garage Friday was that Robert Pressley would be out of the #77 Jasper Engines Ford following the 2001 season. Rumor has it Dave Blaney is set to take over the ride(NASCAR.com Buzz) AND Robert Pressley said he most likely would not be back with the Jasper Motorsports team after this season(Roanoke Times)(10-13-2001)
UPDATE 2: Pressley has informed the Jasper Motorsports team that he will not return next season. Crew chief Ryan Pemberton is staying, though, and has signed a multiyear contract. The team also appears to have additional sponsorship for 2002(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-14-2001)
UPDATE 3: ESPN2's RPM 2Night reports that Dave Blaney has been named the driver of the #77 Jasper Engines Ford in 2002. No word on where Pressley will go or who will drive the #93 Bill Davis Racing Dodge if they find a sponsor for 2002. Pressley will drive the #77 for the remainder of the 2001 season(ESPN2's RPM2Night)(10-16-2001)
- Atlanta Speeds: Tony Stewart set the fast lap of the day in a test with four other NASCAR Winston Cup drivers preparing for the Nov. 18 NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The speeds:
#20-Tony Stewart, 183.942
#18-Bobby Labonte, 183.273
#19-Casey Atwood, 183.031
#10-Johnny Benson, 182.789
#28-Ricky Rudd, 180.234
Last spring’s pole run, recorded by Dale Jarrett, was 192.748mph(AMS PR)(10-16-2001)
- M&M's Re-ups with MB2: "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies announced today it has renewed its sponsorship of the #36 MB2 Motorsports Pontiac. Driver Ken Schrader will also be back behind the wheel of the "M&M's"® Pontiac next season. The extension will mark the sixth year together for both MB2 and M&M/MARS. When MB2 Motorsports debuted in 1997, it took to the track bearing the rainbow colors of SKITTLES® Brand candies. The 2002 season will mark Ken Schrader's 18th year of full-time competition in the Winston Cup ranks and his third season with the "M&M's"® Racing Team.(IMG Motorsports PR), on a paint scheme note, I hear the car will be slightly different in 2002 with the Red M&M hanging onto the rear bumper with both hands, like he is being blown off the car. Ms Green is on the driver's sign with her thumb up, holding a sign that says "going my way?" Yellow is doing something but unknown at this time(10-16-2001)
- Burton says never: The longstanding rumor that has Jeff Burton leaving Roush Racing [to the #12 or #31] at the end of the year has already been denied by Burton dozens of times. After Monday’s race, Burton went a step farther, going so far as to say he would "never" leave Roush’s Ford team.(Gaston Gazette)(10-16-2001)
- Testing at AMS UPDATE: #29-Kevin Harvick, #18-Bobby Labonte, #20-Tony Stewart, #19-Casey Atwood and #10-Johnny Benson are expected to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway during a three-day test Oct. 15-17. Stewart and Labonte will test on Monday, Oct. 15, and Tuesday, Oct. 16. Harvick, Atwood and Benson are expected to test on Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Wednesday, Oct. 17.(AMS PR)(10-12-2001)
UPDATE: Due to the rain delay at Martinsville, Monday’s test session at Atlanta Motor Speedway has been cancelled. Testing is expected to resume Tuesday and Wednesday, with Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Kevin Harvick, Casey Atwood and Johnny Benson scheduled to run(AMS PR)(10-16-2001)
- Testing at Homestead: Winston Cup testing sessions at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be open to the public beginning Tuesday, October 16. Testing runs from 9:00am - 5:00pm. Admission to the testing sessions is free to the public. Driver participation is subject to change. Teams scheduled to test on Tuesday, October 16 and Wednesday, October 17 include: Chip Ganassi Racing (#01-Jason Leffler, #40-Sterling Marlin); Dale Earnhardt Inc. (#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip); Hendrick Motorsports (#24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #25-Jerry Nadeau); MB2 Motorsports (#36-Ken Schrader); Penske Racing South (#02-Ryan Newman), and Roush Racing (#17-Matt Kenseth, #6-Mark Martin). On October 22-24, Joe Gibbs Racing (#24-Tony Stewart) will be at Homestead-Miami Speedway.. Robert Yates Racing (#28-Ricky Rudd) will test on October 22-23, while Evernham Motorsports (#19-Casey Atwood) will test on October 23-24.. Hendrick Motorsports (#24-Ricky Hendrick) Busch Grand National team will visit Homestead-Miami Speedway, October 29-30. Cup teams will be preparing for the Pennzoil 400 and the BGN Miami 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, November 9-11. Tickets remain for both races.(HMS PR)(10-16-2001)
- Elliott in 2002? UPDATE 2: Bill Elliott remains one of the question marks in the Winston Cup garage. He's under contract for another year with car owner Ray Evernham, who insists that Elliott will be back with the Dodge team next season. However, there are strong reports that Elliott may be setting up his own satellite shop and team in Dawsonville, GA, next season. A complicating factor is Jeremy Mayfield, who appears in the running for a ride with Evernham next season. According to sources close to Mayfield, he and Evernham had long been talking about teaming in 2003, when Mayfield's contract with Roger Penske was scheduled to end, and the two have just moved that whole program up a year now. However it seems unlikely that Evernham would be prepared to expand to a three-car operation next season.(Winston Salem Journal), and also hearing Mayfield will replace Casey Atwood in the #19 Dodge(10-14-2001)
UPDATE: Evernham's plans for next season remain unclear. He is expected to sign Mayfield, probably this week; but will Evernham expand to a three-car team with Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood, or will one of those two of his drivers move elsewhere?(Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2001)
UPDATE 2: sources tell me that BOTH Elliott and Atwood will drive for Evernham Motorsports in the Cup series in 2002. If Mayfield goes with Dodge, it'll be a 3rd Evernham team or a single car operation (#7?) with help from Evernham Motorsports(10-16-2001)
- Bigs Cars: Now that NASCAR has agreed to the one-engine per weekend rule (though the details are yet to be precisely laid out), the sanctioning body is looking again at the proposed "big car" option, a Winston Cup car four or five inches wider and three inches taller than current models(Winston Salem Journal)(10-16-2001)
- Mayfield in the #31? #7? Evernham? UPDATE:(maybe the Jayski Studabaker?) - A source close to Richard Childress said Sunday night that Mayfield is the lead candidate to take over the #31 Chevy. The major issue, according to the source, is sponsor Cingular, who apparently requested that Robby Gordon drive the car. Mayfield has been rumored in virtually every car on the circuit, including one rumor that has him in a Ray Evernham Dodge. Interestingly, a source close to Jim Smith's Ultra Motorsports team said he was told Mayfield would be in the #7 with McDonald's as sponsor.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(10-15-2001)
UPDATE: hearing that Mayfield is NOT a top choice for Richard Childress and that Gordon is still the front runner for the #31 ride(10-16-2001)
- One Engine Rule for 2002: starting in the 2002 season, Cup teams must use the same engine to qualify and race, NASCAR announced Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. In the event the engine used to qualify the car does not start the race, then at the desretion of the Winston Cup Series director, the starting position will be relinquished and the car will drop to the rear of the field prior to the start of the race. According to NASCAR, certain events during the 2002 season may require ammendments to this rule, such as the Gatorade Twin 125-mile qualifying races and the Coca-Cola 600, due its length.(NASCAR.com)(10-14-2001) AND see an AP story at That's Racin': Race rained out; NASCAR adopts one-engine rule(10-15-2001)
- Craven wins at Martinsville in the Old Dominion 500, his first ever career Winston Cup win and PPI Motorsport's first ever Cup win. Craven's win came in his 174th career Cup start and the 159th driver to win a Cup race. The win puts Craven into the 2002 The Winston. The top 10:
Some notes: the #'s 4-Bickle,13-Salder(twice), 25-Nadeau, 2-Wallace, #93-Blaney have spun. #77-Pressley had something break, spun and backed into the wall. The #'s 43, 01, 71 and 14 got togther with the #43 and #01 spinning; #8-Earnhardt spun and backed into the wall doing slight damage; #66-Bodine got spun out by #22-Burton on pitroad; #33-Nemechek and #1-Wallace got together and Nemechek spun out. #55-Hamilton bumps #29-Harvick and passes Harvick and then #29-Harvick spins out Hamilton who loses many positions, Harvick was then held for a lap by NASCAR for rough driving
See That's Racin' for Old Dominion 500 results and see my Driver's Points page for the standings(10-15-2001)
- Sauter in the #31 at Homestead? UPDATE 2, no it's Green: hearing ASA Champ and RCR BGN driver, Johhny Sauter could be in the #31 Lowes Chevy at Homestead. Robby Gordon will likely miss next month's race at Homestead, due to a commitment to run the Baja 1000 off-road race(10-11-2001)
UPDATE: Rick Mast is also under consideration to drive the #31 at Homestead. Gordon will NOT drive the car there(FSN's Totally NASCAR)(10-12-2001)
UPDATE 2: Jeff Green will drive the #31 Lowes Chevy at Homestead as Gordon will miss the race. Gordon will be in the #31 for the other remaining five Cup races this year. Team Owner Richard Childress hope to make an announcement on the 2002 #31 driver within the next week(TNT Race Coverage)(10-15-2001)
- Waltrip and the #15 UPDATE rumor update from beginning to end(?): Will Michael Waltrip be with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2002? there are rumors that NAPA, the sponsor of his #15 car, is not happy with his performance(CNN/SI - Burning Questions)(10-3-2001)
UPDATE: the Oct 3rd issue of the National Speed Sport News print edition reports that "Michael Waltrip is rumored to be considering retirement. Waltrip is said to be in contact with broadcast executives about possible employment that would take him out of the driver's seat"
AND FSN's Totally NASCAR reports the DEI is denying that Waltrip will be leaving the #15 car and that Waltrip still has a year to go on his two-year deal with DEI(10-5-2001)
UPDATE 2: "As of today, he [Michael Waltrip] still has a job for next year," DEI vice president Ty Norris said. "We have not talked about next year and he has not told us he wants to go into broadcasting, but with him being just 38 years old, I can't really see retirement being an option." But Norris said Waltrip has been called in three times this season to talk about on-track performance and gently reminded of the urgency to turn things around. Waltrip has another year left on his contract and the team has one more year on its sponsorship deal with NAPA.(That's Racin'/AP) AND Michael Waltrip says he has two more years on his contract with BGN sponsor Aarons [#99 Chevy], but he is unsure whether he'll drive the car. Many expect Waltrip to move into the TV booth next year(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-7-2001)
UPDATE 3: Also at DEI, according to [FSN] sources, the 15 car is Michael Waltrip's for next year. Some things have got to change, especially Michael's attitude and how he works with the team. If he doesn't change his attitude toward the team, it will definitely be his last year there.(FSN's Totally NASCAR)(10-10-2001)
UPDATE 4 Waltrip Stays: Michael Waltrip will be back with Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season. Teresa Earnhardt, after listening to several weeks of rumors about Waltrip's future, held a team meeting Thursday and laid down the law to the crews - her late husband had signed Waltrip to a two-year deal, and she was going to hold to Dale's wishes. But, according to team sources, Teresa also had a private meeting with Waltrip to try to help him regain his focus. At Charlotte last week, DEI men were scouting the garage for potential new drivers, focusing on Jeremy Mayfield, Johnny Benson and Kenny Wallace. Mayfield, however, appears headed to Ray Evernham's Dodge team, a deal the two have been working on for much of the year. Benson, according to team sources, wouldn't be willing to leave his current team without being able to bring along crew chief James Ince and the rest of the crew; that option, sources say, was vetoed at DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2001)
- Chevy Nose: A new Chevrolet nose is turning heads in the garage. The new nose has been wind-tunnel tested, but it's not clear if NASCAR will approve the new piece.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2001)
- Trickle in the #71? UPDATE: Dave Marcis asked Dick Trickle to qualify his car for the Old Dominion 500, saying he might come back if Trickle was able to get the ride in the race. Trickle did just that, but now Marcis may let him drive it anyway. "We're still waiting to see what'll happen," Trickle said. "I might get my chance yet."(News and Observer)
UPDATE: no, Marcis is running the #71 Realtree Chevy(10-15-2001)
- UPDATE - Why can Harvick drive in the Cup race since he is a rookie and 'supposedly' a rookie must practice and qualify the car they compete in? My understanding is that NASCAR may determine the rookie status of a driver based on experience at a race track or in the series. Since Harvick has ran 28 of the 29 previous Cup races, won two and is leading the BGN points, it was probably decided he could handle it. Plus he has already raced at Martinsville. ALSO it is my understanding that a rookie driver did not get rookie points for a race unless he also qualified the car. That means Harvick would not get points or money for winning or anything else rookie-wise, if this is the case.(10-13-2001)
UPDATE: been informed that Harvick will NOT receive the customary 1 point for attempting to qualify for the Martinsville event, but he WILL still retain any rookie points for his finishing order.(10-15-2001)
see the Oct 8-14, 2001 Archived News Page
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