Bobby Labonte wins the Vigiania 500 at Martinsville: under a white, yellow, checkered flags. It is Labonte's 19th career Cup win and first ever short track win. Ten different drivers have won the last 10 Cup races at Martinsville. The top ten finishers:
#18-Labonte (61 laps led)
#20-Stewart (152 laps led)
#8-Earnhardt Jr (41 laps led)
#5-Labonte (11 laps led, monkey off the back, first lap led since Talladega Oct 2000)
#99-Burton (5 laps led)
Where did #29-Kenny Wallace finish? 32nd, 10 laps down
2002 Points Leader, #40-Marlin finished 12th
2001 Cup Champ, #24-Gordon finished 23rd, 2 laps down, Nadeau stood by to relieve Gordon, but didn't.
Rookies: #12-Newman is 39th and out; #48-Johnson is 35th
Out of Race/Off Track: #71- Hillenburg(clutch); #43-Andretti(engine); #12-Newman(engine); #26-Kimmel(accident); #25-Nadeau(engine/radiator); #44-Jones (accident); #90-Mast(out); #48-Johnson(out)
Cars on the lead lap: 20
Lap Leaders (13): #24-Gordon(68 laps led); #55-Hamilton(47); #25-Nadeau(42); #20-Stewart(152); #22-Burton(20); #5-Labonte(11); #32-Craven(40); #77-Blaney(1); #8-Earnhardt Jr(41); #14-Compton(1); #18-Labonte(61); #2-Wallace(10); #99-Burton(5);
Cautions: 14 for 104 laps
Caution 14 - Lap 498: #55-Hamilton and #77-Blaney got together and #45-Petty was also involved.
Caution 13 - Lap 485: #44-Jones gets turned around and #10-Benson got into Buckshot, just after the green flag flew.
Caution 12 - Lap 475: #32-Craven and #41-Spencer got together when Craven tried to pass Spencer on the bottom, Kenseth scaped Spencer but used the grass to avoid the #41.
Caution 11 - Lap 442: #14-Compton, #4-Skinner and #10-Benson got together, with Benson looping around, but restarted and drove on. #55-Hamilton and #20-Stewart came in to pit after being 1-2, but none of the other leaders followed them into the pits.
Caution 10 - Lap 405: #41-Spencer spun, as he spun #32-Craven spun into Spencer, both ended up in the turn 4 wall, both drove away. #2-Wallace and #4-Skinner got together on pit road, with Wallace hitting Skinner as they both left at the same time, Skinner is pitting right infront of Wallace.
Caution 9 - Lap 366: #02-Sadler got spun out when #19-Mayfield hit him in the rear.
Caution 8 - Lap 274: #36-Schrader's car died on the track and is stopped in turn #4.
Caution 7 - Lap 252: #24-Gordon is smoking, may be a steering pump leak, Gordon reports oil pressure is ok.
Caution 6 - Lap 207: #43-Andretti lost an engine, #31-Gordon and #26-Kimmel spun in the oil between turn 3 and 4. Also #41-Spencer and #24-Gordon had contact and quite a bit damage on the #24 cutting the tire down, Spencer and Gordon got together while trying to avoid the cars spinning in front of them.
Caution 5 - Lap 170: #11-Bodine had a tire go down and stopped on the track.
Caution 4 - Lap 101: #41-Spencer spun out and tapped the wall, no contact with any other car.
Caution 3 - Lap 73: #29-Kenny Wallace spun out in turn one after #4-Skinner got into Wallace when he came down from the upper groove and, Wallace drifted down the track, but no other cars were involved. #41-Spencer was held in the pits for 15 seconds after a pit road member came onto pitroad too earlier, #26-Kimmel and #1-Park held for speeding. #55-Hamitlon took 2 tires ob his pit stop.
Caution 2 - Lap 50: #99-Burton and #21-Salder got together after Burton hit Sadler in the rear. #02-Sadler also spun just behind the accident.
Caution 1 - Lap 26: for debris on the track, from #36-Schrader.
NOTES: #45-Petty got into #1-Park who got into #4-Skinner who spun around on lap 425, but no yellow and all were able to drive on, but Park had to come in and get new tires as the left front was cut down. Jerry Nadeau is standing by to sub for #24-Jeff Gordon as of lap 390. #12-Newman is in the garage area on lap 265, oil is in the water and is dropping fluid. #12-Newman's car is smoking and the oil temp is climbing on lap 240. #29-Wallace possibly broke a sway bar which has caused handling problems but him 10 laps behind the leaders. On lap 173 stops, #88-Jarrett was held after pitting outside his pit stall. On lap 145 #21-Salder spun after #97-Busch tapped him, but no yellow thrown. #25-Nadeau drifted up towards the wall after #20-Stewart took the lead but recovered back into 8th on lap 120. The #2-Wallace and #20-Stewart got together but both went on, no yellow. #48-Johnson had some ignition problems around lap 35 and slowed down, but is back up to speed, but had to switch to the 2nd ignition and has to be careful as there is no rev-limiter on the backup/2nd ignition. #36-Ken Schrader had a flat tire after making contact with #45-Petty and lost a few laps trying to get into the pits and damaged the left rear of the car, including a brake fire. #17-Kenseth pushed his grill in when he made contact with #77-Blaney. #71-Hillenburg goes to pits on lap 10 (clutch problem) came out a few times but is now listed as out.
For results see ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(4-14-2002)
Childress Statement: Statement from Richard Childress regarding NASCAR's "Parking" of Kevin Harvick: "NASCAR had to do something in response to Kevin's actions during the Truck race yesterday, but I think their response was completely wrong. I have not seen the clip of Kevin's actions during the Truck race so I can't comment on what he did. He has had problems in the Busch and Truck Series and had been on probation for his actions, but the decision to 'park' him during the Winston Cup race is wrong. NASCAR should keep the actions and punishments separate to each series. This should be Kevin's punishment only, but what NASCAR is doing is punishing the tens of thousands of race fans who probably didn't know until they got to the track this morning that Kevin won't be allowed to race today. NASCAR is also punishing the entire No. 29 team and all of Richard Childress Racing for one person's actions. NASCAR is also punishing GM Goodwrench Service, who has been nothing but loyal to RCR and the sport for many years. This is only my opinion. I will sit down with Kevin Monday morning to discuss what happened and how we will proceed from here."(RCR PR)(4-14-2002)
Harvick Parked for Martinsville, Kenny Wallace in the #29 for the race: Winston Cup driver #29-Kevin Harvick has been "parked" by NASCAR officials and will not be allowed to drive in Sunday's Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday morning. A formal announcement of the action is expected at the track Sunday morning. Kenny Wallace will drive Harvick's #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy Sunday. He would have to start at the rear of the field since he did not qualify the car. Harvick's "parking" - defined in the NASCAR rulebook as an emergency action that is "final, non-appealable and non-reviewable" - comes in response to NASCAR officials' demand he park his truck after spinning Coy Gibbs in Saturday's CTS race at Martinsville. Harvick and Gibbs tangled on the track several times over the course of several laps. Gibbs spun Harvick one time exiting Turn 4. Following a caution on Lap 188, Harvick rammed Gibbs' rear bumper entering Turn 1 and finally spun him exiting Turn 2. NASCAR had enough, black-flagged Harvick and parked him for the day. Harvick parked his #6 Chevy in front of the Truck series hauler near pit road. He was told to report to the NASCAR hauler and met with series officials for nearly 90 minutes following the race. Harvick was already under probation from his post-race incident with Greg Biffle at the BGN race at Bristol last month. Harvick was fined $15,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 28. After Sunday's race, Harvick may receive a more traditional suspension, which could be appealed under NASCAR rules, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com), also see NASCAR.com: The Buzz: Harvick suspension imminent? and Harvick ordered to meet with NASCAR after incident. AND from the Kenny Wallace site: An emergency call sends Kenny Wallace to Martinsville. NASCAR and Richard Childress called DEI to release Wallace for the Martinsville race. Wallace drove to Martinsville and is staying with bother Rusty for the night.ANDRacingOne.com reports that a press conference with #29 car owner Richard Childress was scheduled for 9:00am/et at Martinsville Speedway, while Harvick was to address the media at 10:00am/et.AND NASCAR.com announces:Harvick not allowed to drive in Virginia 500: NASCAR's statement: "NASCAR officials have announced they have "parked" NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick until the conclusion of the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup event at Martinsville Speedway. Harvick, on probation following an incident at Bristol Motor Speedway March 23 for actions during a NASCAR Busch Series event, was parked during Saturday's Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. That time has been extended, preventing him, but not the No. 29 RCR Winston Cup team, from participating through the completion of the event at Martinsville."(4-14-2002)
Teams Warned Against the use of Traction Control: NASCAR President Mike Helton offered a stern warning to Winston Cup drivers and crew chiefs during their prerace meeting Sunday about use of traction-control devices. Helton held up two such devices used to prevent cars from spinning their rear wheels exiting turns as examples of what are available for purchase. Helton said, however, NASCAR will not tolerate their use. "Everybody, I think, understands our rules and regulations in regards to traction control. In an effort to police that, we have spent a lot of time and money buying parts and pieces you've been offered so we can figure out what to look for," he said. "There's not much we can do to the people who manufacture these things to try to get around the rules. It's the crew chiefs and drivers we will react to when we find these or if we ever find these in a car."(ThatsRacin.com)(4-14-2002)
Kimmel back at Talladega, but not California: Frank Kimmel was interviewed on FSN's NASCAR This Morning by Winston Kelly and said he will drive the #26 Haas Carter Motorsports Ford at Talladega, but will NOT drive the car the following week at California Speedway as he has a commitment to the ARCA series in Salem, IN.(4-14-2002)
Shepherd still hopes to run Cup: Morgan Shepherd hasn't totally shelved his Winston Cup dream, either. He has 481 Cup starts and four Cup wins under his belt, and his last Cup foray came in 1999, when he drove one race for Junie Donlavey. His last full-time season was a 23-race stint in 1997. His last Cup win came in 1993, in Atlanta. "Our plans were to be here at Martinsville," Shepherd said of Sunday's Virginia 500. "We had a guy who was supposed to help us with the engine up here and at the last minute he backed out. We're ready to go Winston Cup racing. We've got the shop and facilities, but just don't have the money to operate." The fact a Cup engine costs approximately $40,000 doesn't help. So Shepherd has cast his lot with NASCAR's Craftsman Truck series, where he ran 16 races last season and finished 26th in the final points standings. His nine DNFs were a bit harder to swallow. Shepherd Racing was formed in 1998 with a $25-million-dollar sponsorship agreement to field a Cup team, but the insurance-company sponsor pulled out of the deal, leaving Shepherd on his own. Last year's $3,000 donation from a fan group was his sole source of outside aid. "We're still racing without money," Shepherd said. "So there's only so much we can do. Our goal is to build our Christian team that we set out to do, and do things to help change people's lives. We're just looking for a sponsor."(CNN/SI, NASCAR.com)(4-13-2002)
DW to race more Truck races? a few reports mention Darrell Waltip saying he is consdiering running CTS races at Richmond and Indianapolis Raceway Park.(4-14-2002)
DW and Petree have tough luck in CTS race at Martinsville: #17-Darrell Waltrip finished 34th with a broken rear end and #33-Andy Petree finished 31st after an accident took him out.(4-14-2002)
More Andretti/Indy 500: #43-John Andretti had wanted to talk this week to team owner Kyle Petty more about Andretti driving in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. Busy schedules kept them apart. Petty said he didn't want Andretti, who drove in both races in 1994, to compete at Indy because of the need to focus on the Winston Cup team. Andretti said he wanted to further discuss the issue. It appears unlikely that Andretti will compete in the Indy 500, although he still has a ride available.(Roanoke Times)(4-14-2002)
Evernham and Elledge to meet again UPDATE: Ray Evernham, co-owner of Ultra/Evernham Motorsports, said he and co-owner Jim Smith have met with Jimmy Elledge about the crew chief position with driver Casey Atwood and the #7 Dodges and plan to meet again this weekend. Elledge started the 2002 season as crew chief for #88-Dale Jarrett, but left that position last week. He is a former crew chief for #55-Bobby Hamilton.(ThatsRacin.com), past news on the #7 Team News and Links Page.(4-12-2002) UPDATE: Jimmy Elledge said he's been offered the job as crew chief for #7 Casey Atwood, but he said he wants to wait and consider his next move before jumping.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-13-2002)
More The Winston - Moving? RJR’s contract with LMS expires after this year’s running of The Winston event and there are questions over whether the race will return, and if it does, whether it will return to Charlotte. RJR’s Winston Cup director Rich Habegger admitted Wednesday that a decision had not been made on the future of the race and that talks would get underway in the next couple of months. The drivers of course enjoy the benefits of running two consecutive weeks near their home base, a rarity in the Bataan Death March of NASCAR’s schedule. But proximity aside, reigning NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon said that he feels that Charlotte is the perfect venue for a high-stakes, no-points, let’s-see-who-can-drive-this-thing-the-hardest shootout. For his part, LMS president H.A. ‘Humpy’ Wheeler has no plans to give up his hold on the race without a fight.(Speed Channel)(4-11-2002) UPDATE - A new location for The Winston? The Winston, NASCAR's all-star race, could be moving from its long-time home at Lowe's Motor Speedway. NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said negotiations are under way with Winston, which sponsors the race and the Winston Cup Series, about changing the location -- and possibly the rules -- of the race. "The Winston originated as a fans' all-star race that would be moved from venue to venue, but over the years we got away from that," Hunter said. Hunter said fans and other track owners are asking for the race to be moved. "We're reviewing all the options," Hunter said. "Even to the point of the rules and procedures that have changed over the years." Tracks he mentioned as possible hosts include Richmond, California, Martinsville and Las Vegas. "You want to take it to a place where they can race, that's not a one-groove track," he said.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(4-13-2002)
More 2003 Pontiac News UPDATE and some more: Winston Cup series director John Darby confirmed Friday morning NASCAR has examined a completed 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix and finished its initial analysis. "We basically have completed a walk-around view of it and an initial template fit," Darby said. "We’ve talked about some different areas of the car, which they are now going back and going to work on. The next step from them will be to make an official presentation and the car will go to the wind tunnel and then for a track test." The final presentation by Pontiac officials must be complete by July 1, with NASCAR making final approval by Oct. 1. #18 crew chief Jimmy Makar said he hoped to have a final version of the 2003 Pontiac within a month-and-half. "We’ll have something we feel we can submit by then," Makar said. "Things are gong well. We’ve been to the wind tunnel several times, NASCAR has looked at the car. I think all the beginning process is done." Darby also confirmed officials with Chevrolet have indicated they, too, plan to submit changes to the Monte Carlo body style in time to use in the 2003 season.(ThatsRacin.com), see some images of a [possible] 2003 Pontiac on my NASCAR Past News/Rules page(4-12-2002) UPDATE: The final version is still in the works, but the 2003 Pontiac is being reviewed by officials. The car could be submitted for NASCAR approval within six weeks. Right now, NASCAR officials are taking a look at the preliminary model and making suggestions for potential changes. The car has a unique nose, but is in many ways similar to existing cars competing in the series. "[NASCAR has] seen it, they've been in the wind tunnel with it," said Bobby Labonte's crew chief, Jimmy Makar, who has helped develop the car. "They've told us the things they want us to change on it. I think they're fairly happy with what we've got now." Makar said the NASCAR track test could take place at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Richmond Times Dispatch) AND NASCAR held a wind-tunnel test last week of Pontiac's new common-template Grand Prix, and to study some of its 2003 car design options, particularly the 'big greenhouse' model, which would provide more headroom. NASCAR would like to cut 20 percent of the downforce off these cars for next season, according to engineering sources, and part of the testing so far has included raising the front air dam five inches off the asphalt.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-13-2002)
Big Cars in 2003? NASCAR is leaning toward OKing the new 'big greenhouse' model for the April 2003 race at Talladega and phasing in the new car, first at Talladega and Daytona, then at the intermediate tracks, and finally at the short tracks. Such a phase-in would keep car owners, who have nearly two dozen cars each, from taking such a big financial hit all at once. NASCAR is also testing what is being called 'the two-by-four,' a greenhouse that is two inches taller and four inches wider, to move the driver's head away from the rollbars.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-13-2002)
Gordon and Earnhardt Jr speak: After finishing his qualifying run, #31-Robby Gordon climbed from his car, walked right over to #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and struck up a conversation. "I asked him if he was OK with me starting behind him," said Gordon, who was third after his run, but got bumped down to 11th. Gordon said his feud with Earnhardt Jr. at Bristol is over. "It's racing," Gordon said. "We don't have any grudges. One thing that's nice about Winston Cup is we have 36 weekends to get at it. Texas was rough for us, but we're happy to be starting where we're at."(News and Advance)(4-13-2002)
Abuse of Testing? Some Winston Cup crews complain that other teams are abusing NASCAR's seven-test limit lately by claiming to be testing ARCA cars. NASCAR officials said they would review the situation.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-13-2002)
Common Templates in 2003? UPDATE: With plans for a newly designed Pontiac Grand Prix already in motion, NASCAR also has told General Motors to have a common template Monte Carlo ready for the 2003 Daytona 500. A minimum of three different Monte Carlos are being developed collectively by Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Inc. However, the construction of a new Monte Carlo for the 2003 racing season was not by choice of GM. The sanctioning body met with GM's NASCAR Key Partners Group -- JGR, RCR, Hendrick's and DEI -- and requested that they have a "common template" Monte Carlo ready to roll for the 2003 Daytona 500. A common template car will incorporate a universal design among all four makes where the construction of the greenhouse is nearly identical. Only subtle cosmetic changes would differentiate one car from another. But in principle, the cars would be aerodynamically equal. Speculation is that NASCAR was not happy with the continual lobbying for aerodynamic concessions that stole the headlines over Speedweeks. A common body style shared by all four manufacturers would eliminate the constant arguing over who has the best car. RCR is working on the Monte Carlo for submission that is a combination between a speedway car and a downforce car. DEI is working on the speedway (Daytona/Talladega) specific car, while Hendrick concentrates on the baseline intermediate piece that will be ready for the wind tunnel in the next two weeks. While Chevrolet contends it currently is six percent deficient in aero horsepower, the new changes should make the cars more competitive. But GM is certainly under extreme time constraints with just four months remaining to have the cars ready for initial submission to NASCAR in July, and for final submission by Oct. 1.(in part from the Sporting News)(4-11-2002) UPDATE: So what about the common template Chevrolet? "Not a 'common template' car, but we have discussed doing a (new) 2003 Monte Carlo," Car Owner Ricchard Childress said. "Heck, there isn't a common-template car out there. The Dodges and Fords don't have the same templates because they don't run the same every week; they're not under the same rules.".(Winston Salem Journal)(4-13-2002)
Happy Hour Practice at Martinsville is over. #20-Tony Stewart was the fastest at 93.061mph, 2nd fastest was #55-Bobby Hamilton at 92.783 and #40-Sterling Marlin at 92.642. Slowest were #90-Rick Mast at 91.135 and #14-Darrell Waltrip (subbing for Stacy Compton) at 90.335. #71-Andy Hillenburg did not practice. See ThatsRacin.com for Saturday's 'Happy Hour' speeds. Happy Hour will be televised per tape delay at 7:00pm/et tonight on FX with Darrell Waltrip in the #14 with a microphone.(4-13-2002)
Childress to be honored: NASCAR team owner and former driver Richard Childress will be honored during Speedway Children's Charities 22nd annual Charity Ball Friday, May 24, at the Adam's Mark Hotel in downtown Charlotte. This event, held in
conjunction with the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, will be themed "A Welcome Champion." Sponsored by UAW-GM Motorsports, the gala affair is annually Charlotte's largest black-tie benefit as well as one of the most successful fundraisers for the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. See my Racing Charity Page for more info.(LMS PR)(4-13-2002)
Kimmel Wins at Nashville: Frank Kimmel, who is running the Cup race at Martinsville for Travis Carter in the #26 Advance Auto Parts/Pork the other white meat Ford, won the ARCA race at Nashville, after starting from the pole the. Kimmel will start last in the Cup race as Joe Nemechek qualified the car but will not have to fall back far as the car made the field by taking a provisional, 41st.(in part from ThatsRacin.com)(4-13-2002)
#97 Deck Lid Confiscated: NASCAR officials confiscated the rear deck lid of Kurt Busch's #97 Ford following Friday's pre-qualifying inspections. It was tagged and put on display outside the NASCAR hauler. The team had to replace the deck lid before Busch's car was allowed to practice. NASCAR director of business operations Kevin Triplett said the deck lid was taken because it "failed to fit the Ford template."(ThatsRacin.com)(4-13-2002)
Gordon wins MW Windows Pole Award and Windows: MW Windows will be the first pole day award winners to give a house
full of doors and windows. Shortly after MW Windows announced its sponsorship of Pole Day for the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway, officials with the company decided they wanted to do more than that, though. So in addition to presenting a trophy to the Virginia 500 pole winner, MW will give a house full of windows and doors in the pole-winner’s name to a local Habitat for Humanity chapter during pre-race ceremonies for the Virginia 500 on April 14. And it’s not a one-race effort either. The manufacturer of windows and door products for the residential construction industry will donate doors and windows to Habitat for Humanity chapters twice a year. One donation will come after MW Pole Day for the Virginia 500 and the other after MW Pole Day for the Old Dominion 500. The Martinsville-Henry County and Franklin County chapters of Habitat for Humanity will be the recipients each year.(Martinsville Speedway PR), Jeff Gordon won the pole and got the award.(4-13-2002)
Jeff Gordon wins pole at Martinsville for the Virginia 500. #24-Jeff Gordon wins the pole at Martinsville with a speed of 94.181mph. The top five starters are:
#8-Earnhardt Jr 94.064
#2-Wallace 93.933 Provisional Land:
37) #21-Sadler (16th in owners points) 92.701
38) #30-Green (29th) 92.506
39) #10-Benson (30th) 92.919
40) #36-Schrader (33rd) 92.910
41) #26-Nemechek/Kimmel (36th) 92.263
42) #90-Mast (41st) 92.606
43) #71-Hillenburg (43rd) 85.186
missing the race - #59-Renfrow (52nd in owners points) 92.560
#8-Earnhardt Jr spun on his 2nd lap after hitting the curb but didn't hit anything and there was no damage to the car.
For results/lineup, see ThatsRacin.com, NASCAR.com.(4-12-2002)
#26 at Martinsville? UPDATE 4 yep with Kimmel - Nemechek to qualify the car: FSN's Totally NASCAR reports that a decision is near on if the #26 Haas Carter Motorsports team will go to Martinsville or not. If they go, Frank Kimmel will be the driver.(4-9-2002) UPDATE: #26 Team owner Travis Carter hopes that Kimmel's sponsors will pay to put him in the #26 for at least five more races this year, buying Carter time to find a permanent sponsor. Carter says Kimmel could be in the car this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. "Right now, that's not firmed up," he says. Meantime, drivers Todd Bodine [#66] and Joe Nemechek [#26] remain under contract to Carter. Both are racing in the BGN but are free to pursue other Winston Cup opportunities (so Nemechek would be free to move to the #44, see rumor below). Carter says he still talks with team co-owner Carl Haas every couple of days about sponsorship prospects, but Haas is not directly involved with the effort to field cars for Kimmel "just to make it a little simpler," Carter says. Even if he can't come up with a sponsor for the rest of the season, Carter thinks he might be able to wait and see if he can put something together for next season.(USA Today)(4-10-2002) UPDATE 2: For the second consecutive week, 3-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champ Frank Kimmel will be competing in the Cup Series. Kimmel, who drove the #26 Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford for Travis Carter last weekend at Texas, will again drive the car this weekend at Martinsville. The difference this time is that Kimmel will also be competing in the PFG Lester ARCA 150 at Nashville Superspeedway on the same weekend. Since the ARCA race at Nashville is the same day as Cup qualifying at Martinsville, another driver will have to qualify the #26 Ford (hey DW used to drive for Carter). Kimmel's plan is to qualify the ARCA car at Nashville on Thursday, then fly out right after qualifying so he can practice the Cup car at Martinsville Friday morning, then fly back to Nashville early afternoon in time for the ARCA race which starts at 4:00pm. Then fly out right after the ARCA race for practice and happy hour Saturday at Martinsville. If all goes well at Martinsville, Kimmel plans to run for Travis Carter at Talladega the following weekend. Fortunately for Kimmel and crew, the ARCA RE/MAX Series does not have a race scheduled the weekend that Kimmel will be in Talladega for the Winston Cup race. Kimmel's busy schedule will continue however following the Winston Cup race at Talladega (4-21) as he'll be returning to his home turf at Salem Speedway IN the following weekend for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 on Sunday, April 28.(ARCA Racing Site)(4-10-2002) UPDATE 3: Travis Carter Enterprises announced that Frank Kimmel, along with sponsors Pork. The Other White Meat(R) and Advance Auto Parts, is officially joining the team for several 2002 Winston Cup races. Kimmel, three-time ARCA Re/Max champion, drove for team owner Travis Carter in 1998 as substitute for the injured Jimmy Spencer and most recently in the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2002. Several members of Kimmel's ARCA team, including crew chief Bill Kimmel, will assist Donnie Wingo and the Travis Carter team in the race. The National Pork Board and Advance Auto Parts participated in last weekend's race in Texas, and have signed on for several additional races, the first of which will be this weekend in the Virginia 500 at the Martinsville Speedway.(Business Wire)(4-11-2002) UPDATE 4: Joe Nemechek will qualify the #26 Ford for Travis Carter Enterprises while the team's scheduled driver, Frank Kimmel, must leave the track early Friday to compete in an ARCA race at Nashville Superspeedway. Kimmel will practice in the #26 Friday morning at Martinsville before returning to Tennessee for the ARCA race, which starts at 4:00pm/et. He would then return to Martinsville for Saturday’s Winston Cup practice, if the car makes the field (36th in owners points).(ThatsRacin.com), Kimmel won the pole for the ARCA race at Nashville.(4-12-2002)
Long to help out: Team Will Carry "Jaret's Angels" Logo in Charlotte To Help Raise Awareness of Juvenile Diabetes. Carl Long doesn't want the space on his # 85 Dodge to go to waste, so while the Roxboro, NC native continues to pursue sponsorship opportunities for a full NASCAR Winston Cup Series ride, he will carry the "Jaret's Angels" logo on his cars beginning in Charlotte for the BGN race, the Winston Open and the Coca-Cola 600. The logo, a family emblem designed by artist Jim Hunt in support of 3-year-old Charlotte resident Jaret Arneson, who was diagnosed with juvenile (Type 1) diabetes in December of 2000, will be accompanied by the logo and Web site address for the national office of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation -- www.jdrf.org. At Charlotte, Long will try to qualify the #64 Dodge of owner Rick Glenn, with team owner Thee Dixon and Mansion Motorsports providing the #85 Dodge for entry in the Winston Open and the Coca-Cola 600. SR Racing of Lebanon, TN, supplies the team's engines for all of Long's cars.(Carl Long Racing Site)(4-12-2002)
Jeff Countersues Brooke: NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon has countersued his wife for divorce, saying he should not have to equally split the couple's estate because he risked his life to collect it. Gordon, a four-time Winston Cup champion, wants a larger share of the couple's businesses, homes, cars and boats. They have been married seven years and have no children. Gordon's wife, the former Jennifer Brooke Sealey, filed for the divorce March 15, saying the marriage is "irretrievably broken." She is seeking alimony, exclusive use of the couple's $9 million oceanfront home in Palm Beach County and periodic use of a Mercedes, Porsche, several boats and an airplane. Her attorney, Jeff Fisher, said Jeff Gordon is "arrogant and selfish" for claiming he should get more money because his job is dangerous.(ESPN/AP)(4-12-2002)
Soft Walls at Indy UPDATE: In a major step toward safety, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will announce on Wednesday the installation of "soft wall" technology for this year's Indianapolis 500. A long-time research and development project with the University of Nebraska has produced a soft wall padding that will be installed in the outside turns of the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is a result of a long-time project between the Indy Racing League and NASCAR with the University of Nebraska in an effort to reduce impact in the event of a crash. The soft wall padding is currently being installed at Indianapolis in an effort to improve safety for the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500.(Fox Sports)(4-10-2002) UPDATE: Soft-wall applications to the four turns of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval may be made before the start of practice for this year’s 86th Indianapolis 500, said Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League vice president of operations, on April 10. The decision will be made whether to install the new safety technology after two final testing sessions at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Barnhart said. Opening Day for the Indianapolis 500 is May 5. The shock-absorbing soft walls are an evolution of the original PEDS barrier that was attached to the inside wall exiting Turn 4 in 1998. The PEDS barrier was found to have some defects after it was struck at full speed by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk during the 1998 IROC at Indy race. Still, Barnhart believes the PEDS barrier possibly saved Luyendyk’s life. In 1999, Japanese driver Hideshi Matsuda, in a practice crash before the Indianapolis 500, impacted a second-generation PEDS barrier in the same location of track. With the assistance of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, the Speedway, under the leadership of president and CEO Tony George, continued its development of an energy-reducing wall attachment that could help lower the risk of driver injury in a crash. Under the direction of Dr. Dean Sicking and Dr. Ron Faller, the soft-wall program progressed to the point that by September 2000, George and Barnhart were ready to include NASCAR in the development. Because the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a multi-purpose motorsports facility, the soft wall needs to withstand crashes by 1,550-pound Indy Racing League cars and 3,500-pound stock cars raced in the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400, respectively. NASCAR assigned Steve Peterson to work with the Indy Racing League Technical Director Phil Casey, PEDS designer John Pierce and the Nebraska engineers on the project. The crashes are simulated on an airport runway setup. The vehicles are propelled by cables to a creditable speed and then released to travel free the final 15 feet into the barriers. The cars, Barnhart pointed out, are heavily instrumented with impact data recorders in the front, middle and back of the chassis. Barnhart received an encouraging report April 9 after the 17th in the series of test crashes. There are two more test crashes scheduled for late April. Because of time restraints, soft walls only would be installed in each of the four turns at this time. Barnhart noted the soft walls are designed to provide their best protection at the most prominent impact areas in the corners and then taper down on the exits to allow running cars to take their normal grooves up to the concrete for maximum speed.(IMS Site) and see a story at the Orlando Sentinel: Indy tests use of 'soft' walls and from the Indy Star: IMS pleased with soft-wall tests.(4-11-2002)
Elliott wants to be left off: [#9] Bill Elliott, perennial winner in the most-popular driver balloting, doesn't want to play any longer and has asked that his name be taken off the ballot. But The National Motorsports Press Association, which conducts the vote, still has his name on there. And fans, some of whom have long kept Elliott at the top of the list, are caught in the middle. Elliott won the award 10 times in a row and has won it 15 times altogether. Last season, he agreed to have his name removed from the ballot as part of an effort to honor the memory of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. Confusion has come about over how long the driver's name was to stay off the ballot. In the future, likely with the driver's retirement, the most-popular driver trophy - not the award - is expected to carry Elliott's name. As David Poole, president of the NMPA, put it: "Bill's name has been on it so many times, it may as well stay there."(See full story at ThatsRacin.com)(4-11-2002)
NASCAR asks lawsuit to be dropped: NASCAR has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims the stock car association has illegally withheld a second Winston Cup date from the Texas Motor Speedway [TMS]. In the motion, filed in federal court, attorneys for NASCAR attack all counts of the lawsuit filed by Francis Ferko of Plano, a shareholder in Speedway Motorsports Inc. -- the company that owns and operates TMS. NASCAR contends that many of Ferko's "factual allegations" are false and that -- none of the claims has substantive merit, but even as a matter of pleading, they are so fatally deficient the court can dismiss them now.(CNN/AP)(4-11-2002)
Oordt-Denny Green team delayed UPDATE Oordt out? Mock regains control?: Darwin Oordt Galaxy Motorsports - was the #75 team is not sure when he and new team partner Dennis Green will put a car on the track. ''We're working on a couple of things, but there's nothing new,'' Oordt said this week. Oordt suspended his Winston Cup operation early last year due to a lack of sponsor. Green, the former Vikings coach, last month became partners with Oordt. Oordt said they hope to begin competing at some point this season in either Cup or BGN, or both.(Tennessean)(3-7-2002) UPDATE:[former owner] Butch Mock reportedly has retaken possession of the team he sold to Darwin Oordt and intends to auction off everything in early May.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read)(4-11-2002)
Simpson vs NASCAR: NASCAR claims in court documents filed this week that it did not defame seat-belt pioneer Bill Simpson because its officials told the truth without malice about the death of Dale Earnhardt and his torn seat belt. NASCAR also stated that it never said that Earnhardt was killed as a result of seat-belt failure. Simpson filed an $8.5 million defamation suit against NASCAR in February. In the suit, Simpson contends that he suffered financially after NASCAR said Earnhardt's seat belt resulted in the death of the seven-time Winston Cup champion in the 2001 Daytona 500. Attorney Bob Johnstone, representing NASCAR, filed a response Monday to the suit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.(see full story at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-11-2002)
Testing at Talladega UPDATE: Seven Cup teams tested Tuesday at Talladega: #49-BAM Racing with Shawna Robinson, #20-Joe Gibbs Racing with Mike McLaughlin (Tony Stewart will be there Wed), #10-MBV Motorsports with Johnny Benson, #22-Bill Davis Racing with Tom Hubert, #33-Andy Petree Racing with Robert Pressley, #78-Braun Motorsports with ARCA driver Chad Blount, and Petty Enterprises tested a Dodge with Steve Grissom. Testing continues Wednesday.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(4-9-2002) UPDATE: Wrapping up test sessions at Talladega were Mike McLaughlin who filled in for Tony Stewart in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot Pontiac, #49-BAM Racing with Shawna Robinson, Petty Enterprises with Steve Grissom and #78-Braun Motorsports with Chad Blount. The #10 MBV Motorsports team with Johnny Benson did not get on the track Tuesday and will conclude their two-day test on Thursday. Also testing at Talladega were Phoenix Racing’s #1 BGN with Joe Ruttman and #09 Cup team with Geoffrey Bodine..(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(4-11-2002)
Yates 3rd Team? Rudd Retiring? No to both: rumors have began to circulate about Robert Yates starting a third Winston Cup team and there are indications that Yates is already talking to other Winston Cup drivers about their availability for next year. Yates insists that’s not the case. “Most of my thoughts are on how we can get the 28 and 88 (teams) more competitive and take care of business with this economy,” he said. “I really haven’t had any serious conversation about a third team. Until I can make my two teams better, I’m not very interested in a third team unless it comes with an opportunity that makes you say ’Wow.’” Some have even speculated that Ricky Rudd might be ready to retire following this season. Such talk, however, is news to Rudd. If he’s driving, he hopes it’s for Yates. “To be honest, I don’t know what my plans are,” Rudd, 45, said April 5. “When you get as old as I am, you sort of just take them a year at a time. It’s a great race team, I prefer to stay where I’m at. There’s no talks at all about making driver changes. ... I’m very pleased with where I’m at and I think they’re pleased with me. But time will tell.” Yates says he’s had no conversations about new drivers. “I haven’t actually talked to anybody for next year. Right now, I’m doing everything I can to make Ricky want to stay with this team,” he said. “We certainly want him to stay. But I respect his wishes when he came to us. (He said), ‘I want to drive two years and that’s it.’ We’re already past that (point). I think it’s going to be a deal where as long as he’s having fun (he’ll still race). Hopefully, we’re attractive enough for him to want to stay with us. That’s my wish.”(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to see)(4-11-2002)
More The Winston - Moving? RJR’s contract with LMS expires after this year’s running of The Winston event and there are questions over whether the race will return, and if it does, whether it will return to Charlotte. RJR’s Winston Cup director Rich Habegger admitted Wednesday that a decision had not been made on the future of the race and that talks would get underway in the next couple of months. The drivers of course enjoy the benefits of running two consecutive weeks near their home base, a rarity in the Bataan Death March of NASCAR’s schedule. But proximity aside, reigning NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon said that he feels that Charlotte is the perfect venue for a high-stakes, no-points, let’s-see-who-can-drive-this-thing-the-hardest shootout. For his part, LMS president H.A. ‘Humpy’ Wheeler has no plans to give up his hold on the race without a fight.(Speed Channel)(4-11-2002)
Gordon Makes Offer: #31-Robby Gordon, who was fined after running into #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the end of the Food City 500 at Bristol, paid the fine himself and offered to reimburse Childress for the damage to the car. That offer was declined, however.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to see)(4-11-2002)
The Winston, 2002, announcement UPDATE 2 Changes: There will be an announcement on Tuesday, April 9th of the new format for The Winston, NASCAR's all-star race. The Winston will be contested under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 18, 2002. The new format will make The Winston more competitive than ever before.(LMS PR)(4-5-2002) UPDATE: the NASCAR press conference to announce the new format for The Winston, scheduled for Tuesday morning at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC, will be rescheduled for Wednesday morning at 11:00am/et.(TMS Site)(4-8-2002) UPDATE 2: The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and its Winston brand today announced the revised format for the 2002 running of The Winston, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' all-star event. It'll be "Survival of the Fastest" as for the first time in the 17-year history of The Winston, drivers will be eliminated from the grid following both the first and second segments, leaving just the 10 fastest drivers to compete for the winner's share of a $3 million purse in the final 20-lap dash around Lowe's Motor Speedway. This year's running of The Winston (Saturday, May 18) will consist of three segments totaling 90 laps, or 135 miles, around the 1.5-mile surface of Lowe's Motor Speedway. The first segment will be 40 laps, after which the field will be trimmed to the top 20 finishers. Segment No. 2 runs a total of 30 laps, after which 10 more competitors will be eliminated to set up the final dramatic segment. Inversion, a staple of the competitive format of The Winston since 1992, will remain a part of the format for the 2002 event, but that process has been relocated and will now follow the second segment. A fan vote will determine whether four, six, eight or the entire field of 10 cars will be inverted for the final segment. The field for The Winston, by rule, consists of a minimum of 18 drivers who have either won races or championships in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series or The Winston within the last five years, plus one driver who transfers by winning the Winston Open, the qualifier run immediately prior to The Winston, and one driver who wins the last-chance "suitcase race" known as the No Bull Sprint. Currently, there are a record 26 drivers eligible for this year's The Winston. The Winston Open is composed of drivers and teams who participated in a NASCAR Winston Cup event in 2001 or this season and are not otherwise eligible for The Winston. This year's Winston Open will be 30 laps in duration, with all laps counting toward the total. As is the case with the first two segments of The Winston, should the Winston Open encounter a late-race caution that prevents a green-flag finish, there will be one opportunity to end the race under green with the number of laps extended for a green-white-checkered flag finish. If there is another caution, the race will end under caution. The No Bull Sprint will be 16-laps and features all teams that finished The Winston Open, but did not win the race. Qualifying procedures for The Winston continue to focus on team performance. A four-tire pit stop on the Lowe's Motor Speedway pit road will begin a driver's qualifying effort, followed by three laps. The total elapsed time of the pit stop and laps will determine the pole position for The Winston, which awards the winning team $50,000. Qualifying will take place on Friday, May 17.(Lowes Motor Speedway Site and see the Winston Fact Sheet there)(4-10-2002)
Waltrip to field a car for Kenny Wallace at Talladega? UPDATE yep #98: Mike Waltrip mentioned during the Fox BGN rain delay coverage that Michael Waltrip racing will field a Cup car at Talladega for Kenny Wallace that will carry Aaron's Rent sponsorship and that Aaron's will also be the title sponsor of the Cup at Talladega that will be know as the 499 not the 500. Supposedly DEI will supply the car (a backup #15) and engine, not sure what number it'll use (#81 as used in Daytona testing?). Waltrip seemed serious and Kenny Wallace was interviewed a bit later and says it is a serious effort and it is being posted on the Kenny Wallace site.(4-6-2002) UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing Inc. (MWR) will field a Cup car for the first time in the Aaron's 499 on April 21, 2002 at Talladega Superspeedway. Michael Waltrip, owner of MWR and driver of the #15 DEI NAPA Chevrolet, announced, Kenny Wallace, will pilot the #98 Chevy sponsored by Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership. Ken Butler, President of Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership, announced March 16th Aaron's would be the title sponsor for the Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in addition to its primary sponsorship of Waltrip's #99 BGN car. Butler decided one race and one car entry was simply not enough. Butler revealed Aaron's would make it a double header by sponsoring the Winston Cup race. While Waltrip drives the Aaron's Dream Machine on Saturday's, their was no Dream Machine entered in Sunday's race until Waltrip stepped up to the plate offering his team and cars. "I am blessed to have a wonderful sponsor in Aaron's," Waltrip said. "They love NASCAR racing and NASCAR fans and have chosen NASCAR as their main source of spreading the word of their company's products. I didn't think twice about making this happen for a sponsor like Aaron's. Michael Waltrip Racing, supported by Dale Earnhardt Inc. will give Kenny (Wallace) a legitimate opportunity to win in Talladega." The car Wallace will drive was tested at Talladega Superspeedway by Waltrip and competed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Daytona in 2001. Wallace finished sixth in last year's Talladega 500 with a best superspeedway finish of second when he pushed Dale Earnhardt to his last win at Talladega in 2000.(Fahlgren PR)(4-10-2002)
Burton to be honored REPOST: Ward Burton, the first Virginian to ever win the prestigious Daytona 500 and driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, will be officially honored by Halifax County, VA, the town of South Boston, VA., and the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, April 13 at his hometown track, South Boston Speedway. Burton's victory will be celebrated in pre-race ceremonies preceding the Textilease 300 presented by "Little Trees". The evening also features twin 50s for the NASCAR Textilease Late Model Stock Cars and 300 laps for the ASA series. The weekend of April 13 and 14 is a great one for race fans in Southside Virginia, with Martinsville Speedway, only 60 miles west of South Boston, hosting the Virginia 500 on April 14. Many Virginia and motorsports dignitaries are expected to celebrate with Burton at the Speedway, as well as family, friends and fans. Race fans in attendance wearing a Ward Burton hat or shirt, or with a Ward Burton poster, will be given the chance to win two Weekend VIP Suite passes for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, July 26 through 28. A large banner is being produced to commemorate Burton's Daytona victory, as well as congratulating South Boston graduates Elliott Sadler and Geoffrey Bodine on their top-three Daytona 500 sweep. The banner will also feature names of individuals and businesses that have joined the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation Club 22. Throughout the Winston Cup season, race fans and businesses can join Club 22 for a $22 donation to the Foundation. Members will receive a Foundation decal and quarterly newsletters along with recognition on the Speedway's banner. Information will be available to join the Club 22 at the April 13 event at the Speedway.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(3-18/4-10-2002)
A 5th Hendrick team? UPDATE: been told that Hendrick Motorsports BGN driver, Jack Sprague, will drive the #60 Haas Chevy in the Coca Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway in May and possibly up to six more Cup events. See an image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(3-19-2002) UPDATE: Dr Jerry Punch interviewed Jack Sprague on ESPN2's RPM 2 Night and it was mentioned that the team just got the new #60 car in the shop and plans to test at Charlotte/Lowes Motor Speedway in a few weeks. Other races include New Hampshire, both Lowes races and Homestead. Rick Hendrick will be part owner of the team.(4-9-2002)
Sadler and the Lottery at Martinsville: Two of Virginia's most popular pastimes will be joined together again as the Virginia Lottery will conduct its second promotional campaign with Virginia native Hermie Sadler during Virginia's NASCAR Winston Cup Series 2002 events [Martinsville and Richmond]. The program, which began last season, featured numerous at-track promotions as well as the now famous "I'm gonna tell my mama!" television commercial that promoted the "Pole Position" scratch tickets. Both Sadler and Lottery officials are excited to extend the program, which begins with the Virginia 500 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. In addition to fielding a #02-Virginia Lottery Winston Cup Chevy in the races, the program also includes appearances by Sadler and the Virginia Lottery show car at various lottery retailers across the state as well as some of Virginia's other short tracks. Also in 2002, the Virginia Lottery will operate a booth at the track that will feature the Virginia Lottery show car, frequent appearances by Sadler during race weekends, and many other promotions, including giving fans a chance to win premium garage and pit experiences on race morning. Sadler's goal in 2002 will be to match the success of the off-track program with performance on the track, something the team started to
realize at the end of 2001. Sadler has added depth and strength to his team by adding several new crewmembers, including Bobby King. King was Sadler's crew chief during his successful start in the BGN.(The Patterson Group PR)(4-9-2002)
Texas TV Ratings: Though rain postponed NASCAR's race until Monday, Sunday's race-less telecast on Fox still posted the third-highest sports rating of the weekend. Fox's 3.1 overnight rating in large markets comprising 68% of the USA for Sunday's Samsung/Radio Shack 500 rainout trailed only the 4.0 for NBC's Los Angeles Lakers-Miami Heat NBA game and the 3.9 for NBC's final round of the BellSouth Classic golf tournament.(USA Today)(4-9-2002)
APR Sponsor for Talladega and CTS race: Preen, America's leading weed preventer for lawns and gardens, will sponsor the Andy Petree Racing organization over the next two weeks. A product of Greenview, the consumer products division of Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, Preen will be on the CTS Truck driven by Petree at Martinsville this weekend, and will be on the #33 Cup Chevy driven by Mike Wallace at Talladega next week. New Preen For Lawns was launched this Spring. It kills weeds and even fertilizes up to four months, twice as long as traditional fertilizers. The only product of its kind that effectively kills and prevents weeds in one step, it is found at neighborhood garden and hardware centers. Preen ˜N Green For Gardens is endorsed by the American Rose Society. The first opportunity will come in Saturday's Truck race at Martinsville but the next in the Winston Cup race next week at Talladega. "Having two cars at Talladega is always a plus. The way we ran there last year and the way Mike Wallace ran there last year, we feel we can do a lot with the Preen Chevrolet and the Schneider Electric Chevrolet (of driver Bobby Hamilton)," Petree said. "The past few years we've really been good there, and we think we can be great next week too." The Preen Team gets its start this week with Petree behind the wheel of his CTS Truck at Martinsville. This will be Petree's first Truck race, though he has ARCA and other stock car racing experience.(Williams Company PR)(4-9-2002)
Andretti Talking Indy 500 again UPDATE: John Andretti, the first driver to race in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day, says he'll meet with car owner Kyle Petty next week and ask to drive in both races. Petty said a couple of weeks ago that Andretti wouldn't be driving at Indianapolis so Andretti could focus on his Petty Enterprises ride. Andretti wants to drive the Indy 500 again and admits he has "more than one" opportunity to race there this year. "We're going to sit down and we're going to talk about it," Andretti said of his meeting with Petty. "We're going to talk about this year and kind of clean that up and then see what the future is because I do want to do Indy."(News and Record)(4-6-2002) UPDATE: John Andretti will meet with team owner Kyle Petty this week in hopes of getting permission to try the Indianapolis 500/Coca-Cola 600 double May 26. He'll get the same answer he got earlier this year: no. "We've got Winston Cup races to run, and he's our Winston Cup driver," Petty said Monday. Andretti was the first driver to race in the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Charlotte on the same day, in 1994, and is passionate about trying it again. He said he respects the Petty family too much to give them an ultimatum, but his contract is up this season and having permission to run Indy will figure into his decision to re-sign with the team. "Indy's really important to me, and I'm not sure I want to give it up for the rest of my career," said Andretti, nephew of 1969 Indy winner Mario Andretti. "I've easily got some years left in me to get there and win Indy, and I want the opportunity. So we'll have to wait and see what comes out of" the meeting. Petty said he wants Andretti to be able to race at Indy — just not this year, a critical point in the rebuilding process of the once-dominant team. Petty Enterprises made several changes in the offseason, switching to a new engine supplier and hiring Robin Pemberton to take over many of Petty's management responsibilities.(USA Today)(4-9-2002)
Nemechek to the #44? UPDATE: rumors are afloat that place Joe Nemechek (recently released by Haas-Cart Motorsports) in the #44 Georgia Pacific Petty Racing Dodge at Martinsville this weekend. Buckshot Jones is the current driver.(4-9-2002) UPDATE: checked with a few more sources and been told that Nemechek is still under contract with Haas Carter Motorsports and that the team is hoping sponsorship will come through soon.(4-9-2002)
New Chevy Body in 2003? UPDATE: hearing that Chevrolet will roll out a new body for the 2003 season which basically be a Pontiac with a new nose and tail.(4-8-2002) UPDATE: Chevrolet officials are exploring the possibility of introducing a new body style for the 2003 Winston Cup season, or at least making major modifications to their current Monte Carlo, which was last changed in the 2000 season. "I think it will end up falling more in line with the cars that are out there right now," said Robbie Loomis, crew chief for four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon. "We got a great race car with the one we got but you always have to be out there looking ahead and trying to get in shape. Like anything, you try to plan ahead of time. We’re always looking for ways to make it better, and not just once a year, but every weekend we’re at the race track." Loomis said the biggest change is likely to occur in the front end of the car. "If you look at our car and you look at the shape of the Dodge or the shape of the Ford, it’s pretty clear to see, especially from the front windshield forward, we’re off on the shape pretty big aerodynamically," he said. Richard Childress, who the Chevrolet teams of Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green and Robby Gordon, said there was "nothing definite" in regards to changing the Chevrolet body. "From what I understand, this is the last year that particular nose of the car is approved. I don’t know the exact details," he said. "But there is some preliminary talk right now about some changes."(ThatsRacin.com)(4-9-2002)
Stewarts Back Hurting: #20-Tony Stewart, who finished fifth, said his back was hurting after Monday's race. Stewart was injured in a crash at Darlington three weeks ago.(Roanoke Times)(4-9-2002)
Bodine's Window Problem: Trouble with the side window of Brett Bodine's #11 Hooters Ford brought about a caution on Lap 49 of Monday's Samsung/Radio Shack 500. The side window came loose and fell off on the frontstretch, requiring NASCAR to call a caution for debris. It was the second time this season Bodine's car had experienced the same problem. His right side window also came off during the race at Atlanta last month. Bodine and his crew chief, Doug Richert, were called to the NASCAR hauler to discuss the problem following the race. Bodine finished 38th.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-9-2002)
Jones and Petree news UPDATE: Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys' owner, had a dinner meeting with [#33/55 Car owner Andy] Petree over the weekend to discuss Jones' plans to buy into part of Petree's Asheville operation. The two have been talking about teaming for more than a year now, but management issues may be holding things up.(Winston Salem Journal). See my #33 Team News and Links page for past news on this.(4-8-2002) UPDATE: Cowboys owners Jerry Jones didn't show up in the garage area at Texas Motor Speedway, but he did have a dinner meeting with Winston Cup team owner Andy Petree to discuss Jones' plan to buy a majority ownership in Petree's team. Jones and Petree need to finalize how the team will be structured next season. Other NASCAR owners have said they believe Petree, a former Winston Cup crew chief, will continue to be in control of all the race-related decisions.(Dallas Morning News)(4-9-2002)
NAPCM Pit Crew of the week: #2-Rusty Wallace's Miller Lite Crew - Smokin' fast pit stops (14.7, 13.5, 14.3) make the Miller Lite Crew their pick this week. Check the current standings of the MechanixWear Pit Crew of the Year Award at www.napcm.com.(4-9-2002)
NASCAR and Wheel of Fortune: The game show Wheel of Fortune has teamed up with NASCAR for "NASCAR Week", airing nationwide April 22-26, 2002. All week, the die-hard NASCAR fans that were chosen as contestants will compete on a NASCAR-outfitted Wheel of Fortune set featuring everything from stock cars to checkered flags for great NASCAR-themed prizes, such as Gasoline for Life from TOSCO/76, a Ford F 150 Truck, and VIP fantasy trips to some of NASCAR's premiere events. The April theme week marks the first partnering of Wheel of Fortune and NASCAR. Drivers who will appear on the show include Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Ward Burton, Jeff Burton, John Andretti, Buckshot Jones and 7-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, Richard Petty, will be featured in show segments shot with Vanna White will be featured in show segments shot with Vanna White on location at the Las Vegas Speedway in March. Kyle Petty, Jeff Green, Stacy Compton, Ricky Craven and Jimmie Johnson also make appearances during Wheel of Fortune "NASCAR Week" to introduce the great NASCAR-themed prizes from sponsors Lowe's Home Improvement, Tide, Conseco, Daytona USA, NASCAR Speed Park, America Online (AOL) and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Wheel of Fortune "NASCAR Week" will be promoted nationwide on over 200 Wheel of Fortune affiliates and online at nascar.com. Hosted by Pat Sajak and featuring Vanna White, Wheel of Fortune is televised in 40 territories worldwide, reaching more than 100 million weekly viewers, making it the most popular television show on earth. Since its 1983 syndication launch, the game show has awarded more than $125 million in cash and prizes to contestants.(NASCAR PR)(4-9-2002)
School Out due to....Racing: While a few schools near the track were closed because of race traffic, some children skipped school to attend the race. Stacy Compton helped one elementary school student with a personal note for the child's teacher to excuse the student from class. "Dear Miss Dixon: Thank you for excusing Keaton from school today. We learned all about physics out here at TMS. Stacy Compton."(Roanoke Times)(4-9-2002)
Sad News: Two drivers died from injuries suffered in race-related incidents across the country this weekend. Jimmy Johnston, a 39-year-old sprint car racer from Ohio, died after crashing during a Modified race at Eldora Speedway (Ohio) on Saturday night. Witnesses said the car rolled 10 times after the car hit the wall at about 85 mph. At California Speedway, motorcyclist Ricky Lundgren died from injuries in what the L.A. Times deemed a freak accident. Lundgren, 40, was hit by another competitor's motorcycle after it launched "five to six feet in the air," according to speedway officials. The bike then hit Lundgren's. The driver of the original bike suffered only minor injuries. The motorcycles were qualifying for the AMA Yamaha Challenge.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-9-2002)
Fox Reports Strong Sales: Mediaweek magazine is reporting that Fox is 90% sold out of its NASCAR ad spots this season and that FX has sold out its four upcoming Winston Cup race telecasts, according to today's Sports Business Daily. The magazine says the level of sellouts at Fox "dwarfs last season, when the network scrambled to sell its 80 NASCAR spots each week." Fox President of Ad Sales Jon Nesvig told the magazine: "So far this year, all the races that aired were sold out and at higher rates than last year." Media buyers estimated that the average 30-second spot for NASCAR is selling for about $100,000. The story also quotes Fox Cable Sports Exec VP/Sales Guy Sousa as saying that FX's four Winston Cup races "have sold out earlier this season at ad rates that are 40-50% higher than last season." Much of that growth is attributed to the fact that FX grew its subscriber base from 58.5 million last season to 76.6 million.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-9-2002)
BAM Racing gets an assoc: Clearwater, FL based R & B Auto Body announced today that the company has joined a growing list of marketing partners at BAM Racing. They will take on an associate sponsorship role on the #49 Dodge for the duration of the 2002 season. R & B Auto Body president and CEO, Ray Maxwell stated Thursday, "We are excited about the opportunity to support Shawna Robinson and the entire BAM Racing operation. The team is showing excellent growth and we look forward to utilizing the marketing potential of the organization." R & B Auto Body specializes in commercial vehicle finishing and operates out of a state of the art facility, capable of satisfying the quality and scheduling demands of Fortune 500 fleet accounts.(BAM Racing PR)(4-9-2002)
Samsung/RadioShack 500 won by Kenseth at Texas Motor Speedway. #17-Matt Kenseth won the Samsung/RadioShack 500, his 2nd win of 2002 and third of his career. Kemseth had to fall to the back of the field after an engine change during the only practice held on Friday even though his official starting spot will be shown as 31st. It is the first time a driver won from further back the 7th at Texas and Kenseth is the six different driver to win at Texas in the six Cup races held there. #24-Jeff Gordon was 2nd, his first top five since he won at Kansas last September. #5-Terry Labonte got his first top 10 (he finished 10th) in 18 races (last was at Bristol last August). The top ten finishers:
1) #17-Kenseth (84 laps led)
3) #6-Martin (5 laps led)
4) #28-Rudd (29 laps led)
5) #20-Stewart (16 laps led)
6) #48-Johnson (highest finishing rookie)
7) #40-Marlin(1 lap led)
9) #9-Elliott (13 laps led) was the Pole Sitter
Cars on the lead lap: 12
Cautions 7 for 41 laps
Out of Race(DNF's) or off the track: #22-Burton(accident); #31-Gordon(accident); #12-Newman(engine); #99-Burton(accident); #8-Earnhardt Jr (accident/engine);
Lap Leaders (15): #9-Elliott; #28-Rudd; #88-Jarrett; #8-Earnhardt Jr; #6-Martin; #12-Newman; #23-Stricklin; #4-Skinner; #21-Sadler; #29-Harvick; #2-Wallace; 40-Marlin; #97-Busch; #20-Stewart; #17-Kenseth;
Caution 7 lap 308: #97-Busch spun in turn 3/4 after a tire went down, not damage and no other cars involved. Most of the leading in to pit, #17-Kenseth only took two tires as did the #41-Spencer and #6-Martin. Most others took 4 tires. #30-Green had just pitted under green flag and is now at the tail end of the lead lap, in front of the leaders.
#8-Earnhardt Jr is BACK on the track on lap 257 but lost his engine is now OUT.
Caution 6 lap 254: #12-Ryan Newman lost an engine.
No caution but #99-Burton scraped the wall and damaged the right side
Caution 5 lap 239: #31-Robby Gordon wapped the wall when he lost a right front, was able to drive on to the pits.
#28-Rudd had a stuck gas pedal and 88-Jarrett ran out of gas and had to coast in to the pits, then #24-Gordon who pitted infront of Jarrett overshot his pit stall and backed up, blocking Jarrett.
Ward Burton was held in the Infield Care Center at Texas to have his neck xrayed and released and interviewed said he was sore but ok. Earnhardt Jr was released and says he is fine.
Caution 4 lap 184: just after the green flag, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr spun when he and the lapped car of #49-Robinson got together and Earnhardt Jr backed into the turn one wall, Dale Jr has radio'd in that he is ok and has restarted the car but couldn't move the car, when he got out of the car, he was holding his left arm.
Caution 3 on lap 171: #22-Ward Burton hit the wall hard, apparantly the right front tire blew, Burton got out of the car under his own power. #4-Skinner and #30-Green had stayed out while most of the other driver pitted.
#21-Elliott Salder is running a fuel conservation race, pitting much later then the rest of the leaders, trying to make the race on one less pitstop.
#36-Schrader had to come back in after his pit road when the wrench was left in, and #1-Park had to come back in when he had a missing lugnut during the lap 100-105 green flag stops
Caution 2 on lap 49: debris on the track, #11-Bodine's right side window fell out on the frontstretch. Also of note, #30-Green's car is smoking and #22-Burton's car is having radio problems, #55-Hamilton's power steering pump was low on fluid and he came in to get it topped off and fixed. Also Bodine's crew chief Doug Richert has been summoned to the NASCAR trailer after the race to discuss the window problem as this is the 2nd time in 4 races the window has fallen out (the other was at Atlanta and one was not used at Bristol).
Some changes during pit stops on lap 37: #28-Rudd went in 1st and came out 1st; #9-Elliott in 3rd, out 2nd; #88-Jarrett in 2nd, out 3rd; #14-Compton in 4th out 14th; $8-Earnhardt Jr in 5th and out 5th.
NOTEs: Caution was thrown on lap 36.
NASCAR will probably throw a madatory caution (unless there is an earlier caution) to allow teams to adjust on their cars and check tires.
Falling to the rear of the field before the start: #17-Matt Kenseth - changed engine during Friday practice; #26-Frank Kimmel and #31-Robby Gordon, in backup cars due to qulaifying accidents.
#7-Atwood off the pace came into the pits around lap 15 and came back out. possibly a tire going down.
Elledge to stay at Yates? Robert Yates is interested in offering Jimmy Elledge the job as crew chief for rookie Kasey Kahne on the Busch series. Last week, Yates put Todd Parrott back in charge of Dale Jarrett's team, leaving Elledge looking for work. Elledge says he'll take a couple weeks off to assess his future. Ray Evernham says he'd like Elledge to take over as crew chief for Casey Atwood's team, and Richard Childress may also be looking at Elledge, who worked for him for several years.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-8-2002)
Trickle to run for Evernham at Talladega UPDATE: Dick Trickle went with the Evernham Motorsports team last week to test a third Evernham Dodge, car #91 at the Talladega Superspeedway. They tested for two days and Trickle felt they found the information they needed for the upcoming race this month. Evernham Motorsports tested under a third number (#91), NASCAR rules state that if you test with a car number you must attempt to race at least one race with that car. Team Owner Ray Evernham spoke with Trickle this week and told him the tean has decided to take the #91 Dodge to Talladega and gave Trickle the first option to have the driving duties and Trickle plans to be going with the team as driver of the un-sponsored #91 Dodge. They have no plans for future races, but would like to test more this year with the #91 Dodge.(Dick Trickle Fanclub Newsletter)(4-3-2002) UPDATE: Evernham is adding a third Winston Cup team to his roster, beginning at Talladega, with veteran Dick Trickle running what Evernham calls his research-and-development car. "Every team needs an R&D team, and if we've got the cars and the driver, we might as well enter them in some races," Evernham says.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-8-2002)
Waltrip Hard Time Getting Out of car: Michael Waltrip complained that his car's interior was too small this weekend. The 6-4 driver struggled to get out of the [#99] car after he flipped during the BGN race Saturday at Texas. "My car was a little smaller than it should have been," he said. "I couldn't get out of it. . . . Thankfully, they were right there to attend to me." Jeff Burton said NASCAR needs to study the problem. It was his understanding that Waltrip's window net could not be removed, trapping the driver. "There's a lot of things that NASCAR is addressing on making the cars bigger," he said. "Really, at the end of the day, that's the problem. Even though the windows are bigger than they've ever been, they're still small. . . . For me to get out of my car, I literally hurt my shoulder once trying to get out of my car. It's just hard to get out, and in a bad situation it's even harder."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-8-2002) AND Michael Waltrip's fiery crash in Saturday's BGN race was frightening. Waltrip's car landed on its roof and he was unable to get out easily. Then firemen sprayed him with choking halon.(Winston Salem Journal). Waltrip was unhurt and said during a rain delay interview Sunday that he felt no pain from the wreck.(4-8-2002)
Lots of Bud: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is featured in the April 15 issue of Newsweek, discussing everything from Playboy centerfolds to memorabilia sent to him by fans. Earnhardt maintains his hip image, talking about drinking 12 to 15 Budweisers a night (except on race weekends), his famous father and life as a star.(Richmond Times Dispatch), see my Story/Article/Column Links Page for a link to the Newsweek column.(4-8-2002)
Nemechek back to Petree? Joe Nemechek may return to Andy Petree's #33 team later this year as teammate with Bobby Hamilton. Nemechek left Petree at the end of last season when Petree's sponsorship ran out. Mike Wallace will run Petree's second car at Talladega.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-8-2002)
No Indy 500 for Harvick in 2002: ESPN 2's RPM 2 Night reported that Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy, says he will NOT attempt to make or drive in this years Indy 500 as rumored.(4-8-2002)
Transporter driver wins race: Barry Sheppard, transporter driver for the #21 Motorcraft Ford Winston Cup race team, won Saturday's first round of the International Truck Challenge. Driving an International 9400 tractor towing a 53-foot trailer, Sheppard completed a lap – through a course that included a slalom track and right turn and backing maneuvers – in 1 minute, 14 seconds.(Dallas Morning Star)(4-8-2002)
CNN/SI gone May 15th: Corporate parent AOL Time Warner had said in January it would scrap the sports channel, but had not said what its last day would be. The channel, which has never turned a profit in its five-year history, is available in about 20 million households. About one-third of CNN/SI's 200 employees will be transferred to CNN or CNN Headline News, the network said. The others will be offered severance and allowed to apply for jobs elsewhere in AOL Time Warner. The company, which is also the parent of CNN/Money, is negotiating with the National Basketball Association to develop a new network that would focus on sports events rather than sports news. AOL Time Warner is aiming for a launch in the fall.(Money CNN/AP), no word on NBC/TNT's plans for Winston Cup qualifying which was covered many times on CNN/SI or the weekly NASCAR+ show with Benny Parsons and Marty Snider and hosted by Johnny Phelps.(4-8-2002)
Missisippi Plates: The House and Senate on Monday approved new vanity tags for NASCAR enthusiasts and a "Choose Life" license plate to benefit crisis pregnancy centers. But House and Senate negotiators could not agree on legislation to require public officials who violate the open meetings law to pay a $100 fine plus the costs of a plaintiff to bring a complaint. So, Senate Bill 2965 died in a House-Senate conference. Monday was the deadline for adopting conference reports on appropriations, revenue and general bills and constitutional amendments. Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, said Senate Bill 2501 provides that the State Tax Commission would issue a new vanity tag only if the sponsoring organization guarantees at least 200 will be sold. Present law is that a group must guarantee at least 100 are sold. Lawmakers expect the NASCAR tag to have wide support based on the its success in other states. The NASCAR tag fee would be $35 besides all other taxes, and the funds will go toward repair and renovation of the state Capitol. Annually, groups come to lawmakers asking for the specialty tags. In the past, the more popular ones have been for colleges and a wildlife agency design depicting a hummingbird. Proceeds from the extra fees on the tags are designated for specific programs. The bill would take effect July 1.(Clarion-Ledger/AP)(4-8-2002)
$1 billion damages possible? UPDATE: A federal lawsuit filed earlier this year on behalf of the shareholders of Speedway Motorsports Inc., the parent company of Texas Motor Speedway, claims that NASCAR has a monopoly over stock-car racing by owning both the governing body and by having controlling interest in International Speedway Corp., the company that operates 13 major auto tracks. By NASCAR, the suit really means the France family, the people who have outright ownership of the group. In the suit, Texas Motor Speedway is simply asking for a second racing date, but it's the means to that end that make this case more interesting. The lawyer handling it? controversial celebrity attorney Johnnie Cochran. Cochran seems like he's ready for a fight. He says he has "in excess of 50 lawyers" ready to examine the practices of NASCAR. At the center of the charges is the claim that NASCAR engages in "monopolistic" business practices. According to Samuel Cherry, the Cochran-firm partner who is supervising the litigation, damages could reach $1 billion. He arrives at that figure because he believes that the lack of a second race has kept the stock price down. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sherman, Tex., on Feb. 13, by Speedway Motorsports shareholder Francis Ferko of Plano, Tex., lists NASCAR, ISC and Speedway Motorsports (SMI) as defendants. Ferko has declined comment and referred all questions to his attorneys. SMI is only a "nominal defendant," according to the suit. SMI was named so that its executives can be kept informed of all aspects of the case.
See the Orlando Sentinel for the full story: $1 billion damages possible.(4-7-2002) UPDATE: see another story at the Fort Worth Star Telegram - TMS lawsuit gains spotlight this week by Jeff Wilson.(4-8-2002)