Benson injured in BGN race UPDATE 3 will NOT race at RIR, may miss Winston Open: Johnny Benson was injured in an accident Friday night in the Hardee's 250 BGN race. Benson and rookie Brian Vickers got together in Turn 3 on Lap 23 of 250, which sent Benson's #31 Chevy hard into the wall. It was Benson's first BGN race of the season. Benson was transported to Memorial Regional Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a broken rib on his right side. A CT scan of his head was negative for injuries. He was undergoing additional tests late Friday. Benson's status for Saturday night's Winston Cup race remained unclear. He qualified 16th fastest during time trials earlier Friday.(ThatsRacin.com), hearing no decision will be made about Benson's status until later this afternoon.(5-4-2002) UPDATE: Statement From Jay Frye, General Manager MBV Racing: #10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson will not race in tonight’s #Pontiac Excitement 400 due to injuries suffered in last night’s Busch Series race. “Johnny took a very tough hit. The doctors at here in Richmond decided to hold him overnight for precautionary reasons. We support their decision. There is a long way to go in the season and we feel it is in Johnny and the team’s best interest to have him sit out tonight. Johnny said he is going to watch the race on television from the hospital. Joe Nemechek will drive the Valvoline Pontiac tonight. We are very grateful that Joe has agreed to drive for us. Johnny and James Ince our crew chief put our car at the top of the practice sheets in both sessions yesterday and we know Joe is a top caliber driver so our goals for tonight’s race remain the same. We appreciate all that the hospital, track and NASCAR officials have done in the last 24 hours.
Statement From Richmond International Raceway: "Johnny Benson suffered a broken rib. He was admitted to Memorial Regional Medical Center for observation. His release is anticipated in the next 24 to 48 hours."(MBV Racing PR), Nemechek will have to fall to the rear of the field before the green flag.(5-4-2002) UPDATE 2: Benson was released from the hospital Sunday and is at the track today.(5-5-2002) UPDATE 3: Johnny Benson was out of the hospital and back at the track Sunday, sore but excited to be out of the bed and on pit road. MBV Motorsports team manager Jay Frye said that he didn't expect Benson would return in time for the Winston Open in Charlotte two weeks from now. Benson won The Winston Open in 2001. He did, however, say he plans to be back in the # Valvoline Pontiac in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.(NASCAR.com)(5-5-2002)
Keller in the #21? UPDATE: Don’t be surprised, by the way, if BGN points leader Jason Keller, who won Friday night’s Hardee’s 250, becomes one of the drivers seriously considered as Sadler’s replacement in the Wood Brothers’ #21. As it stands now, of course, Sadler figures to remain in the car through the end of the season. Keller has been around for years but only recently turned 32. After taking his knocks and being dismissed as a BGN lifer, Keller, all of a sudden, finds himself in the unlikely position of being an overnight sensation. When asked about the potential for finding a Winston Cup ride, Keller was cautious. "It would have to be a place where I felt like I could win races," he said. "There have been some brief discussions, but nothing serious. I’m happy where I am, and right now there’s no reason to think anything is going to change. I love this team, and I’m comfortable where I am."(Gaston Gazette)(5-5-2002) UPDATE: BGN points leader Jason Keller, who got his third win of the season on Friday at Richmond, may be headed for
the Winston Cup Series as soon as next season. Keller said he has been getting inquiries from Winston Cup teams interested in hiring him to drive one of their cars. "The phone's starting to ring more and more, and I'm sure it'll be ringing this week," he said. "But it's going to take a good situation to get me out of where I am now." He said he wouldn't leave his present team unless he felt he was going
to a Winston Cup team that was capable of winning races right away. "I don't think the grass is greener on the other side just because
it's Winston Cup," he said. "I'm happy where I am now, and we'll cross that bridge when we get there." He said before he held any serious talks with a Winston Cup team owner, he'd go to his current owner, Greg Pollex, and tell him what he was doing. "I'm not the kind of person that would go behind anybody's back," he said. "Greg has been very good to me."(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(5-5-2002)
Park Speaks Out: The news that Dale Earnhardt Inc. officials have spoken to Elliott Sadler put DEI drivers Steve Park and Michael Waltrip on the spot this week. Both are in the final year of their contracts. Park took advantage of the spotlight to share his perspective on the story. "`DEI has to do what's right for their company,'' Park said. "It's a great company and I wish them only the best, but I'd hate to see them make a lateral move. If Jeff Gordon was available, there wouldn't be nobody happier than myself to see him come to DEI. But to make a lateral move that has uncertainty behind it, I just don't agree with that.'' Park has competed in six races this season and missed the final 12 of last season after a bad crash in Darlington, S.C. He's won two races for DEI, one in each of the past two seasons. Sadler has one career win. "`I think what we have ... is a winning race team, a winning driver. We've proved that in the past and we're definitely going to prove that in the future,'' Park said. "I feel like we have unfinished business.''(Tampa Tribune/AP), see my #1 Team News and Links page for more on this 'rumor'.(5-5-2002)
Blaney's Track Opens: Winston Cup driver [#77 Ford] Dave Blaney made his debut in a new role last night. His track in Hartford, Ohio, opened [Sharon Speedway]. Blaney spent the winter months renovating the facility in preparation for a season of sprint cars and dirt Modifieds. "They pulled the racetrack up that was there, and we made a smaller track and doubled the seating," he said. Taking over a small track is a risky proposition, at best. Blaney joked that he was keeping his day job but said he thinks his place should be a success. "It seems like there's some that do well and others that just struggle," he said. "We knew that going in, so we tried to make something that was very nice."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-5-2002)
Petty to bring back BGN team? Kyle Petty said a goal at Petty Enterprises is to form a BGN team and run a few races this season. Petty said the goal had been to put Steve Grissom in the team's BGN car or align with a BGN team. That was before Grissom replaced Buckshot Jones in one of the team's three Winston Cup rides [#44]. Petty said the team continues to work toward restarting a BGN program by the end of the year. If a team is developed, Petty said it probably won't have a young driver. "At this point in time we are probably 80% sure, unless it's a phenomenal younger driver, we're not going to put a younger driver in the car," Petty said. "We don't have the luxury of a Hendrick or the luxury of a Roush organization or a Gibbs or a Yates to train a driver and bring a driver along. We've got to get guys in here that can win races. I think that was the main reason we made the change with Buckshot. We just felt like to move forward with Petty Enterprises we just didn't have time to bring Buckshot along at the rate we needed to come along."(Roanoke Times)(5-5-2002)
Park to Lose the #1 Ride? UPDATE:The Sporting News has learned that Steve Park will be released from the Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet following the Coca-Cola 600 later this month. Kenny Wallace is expected to take the seat at Dover. While Park has continued his recovery following his crash in last September's Busch race at Darlington, his results in the car are not what the team had hoped for since his return. Park's best finish this season was 20th at Texas, but his average showing is 27th. Park may not be the only driver facing dismissal at DEI. Sources say that teammate Michael Waltrip's job isn't necessarily secure either. Although Waltrip's contract is up for renegotiation, it has been inferred that Elliott Sadler, who asked for his release last Sunday night from the Wood Brothers team, will be in the car in 2003. Ty Norris, executive VP of motorsports for DEI, denied that Park will be replaced or that Waltrip's status is in jeopardy. But Norris did say that he has talked to several drivers and "there are 43 available in either (the Winston Cup or Busch) garage." He expects to have a decision by June.(Sporting News), heard from sources that DEI is adamant Park will not be released.(5-4-2002) UPDATE: Reports that Winston Cup driver Steve Park will be released by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. following the Coca-Cola 600 in three weeks are false, DEI executive vice president Ty Norris told NASCAR.com. "It was irresponsible reporting … to make a ridiculous comment like that, when they asked me point blank and I said 'Absolutely no way,'" Norris said. "That rumor is very, very false." Norris also said that conversations between DEI and any future talent are focused solely on the future.(NASCAR.com)(5-4-2002)
DEI Shakeup Coming? UPDATE 2: A shakeup appears to be looming at Dale Earnhardt Inc., with word that DEI boss Ty Norris is talking with Elliott Sadler about driving for the company next season, presumably replacing either #15-Michael Waltrip or #1-Steve Park. Norris says that DEI will make a decision on next year's drivers lineup by the end of May. Sponsor demands may be the key to Norris' calls. The NAPA sponsor is considered one at stake, with other car owners looking to make a bid for it. But Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing and the man who helped write Sadler's contract with the Woods brothers, says the decision on Sadler is up to Eddie Wood. "There have been rumors coming out of DEI about Michael Waltrip and Steve Park for some time," Smith said. "I think this is their logical time table to address change.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2002) UPDATE: Michael Waltrip said Friday morning at Richmond he intends to be back in the #15 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevy in 2003. “I fully expect that I’ll be driving this car next year,” Waltrip said. “That’s my intention. If it’s a forgone conclusion that I won’t be, then I don’t know about that.” Dale Earnhardt Jr., now part-owner in DEI, didn’t completely deny that the team was thinking about putting Sadler in a DEI car next year, and that changes wouldn’t be made. “It’s not the truth until you hear from us or him (Sadler),” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I don’t know why everybody has to believe stuff like that. It’s kind of funny. I don’t know if we’re looking at Elliott; we’re just looking at ways to improve our team. I look at our teams myself individually as if they were stock, and we have to continue to raise the value of the team and try to improve the team as far as members, crew members, or any area that we see needs to be improved. We either try to take this guy and help him along or try to improve him or give him the things that he thinks he needs to succeed or we make a change. That’s the nature of the beast. As far as Elliott goes, I wouldn’t worry about posting anything until you hear it from us.”(RacingOne)(5-3-2002) AND from NASCAR.com -DEI executive vice president Ty Norris told NASCAR.com Friday that the Nos. 1 and 15 teams need one of two things: improved results or a personnel shakeup within the organization. Norris said that DEI has a set deadline for its decision, but would not disclose that date. The current contracts for drivers Steve Park and Michael Waltrip expire following the 2002 season, and Norris said DEI is exploring the possibility of hiring other drivers. Norris said that sponsor input will play a large role in the decision, and that drivers aren’t the only individuals in question. “We basically have two drivers with contracts up and the end of the year,” Norris said. “So we’re feeling things out, seeing who is available and what is available.” Among the candidates is Elliott Sadler, who asked for his release from Wood Brothers Racing last weekend. Norris said Sadler was “very high” on his short list of possibilities.(5-3-2002) UPDATE: Norris - "I'm thinking by the beginning of June we'll know what we're going to do, for the end of this and for next year, because both Michael and Steve have a renegotiating deadline of June 15."(ThatsRacin.com)(5-4-2002)
Spencer's Dad faces charges: The father and brother of NASCAR racer Jimmy Spencer [#41 target Dodge] are facing conspiracy charges for what police say was a scheme to steal truck tires for resale at their junkyard. The Luzerne County district attorney's office approved conspiracy charges Thursday against Edgar Spencer and Edgar Spencer Jr., who own and run Ed Spencer Auto Parts in Berwick. Facing the same charges are the racer's uncle and cousin, Edgar W. Spencer and Edgar W. Spencer Jr. of Spencer's Auto Parts in Hunlock Creek. Authorities said they received a complaint from officials at a Wilkes-Barre business alleging that truck tires from their plant were being sold at the Spencers' businesses. McCarthy Tire identified its tires through a code at the plant, a police report says. Edgar Senior and Junior are in Richmond this weekend to watch Jimmy race. Investigators expect all four Edgar Spencer's to surrender either Monday or Tuesday and face theft charges in court.(CNNSI/AP and Newswatch 16)(5-4-2002)
Sadler out of the #21? UPDATE 4 staying thru 2002: ESPN2's RPM 2 Night reports that Elliott Sadler has asked for his release from the #21 Wood Brothers team. Sadler supposedly is looking at an opportunity with Dale Earnhardt Inc (#15? - no idea). The Wood Brothers have not granted his release yet.(4-30-2002) UPDATE: Word around some shops [and from ESPN] is that Elliott Sadler has asked for a release from his contract from the #21 Motorcraft Wood Brothers Ford. Sadler has supposedly been approached by several teams and wants out of the contract he has had with the team since 1999 to explore those options. One of the teams rumored to be interested in Sadler is Dale Earnhardt Inc., the home of Dale Earnhardt Jr, Steve Park and Michael Waltrip. Kenny Wallace, who filled in for the Park after his Darlington injuries last September, is still under contract to DEI as well.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(5-1-2002) UPDATE 2: Elliott Sadler confirmed Wednesday afternoon that he has asked Wood Brothers Racing for a release from his contract, starting at the end of the 2002 season, so that he might begin pursuing other options for 2003. Sadler was adamant about the falsity of reports that he asked for an immediate release, and said that, barring extenuating circumstances, he'll be in the #21 Motorcraft Ford for the remainder of the year. "The only official thing right now is that, Sunday night, I did ask for my release from the Wood Brothers so that I can pursue other options for the 2003 season," Sadler said. "All that other stuff about (Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) or anyone else is way too premature at this point." Wood Brothers Racing declined comment. Ty Norris, DEI executive vice president, seconded Sadler's statement. He also suggested that May will be a pivotal month in DEI's future. "There's nothing really to say at this point," Norris said. "We have talked to Elliott and we have talked to other drivers as well -- including our own. We will make a lot of decisions about the face of DEI's future by the end of May."(NASCAR.com)(5-1-2002) UPDATE 3: Thursday's ESPN2's RPM 2 Night reported that Sadler has sponsor's worth $11 million to bring to a team and has talked to DEI about taking the sponsor there.(5-3-2002) UPDATE 4: Wood Brothers Racing made clear Friday no matter what the future holds with driver Elliott Sadler, it is expected he will remain as the team's driver at least through the end of the 2002 season. Sadler confirmed Thursday that he has asked to be released from his contract to explore driving opportunities with other teams. He said he and his team lacked the "chemistry" to build a successful program. Eddie and Len Wood, co-owners of the Wood Brothers Racing team, issued a statement Friday morning in which they acknowledged that Sadler had asked for a release from his contract, but said Sadler would remain as the team's driver for the rest of the 2002 season. "It was rumored that he was being released or wanted the release immediately. Both of these statements are false," the statement said. "As far as the issue of the release is concerned, we are working toward a solution that will satisfy both Elliott Sadler and Wood Brothers Racing." Eddie Wood said later that Sadler's request caught the team by surprise. "Every day you come to the race track, it's a new surprise," he said. "It just happens to be my week. Next week, it will be somebody else's turn." Wood said Sadler's contract runs through the 2005 season. "We're going to try to work this thing out and if it works out (with Sadler leaving), then we got to figure who is going to be our next guy and we haven't started yet," Wood said.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-3-2002)
Baseball scheme for Dale Jr UPDATE: hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr will run a 2002 Major League Baseball All Star scheme at Daytona in the Pepsi 400 in July. The car is mostly red with a baseball bat on the rear quarter panels. Last year Earnhardt Jr ran a MLB All Star scheme last year at the Pepsi 400 with a white scheme, and won the race.(3-26-2002) IMAGE see a diecast image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-2-2002) UPDATE: As Major League Baseball readies for the 73rd All-Star Game on July 9 in Milwaukee, Wisc., Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser car, is preparing for some all-star performances of his own. Budweiser - the "Official Beer" of Major League Baseball (MLB) and NASCAR - will celebrate the 2002 All-Star Game with a special paint scheme on Earnhardt Jr.'s Budweiser car during the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Pepsi 400 race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on July 6.. Additionally, the "King of Beers" has unveiled a new 16-ounce Budweiser can available nationwide that features Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt Jr.'s car paint scheme features a red color and white baseball stitching with the official Budweiser / 2002 MLB All-Star Game logo on the hood. A white #8 appears on the car's doors and roof, and the "Budweiser" script is displayed on the car's left and right rear quarter panels.. The sides feature a baseball bat and baseballs while the rear television panel features "Budweiser - Official Beer of Major League Baseball" and "MLB on FOX" graphics. Additionally, Earnhardt Jr.'s racing suit for both races will be red at the top with white "Bud" lettering and "2002" in blue, along with black pants highlighted by gold trim.. The "Bud" script is featured across the chest and on
the shoulders, and the 2002 MLB All-Star Game logo appears on the back of the uniform.. Earnhardt Jr.'s helmet is red with the 2002 MLB All-Star Game logo and baseball imagery. To honor Earnhardt Jr.'s achievements in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Budweiser is featuring his image on 16-ounce cans this summer.. The commemorative package is available nationwide from May 1 through the summer along with other can panels highlighting Budweiser as "America's beer" and the brand's sponsorship of 2002 FIFA World Cup(tm). Budweiser also produced a series of commemorative 16-ounce cans in 2000, highlighting Earnhardt Jr.'s Winston Cup rookie season.(Budweiser PR), also there is a contest, see my Racing Contest page for info.(5-3-2002)
Note on the #54 Toys R Us team UPDATE 2: Rick Goodwin owns the team, the team will run the #54 and will lease Chevy's and engines from Andy Petree Racing with some Petree team member assistance. The Toys R Us sponsorship is 100% Rick Goodwins and will remain that way. The team is simply leasing cars and engines from the APR organization. Goodwins BGN crew chief Tony Lambert will crew chief Cup car for driver Kevin Grubb, starting at Richmond and a few more Cup races in 2002. Petree is NOT a part owner as some publications have reported.(5-1-2002) UPDATE: Andy Petree's sponsorship package with Toys R Us looks like one of those big-buck breakthrough deals he has been hoping for, to put his Asheville operation in better financial shape. The package could be a full ride, including not just a Winston Cup team but also Busch and truck teams.(Winston Salem Journal). Once again the TEAM tells me Petree has no ownership ties at all to this team or the sponsor and is just supplying cars and engines, not sure why it is being reported otherwise..(5-3-2002) UPDATE 2: from an APR spokesperson - The Toys R Us deal is not an Andy Petree Racing deal or sponsor. Rick Goodwin owns the #54 BGN and Cup car and they are his sponsor. APR has entered in to an agreement to rent him the #33 team, but the entry is under his name and his sponsor. They are concentraing on their BGN effort, and looked to APR to help with this. Its a good deal for APR as it helps out the #55 APR team with extra data and let's them work with new ideas.(5-3-2002)
Driver of the Year Voting: Thanks to two wins in three IRL starts, Sam Hornish Jr. narrowly edged NASCAR Winston Cup Series leader Sterling Marlin to become the first-quarter winner in Driver of the Year voting. A nationwide panel of 15 racing journalists, and fans voting online, gave Hornish seven first-place votes to six for Marlin. Each panelist selects six drivers in order of preference, and points are awarded on a 9-6-4-3-2-1 basis. Fan voting also counts for one vote. Hornish finished with 107 points. Marlin, who was inexplicably left off one panelist's ballot, received 102 points. Matt Kenseth was a distant third with 65 points. Despite winning the Daytona 500, Ward Burton did not receive a single vote.(Arizona Republic)(5-3-2002)
#17 Crew Member needs surgey: Car chief and jackman of the #17 DeWalt Racing crew, Jeff Vandermoss, sustained a lower back injury that requires immediate surgery to repair. While recovering, Russ Strupp, crew chief of the Reiser Enterprises #17 BGN car, will fill in as jackman and assist crew member Dave Smith with car chief duties. Vandermoss is expected to resume his car chief duties approximately two weeks after his surgery, but will be unable to function as jackman for at least two months.(Roush Racing)(5-3-2002)
Craven Named First Quarter Winner True Value Person of the Year: Ricky Craven, driver of the PPI Motorsports #32 Tide Ford, has been named the recipient of the True Value Person of the Year for the first quarter of 2002. This award is presented to the driver who most exemplifies the strong combination of on-track performance with off-track contributions to society. In the performance category, Craven already has two Bud Pole Position Awards, coming at Rockingham in February and Darlington in March. He also has two top-five finishes in 2002, at Rockingham and Atlanta. As for his off-track contributions, Ricky Craven hosted the 5th annual Snowmobile Ride for Charity in his home state of Maine on January 21st. The charity ride raised over $114,000, which went to benefit charities such as Give Kids The World, Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Marrow Foundation, Children's Miracle Network and the Travis Roy Foundation. He was also the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Pocono Spirit Award and received an honorary certificate from the 25th annual PRIDE Conference's Race Against Drugs Program for spending a day speaking to students at their conference. "It's truly an honor to receive such recognition, even though I personally don't relish the attention," said Craven. "What is most important is the attention it brings to the charitable foundations that I support," he added.(PR-PPI Motorsports)(5-3-2002)
Where is Buckshot? Since losing his ride in the #44 Dodge three weeks ago, Buckshot Jones has kept busy working on his family's farm in Monticello. He says that if the right deal for a Winston Cup ride doesn't come along, he'll be happy with whatever turn his career takes. He's talked to several teams and to some of NASCAR's power brokers and expects to make a decision soon. "By next week, I'll have a pretty good reading on whether I continue on in racing or get into land development with my dad," Jones said. Jones said he wishes his old team the best, but he hasn't been watching Winston Cup races on TV. "All of the guys on the 44 team are my friends, so I don't want to see them do bad," he said. And as far as watching the races, "I was working at the farm and came
back to the house about three times and watched for about 10 minutes."(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(5-3-2002)
DEI to Honor Singer: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will honor the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, of the popular R&B group TLC, this weekend at Richmond by carrying special stripes on all three of the company's Winston Cup Chevy's (#'s 1,8,15). Lopes, 30, was killed instantly in a traffic accident in Honduras on April 25. Within days, morgue photos of Lopes were circulated on the internet, striking a nerve within the Earnhardt organization. Teresa Earnhardt, wife of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt, was drawn into extensive courtroom battles protecting the privacy of her family and memory of her late husband following his death in February of 2001. Several news organizations and a website unsuccessfully tried to obtain autopsy photos of Earnhardt following his fatal accident. "We want to express our deepest sympathy to her family, friends and fans. She has a huge following here at our shop," said Steve Crisp, Director of Media Relations for the Mooresville, NC-based company. As a trademark, Lopes, an Atlanta, GA native, often performed with a single black stripe under her left eye. The Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevys, driven by #1-Steve Park, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #15-Michael Waltrip will each carry a similar stripe under the left headlight. In addition, over the wall pit crew members on all three teams will wear black stripes under their left eye in Saturday night's event.(DEI PR)(5-3-2002)
Jayski News with Ford Racing: Knight Ridder Digital (KRD), the operator of the Real Cities network of local media Web sites, today announced the launch of the Ford Racing advertising campaign in which Ford Racing is featured as a major sponsor of KRD's stock car racing online properties, ThatsRacin.com and Jayski.com. ThatsRacin.com, a member of the Real Cities Network, is the leading independent stock car racing Web site on the Internet. Ford Racing's newly redesigned Web site, FordRacing.com, will be promoted through the sponsorship. Ford Racing will become the presenting sponsor of ThatsRacin.com's "Photo Gallery" section, which provides users with photo snapshots from race tracks on a weekly basis. Additionally, Ford Racing will be a presenting sponsor of ThatsRacin.com's partner, Jayski.com, the insider's NASCAR news and rumor site. The Jayski.com sponsorship will also include sponsorship of the site's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series section. Ford Racing branding will appear on the biography pages of ThatsRacin.com and Jayski.com for Ford drivers including Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Rusty Wallace.
"We're pleased that Ford Racing has chosen ThatsRacin.com and Jayski.com," said Stan Kleine, sports channel manager Digital. "In selecting our sites to promote FordRacing.com, they're not only zeroing-in on their target audience, they're giving our users the opportunity to visit the Web site for one of the top racing organizations in the world." The campaign began May 1 and will run through November 30, 2002. For the rest of the release, see my Press Release page.(5-2-2002)
Vote for the Winston UPDATE: heard on the MRN Radio coverage of the NAPA Auto Parts 500 Sunday - sometime this week, fans can vote on NASCAR.com on the method to be used inverting the field at The Winston.(4-29-2002) UPDATE: Once again race fans will have the authoritative voice in selecting the inversion order for the final segment of The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday night, May 18, as speedway officials announced today that fans may vote their preference on NASCAR.com. NASCAR fans may go online at www.nascar.com and vote on how many cars to invert for the final 20-lap segment, worth at least $750,000 to the winner of NASCAR's annual all-star event at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Voting will begin Friday, May 3, and end at the conclusion of the first segment of The Winston. Interactive kiosks will be available at Lowe's Motor Speedway for fans to vote on site during The Winston weekend May 17-18. Under the new format for The Winston, drivers will be eliminated following the first and second segments. The largest field in the history of the event, at least 27 cars, will be trimmed down to the top-20 finishers after the first 40-lap segment and then will be reduced to the top-10 finishers after the second 30-lap segment. To add an additional dose of excitement, the starting lineup for the final 20-lap segment will be determined by voting on NASCAR.com. The fans will determine whether four, six, eight or the entire 10-car field will be inverted. (i.e. if the fans vote to invert 10 cars, then the car finishing first in the second segment will started 10th and the 10th-place car will start first, the second-place car would start ninth and so on.) In addition, Winston Cup practice for The Winston will available to fans live on NASCAR.com via RaceCast. This feature is being offered to users for the first time. For fans wanting to attend The Winston, tickets are still available starting at just $20 and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS. Cable station FX will televise The Winston live with coverage beginning at 7:00pm/et(NASCAR.com)(5-2-2002)
No TRAC at Nashville: Nashville Superspeedway said thanks but no thanks to a radical new racing league that wanted to compete there. Officials from Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC) met recently with Dover Motorsports to discuss the possibility of holding some races on the Superspeedway when the new series starts next year, but were turned down.(Tennessean)(5-2-2002)
Petree, Jones, Ford (from one of one of the many updates on this rumor on the #33 Team page) and an UPDATE : [Jerry] Jones is expected to announce soon that he will purchase controlling interest in the two-car Winston Cup team of Andy Petree. Some of the details still need to be worked out, but Jones is close to breaking new ground by making the Cowboys the first NFL franchise with a full-time presence in NASCAR. By 2003, a blue and silver car with the Cowboys star could be turning laps. The Petree cars are Chevrolets now, but don't be surprised to see a switch to Fords next season when the new arrangement begins.(Dallas Morning News - need to register)(2-20-2002) UPDATE: The Dallas Morning News reports that Ford executives have spoken with Winston Cup team owner Andy Petree about switching from Chevrolet to Ford next season after he completes a deal to sell part of his team to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Ford wants to make "the Petree-Cowboys organization one of its manufacturer-supported teams, which could be worth as much as $7.5 million a year," the paper says.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-2-2002)
Gatorade out, Powerade in: Gatorade is out of the race -- and Powerade is in -- as the official sports drink of NASCAR. Pepsico owns Gatorade, the biggest-selling sports drink and a longtime NASCAR sponsor. Coca-Cola owns the far smaller Powerade brand and has been trying to mount a challenge to Gatorade on several fronts, from advertising to sponsorship. On Wednesday, Gatorade said it will not renew its sponsorship of NASCAR, which dates to 1984. The company will stay involved in the sport in other ways. Gatorade spokesman Andy Horrow said NASCAR wanted too much money. "NASCAR can't deliver what we want and, hence, we're walking away," he said. Coca-Cola, however, has had a relationship with NASCAR for several years, and getting a bigger role for Powerade is another step ahead. Besides Powerade, the company has three other "official" designations with NASCAR: Coca-Cola soda, Dasani water and Minute Maid juices. Coke's director of motorsports, Bea Perez, said the company will tie Powerade to NASCAR via a variety of promotions. The cost of the sponsorship was not disclosed. Gatorade will remain the official sports drink at several big racetracks, including Daytona International Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway. Powerade also has deals with some tracks, including Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(5-2-2002)
Furr to the #7 UPDATE: Former #25 Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Tony Furr will become the new crew chief for the #7 Sirius Dodge team and driver Casey Atwood. Furr replaces interim crew chief Buddy Barnes who was released from Ultra-Evernham Motorsports on Tuesday. Furr, 45, worked on the #25 Hendrick team since 1998 when he was the pitboss for Ricky Craven. Until he resigned earlier this month, Furr most recently worked with Jerry Nadeau and led him to his first win at Atlanta in November of 2000. Under Cale Yarborough's [#98] roof, Furr also guided John Andretti to his first career win in the 1997 Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Atwood, 21, joined the #7 team after a rookie season with Ray Evernham [#19]. The team is currently 37th in points and Atwood's best finish was 18th at Bristol. While Atwood started the season under the tutelage of Kevin Cram, the owners decided that the driver needed a more seasoned crew chief. Furr brings nine years experience as a crew chief to the team and worked with Evernham at Hendrick.(Sporting News)(4-30-2002) UPDATE: Ray Evernham, co-owner of Ultra/Evernham Motorsports, today announced that Tony Furr would be assisting the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T during this weekend's race at Richmond International Raceway. Furr, former crew chief of the No. 25 Winston Cup team, will be consulting with the team, assuming the role of crew chief. "I've known Tony for a long time, and I have a lot of respect for him as a leader and a crew chief," Evernham said. "He's stepping in to help us out this weekend at Richmond. He will be a tremendous asset to the team."
"Ray and I have the same winning vision for this team," said Jim Smith, co-owner Ultra/Evernham Motorsports. "We think Tony will make a strong contribution this weekend."
"This team has the potential to be a great team," Furr said. "Ray and Jim have asked me to help identify some areas where they can make some changes, and help get this team moving up each week. I'm excited for the opportunity and looking forward to Richmond." Buddy Barnes had been acting as crew chief since March 11, but is no longer with Ultra/Evernham Motorsports.(Evernham Motorsports/Golin-Harris)(5-2-2002)
Richmond One Lane? After two weekends of superspeedway racing, NASCAR's Winston Cup and Busch Series drivers will be short tracking this weekend in Richmond. But there are concerns that the sealer that has been applied to the track may have created a one-groove racing surface that won't accommodate the side-by- side racing that Richmond International Raceway and other short tracks typically produce. Terry Labonte, who tested his No. 5 Chevrolet in preparation for Saturday's Pontiac Excitement 400, said Tuesday that he and other drivers were surprised by the conditions. "It was definitely just a one-lane race track, which was a little bit different than we've seen in the past," Labonte said. Labonte said the sealer, which is applied to the track to provide more adhesion for the tires, doesn't seem to be working as planned. "What normally happens is the sealer actually wears off the lower groove," he said. "The sealer has so much grip, so the groove moves up. I don't know if that's going to be the case this time or not."(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(5-2-2002)
Elledge back at Andy Petree Racing: As the Schneider Electric Racing Team heads to Richmond International Raceway this weekend, they will welcome back Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge to lead the #55 team. Elledge returns after logging one top-10 finish in his brief stint at Robert Yates Racing and the #88 team. "Working at Andy Petree Racing was a great situation from day one, but sometimes the grass is greener on the other side," Elledge said in the shop on his first day back. "I think there were a lot of things here that were really good. But there were a lot of things I questioned here, that by being away I was able to answer. The bottom line is you have to be happy at the end of the day," Elledge continued. "I feel wanted here. These guys are big supporters of me. When you feel wanted by the people around you, it makes you feel good." While driver Bobby Hamilton looks forward to working with Elledge again, he also appreciates all of the hard work and effort put in by former Crew Chief Charley Pressley. "Being a car owner myself I understand where Andy (Petree) is coming from," Hamilton said. "But then again I had complete confidence in Charley and think he is a really smart crew chief. Charley and I are tight and I wish the best for him. But because of the relationship I have already established with Jimmy, I know I’m in good hands."(Motosports Decisions PR and Crew Chief Club), no word on Pressley's plans.(5-1-2002)
#90 and crew chief part ways UPDATE new crew chief: Effectively immediately Mark Tutor and the #90 Donlavey Racing team have parted ways. "It is in both our best interest that this happens as we have drastically different views on racing in the year 2002. I have the utmost respect for Rick Mast and the Sauers' companys. I wish them both the best. I am looking for a team committed to and willing to do what it takes to be competitive, and not at what they do not have to spend," said Tutor.(5-1-2002) UPDATE: Donlavey Racing has hired Ernie Cope to serve as crew chief on the #90 Donlavey Racing Ford and driver Rick Mast. Cope had been head mechanic since last October on the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge driven by Bill Elliott. Prior to joining Evernham Motorsports, Cope was the car chief for the #27 Pontiac fielded by Eel River Racing. Before his stint at Eel River, Cope called the shots for Geoff Bodine Racing in the CTS. "I'm real excited about the opportunity with Donlavey Racing and Rick Mast," Cope said. "I spoke with Junie and Rick before I decided to make the move. I felt this is an opportunity I could not pass up." Cope's first race will be this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Cope is replacing Mark Tutor.(Keystone Marketing PR)(5-1-2002)
Wallace, APR and Preen at the Winston: Andy Petree Racing, Preen Lawn and Garden Products and Mike Wallace will teqam up again at The Winston. Wallace will drive the #33 Preen Chevrolet for Petree in The Winston, NASCAR's version of the All-Star Game, Saturday night, May 18, at the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway. "As good as that trioval grass looks at Lowe's, Preen has probably been to The Winston before," said Wallace. "For me, it's my first time in the sport's All-Star Game. I'm pretty excited." Wallace has started three events for Andy Petree Racing this season, including the season-opening Daytona 500, the Rockingham 400 and the Talladega 500 (where Preen sponsored the car). Preen, America's leading weed preventer for lawns and gardens, has sponsored Andy Petree Racing in two previous NASCAR events. A product of Greenview, the consumer products division of Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, Preen was on Petree's #33 Truck at Martinsville on Saturday, Apr. 13, in a race which saw Petree run second for a long time and in the top 10 throughout the race until late in the event. Preen sponsored Wallace behind the wheel of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega on Apr. 21.(Williams Company PR)(5-1-2002)
Oordt-Denny Green team delayed UPDATE 2 Oordt out? Mock regains control and will Auction off equipment: 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) UPDATE 2 - #75 Team up for Auction: Charlie Sentman Auctions in Indiania will hold the Butch Mock Special Sale from Tuesday May 7th thru Saturday May 11th (viewing day May 6th), selling off the entire #75 Cup team. The auction will be held in the Mooresville, NC area.(Charlie Sentman Auctions site)(4-30-2002) UPDATE 3: Over the past year, Darwin Oordt's grandiose NASCAR dream gradually dissolved into a nightmare. Apparently not even a partnership with former Minnesota Vikings Coach Dennis Green was able to keep Oordt's Winston Cup team afloat. An auction company has announced that the entire Mooresville, N.C., racing complex and all equipment will be sold next week. According to newspaper reports out of North Carolina, Butch Mock — from whom Oordt acquired the team two years ago — has reclaimed it and intends to auction it off. It will be sold by Charlie Sentman Auctions from May 7-11.(Tennessean)(5-1-2002)
Note on the #54 Toys R Us team: Rick Goodwin owns the team, the team will run the #54 and will lease Chevy's and
engines from Andy Petree Racing with some Petree team member assistance. The Toys R Us sponsorship is 100% Rick Goodwins and will remain that way. The team is simply leasing cars and engines from the APR organization. Goodwins BGN crew chief Tony Lambert will crew chief Cup car for driver Kevin Grubb, starting at Richmond and a few more Cup races in 2002. Petree is NOT a part owner as some publications have reported. More info on the team, see my #54 Team News page.(5-1-2002)
Knaus wins award: Chad Knaus, the crew chief of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Jimmie Johnson drove to his first Winston Cup win in Sunday's NAPA Auto Parts 500, has won this week's Irwin Rough to the Finish Award for crew chiefs. Knaus, who had also won the award for the March 3 UAW/DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas, won for his pit work and strategy throughout the race at California Speedway, including a late-race call to take only fuel on Johnson's final pit stop.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-1-2002)
Update on the Winston UPDATE to Bristol?: Rich Habegger, Winston Cup director for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco's Sports Marketing Enterprises, said there has been no discussion of moving The Winston, the sport's all-star race currently conducted at Lowe's Motor Speedway outside Charlotte, N.C. "Our focus has been the concept and format of this year's race," Habegger said about the May 18 special event. "Hopefully, we'll start talking to NASCAR in June about where it may be located next year. Our contract with Lowe's was up last year, thus the talk about a possible move, but there have been no discussions along that line." California Speedway was mentioned by NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter as a possible new site for the event. But, according to Habegger, such talk is premature at this point.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(4-29-2002) UPDATE: Talk about moving racing's all-star event is stirring again. And early speculation is that it could come to Bristol. If some members of the NASCAR family have their wish, NASCAR's all-star event would soon move to Bristol Motor Speedway. According to a story in the April 25 edition of NASCAR Winston Cup Scene, BMS would be the most likely candidate if The Winston is moved from its current location at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. BMS General Manager Jeff Byrd has mixed feelings about that scenario. "I personally think The Winston needs to stay in Charlotte,'' Byrd said. "But if the event is going to be moved, we would love to have it."(Bristol Herald Courier)(5-1-2002)
Renfrow ready to takle Richmond: For the Price Motorsports Cup Series #59 team, the third time may actually prove to be a charm. Led by veteran NASCAR driver Randy Renfrow, the team recently came up just short of qualifying for both the Subway 400 at Rockingham and at Martinsville. Hopefully, given the experience factor at Richmond International Raceway, Friday May 3 may be a different story. Renfrow, a former full time CTS series driver, has run extremely well at RIR in the past. He scored a top ten finish at RIR in 1999 after leading a good portion of the event. "Richmond is one of my best tracks," Renfrow said recently. "I have led races there and feel like I can run with anybody there. I think the hard work this team has done will put us over the top.(Foster Price PR)(5-1-2002)
Penalties announced: NASCAR officials have announced penalties for five Cup crew chiefs and a BGN crew chief for rules violations that occurred during the race weekend at Talladega.
Steve Lane, crew chief of the #45 Dodge Intrepid, received $1,500 in fines for rules violations found during pre-race inspection prior to the Aaron's 499 on April 21. Lane was penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book, "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: rear spoiler." He received a $1,000 fine for the rear spoiler and in addition was fined $500 and penalized under Section 12-4-U: "fuel cell container thickness less than 20 gage".
Michael McSwain, crew chief of the #28 Ford Taurus and Paul Andrews, crew chief of the #1 Chevy, both received $1,000 fines and were penalized under Section 12-4-Q: "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: axles."
Crew chief of the #11 Ford, Doug Richert, was fined $500 and penalized under the same section for having a fuel cell check valve filler neck that exceeded 2-1/8 inches.
Buddy Barnes, crew chief of the #7 Dodge, was fined $250 and penalized for having a fuel cell vent that exceeded 1-1/4 inches.
Gary Cogswell, crew chief of the #36 BGN Dodge team, was fined $1,000 and penalized under section 12-4-Q for an aluminum brake pedal.
In addition, following this past weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at California Speedway, three penalties were issued to the following crew chiefs:
Mike Beam, crew chief of the #32 Ford, was fined $500 for not returning the impact data recorder box to NASCAR officials after the race.
Greg Steadman, crew chief for the #43 Dodge and Bryant Frazier, crew chief of the #44 Dodge, were both fined $1,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-Q: "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: axles."(NASCAR PR)(4-30-2002)
Nice Ride to School: A dream came true for 11-year-old Jonathan Greene of Pineville, NC today when NASCAR driver John Andretti drove the #43 Honey Nut Cheerios Dodge Intrepid to Greene's apartment to pick him up for school. Greene won the ride to school in the Honey Nut Cheerios #43 Dodge Intrepid through a General Mills contest held during Speed Street, a NASCAR street festival held every May in Uptown Charlotte. Andretti driving the car was an added surprise. "Hello Mr. Andretti!" Greene exclaimed as he opened the door to welcome the Winston Cup driver. "This is awesome," Greene later said. "This is the best ride to school I have ever had.". Even Andretti was excited about the ride to South Charlotte Middle School. "This is one way to get excited about going to school," Andretti said. "Jonathan and I had a great ride today. The car handled great and we definitely had a lot of horsepower out there. Who knows, this may give Jonathan the bug to become a future Winston Cup Champion."(General Mills PR)(4-30-2002)
Energizer Scheme? the Bunny? hearing Jimmy Spencer will run a Energizer Battery scheme sometime this season on the #41 Dodge, possibly at Kansas.(4-30-2002)
Little E OK UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. escaped injury in a frightening crash that occurred on lap 229 of Sunday’s NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway. The crash, which involved Earnhardt and 2001 rookie of the year Kevin Harvick, apparently occurred because Harvick had a flat tire and tried desperately to turn his Chevrolet down toward pit road. Unfortunately, Harvick lurched left just as Earnhardt was streaking by on his inside, and the impact caused Earnhardt’s Monte Carlo to spin around clockwise and hit the fourth-turn wall almost flush on the driver’s side. Earnhardt limped to the ambulance but reported only mild pain in his right ankle. Doctors released him but recommended that his condition be monitored and he consult his doctor Monday in North Carolina.(Gaston Gazette)(4-30-2002) UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. endured what he deemed the "hardest hit" of his career Sunday, but he doesn't think it'll slow him this weekend in Richmond. He has a bruised and swollen right ankle and is sore after a crash with Kevin Harvick late in Sunday's race at California. Earnhardt has won at Richmond and has never finished worse than 13th in a Winston Cup race here. "I'm pretty sore and beat up, but I'll be OK for Richmond," he said.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-30-2002)(4-30-2002)
Lannigan to test the #57? hearing that ARCA driver Darrell Lannigan will test the #57 CLR Ford at Lowes Motor Speedway next week.(4-30-2002)
Book Signings UPDATE: Deb Williams of Winston Cup Scene and Speed Channel, Monte Dutton of FasTrack and NASCAR historian Bob Latford are among the authors expected for a signing and public Q&A during "NASCAR Night" next Thursday [May 2nd] at Books-A-Million in Hampton, VA. Williams' recent book on Ray Evernham, Dutton's on Tony Stewart and Latford's two on the history of NASCAR will be available, as well as two dozen other motorsports books. Drivers from Southampton, Langley and VMS at Saluda will be there with their cars and WBYM-1490 will broadcast from the store.(Daily Press), also for more book info, see my Racing Bookstore page.(4-26-2002) UPDATE: Jay Ahuja, author of Speed Dreams - A Guide to Visiting & Enjoying All 23 NASCAR Tracks, will sign copies of the book at Media Play on Saturday, May 4, from noon to 2:00pm/et, South Blvd & Woodlawn Rd in Charlotte, NC (704-525-2416). Ahuja traveled to NASCAR tracks across the nation and talked with sportswriters, ushers, and ticket holders. He spent hours at each track seeking the best perspective on the race. In Speed Dreams, Charlotte's own Jay Ahuja shares what he learned on his trek across the country. Whether you want to follow your favorite driver on the road or tour America's most scenic raceways, you will do it better with this inside information. Speed Dreams is a complete guide to all tracks and their surrounding locales: a detailed overview of every track, layouts, tips on how to get the best available seats, what to see and do before and after the race, and other inside information. Everything for planning a trip is included: advanced phone numbers, local publications and radio stations, drive times between cities, parking tips, nightlife options, related festivals, and a listing of nearby hotels. Where are the best places to see a race or get a driver's autograph? Which hotels do racing teams stay at while they're in town? Speed Dreams provides all this and more to help fans plan the trip of a lifetime.(4-29-2002)
Lowes Testing: Open testing dates have been confirmed for the Cup, BGN, Goody's Dash and the ARCA in preparation for The Winston on May 18, the May 26 Coca-Cola 600 and the other stock car events scheduled next month at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Goody's Dash and ARCA Testing will be held on May 1st. Cup and BGN testing will be on Monday, May 6th and Tuesday May 7th (rain date May 8th for either date). BGN Testing is from 8:00am to 4:00pm each day, Winston Cup Testing run from 4:00 to 10:00pm each day. No word on if it is open to the public.(LMS PR)(4-29-2002)
Engine Rules Clarified: NASCAR officials handed out a technical bulletin this weekend that clarified issues with the one-engine rule. The rule had stated that when a team changed engines during a race weekend, it had to start at the rear of the field if it qualified for the race. Now, if a driver wrecks during the practice session before qualifying and has to go to a backup car, the team can change engines and is not forced to start at the rear of the field if it makes the race. If a car blows its engine during practice before qualifying, the old rule remains - the resulting engine change forces the team to start at the rear of the field if it qualifies for the race. If a driver wrecks during or anytime after qualifying and has to go to a backup car, the team is not penalized for the engine change. In those situations, the team would start at the rear of the field for using a different car than was used in qualifying.(Roanoke Times)(4-29-2002)
The Rumor that won't die: [#18 and #20] Car owner Joe Gibbs won't be changing any sheet metal before the end of the season, so Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte will remain in Pontiacs. But according to Detroit sources, General Motors [um isn't Chevy GM too?] executives are so worried about losing Stewart and Labonte to Chevrolet next season that they've begun negotiations to sign two new teams to fill that void. One of the teams on the Pontiac list is the Cal Wells-Ricky Craven operation [see story below]. A possible Gibbs-Stewart-Labonte switch to Chevrolets next season is a decided possibility, according to Detroit sources and NASCAR sources. A final decision hasn't been made, but it appears to be looming.(Winston Salem Journal). NOTE: Gibbs is also doing the bulk of the 2003 Pontiac testing, so.....(4-29-2002)
Some Fox TV Changes: FSN's Totally NASCAR reporter Kirsten Gum will be leaving the show in the next few weeks and will be hosting an outdoors show on ESPN2. AND The Fox NASCAR production duo of director Artie Kempner and producer Richie Zyontz have been named the # 1 production team for the NFL coverage on Fox. Previously, the pair had been the network's # 2 team.(MotorsportsTV)(4-29-2002)
Penske to Stick with Ford? Although Penske Racing's contract with Ford runs out at the end of the season, don't expect the #2 (Rusty Wallace) and #12 (Ryan Newman) teams to jump ship to another manufacturer anytime soon. Roger Penske has been mentioned as a possible candidate to field Toyotas when the auto manufacturer comes to NASCAR because he owns the greatest number of dealerships. But Toyota isn't targeted to introduce its first North American V-8 until 2003. Insiders at Penske South expect the teams to renew with Ford.(Sporting News)(4-29-2002)
Wind Tunnel Testing Limits? NASCAR officials are considering some type of limits on wind-tunnel testing by Winston Cup teams, because car owners are spending an exorbitant amount of money - some even using wind tunnels in Canada. How to establish rules is the big question. Padlocking all the wind tunnels is not a possibility, apparently, even though NASCAR could draw up contracts with team owners. So NASCAR is looking at asking Detroit's three car makers for help in addressing the situation.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-29-2002)
Roush Hats: Crew members for all the Roush Racing [#'s 6,16,17,97,99] teams wore straw hats, similar to the style worn by car owner Jack Roush, before the race. Roush is recovering from injuries suffered in a plane crash April 19 in Troy, AL.(Roanoke Times). See latest info on Roush below.(4-29-2002)
Grissom and the #44: Despite speculation that Steve Grissom's role with Petty Enterprises is as a short-term replacement for Buckshot Jones, things are going well so far. Grissom already had tested Dodges for the Pettys at Richmond, Talladega and Caraway (N.C.) Speedway before he accepted the #44 ride. The arrangement reunites Grissom with Bryant Frazier, his brother-in-law and former crew chief. They last worked together in 1995 at Diamond Ridge Racing and won the Busch Series title in 1993.(Sporting News)(4-29-2002)
More Petty Movie News: Richard Petty and Bill Scott, executive vice president of Petty Enterprises, met Saturday with officials working on a proposed movie about the Petty family. Petty and Scott met at the track with producer Dan Halsted and writer John Warren and went over ideas for the script. Scott said that Warren plans to have a first draft of the script by Memorial Day. Once a script is written, it will be shopped to studios. With actor Dennis Quaid, who is starring in Disney's "The Rookie," set to play Lee Petty, it could make it easier for the script to be picked by a studio. The studio would determine where filming takes place but Halsted liked the idea of filming at least part of the movie in North Carolina, Scott said.(Roanoke Times), see more on the movie at my #43 Team News and Links page.(4-29-2002)
Common Templates? Toyota? NASCAR's move to common template cars should be completed in time for next season's Daytona 500, when Pontiac and Chevrolet are expected to debut their own versions of the common template model. Insiders are wondering if that simply opens the door wide for Toyota to step into this sport: if all the bodies are the same, all Toyota has to do is come up with a 358 stock block V-8, and NASCAR probably won't be giving the OK to any overhead cam versions.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-29-2002)
Nemechek in the Winston, with DEI? UPDATE: Word has it that Joe Nemechek will drive a car from the DEI stable in The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May. Nemechek is eligible for The Winston because of his win at Rockingham last fall [in the #33 Andy Petree ride - which as a team is also eligible], but is currently without a steady Winston Cup Series ride. He was released from Haas-Carter Motorsports when the team's Kmart sponsorship unraveled. No word on any sponsorship for the deal.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(4-22-2002) UPDATE: Joe Nemechek will drive a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car in The Winston next month at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a Travis Carter spokesman said Sunday. Nemechek won at Rockingham last year with Andy Petree Racing to earn a spot in the all-star race, but Nemechek’s current team is having sponsorship woes. Travis Carter Enterprises isn’t going to field a car for Nemechek in The Winston because a sponsor can’t be found.(RacingOne)(4-29-2002)
500th win for Chevy? calculations show that #48-Jimmie Johnson's win at California Speedway was Chevrolet's 500th career Winton Cup win. The 2001 Winston Cup Updates book shows 497 wins at the end of the 2001 season, but it adds up to 498. The UMI Publication's 2002 Press Guide shows 497 but only has 8 wins listed for Chevy in 2000 but adding up the 2000 totals shows Chevy with 9 wins. So unless I have it wrong, Chevy has 500 wins now, just behind Ford's total of 520.(4-29-2002)
The Iceman 5th now: when #5-Terry Labonte started the race at California, it broke the fifth place tie he had with Bobby Allison. Labonte now has 718 career Winston Cup starts. See my Stats and Stats Links page for the list.(4-30-2002)
#48: the last time a Cup car with the #48 won, was in August of 1972 when James Hylton won at Talladega. See my Wins by Number page for all the wins by car numbers. PLUS Johnson is now the eligible to run the 2002 The Winston.(4--29-2002)
more numbers: #48-Jimmie Johnson became the 162 different driver to win a Winston Cup race in 1967 races. See my All Time Winston Cup Wins page.(4-29-2002)