Ward Burton wins wild race at New Hampshire: #22-Ward Burton passed #17-Matt Kenseth (who had a tire going down) for the lead with 10 laps to go and held on to win the New Hampshire 300. It was Burton's 2nd win of 2002 and first since winning the Daytona 500. #30-Jeff Green was 2nd, his best ever Winston Cup finish. All three RCR drivers finished in the top ten. For some commentart, caution info, some notes, see my New England 300 Race Info page. Re-Air: The race will be re-aired on TNT, Tues, July 23rd, 1:00am/et; Speed Channel on Wed, July 24th, 8:00pm/et and Thurs, July 25th, 1:00am/et. Results: at ThatsRacin.com and NASCAR.com.(7-21-2002)
Rudd may wait until end of season to make decision: #28-Ricky Rudd said Sunday afternoon a decision on his future at Robert Yates Racing may not come until the end of the season. Rudd said he has tried to remain quiet this weekend preferring not to engage in what he described as the "mudslinging" that has been going on regarding his situation at Yates Racing since the series arrived at New Hampshire this weekend. On Friday, team owner Robert Yates said he was trying to stay out of infighting between Rudd and crew chief Michael McSwain over issues Yates termed "ridiculous." Rudd said such issues, including a disagreement between Rudd and McSwain over a victory party following Rudd's win at Sonoma, Calif., had nothing to do with his future with the team. Rudd said Texaco/Havoline's decision to pick up an option to remain with Yates Racing has put Yates in a position he did not foresee. "The bottom line is Robert, or Robert and Doug (Yates, Robert's son), never planned to field more than two cars next season." Rudd said Yates' decision to hire driver Elliott Sadler and attract another sponsor may have put him in the position of being contractually obligated to field three teams next season. Rudd said he would not quit and leave, giving Yates an out if his sponsor were to decide to follow Rudd to another team. On Saturday, Rudd said the only thing standing between Rudd and a return to the No. 28 Fords next year is an assurance from Yates the team will be kept relatively intact. So far, Rudd has not received any such assurances.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-21-2002)
No Petty and Hamilton? ....the situation at Petty Enterprises seems a little more murky today, if word is correct that Bobby Hamilton is no longer a player in the picture for next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-21-2002)
Petty Has a 2003 Sponsor? Sprint will not return with Kyle Petty next year, but Petty says the team has sponsorship for the #45, and will definitely return with three cars. Petty says he also expects #43 driver John Andretti to re-sign for next year.(Autoweek) Some rumored sponsors include Gateway Computers and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.(7-21-2002)
No Decision from Wells yet AND - UPDATE: #32 car owner Cal Wells insisted he still hasn't signed a deal with Pontiac, although insiders say that deal is all but completed. Will Wells have two teams? He's still hopeful, and talking with three potential sponsors. "One sponsor is driver-specific, the other two aren't," Wells said. "One sponsor says he wants to get things wrapped up in the next two to three weeks ... but they told me the same thing two or three weeks ago."(Winston Salem Journal) AND Ricky Craven said Saturday it was "very, very reasonable and realistic" that he would get a teammate at his Cal Wells-owned PPI Motorsports organization next season. Wells originally field two cars in 2000, but scaled back to a one-car operation in the middle of last season. "The whole program at PPI was built around the concept of two cars or perhaps three, but Cal’s done a wonderful job this year scaling down and re-budgeting," Craven said. "We’ve become much more efficient and I think the results show that. In the long-run we certainly need to be part of a multi-car team." PPI has also had discussions this season about switching from Ford to Pontiac next season but Craven said he is playing no role in those discussions. "I’m completely removed from it," Craven said. "I’ve been doing this for several years. I’ve built equity with the people from General Motors, the people from Ford. I’ve built friendships."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-20-2002) UPDATE - Nadeau? Cal Wells’ switch from Ford to Pontiac is probably going to be announced in Indianapolis during the Brickyard 400 weekend in August. What that probably means is that Ricky Craven will have a teammate in 2003. Jerry Nadeau, perhaps?(Gaston Gazette)(7-21-2002)
Andretti to the IRL? UPDATE: If talks between Michael Andretti and Tony George lead to the Championship Auto Racing Teams star starting his own team in the Indy Racing League next year, might he try to lure his cousin, John, back to the open-wheel ranks? "You'd have to ask him that," said a grinning John Andretti, who is in his ninth season on the Winston Cup circuit. "I think he'd be too cheap to pay me."(Indianapolis Star)(7-19-2002) UPDATE: John Andretti is another driver left wondering about his future. He's not sure if he'll be back with Petty Enterprises after his contract expires at the end of the year. Asked when he'll know what he'll be doing next season, Andretti said: "I guess when there's only one seat left and I'm the only driver left, then they'll figure it out." Andretti had a slight disagreement at Petty this season when Kyle Petty refused to let him run in the Indianapolis 500. Andretti wants badly to run that race again, and it could be a reason why he'd leave the Petty's three-car operation. But he said if he did go elsewhere, it would be in NASCAR and not an open-wheel series. "I don't have any plans to leave Winston Cup," Andretti said. "Other people might have plans for me to leave Winston Cup, but I don't. I want to still do the 500. I've never hidden that, but I haven't got to do it since I did it in 1994. I'm not the most impossible guy in the world to deal with. There are things I want, but I can appreciate when you sit down and talk about it, I'd like to think I'm rational, and I try to do the right thing."(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(7-21-2002)
Andrews Son Races at NHIS: Whelen Motorsports had Tim Andrews drive their Busch North # 31 Saturday at New Hampshire. Andrews started 15th and finished 6th in his first BGNN start. Andrews is the son of the #1 Pennzoil/DEI team and driver Steve Park, Paul Andrews, who changed front tires for his son on Saturday.(7-21-2002)
Benson Back at Pocono? Nadeau in a 2nd MBV car at Indy?: Johnny Benson, out of the #10 MBV ride due to rib injuries from an accident at Daytona in the Pepsi 400, may be back in the car as soon as Pocono. Jerry Nadeau is subbing for Benson and is signed thru Watkins Glen. Originally Benson was to come back at either Indy or Watkins Glen, but during Speed Channel's Happy Hour coverage, Bill Weber mentioned #10 Crew Chief, James Ince said Benson was healing faster then expected. Also, Weber mentioned that he heard [not from Ince] that the MBV team could field a 2nd car for Nadeau at Indy for the Brickyard 400.(7-21-2002)
Grand Marshal and Starter at NHIS: Carolyn Towle of Champlain Oil/Jiffy Mart is the grand marshal and Kenny Shook of Pepsi-Cola North America is the honorary starter.(Union Leader)(7-21-2002)
Petty to Honor Fan: Prior to the NHIS Winston Cup race, Kyle Petty will honor Jaclyn Bauer, age 12 of Morton Grove, Ill. and winner of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America's Design a Cool Helmet for Kyle contest. Petty wore Bauer's helmet design on the sixth day of the 2002 Charity Ride as it traveled through Chicago on June 28. Petty will present Bauer with the helmet, which was auctioned off for $20,000 to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp for kids.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(7-21-2002)
Final TV Ratings for Chicago: The final ratings from the smaller markets are in, and that means an even more impressive win for NASCAR on NBC from Chicagoland Speedway. These final numbers resulted in a 5.3 rating and 14 share, up from the 5.1 overnight rating. 5,624,000 households tuned in, according to Nielsen Media Research. This made the Winston Cup race the most-watched sports telecast of the weekend, posting a huge win over second-place Major League Baseball on Fox, which posted a 2.3 rating. However, even these strong results are a 5% decline from last year's 5.6 rating.(MotorsportsTV)(7-21-2002)
Compton Looking for 2003 Cup ride: Stacy Compton said he's looking for a Cup ride for next season. "My contract is up at the end of the season and there's been no talks of renewing it," said Compton, who drives for [#14] A.J. Foyt Racing. "I'm in the hunt as much as anyone right now."(Roanoke Times) Compton has signed for two more years to driver th #59 ST Motorports Chevy in the BGN.(7-20-2002)
Yates: Rudd and McSwain having problems? UPDATE more to the saga: Things continue to get more and more curious with the #28 Havoline Ford team owned by Robert Yates Racing. Team owner Robert Yates said Friday at NHIS that driver Ricky Rudd and crew chief Michael McSwain have been at odds over something that reminds him of watching "2 and 4 year-olds have little fist fights." Rudd's contract is up at season's end and is considering his options for next season. He said earlier this week that if he comes back to Yates' team that McSwain and other key members of the #28 crew won't be back. On Friday, Yates implied that he is not the cause of friction between Rudd and McSwain, saying that the team had a victory party after Rudd's win at Sonoma at a time when Rudd was in Florida with his family on vacation. "Ricky was invited, but he wasn't there and they shouldn't have had it, I guess," Yates said. "A 'why did you have it without me?' kind of thing. There was a lot of foolishness. Here I'm trying to talk about a future and what we're doing and now they're playing this 2-year-old deal." Yates said Rudd is "a good guy" and "fun to hang out with – he's a fun guy to race with and we feel very comfortable with him sitting in our race car." But, Yates said, business is business. "I do not want to stand in the way of Ricky having a better job," Yates said. "If this is his best job, we have no desire for him to do anything different. If there is a better job, go out and research it and come back and tell us where you want to be. We also have the same right. Can we get something better? Then we have a right. It's just a negotiating year." Though nothing has been said officially, it appears that Yates already has a deal with Elliott Sadler to drive either for the #28 team or for a team that would be owned by Yates' son, Doug, next season. Dale Jarrett will also return as driver of the #88 UPS Fords. Rudd, 45, said in May he was considering retirement and that if he did return he would want to sign one-year contracts for the rest of his career. In recent weeks he has seemed to back away from retirement and said he is considering offers from other teams as well as the possibility of returning to the #28 Fords – an outcome that seems increasingly unlikely. Yates said he was waiting on a decision from Rudd on Monday, which was the driver's self-imposed deadline for a decision. "I don't know," Yates said. "I'm just hoping everybody comes out on top. I don't want to be accused of doing a secret thing like, 'Why did you break that up?' I'm not necessarily breaking it up. At some point you get tired of trying to hold it together."(ThatsRacin.com), see tons on this subject on my #28 Team News and Links page and more stories on my Story/Article/Column Links Page. UPDATE: Ricky Rudd swatted the ball back into team owner Robert Yates' court on Saturday, saying the only thing standing between Rudd and a return to the #28 Fords next year is an assurance from Yates that the team will be kept relatively intact.
"The issue right now is that if Robert will give me some assurances to the best of his ability that he'll keep this team without moving people around, then it's a done deal," Rudd said. "It's that simple. It's all about assuring that the people we have today will be here next year. That's the only hold up." Rudd reiterated Saturday that money issues are not holding up a deal to keep him with his current team for another year. Rudd said money issues among him, Yates and team sponsor Havoline were worked out two weeks ago. As late as Friday morning, some people close to the team believed there would be an announcement sometime this weekend that Rudd and Yates had decided to part ways. Then Yates said Friday that he was trying to stay out of infighting between Rudd and McSwain over issues that Yates termed "ridiculous." Despite all that, Rudd now says that keeping his team together is the only issue remaining between him and Yates.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-20-2002)
Rudd's Son Sick: Ricky Rudd's son Landon, 7, is in the hospital because of complications he suffered while having his tonsils removed. Rudd said his son has asthma and might have had an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. Rudd said his face swelled and he suffered some bruises to his face when medical personnel tried to help him breathe with a bag system. ``It was supposed to be an outpatient deal, but he'll probably be in there another couple of days,'' Rudd said. ``It was supposed to be a simple deal.''(Boston Herald)(7-20-2002)
Chevron picks up Options years to continue sponsoring the #28 or maybe to Petree? [Robert] Yates yesterday revealed that Chevron [who owns Texaco Havoline] executives have decided to pick up the option on the final two years of the Texaco sponsorship with Yates, something Yates said he didn't expect. So Yates has to deal with that situation, too. And it appears Yates is trying to 'shop' that Texaco sponsorship to the Andy Petree-Jerry Jones [#33, #55] team. Petree and Jones have been trying to hire Rudd, who also is looking at offers from Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi, sources say. Yates also would like to sell Petree an engine leasing package; Petree will be making a difficult switch from Chevy to Ford.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-20-2002)
Shepherd's Sponsor: Berlin City Ford is going Winston Cup racing this weekend. Morgan Shepherd’s return to Winston Cup racing is backed by the Dion Brothers of Hudson and their longtime Ford sponsor. Shepherd makes his first appearance in stock car racing’s big league since February of 1999 [Rockingham]. “It’s just a car that we had sittin’ there, and I just thought it would be real neat if we could get together with Dave and all the guys and we could do this deal together. They’re doing the pit crew thing and helping getting the car ready,” Shepherd said. It’s a friendship thing between the North and the South, he said. Shepherd first met the Dion brothers years ago when they all raced together in Bob Bahre’s Oxford 250s, which at the time was one of the richest short track races in America.(Union Leader), see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-20-2002)
No Bigger Greenhouse? NASCAR officials are telling Winston Cup teams that the 'big greenhouse' project, for larger, safer roll cages, is all but dead. Testing will continue, but NASCAR said the 'big greenhouse' cars won't be on the track until the fall of 2003, if then.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-20-2002)
Park still considering staying at DEI for 2003: #1-Steve Park, who two weeks ago openly talked of leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc(DEI), says he is now open to the possibility of remaining with the organization next season. Park said he is now more "at ease" with the idea of one-year contract extension – a haggling point in recent discussions with the team. "We've talked about doing a one-year deal. I thought at first, being stubborn, I would be in the same position this time next year, so I wasn't pleased with that," Park said. "Now, I'm more at ease with stuff. Maybe that's now a possibility – keep Steve Park and Pennzoil together at DEI for the term of Pennzoil's contract." Pennzoil has one year remaining on its contract to sponsor DEI's #1 Chevy. Both Park and DEI allowed a June 15 deadline to pass that would have given DEI first opportunity to sign Park.(ThatsRacin.com) AND Steve Park said he's been offered a one-year deal to remain with Dale Earnhardt Inc., but he said he's "stubborn" and wants a longer contract. Park said he's waiting for Ty Norris, DEI's team manager, to decide if a two-year deal is possible. Park said he has no particular time frame, but said running for car owner Bill Davis [#23] is a possibility next season if he can't come to terms with DEI. There is also speculation Park could be moving to the Rick Hendrick [#25] operation in 2003.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-20-2002)
Andy Houston returns to racing: On July 27th former Winston Cup/Truck Series driver, Andy Houston will return to the track at Hickory Motor Speedway [NC] to drive the Carolina Motorsports Tech Centers USAR ProCup car at the Naturally Fresh Foods 250. Houston started racing right out of high school in the Limited Late Model division at Hickory Motor Speedway and won Rookie of the Year in 1991, Track Champion in 1994 and is 5th on the All Time Winners list at Hickory. Houston drove PPI's #96 McDonald's Ford 17 times in Winston Cup competition during the 2001 season. "This is an excellent opportunity for the team, Andy's resume speaks for it's self. These young technicians are excited to work with Andy. The team put their car on the pole at Kil-Kare and realized their first top ten finish. Coming home to Hickory with Andy in the car has the focus level above normal. Once they start to smell success they just work harder. Andy spent Wednesday afternoon working with the team getting the car ready, quickly the team realized they could win Hickory if they do their homework." states Mark Davis. The Carolina Motorsports Tech Center in Conover, North Carolina will be hosting its first annual Open House July 26, 2002 (for more info, see my Racing/Driving/Mechanic Schools page for more info.(Carolina Motorsports Tech Center PR)(7-20-2002)
Three Drivers do the NHIS Cup/CTS double: three drivers will compete in both the Truck Series and Cup races. Kevin Harvick (#29-Cup, #6-CTS); Ken Schrader (#36-Cup, #52-CTS); and Morgan Shepherd (#89 Cup, #51-CTS). Dennis Setzer who is running the CTS race, qualified the #66 Ford for the Cup race but Geoffrey Bodine will run that car. AND two drivers will run both the Cup and BGN races, Todd Bodine (#26-Cup, #92-BGN) and Stacy Compton (#14 Cup and #59-BGN) but they will be traveling as the BGN race is at Gateway Intl Raceway near St Louis.(7-20-2002)
Some NHIS facts - 10th or better for Marlin, and other stuff: Seven of the 14 Cup races at New Hampshire have been won by a driver who started in the top 10. The deepest in the field that a race winner has started is 38th, and the average starting position of the race winner has been 13.85.
Four of the 16 drivers who have competed in all 14 races at New Hampshire have yet to post a top-five finish there: #11-Brett Bodine, Rick Mast(who will not race there), #36-Ken Schrader and #15-Michael Waltrip.
Should Mark Martin win the New England 300 on Sunday, Sterling Marlin can maintain the lead in the Winston Cup points standings by finishing 10th or better, regardless of lap leader bonus points for either driver.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(7-20-2002)
Bill Elliott wins the pole at NHIS for the New England 300. #9-Bill Elliott won the pole at New Hampshire with a speed of 131.469mph, his third Bud Pole of the year and his 54th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #4-Mike Skinner, 131.175 Results/Lineup: can be seen at ThatsRacin.com, or MotorsportsOne or NASCAR.com(7-19-2002)
Haas Carter to field 2nd car at NHIS: Haas Carter Motorsports will enter and race two cars at New Hampshire. This will bring the field to 43. Geoffrey Bodine will Qualify the # 26 car for brother Todd , who is at the Busch race [at Gateway]. Geoffrey will start the #66 car on Sunday after someone else qualifies it [Dennis Setzer is listed on the TR qualfying order]. Todd will drive the #26 car on Sunday. Since neither driver will start the race in the car he qualified, both Geoffrey and Todd Bodine will be forced to start from the back.(7-19-2002)
Chevy or Pontiac? a draw? UPDATE 3 A Pontiac at Indy: #20-Tony Stewart and #18-Bobby Labonte tested both Chevrolets and Pontiacs in Monday's opening session of the two-day Winston Cup test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the results appeared to be a virtual dead heat. Stewart's best speed was a 175.632mph in his 40 laps in a Chevy, good for 23rd place on the day, but he had a 175.457 in his 39 laps in a Pontiac, which was the 25th best of the session, Labonte had a best of 173.476 in his 39 laps in a Monte Carlo (40th overall) and a 173.43 in 16 laps in a Pontiac (45th of the 54 driver/car combinations). The team announced Sunday it would switch to Chevrolet entries next year and might run them in some events this season.(Winston Cup Scene Newsletter)(7-16-2002) UPDATE - looks like a #20 Chevy at Indy: FSN's Totally NASCAR reports that it is likely that Joe Gibbs Racing will run a Chevy for Tony Stewart and the #20 Home Depot team in the Brickyard 400 at Indy, didn't mention the #18-Labonte team.(7-17-2002) UPDATE 2: however, sources with the team tell me that the decision has yet to be made and supposedly the #20 is leaning heavily towards the Pontiac though and not the Chevy. As for the #18 team, there will be another test next week and a decision will be based following that test.(7-18-2002) UPDATE 3: during TNT's qualifying coverage of the New Hampshire 300 on Friday, Stewart and crew chief Greg Zipadelli were interviewed on the war wagon and Zipadelli said they would run a Pontiac at Indy for the Brickyear 400, but would test a Chevy at Kentucky and may run it at a place like Michigan. #18-Bobby Labonte said in a later interview that he would run a Pontiac at Indy also.(7-19-2002)
BAM Racing hires new crew chief? hearing that Scott Eggleston has joined the #49 BAM Racing team as crew chief. Eggleston was the Daytona winning crew chief in 2001 with Michael Waltrip and recently was the crew chief of the #4 Kodak Chevy team and driver Mike Skinner.(7-19-2002)
Atwood, double duty at Pocono: Evernham Motorsports has entered Winston Cup driver Casey Atwood in next Saturday’s Pepsi 200 Automobile Racing Club of America series race at Pocono Raceway. Atwood will drive an Evernham Motorsports #19 Dodge.
Sammy Johns, who left his position as crew chief for Evernham Motorsports driver Jeremy Mayfield to become director of research and development with the team, will serve as Atwood’s crew chief in the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-19-2002)
NHIS and softwalls: Since the deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin in separate crashes here in 2000, New Hampshire International Speedway has been a focal point for NASCAR's discussion of safety issues. Several drivers criticized NASCAR for not having some kind of energy-absorbing barrier for the track's outside walls before the race in September 2000, after Petty had died in April and Irwin in July. As the Winston Cup circuit returns to New Hampshire this weekend, two years after the crash in which Irwin died, there still have been no changes to the walls. But in two weeks, when the circuit goes to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Cup cars will see a new generation of "soft wall" called the SAFER barrier in the four turns. New Hampshire International Speedway owner Bob Bahre has said he will install a SAFER (steel and foam energy-reducing) system at his track as soon as he gets approval from NASCAR, but the sanctioning body is proceeding cautiously.(See full story at ThatsRacin.com)(7-19-2002)
City May Have Earnhardt Benefit: Kannapolis leaders are discussing the idea of a fund-raising banquet, possibly at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in Mooresville, to help finance the planned Dale Earnhardt Tribute. The late NASCAR star's widow, Teresa Earnhardt, could become involved in the banquet if an agreement can be reached. The Tribute's steering committee met Thursday night to discuss the specific site location of the sculpture honoring the late racing legend. The statue still will be on Main Street, said Paul Bessent, Kannapolis city councilman and Tribute committee member. Committee members also hope to unveil and dedicate the Earnhardt statue in October, Bessent said.(Independent Tribune)(7-19-2002)
No Long: Winston Cup driver [#79] Carl Long indicated to NHIS and NASCAR that he would compete in Sunday's New England 300. Then he decided against it, leaving the field at 42 as of yesterday afternoon. Normally, 43 cars start in Winston Cup races.(Concord Monitor)(7-19-2002)
Penalties Announced: NASCAR officials announced penalties against five NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chiefs following this past weekend's Tropicana 400 at. Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Tony Eury, Sr., crew chief of the #8 Budweiser Chevy Monte Carlo, was fined $2,500 and 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: unapproved use of refrigerant near the fuel system."
Greg Zipadelli, crew chief of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac and Steven Lane, crew chief of the #45 Sprint Dodge, were both fined $500 and penalized under section 12-4-Q and Section 20-12-1A: unapproved jacking bolts. Lane also received a fine of $2,500 for having unapproved fender braces (adjustable), section 20.3.6.F.
Brandon Thomas, crew chief of the #43 Cheerios Dodge and Greg Steadman, crew chief of the #44 Georgia Pacific Dodge, received fines of $2,500 each and penalized under section 12-4-Q and section 20-16-4.1: unapproved fuel filler neck that exceeded the maximum size.(NASCAR PR)(7-18-2002)
Shepherd, double duty at NHIS: CTS team owner Rick Ware announced today that Morgan Shepherd will drive the #51 Ware Racing Dodge Truck at New Hampshire on Saturday. Shepherd also will attempt to qualify for the Cup race in the #89 Ford.(Catchfence)(7-18-2002)
Rudd gone from RYR? McSwain leaving the #28? but staying with Yates? UPDATEs: during an interview on ESPN2's RPM 2 Night, Ricky Rudd said he has made no decision on his future (today was supposed to be decision day for Rudd), but mentioned the crew chief [Michael 'Fatback' McSwain] would be moving on, no word what team McSwain is going to. AND Comments made Monday by Winston Cup driver Ricky Rudd and his car owner, Robert Yates, indicate Rudd's tenure at Robert Yates Racing will likely draw to a close following this season. Monday was a self-imposed deadline for Rudd to make a decision regarding his future in the series. At a test at Indianapolis, he said he still hadn't made a final decision, but it appeared the option of remaining at Robert Yates Racing was becoming increasingly less likely. Asked if there was room for Rudd at RYR next season, Yates answered: "I'd say it's slim. I won't say none, but I'd say slim because I think his best situation would be he goes somewhere that will be very competitive and pay very well. That's just not in my deal," Yates said. "My deal is too thin. … In the best year, unless it's a championship win, it just comes out upside-down." Rudd, however, said the two had "worked through" any money issues and felt the differences lie in how Rudd's #28 would be structured next season. "At Yates Racing, regardless of what you read it's not a money issue and what I will say about that is I wasn't getting answers that I needed to have," Rudd said. "I want to make sure that if I come back to the 28 that it is indeed the 28 team as we know it today and not all the people have been moved off my team to a third team." Asked to clarify the changes that might be made to his team, Rudd said if he were to stay at RYR, Yates indicated Rudd's crew chief, Michael McSwain, as well as others on his team would not remain. "The crew chief will not be with the 28 team next year, if I stayed," Rudd said. Asked if a third team would be added – thought to be Elliott Sadler with a team owned by Robert's son, Doug Yates – Rudd said: "If I move on, there probably won't be a third team. If I stay, there will be a third team."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-15-2002) UPDATE: Rudd says Havoline, sponsor of the #28 car, pays $6 million less a year than Yates' other sponsor, UPS. If M&M Mars brings more money than Havoline, Yates might not be able to justify keeping his best crew members on a team that isn't paying him as much. Rudd says his current crew chief, Michael McSwain, already has been assigned to work with Sadler next season. Rudd has identified other members of his team that would have to stay in order for Rudd to stay, but Yates hasn't responded.(USA Today)(7-16-2002) so what Rudd's options?
New Yates 3rd team
Stay at he #28 with a new crew
3rd Ganassi Dodge
Andy Petree/Jerry Jones team
From what I hear, DEI is no longer an option.(7-16-2002) UPDATE 2: hearing the Petree-Jones team may be the front runner and hearing that Pizza Hut will be involved as a sponsor.(7-17-2002) UPDATE 3: McSwain came to Yates with Rudd in 2000, but won’t leave with the driver if Rudd moves elsewhere next year. “I’ve got a contract for two more years,” McSwain said.(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read)(7-18-2002)
Hornaday back in the #14? UPDATE Conseco safe: hearing Ron Hornaday may run some races in the #14 Conseco Pontiac owned by AJ Foyt. A bit odd since Hornaday was released from that ride at the end of the 2001 season. Not sure if it would be full time or just selected races. Hornaday is running full time in the BGN with the #26 Dr. Pepper team.(7-13-2002) UPDATE: A.J. Foyt is non-committal on the status of driver Stacy Compton for 2003. Compton recently signed a new, two-year contract to remain in the BGN, meaning he could try to run both series again next year. “I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Foyt said. “I don’t know if my people want (that). I think they might want somebody to concentrate on one car. I’m not sure. I have to talk to them about it and what we’re going to do. I haven’t made a decision either way.” Rumors are again circulating that sponsor Conseco might pull out due to financial concerns, but Foyt’s not concerned. “We have a four-year deal, they’ve been very fair and nice about the deal,” Foyt said. “I guess I’ve been more upset about the operation than they have.”(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read)(7-18-2002)
Derrike Cope and Friendly's? #37-Derrike Cope tested this past week at Indy for the Brickyard 400. The Derrike Cope site has a batch of images of the car, on the car is Friendly's, the restuarant chain.(7-18-2002)
Nadeau signed thru Watkins Glen with the #10 team: Jerry Nadeau will handle the driving duties of the #10 MBV Motorsports Pontiac for the next four events. “We secured Jerry through Watkins Glen, just going off what happened to Johnny in May,” team manager Jay Frye said July 14. “We saw (Johnny) and he looks a lot better than he did in May. The recovery process should be much quicker. I guess the fact that the (latest) injury involved the ribs up front and not in the back (helps). I think anything in your back, it’s harder on you, it makes it harder to breath. “We’ll know more (this) week, but we’ve got Jerry through Watkins Glen for sure, to be safe,” Frye said. “Johnny may come back before then.” At one point, it appeared Nadeau would step back into the Petty car, but a breakdown in communications, he said, prevented that move. “I kind of feel bad,” he said. “We just didn’t communicate real well. Jay Frye called me the day after Johnny got hurt and asked me if I wanted to do the 10 car and I said yes. Then the 44 team called. They were just a little bit too late. They’re good people. I’d love to do something with them, maybe after I’m done with the 10 car.”(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read)(7-18-2002)
NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week: #24 Dupont Crew - Consistent, quick stops (15.3) kept Gordon in the hunt all day, finishing 2nd. A tough season so far for these guys who got very familiar with Victory Lane last season. This crew is not to blame for the less than the usual near perfect season! The #24 Crew deserves to be the NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week sponsored by Toxabsorb, the 21st Century Spill Magnet for all fluid spilled on Pit Road and the Official Spill Response Agent of the National Association of Pit Crew Members (www.toxabsorb.com). The Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year standings after Chicago: 1st Place - Crew #6 Viagra, Total Points - 86; 2nd Place - Crew #48 Lowes, 74; 3rd Place (tie) - Crew #20 Home Depot, 66; 3rd Place (tie) - Crew #24 Dupont Total Points, 66; 4th Place - Crew #9 Dodge Dealers, 57; and 5th Place - Crew #88 UPS, 56.(National Association of Pit Crew Members PR)(7-18-2002)
Stewart wins modified race in CT: Tony Stewart won a Modified race at Thompson International Speedway on Wednesday night, beating old rival Teddy Christopher in a photo finish. Stewart, in the area for the Winston Cup race Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway, drove a car borrowed from Ed Partridge after an engine failure. "`I told everybody that if I got close to him at the end, that I would put him away,'' Stewart said. ``We may have had a few bad times back in 1997, but there are few drivers I've raced against who have as much God-given talent as Teddy Christopher.'' The 20-lap race, hyped as a grudge match between the rivals, featured 10 lead changes before Christopher passed Stewart on the 19th lap, only to see the advantage vanish at the finish. "`So much for all the prerace publicity,'' said Christopher, the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national champion. "All we wanted to do was go out there and race hard. Have some fun and see what happens. I'll be a gracious host and give him the win.''(CBS Sportsline/AP)(7-18-2002)
IRWIN Rough to Finish Award: Last Sunday was a roller-coaster ride for ALLTEL Racing. #12-Ryan Newman sat on the pole for the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, led the first 56 laps, fell back, regained the lead, cut a tire and rallied back late in the race to finish fifth.. Quite a day for the ALLTEL Racing team - a day that earned crew chief Matt Borland this week's "Irwin Rough to the Finish" Award. After running strong all day and leading the race with 28 laps to go, disaster struck the ALLTEL team in the form of a flat tire. In some cases, this would have ended a race team's chances for a strong finish. But thanks to a great pit stop, Newman was able to stay on the lead lap and fight back to a top-five finish, passing several cars in the closing laps. Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, IRWIN, makers of professional power tool accessories like Marathon Plus saw blades and Speedbor flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund in the racing team's name.. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund.. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338.(Golin Harris PR)(7-18-2002)
Ford Motorsports Mgr to retire: Sam Scott, Ford Division Motorsport Manager, is planning to retire from Ford Motor Company at the end of the month. Best wishes Sam.(7-17-2002)
Compton to the Wood Brothers? Wood to the BGN? hearing that Stacy Compton, current driver of the #14 Conseco Pontiac, has had lengthy discussions with the Wood Brothers to drive the #21 Motorcraft Ford next season. It could be a deal that would include the #59 BGN car to change to Fords from Chevy's and have a two-car BGN team with Jon Wood in the second car with Roush engines. Compton has recently signed to stay with the #59 ST Motorsports BGN team for 2003.(7-17-2002)
Hendrick to assist in launching minority-owned team: Sam Belnavis and Tinsley Hughes sat in a conference room at Hendrick Motorsports going through a stack of paperwork that set the groundwork to making them owners of a Winston Cup race team. Despite their familiarity with racing and their experience in business dealings, the two had always been on the outside. Belnavis and Hughes are both black men, a rarity in a sport that has long been dominated by white Southerners. Both are determined to break the barrier and succeed in fielding a full-time race team. Multi-team car owner Rick Hendrick has agreed to help the group launch BH Motorsports, a team that aspires to run a full season in 2003. He’ll show the duo his blueprint for being a successful team owner and help with everything from engines and parts to sitting in on meetings with potential sponsors. Hendrick, who already fields Winston Cup teams for drivers #24-Jeff Gordon, #5-Terry Labonte, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #25-Joe Nemechek, says he’s offered his help because it’s time for NASCAR to diversify. Both men have an extensive history in racing. Belnavis, a native New Yorker, comes from the business side of racing. He was director of sports marketing when Miller Brewing Co. first signed on as a primary car sponsor in 1982 and has had a hand in the sport ever since. Hughes, raised near a Virginia race track, has spent his time trying to become a successful team owner and until recently was part of the only other black group fielding a Cup team. Hughes was co-owner with [#85] Thee Dixon of Mansion Motorsports, where they have sporadically fielded cars for Carl Long. Mansion Motorsports has struggled to make races this season – Long recently moved on and Hughes opted out to work on the deal with Hendrick. "At Mansion, we were operating at zero. For us to even compete and make a race, that was considered a miracle," Hughes said. "That’s why this alliance with Hendrick is so appealing. Maybe now we’re not starting at zero." The goal is to get BH Motorsports further than any other team with an all-black front office has gone. So Hendrick is doing what he can to help. One of the conditions for his assistance is that BH Motorsports help develop a grooming system for more blacks to break into the sport, Belnavis said. As much as Belnavis and Hughes want to put a black driver behind the wheel of a Cup car, both know it’s not possible anytime soon. In NASCAR’s history, six black drivers made it to Winston Cup and none is currently on the circuit. Bill Lester, a 41-year-old racer in the Craftsman Truck series, is the only black driver currently competing on one of NASCAR’s top three levels. Willy T. Ribbs was the first black driver to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he ran in the Indy 500 in 1991. He’s tried to compete on NASCAR’s top circuits and spent last season in the truck series, finishing 16th in the final standings, but hasn’t run a race this year. And George Mack, who regularly competes in the Indy Racing League, this year became just the second black driver to compete in the Indy 500. "There just aren’t any black drivers out there right now at this level," Belnavis said. "That’s something Rick Hendrick wants to see changed, so it will be our goal to help develop that side of it. Maybe it will be through a truck team or a Busch team, but hopefully it will happen." And that’s all Hendrick can ask for right now. While he hopes his assistance will help BH Motorsports meet its goal of fielding a team next season, he’s a realist and understands that’s a lofty goal that might be hard to reach. But if BH Motorsports gets a sponsor, a driver, shows up at a track and makes a race, Hendrick will be satisfied because it will be a start to something he believes is long overdue.(in part from ThatsRacin.com/AP)(7-17-2002)
Bodine to sub for Bodine: Geoffrey Bodine will practice and qualify the #26 Discover Card Ford at New Hampshire for his brother Todd who will be at Gateway running the BGN race. Todd will return NHIS Sunday to run the race.(7-17-2002)
Carl Long testing at Indy and a new # UPDATE: Carl Long and the SR Racing team were unable to go to the track Monday to test their car for Indianapolis, because they had to register their new team with NASCAR in order to compete in events. They have registered #79 to use in competition. Carl and the team, however, are at Indianapolis testing today. Depending on how the test goes will determine if the team goes to the Brickyard 400 in August or not. Long has acquired a hauler and tools from Haas Carter Motorsports (#26 Ford driven by Todd Bodine) to assist him with testing. Carl helped out Haas Carter Motorsports this week in testing by transporting equipment to and from the track.(Carl Long Site)(7-16-2002) UPDATE: Scott Hillis of Lebanon, Tenn., announced Tuesday that he will field a NASCAR Winston Cup Series team with plans to be on the track for the July 28 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The new team, SR Racing, will field #79 Dodge Intrepids with Carl Long behind the wheel. Long, who started the season hoping to contend in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition, parted company with Mansion Motorsports and [#85] team owner Thee Dixon in July and will race a limited schedule with SR Racing for the remainder of the season, including a possible run at The Brickyard on Aug. 4. “We’ve been testing at Indy,” Hillis said. “If we like what we see during testing, we’ll be there for the race.” Bobby Robinson will be the team’s crew chief, with technical assistance from Norman Negre. The cars will be prepared at Negre Enterprises in Mt. Pleasant, NC. Still in search of a primary sponsor, the #79 will carry the colors of Jaret’s Angels and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at Pocono. Jaret’s Angels is the name of a family and friend support group for Jaret Arneson, a three-year-old Charlotte resident that was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2002. To find out more about the JDRF, visit the organization’s Web site at www.jdrf.org.(SR Racing PR)(7-17-2002)
Indy Testing MON/TUE UPDATEs: Indianapolis Motor Speedway has scheduled four days of Cup testing at the track, July 9-10 and July 15-16, and most every Cup team will test. A complete schedule of the teams/drivers for each of the tests can be seen at: www.brickyard.com.(6-28-2002) - No speeds reported as of yet, but rain did delay testing on Tuesday but cars did get on the track. Fans can go watch testing for free. #11-Brett Bodine was scheduled to test this week, but was excused so he could heal up.(7-9-2002) UPDATE: Fifty-four driver/car combinations practiced today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The quickest time was set by #10-Jerry Nadeau at 181.324mph. Some other speeds: #25-Joe Nemechek, 178.187; #29-Kevin Harvick, 175.690; #24-Jeff Gordon, 177.299; #48-Jimmie Johnson, 174.913; #15-Michael Waltrip, 174.757; #18-Bobby Labonte (Chevy), 173.476; #20-Tony Stewart (Chevy), 175.457. Will post more speeds/links to speeds as they become available.(GM PR), see a list of cars testing Monday and Tuesday at Brickyard400.com.(7-15-2002) Monday Speeds: #10-Jerry Nadeau was the fastest at 181.324 followed by #41-Jimmy Spencer, 180.352; #17-Matt Kenseth at 180.133, #22-Ward Burton at 179.397; and #07-Ted Musgrave at 179.078. Others testing were Dick Trickle in the #71, Tony Raines is listed in the #73, Shawna Robinson tested the #49. See the Brickyard 400 site for Monday's speeds.(7-16-2002) Tuesday Speeds: fastest was #17-Matt Kenseth, 181.956; followed by #2-Rusty Wallace at 181.127; #41-Jimmy Spencer at 181.113; and #12A-Ryan Newman at 181.072; and #07-Ted Musgrave at 180.624. Slowest were #25A-Joe Nemechek at 171.080 (he was 12th in another #25 cat at 179.840) and #79-Carl Long at 168.859(he was 50th of 54 cars in another #79 car 172.671).
See the Brickyard400.com site for all of Tuesday's speeds.(7-17-2002)
Stewart testing at Indy on Tuesday in a CHEVY, thanks to Doug from Indiana
Ince signs? Benson close? hearing #10 Valvoline/MBV Motorsports crew chief, James Ince, signed his new contract last week. Driver Johnny Benson's is not done yet, but there supposedly has been "agreement in principal" it is expected that the remaining details to be worked out in the very near future. Benson also is at Indy but not testing and hopes to make his return at the Brickyard 400. Jerry Nadeau is currently driving the car until Benson heals from his rib injuries he got at Daytona in the Pepsi 400.(7-16-2002)
Atwood's Hood at NHIS: Darryl Worley, a hot new country star with the recently released album, I Miss My Friend, will be the third featured artist to take a ride with Casey Atwood and the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge in the Sirius Hood program. Both born and raised in Tennessee, Atwood and Worley will join forces this weekend at the New England 300 at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH. The #7 Sirius Dodge paint scheme will feature Darryl Worley and his recently released album, I Miss My Friend; which was given three stars by USA Today in a recent album review and is Worley's second album released by DreamWorks Records. Darryl Worley can currently be heard on "New Country" on Channel 31 and Sirius Country Hits on Channel 30 both which fall under the Country genre.(Golin-Harris PR)(7-16-2002)
Bobby Labonte forms quarter midget racing partnership: #18 Cup driver, Bobby Labonte has entered a partnership with Ron Stanley of Robbie Stanley Racing Inc. In an effort to assist Labonte with his son Tyler’s aspirations of racing quarter-midgets, the partnership was formed not only to accomplish that, but also in hopes of bringing quarter-midget racing to the Southeast in a bigger and better way. “We want to be able to help Ron start his business here in the Southeast and get his business going more than what it is today,” said Labonte. “It also helps if Tyler (Labonte) decides he wants to do this for several more years. That will help me as I have a lack of time with my current race schedule to do a lot of other things as you can imagine. Ron and his entire family are a lot like the mine in that we grew up racing quarter midgets and have a love of the sport.” Stanley Racing was founded in 1977. Over the next 19 years, they became the leading manufacturer of quarter-midgets in the United States. In fact, most of the technology used in today’s
quarter-midgets was first designed and implemented at Robbie Stanley Racing. In 1994 however, the untimely and tragic death Ron’s son Robbie, a three-time USAC Sprint Car Series champion, resulted in Stanley Racing ceasing operation. After a six-year absence though, Stanley Racing has reopened with Robbie's brother, Ryan, running the family business. Many of today’s accomplished racecar drivers started their careers racing in a Stanley-built quarter midget. Some of the names happen to include Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Stevie Reeves, Andy Hillenburg, as well as the late Kenny Irwin and Robbie Stanley.(Camp and Assoc)(7-16-2002)
Shelmerdine enters NHIS: FSN's Totally NASCAR reports that #27-Kirk Shelmerdine has entered the New England 300 at New Hampshire, increasing the short field to 42. 43 cars would be a full field.(7-16-2002)
Barrett to run two Cup races: Stanton Barrett is competing in at least 11 BGN races and at least two Winston Cup races this season. The Winston Cup races in which Barrett is scheduled to compete are Oct. 26 at Atlanta and Nov. 17 at Homestead. Barrett ran the Chicago BGN race after breaking bones in a movie stunt recently - he is a hollywood stuntman. Former Cup crew chief is team manager of the team.(Williams Company), for past news, see my New Team past page, will supposedly run the #94.(7-16-2002)
Watkins Glen testing: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #20-Tony Stewart, #15-Michael Waltrip, #12-Ryan Newman, #31-Robby Gordon, #30-Jeff Green, #87-Ron Fellows and Joe Varde will get behind the wheel of the #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy are scheduled to attend a test session, in preparation for the August 11th Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen, at the 2.45-mile road course of Watkins Glen International on July 29-30. Fans that have purchased tickets for the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen weekend, August 8-11, will be admitted free of charge both days. Fans should present their Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen tickets at the gate to gain free admission or pick up a voucher at the ticket office if they have not received their event tickets. All other spectators can take in the action for only $10.00 each day at the gate. Gate 4 will be open from 8:00am - 4:30pm both days. Tickets for the 2002 season at Watkins Glen, including the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen, August 8-11, are still available.(Watkins Glen International PR)(7-16-2002)
Foyt looking at Chevy? Ford? from Fox's Jeff Hammond: "I've heard that A.J. Foyt's team have looked at Chevrolet and have even thought about doing something with Ford. I don't think they're totally happy with Pontiac."(FoxSports)(7-16-2002)
21 Nominated for Hall of Fame: Twenty men and one woman are finalists for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala. Six of the 21 will be picked in the final round of voting among a nationwide panel of motorsports media, and announced in November. Emerson Fittipaldi, a two-time winner of both the Indianapolis 500 and the Formula One championship, led first-round voting. The 21 finalists represent a dozen forms of racing. Janet Guthrie, who raced Indy and stock cars, is the only female on the list. Among the finalists from the stock-car racing field: Red Byron, the first NASCAR champion; engine builder and crew chief Ray Fox; drivers Harry Gant, Ray Hendrick and Jack Ingram; and Cotton Owens, who was successful as both a driver and car builder/owner.(The State)(7-16-2002)
Fairgrounds looking to do damage control: As news spread yesterday of Saturday's prerace plot by male drivers against a female counterpart at Fairgrounds Speedway, the track president and its most successful all-time driver worked at damage control. Dennis Grau, the track president bombarded by phone calls and e-mails from outraged fans, announced a rule change he hopes will deflate such schemes. There was a contrived, calculated ''Get Renshaw'' conspiracy orchestrated by some of her rivals. And it succeeded. A scheme was hatched to make sure that Renshaw's car was protested following the race, and after a lengthy inspection a minor engine violation was found. Her sixth-place finish was thrown out and Renshaw was humiliated. Driver Mark Day [part time BGN driver #16] admitted he planned the whole thing, and said ''almost all'' the drivers in the division played along.(See stories at the Tennessean)(7-16-2002)
Paul Tracy and Petty? UPDATE: Have heard from some readers that during the CART race at Cleveland, it was reported that Kyle Petty flew to Cleveland to talk to Paul Tracy about his interest in NASCAR and the possibility of driving for Petty in the future.(7-14-2002) UPDATE: being told by sources that Petty did NOT go to Cleveland and has not even spoken to Tracy about a possible ride.(7-15-2002) UPDATE 2: but hearing from other sources that Petty was at the Cleveland track last Wednesday and stopped by the credential office and asked where Paul Tracy and was directed him to the motorhome area of the track where presumably he met with Tracy(7-16-2002)
Wallace not going to the #1: on ESPN2's RPM 2 Night, Kenny Wallace said he would not be driving the #1 Pennzoil Chevy for DEI in 2003, that Pennzoil only would be back on the #1 for one more year  and that his 2003 plans would depend on what his current sponsor Stacker2 would do, that he would follow and stay with them.(7-15-2002)
The International Truck Challenge runs third race at Chicago: Bill "Stumpy" Lewis, driver of #77-Dave Blaney's hauler, won the individual event title and a $1,000 check in the International Truck Challenge event held at Chicagoland Speedway. It was the third of four events, the next and final race will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Oct.(See full story, results and standings at NASCAR.com)(7-15-2002)
Shepherd to do double duty at NHIS UPDATE: Morgan Shepherd is planning on running his #21 CTS truck in the New England 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 20 as well as planning on running his #89 Winston Cup car at the New England 300 on July 21st.(Catchfence)(7-11-2002) UPDATE: Morgan Shepherd announced that plans have changed concerning his decision to run both the CTS and Cup events next weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway. "We have decided to park the truck for a while and concentrate on getting our #89 Cup car ready for New Hampshire, said Shepherd.. "We are looking forward to working with our old friends and competitors Dave and Roger Dion.. I'm not sure exactly when our truck program will resume, but for now we need to put our full efforts into the Winston Cup car. We want to be sure to thank our fans and loyal supporters.. We appreciate their thoughts and prayers and hope they will continue.. We are looking forward to New Hampshire and pray for a good run." The CTS program will resume when time allows. Plans are indefinite, however details will be released as they become available. "Failing to qualify at Kentucky was very upsetting. The truck needs more work, and we have decided to shift our efforts toward next weekend's Winston Cup race. We are also planning on additional Cup events this year, as well. We will talk more about that later. I've been looking forward to returning to Winston Cup for quite some time now." The last Winston Cup event Morgan competed in was on February 21, 1999 when he drove the #90 Ford owned by Junie Donlavey in the Dura Lube/Big KMart 400 at North Carolina Speedway [Rockingham]. Associate sponsors for the #89 Shepherd Ford Taurus include Catchfence.com, Motorsportsweb.com, LifeXPrograms, Pitpassmagazine.com, and Racing With Jesus Ministries, among others.(STB Marketing Group PR)(7-15-2002)
TV Ratings Good for Chicago: The Tropicana 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race from Chicagoland Speedway Sunday on NBC was by far the highest rated sports event of the weekend. The race earned a 5.0 overnight rating/12 share, according to figures released today by Nielsen Media Research. The 5.0 overnight rating is a four percent increase over last year’s 4.8/12 for the inaugural Tropicana 400. The rating built throughout the race and peaked with a 5.9 during the final half-hour from 5:30-6 p.m. ET as Kevin Harvick took his first checkered flag of the 2002 season and repeated his 2001 Tropicana 400 victory. The Tropicana 400’s 5.0 rating, outperformed all sports programming over the weekend by at least two full ratings points. In a distant second-place was Fox’s regional coverage of three Major League Baseball games on Saturday (3.0/8), followed by the final round of the Greater Milwaukee Open on ABC on Sunday (2.0/5). For every half-hour from 2:30-6 p.m. ET the Tropicana 400 on NBC even beat the combined network sports competition (ABC - PGA/Senior PGA and CBS - CART/NFL QB Challenge/Tour de France). Saturday’s Tropicana Twister 300 NASCAR Busch Series race from Chicagoland Speedway earned a 2.1 overnight rating and 5 share. The 2.1 overnight rating is even with last year’s 2.1 overnight rating for the NASCAR Busch Series race from Chicagoland Speedway.(NBC PR)(7-15-2002)
Petty and Andretti: Kyle Petty said Indianapolis native John Andretti has a job driving for Petty Enterprises for as long as he wants it. A contract beyond this year hasn't been completed, Petty said, because if Andretti "can improve his position or wants to, we want to give him an option."(Indianapolis Star)(7-15-2002)
Rudd's Decision Today? Ricky Rudd hopes to be able to say something more definitive today, and it appears his top two options are the Chip Ganassi Dodge team and the future Andy Petree-Jerry Jones Ford team.(Winston Salem Journal) AND If details can be concluded, Rudd could announce within the next week that he has re-signed with owner Robert Yates at least through next year. Rudd, 45, had hinted he might retire if a) he did not receive a firm commitment from Yates, and b) that his pay be made commensurate with that of other top-team drivers. Yates has been typically obfuscatory about his plans, although he has declared he would like to have Rudd back. Yates also has said that he has encouraged his son, Doug, to set up a team of his own instead of taking over Robert Yates Racing, with concern over long-term tax situations. Doug Yates recently filed incorporation papers in North Carolina, forming Doug Yates Racing. Elliott Sadler, who announced in May his intention to leave the Wood Brothers at the end of his contract this year, appears likely to cast in with Doug Yates. If all goes as predicted, Rudd will re-sign with Robert Yates, with Sadler going with Doug Yates and a sponsor to be named, possibly something connected with Ford.(Speed Channel)(7-15-2002)
Crew Member Injured: Tom Hubert, the rear tire changer for Ward Burton 's team drilled his left index finger while making repairs on Burton's car. Hubert was treated at the infield care center and transported by car to a local hospital for X-rays on the finger.(Roanoke Times)(7-15-2002)
Larger 'Greenhouse' not gonna happen? Some top stock-car racing aerodynamicists say that NASCAR is apparently abandoning plans for a larger "greenhouse" roll cage. Drivers and crews have, for several years, been calling for larger greenhouses as a safety measure to keep the driver's head away from the roll bars. Detroit car makers have built "common template" versions of the big greenhouse stock car for NASCAR to study and wind tunnel. At one point, the big greenhouse car appeared to be in the cards for this fall's Talladega 500, as a preview for next year's Daytona 500. Then the debut date was pushed back to next April at Talladega. And within the past few weeks the date was pushed back even further, to the October race at Talladega in 2003.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-15-2002)
Hamilton on possible Petty return from a interview with FSN's Winston Kelley AND: Winston Kelley: I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you the latest news. It looks like you're going to be moving on. What can you tell us about your future?
Bobby Hamilton: I'm talking to a lot of people right now. Needless to say I need to be in a Dodge. Those people have been very good to me the last three or four years. I have two factory-backed truck teams. Chevrolet has been good to me. You sort of got me on the spot, but good business sense would be to go to a Dodge if I can get there. I'm definitely talking to Kyle (Petty) about that. Seeing what's happening there, I think their program has really come a long way. They've got Robin (Pemberton, vice president of Petty Enterprises) there, and I've been listening to what Kyle and Robin have been doing there. Petty Enterprises is fixing to be one of the elite teams in the next year or so I'm real excited about maybe having a shot at that.(FoxSports)(7-15-2002) AND Kyle Petty says he doesn't expect hire a driver for the #44 team for another two to three months. Steve Grissom is driving that car this season.(Roanoke Times)(7-15-2002)
Did ya know? Kevin Harvick is the first driver to win the first two races at a new Winston Cup track since Tony Stewart won at Miami-Homestead in 1999 and 2000. Before that, no one had done it since A.J. Foyt won at Ontario, Calif., in 1971 and 1972.(Chicago Sun Times)(7-15-2002)