Homestead Testing: Some Cup drivers will be testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Tuesday, Oct. 22 and Wednesday, October 23, from 9 am - 5 pm each day. Admission is free to the public for the test sessions with open seating in the Speedway Club level. Drivers scheduled to test: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #99-Jeff Burton, #97-Kurt Busch, #32-Ricky Craven, #1-Steve Park and #36-Ken Schrader. The drivers and teams will be preparing for the first-ever Ford Championship Weekend, the season-finales for the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, November 14-17, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Additional test sessions will take place Oct. 28-30 and Nov. 4-5 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers expected to participate in the upcoming tests include #6-Mark Martin, #20-Tony Stewart, #40-Jamie McMurray, #25-Joe Nemechek, and #23-Kenny Wallace.(HMS PR)(10-20-2002)
Andretti Signed? by Petty: Car owner Kyle Petty said John Andretti has a contract to sign to remain with Petty Enterprises. "We've pretty much agreed to most everything we're going to agree to," Petty said. "We're just going through formalities." ... (Roanoke Times)(10-20-2002)
Nice Gesture by Stewart: In a gesture of good will and true character for potential Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart, Midget driver Dave Darland's father passed away from a heart attack on Friday night and Stewart provided his plane to fly Darland and his wife home to Indiana to be with family. Darland was the current USAC Midget Series point leader going into the South Boston event. Due to this sudden loss, he was unable to compete. The thoughts and prayers of the South Boston Speedway Family go out to
David Darland and his family.(South Boston Speedway PR)(10-20-2002)
Parker in an Evernham car at the Rock UPDATE: BGN driver Hank Parker Jr. is set to make his Winston Cup debut in a third car for Ray Evernham in the Pop Secret 400 at Rockingham in two weeks. That has many in the garage wondering if Parker is being auditioned to replace Casey Atwood, who now drives the #7 Dodge, co-owned by Evernham and Jim Smith. For months there has been speculation that Atwood, who once was billed as the driver of the future for Evernham, is losing his job at the end of the season. Evernham declined to elaborate on Atwood's status, but he has said recently that Atwood has until the end of the season to improve his
performance.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Parker is also rumored to be in the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2003. UPDATE: Hank Parker, Jr. is scheduled to drive the #91 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports in the Winston Cup race at North Carolina Speedway November 1-3. Parker, who currently drives a Dodge [#36 GNC] in the BGN, is scheduled to compete in both series that weekend. Parker will run the #91 Dodge as part of Evernham Motorsports ongoing commitment to research and development for Dodge. "We feel Hank deserved a shot at driving this car for us," said Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. "He gave Dodge their first victory in the Busch Series and we feel he deserved to be rewarded for his loyalty to the Dodge program." Sammy Johns, research and development coordinator for Evernham Motorsports, will serve as crew chief for the team. The pit crew will
be made up of backup pit crew members for Evernham Motorsports. Dick Trickle attempted to qualify the #91 Dodge at Talladega in April.(Golin Harris PR)(10-19-2002)
Cope's team to attempt Phoenix with Jeff Jefferson: Quest Motor Racing owners Derrick Cope and Warren Johnson, have announced that Jeff Jefferson will drive the #37 Xtreme Motorsports Marketing Pontiac in the November 10 NASCAR Winston Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway, located in Avondale, Arizona. Jefferson, a native of Naches, WA, recently completed the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, NASCAR Touring season with four Bud Pole Awards and two victories. He also wrapped up a top-20 points finish in the NASCAR Winston West series, and has one career victory on the prestigious touring division. Xtreme Motorsports Marketing is based in Victorville, CA, and specializes in motorsports marketing from Winston Cup to NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, presented by Dodge competitors. "I'm very excited about this wonderful opportunity to drive for Derrick and Warren," Jefferson said. "It's a dream come true and I will work very hard for the #37 Xtreme Motorsports Marketing Pontiac team." Jefferson picked up his first Winston West victory in July of 2000 at the final asphalt-racing event for the historic Portland (Ore.) Speedway. This season, after competing at California Speedway in a Winston West machine, Jefferson boarded a plane and flew to West Richland, Wash. where he captured his first career Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, NASCAR Touring victory. The 30-year old driver will be making his first start on the NASCAR Winston Cup series but not his first start on the one-mile paved oval in Avondale, Arizona. Jefferson is a past qualifying record holder behind the wheel of a Winston West machine at the famed speedplant.(southwesternstockcar.com)(10-19-2002)
Nadeau injured? Grissom in the #44 at Martinsville UPDATE 2 advised to site out rest of 2002: hearing Jerry Nadeau who driver the #44 Georgia Pacific Dodge for Petty was injured in some sort of Go Cart accident, was injured and will not be able to race at Martinsville, Stevee Grissom will supposedly sub for Nadeau in the #44. UPDATE: Steve Grissom will drive Petty Enterprises’ #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge at Martinsville, Va., this weekend. Jerry Nadeau, who had been driving for the NASCAR Winston Cup team since mid-July, was injured in a go-kart accident late Thursday, and his rib injuries have sidelined him. "Steve has done a great job for us before and he has good Winston Cup experience," said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. "Martinsville has been a good track for him, and we think he will do a great job for us and Georgia-Pacific. We really appreciate him stepping in and helping us out so quickly." Grissom has Petty Enterprises’ best short-track finish this season, taking eighth at Richmond, Va., in May.(Williams Company PR) UPDATE 2: Jerry Nadeau, injured Thursday while riding go karts, will not drive the #44 Dodge again this season, team president and CEO Kyle Petty said Friday. "He called me, said he was riding go-karts and was in the hospital," said Petty just before qualifying at Martinsville Speedway. "Then he called back later and said it was probably going to be (out) four to six weeks. Jerry's not driving for us next year, so the best thing for him to do is sit at home and do his stuff so he can come out strong next year. If he's smart he'll sit out the rest of the year. I think he will sit out the rest of the year. He hurt his shoulder and I think he tore some ligaments or some tendons or muscles. So it's going to have to repair itself. I think the doctors can do something for him, rehab and stuff. But it's a time thing. When you look at that, he should just take his time and heal himself." Nadeau is rumored to be taking over MB2 Motorsports' #36 Pontiac in 2003. Petty is uncertain whether Steve Grissom will drive the car in the coming weeks, due to his obligations with Jimmy Spencer's #34 BGN team. He was elated Grissom could drive this weekend.(NASCAR.com)(10-18-2002)
Musgrave to run Phoenix and Homestead in the #07: Sirius Satellite Radio announced that it will continue its partnership with Kenwood USA Corporation and field a second NASCAR Winston Cup team at three additional races this season - Martinsville, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami. "We're pleased to be continue our partnership with Kenwood in this endeavor," said Joseph P. Clayton, President and CEO of Sirius. "Kenwood is a leader in their industry and one of our key hardware partners. Sponsoring a second NASCAR team with Kenwood is a perfect fit for Sirius as we continue to bring our 100 percent commercial free music and outstanding entertainment programming to race fans and consumers across the country." Joining Sirius teammate Casey Atwood, driver of the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge, CTS driver Ted Musgrave once again will pilot the #07 Kenwood/Sirius Dodge. Earlier this year, Musgrave competed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he finished 21st in the Brickyard 400, and Darlington Raceway, where he finished 27th in the Mountain Dew Southern 500. During the final two stops of the season, Musgrave will pull double duty, competing in both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Craftsman Truck Series events.(Golin/Harris International PR)(10-18-2002)
Marlin back at Phoenix? The Kansas wreck that brought the curtain down on Sterling Marlin's best season in the Winston Cup Series, given that the original prognosis said he wouldn't race again until 2003. But if everything goes according to plan, Marlin could be back in the car in time for the Phoenix race on Nov. 10. "The doctor said four to six weeks, so we'll have to see what he says," Marlin says. "I know I can't get back in the car at Atlanta or Rockingham, but if the doctor says I'm healed up, it's possible I could be back at Phoenix. I want to get back. This is all I've ever done since 1987 -- full time. I want to drive. I want to run. I want to go, but right now I can't do it."(Sporting News)(10-18-2002)
Cope back in the #49 at Atlanta: Derrike Cope will return to driving duties at Atlanta in the #49 BAM Racing Dodge.(BAM Racing Site)(10-18-2002)
Record $100,000 Purse Posted For Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition: Teams participating in the Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition on November 2 at North Carolina Speedway will square off for a record purse of $100,000 which includes a $10,000 bonus being awarded to the team who sets a new world record. The increased payout represents a 16% increase over the prize money posted in 2001.. In addition, the $10,000 bonus being awarded for a new world record is 10 times greater than the bonus offered just one year ago. One team stands the chance to walk away from this year's pit crew competition with a. $40,000 check, provided they can win the event and set a new world record. Matt Kenseth's #17 pit crew are the defending champions and currently boast the world record time of 17.695 seconds. Held annually during the fall race weekend at North Carolina Speedway since 1967, the object of the Union 76/World Pit Crew Competition is for each crew in the top 25 in NASCAR Winston Cup Series points to empty 14 gallons of 76 Gasoline into the car (two cans holding seven gallons each) and change both left- and right-side tires in as short a time as possible.. Time penalties are assessed for various infractions including loose lug nuts, fuel spills and fuel left in the gas can.. The team with the fastest time becomes the new world champion. Children 12 and under will be admitted Free to the General Admission section for Qualifying on Friday and Saturday's Sam's Club 200 and Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Tickets may be purchased by calling the North Carolina Speedway ticket office at (910) 582-2861 or by visiting online at www.northcarolinaspeedway.com.(IMG Motorsports PR)(10-18-2002)
J.J. Yeley to NASCAR? has test lined up UPDATE: J.J. Yeley, a Phoenix, Ariz., native who could lock up his first Silver Crown points title by finishing seventh or better in the season-ending Little Trees Salt City 100 on Saturday at Syracuse. Yeley, who has driven IRL cars and finished ninth in the 1998 Indianapolis 500, said he is leaning toward trying to follow former USAC stars such as Stewart and Newman into NASCAR racing rather than pursuing an open-wheel series. Yeley said he already has a test lined up in a Busch Series car, one step below Winston Cup. "I think the opportunities are a little easier or better in NASCAR right now," Yeley said. "I would love to do a Craftsman Trucks race."(Post Standard)(10-11-2002) UPDATE: Yeley hoped this season's combined performances might lead to an Indy Racing League ride, and it still might. But with nothing firm on the table, he's beginning to look toward NASCAR, the current home of past USAC Silver Crown champs Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. "I've got a couple of Busch Series tests lined up in December with (ppc Racing), and I've been assured that it's going to happen," said Yeley, a Phoenix native who moved to the Indianapolis area two years ago. "The doors are finally starting to open for me. Hopefully, I'll get through one of them."(Arizona Republic)(10-18-2002)
Last time a driver won and not be at the following race? #40-Jamie McMurray won at Lowe's Motor Speedway last week, but due to a committment to his #27 BGN team, he will not race at Martinsville. It marks the first time a race winner has not started the next event since 1984 when it happened twice. In March 1984, Benny Parsons won the Coca-Cola 500 at Atlanta but did not start the next race (Valleydale 500 at Bristol). In April 1984, Cale Yarborough won the Winston 500 at Talladega but did not start the next race (Coors 420 at Nashville Fairgrounds). Both Parsons and Yarborough were running limited schedules at the time focusing on the larger tracks.(Jeff Gordon Online)(10-18-2002)
Benny to drive at Martinsville: Sunday, NBC analyst Benny Parsons will drive the NBC [Ford No Boundries Taurus] car that will preview the track for NASCAR's Old Dominion 500, Wally Dallenbach usually does the driving.(USA Today)(10-18-2002)
Rookie Stuff UPDATE Gordon out: If the season ended now, #12-Ryan Newman would be on top of the series' rookie standings -- largely because he has more top-five finishes -- even though he trails 348-Jimmie Johnson in Winston Cup points. But the winner could be a matter of choice for NASCAR. Though Newman holds the edge in rookie points, there's another factor in the equation. A panel of four NASCAR officials can add or subtract points based on each rookie's conduct on and off the track. The Winston Cup champion was on that panel last year, but that policy is under review because of Gordon's affiliation with Johnson.(Sporting News), also been asked alot if Jamie McMurray will be eligiable for Rookie of the Year in 2003, as far as I know, as long as he doesn't run more then seven Cup races (impossible for him at this point) he will be a 2003 Rookie of the Year candiate, and no, no other driver has run for Rookie of the Year and won the year before.(10-17-2002) UPDATE: been told - NASCAR has already elminated Jeff Jordon (defending champion of series) from the post-season rookie of the year voting panel. It will be now be four NASCAR officials.(10-18-2002)
Coor's and the Marine's at Martinsville: Coors Light will honor and celebrate at Martinsville Speedway this weekend with the United States Marines as they celebrate their 227th anniversary. In support of the anniversary, the #40 Coors Light Dodge will sport a commemorative U.S. Marines paint scheme during the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway. "The Coors family and Coors Brewing Company have a long history with honoring all divisions of the United States Military. With our Marine Corp paint schematic we are paying tribute to the Marines and their unwavering nobility in defense of our country," said Carl Barnhill, Senior Vice President of Sales for Coors Brewing Company and former Marine. Coors Brewing Company is very committed to honoring United States military services and veterans. The veteran employees at Coors came up with a plan to honor all five divisions of the military with a statue called "Defenders of Freedom." This statue stands proudly at the entrance of the brewery in Golden, Colorado. It is the only memorial that honors all five divisions of the U.S. Military to stand on corporate campus. General James Jones, the Commandant of the Marine Corp, will be present at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, October 20 and will be recognized and address the crowd during the Winston Cup pre-race ceremonies. Mike Bliss will drive the #40 Coors Light Dodge in the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Bliss will be in the car for one race only; Jamie McMurray will resume driving responsibilities in Atlanta.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-18-2002)
Gordon GQ: Jeff Gordon was honored on Wednesday evening at the GQ Magazine 'Men of the Year' awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Gordon accepted the award for Individual Athlete of the Year. Hosted by comedian Dennis Miller, the seventh annual GQ Men of the Year Awards recognized 18 men of distinction from the worlds of music, fashion/style, film, literature, sports, comedy, television, theatre and the culinary arts. In the other sports category, New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd was honored as the Team Athlete of the Year. Among the other celebrities in attendance were Denzel Washington, Naomi Campbell, Kiefer Sutherland, Hugh Grant, Samuel L. Jackson, Heidi Klum, Ralph Lauren, Elijah Wood and Tom Brokaw. Gordon, along with Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr, was featured in the October issue of GQ Magazine.(Gordonline), The show will air on NBC on Saturday, December 14, at 10:00pm/et.(10-18-2002)
Conz plans to attempt the Daytona 500: ARCA driver, Brian Conz, BC Motorsports and Carb-R-All Racing plan to enter and run the 2003 Daytona 500. At this time their Winston Cup car number will be #78 and they are putting together a team and purchasing new equipment. Thier shop is located in Tennessee.(Brian Conz Site)(10-18-2002)
#60 Team adds race: Jack Sprague and the #60 Haas CNC Racing team will attempt to qualify for the Napa 500 at Atlanta on October 27. The decision to add the Atlanta venue to their 2002 schedule was made after qualifying was rained out last weekend in Charlotte. It will mark Sprague's second Winston Cup qualifying effort of the season in the #60 Haas CNC Racing Chevy. Sprague and the Haas CNC Racing team are also scheduled to run races at North Carolina Speedway on November 3 and Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17 as they prepare for the 2003 Winston Cup season.(Motorsports Management Group PR)(10-17-2002)
ARCA Accident Invesigation News: An investigation of last Wednesday's fatal accident at Lowe's Motor Speedway concluded there was a delay in transmitting information about Eric Martin's crashed car to Deborah Renshaw, who slammed into Martin's stalled vehicle seconds later and killed him, ARCA President Ron Drager said yesterday. ''We feel that a spotter in the spotters' stand could have prevented what happened,'' Drager said.(Tennessean)(10-17-2002)
Been Asked - Has a team ever won a Owners Championship when the Driver did not won the Driver Championship: Last time was 1963 when Joe Weatherly won the Drivers Championship (driving for 9 different teams) and the #21 Wood Brothers team (with 6 different drivers in 23 of the 53 races) won the Owners Championship.(thanks to Jeff Hammond for the heads up on Weds Totally NASCAR). Why do folks ask? Because the #40 Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates team is 4th in Owners points...and yes they could win the Owner's Championship while another driver wins the Drivers Championship, but the top 10 in DRIVERS points would be the drivers you see on stage at the Winston Cup Banquet.(10-17-2002)
#77 Update: With the 2003 switch from Ford to Dodge announced last weekend at Charlotte by the Penske South Team, the future of the two-year alliance between that team and the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford team of driver Dave Blaney has moved into a more complicated set of elements as the power-plant relationship between Roger Penske and Jasper co-owners Doug Bawel, Mark Harrah and Mark Wallace projects toward next season. Recently, Harrah—also Team Manager for the #77 Jasper team—commented on the plans for the Penske-Jasper Engine program as well as the current state of his race team, now 19th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series owner and driver point standings entering this weekend’s Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Harrah's comments: "In the discussions we’ve had as a group about the Penske South switch to Dodge, the technology we share will be common between the engines. We'll still be with Ford in 2003. I'm dedicated to the Ford people, and we're staying Ford at least through next year. It will certainly be interesting to see, with Penske’s move to Dodge, how the different trials and tribulations will play out. But a lot of the technical things we do will still be the same, just under different shell bodies. Even aero-wise we'll be able to take some things off the Dodge and use it on our Ford. From an engine standpoint, Larry is prepared internally to do both programs. Our engines are pretty unique, and a lot that is in the drive train. With our involvement with Ilmor Engineering, they're very involved with Mercedes, and a lot of that technology is carried over into our engines. I think our engines set the standard in the garage for fuel mileage and power. Last year we'd go three, four or five laps ahead of everyone else, for fuel mileage. The Penske-Jasper engines get great fuel mileage, and we would play it real conservative, play with the jetting to trade some power for fuel mileage. And it paid off quite a few times last year."(Jasper Racing)(10-17-2002)
Bodine placed on Probation UPDATE Statement: NASCAR officials announced today that Todd Bodine, driver of the #26 Ford in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, has been placed on probation until Dec. 31. Bodine was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the NASCAR Winston Cup rule book ("Actions detrimental to stock car racing: careless driving"). If, during the remaining NASCAR events in 2002, there is another action by Bodine that is deemed by NASCAR officials as detrimental to the event or is disruptive to the orderly conduct of an event, he will receive an indefinite suspension from NASCAR. "We've noticed numerous on-track incidents involving Todd and we felt this was the proper step to take at this time," said John Darby, NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director. On Sunday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Bodine was involved in a multi-car accident on Lap 231.(NASCAR PR)(10-16-2002) UPDATE: Statement on Probation - "I respect NASCAR's decision and I am putting what happened in Charlotte behind me..I made a mistake and that's it. Right now I am concentrating on Martinsville and this Haas-Carter race team. I've got a pole to defend and if all goes well, a chance to win the race." -Todd Bodine.(10-17-2002)
#9 Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR also issued a fine to Mike Ford, crew chief of the #9 Dodge because team member Phil Gould went onto pit road during the race without a helmet. Ford was fined $2,000 and penalized under Section 9-4-A ("The crew chief assumes the responsibility for the actions of his team members.") and Section 12-17-A3 ("Crew member entered the car servicing area without a helmet")(NASCAR PR)(10-16-2002)
FitzBradshaw Racing add Homestead to Cup sched: FitzBradshaw Racing will field the #83 Aaron’s Dream Machine Chevy in the Ford 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway on November 17, 2002. The car will be driven by Kerry Earnhardt. Earnhardt was originally slated to drive the #83 Aaron’s Dream Machine Chevy in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, however for the second weekend in a row inclement weather forced drivers to start the race by owner points. This was FitzBradshaw's second attempt in the Winston Cup Series. The team’s first attempt was the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 6, 2002. Qualifying for that race was also rained out. Earnhardt is also scheduled to drive the #83 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 27, 2002.(FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(10-16-2002)
#97 Scheme Announcment: #97 Rubbermaid Racing driver Kurt Busch will spread the Christmas cheer on October 25, 2002, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A 2:30pm press conference and unveiling is scheduled in the Media Center of Atlanta Motor Speedway. The #97 Rubbermaid Ford will be transformed into the #97 Little Tikes Coupe for the season-ending race at Miami-Homestead Speedway on November 17, and the upcoming press conference in Atlanta will be the first time the new ‘sled’ will have ever been seen. Little Tikes, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, launched an internal paint scheme contest in March, lasting three weeks (5th-22nd). Little Tikes employees had the opportunity to create their own idea of what the ultimate #97 Little Tikes Ford would resemble.. The winning paint scheme, created by Pat Cieplinski, a Little Tikes employee since 1977, features one of the best-selling Little Tikes productsthe Cozy Coupe. Pat Cieplinski, the winner of the #97 Little Tikes Special Paint Scheme Contest, has been working with the company since 1977. As a result, Pat will win a trip for two to the Miami-Homestead race on November 17 along with airfare and hotel accommodations. Pat will have “behind-the-scenes” access at the track along with a Meet-and-Greet with Rubbermaid driver, Kurt Busch.(Pro Sports Management and Marketing PR), see an image of the scheme on the Paint Scheme Gallery.(10-16-2002)
Vasser to NASCAR? UPDATE 2: Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 CART champion while driving for Chip Ganassi, nearing the end of his first season at Team Rahal, chances are slim he'll be back for a second. With primary sponsor Shell either cutting back or going away, Rahal is unlikely to be able to meet Vasser's asking price. That has the 36-year-old driver knocking on doors. "Team Rahal is not in position to keep the team intact, or so I'm told," Vasser said. "There's interest all around the paddock, but nobody's able to make a commitment." Vasser was tempted to go to NASCAR a few years ago and is looking that way again. He said a BGN deal that would allow him to continue to run the Indianapolis 500 would appeal to him. "My goals are still long-term. Nobody's ever won a CART championship and a Winston Cup championship, and I'd like to be the first," he said. "But at this point, it's hard to make choices until there's some options on the table."(Indianapolis Star)(10-7-2002) UPDATE: Chip Ganassi [#40, #41 owner] has been keeping a low profile in the two weeks since Sterling Marlin was forced out of the Winston Cup championship race. But now comes word he may be looking once again at putting Jimmy Vasser in a Winston Cup car next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-14-2002) UPDATE 2: Open-wheel/CART veteran Jimmy Vasser, who has expressed interest in a stock car career, was in the ARCA RE/MAX garage at Lowe's talking things [this past weekend] over with ARCA/BGN team owner Todd Braun. Braun fielded the #77 Dodge driven by ARCA Rookie of the Year Chad Blount in ARCA competition.(ARCA Site)(10-16-2002)
IRWIN Rough to Finish Award #18 Team: In a season marked by disappointment and heartache, Bobby Labonte' s second-place finish in Sunday's UAW-GM 500 was the lift that the #18 Interstate Batteries team needed. After wrecking two cars two weeks ago in Kansas City, the Jimmy Makar led crew worked tirelessly to prepare one of the team's older cars for this weekend' s race and their hard work paid off, helping to earn Makar this week's IRWIN "Rough to the Finish" award. Labonte' s second-place finish was his best finish since he won the Virginia 500 at Martinsville earlier this season. Labonte also led three times for a total of 53 laps during the event, marking the first laps Labonte has led since the Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 in May. In addition, this was his ninth top-five and 13th top-10 in 20 career starts at Lowe's. "This is an old race car with a new setup and it worked pretty good for us tonight," explained Makar. "I know Bobby still would have liked to win, but this is one of our better racetracks and we like coming here, so second place isn' t bad. This whole crew deserves all the credit for tonight' s effort."
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. In addition to the crew chief award, Irwin is also sponsoring the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons", throughout the upcoming year.(Golin Harris PR)(10-16-2002)
The King inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame UPDATE: NASCAR legend Richard Petty is making history tonight as he is officially inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Petty, the first NASCAR driver to receive this honor, was nominated and selected for his contributions to the automotive world, both on and off the track. etty, who stepped out of his racecar for the final time nearly ten years ago, is a seven-time Winston Cup NASCAR champion and winner of a record 200 races. Throughout the last decade, he has remained active within the racing community through his daily responsibilities at Petty Enterprises. Off the track, Petty has lent his automotive wisdom to educate Americans on the importance of engine maintenance through the All 3 Every 3 education initiative. "The name Richard Petty is synonymous with winning on the race track," says Automotive Hall of Fame President Jeffery Leestma. "However, if you look at his contributions to other initiatives such as highway and vehicle safety, they are equally as impressive and of enormous importance."
"When I first started out, there were no Halls-of-Fame, you just did something because that was what you loved," said Petty. "It's really an honor for me, not only to be nominated but to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. To be associated with the same group of people who have changed the automotive industry forever is really an unbelievable honor." The Automotive Hall of Fame, located in Dearborn, Michigan, is the only industry-wide means to honor the men and women of the global motor vehicle and related industries. It is dedicated to preserving the history of mobility by celebrating the creativity, toil and genius of the individual. The Automotive Hall of Fame is both a visitor attraction and an educational resource for inspiring others to higher levels of achievement in their own work and lives.(PR)(10-15-2002) UPDATE: NASCAR legend Richard Petty made history last night as he was officially inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Petty, the first NASCAR driver to receive this honor, was nominated and selected for his contributions to the automotive world, both on and off the track.(Yahoo)(10-16-2002)
Three Paintings of Motorcraft Ford to be Presented at Air Force Art Program: This Friday, October 18, 2002, Eddie Wood and his wife, Carol, and Len Wood, and his wife Nancy, will leave Martinsville Speedway after practice, and fly to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., to have dinner with a number of generals and high-ranking officers of the United States Air Force. The Wood's are co-owners of the #21 Motorscraft/Air Force Ford. Following the reception and dinner the Woods' hosts will receive some 150 paintings representing various activities involving the men and women of the American armed forces. At least three of these pieces of art portray the famed #21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus. The United States Air Force became an associate sponsor with the race team at the beginning of the 2001 season and uses the team's Winston Cup race program as a key ingredient in current recruiting and retention efforts at race tracks, schools and recruiting offices nationwide. The Air Force logo is prominently displayed on the car each week, and at two races this year the Wood Brothers Taurus carried an Air Force paint scheme. "We are so very proud of our association with the U.S. Air Force," said Len Wood. "It has given us such a great opportunity to get to know so many of this elite group of men and women. We have visited Air Force bases all over the United States, seen the planes that defend this country and met the people who fly them and take care of them. And almost every race we get to host recruiters and the pilots and crews of the planes that do the flybys for that event. And we hope that this association is helping in the recruitment of talented young men and women in this country to join the Armed Forces to defend all of our freedoms. I cannot begin to tell you how proud this whole team is to be represented at the 2002 Air Force Art Program. We understand that the paintings from this year's program will be distributed to various Air Force locations for display throughout the country, including the Pentagon. This is such an honor." The three paintings that will be given to the Air Force Art Program on Friday evening were created by artists Lee Bivens, Lori Crane and Michael Goettner over the past two seasons, and portray the 21 Ford Taurus in both the Motorcraft Racing and Air Force paint schemes.(Wood Bros/Ford Racing PR)(10-16-2002)
Earnhardt Honored: Three to four thousand people attended the unveiling Monday morning of a 9-foot statue honoring racing legend and Kannapolis, NC native Dale Earnhardt. In the memorial, Earnhardt sports his signature grin and has his arms crossed. He's dressed in Wrangler blue jeans, cowboy boots and a button-down short-sleeved shirt. Members of the Earnhardt family, including widow Teresa and son Dale Jr., uncovered the statue to applause. The statute is at the Dale Earnhardt Plaza, off South Main Street between West A and West B streets. It is open to the public.(Charlotte Observer and another story at the Independent Tribune and a story with images on my Column/Story Links page)(10-15-2002)
Erik Perel Image/Charlotte Observer
2002 Winston West Champ Crowned:Eric Norris clinched the NASCAR Winston West Series championship for 2002 with a second-place finish in The Orleans 150 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Austin Cameron, who entered the event just 36 points behind Norris in the championship standings, finished 25th after dropping out of the race with an oil leak. He fell to third in the final standings, just four points behind Kevin Richards.(Racing West) Congrats. NOTE: Norris is son of actor Chuck Norris. Also check out Norris' site www.norrisracing.com (be warned - heavy duty 'flash' site)(10-15-2002)
McMurray not to run at Martinsville, Bliss in: Jamie McMurray, who won at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Sunday in just his second career Winston Cup start, apparently will not drive the #40 Coor's Light Dodge in this week's race at Martinsville. A NASCAR spokesman said Tuesday that Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which owns the car, had notified NASCAR to change the driver's name on the team's entry blank from McMurray to Mike Bliss. When McMurray was called on to replace the injured Sterling Marlin before the race at Talladega, Martinsville's race loomed as a conflict because the BGN races this weekend at Memphis. McMurray is committed to finishing the season in the #27 Chevys owned by Brewco Motorsports. After Sunday's victory, McMurray said he hoped it could be arranged for him to compete in the BGN race on Saturday while another driver practiced and qualified the Winston Cup car at Martinsville, then go to Martinsville and start the Winston Cup race from the rear of the field. Although McMurray has never raced at the .526-mile Martinsville track, he and Bliss both tested with the #40 team for two days at Martinsville earlier this month.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-15-2002)
TV Ratings for Lowe's: NBC Sports’ rain-delayed coverage of the NASCAR Winston Cup UAW-GM Quality 500 from Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte earned an impressive 5.0 national rating/10 share (3:33 p.m. - 7:32 p.m. ET), NASCAR’s highest rating ever against professional football, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 5.0 rating is all the more significant as the race also faced 2-1/2 hours of head-to-head competition from the deciding game of baseball’s American-League Championship Series in which Anaheim eliminated Minnesota 13-5. The previous NASCAR rating high against a professional football telecast came last week at Talladega, when the race earned a 4.8/11. The 5.0 represents a 127 percent increase over last year’s race, which was moved to TNT due to NBC’s war coverage and generated a converted national household rating of a 2.2/5. The UAW-GM Quality 500 steadily built its audience to a peak of 6.3/11 at 7 p.m. ET when rookie Jamie McMurray took the checkered flag in only his second Winston Cup race start. Through 14 telecasts (excluding the Daytona 500), NASCAR Winston Cup coverage on NBC and TNT has produced a 4.3 national rating/10 share, an eight percent increase over last year’s record breaking average of a 4.0/11 (excluding the primetime Pepsi 400) through the comparable weekend.(NBC PR)(10-15-2002)
Hooters/Brooks could be part owner of the #11 UPDATE 2: Brett Bodine is poised for a change in the direction of his NASCAR Winston Cup team. Bodine began the year without a primary sponsor and was on the verge of closing his doors before signing Hooters restaurant chain to a small but team-saving contract. He has a verbal agreement from Hooters owner Bob Brooks for sponsorship for 2003. "He's basically told me you've got a deal for next year and possibly more," Bodine said. "They're in a process to evaluate the program and how much they want to invest in a Winston Cup sponsorship. We'd like more sponsorship," Bodine added. "You've got to look at what is going to be a good investment to be competitive. We're hoping to get them signed up for a long-term deal." One scenario would have Hooters become a partner in the team. If that happened, Bodine said, "I wouldn't have to ever look for a major sponsor again." He said he hopes to have a deal in place within the month. Bodine is also trying to add to or re-sign his associate sponsors. And he knows that if everything he hopes for happens, then there will be more pressure on him and his team.(Star Gazette)(8-8-2002) UPDATE: Brett Bodine says he may sell part of his Winston Cup team to the Hooter's Restaurant chain, according to a story in this week's NASCAR Winston Cup Scene. Reporter Kenny Bruce writes that Bodine and Hooters CEO Bob Brooks have "basically agreed that we have a deal," but details, which include the possibility of the sale of part of the team, remain to be worked out.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-14-2002) UPDATE 2: hearing Bodine has signed a contract with Robert Brooks [owner of Hooter's] that calls for Brooks will own 51% of the team, Brett Bodine will own 24.5% and wife Diane will own 24.5%.(10-15-2002)
Geoffrey Bodine in the #23 at Martinsville for practice/qualifying: Kenny Wallace, who is the primary driver of the #23 Hills Bros. Coffee Dodge, will be unable to be at Martinsville on Friday and Saturday this weekend, as he will be in Memphis competing in the BGN race. Wallace took over the full-time driving duties for the #23 car at Darlington earlier this year; however, his primary obligation for the remainder of the 2002 season is to the #48 Stacker 2 car in the BGN Series. Geoffrey Bodine has been chosen to fill in for the absent Wallace. "When Kenny agreed to take over the driving duties for the No. 23 car earlier this year, we knew there would be two races, Talladega and Memphis, in which he had conflicts with the schedule," said car owner, Bill Davis. "At Talladega, we chose a Bill Davis Racing driver, Scott Wimmer, to substitute for Kenny.. We couldn't use Scott at Memphis, as he had the same conflict that Kenny does. Both those drivers are in a points battle in the Busch Series, so both of them need to put their full attention to that event. Fortunately, Geoffrey (Bodine) agreed to fill in for Kenny and we are very grateful to him coming in and helping us out in this situation.. The plan is to have Geoffrey practice and qualify the No. 23 car and then have Kenny start from the rear on Sunday. His knowledge and experience at a track like Martinsville will be an asset to this team.". Equipment:. Wallace and the Hills Bros. Coffee Racing Team are taking the same car to Martinsville that competed earlier this year at the fall Richmond event where it finished 14th and at the fall Loudon event where it finished 18th.(Bill Davis PR)(10-15-2002)
Hermie on Pay Per View: Hermie Sadler, driver of the #02 Cup car, will be making another appearance at the NWA-TNA Pay-Per-View this Wednesday night and will be involved in a tag-team match involving Jeff Jarrett and BG James. The PPV airs live Wednesday night at 8:00pm/et and a camera crew from NASCAR Images will be at the event to shoot footage for a segment on "NASCAR This Morning" which will air Sunday morning on Fox Sports Net prior to the Winston Cup race at Martinsville. NWA makes donations to the Faison School for Austism for Sadler's appearances.(10-15-2002)
McGlynn to attempt a Pocono Cup race? UPDATE 3 At Martinsville: hearing CTS driver Ryan McGlynn and team is preparing a Chevy to run at one or both Pocono Winston Cup events. McGlynn Racing is based in Wilkes-Barre, PA. No word on sponsorship at this time.(5-25-2002) UPDATE: hearing McGlynn will attempt the 2nd Pocono race in July, not the race in June.(5-29-2002) UPDATE 2: now hearing it is unlikely that McGlynn will be attempting to run Pocono this week but McGlynn may attempt to run New Hampshire in September.(7-23-2002) UPDATE 3: Ryan McGlynn will be attempting his Winston Cup debut at Martinsville Speedway. McGlynn has driven at Pennsylvania's Mountain Speedway and also competed at New Jersey's Flemington Speedway and Tioga Speedway in New York and more recently has been a regular in the CTS. "I’m really excited about this opportunity and I’m ready to go. We’re still pounding some things out on the car to get it all finished," said 27-year old McGlynn who resides in Wilkes-Barre and is the manger of McGlynn’s High Performance Auto Parts. McGlynn had hoped to be able to race earlier this year at both Pocono Raceway Winston Cup events but due to lack of superspeedway experience required by NASCAR he has to settle for the .526-mile at Martinsville. "We actually had quite a bit of sponsorship to go to both Pocono races with the Cup car. We felt that we had as good a shot as anybody to run well there due to the fact that I have run a lot of laps there as an instructor for the Stock Car Racing Experience school. They (NASCAR) shot me down and said that I didn’t have enough speedway experience in the Truck Series. They told me had I run a Busch car at the bigger tracks it would have been a different story. After that we lost the sponsorship we had to go to Pocono but we still have a brand new car sitting here and that’s how it came about that we are going to Martinsville," said McGlynn. Although McGlynn would have much rather debuted at Pocono in front of the home crowd, he feels just as comfortable at Martinsville where he had raced numerous times with the trucks. "I’ve been to most of these tracks at least once and most of them several times so as far as that goes it’s pretty easy anymore. I like Martinsville because it’s a tight little track and it’s what I was accustomed to when I raced at Mountain Speedway," said McGlynn. McGlynn’s maiden voyage will come behind the wheel of a brand new 2002 #80 Chevy. CRD Engineering of North Carolina has put together the motor. This will be CRD’s first venue into Winston Cup as well. Their presence has been primarily in the BGN and CTS Series. It will no doubt be a task getting the car into the race. McGlynn’s first time out with the car will not take place until he arrives for practice on Friday. "I’m just going off by what everybody else says that came from the trucks and went to the cars that it’s like night and day. Nine out of ten guys who where in the trucks and went to the cars or moved up to the Cup said they (cars) are a 100 times easier to drive so I’m just going on that. It’s not like I never raced cars before," explained McGlynn. "Opptomisticly speaking I’m hoping for a decent qualifying position. I’m not going to go down there and expect to get into the top-15. But if I can qualify, get in the race, run 500 laps and be there at the end then we reached our goal. If everything works out well for Martinsville then McGlynn said the team would possibly make a run at Phoenix in November. As far as his Craftsmen Truck goes, there are no plans to park it. They are already mapping out their game plan for 2003.(Open Wheel Racing)(10-15-2002)
NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week - #18: High-performance pit stops all day led the #18 Interstate Batteries team to an impressive 2nd place Lowe's Motor Speedway finish from a 18th place start. Congratulations #18 Interstate Batteries Crew on
earning this week's NAPCM "Pit Crew Of The Week" award, sponsored by Toxabsorb www.toxabsorb.com), "Instant non-skid pit
stall prep, creating grip for faster pit stops" and "Official Spill Response Agent of the National Association Of Pit Crew Members". Check out the latest Mechanix Wear "Pit Crew Of The Year" standings and latest, NEW NAPCM member benefits, available at the
National Association Of Pit Crew Members website(www.napcm.com).(10-15-2002)
No Changes at RYR #88: Although Dale Jarrett could finish outside of the top 10 in points for the first time since 1994, he says he's “not expecting any changes” next season despite rumors of a crew chief swap. Todd Parrott decided to move from crew chief into the front office at the end of last season, but he returned as crew chief in April because the team was struggling and outside the top 20 in points. Jarrett, with two victories since, is making a late push for the top 10.(Sporting News)(10-15-2002)
#59 Sponsor for Martinsville: Check-into-Cash, a national advance pay chain, will continue their sponsorship of the Price Motorsports # 59 driven by Carl Long at Martinsville Speedway this coming weekend. Representatives from Check-into-Cash were present at qualifying for last weekend's race in Charlotte and considered their penetration into NASCAR Winston Cup Series a positive experience despite qualifying being canceled due to rain. According to Becca Whitmire, National Marketing Manager for Check-into-Cash, "We've already seen an increase in business activity as a result of our exposure in NASCAR." The field for the UAW-GM 500 at Charlotte ended up being set by Owner points, not qualifying times, which placed Price Motorsports 44th on the 43 car list. However, the Price Motorsports team once again proved that they could compete in this top series. According to Mike Chance, Crew Chief for the Check-into-Cash Dodge, " I was pleased with our practice times at Charlotte. I'm confident that our qualifying set-up would have put us in the race if it had not been for the rainout." Check-into-Cash has over 650 offices across the USA and is expanding rapidly. Check-into-Cash operates within the parameters of the Best Practices of the Community Financial Services Association of America. For more information on Check-into-Cash, please see checkintocash.com.(PR)(10-15-2002)
Testing at the Rock: The Following Drivers Will Be Testing At North Carolina Speedway: Monday - Tuesday, October 14 - 15 testing for the upcoming NASCAR weekend November 2 - 3, 2002. NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Jack Sprague - #160 Chevrolet, Ron Hornaday - #154 Chevrolet and Mike Harmon - #193 Ford (Cup or BGN?). Grandstand gates are open 9:00am – 4:00pm. The general public is invited to veiw the test session from the grandstand.(North Carolina Speedway PR via Catchfence)(10-15-2002)
Testing at Atlanta: Searching for a combination that works on Atlanta Motor Speedway's fast, high banks, Robby Gordon topped 184 mph while testing Monday for the Oct. 25-27 NAPA 500 weekend. Gordon sped his #31 Cingular Chevy around the 1.54-mile quad-oval at 184.308 mph. #81-Dwayne Leik also participated in Monday's test, running a lap of 175.387mph as he tested for the Oct. 26 Aaron's 312 BGN race.(AMS PR)(10-14-2002)
Junie Honored: Longtime team owner Junie Donlavey of Richmond got another lifetime achievement award Sunday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The latest is the Smokey Yunick Award, named for the late NASCAR pioneer.(Daily Press)(10-14-2002)
Gordon hurt...but ok: #31-Robby Gordon hurt his ankle in the big crash that took out 10 cars, but it wasn't from the wreck. He made the comment that his foot "is hurt a little bit." To clarify, he aggravated an injury he suffered on a dirt bike earlier this year by putting a lot of pressure on it while braking hard during the accident. It is sore, he said, but not a further injury.(The State)(10-14-2002)
Ganassi wants Spencer in full face: #40/41 team owner, Chip Ganassi, said he's been bugging driver Jimmy Spencer all season to start using a full-face helmet for safety reasons.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(10-14-2002)
Tires at Martinsville: Goodyear officials, who insist that they were not told about the recent grinding of Martinsville Speedway’s turns are bracing for a projected high demand for tires in the 500-lap event. Phil Holmer, Goodyear’s point man, called local distributor asking that every tire in the warehouse with Martinsville specifications be shipped to the track for next week’s event. Under normal circumstances Holmer says that Goodyear would bring 1,000 sets of left side tires and 1,000 sets of right side tires to Martinsville. But for next week’s event, on the surface which has no rubber worn into the newly reworked surface, Goodyear will bring 1,465 sets of lefts and 1,465 sets of rights for the event.(Ford Racing)(10-14-2002)
Even Smaller Fuel Tanks? NASCAR officials are considering even smaller fuel cells for the Daytona 500, according to NASCAR sources. The cells would be small enough, perhaps, that crews would only need to take one 11-gallon can over the wall. Some teams at Talladega got in as many as 14 gallons on a stop.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-14-2002)
McMurray and Miss Winston: Miss Winston Cielo Garcia has been absent in Victory Lane, the Indianapolis Star reports that Cielo is now the lady formerly known as Miss Winston. She is currently dating Jamie McMurray, and his promotion to Winston Cup forced Ms. Garcia to choose between her job as Miss Winston and McMurray. The rules do not allow Miss Winston to date any Winston Cup drivers. The new Miss Winston is Shannon Wiseman.(MotorsportsTV)(10-14-2002)
Elledge to the #18? Jimmy Makar's search for a crew chief for #18-Bobby Labonte for next year continues, and one of the men he's talked with, according to team sources, is Jimmy Elledge [presently with the #55 team].(Winston Salem Journal)(10-14-2002)
Rumblings - Lowe's: #40-Jamie McMurray becomes the 17th different winner this season....last year we had 19. And, he became the 45th different driver to lead a lap this season....last year we had 48.
Bobby Labonte (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Martinsville in April.
Jerry Nadeau (13th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Bristol in March.
STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 7 Top-10's in a row. Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10's in a row.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week is Jerry Nadeau (+26), followed by Mike Wallace (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ricky Rudd (-29), followed by Matt Kenseth (-27), Bill Elliott (-26), and Ricky Craven (-20). This is the first time either Nadeau or Rudd have graced the "shaft" this year.
#20-Tony Stewart padded his points lead today....he's now 97 markers up on #48-Jimmie Johnson. We can now hang up our first "Magic Number" of the year (the position that Tony can finish and still win the Championship....no matter what that particular driver does), and it's the minimum. In other words, if Tony finishes 6th every race, #2-Rusty Wallace can't beat him. With Jimmie Johnson, its 2nd.(Stockcarfans Newsletter)(10-14-2002)
Earnhardt Tributes 9-14th UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt’s hometown is ready to unveil the Tribute to the racing legend and hometown hero that has been in development since March 2001. “Kannapolis Celebrates A Legend” begins Wed., Oct. 9 in the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Center by motorsports artist Sam Bass and concludes Mon., Oct. 14 with the unveiling of the Dale Earnhardt statue by sculptor Clyde Ross Morgan. More info at City of Kannapolis Site.(repost 10-9-2002) OCT 9th: Motorsports artist Sam Bass (www.sambass.com)unveiled several new wall murals Wednesday morning in the Dale Earnhardt Tribute section of Cannon Village Visitors Center. Bass also presented a slide show chronicling his portrayals of Earnhardt throughout the past 20 years to a crowd of approximately 100 people. “All I've ever wanted to do in my life was make Dale Earnhardt proud,” he said. “... This is my Sistine Chapel.” H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway, said the friendship Bass forged with Earnhardt long ago made him the obvious choice for Kannapolis officials to select to work on the tribute. “This is a great tribute to one of America's greatest athletes,” Wheeler said. “Dale Earnhardt has become one of the most recognized athletes in the history of mankind.” Bass said it was Earnhardt who helped him when he was just another struggling artist looking for a break. For that reason, he said he will always feel indebted. Earnhardt's sister Cathy Watkins said if it wasn't for the numerous works crafted by Bass, many memories of her brother could have easily slipped away as the years passed. At the end of the ceremony, officials in Kannapolis presented Bass with an honorary key to the city.(Independent Tribune)(10-10-2002) MORE plans for the rest of the tribute:
Oct 10th: Dale Earnhardt statue arrives for installation.
Oct 12, 2:00 to 9:00pm. Remembering Dale . . . Cool Car Cruise and Show in Cannon Village. Sponsored by the Kannapolis Business Council. All proceeds from the juried car show will go to the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Fund. There will be a Tribute booth. Call 704-938-6538 for more information about the car show.
Oct 14 at 10:00am Kannapolis Celebrates a Legend: The Dale Earnhardt Tribute Statue Unveiling The 900 pound, nine foot tall, bronze statue of Dale Earnhardt will be unveiled during an hour-long program. Former Winston Cup Champion and NBC racing commentator Benny Parsons will be the master of ceremonies, a Kannapolis Tribute video will be debuted and others who knew Dale Earnhardt will share their memories and thoughts of Dale Earnhardt.(10-10-2002 UPDATE 2: The wait is nearly over, as officials in Kannapolis are set to unveil the highly-anticipated Dale Earnhardt statue downtown in Cannon Village Monday morning. It's been almost 20 months since Earnhardt's death at Daytona International Speedway. The soon-to-be unveiled statue, created by Arizona-based sculptor Clyde Ross Morgan, will be a mark for all time on downtown Kannapolis. Danny Earnhardt, Dale's youngest brother, said it was good to see the plans to build the tribute finally started to take shape several months ago following the $200,000 contribution from L.A. businessman and Kannapolis business owner David Murdock. Fans wanting to get an early glimpse of the statue will have no such luck. Officials at the Kannapolis Police Department said officers will monitor Dale Earnhardt Plaza “24-7” until its unveiling Monday at 10:00am/et.(Independent Tribune)(10-13-2002) TODAY: The statue accompanying the Dale Earnhardt Tribute will be unveiled today at 10 a.m., but get there early because it's expected to be crowded. Festivities will take place at Dale Earnhardt Plaza, formerly Funderburk Park, on Main Street in downtown Kannapolis.(more directions and info at the Independent Tribune)(10-14-2002)