PAST NEWS FEB 3-9, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- TV Ratings from Saturday night: CBS claimed its usual place at the top of the ratings on Saturday night, taking a 6.3 rating/11 share in households, ahead of FOX, 5.1/9. NBC was third with a 4.8/8, while ABC brought up the rear with a 3.8/7. Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 3.3 rating; NBC, 2.4; ABC, 2.2; and CBS, 2.0. FOX took the eight o'clock hour with NASCAR averaging a 5.4/10 for the hour, ahead CBS' "Touched by an Angel," 5.3/10. NBC was third with "Law & Order," 5.1/19, while ABC gave its night over to the movie "The Shawshank Redemption," 3.2/6. At 9 p.m., CBS moved up to the top spot with "The District," 7.1/12. FOX slipped to second with NASCAR, 5.4/10. NBC aired a repeat of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," 5.2/9, and ABC's movie remained in fourth.(Zap2It.com)(2-9-2003)
- Some news on Petree and Melling: Two years ago, spirits could not have been higher at Andy Petree Racing. The team employed more than 100 people who built engines and cars that were competitive in NASCAR's top series. It was part of a research and development alliance that also included Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc [RAD]. It placed its two cars in victory lane within the span of one season, despite an operating budget nearly half of those of larger Winston Cup teams. Despite winning a pair of Winston Cup races, team owner Andy Petree has lost both his primary car sponsors over the past two years. He has one-race deal that will allow him to compete in the Daytona 500, but his operation's future is uncertain beyond that. Petree's efforts to find sponsors to replace the ones he lost have proven futile. Now, the shop employs only about 30 people. The team has signed a one-race deal with the Monaco motor coach company so it can compete in next week's Daytona 500. Beyond that, when Andy Petree Racing will return to the track is unclear. Those two, breakthrough victories in the 2001 season now seem like a distant memory. "We never foresaw this at all," said Steve Barkdoll, the team's executive vice president and general manager. "We keep asking ourselves, how did we get into this position? It's just a tough market out there right now." Petree is without a sponsor despite a track record that includes two race wins, 53 top-10 finishes, and over $16 million in winnings in six years as a car owner. NASCAR operates a New York office with a primary purpose of helping its teams secure sponsorship. The office recently arranged a meeting between Andy Petree Racing and a potential sponsor, helping the team built its presentation and offering data on how other companies have been able to build their business through sponsorship. NASCAR representatives even attended the meeting "to help back up their sport," Barkdoll said. Some teams are able to recover quickly when a sponsor leaves. Others aren't. Either way, it makes for an unsettling time for Winston Cup car owners, whose budgets run into the tens of millions of dollars and who need corporate sponsorship to survive. A few lower-tier operations, like Donlavey Racing and Melling Racing -- both fixtures in the sport for decades -- have had to shut down because of a lack of sponsorship. But the past two years have proven that even teams capable of winning poles and races are not immune from sponsorship difficulties. "So many companies were go-go-go," said Lake Speed Jr., team manager for Melling Racing, which suspended operations in December after being without a primary sponsor for the full 2002 season. "Once they saw the economy slowing down later in 2001, that ended, and it's never come back. Before that, people wanted to spend more than the next guy. It was escalating. If one guy spent $8 (million), it was, 'What can I get for 10?' After 9-11, it was, 'How cheap can I get it?' There's no safety net in NASCAR, nothing to protect a team owner," Melling's Speed said. "Any kind of (corporate) scandal, any kind of freak deal, it could affect anybody. On the business side, you've got to work twice as hard for every dollar as you did before. Other teams have had to scramble. Maybe they're not to the point where we are, but nobody is safe." The teams most directly affected by the sponsorship drought of the past few years are hoping to make comebacks. Melling, Speed said, is "riding out the storm" until economic conditions improve. Andy Petree Racing has received some help from Petty Enterprises, which has supplied a driver for the Daytona 500 (Christian Fittipaldi) as well as some sponsorship leads. The Petree shop is also hoping for better days ahead. "We won't be running a full season this year," Barkdoll said. "But we're very optimistic that we're going to put something together, and be back in 2004 with a full Winston Cup program."(MUCH more to this story at the Charleston Post and Courier)(2-9-2002)
- No Wind Tunnel? Traditionally NASCAR has tested at least one of each make in a wind tunnel following the Daytona 500. This year that might not be the case, at least according to well-placed NASCAR sources. The tunnel time is scheduled, but the sanctionin body believes with what they’ve seen so far there probably will be no need to keep the reservation. Asked if the annual visit to the Lockheed tunnel after the Atlanta race is still on www.teamfordracing.com was told by the NASCAR source: “I think it’d be comforting to know that after the race at Atlanta that we’d be heading straight home.”(Ford Racing)(2-9-2003)
- Leffler plans to run the Indy 500 too: CTS and former Cup driver Jason Leffer plans to attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in May. Leffler, former USAC Midget and Silver Crown champ, drove in 2001 for Chip Ganassi [#01 Cingular Dodge] and retreated last year to the CTS with Ultra Motorsports [#2 Dodge]. He's back in Ultra's #2 Trucks this year. Leffler and team officials revealed Friday night that he would try to make at try at the 500, with details not yet clear, such as whose car he might drive or what sponsorship is available. #43-John Andretti and #31-Robby Gordon also have been given permission to run in the 500, with Gordon running the past two years there in cars co-owned by Cup car owner Richard Childress. Neither Andretti nor Gordon has made clear exactly what the plans are. Andretti says he wants to race at Indy because his cousin Michael will be making his final drive at the Speedway before retiring.(Speed Channel)(2-9-2003)
- #54 to honor Columbia: The #54 Army National Guard Ford driven by Todd Bodine during the NASCAR Winston Cup Series events, the Budweiser Shootout and the Daytona 500 will honor the memory of the seven astronauts who lost their lives onboard the space shuttle Columbia. The #54 Army National Guard Ford will feature the STS 107 mission flight patch on the car's hood, and B-pillars. The presence of the decal represents the voice of 350,000 National Guardsmen who are acknowledging the efforts of Columbia's commander Rick Husband; pilot William McCool; payload commander Michael Anderson; mission specialists David Brown, Laurel Clark and Kalpana Chawla; and Israel's first astronaut, payload specialist Ilan Ramon. "It will be an honor to carry this important message," said Bodine. .œOur thoughts and prayers are with these fallen heroes and their families. ..We will never forget them."(Cox Marketing PR)(2-9-2003)
- Racer Magazine Previews NASCAR: the February issue of RACER has a NASCAR Season Preview alongs with articles like How common templates will change the Winston Cup equation.(SpeedChannel/Racer)(2-9-2003)
- Earnhardt Jr wins the Budweiser Shootout: the finishing order:
#8-Earnhardt Jr (13 laps led)
#24-Gordon (31 laps led)
#17-Kenseth (6 lapss led)
#49-Schrader (1 lap led)
#48-Johnson (4 laps led)
#97-Busch (11 laps led)
#6-Martin (4 laps led)
#88-Jarrett (why so poor of a finish? fluid on the windshield made it hard for Jarrett to see)
#11-G Bodine out-vibration.
NOTES: #11-G Bodine thought he had a tire rub on lap 3 and brought the car in and it ended up being a vibration and he went to the garage. #2-Wallace cut down a tire on lap 18 was able to stay on the lead lap and change the tire during the 10 minute break. On lap 50 ALL the drivers came in to pit, all took 2 right side tires, except #48-Johnson took 4 tires who flatspotted his tired when he locked the brakes up coming on pit road and #6-Martin, #21-Rudd, #54-Bodine and #49-Schrader who all only took fuel. Earnhardt Jr started last, 19th, the fartherst a Bud Shootout winner has ever came from. For results and money won, see ThatsRacin.com and for a column: Dale Earnhardt Jr. impressive in Budweiser Shootout win(2-8-2003)
- A few parts seized at Daytona: NASCAR inspectors gave Winston Cup cars a thorough going-over Friday, with the garage finally closing at 10:02pm/et. Despite the slow process, only four items had been confiscated from teams and displayed on the NASCAR hauler. Unapproved underpans were taken off the #10 Pontiac driven by Johnny Benson; unapproved springs wwere taken off Michael Waltrip's #15 Chevrolet and Norm Benning's #84 Chevrolet. A plastic gas container was taken from the team of David Green's #60 Chevy. Late last year, NASCAR banned the use of plastic containers to transport or store gas.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-8-2003)
- Kenseth and Smirnoff Ice? UPDATE: hearing #17-Matt Kenseth will race either 8 Cup or 8 BGN races with Smirnoff Ice as the sponsor, the BGN thing makes sense, since he is running 15 races with Bayer/Alka Seltzer, not sure about the Cup part of the rumor.(1-25-2003)
UPDATE: hearing this is for 8 Cup races, with at least one Richmond race to be part of it.(1-27-2003)
UPDATE 2: Smirnoff Ice Triple Black will sponsor Roush Racing driver Matt Kenseth's #17 Ford in a limited program of 2003 Cup races, beginning with The Winston all-star race in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The program includes at least co-primary sponsorship of Kenseth's Ford Taurus, whose five wins in 2002 led the series, for eight races and secondary status for the balance of the season. The partnership includes driver appearances, the use of show cars and image rights, a large hospitality program and an extensive social responsibility agenda. A Smirnoff spokesperson said an advertising program was in the works featuring Kenseth, who said that was one of the "coolest" aspects of the program. Kenseth will drive the Smirnoff Ice car at The Winston, Pepsi 400 at Daytona, Brickyard 400, Southern 500, Richmond (Sept), Talladega (Sept) and Atlanta (Oct). The race at Texas on March 30 is a co-primary event with Dewalt Tools.(NASCAR.com, see an image of the car there - do NOT email it to me)(2-8-2003)
- Red lights signal start of new access policy: NASCAR's new garage access policy went into effect for the first time Friday when officials cleared the garage of guests and fans lacking proper credentials 30 minutes before the cars went on the track. A half-hour before the cars scheduled to take part in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout went out for the first on-track appearance of 2003 for Winston Cup cars, red lights [made by Whelen, sponsor of the #31 BGN car] above each entrance and affixed to several of the team haulers in the garage area began to flash. About a dozen security people and police made a sweep through the garage compound, but there were few people without the required "hot passes" or NASCAR season credentials.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-8-2003)
- #28 Number News: The #3 is unofficially retired and the #28 won't be around this season. Change sweeps through Winston Cup racing in many ways, but perhaps none so dramatically as those missing numbers. No one has raced the #3 in Cup since Dale Earnhardt died on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. This year, the #28 won't be competing. Robert Yates Racing had the #28 but will switch to the #38 for Elliott Sadler this season. At one point it appeared the number might go with sponsor Havoline to Chip Ganassi Racing and the car driven by rookie Jamie McMurray. Those plans changed, leaving the number in limbo. "My first reaction was, 'There's no way under the sun,'" Yates said of allowing the number to move to another team. "I was allowing everybody to have their wishes, but I wasn't gonna let them have the 28. I've got 15 years tied up in that, so, no way, I wouldn't even consider it. I laid awake at night and talked to [wife] Carolyn about it and ... she said, 'It's not a bad idea just to get a good, fresh start and start over.' So I said, 'OK, I'll do it.' They then came back to me later and said, 'Why don't you just keep it [the 28],' and I was like, 'No way, we're gonna make this new package work. We've got a great number on it and I wouldn't go back to that. We can have all the good memories of that 28 car, but yet we're starting a new package with the 38." Ricky Rudd, who drove the #28 car the past three seasons, says he's sorry to see the number disappear this season. "It's a pretty sad deal that the 28 is not out there any longer," said Rudd, who took that number to Victory Lane three times while with Yates. "That car has a tremendous following and the fans are the ones who deserve to see the 28 run around the race track."(Roanoke Times)(2-8-2003)
- Exxon-Mobil to be new official fuel of NASCAR? The battle now over "the official fuel of NASCAR" is reported to be between Mobil and Exxon. Unocal's declining markets, primarily on the West Coast, has lessened that company's promotional viability, and last week NASCAR, after years of negotiating, finally bought out the contract. Unocal, when it was still Pure Oil, was one of the first major sponsors for NASCAR, and Unocal helped provide the financial backing for the France family to build Talladega.(Winston Salem Journal), NOTE: Exxon and Mobil merged a few years ago, so there is no 'battle', maybe a decision within the company, but rumor has Mobil being tagged.(2-8-2003)
- Junie Donlavey Targets Daytona 500 UPDATE 2: Junie Donlavey, owner of the #90 Ford, doesn't possess a driver or a sponsor, but he does hold the will to bring his Richmond-based Winston Cup team to Daytona International Speedway this week to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. An offseason search for financial backing has proved fruitless, but the team decided to finish preparing a superspeedway car and make the trip.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-2-2003)
UPDATE: Kirk Shelmerdine will run the #90 Freddie B's Ford fielded by Donlavey Racing at the Daytona 500. Freddie B's is in Winston-Salem, NC. See a drawing of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(2-3-2003)
UPDATE 2: Junie Donlavey has hired a driver who is well known for his accomplishments in the Winston Cup Series but not for what he's done behind the wheel. Kirk Shelmerdine, who helped guide Dale Earnhardt to four Winston Cup championships between 1986-92, will attempt to qualify Donlavey's #90 Ford for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16. Shelmerdine retired as a crew chief in 1992 and since has driven part time in several series, including Cup, CTS, BGN and ARCA. Shelmerdine contacted Donlavey last Friday, and a deal was worked out Saturday. Shelmerdine is bringing sponsorship to the Richmond-based team from a restaurant in Winston-Salem, NC. Donlavey, who missed nearly all of last year's second half, received a steady stream of well-wishers while standing at the back of his hauler yesterday. "It's good to be back," said Donlavey, who is attending his 53rd Daytona 500 as a car owner. "I've met so many nice people doing this, and they're worth more to me than all the money in the world."(Richmond Times Dispatch)
AND Kirk Shelmerdine has a one-race deal to run for car owner Junie Donlavey, with quarterpanel sponsorship from the Sioux Indian Tribe of Minnesota and Freddie B's Sports Bar in Winston-Salem.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-8-2003)
- Update on the Petty movie: If all goes well, Disney's movie on Richard Petty and the Petty family should be filmed this year and be in theatres sometime in 2004, said Bill Scott, executive vice president at Petty Enterprises. Disney got involved in November. Dennis Quaid originally was set to play Lee Petty but now is expected to play Richard. Scripts are being rewritten to include more of the Petty family story than just the relationship between Lee and Richard. "This has been a project that has been ongoing; I personally have been working on this for four years," Scott said. "I really believe it's going to happen this year." Scott said he's not sure where filming will take place but says he'd "be surprised" if it was done outside North Carolina "based on our conversations."(Roanoke Times)(2-8-2003)
- Larry Mac and Wally Team could still happen: According to Larry McReynolds his pending deal to form a team with Wally Dallenbach is still alive and well. Furthermore, the two have been talking regularly about potential sponsors and various scenarios. The pair hope to put together a part-time effort for the second half of the season that will have Dallenbach driving Busch and perhaps truck series entries while McReynolds provides technical expertise and management services. The deal is largely dependant on the duo finding sponsorship dollars. McReynolds said, “A deal isn’t a deal until all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed and the ink is dry.”(Ford Racing)(2-8-2003)
- Spencer Suing Ganassi UPDATE: Attorneys for Jimmy Spencer have filed a lawsuit in Mecklenburg County Superior Court seeking damages from Chip Ganassi, Spencer's former Winston Cup car owner, for breach of contract and interference with Spencer's racing career. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, seeks $600,000 for the difference between the salary Spencer says he was to be paid for 2003, the second year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing, and what he is to make this year as the driver for Ultra Motorsports. Spencer drove the #41 Dodges owned by Ganassi last season, but says he was told over the telephone on or about Nov. 5, 2002, that he was fired. Casey Mears will drive the #41 cars in the 2003 season. The lawsuit also charges that Ganassi made an agreement to monetarily assist James Finch, the owner of a Busch series team for which Spencer drove 23 races last year, with fielding Finch's Busch team for 2003. Part of the terms for that agreement, the lawsuit alleges, was for Finch not to employ Spencer as a driver this year. The suit seeks damages of no less than $10,000 for Spencer for his lost opportunity for employment with Finch. It also seeks payment of money Spencer says he is owed for souvenir and collectibles sales for the third and fourth quarters of 2002. Ganassi said he had neither read nor seen the lawsuit and would not comment on it. Spencer referred questions to Bill Diehl, his Charlotte attorney. The lawsuit offers a rare glimpse at the details of a Winston Cup driver's contract, spelling out the terms of Spencer's employment with Ganassi's team. In 2002, Spencer's base salary was $1 million payable in 12 monthly installments of $83,333.33. He also received 45% of the prize money earned driving the car. Additionally, the team was to pay up to $35,000 per year in premiums for disability insurance for Spencer. Spencer's salary would have gone up to $1.1 million this year. Spencer, the lawsuit says, will make a $500,000 as driver of the #7 Dodges at Ultra Motorsports. The contract also included bonuses of $25,000 per race victory, $12,500 per second-place finish, $6,250 per third-place finish and $5,000 per pole. Spencer would have earned $25,000 bonuses for winning either the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, the Texas 500 or Las Vegas 500 or the pole for the Brickyard 400. He also could have earned an additional $100,000 bonus for winning four races in a season or for winning the Winston Cup championship.(Charlotte Observer)(2-7-2003)
UPDATE: Spencer is referring all questions to his North Carolina attorney, but according to Felix Sabates, who is a partner in Ganassi’s Winston Cup operation, Spencer has no contract that covers the 2003 season; and that the team’s obligations to Spencer were fulfilled at the conclusion of the 2002 season. “We don’t have a contract with Spencer. He never signed it,” Sabates insisted. “He’s got no argument with us. He never signed the contract.”(Ford Racing)
AND Reacting to the allegations in a lawsuit filed this week by Jimmy Spencer, team owner Chip Ganassi said the driver has no valid claim. "`It's ridiculous, we never even had a signed contract,'' Ganassi said. ``We kept bartering back and forth during our original negotiations and we never got to a final agreement. I don't owe him anything and he knows that.''(Tampa Tribune)(2-8-2003)
- Last season for Dash? NASCAR does not plan to sanction the Goody's Dash series after this season, so its future is in question. Hooters, which owns the Myrtle Beach, SC-based United Speed Alliance Racing circuit [Hooter;s USAR Pro Cup], has expressed interest in running the series. A long-time NASCAR touring division based in the Southeast, the Dash series features small sedans with six-cylinder engines. Johnny Chapman, the 1991 Goody's Dash series champion, captured the pole for Sunday's Goody's 150 - a race that may be the Dash series' final appearance at Daytona with a speed of 162.784mph.(Tampa Tribune)(2-8-2003)
- A Buc at the Daytona 500: Tampa Bay Bucs guard Kerry Jenkins, an avid NASCAR fan, has been invited to attend the Daytona 500 as NASCAR's guest. NASCAR officials made the offer after reading a story in The Tampa Tribune about Jenkins' interest in stock car racing. Jenkins followed the sport while growing up in Alabama and attending Troy State University. As with many celebrity guests, Jenkins will be given a tour of the garage area and pits and will attend the pre-race drivers meeting. He'll have a seat in a NASCAR suite.(Tampa Tribune)(2-8-2003)
- NASCAR makes minor changes in substance-abuse policy: Among the responsibilities NASCAR has prior to the 2003 season openers for its Winston Cup, Busch and Truck series next week, is collecting releases from drivers and crew members, who must agree to abide by NASCAR's substance-abuse policy. The policy has undergone several changes over the past 10 years, but remains for the most part as it was in 2002. Last season, NASCAR tested fewer than a dozen competitors in its top-three series, said Kevin Triplett, NASCAR's managing director of business operations. The policy outlines NASCAR's prohibition of illegal drugs at any time in any amount; bans the use of alcohol on the day of an event; and warns of the effect of certain prescription and nonprescription medications. The release entitles NASCAR to test anyone who signs it at any time for any reason during the season. Typically, Triplett said, NASCAR tests only those who it has a "reasonable cause" to believe might have violated its policy. Some parts of the policy are stricter than state laws regarding the consumption of alcohol. For instance, a blood-alcohol level of .02 percent is considered "under the influence of alcohol" under NASCAR's policy. A .08 finding is considered driving while impaired in North Carolina, for example. "This is a pretty dangerous sport," Triplett said. "You have people working around machines and heavy equipment." Triplett said he has never encountered a situation where a driver or crew member has refused to sign the release.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-7-2003)
- Andretti gets OK to run double - Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600: John Andretti has received permission from Petty Enterprises to return for the first time since 1994, when he became the first to run both races on the same day. This year's race is particularly significant to Andretti because his cousin, Michael, has said it will be his last. "I want to be in that race against Michael," John said. "The thing we've always said about the Andrettis is, 'He who gets hurt last, wins.' Well, Michael always lost because he always got hurt, and I want to give him one last chance."(Indianapolis Star)(2-7-2003)
- Hmmm....beer UPDATE 2 yes: When the green flag waves to start this year¹s Daytona 500 stock car race on Sunday, February 16th, it will truly be OMiller Time¹ for everyone in attendance at Daytona International Speedway. Today, Miller Lite announced that should Rusty Wallace win his first Daytona 500, all legal drinking age race fans in attendance will receive a coupon for a free six-pack of Miller Lite. Wallace, the 1989 series champion and a former series rookie-of-the-year, has recorded 54 career NASCAR Winston Cup wins and 36 pole positions during his career. In his last five Daytona 500s, Wallace has registered three top-five finishes, including a career best third-place finish in 2001. During his stock car career, Wallace has made 40 starts at Daytona International Speedway, including a best-ever second-place finish last July in the Pepsi 400.(Tom Roberts PR)(1-29-2003)
UPDATE: Coors Light is the official beer of Daytona International Speedway, but that doesn't necessarily stop Anheuser-Busch from sponsoring a race here (or a car, of course). But it reportedly cramps the style of everyone who recently became Rusty Wallace fans. Wallace's sponsor, Miller Lite, had announced that if Rusty wins his first Daytona 500 on Feb. 16, every adult in attendance would receive a coupon for a free six-pack of the primary sponsor's product. That, however, constitutes marketing, and without track approval (and a waiver from Coors, no doubt), Miller won't be allowed to give away anything "on property."(Daytona Beach News Journal)
UPDATE 2: Rusty Wallace/Miller Lite Daytona Promotion Specifics:
-If Rusty Wallace wins the stock car season-opener at Daytona Beach -- Miller Lite will give all adult fans in attendance at the race a coupon for a free six-pack of Miller Lite.
-If Rusty Wallace wins the race: Coupons will be distributed following the race.
Coupons will distributed OFF track property. (Coupons will NOT be distributed on the track grounds.)
Coupons will be distributed by Miller Lite representatives, who will be easily identified -- surrounding the track after the race -- but not on track grounds.
- Coupons are being distributed in this manner to respect the track's relationships with other breweries.
- Coupon is valid in Florida.
- Coupon is valid through February 28, 2003.
Coupon is good for $4.99 off of a Miller Lite six-Pack, or larger Miller Lite package.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-7-2003)
- New Assoc for Kenseth: GE Plastics, a leading worldwide producer of engineering thermoplastics and a division of General Electric Company announced a one-year sponsorship of the #17 DeWalt Ford, driven by Matt Kenseth. GE Plastics is the manufacturer of LEXAN resin, a material that has long played an important role in NASCAR safety and stock car performance. LEXAN resin is one of the toughest and most versatile polymers in existence and can be found in everything from the bullet resistant canopies on fighter jets to camping equipment, computers, cell phones, CDs and DVDs. 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of GE Plastics' invention of LEXAN polycarbonate. The company is celebrating this important milestone with events and activities throughout the year. For more than 15 years, LEXAN polycarbonate technology has contributed to driver safety and is a critical component to the sport of NASCAR. Most NASCAR stock cars feature front windshields composed of LEXAN resin. The LEXAN resin is then coated with a patented GE polycarbonate adhesive film that can quickly be peeled away during a race when it is soiled by oil, grease, and other race debris, revealing a new, clean windshield. LEXAN resin is also used in the shells of drivers' helmets because it is lightweight and impact resistant.(Business Wire - need to register to read)(2-7-2003)
- IROC needs a series sponsor too: The International Race of Champions [IROC] announced today it would seek a replacement Title Sponsor for 2004 due to the departure of True Value from auto racing at the conclusion of the 2003 season. The departure of TruServ from auto racing is due to realignment of the corporation's marketing investments. The Specialized Marketing Group, Inc.. (TSMGI), headquartered in Deerfield, IL, who currently handles licensed product relations for the IROC Series, has been retained to pursue sponsorship and manage sponsor relations and event activities. IROC is hopeful for other changes in 2004.. "We're looking to move the series forward in our search for a new Title Sponsor, in addition to our search for car manufacturer support, " said, Signore. "Our goal is to start anew in 2004 and with the right sponsorship package we could pursue ways to diversify the current format, which we have been locked into due to scheduling and economics. The strength of the IROC Series as a marketing platform has been clearly defined by the long-term relationships encompassing its 26-year history and we are looking forward to continuing that tradition with new long-term partners."(IROC PR)(2-7-2003)
- Robby Gordon to run Indy 500? from a question on Robby Gordon's Mailbag on CNNSI.com, will Gordon run the Coca-Cola 600 and Indy 500 this year? "I'd love to do the Double on Memorial Day weekend again, so I'm working on getting a sponsor for the Indy 500 right now and I think I'm getting close. Cingular Wireless sponsored me in the Double last May when I competed in the Indy 500 and then flew to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600. That was a blast but it was also a lot of work and an exhausting day. I finished eighth at Indy and brought home a 16th-place finish in the Winston Cup race. If I get the chance to do it again, I'll make sure I take the IV fluids between the races and work out a little more leading up to the race. It takes a lot of stamina to make 1,100 miles."(CNNSI)(2-7-2003)
- PRN honored: Performance Racing Network (PRN - www.goprn.com), a leading producer of motorsports radio programming, claimed six of the seven radio broadcasting awards presented recently by the National Motorsports Press Association. Among the honors was the prestigious Barney Hall Award, recognizing excellence in motorsports broadcasting, which went to Mark Garrow, host of PRN's "Garage Pass" and co-anchor of the network's NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series race broadcasts. "Winning six of the seven awards presented by the National Motorsports Press Association for radio broadcasting is a major achievement," said Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of PRN. "It is very rewarding when our staff's dedication to excellence is recognized by such a prestigious organization." The network swept the Radio Spot News category, claiming the top three positions. "The Bouts at Bristol," a segment that aired following the spring Winston Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, earned first-place honors. "The Point is the Points," a series of shows covering the season-ending championship battle, garnered second-place while the network's coverage of the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway earned the third-place trophy. PRN also claimed second- and third-place honors in the Radio Features category. "The Life, The Legend of Dale Earnhardt," a special broadcast that aired on the one-year anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's death, earned runner-up recognition while PRN's Steve Richards claimed third-place honors for "Sam Goes to Ground Zero," a segment he produced about a member of Ward Burton's crew who worked at Ground Zero in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.(PR)(2-7-2003)
- NASCAR TV Guides hit stand Feb 10th: In its February 15 issue (on newsstands Monday, February 10), TV Guide magazine offers its 2003 NASCAR preview issue, which features three different moving-image collector's covers. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon are each featured on one of the special covers. In the issue, TV Guide previews the Daytona 500 and the 2003 NASCAR season. Earnhardt Jr himself talks about what makes him tick. Also in the story, Gordon speaks about the effect his highly-public separation from wife Brooke had on him last season, in which he finished fourth. As for 2002 Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart, he talks about tempering his attitude. A complete set of all three NASCAR TV Guide covers is available online at www.shoptvguide.com.
AND After the successful launch last year of its first-ever sports-themed standalone magazine, NASCAR 2002, TV Guide has rolled out its second-annual NASCAR preview magazine, TV Guide Winston Cup 2003. On newsstands now, the full-size publication (as opposed to TV Guide's customary digest size) is a comprehensive preview of the upcoming 2003 season. Targeted at the millions of NASCAR faithful, it also serves as the perfect primer for the many recent NASCAR converts. TV Guide Winston Cup 2003 features two different collectible covers, one with 2002 Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart and the other featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr., along with teammates Steve Park and Michael Waltrip. Each issue also includes a full-size poster of either Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Gordon. Fans will also find one of two sets of collectible trading cards: one set features the top stars of Winston Cup racing, the other is a set of commemorative Dale Earnhardt tribute cards.(TV Guide PR)(2-7-2003)
- Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert news: Sheryl Crow, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney and Alabama are the first four acts booked for the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert to be held June 28 at Daytona International Speedway. The concert, a fund-raiser for the Earnhardt Legacy Foundation, will be the first non-racing event in the track’s history. Tickets will be sold beginning March 3 to premium level subscribers to the Dale Earnhardt Inc. website to be launched next week, then will be sold to the public through Ticketmaster outlets beginning March 22. Reserved grandstand tickets will cost $55 and stage level tickets will be $65. Other premium level ticket packages will also be sold at $333 and $1,000. Kraft, the presenting sponsor of the concert, donated $500,000 to the Legacy Foundation.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-7-2003)
- Little gets gig on TV: Chad Little will be joining FOX Sports Net and the Speed Channel as the driver analyst on each network's Sunday NASCAR programs; NASCAR This Morning and NASCAR Victory Lane. Little will be joining host John Roberts and technical analyst Barry Dodson for the broadcasts each week providing a driver’s perspective of the racing action. In addition to his duties for Fox Sports, he continues his efforts to procure sponsorship for the 2003 season and beyond [to drive in BGN or Cup].(RAMM Enterprises PR)(2-7-2003)
- Shawna gets a ride for Daytona...in ARCA: Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership announced a one-race partnership with PBM Racing of Feeling, MI for the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA series race at the Daytona, Saturday, February 8, 2003. Veteran driver Shawna Robinson will pilot the #65 Aaron's Dream Machine in the 200-mile event. The Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 starts at 4:00 PM Saturday, February 8 and will be televised live on SpeedChannel.(Aaron's PR), Robinson qualified 13th, some other's of note: Christian Fittipaldi starts 7th, Deborah Renshaw 10th, Frank Kimmel 15th, Rick Carelli 27th and Greg Sacks 30th.(2-7-2003)
- Geoffrey Bodine draws the pole for the Budweiser Shootout: In a special-event race sponsored by Budweiser, with the starting order determined by a glorified video game, Dale Earnhardt Jr. figured to have a good shot at success in Thursday's draw for the Budweiser Shootout starting lineup. So much for that. Earnhardt Jr. will start 19th - last - in the field for Saturday night's 70-lap event that marks the first competition of a new NASCAR season. He was the fifth driver to pick his starting spot by pressing a bottle cap from the sponsor's product hooked to a computer spinning numbers one through 19 on a screen. Earnhardt Jr. will have plenty of fast company in the back half of the field. Jeff Gordon starts 18th, Ryan Newman 15th and two-time defending Shootout champion Tony Stewart 12th. The pole position, meanwhile, lasted until the very end of the draw. With only two drivers - Geoffrey Bodine and Terry Labonte - left to pick their starting spot, Bodine pushed the button and got the pole in the #11 Ford that his brother, Brett [not Todd], owns and will drive in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16. That left the 17th starting spot for Terry Labonte, the remaining driver. Jimmie Johnson, who won the pole for the Daytona 500 last year in his rookie season, will start on the outside of Row 1, with Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd on Row 2, and Matt Kenseth and Ricky Craven on Row 3. Dale Jarrett, Todd Bodine, Mark Martin, Ward Burton, Ken Schrader, Stewart, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, Newman, Kevin Harvick, Labonte, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. round out the field. Fifteen of the eligible drivers won poles during the 2002 season and the other four are past winners of this event. Nine of the entrants are former Bud Shootout winners. The total purse for the event is $966,000, with the winner getting $205,000. The non-points event, being held under the lights for the first time this year, will be run in two segments. There will be a 10-minute break after the first 20 laps, during which teams may work on their cars without losing track position. The cars will start the final 50-lap segment in the same order they finished the first segment. With the 13.5-gallon fuel cells being used at the 2.5-mile Daytona track this year, teams will not be able to complete the final 50 laps without making another stop for fuel. If the caution flag is out on Lap 70, the race will be extended until there's a green-white-checkered finish, so that also must be factored into fuel strategies.(ThatsRacin.com) and see ThatsRacin.com for The lineup for Saturday night's race (2-6-2003)
- Bud Shootout/Daytona 500 fact: Only five times in the 24 year-history of the Shootout has the winner of the race gone on to victory in the Daytona 500 the same season: Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1987) Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000) and Jeff Gordon (1997).(ThatsRacin.com)(2-6-2003)
- Waltrip, Kenyon among the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America: Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Darrell Waltrip, sports car driver and teacher Bob Bondurant, midget car veteran Mel Kenyon, motorcycle ace Gary Nixon and driver safety pioneer Bill Simpson head a class of eight racing legends who will inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on June 12, the organization announced today. Posthumous induction honors will go to drag racing engine builder Ed Donovan, hydroplane racer and designer Ted Jones and dirt track sprint car king Tommy Hinnershitz. The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is located in the Novi Expo Center in the Detroit suburb of Novi.(Indianapolis Star)(2-6-2003)
- New fantasy racing game launches: ThatsRacin.com has hit the switch on a new fantasy racing game. It went live Wednesday and boasts a number of features that put it up front among free racing fantasy games online. The late lock-in time for player selections - 15 minutes before the green flag falls on race day- is among the favorite features, say those already familiar with the game, UPICKEM RACING from Baseview Products. Another plus is the automatic e-mail that alerts players whenever their drivers fail to qualify for a race. More info at thatsracin.autoracing.upickem.net, also see info on more leagues, free and pay at my Fantasy Leagues/Games/Sims Links.(2-6-2003)
- SAFER Close: Dr. Dean Sicking was hoping his SAFER barrier would be ready for use this month in the Daytona 500, two years after Dale Earnhardt's death in the race. A few bugs in the testing process made that goal unachievable, but the delay is only a temporary setback. The University of Nebraska scientist said a variable form of the collapsible barrier could be ready for use at every Winston Cup track later this season. "We knew all along that it was a long shot for the barrier to be ready for Daytona this month," Sicking said. "Everything would have had to go perfectly in testing and development for that to happen. A testing failure caused us to make some adjustments, but that's part of the process. We're very close to reaching our goals." Sicking's goal, with the support of NASCAR and the IRL, is to see the barrier in place at every major oval-track event. There isn't a set timetable for reaching that goal, but the end of the 2004 season seems reasonable. The SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) wall was used for the first time last season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400. The improvement was obvious immediately, dramatically reducing the G-forces of crash impacts in practice-session accidents. The problem was that particular design of the barrier wasn't applicable for high-banked ovals or smaller, tight-radius tracks. The length and shape of the barrier sections needed to be customized for various track configurations. By midsummer, Sicking hopes NASCAR and the IRL will recommend that track operators consider installing the barrier at their facilities. Richmond International Raceway, a .75-mile oval, is expecting to become the first short track to use the barrier later this year. Other tracks will follow, and the dangerous paper clip-shaped oval at New Hampshire should be near the top of the list. (Dallas Morning News - may need to register for free to read). see more info on my Safety: Soft Walls page.(2-6-2003)
- Busch to test a CART UPDATE: many sources are reporting that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid Ford for Roush Racing, will tests the #9 Team Rahal Gigante Champ Car during Spring Training testing at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, FL.
UPDATEs: Kurt Busch is set to drive one of Team Rahal’s cars, today, at Sebring International Raceway. Yes, that is an open wheel car from the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford series. Set to arrive late this morning at the track he plans to meet with Michel Jourdain Jr. and the engineers from Team Rahal. Next, he’ll get his seat fitted and go through a debriefing with the engineers. Of course he will be fitted with a Head and Neck System device. He’ll spend some time watching the second practice session scheduled at 1:15-4:30pm. Then, Busch will have the track to himself for an hour.(Ford Racing - need to register for free to read)
AND This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. We have confirmed that indeed Kurt Busch will test a Champ Car today for Team Rahal. 2/4/03 - Rumor has it that Ford flew NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch from Daytona to Sebring Tuesday for his first test drive in an open-wheel car. However, we have yet to spot him.(Autoracing1.com - need subscription to read)
AND 2: Kurt Busch, third in NASCAR Winston Cup driver points last year, will test a CART Champ Car World Series car today at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Busch, a member of the Roush Racing team, will jump into a 700-horsepower, open-wheel machine for a spin around the 1.4-mile road course. The opportunity comes during CART's spring training session at Sebring, which ends Thursday. Busch, 24, will drive a Ford-Cosworth/Lola owned by Team Rahal. The car will be driven by Michel Jourdain Jr. of Mexico this year. A fan of open-wheel racing, Busch, who is from Las Vegas, has said in the past that he would like to to start one day in the Indianapolis 500.(Detroit Free Press - an yep it is Free, no registration needed)(2-5-2003)
UPDATE: Kurt Busch turned 18 laps at Sebring International Raceway in Michael Jourdain Jr.'s Champ Car. Busch, who drives a Ford Taurus for Roush Racing in NASCAR's Winston Cup series, was invited by Team Rahal to give its Ford-powered Lola a spin around the 1.669-mile short course during CART's annual spring training test days. "It was an experience I could not pass up," Busch said, grinning. "But I'm going to stick to my day job, racing on Sundays and driving Winston Cup cars." The 24-year-old racer from Las Vegas had never sat in a Champ car before climbing into the open-cockpit Wednesday under the watchful eyes of CART veteran Jourdain, who earlier gave Busch a quick tutorial during a ride around the track in a rental car. Busch's only previous experience in an open-wheel car was in a much less powerful Formula Ford at a racing school about four years ago. When all was in readiness Wednesday, the crew cranked up the 700-horsepower Ford Cosworth turbocharged V-8 engine at the back of the Lola and cleared a path for Busch to leave the pits. Busch stalled the engine after traveling about 10 feet. The car was pulled back and restarted, and Busch was able to pull away this time, squealing the tires as he left his pit. As he approached the second turn of his second lap, the car skidded sideways and spun to a stop just short of a low concrete wall. After being towed back to the pits and getting a tire change, Busch started to find the groove. His first timed lap was just over 61 seconds - about 103 mph. After that, Busch's time came down steadily, finally getting down to 54.72 - about 110 mph - before a second spin ended his adventure. By comparision, rookie Patrick Lemarie was the slowest at 53.44 seconds, 112.424 mph in CART's final session of the day, which ended just before Busch took to the track. Sebastien Bourdais, another rookie, was fast in the session at 50.95 seconds, 117.920 mph.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-6-2003)
- No Sadler Racing at Daytona: For the first time since it was formed in 1983, Nashville-based [#95] Sadler Racing will not have a car entered in at least one division at Daytona. Over the years Sadler's cars have competed in divisions from ARCA to Winston Cup. The team is searching for a driver to replace Steadman Marlin, who moved to North Carolina to join another Busch Series operation. Team owner Earl Sadler, 80, expects to name a driver soon and said he will have a car on the track early this season. Sadler's son, Check, oversees the team's day-to-day operation.(Tennessean)(2-6-2003)
- RJR/Winston leaving? No Winston Cup? UPDATEs - denied, then maybe confirmed: A spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco said Tuesday night that there's no validity to an [ESPN] Internet report saying the company is considering ending its sponsorship of NASCAR's top series after the 2003 season. An ESPN.com story quotes an anonymous source as saying RJR, which has the name of one of its brands of cigarettes on the Winston Cup series, "would walk away if a suitable replacement could be found." But Denny Darnell, senior manager of media relations for Sports Marketing Enterprises, the division of RJR that directs the NASCAR program, said the company isn't looking to leave. "We have just signed a multi-year deal with NASCAR to continue our long-running partnership," Darnell said. "We're looking forward to the 2003 season and beyond." Winston began its sponsorship of NASCAR's top series in 1971 and has spent millions in bonus and points fund money since.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-5-2003)
UPDATE 2 - But: Ned Leary, president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Sports Marketing Enterprises arm, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon confirming discussions with NASCAR about RJR ending its sponsorship of the Winston Cup series. "Winston and NASCAR have been partners for over 30 years. We signed a five-year contract for the NASCAR Winston Cup series sponsorship last July," Leary said. "Since that time, our business dynamics have changed dramatically. In our ongoing conversations with NASCAR, we have discussed the potential of their exploring a new series sponsor at some time in the future." Leary did not say how serious the talks were or provide a timetable for a possible such changes. "We have always worked with NASCAR and others to do what was in the best interests of this great sport. As the series sponsor, we will continue our work to grow this sport," he said. The statement comes one day after an Internet report claimed RJR was considering ending its sponsorship of NASCAR's top series after the 2003 season. An ESPN.com story quoted an anonymous source as saying RJR, which has the name of one of its cigarette brands on the Winston Cup series, "would walk away if a suitable replacement could be found." Denny Darnell, a spokesman for SME, had said Tuesday that night the company looked forward to a long relationship with NASCAR. Darnell said Wednesday he was not aware of a meeting between RJR and NASCAR officials on the subject when he had said that.(ThatsRacin.com)
AND from NASCAR.com: The Winston Cup in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series may be gone after 2003. The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company said it has talked with NASCAR about the possibility of the sanctioning body finding another company to become the title sponsor of stock-car racing's top division. Last July, RJR signed a five-year agreement to continue as the backer of the Winston Cup Series. But times have changed, said Ned Leary, president of Sports Marketing Enterprises, the arm of RJR that handles NASCAR sponsorship. The news is a bombshell in the NASCAR world. RJR has been the title sponsor since 1971, when the company came into the sport as manufacturers were leaving. Many have considered Winston to be a saving grace to NASCAR, establishing a points fund and pumping millions of dollars into the sport. Winston Cup has become synonymous with NASCAR in the years since. Last week, Winston announced an increase in its season-ending points fund to $17 million, with the Winston Cup champion getting $4.25 million. But on Jan. 6, perhaps a sign of things to come, RJR announced it was discontinuing the No Bull 5 program that could have handed out a $1 million bonus to a driver and fan at one of five selected races. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., the parent company of RJR, announced last week losses in the fourth quarter of 2002. The company lost $59 million in the final three months, as opposed to an $89 million profit in the same span of 2001. The company blamed increased spending on promotions on the losses, saying it needed to spend more to compete with other tobacco companies both large and small. The company also had a $224 million restructuring charge for the elimination of 635 jobs and the proposed sale of two businesses, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. RJR also had a loss in the first quarter of 2002, and profits for the entire year were down compared to 2001. Leary set no timetable for when Winston could leave the sport. "We have always worked with NASCAR and others to do what was in the best interest of this great sport," Leary said. "As the series sponsor, we will continue our work to grow this sport."(NASCAR.com)(2-5-2003)
- Changes to the Winston: NASCAR and R.J. Reynolds officials on Wednesday confirmed changes to the format of the 2003 Winston all-star race, including a record $1 million payoff for the winner. The race, scheduled for May 17 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, features race winners from the 2002 and 2003 seasons as well as past winners of the event. Then-rookie Ryan Newman won the 2002 Winston and its then-record $750,000 purse. The race, entering its 19th season, has been hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway since 1987. The Winston will continue to be run in three segments for a total of 90 laps. However, several changes have been in thoses segments and to The Winston Open, a race among drivers not already qualified for The Winston. Among the changes:
- The first segment will consist of 40 laps, during which teams must make a mandatory green-flag, four-tire pit stop. If there's a late-segment caution, efforts will be made by NASCAR to ensure a green-flag finish. The top-20 finishers advance to the next segment.
- Following a 10-minute break, during which teams may work on their cars without losing track position, the second segment of 30 laps will be held. Only the top-14 finishers will advance to the third segment.
- Following another 10-minute break, the final segment of 20 laps will take place. The starting order will be inverted from positions three through 10 following a random selection process during the break. Only green-flag laps will count toward the total.
The winner of the final segments receives $1 million. The winner of the first two segments - as well as the pole winner - receives $50,000.
- The Winston Open, which included opportunities for two drivers to advance to The Winston the last two years, will return to one race in 2003. However, the race will consist of two segments - of 20 and 10 laps - and only the top-14 finishers from the first will advance to the second. Only green-flag laps will count in the final segment and only the winner will advance to The Winston. The Winston weekend will also feature the debut of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with the inaugural Hardee's 200 set for May 16.(ThatsRacin.com), see my The Winston 2003 page for info on the race and who is in it.(2-5-2003)
- UPS and Harley? UPDATE: hearing the Harley Davidson scheme will run on the #88 UPS Ford with driver Dale Jarrett in 2003, no word on which race(s).(2-4-2003)
UPDATE: just been told, the UPS/Harley program will not happen.(2-5-2003)
- Common Engines? Expect NASCAR to explore the use of common engines. The manufacturers initially had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the common template approach, and they could react the same way to the possibility of common engines. But that certainly would make Toyota's entrance to Winston Cup easier.(Sporting News)(2-5-2003)
- Jeff Gordon speaks at Boys & Girls Club: Approximately 1,000 people gathered Tuesday evening at the new Cabarrus County Boys & Girls Club to take part in the organization's 14th annual Steak & Burger Dinner. Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon served as the keynote speaker for the fund-raising event, which raised a record high $83,600 in proceeds that will go to the club. Last year's event netted $59,000. Gordon addressed the crowd for about a half hour -- much of which was spent answering intuitive questions that were posed from youngsters. One child wondered which drivers Gordon considers to be his friends. Gordon responded with a bit of a chuckle and said, for the most part, he gets along with everyone on the NASCAR circuit. While tempers may sometimes flare between drivers on Sundays, that's usually as far as it goes, he said. As a sidenote, Megan Baker was named the recipient of the local Boys & Girls Club's 18th annual Mariam Schramm Award. Evan Carpenter was awarded with the club's Boyce Sherrin Award. George Liles Jr. was awarded the Boys & Girls Club of America Volunteer Service Award.(Independent Tribune)(2-5-2003)
- Special Scheme for Martin in the Shootout: #6-Mark Martin will be making a record 15th straight start in the Budweiser Shootout, when the green flags drops on this year's all-star event. This year's Shootout will be run on Saturday night (Feb. 8, 2003). Martin will be at the helm of the #6 Kraft Ford Taurus in this year's event. Martin, who did not win a pole in 2002, won the Bud Shootout in 1999, and will start his 16th shootout via a past-champions provisional.(Roush Racing), see an image my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-5-2003)
- Gibbs on TV: #18 and #20 team owner. Joe Gibbs, along with Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller, will be appearing on a.special race/product promotion on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), Wednesday. Feb 5th at 10:00pm/et. Matt and Laurie Crouch host, Joe Gibbs, Norm Miller, Pastor Ed Young, Jr. & Randy Phillips (of Phillips Craig & Dean) and The Awakening.(2-5-2003)
- Bodine turns herself in: The wife of NASCAR driver Brett Bodine has been charged with making harassing phone calls and threatening a Loganville woman she suspected was involved with her husband, police said. Diane Bodine, 43, turned herself in to Walton County authorities Tuesday and was released on $6,500 bond. Her lawyer said she denies all the charges.(The Tribune/AP), see past news on this on my #11 Team News and Links page.(2-5-2003)
- Hicks Honored: Larry Hicks, the ex-Marine who rescued Winston Cup car owner Jack Roush from near certain death in a lake outside Troy, AL last April, has been named the 2002 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA)/Pocono Spirit Award. The award each year recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Hicks was one of four quarterly winners singled out by the NMPA in 2002 for recognition. Other quarterly winners include Dave Marcis, Steve Park and Ken Schrader.(Danville Register and Bee)(2-5-2003)
- Million Dollar Challenge again UPDATE: DeWalt's is set to launch their Million Dollar Challenge promotion once again giving fans and end-users a chance to compete for one million dollars.(Roush Racing)(1-28-2003)
UPDATE: hearing the #17 Ford will run the Million Dollar Challenge at the Budweiser Shootout and then at Phoenix, supposedly the same scheme as last year, with a few minor decal changes(2-5-2003)
- #97 Schemes: hearing that Kurt Busch will run a #97 Irwin Tools scheme at Daytona in July, Chicago, Talladega in Oct and Lowe's in Oct, and the Commercial Products scheme at the spring Richmond race, see my Paint Scheme Gallery for the images.(2-5-2003)
- #43 Berry Scheme: John Andretti is scheduled to run a Cheerios Berry Scheme at the Winston Open and Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, this is a very cool looking scheme, see it on my Paint Scheme Gallery for the images.(2-5-2003)
- Petty Experience News UPDATE: A participant at the Richard Petty Driving Experience was driving a car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and had a heart attack over the weekend. The car crashed, but the coroner ruled it was the heart attack that killed him. Condolences out to the family, no more info at this time.(2-4-2003)
UPDATE: A man in town for a business convention died of natural causes while driving at a racing school named for Richard Petty. Philip Jerome Malarkey's death at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was attributed to coronary atherosclerosis, a common cause of heart attacks, the coroner's office said Tuesday. Malarkey, 58, of Arnold, MD, paid several thousand dollars to participate in the Richard Petty Driving Experience. After classroom instruction, Malarkey became unconscious while driving a race car similar to those used in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, said Brad Mark, driving school general manager. Mark called Malarkey's death the first in 13 years at the race driving school. The maximum speed for the cars is about 160 mph, but Malarkey was not traveling at top speed when he became unconscious and his car scraped the wall on the 1 1/2-mile oval, officials said. His car did not hit any other vehicles.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-5-2003)
- RJR/Winston Bailing? UPDATE 2: Robin Miller of ESPN.com is reporting that R.J. Reynolds [Winston] is seriously looking at ending its long and rich association with the stock car world after 33 years. This follows by just a few days Union 76's announcement that it would cease its 50-year relationship as NASCAR's official fuel and oil. A top-level source inside the tobacco industry and another source close to the situation said RJR is prepared to shut down this remarkable partnership and that NASCAR is already pursuing a replacement. "There are five years left on the contract, but RJR would walk away as the title sponsor if a suitable replacement could be found," said the source, who requested anonymity. "With all the lawsuits and litigation surrounding the tobacco industry now, Winston feels like it's time to step aside. And NASCAR is actively looking for a new title sponsor." UPS, Coca-Cola and McDonald's are thought to be very interested in hitching their wagon to the marketing monster that has become NASCAR. "We just re-established our relationship with R.J. Reynolds and we look forward to continuing our long-standing and beneficial relationship," said NASCAR vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter when asked about the possibility of losing NASCAR's sponsorship. Asked if NASCAR had a waiting list of potential title sponsors in the event RJR did bail before its contract expired, Hunter said: "In a hypothetical world, if the need ever came, we think it's a pretty good property." Denny Darnell, senior manager of media relations for Sports Marketing Enterprises, denied the report had any validity. "That would be a shock in that we have a 33-year relationship with NASCAR and we have a multiyear contract with NASCAR," said Darnell, whose agency handles all of RJR's involvement with the series that has exploded into the national consciousness the past decade. The Winston name and logo has been synonymous with NASCAR for 33 years. "Our intentions are to continue to grow with NASCAR in the future." Winston, which ended its sponsorship of the National Hot Rod Association and professional golf in order to comply with the Master Settlement Tobacco Agreement, dropped NASCAR's No Bull 5 Program for 2003 after a five-year run. That was a bonus program that offered $1 million to a driver and a NASCAR fan in five selected events. RJR also continues to sponsor NASCAR's Winston West stock car series.(ESPN)(2-4-2003)
- New Shootout Format: There will be some slight modifications to the format to Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway – the "unofficial" start to the 2003 Winston Cup season. NASCAR officials confirmed Tuesday the 70-lap all-star event – which features pole winners from the 2002 season and past winners of the event – will be split into two segments. The first segment will consist of 20 laps after which a 10-minute intermission will be held. Teams may make pit stops and do other work that transpires during a normal pit stop during this time. The second segment will be 50 laps and must end in a green-white-checkered finish. Caution laps will count toward the total in both segments so the second segment may extend beyond the scheduled 70-lap total. In the event of a red flag, crews will be permitted to work on the cars; however, all work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. When the race is resumed, all cars must immediately be ready to return to competition. All re-starts will be double-file re-starts. All lapped cars will re-start at the rear of the field. The Shootout format was changed from a 20-lap race to two 10-lap segments in 1991. The move to a 25-lap event in 1998 marked the third format change of this prestigious event. The format was again changed in 2001, this time to a 70-lap event.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-4-2003)
- New Book: The Sporting News Racetracks Book captures the excitement of the 26 past and present speedways where history has been made. Experience racing at these great tracks with panoramic shots and individual histories:
*Walk through Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis.
*Get an up-close look at the front straightaway at Talladega.
*See just how sharp the corners are at Watkins Glen.
*Check out the steep corners at Bristol, Daytona, Darlington & Dover.
*Plus the newest tracks in Chicago and Kansas City.
Hundreds of color photographs bring out the history of these tracks and their great races. Panoramic images cover each track, and the
spots where history was made are pointed out in detail:
* The Turn 4 wall where Dale Earnhardt tragically crashed and died at Daytona.
*Picturesque Turn 6 at Watkins Glen, where dozens of races have been won, and lost, on passes.
*Talladega Superspeedway and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Racetracks Book presents all of the sights, sounds and even smells of America¹s stock car raceways. It¹s a nostalgic look at the history of each track, what transpired on them, as well as what it¹s like to watch racing there today. Regularly $34.95; Your price only
$24.95 plus S&H. To Order, Toll Free 1-800-825-8508 (order Item #704) Dept. WY30127 or order online at sportingnews.com/books; see my Racing Bookstore (proceeds to charity) for many more Books, Magazines, CD's and Videos.(2-4-2003)
- What is up with Stricklin and Grissom? Nothing: Hut Stricklin and Stever Grissom are on the sidelines for now. "There's not a lot out there. I haven't been talking to anybody really," Stricklin said. He declined an offer from a team on a shoestring budget for a one-race deal. "I'm not going to do that," he said. "If and when I get back in it, I want to do it on my own terms." Grissom also has nothing in the works. He is no longer with Petty Enterprises as a test driver after the operation scaled back on its research and development program.(Alabama Live)(2-4-2003)
- New Cereral - Petty 43s: Having built a legend racing on ovals, Richard Petty understands that things eventually come full circle. That list will soon include cereal, as the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion goes from having his face on the Breakfast of Champions to having his own breakfast. General Mills on Tuesday will introduce Richard Petty 43s, a sweet rice-and-corn cereal shaped in 4s and 3s in honor of his No. 43 stock car. "I've had my face on a Wheaties box, but this is a whole new ballgame for me," Petty said. "It tastes pretty good, though I'm a little prejudiced." The limited-edition cereal features two collectible metallic designs of NASCAR's winningest driver (200 wins). One has Petty with his 1970 Plymouth Superbird, the other with his 1984 Pontiac Grand Prix. The packages form a mural of his storied career. General Mills also will donate $43,000 to the Petty family's Victory Junction Gang Camp, due to open next year in North Carolina.(USA Today)(2-4-2003)
- Earnhardt Tribute official criticizes DEI: One member of the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Steering Committee says legal wrangling over the use of the late NASCAR driver's name and image is holding up the progress of the tribute site. Committee member Jack Cuff says he's frustrated with both Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Earnhardt's widow, Teresa. Issues over the use of the trademarked Earnhardt name and likeness have put a kink in the group's ability to raise money and finish the work that still needs to be done, Cuff said. Teresa Earnhardt has asked city leaders to stop using fliers and billboards bearing the race car driver's likeness until the materials have been approved. Among the items in question is a card with Earnhardt's picture on it, used to solicit donations for the tribute.(Independent Tribune)(2-4-2003)
- Testing at Atlanta: #12-Ryan Newman will be testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 18-19, closed to the public. On Feb. 25-26, #41-Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray, #15-Michael Waltrip, #0-Jack Sprague, #38-Elliott Sadler and #10-Johnny Benson are scheduled to test, also, closed to public. Tickets still available to the AMS races in March and Oct, see their revamped site at www.atlantamotorpseedway.com.(2-4-2003)
- Trickle in a Truck at Daytona? the Dick Trickle Fan Club newsletter is reporting that Dick Trick was contacted by a Craftsman’s Truck team, right before he departed for Daytona [to test and set up IROC cars], about the possibility of competing in the Daytona truck race. The team has limited sponsorship but has committed to the Daytona race. Trickle will be communicating with the team by phone, concerning their engine program, testing results, crew, etc. An actual decision may not be made until early next week, whether it by the team or Trickle.(Dick Trickle Fan Club Newsletter)(2-4-2003)
- Sporting News NASCAR Preview: The Sporting News NASCAR 2003 season preview issue of the magazine hits newsstands Wednesday [Feb 5th]. It has Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Junior on the cover, and new this season, also includes Busch Series and Craftsman trucks coverage. Lee Spencer examines to the top stories/drivers to watch this and has driver reports on TSN's top 10
Winston Cup drivers entering the season.(2-4-2003)
- Andretti Testing in FL: hearing that #43-John Andretti will be testing at USA International Speedway in Lakeland Fl, on Tuesday February 4th and Wednesday February 5th.(2-4-2003)
- No FX on C-Band: been told by many readers that FX will not longer be available on C-Band satellite transmissions, comments back from emails to FX: "FX will no longer be available to C-Band satellite customers after the move to digital. We apologize
for any inconvenience." I do not start petetions/campaigns, so folks need to complain to FX and your Satellite people. See my Media/Contact page for FX info.(2-4-2003)
- Kenseth Re-ups with Roush? UPDATE: hearing it was reported on Wisconsin's The LTN Hour radio show that Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 DeWalt Ford with Roush Racing, has signed a four(4) year extention to remain at Roush. His contract was due to run out at the end of the 2004 season.(2-2-2003)
UPDATE: Roush Racing announced today that Matt Kenseth has been signed to new multi-year contract to continue driving for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "The renewed commitments that Kurt and Matt have made to the organization, and the reciprocal commitments that Jack Roush has made to them, will help solidify the already strong momentum that Roush Racing has in the industry," said Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president. "All Roush Racing drivers are now signed for long term periods, which will keep 'silly season' disruptions to a minimum this year and allow all of our teams to focus solely on racing and building sponsorship value," Smith continued. Said owner Jack Roush, "The signing of Matt and Kurt, along with the agreements already in place with our other outstanding drivers, completes our competitive Winston Cup structure and provides us with an unmatched and quite remarkable line up for the next several years."(ThatsRacin.com)(2-3-2003)
- Geoffrey Bodine in the Shootout: Geoffrey Bodine will drive the #11 Hooters Ford in the Budwieser Shootout this coming Saturday night [8:00pm/et on Fox].(NASCAR.com)(2-3-2003)
- Busch re-signs with Roush: Roush Racing announced today that #97-Kurt Busch has been signed to new multi-year contract to continue driving for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "The renewed commitments that Kurt and Matt have made to the organization, and the reciprocal commitments that Jack Roush has made to them, will help solidify the already strong momentum that Roush Racing has in the industry," said Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president. "All Roush Racing drivers are now signed for long term periods, which will keep 'silly season' disruptions to a minimum this year and allow all of our teams to focus solely on racing and building sponsorship value," Smith continued. Said owner Jack Roush, "The signing of Matt and Kurt, along with the agreements already in place with our other outstanding drivers, completes our competitive Winston Cup structure and provides us with an unmatched and quite remarkable line up for the next several years."(ThatsRacin.com)(2-3-2003)
- Murry and a Cup deal? hearing that David Murry, who this past weekend finished third, overall, in the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car race, is reportedly speaking with a handful of Winston Cup teams relative to an R&D effort. Murry, a road course veteran, who has dabbled in Winston Cup racing over the years, apparently initiated talks, specifically, with Hendrick Motorsports a few weeks ago and it has led to a meeting in Charlotte. The Atlanta native is also in the process of trying to button up a deal with a soon-to-be announced new WC team to run both the Watkins Glen and Sears Point races.(2-3-2003)
- Buckshot back? hearing Buckshot Jones will test at Atlanta towards the end of February, could be a possible ride Michael Waltrip in the #00.(2-3-2003)
- Junie Donlavey Targets Daytona 500 UPDATE: Junie Donlavey, owner of the #90 Ford, doesn't possess a driver or a sponsor, but he does hold the will to bring his Richmond-based Winston Cup team to Daytona International Speedway this week to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. An offseason search for financial backing has proved fruitless, but the team decided to finish preparing a superspeedway car and make the trip.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-2-2003)
UPDATE: Kirk Shelmerdine will run the #90 Freddie B's Ford fielded by Donlavey Racing at the Daytona 500. Freddie B's is in Winston-Salem, NC. See a drawing of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(2-3-2003)
- Testing at the Rock: The following drivers will be at North Carolina Speedway Monday – Tuesday, February 3 - 4 testing for the upcoming NASCAR weekend February 21 - 23, 2003: #38-Elliott Sadler, #29-Kevin Harvick, #42-Jamie McMurray, #41-Casey Mears, #12-Ryan Newman, #32-Ricky Craven, #0-Jack Sprague. For the BGN: #25-Bobby Hamilton, Jr. Grandstand Gates are open 9:00am - 4:00pm/et and the general public is invited to view the test session from the grandstand.(North Carolina Speedway PR via Catchefence)(2-3-2003)
- Schrader Captures Bosch Spark Plug 150 at PIR: Ken Schrader held off a late charge by rookie Scott Lynch to win the Bosch Spark Plug 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. It was Schrader's second victory on the one-mile oval in NASCAR Winston West Series competition and his eighth win in the series overall. It was also Schrader's 13th win at Phoenix International Raceway, dating back to his first victory in 1982 when he was still racing Midgets and Sprints. Jim Inglebright charged from his 11th starting position to finish third in the #20 Jelly Belly Chevy. Fourth went to Inglebright's teammate Austin Cameron, the defending Bosch Spark Plug 150 champion, in the NAPA Auto Parts Chevy. Steve Portenga brought his King Taco Ford home in fifth. AND Bryan Germone, 1997 Featherlite Southwest Series champion, drove his Drivetech Racing School Chevy to win his first ever race at Phoenix International Raceway in taking the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series Phoenix 100. It was his eighth career victory, and first since the 1998 season. Starting from the ninth row and 17th position overall, Germone moved through the field steadily throughout the afternoon, topping Eddy McKean and Auggie Vidovich Jr., who placed second and third, respectively. Polesitter and veteran Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader led the 42-car field for the first 79 laps before suffering front end damage and falling back to eighth place.(PIR PR)(2-3-2003)
see the Jan 27-Feb 2, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Jan 20-26, 2003 Archived News Page