Jarrett wins at the Rock: #88-Dale Jarrett wins the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway, his 31st overall Winston Cup win, crew chief Brad Parrot's first win. The win makes it 11 years in a row that Jarrett has won at least one race. #97-Kurt Busch was 2nd for the 2nd race in a row, and takes over the Winston Cup Points lead. Result Links at: Jayski, ThatsRacin.com, NASCAR.com or Motorsports One.(2-23-2003) UPDATE when the Official Results came out today for the Subway 400, many finishing positions were changed between 14th and 28th. #7-Spencer was dropped from 19th to 28th, 13 positions were changed [no idea why, looks like some lap counts were off, that is why I wait until the official results to do most of my stats pages].(2-24-2003)
Fukuyama testing at Vegas? UPDATE 2 to attempt an 'ABC' schedule, mostly Cup: hearing that Hideo Fukuyama is testing Monday and Tuesday [Feb 10-11] at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the #66 Travis Carter Ford and that Gary Cogswell is the crew chief. UPDATE: using a Japanese online translator and some help from a reader, converted a PR from a Japanese Hideo Fukuyama site announcing that Fukuyama will run 23 (but has since cancelled Rockingham as he didn't get to test so it is 22) Cup races, 7 BGN and 6 ARCA races (or games as they call it) in the #66 Travis Carter Ford (or as Penske Racing made famous with Newman a few years ago, the ABC - ARCA, BGN and Cup). Mentions "Corporation HFRP" or "Hideo Fukuyama Racing Project. The translation was rough to say the least, check this out "we would like to convey the charm of the most radical American stock car race to also the Japanese motor sport fan in the world". A 2nd PR on the site, mentions that the Las Vegas Cup would be attempted.(2-11-2003) UPDATE 2: hearing Kikkoman Soy Sauce will be the sponsor on the car at Las Vegas, see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-23-2003)
Gordon to take flight: Diecast dealers have begun taking pre-orders on a Jeff Gordon paint scheme for Charlotte in May. The scheme is a tribute to the "Wright Brothers 100 years of Aviation."(Gordonline)(2-12-2003) UPDATE: see a diecast image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery, supposedly the official announement will occur in March at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(2-23-2003)
Hermie Sadler announcement on March 19th: Hermie Sadler, driver of the #02 car is enthused about his 2003 agenda which will include a busier schedule for his South Hill, VA based Winston Cup team. "I'm excited, man," Sadler said. "This is my first full-time (Busch) ride in four or five years, and I'm anxious to see where we are at once we get all our fleet of cars built up." Sadler also counting down the days until March 19. "That's the day we are going to make our announcement at the Governor's Mansion in Richmond about my Winston Cup program," Sadler said. "We are planning to do about 12 races. And some of those races will be with help from Toys R Us. The first race for that program will be at Bristol. So obviously Bristol is going to be a big weekend for us. Right now, we just want to focus on Rockingham."(Bristol Herald Courier)(2-23-2003)
Autopsy Photo Fight in NC now: An Iredell County legislator who represents Dale Earnhardt's family in the N.C. House filed a bill last week to remove autopsy photographs as public records. But officials at the N.C. Press Association promise to oppose the legislation. Under the bill sponsored by Rep. Karen Ray, R-Iredell, court officials, investigators and family members of the deceased would have access to autopsy photos, videos and audiotapes. But others would have to ask a judge for a court order to release photos or tapes or allow copies. Ray said that the bill was prompted by the furor two years ago when newspapers and other media outlets asked for photos from the autopsy in Florida of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt after his fatal wreck at the Daytona 500. Earnhardt's widow, Teresa Earnhardt, was on the steering committee for Ray's campaign last year in a Mooresville-based district that is heavily populated by NASCAR drivers, team members, crews and companies. Ray says that protection in the bill extends beyond NASCAR drivers. The bill would make it a felony to illegally provide a photo or recording from an autopsy to an unauthorized official. But Teri Saylor, the executive director of the N.C. Press Association, said that her group of newspaper publishers is likely to oppose Ray's bill, just as it did a similar bill that died in the 2001 legislature. Saylor said that information such as autopsy photos can be critical to a newspaper's watchdog role. Saylor said that many newspapers have strict guidelines about photos. Some newspapers provide links to autopsy reports on their Web sites, but not to autopsy photos, Saylor said. Florida's legislature removed autopsy photos from the state's public records after the flap over the Earnhardt photos. But John Bussian, a lobbyist for the press association, said that Florida voters passed a ballot proposal last year that requires a two-thirds vote in the legislature to remove items from the state's public-records law.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-23-2003)
Inspection Taking Time: Inspections were once again quite detailed this weekend for Winston Cup teams, with NASCAR opening up its tech line at noon Thursday and working until nearly 8 p.m. clearing cars for Friday's activities. Several cars were late getting to the qualifying line Friday afternoon, too, as the rain-delayed session pushed toward nightfall. Teams seem to be having the most difficulty building cars that meet new interlocking templates being used by NASCAR this year. The templates measure, for instance, a car down its length as well as across its width at the same time, and very little deviance is accepted.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-23-2003)
Concern about Fire Extinguishers: Fire is one of the most frightening things for a driver, so in-car extinguishers are standard, either 21/2 pounds or five pounds. But now there are questions being raised about the 1211 Halon aerosol being used in the NASCAR extinguishers. Halon has long been considered one of the safest chemicals for extinguishing fires. But the EPA has been trying to phase out Halon because of ozone issues, and new production isn't allowed. And there is some question about the ability of a driver to breathe inside the car if the concentration of Halon is at too high a level. There is enough Halon in a 21/2-pound bottle to flood the interior of a race car with 50 percent concentration, which some in the Winston Cup garage worry might be high enough to suffocate a driver, particularly if he's unable to crawl out of his car. Halon is usually required to be used only in unoccupied spaces, with warning alarms designed to give anyone in the area 30 seconds to get out before the Halon is released.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-23-2003)
Third Roof Flap? A third roof flap that NASCAR is studying, probably wouldn't have kept Ryan Newman's car from getting airborne in last Sunday's Daytona 500, a series official said. "I don't think that anything shows us that if two of them didn't open that the third one would have opened in that case," said Joe Garone, director of NASCAR's research and development center. Each car has two roof flaps that are intended to flip up and keep the car from getting airborne when it gets turned around. Garone said unique circumstances led to Newman's car getting in the air. After Newman hit the wall, the right rear wheel came off, allowing air to rush under the car. As that happened, Newman's car slid down the banked track. The front half of his car was on the flat apron as the back end was on the 18-degree tri-oval. Also, Garone said Newman's car did not turn around enough to trigger the roof flaps.(Roanoke Times)(2-23-2003)
30 Millions Bucks: Terry Labonte joined the $30 million club last weekend at Daytona. After earning $238,053 in purse money during Speed Weeks at Daytona, the two-time Winston Cup champion surpassed the $30 million mark in career winnings. He is eighth all-time with $30,018,986 earned, behind Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt.(Daytona Bach News Journal)(2-23-2003)
Hendrick sends backups home: The unliklihood of any Winston Cup practice on Saturday prompted Hendrick Motorsports to send two of its teams' backup cars back to Charlotte. The backup cars the teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson taken to Rockingham this week are the primary cars both teams expect to use next weekend at Las Vegas. Bad weather canceled Saturday's final Cup practices, so Hendrick team officials decided to load up Gordon and Johnson's backup cars and take them back to team headquarters for final preparations for next weekend's race.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-22-2003)
Chevy Cheating? UPDATE: Rusty Wallace fanned the flames of suspicion yesterday when he insisted that Chevy teams were fudging: "Four or five of them were cheating really, really hard and didn't get caught. The NASCAR guys know it, and they're out for them when they get to Talladega."(Winston Salem Journal and Roanoke Times)...yikes... UPDATE: The grumblings have started between the different car makes, with most teams thinking the Chevrolets are at a decided advantage and Rusty Wallace even making allegations of cheating. Monte Carlos from Dale Earnhardt Inc. won four races during Speed Weeks and Richard Childress-owned Chevys won the fifth race and the pole for the Daytona 500. "I don't know why (the Chevys) were so good at Daytona," said Wallace. "They had more power and a little less coefficient of drag. Four or five of them were cheating really, really hard and didn't get caught. The NASCAR guys know it, and they're out for them when they get to Talladega."
Ty Norris, general manager at DEI, rolled his eyes at claims of cheating. "He must be talking about somebody else," Norris said. "Our guys put a lot of effort into it and don't get complacent about our plate racing."(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-22-2003)
NASCAR defends decision to red flag Daytona 500: Fans and drivers weren't the only ones disappointed with the rain-shortened Daytona 500. As it turns out, NASCAR also wasn't thrilled with the early end to its biggest race of the season. "It's our Super Bowl, too, and the way it ended was personally disappointing to me," Winston Cup director John Darby said Friday. "After watching the race that long, it had just reached a point where it was all starting to come together and was about to get interesting." Michael Waltrip won Sunday's race when NASCAR called it after a second hour-long rain delay. The event ended 91 laps short of its scheduled 200. Because 109 laps had been completed, the race had passed the halfway point and was considered an official event. With no evidence that the rain would let up, NASCAR officials determined it would be impossible to resume on Sunday. Coming back on Monday to finish it was not considered an option because the event was already official. "The general practice that we've always been pretty solid about, that's no big secret and is not going to change, is that if we get past halfway and you can't complete it that day - that's it," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. Darby said NASCAR made the only decision it could, based on the rule book. "As bitter and disappointing as it might seem, our decision is in black and white," he said. "If we make an exception because it is the Daytona 500, then later in the season when we are in the middle of 20-straight weeks of racing, we've opened up a can of worms when we try to come back on a Monday to finish a race that is already official."(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-22-2003)
New Assoc for Gibbs UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Advair, an asthma maintenance treatment, an associate sponsor on the team's #18 and #20 cars. Driver Bobby Labonte, who has asthma, will be a spokesman for the program and will encourage fans to visit an educational trailer to be located trackside at NASCAR events.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-24-2003) UPDATE: Bobby Labonte's car will switch from green to purple for the Food City 500 at Bristol next month. The color-scheme change is being used to promote Advair, an asthma treatment that Labonte has started using. Labonte's primary sponsor, Interstate Batteries, is taking its name off the car for that race to let him promote the medication. "It's helping me get off the quick-relief (inhalers)," Labonte said of Advair. "I was racing a car at Martinsville, Va., and saw a guy beside me that had quick-relief taped to his helmet in case he had to use it. I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, that guy's got it worse than I do.'" Part of Advair's season-long promotion includes testing for lung problems at most of the race tracks. Stan Hull, a representative of GlaxoSmithKline, which makes the product, said that more than 1,400 people underwent lung testing during Speed Weeks.(Fayetteville Observer) AND the #18 Chevy will also have Advair on the hood for the races at Rockingham, Atlanta, The Winston, Dover, Chicago, Pocono, Darlington, Kansas and Phoenix. See images of both schemes on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-22-2003)
The Hulk scheme(s): looks like #18-Bobby Labonte will run a Incredible Hulk scheme at Michigan in June to help promote the movie 'The Incredible Hulk', supposedly this will be a 3-4 car promo, with other cars part of it, like the Muppet's/Looney Tunes last year. See an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-22-2003)
#21 Tractor? and a #50 tractor.....in the Navy: A tow tractor painted as a replica of professional race driver Ricky Rudd's race car: At sea aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) -- Capt Kendall Card (center), Commanding Officer, along with Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Chris Elmore (far left) from Salt Lake City, Uah, Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Noe Munoz (kneeling left) from Van Nuys, Calif., Aviation Support Equipment Technicians 2nd Class Jason Eslinger (center left) from Keizer, Ore., Gary Jaeckin (center right) from Norwalk, Ohion, George Matthies (right) from Oakland, Calif., and Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Mario Maciasplaza (kneeling right) from Los Angeles, Calif., are shown here displaying their tribute to NASCAR; a tow tractor painted as a replica of driver Ricky Rudd's #21 race car. Lincoln and Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW-14) are conducting operations in support of Operation Southern Watch. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Daniel C. Johnson.(see image at the Navy Newstand.(2-21-2003) and #50 too: At sea aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) Dec. 19, 2002 -- Jon Wood, professional driver of the Wood Brothers, Roush Racing F-150 racing truck, sits in the driver's seat of a "souped-up" support equipment tractor rebuilt by the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Division Four (IM4) Sailors. IM4 Sailors stand behind Wood and their tractor. The Norfolk, Va.-based carrier is returning home from a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Janice Kreischer.(see image at the Navy Newstand.(2-22-2003)
Daytona 500 Telecast Most Valuable To Sponsors in NASCAR History: The Daytona 500 airing on Fox last weekend provided corporate sponsors with more exposure value than any other U.S. motorsports broadcast in history, as 271 brands accumulated some $251.4 million of exposure value — nearly 10% more than last year’s Daytona total of $228.7 million. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates’ Sponsors Report — which has documented exposure received by corporate entities during national television broadcasts of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for the last 19 seasons — sponsors garnered more than seven hours of on-screen time and 250 verbal references during the live 4.5-hour Fox telecast.. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the amount of time each sponsor appears clear and in-focus, as well as all mentions of sponsors, to the cost of purchasing a commercial during the network’s broadcast. Budweiser was the biggest exposure winner among the sponsors during the season-opening telecast, as the beer brand collected more than 27:00 of on-camera time and 20 mentions, bringing about a comparable value of $16.1 million.. Meanwhile, race winner Michael Waltrip’s main sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts, finished a close second in the battle for exposure after collecting $15.5 million. As a group, brands functioning as primary team sponsors averaged $2.1 million in comparable exposure value, or nearly the estimated cost of eight, 30-second commercial spots during the Daytona telecast. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Sponsors Report conducts in-depth studies of sponsor exposure monitored during more than 2,300 nationally televised event programs annually.(Joyce Julius and Associates PR)(2-22-2003)
Buckshot back? UPDATE: 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) UPDATE: hearing that Jones will not test at Atlanta but will run the race in the #00 Chevy.(2-20-2003) UPDATE 2: hearing the sponsor will not be Charter Communications and that the new sponsor will be announced soon. AND Jones is entered in the MBNA Bass Pro Shops 500 in a car owned by Winston Cup driver Michael Waltrip. It's the same car Jones brought to AMS last fall, only to see rain wash out qualifying and rob him of a chance to earn a starting spot. Jones, who hasn't raced since he drove the #44 Dodge last April in Martinsville, hoped to run some practice laps at AMS next week, but that's not going to happen. Since NASCAR changed the body rules after the 2002 season, it has been difficult for a part-time team to find someone to re-skin the car. "We had hoped to get the people at Dale Earnhardt Inc. to hang the body, but they're pretty busy with their own cars," Jones said. With little hope for a full-time ride, Jones has turned to developing residential subdivisions in and around Gwinnett County. Jones said he'd like to resume his racing career, but the odds of getting a front-running car are slim.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-22-2003)
Special Elliott/Mayfield schemes? hear there will be some sort of special #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jermey Mayfield schemes, some sort of special Dodge program, but not sure what or where yet.(2-20-2003) UPDATE: hearing it could be a Simpson's (TV Show and Jayski Fave) scheme, not sure what for or when.(2-22-2003)
Blaney wins his first pole: #77-Dave Blaney won the pole for the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway, with a speed of 154.683. It is Blaney's first ever Bud Pole (and first ever front row start). Blaney joins Davey Allison (1987), Kyle Petty (1990) and Hut Stricklin (1995) winning their first career poles at the Rockingham, NC track. Outside pole went to #10-Johnny Benson (who won at the Rock in Nov 2002). #99-Jeff Burton spun on his attempt and has to use a provisional as does the Daytona 500 pole sitter, #30-Jeff Green. All 43 drivers make the race and those who used provisionals, will not be charged one. See the speeds, who used provisionals, pole progression, rookies, lineup links on my Rockingham Qualifying Page.(2-21-2003)
Some facts about the Rock: In the last five NASCAR Winston Cup races at North Carolina Speedway, the winner has come from 21st or deeper in the field. Last season, #17-Matt Kenseth won the Subway 400 from the 25th position and #10-Johnny Benson won the Pop Secret 400 from 26th. The last driver to win the Subway 400 from the pole was Jeff Gordon in 1995. There have been eight different winners in the last eight races at North Carolina Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(2-21-2003)
David Hill Says FOX Had No Say in NASCAR Decision: Fox Sports Chairman David Hill was perturbed at suggestions that Fox contributed to NASCAR calling Sunday's rain-delayed Daytona 500 after 109 of the 200 scheduled laps in order to ensure the network's prime-time shows would run in their normal times. "To suggest we went to NASCAR and had them call the race because of our prime-time schedule is the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard," Hill said. "We were in a commercial when NASCAR called the race. And we lost more than $2 million in commercials that we'll have to make up on future races."(USA Today via MotorsportsTV)(2-22-2003)
Fines and Suspensions? UPDATE 2: Rumor has it that NASCAR will pass out some fines -- and possibly suspensions -- for indiscretions that occurred during Speedweeks 2003. The penalties could come as early as Thursday morning. The fines could rival Speedweeks 2001, when more than $36,000 in fines and two suspensions were passed out. After Bud Pole Qualifying for the 2001 Daytona 500, 18 crew chiefs were fined a total of nearly $40,000 for a variety of infractions. It was -- and still is -- the largest number of individuals NASCAR has ever fined at once. Tony Furr, then crew chief of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, received a four-race suspension and $12,750 in fines for being too low, a fuel cell violation and "illegal adjustable braces."(NASCAR.com's Buzz)(2-20-2003) UPDATE: nothing was announced Thursday and the 'announcement' may come Friday as a Techincial Bulletin.(XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio; need radio and subsciption to listen to) UPDATE 2: NASCAR has levied fines against seven Winston Cup series crew chiefs for infractions during last week’s Daytona 500, officials said Friday. They are:
- Peter Sospenzo, crew chief for the #25 car of Joe Nemechek, was fined $2,000 for two rear coil spring mounts that did not meet NASCAR specifications.
- Dennis Connor, crew chief for the #0 car of Jack Sprague, was fined $1,000 for external probe heaters that did not conform to NASCAR rules.
- James Ince, crew chief for the #10 car of Johnny Benson, was fined $500 for underpans that did not meet NASCAR specifications.
- Chris Carrier, crew chief for the #4 car of Mike Skinner, Mike Beam, crew chief for the #30 car of Jeff Green, and Anthony Gibson, crew chief for the #1 car of Steve Park, were each fined $500 for fuel filters that did not conform to NASCAR rules.
- Raymond Fox, crew chief for the #38 car of Elliott Sadler, was fined $250 for adjustable fender braces that did not meet NASCAR specifications.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-21-2003)
Nissan in the Truck Series too? Nissan, gearing up to launch a full-size pickup truck later this year, may race in a top pickup truck league of NASCAR, in an effort to promote the truck. Larry Dominique, chief product specialist for Nissan's full-size pickup truck and sport-utility vehicles, said NASCAR has contacted and asked Nissan whether the Tokyo auto maker is interested in taking part in its Craftsman Truck race series. Though there are some obstacles, including a sizable investment needed to develop race-ready pickup trucks, Dominique said Nissan told NASCAR it wanted to keep the dialogue open and learn more about the series.(Yahoo Biz via WSJ)(2-21-2003)
TV Note: The History Channel will air the documentary 'Scott', about Wendell Scott, the only African-American driver/owner to compete full time in NASCAR's top series, at 10:00am/et on Feb. 23.(see a article about Scott at Wendell Scott overcame the odds...... at the Daily Herald)(2-21-2003)
Gordon and Sesame Street team up again: Jeff Gordon and The Jeff Gordon Foundation are again teaming up with Sesame Street to raise money for charity. The Jeff Gordon Foundation, established in 1999, and Sesame Street, created by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization, are in the second year of a multi-year partnership. The 2002 program featured therelease of the "Jeff Gordon Foundation-Sesame Street Elmo" diecast car designed by renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass. This season, the special edition diecast features another Sesame Street favorite, Cookie Monster, and is again designed by Sam Bass. Once more, this specially designed collector's car will not be raced. Action Performance Companies will produce the diecast replicas of the "2003 Jeff Gordon Foundation-Sesame Street Cookie Monster" car, which will be released for sale in June of this year.(NASCAR.com)(2-21-2003)
NASCAR VP Says FOX, NBC Equal: While many perceive Fox to better NBC when it comes to NASCAR Winston Cup coverage, NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting Paul Brooks doesn't share that assesment. "Perception is not always reality, and I feel that each of our broadcast partners brings a unique and valuable presentation of our sport that serves our total audience," Brooks told the Sports Business Daily. "The unique presentation each broadcaster brings to the sport keeps our race season (the longest season in sports) fresh and exciting."(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-21-2003)
Martin named Grand Marshall of Rockingham Busch race: Roush Racing's Mark Martin will serve as the Grand Marshal for Saturday's Rockingham 200 Busch Series race. Martin, who won 11 Busch races at Rockingham and captured six poles, will give the command to start engines. Martin holds virtually every record for the 200-mile event of which he competed on 25 occasions, finishing inside the top five 16 times and in the top 10 on 20 occasions, before retiring from the Busch series after the 2000 season. "It's an honor to be recognized for something that you accomplished in your career," said Martin. "We had a lot of good Busch races at Rockingham over the years and a lot of other people were responsible for that as well. Still I do appreciate the honor and look forward to it on Saturday.(Roush Racing PR via J-Mar Newsletter)(2-21-2003)
Bodine gets a side gig: Brett Bodine, owner and driver of the #11 Hooter's Ford NASCAR Winston Cup machine, will trade his helmet for a radio headset during the March 1-2 NASCAR weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bodine will serve as an analyst for the Performance Racing Network's coverage of the Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 1, and the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 NASCAR Winston Cup event on Sunday, March 2. "I am excited and looking forward to working with PRN," said Bodine, who is competing in only selected Winston Cup events this season. "I think I can bring added insights from both a driver and owner's perspectives and relay that to the listening audience."
"We are excited about working with Brett in the booth," said Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of PRN, who will co-anchor the broadcasts with Mark Garrow. "Brett brings an intimate knowledge of NASCAR that will be an asset to the broadcasts."
"If I can improve my broadcasting skills, it may be something I can pursue when I hang up my helmet," said Bodine, who has prior experience as a television broadcaster. PRN's broadcasts air on 450 affiliate radio stations across the country as well as on XM Satellite Radio and NASCAR.com. Rice and Garrow co-anchor the broadcasts with Brett McMillan, Steve Richards and Pat Patterson reporting from pit road. Chuck Carland and Rob Albright cover the action from the turns.(PRN PR)(2-20-2003)
Yankee's Scheme: hearing Christian Fittipaldi will run a New York Yankees scheme Winston Cup car sometime this year, probably at Watkins Glen with the #44 Petty Dodge.(2-20-2003)
Labonte looking to extend contract thru 2004: Terry Labonte, a two-time champ, is negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports for a one-year extension of his contract to drive the #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet.(Sporting News)(2-20-2003)
Dale Jr in Drakkar ads: Drakkar Noir is racing back into television advertising for the first time in nearly a decade, launching a new campaign that features Drakkar Noir spokesperson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his #8 race car. Building on the unprecedented and successful 2002 initial year of the partnership between prestige fragrance Drakkar Noir and the fast-paced world of Winston Cup Racing, the new TV spot brings last year's print ad to life. It blends the power, passion, performance and sensuality of the fragrance with Earnhardt Jr. and the speed and intensity of racing. The new ad will launch on February 20 on the Speed Channel with four to six ad flights planned for 2003. The ad will also be seen in regional markets through department store ad buys. Supporting the TV and print campaigns will be personal appearances by Earnhardt Jr., a traveling show car program at retail outlets in more then 25 markets across the U.S., and other retail outreach including special offers of Drakkar Noir/Earnhardt Jr. items including collectable die-cast cars. As part of the partnership, the Drakkar Noir logo is prominently displayed on the uniforms worn by Earnhardt Jr., his team, and the lower quarterpanel of his #8 Chevrolet.(Yahoo Biz)(2-20-2003)
Inside Cat is back: Last year's publication of Inside Cat Racing 2002 was such a success that a 2003 edition has just been released. The magazine-format issue includes photographs and lots of information about Ward Burton and Bill Davis Racing. Inside Cat Racing is available at the Cat Merchandise Centre on Adams Street in Peoria or at www.insidecatracing.com. The 2002 edition also may be ordered on the Web site.(Peoria Star)(2-20-2003)
Hamilton Jr to run Atlanta UPDATE: Bobby Hamilton Jr tested a Winston Cup that Team Rensi (his BGN team) plans to run at Atlanta in March.(FSN's Totally NASCAR)(2-19-2003) UPDATE: It's been almost two years since Bobby Hamilton Jr. ran a Winston Cup race, but he believes there is no better place to make his initial 2003 Winston Cup start than Atlanta Motor Speedway. In order to prepare for his return to Winston Cup, Hamilton Jr. tested Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, posting a top speed of 185.853 mph before packing up just before lunch on Wednesday. Although he is the full-time driver of the #25 Team Marines Ford for 2003 in the BGN, Hamilton Jr. has the opportunity to run
a limited Winston Cup schedule this year. So when it came time to choose the tracks where he would run, Atlanta was an easy choice.(AMS PR)(2-20-2003)
Fuel Injection in NASCAR? Whatever Detroit is selling on the NASCAR tour this season, it's certainly not cars, and it's certainly not engines. NASCAR's common-template creation has almost nothing in common with anything on the street. Every piece of a Winston Cup car now is specially made. And when was the last time anyone bought a [New] passenger car with a 358-c.i. engine with a carburetor? Nevertheless, Detroit's presence in NASCAR is huge. And if the men in the suits in the suites of America's car capital are really paying attention to what's going on down here, and not simply laying out new full-page ads celebrating victory in USA Today, then Detroit's presence may soon be getting bigger. Why? Toyota.
So is that why Ford's Robert Yates is suddenly so interested in pushing NASCAR to approve a new, exotic race engine? Yates, the legendary engine builder and #38/88 car owner, is talking about NASCAR's need for a new-generation engine. The two current designs used on the Winston Cup tour are based on the 1955 Chevrolet V-8 small block and the 1969 Ford 351 small block. What Yates has been working on would be radical departure from those carburetor motors: A four-valve, double-overhead cam 4.6 liter. One of his motors just ran in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and, Yates said, "These things would do fine right here today," referring to the Winston Cup tour. "They make all the horsepower we need or more, at considerably less cost. And it's been enlightening for me to work on them," Yates said. "We felt proud in the 1960s and early 1970s that some of our technology went back to the manufacturers. But since then we've really sort of disconnected. There's not much stock about our engines. I feel like we're just working on dinosaurs. There is a lot of technology we use on the engines today, and I don't want anybody to think we're running with 1955 technology. But I just think we can accomplish the same thing with something that's built by the manufacturer. That's when the price comes down. Despite the expected dubious reaction from NASCAR executives to such an exotic piece, Yates said, "It would actually give them better control over what's going on." Yates said he talked with NASCAR officials last month during the 24 Hours, and he says he felt he sold Gary Nelson, NASCAR's director of competition, on part of the concept. Yates suggests that NASCAR might consider approving the engine for the tour's four restrictor- plate races, "because that's an engine program of its own. It would be a good place to introduce this engine.(Full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(2-20-2003)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic Organizers Donate Money to CVAN: The Inaugural Dale Jr. Grappling Classic was such a huge success that organizers were able to donate $2,000 from the proceeds of raffles and auctions held throughout the Jiu Jitsu tournament on January 25th at the Cabarrus County Arena to CVAN, a domestic violence service for women. The planning committees are currently working on the plans for any future events. "We're happy with the results from the first tournament," Kelley Earnhardt, of JR Motorsports said. "There are some things that we need to change for next year, but we think this inaugural event went off without any major snares.. Everyone pitched in and did a great job working the event." Dale Jr., who brought along his posse of friends to see the action, enjoyed the event from the suites above the grandstands at the Cabarrus Arena. Earnhardt Jr, also had the privilege of meeting several of the competitors that afternoon while watching the action live from beside the mats on the floor area. "There was a lot more involved in this competition that I had ever thought," Earnhardt Jr., said. "It was cool to see first hand what these guys, women and children have to do to make it through one of these tournaments. The children wanted to win just as bad as the adults did. Some of the fights went on and on because the competition was so close. The fans would go wild in the stands yelling for their favorite grappler. All in all, the event went well.. We enjoyed watching the stiff competition and the superfights at the end of the night.
Many of the competitors stayed around until late into the night to observe the superfight competition.. The results of the superfight are as follows:
· Saulo Ribeiro defeated Todd Margolis
· Daniel Moraes defeated Jorge Gurgel
· Mark Laimon and Marcelo Clemente was determined a draw.
Check www.dalejrgrapplingcalssic.com for future details about upcoming events.(PR)(2-20-2003)
Newman testing at Atlanta UPDATE 3: Ryan Newman will test his No. 12 Alltel Dodge Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the March 9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Newman comes to Atlanta as a real threat to win the pole. In his first trip to Atlanta, a test session with Penske Racing, Newman set the fastest laps of the season's tests. During his next visit, with the BGN, Newman shattered the BGN qualifying record en route to the pole. In his two Cup starts last year, he started second and sixth - and both were huge disappointments. Tickets start at just $59 for a three-day weekend package and just $25 for Sunday's Winston Cup race. Call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office now to reserve your seats at (770) 946-4211.(AMS PR) UPDATE: #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr also was at AMS testing his BGN car, #21-Ricky Rudd was to test but the team couldn't make it due to heavy snow in Virginia, the home of the Wood Brothers team.(XM Radio Satellite - NASCAR Radio) UPDATE 2: Newman ran in the 190.500mph range on Tuesday.(FSN's Totally NASCAR)(2-19-2003) UPDATE 3: Ryan Newman continued testing Wednesday at Atlanta. Newman unofficially turned in a top lap 191.503mph when clocked by Atlanta Motor Speedway's amateur timers. His lap just a fraction shy of Bill Elliott's March 2002 winning pole speed of 191.542mph.(AMS PR)(2-20-2003)
#600 for Rusty: #2-Rusty Wallace will be looking to make his 600th career NASCAR Winston Cup start this weekend at Rockingham. He is 14th on the NASCAR all-time starts list, two behind 13th-ranked James Hylton.(2-19-2003) UPDATE: hearing there may be a special paint scheme or decal to commemorate this.(2-20-2003) UPDATE 2: didn't see any special scheme on the car during qualifying, in fact when interviewed, Wallace said he didn't even realize it was his 600th start.(2-22-2003)
Halfway to Rusty: #43-John Andretti will reach a milestone at Rockingham, set to make his 300th career Winston Cup start.(2-19-2003)
No Petree Team at the Rock: #33/55 team owner Andy Petree's 2003 Winston Cup program extends only a few races beyond the Daytona 500. And the next is four months -- not four days -- away. "What next?" Petree asked rhetorically, with a wry smile. "That's a good question (and) I was just thinking that, as I was walking over here. I don't know -- we've got a few things we're going to do: Busch racing, Truck racing, some ARCA races." After cutting back to one full-time [#55 Chevy with Bobby Hamilton] team in 2002 realized he needed more funding from the other backer to continue even a single team in 2003. He had one hoped-for merger, with NFL owner Jerry Jones, fail to come to fruition and he continues to seek sponsorship or a partner to continue his Winston Cup operation on some level. His deal with Monaco Coaches, which is centered on several Craftsman Truck Series events, included only the Daytona 500 in Winston Cup. Petree is looking ahead to several announcements and getting back to his shop complex to get his remaining employees back to work on race vehicles for all three of NASCAR's national series. "We've got about 25 guys and we've got enough to do to keep them all busy," Petree said. "We'll be working hard, but it will be hard not to be at all the Winston Cup races like we've been in the past." Petree said he would drive the next race for APR, in a Monaco-sponsored Chevy truck at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, CA. That program encompasses four races, and Petree said he would also reprise his successful outing -- at least in qualifying -- in the Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. He said he also had a fully sponsored program for a "young driver to run some Busch, Truck and ARCA races, though not a full season." "That will enable us to keep our core group of employees together while we try to build for 2004," Petree said. "Our next Winston Cup race is at Sears Point, and we got another young driver that we can't announce yet, for there." Petree acknowledged he was pleased at the performance of former CART Indy car driver Christian Fittipaldi, who made only his second Winston Cup start in the series' biggest race.(see full story and quotes at NASCAR.com)(2-19-2003)
Waltrip's Top Ten on David Letterman: Top Ten Highlights Of Yesterday's [Sunday's] Daytona 500 as presented by 2003 Daytona 500 champ, Michael Waltrip [As done by Waltrip via Satellite on Monday night's show]:
Top Ten Highlights Of Yesterday's Daytona 500 as presented by 2003 Daytona 500 champ, Michael Waltrip
10. I drove all 272-and-a-half miles while eating a roast beef sandwich
9. Tiger Woods finishing a respectable third place
8. When I pulled in for a tire change and my pit crew threw an early surprise birthday party
7. Thanks to the Chevrolet President's Day sale I got a nice new car for the race
6. Well, the part where I won was sorta cool
5. Beating the other drivers at our rain delay game of Scrabble
4. Win the Daytona 500, you get 500 bucks!
3. The hour delay during lap 23 because of rubbernecking
2. I listened to a Dr. Phil book-on-tape and it changed my life
1. I was warm and toasty in my car while you losers were up to your asses in snow
(David Letterman site), a little side note: Waltrip was propped up in the booth where you always see his brother Darrell where they broadcast the races. He was up there looking down on victory lane in his firesuit. Dave asked him to put on his fire suit as he wanted the whole effect and basically between Michael and Letterman they just came up with the top ten list, they came up with it together. Michael changed a few things. Snow prevented Waltrip from actually going to NYC on Monday to do Letterman so he did it by Satellite.(XM Radio Satellite - NASCAR Radio)(2-19-2003)
Congrats to the Nadeau's - now a Family of 3: Jada and Jerry Nadeau welcomed their daughter, Natalie Kate Nadeau into the world on Monday, February 17 at 12:30pm/et. Natalie weighed in at 8 lbs 1oz and has a full head of blonde hair. Everyone is doing well.(Jerry Nadeau Site)(2-19-2003)
TV Show Changes Name: Beginning in 2003, the NASCAR automotive licensing program and its 30-minute weekly television show will take on a new look and new name, changing from NASCAR Tech to NASCAR Performance. The name change will more clearly define for NASCAR fans and television viewers that NASCAR Performance is the place to go behind the scenes of NASCAR cars and crew members and learn how race teams' performance on the track can be applied to street vehicles. The revamped show will air Wednesdays on SPEED Channel at 6:00pm/et, beginning Wed., Feb. 19, leading into SPEED Channel's [and Fox Sports Net's] nightly NASCAR news show Totally NASCAR. Veteran NASCAR announcer John Roberts serves as the weekly host for NASCAR Performance with Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and other NASCAR personalities appearing on the program. Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of competition, will examine a series of rules and how they are defined in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Kenny Wallace will instruct viewers on how to perform simple maintenance on their car.(Speed Channel PR)(2-19-2003)
Cup Testing At KentuckySpeedway Hindered By Weather: A weather system producing snow, freezing rain and ice delayed scheduled testing for Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates Racing and Robert Yates Racing scheduled at Kentucky Speedway for Monday and Tuesday, February 17-18. Temperatures are expected to creep into the 40s by midweek which may allow Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Evernham Motorsports to hold their scheduled tests on Wednesday, February 19.(Kentucky Speedway PR) UPDATE: all testing for this week has been canceled or postponed.(XM Radio Satellite - NASCAR Radio)(2-19-2003)
GM Card signs on as a sponsor for the #30:The GM Card announced that it has signed a sponsorship agreement with the #30 America Online Racing [AOL] Cup team, whose driver, Jeff Green of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), won the pole for the Daytona 500. Under the terms of the agreement, the #30 AOL car will be outfitted with highly visible decals from The GM Card, as will Green's helmets and hats, the team car's transporters, team members' uniforms, and crew team uniforms and fire suits. In October, Green will drive a car primarily branded by The GM Card in the Georgia 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The sponsorship is a continuation of the relationship between RCR and General Motors. GM, through the GM Goodwrench brand, has been a primary sponsor of RCR's #3 and #29 NASCAR Winston Cup teams since 1988 and all five of its teams compete in Chevy Monte Carlos.(Business Wire)(2-19-2003)
Waltrip on the go: Michael Waltrip will go straight to Rockingham without going home and is in New York City now. From his PR person (heard from an XM Radio report). "He is in New York this morning. He started out at WNBC in New York on their morning show - he got to wake up New York City with his bright shiny voice and eyes and got to basically got to tell the world that he's going to back in July and back in February to be the three time Daytona 500 Champion. He's not settling for two time although he's pretty satisfied with it right now. Right now standing in the lobby of the Fox building and he's going to say hello to the nation and be on fox and friends and we're going to run over to the stock exchange and he's going to ring the bell at the stock exchange this morning. Then it looks like he's going to do some one on ones over at NASCAR's PR firm at Allen Taylor he'll be there a couple of hours enjoy lunch over at Smith and Walinski and then he'll be off to do Gretta Van Sustern [Fox News - On the Record] and a couple of other radio shows and [ESPN] Dan Patrick and one of the Chicago radio stations. He's not even going to make it home before he goes to Rockingham. We've still got tomorrow morning (Thursday) he's got Regis and Kelley in the morning and then he goes to Philadelphia to do a QVC show - kind of like Tampa Bay did their deal after they won the Superbowl." Note: PR advice had Mike and Buffy pack an extra "New York" bag just in case they won....and they are now taking advantage of the smart thinking.(XM Radio Satellite - NASCAR Radio aired at 10:30am/et and will be througout the day)(2-19-2003)
Earnhardt Remebered: Dale Earnhardt fans from near and far gathered Tuesday at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in Mooresville to pay their respects on the second anniversary of the racer's fatal accident at Daytona International Speedway. At dusk, a crowd of about 150 people, many of whom were clad in Earnhardt-related gear, stood outside the front doors of DEI with lighted candles for a quiet time of reflection. Behind the glass doors sat the black #3 Chevrolet which Earnhardt made so famous. Hanging from the ceiling was an oversized photo of the late seven-time Winston Cup champion wearing a tuxedo and sporting his trademark grin.(see full story at the Independent Tribune) AND The “Fire & Ice Ball” held at the old Cabarrus Bank building in Cannon Village Friday netted approximately $3,000 that will go toward the completion of Dale Earnhardt Plaza. The invitation-only event, held in conjunction with the recognition of Valentine's Day, was coordinated through the efforts of the Kannapolis Business Council. “We were able to sell about 85 percent of the tickets,” said Patti Rader, past chairwoman of the business council. “We probably had close to 160 people there.” Tickets were $100 per couple, and a large portion of the money raised went toward the catering, open bar and entertainment. The Jerry Goodman Orchestra, which cost $1,700, had folks dancing the night away with it's horn-driven melodies. The event served as a showing of the council's continued effort to help make Dale Earnhardt Plaza a reality. The Kannapolis Business Council, which serves as a liaison between the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce and businesses in Kannapolis, was founded last March. Through the three events it has held thus far, the council has raised approximately $13,600 for Dale Earnhardt Plaza.(Independent Tribune)(2-19-2003)
A picture taken in front of DEI during the candle light vigil on Feb 18th, 2003 thanks to Debbie for the picture (yes I noticed the '3' on the front of the building)
Greg Ray to drive in BGN: Former IRL champion Greg Ray is trying to finalize a deal to run several Busch series races this season as a teammate to Matt Kenseth at Reiser Enterprises. Robbie Reiser, the crew chief for the Winston Cup car Kenseth's drives, owns a Busch team and wants Ray to drive a second Busch car for them if the sponsorship can be worked out. "We should know something on that by March 1," Ray said. "If we can finalize things, my first Busch race will be March 29 at Texas Motor Speedway."(Dallas Morning News - need to register to read)(2-19-2003)
Knights Inn hotel to sponsor Kerry Earnhardt: The Knights Inn hotel chain announced it will sponsor driver Kerry Earnhardt in the BFN and select Cup races in 2003 as an associate sponsor. Tthe chain will have its logo featured on the #12 Chevy of FitzBradshaw Racing that Earnhardt will drive in the BGN and on the #83 Chevy in which he will drive in a few select races in 2003.(Yahoo)(2-19-2003)
Baldwin's father to race Hooter's Cup: NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour veteran, Tom Baldwin, will drive a second entry for MJ Motorsports in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series event on September 13th at Hickory Motor Speedway. Tom is the father of Tom Baldwin, Jr, Crew Chief for Jimmy Spencer’s #7 Sirius Satellite Dodge in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The Virginia Motor Speedway and Sunoco Race Fuels will sponsor Baldwin, who has won over 250 races in his modified career. MJ Motorsports is owned by Mike Calinoff, Spotter for NASCAR’s Matt Kenseth, and will field a full time effort for David Stover, who will compete for Rookie of the Year honors this season.(MJ Motorsports PR)(2-19-2003)
Toyota to Launch Truck Ad Campaign: Toyota won't wait until it's actually competing next year to begin supporting NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, according to this week's issue of Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. Senior writer Bill King says the company plans to begin advertising during the truck races on Speed Channel this year. No details about the ad campaign were disclosed.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2003)
Last Daytona 500 winner to win the Cup: The winner of the Daytona 500 has gone on to win the Winston Cup championship in the same season just once since 1979, when Jeff Gordon did it in 1997. Three others who won both in the same year are Lee Petty (1959), Richard Petty (1964, '71, '74 and '79) and Cale Yarborough (1977).(St Petersburg Times)(2-18-2003)
The Military and NASCAR: While the Army has the broadest, deepest and most expensive program, each of the services will spend at least $1.5 million and all will dispatch show cars to make stops at schools from Bangor to Bakersfield.
The Air Force will put about $2.25 million into an associate sponsorship with a Winston Cup team. That will buy placement on the rear corners of a car driven by popular veteran #21-Ricky Rudd throughout the 38-week season, along with a primary position for three races.
The Marine Corps will spend about $2.25 million as primary sponsor of a team in the Busch Series [#25 Bobby Hamilton], where it has found fertile recruiting ground since 1999.
The Navy will spend about $1.5 million as a primary sponsor of a Roush Racing team in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck series [#50 Jon Wood]. Its sponsorship differs slightly from the others in that it is funded mostly from a retention budget, rather than a recruiting budget.
The Army National Guard will sponsor a Winston Cup entry, putting its colors on a [#54] car driven by Todd Bodine. The Guard would not discuss its spending, but industry insiders estimated it was one of the lower team deals in Winston Cup, likely worth $5 million to $6 million for the season.
Together, the armed forces will spend about $28 million in the sport this year. All have similar goals: raising awareness, generating recruiting leads and retaining those already in uniform. The resources allocated to achieve those goals are substantial. The service branches will spend about $600 million on advertising this year, with much of it paying for time during network sporting events and other programming that draws young male viewers. The four active branches together must sign up about 200,000 recruits this year, more hires than any U.S. industry. Together, the active and reserve branches of the armed forces will spend $1.4 billion on recruiting, advertising and examining this year, according to Defense Department budgets.(see full story at the Business Journal). Also, not mentioned, the Civil Air Patrol sponsors the #46 BGN car of Ashton Lewis, no idea what they spend.(2-18-2003)
Busch to make VISA adds: Roush Racing driver Kurt Busch is set to join Penske Racing South driver Rusty Wallace in a 2003 VISA Card national advertising campaign. Both are schedueld to take part in a photo shoot today and a commercial shoot on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. Roush Racing says Wednesday's commercial part of the shoot will feature the team's No. 97 Ford and a pit crew. Busch jokes that he hasn't yet received one thing he sought in return for his work: "I asked for a million-dollar credit limit. They said they'd get back to me."(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2003)
Newman's Car Impounded UPDATE: Ryan Newman's dramatic flip down the frontstretch was eye-catching, particularly for NASCAR officials, who were not pleased to see all those parts and pieces flying off the car. So NASCAR inspectors impounded Newman's car for further inspection, to try to figure out why the car appeared to simply shatter when it hit the ground.(Winston Salem Journal) HOWEVER After safety workers reached Newman's car Sunday, he climbed from his window and waved to the cheering crowd. Finding faster ways to get drivers out of their cars -- especially taller, or bigger, drivers -- is high on NASCAR's agenda. "NASCAR has been working for over a year on what we call bigger 'greenhouses,' which translates to more room in the cockpit for the drivers, especially bigger drivers such as Michael Waltrip," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's corporate vice president of communications. "One of the possibilities is to have an exit section in the roof of the car where they can extract a driver through a bigger opening in the top rather than through the window." Hunter said NASCAR officials kept Newman's car for "well over an hour" Sunday to analyze it for future research and development. "The fact he walked away from this crash is a testament to the way our guys build their cars," Hunter said. "Even though Ryan's Dodge was demolished, the protective roll cage surrounding him in the cockpit did what it was supposed to do."(Flordia Today)(2-18-2003)
Hammond expects rule change after Vegas IF Chevy's continue to dominate: If the Chevrolets continue to have a lopsided advantage after Rockingham and Las Vegas, I'd [Jeff Hammond] look for the powers that be to make an adjustment. The change would have to be in the front end because that's where Chevrolet seems to have a better balance and a touch more front downforce than the other cars. Ford and Dodge haven't told [Hammond] what they're working on, but [Hammond] believes that both camps are already looking into a rule change in the front headlight area to create just a little bit more downforce. Of the 329 laps raced in the two 125-mile Winston Cup qualifying races, the Busch race and the Daytona 500, Chevy led all but seven or two percent of the laps. During Speedweeks, it was pretty clear that Chevrolet was the class of the field.(FoxSports)(2-18-2003)
Daytona 500 TV Ratings: Sunday's rain-shortened running of the 45th Daytona 500 still captured 29.4 million viewers, the event's fifth-biggest audience ever, according to Nielsen Media Research. Despite televising approximately two-hours and ten minutes of race coverage during a four-hour and 38-minute broadcast, the Daytona 500 on FOX scored an impressive 9.8/21 preliminary national household rating/share, and ties the 1987 race as the fourth highest-rated Daytona 500 ever. At any given time, the 2003 race averaged 16.8 million viewers, the third highest in history. Even with Sunday's rain delays, the Daytona 500 still posted the highest rating of any sporting event since Super Bowl XXXVII, and easily beat events such as the NBA All-Star Game and NFL Pro Bowl. The Daytona 500 also retains its title as the top event in motorsports. Sunday's 9.8/21 out-rates the last 10 Indianapolis 500s. One national ratings point represents 1 percent of the 106,700,000 million estimated television households in the United States (1,067,000).(Fox Sports)(2-18-2003)
Ganassi announces new sponsorship program for all teams: Chip Ganassi Racing is proud to announce an innovative new sponsorship program that includes several of the world's top technology companies. Through their long-standing partnership with Target Corporation, Chip Ganassi Racing has finalized sponsorship agreements with Microsoft, Dell, EMC, Syntel and Avaya. The technology consortium will become the official technology partners to Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the Indy Racing League with drivers Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon, and for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with drivers Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, and Sterling Marlin, and will benefit the programs of team primary sponsors Target, ChevronTexaco, and Coors Brewing Company. The alliance marks the first time that major IT companies have united to work together with a racing team in the U.S. In addition to dedicated intellectual capital, as part of the sponsorship Microsoft will
provide consulting services and software solutions based on their .Net platform, Dell Corporation will provide computer hardware, EMC will
provide data storage solutions, Syntel will provide customized software development and Avaya will power TCGR's converged communications network and wireless infrastructure.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(2-18-2003)
#43 Berry Scheme UPDATE: 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 the Paint Scheme Gallery for an image.(2-5-2003) UPDATE: Petty Enterprises and sponsor Cheerios joined forces Thursday morning, Feb. 13, prior to the "Great American Race" to unveil a special paint scheme for the legendary #43. The paint scheme celebrates Berry Burst Cheerios, the first-ever pairing of wholesome Cheerios with great tasting real berries right in the box. Petty Enterprises and sponsor Cheerios will race the new paint scheme in July, when the NASCAR Winston Cup teams come back to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. The two new products - Berry Burst Cheerios Strawberry (with real sliced strawberries) and Berry Burst Cheerios Triple Berry (with real sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and.whole raspberries) - provide the taste and experience of fresh fruit through the process of freeze-drying. The #43 Berry Burst Cheerios Dodge will have John Andretti behind the wheel in the July race at Daytona.(Williams Company PR)(2-18-2003)
Dale Earnhardt Memorial Planned AND: Dale Earnhardt Incorporated [DEI] plans to remember the life and career of Dale Earnhardt with a memorial on Tuesday, February 18th. The memorial will begin at dusk at the headquarters of DEI. Mooresville, NC is home to the race shops of the DEI Teams, however on this evening the Earnhardt family of fans will come from all across America. Last year fans signed messages of support and lit candles in his honor while video's of his racing career highlights played in the lobby. Hundreds of fans passed through the Earnhardt complex throughout the day culminating in a memorial candle lighting at dusk.(Stock Car Fans) AND Every February 18th, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will honor and pay special tribute to its fallen leader by hosting a Silent Candlelight Tribute on the grounds of the facility that Dale and Teresa Earnhardt created and enjoyed. It was two years ago today that we lost Dale on the last lap of the Daytona 500. The outpouring of emotions that followed had fans from all over the country and world paying respect to the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion in the form of flowers, cards and flags flying at half staff around the country. Here at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on Tuesday, the flag poles looked just like they did two years ago. The American, North Carolina State flag and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. flag are all flying at half staff. And, right under the corporation's flag is a checkered flag to salute Michael Waltrip and the No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy team for their 2003 Daytona 500 victory. This year's Silent Tribute on the corporate ground will begin at dusk where fans remembering Dale will have the chance to get candles and commemorative decals honoring their visit to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to partake in the ceremony. Each fan will be encouraged to stand in silence on the facility grounds to remember Dale's spirit. Signature boards will also be made available for those who wish to express their feelings in words on this day. At 8:00pm/et, Motorsports Outreach Chaplain Dale Beaver will offer a few words of inspiration before the Silent Tribute ends at 9:00pm/et. For fans that are unable to attend, Teresa Earnhardt has asked they light a candle in their homes, or wherever they are, as their own personal Silent Tribute to remember Dale's remarkable spirit.(DEI PR)(2-18-2003)
The Shortest '500': The Daytona 500 has never been rained out, and Sunday's 109-lap race was only the fourth in history not run to 500 miles. Here's the history of the abbreviated events:
1965 - 332.5 miles - Rain - Fred Lorenzen
1966 - 495 miles - Rain - Richard Petty
1974 - 450 miles - Shortened due to U.S. energy shortage - Richard Petty
2003 - 272.5 miles - Rain - Michael Waltrip.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-17-2003)
Crew personnel getting too expensive? In the escalating battles among car owners to hire away crewmen from rivals, Richard Childress says the bidding war in the NASCAR garage for aerodynamicists, engineers, fabrication specialists and pit crew men is getting way out of hand. Anyone is fair game in this struggle. DEI just hired two key pit-road men from the Woods; RYR hired away a key aerodynamicist from Childress; and Childress just hired an excellent fabrication-shop guy away from DEI. "Hey, this is a major-league sport," Greg Zipadelli, Tony Stewart's crew chief, says. "You've got to take care of your players."
"It's bad, and we're our own worst enemies, because the salaries have been pushed sky-high," Childress says. "Some salaries have skyrocketed, because of someone trying to hire someone else. Everybody is after the (fabrication) guys now. When you lose somebody, you've got to replace them, and it usually winds up costing you more. The price of this sport keeps going up."(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2003)
BGN TV Ratings: Fox got a 3.6 overnight rating for its coverage of Saturday's Koolerz 300 Busch race, up 24 percent from the Fox broadcast in 2001. Last year, the Busch race was on TNT cable and got a 2.9. Saturday's race got a 7.7 rating in Charlotte.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-17-2003)
Plate Problems? Some Winston Cup crew chiefs are critical of NASCAR's new system for pre-race selection of the crucial carburetor restrictor plates. Ever since NASCAR went to the air-choking plates to cut speeds at the tour's two biggest tracks some 15 years ago, drivers and crews have at times questioned just how fair that selection process might be, with rumors frequently rampant about a particular driver getting just the right plate. That issue is once again being raised in the garage, with the lack of randomness of the selection at particular issue.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2003)
Worried about Toyota? GM and Ford teams are both worried that when Toyota comes into Winston Cup racing, it will raise the financial stakes considerably, and that GM and Ford executives in turn will have to cut back on the support they give their own teams if they have to start matching Toyota's expected surge of TV ads.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2003)
Waltrip the Eighth: Michael Waltrip is just the eighth driver to win the Daytona 500 more than once. He joins Richard Petty (7), Cale Yarborough (4), Bobby Allison (3), Dale Jarrett (3), Bill Elliott (2), Jeff Gordon (2) and Sterling Marlin (2) on the list.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-17-2003)
Mikey's Car to Daytona USA: On Monday at DAYTONA USA, the #15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy, Michael Waltrip's winning car from Sunday's 45th annual Daytona 500, was inducted into the official attraction of NASCAR. The car will rest inside Gatorade Victory Lane at DAYTONA USA for one year and will be returned to the team before the start of the 46th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, 2004. The car is in the same condition as it was when it left Victory Lane and bears the signatures of all of the crew members including Waltrip. Waltrip, who also won the 2001 Daytona 500, participated in a fan forum along with his crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe and DEI executive vice president Ty Norris. Speedway President Robin Braig presented all three with Daytona 500 leather jackets while Gatorade presented the 2003 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from last night's Victory Lane celebration. Waltrip, who'll continue handling media obligations of a Daytona 500 winner in the next few days including an appearance via satellite on tonight's Late Show with David Letterman, visited with the reporters before the induction ceremony and fan forum. He said he spent last night celebrating with the team on Teresa Earnhardt's yacht. He also got a warm welcome from family, friends and fellow drivers such as Elliott Sadler, Dale Jarrett and Ken Schrader outside his motor home. "I thought it was fun to get to party with (Teresa) and just enjoy her company," Waltrip said. "I had a lot of good folks over. We went back to the motor home. I didn't do anything crazy. I just enjoyed the family and friends."(DIS PR)(2-17-2003)
Michael Waltrip's #15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy being inducted into Daytona 500 (DIS Photo)
Rumblings - Daytona: Mikey's win moves him into a tie for 76th on the all-time win list, and was worth a cool $1,410,706 from the over $14M in posted awards. It also puts the 15 team on the Winners Circle program for 2003...we've still got another wild-card spot available on that contingeny program for this season. Jimmie Johnson (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Dover last September. Kevin Harvick (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol last August. Robby Gordon (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Watkins Glen last August. Jeremy Mayfield (8th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond last May. Mike Wallace (9th) had his best finish since he was 2nd at Phoenix in October of 2001. Kyle Petty (13th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Darlington last September. Jack Sprague (14th) had his career-best finish today (albiet only 7 races). His previous best was 23rd at Phoenix in October of 1996. Todd Bodine (18th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond last September.
STREAKIN....Kurt Busch has 6 Top-10's in a row. Mark Martin has 6 Top-10's in a row.
This Week's Elevator....UP: The Operator of the Week is Kurt Busch (+34), followed by Kevin Harvick (+27), Mark Martin (+21), and Johnny Benson (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Green (-38), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-34), John Andretti (-22), and Ward Burton (-21). For new readers, this category is determined by the net change from start to finish position.(Stock Car Fans)(2-17-2003)