PAST NEWS APR 14-20, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
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- Wanna be a photographer? check out this story of one of the top NASCAR photogaphers - The silhouette of a Marine Corps sniper on the front of his sweatshirt said it all. But for those who may miss the point, read the tagline: "If you run, you'll only die tired." The toughest journalist in NASCAR? That's not an easy question. But the toughest photo-journalist? That's simple. It's George Tiedemann, who has been covering racing for Sports Illustrated for years. You'd recognize him with no trouble. He's the weird guy hauling around a huge ladder, for better shots. But because he's the guy with a U.S. Marine Corps sweatshirt, T-shirt or rain jacket, depending on the weather. He has an amazing collection of USMC headgear, to go with an almost fanatical dedication to the four years of his life spent in that branch of the service. After 20 years on the Winston Cup tour, Tiedemann said his hardest job is "trying to stay fresh. Tony Stewart is the most celebrated temperamental driver to shoot, as a hapless photographer for the Indianapolis Star ruefully learned last summer at the Brickyard. But Tiedemann said that Stewart is no problem because he talks to Stewart and lets him know what's going on and what's coming up. And he tries to take Stewart's feelings into consideration. However, there are some drivers who do present problems.. "Out of all the people I've dealt with, in all the different sports I've shot for SI since 1976, the two most difficult people I've ever, ever had to deal with are Larry Bird and Bill Elliott," Tiedemann said. "It's a lack of understanding of what we're trying to do out here"
Victory lane may seem an easy shot, but too many Winston Cup drivers, particularly the new kids, don't seem to know how to play to the camera. But some drivers, such as Jeff Gordon, almost seem to have gone to post-graduate school to learn how to do just the right thing at just the right moment for photo history. "There are some drivers who do know what we're trying to do for them," Tiedemann said. But when NASCAR officials three years ago decided to demote Bill Broderick, the veteran victory-lane boss who had the post-race routine down pat, well, Tiedemann said, things simply haven't gone that well inside the circle since. "The thing I loved about Bill Broderick - and I think Bill Broderick leaving this sport was a loss to this sport - was he would tell the drivers (while the winner was still in the car unbuckling) which way The Associated Press was, and invariably when the driver got out he would look toward the AP photographer, raise his arms in the air or show some emotion. And that way the wires could get those pictures out quickly and not have to mess around in victory lane. See full story at the Winston Salem Journal: Shoot Fast and Stand Tall: 'SI' photographer Tiedemann is still a Marine at heart many years after his stint in Vietman. George was the one who came and took one of the first Jayski photograph for the book Stock-Car Racing Lives
by Richard Sowers, where there is a chapter about Jayski. George is quite intering and very professional.(4-20-2003)
- Kenny Wallace to run a Card's car UPDATE 2: Kenny Wallace will run a Michael Waltrip owned/loaned #99 St Louis Cardinals Chevy in the Busch Series race, none mentioned, but it makes sense that is would be at Gateway Int'l Raceway near St Louis. See an image of the car on my Busch Series Paint Schemes Gallery.
UPDATE: hearing the Kenny Wallace Cardinals car is in collaboration with Bill Davis Racing.(3-26-2003)
UPDATE 2: Kenny Wallace will return to his hometown track, Gateway International Raceway, to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series event on May 10, 2003. Wallace, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, will sport the colors of hometown baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, on his car. The entry will be collaboration between Bill Davis Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. “I am really grateful to Bill Davis who made this whole deal possible,” said Wallace. “This is my dream and he has helped me fulfill it. Bill has an excellent Busch Series program in place and he is providing me an awesome opportunity. I’m also grateful to my good friend, Michael Waltrip, who is providing me all his crew and equipment for the race weekend. They do a great job over the wall for Michael during the Busch races, so I’m confident in their ability as well.”(Kenny Wallace site)(4-20-2003)
- Driver of the Year - 1st Quarter goes to Tracy: With three victories in three races, CART's Paul Tracy was the top vote-getter in the first-quarter balloting for Driver of the Year. Tracy collected nine first-place votes and 112 total points from the 18-member panel of auto-racing writers and broadcasters. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second in the balloting with 79 points, which is presented by the Speed Channel. Earnhardt, who has one Winston Cup victory, two Busch series victories and is second in Winston Cup points, collected three first-place votes. Matt Kenseth, who currently leads the Winston Cup points race, was third. Twenty-three drivers collected points, including funny-car driver Tony Pedregon, NASCAR's Kurt Busch and Steve Kinser of the World of Outlaws, who were fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The panel holds quarterly votes and then a season-ending vote, the winner of which is awarded Driver of the Year status. Previous winners in the award's 37-year-old history include Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, A.J. Foyt and last year's winner, Cristiano da Matta.(Kansas City Star)(4-20-2003)
- Rally Race: The Great Race, the longest-running cross-country vintage rally in the country, will finish July 5 at Daytona International Speedway. As many as 120 vintage automobiles -- they must be at least 45 years old -- are scheduled to take part in this event, which will encompass more than 4,000 miles in 16 days. The rally starts June 20 at Michigan International Speedway and will finish at DIS with a ceremony on the grid immediately prior to the Pepsi 400. Winston Cup team owner Jack Roush plans to enter one of his vintage cars in the event.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-20-2003)
- Labonte Motoring for a Cause UPDATE: Friday afternoon, the second Roam for a Home Ride stopped at the Ronald McDonald House in the Medical Center and there was Terry Labonte, astride his #5-branded Harley-Davidson, leading the way for 100 other riders. Riders who had paid $500 for the chance to make the three-day circuit from Corpus Christi to Austin, then through the Hill Country and into San Antonio, before returning to Corpus Christi this afternoon. Labonte and his wife, Kim, recently had begun discussing which charity to help when a friend, Randy Hicks, called from Corpus Christi. Hicks had spent time in the Houston Ronald McDonald House while his girlfriend's son underwent open heart surgery. Hicks was looking for a way to help raise funds for the Corpus Christi Ronald McDonald House and Labonte was quick to say yes.(San Antonia Express)(4-19-2003)
UPDATE: In town [Corpis Christi, TX] this weekend for the Second Annual Terry Labonte/Ronald McDonald House "Roam for a Home" benefit, Labonte said the results of the second season working with crew chief Jim Long is giving the Kellogg's Chevrolet team optimism. "We should've had about five (top 10s)," Labonte said. "We've been running in the top 10 the last four weeks in a row. We've only had one finish in the top 10 but they all should have been there." Long agreed. "We've had good cars for the last three weeks in a row and got caught up in other people's wrecks," Long told NASCAR.com after the Aaron's 499. "We know we've got good cars and we keep working hard. Everybody back at the shop - everybody - is working hard." Thus, this could be a pivotal year in Labonte's career. Since winning his second points title in 1996, Labonte has experienced a steady decline in the point standings, dropping from sixth in 1997 to 24th last season. That could go a long way toward stemming discussion of his retirement, talk of which draws a wry smile from the 46-year-old Labonte. "I'll give you the same answer I give them: I've got a plan as to what I'm going to do," Labonte said, "but I'm not going to tell you."(Caller-Times)(4-20-2003)
- Barrett Keeping Busy During Off Weekend: Stanton Barrett will take a much deserved weekend off as driver of the #60 OdoBan Ford this weekend, as the Busch Series has an off-weekend due to the Easter Holiday. Barrett will be traveling to New York City to briefly step back into his 15-year career as a Hollywood stuntman by working on the Spider-Man movie sequel, called The Amazing Spiderman. The movie is due to be released July 2, 2004. Barrett, who posted a season’s best sixth-place finish last weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, will do some stunt doubling for James Franco. Franco will play the role of Harry Osborn, the son of the villainous Green Goblin from the first Spider-Man movie. Barrett will be back on track next weekend when the NASCAR Busch
Series comes to Barrett’s home track, California Speedway.(Roush Racing PR)(4-20-2003)
- Stewart 13th Friday UPDATE Wins on Saturday: Tony Stewart finished 13th in the 100-lap USAC National/Western CRA Midget main event that was slowed by 14 caution flags and won by J.J. Yeley of Phoenix. The race, which featured 36 drivers, was the opening event of the Fred Gerhardt Open-Wheel Classic at Madera Speedway on Friday night, which drew a crowd of about 3,500. Stewart was in no mood to talk about his less-than-stellar finish after the race, but prior to the event spoke about why he came to Madera.(Modesto Bee)(4-19-2003)
UPDATE: Despite being unfamiliar with the one-third mile asphalt Madera Speedway track, Tony Stewart won both the 50-lap United States Auto Club Sprints and the 50-lap SRL Supermodified. "I'm one of the last true racers," Stewart said while addressing the near-capacity Madera Speedway crowd that came to watch him race in both events. In a thrilling Supermodified outcome, Stewart survived an early wreck -- 17 cars started the race, and only six finished -- and passed teammate Lonnie Adamson on the final lap out of turn 4 for the victory. Stewart's victory in the USAC wasn't as dramatic, but it showed his dominance. He controlled the lead for the final 30 laps. But what many fans came for -- Stewart's colorful personality -- he didn't show. Instead, he limited interaction with all fans and media as two burly bodyguards protected his pit area so he could concentrate solely on driving. As with many of Stewart's races, hundreds of fans came to support the Winston Cup champ, while others attended to boo him.(Fresno Bee(4-20-2003)
- Nine different winners in the first 9 races of 2003: So far in the 2003 Cup season, 9 different drivers have won the 9 races run. The drivers are: Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Ricky Craven, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. The current 'modern-era' [1972-present] is 10 drivers in 10 races, done in 2000. The 10 drivers who won the first 10 races in 2000: Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Ward Burton, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Jeremy Mayfield. That record is for the start of a season. A different driver won 13 races in a row back in 1961 [not to start the season]. The "modern-era" record is 11 different winners in a row in 1985 [not to start the season].(4-18-2003)
- Remember this? Gordon and Montoya to Swap Cars at Indy: Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced April 17 that four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and Formula One superstar Juan Pablo Montoya will participate in speed demonstration laps in their cars on Wednesday, June 11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon and Montoya will trade places at the Speedway when they take turns driving laps around the 2.606-mile road course in Gordon's #24 DuPont Chevy and Montoya's BMW WilliamsF1 BMW FW25 car. This will be the first time that Gordon and Montoya will be behind the wheel of a Formula One car and NASCAR Winston Cup car, respectively. "The Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff is excited to play host to such an event," said Joie Chitwood, senior V.P. of IMS Business Affairs. "Jeff and Juan are race car drivers who love to drive cars -- fast. So it's going to be fun to watch them experiment in different cars on the road course." The demonstration laps will be Gordon's first laps on the IMS road course. "There are a lot of things to coordinate to make this happen," said Gordon. "I¹m just excited about this opportunity. It's something I've dreamed of, just getting behind the wheel of an F1 car and seeing what it was like. I don't plan on going F1 racing, but I would love to just get that experience." Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, will attempt to become the first driver in Speedway history to win on both the famed 2.5-mile oval and road course when he competes in the fourth United States Grand Prix on Sept. 28. He is in his third season with BMW WilliamsF1 and has one career win, 10 career poles and is sixth in the 2003 FIA Driver¹s Championship. "The experience will be very interesting, and driving a big, heavy NASCAR car will certainly be different," said Montoya. "I don't think Jeff should be concerned that I will take away his job, but I will enjoy the opportunity of driving his Chevrolet and letting him take my BMW WilliamsF1 Team car for a drive on Indy's road course." In addition to the demonstration laps, Montoya and Gordon will participate in a media luncheon and press conference. Fans will have free access to IMS' South Terrace grandstands for viewing. Tickets for the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the United States Grand Prix can be purchased online at www.imstix.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area.(IMS PR)(4-18-2003)
- Max Papis Tests with Evernham: Sports car and open-wheel racer Max Papis tested the #91 Dodge Intrepid research and development NASCAR Winston Cup car for Evernham Motorsports today at Kentucky Speedway. “It was a very good experience being in a Winston Cup car. It is different than anything I have driven in the past,” said Italian Max Papis. “The car is a lot lighter than I thought and has a different feeling with the downforce. I enjoyed every lap.” “Mad Max” did about 82 laps around the 1.5-mile tri-oval Kentucky Speedway. His quickest time was 31.1 seconds [173.633mph], with the fastest of the day being a 30.6 [176.471mph], just five-tenths of a second off of Bill Elliott’s time. Of course, it was just a test and Max spent most of the day getting a feel for the Dodge and getting acquainted with Winston Cup oval racing. Papis not only had to familiarize himself with the car and the circuit, but he also had to test on a circuit with some seasoned pros like Elliott, Jimmy Spencer, Ricky Craven and Johnny Benson. There were eight to ten NASCAR Winston Cup cars testing at Kentucky. Sammy Johns, Test Team and Research & Development Coordinator oversaw Papis’ test for Evernham Motorsports. Ray Evernham chose Max Papis to do the NASCAR Winston Cup test for him as part of his test team and driver development program, based on Papis’s driving credentials. Papis met Evernham last year in Bristol, right after he had done a test for Travis Carter at Lakeland [FL]. Adding NASCAR Winston Cup to his racing portfolio is a desired goal of Papis'.(Max Papis Site story is dated March 16th but testing was yesterday)(4-18-2003)
- NASCAR License Plates for NC? North Caroina lawmakers in the Charlotte area's unofficial NASCAR delegation are pushing the state to authorize official stock car license plates, printed with the car numbers, logos and signatures of drivers. "I think it would be a big seller," said Kay Hatcher, supervisor of the special license unit at the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles. Rep. Wayne Goodwin, D-Richmond, has proposed the tags in past years and now has nearly every area lawmaker signed on. Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, is behind a similar bill in the Senate. North Carolina has more than 100 special license plates, but some lawmakers question this one, since NASCAR would be the first for-profit company to make money off N.C. plates. The National Football League and National Hockey League waive fees for Panthers and Hurricanes plates. Race Plate Marketing of West Virginia prints the backgrounds for official plates in at least five other states, including South Carolina [and Alabama, New York, Virginia and West Virginia]. It has royalty arrangements through NASCAR with different drivers. The N.C. Correctional Institution for Women would stamp the numbers. The proposal doesn't spell out how much NASCAR or the printing company would get. Lawmakers have recommended charging $30 for the plates on top of regular license fees, matching the highest of any N.C. plate. Sales of South Carolina's NASCAR plates, which cost $70, haven't kept up with those for other special plates, officials with the Department of Public Safety said.(Charlotte Observer)(4-18-2003)
- Inductees Anounced For 2003 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame: West coast stock car drivers: Bob Ross, Frank Phillips, Eddie Pagan, Rodger Ward, Dan Gurney, Rajo Jack, Erick Erickson, Sonny Easley, and Dick Bown join LA Times motorsports writer Shav Glick, early motorsports pioneer Margo Burke, and Bob Beadle, Promoter of Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Washington and Car Owner for Winston West Champion Roy Smith, in being inductees into the 2003 West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame. This years ceremonies return to the Four Points Sheraton in Monrovia, California on July 25, 2003. For more information contact the Hall Of Fame at 435-635-2257 or
online at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.stockcarreunion.com.(West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame)(4-18-2003)
- Johnson to be inducted: Jimmie Johnson will be enshrined in California Speedway’s Walk of Fame at 10:00am/pt on Friday April, 25th. The ceremony, which will take place at Gate 12, is open to the public.(California Speedway PR)(4-18-2003)
- NASCAR Drivers Head to Infineon Raceway for Two-Day Test Session, April 22-23: #17-Matt Kenseth will highlight a group of five drivers scheduled to participate in a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway, April 22-23. Kenseth will be joined by #6-Mark
Martin, #42-Jamie McMurray, #0-Jack Sprague and #41-Casey Mears. Kenseth, who has tested at Infineon Raceway the last two years, has an average finish of 30th on the 12-turn, 2-mile road course in three Winston Cup starts. He will look to improve that average finish in
his pursuit of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup championship. This session is open to the public and drivers are generally on track from 9:00am -5:00pm.(Infineon Raceway PR)(4-18-2003)
- Sad News: Herring Burl Bailey, known in racing circles for nearly 30 years as H.B. Bailey, passed away early this morning at Methodist Hospital [TX] from heart failure. A popular competitor in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, 1964-90, Bailey was one of the top independent drivers of the time, and a leader among the group. On the track, he was a three-time member of the Darlington Record Club at the famed Darlington Raceway. In the Grand American division in 1972, Bailey won the Daytona pole and finished second in the national championship standings. "Our sport was built by people like H.B. Bailey," said Richard Petty, who raced alongside him for years. "We all did things the same way in those days - we drove ourselves to the race track, we worked hard when we got there, we raced hard and then we drove home. H.B. was a racer through and through, and the sport is better off because he was a part of it. We will miss him." Bailey, 66, is survived by his wife of 21 years, Michelle; four sons, Dennis Burl, Kirk, John Travis and Joe Dan; and two daughters, Kittie and Sarah Lynn. Joe Dan Bailey, who is with the NASCAR Technical Institute, is the only child currently involved in motorsports. Funeral arrangements were pending Thursday afternoon.(Williams Company PR)(4-17-2003)
ALSO see a nice column at H.B. Bailey - 1936-2003Speed Channel:.(4-18-2003)
AND Information regarding arrangements for H.B. Bailey is as follows:
Visitation 6-8 p.m., Monday, April 21, at Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Sugarland, TX
Memorial Service 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 22, at Sugar Creek Baptist Church
A private burial service for family members will be held Tuesday morning, April 22.
- Ten Team, Two-Day Test Cut Short at Kentucky: Persistent showers washed out a second day of Kentucky Speedway testing for 10 Cup Pontiac and Dodge teams hoping to fine tune their race machines during a rare break in the 2003 schedule. Among the racecars scheduled to see action on the speedway's 1.5-mile tri-oval today were #32-Ricky Craven, #7-Jimmy Spencer, #4-Mike Skinner, #45-Kyle Petty, the #10-Johnny Benson and #9-Bill Elliott. Kentucky Speedway opens its 2003 season May 9-10 with ARCA RE/MAX Series 'Channel 5-205' and The Louisville Courier Pole Night featuring a NASCAR Winston Cup Series autograph session with Craven, Larry Foyt, Sterling Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield, Jamie McMurray and Spencer. Country star Tammy Cochran will perform prior to 'The Channel 5-205.' Both season and single-event tickets for 2003 Kentucky Speedway race events are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by phone at 1-888-652-RACE (single-event ) or 859-578-2300 (season) or online at www.kentuckyspeedway.com or www.Tickets.com.(Kentucky Speedway)(4-18-2003)
- Second Annual Dale Earnhardt Day is Tuesday, April 29th: Teresa Earnhardt is hosting the second annual Dale Earnhardt Day to take place at the headquarters of their company, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. The day-long event from 8:00am - 9:00pm is in conjunction with Dale's birthday as a celebration of his life and racing accomplishments. Last year, more than 12,000 fans attended the inaugural Dale Earnhardt Day and this year looks to be even bigger. For the second time ever, fans will be allowed behind the walls of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to view race cars and cars from Dale's Classic Car Collection in the Interior Showroom. Some of these have never been seen by the public and are being put on display for this special occasion. Also, there will be a musical display in conjunction with the upcoming Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert at Daytona International Speedway on June 28th. There will be albums, autographed guitars and photos from Dale's personal collection in the Retail Showroom. See what types of music Dale enjoyed and some of the stars he and Teresa met, too.
Fans that make their way to our headquarters will get the chance to win two DEInsider subscriptions for www.daleearnhardtinc.com per hour. Fans will be able to purchase
tickets to the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert on the grounds during the day. And, there will be exclusive Dale Earnhardt Day merchandise available, as well. There will be giveaways from our various sponsors and photos with the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert car that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drove to victory in the Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. A percentage of all Retail Store sales will go the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Throughout the day, Totally NASCAR will be taping the day's events to use on their show later that night. The Tim Clark Band from South Carolina will perform from 7:00 - 9:00pm/et. The local Mooresville community is readily embracing Dale Earnhardt
Day this year with three hotels offering special room rates and a shuttle service to and from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. for fans staying at the hotels and those who just want to attend the event. All hotels are located at the Mooresville Exit 36 off I-77 located near our headquarters.
Fairfield Inn by Marriott, 704-663-6100
Wingate Inn, 704-664-4900 (nice place, Jayski stayed there in Dec)
Hampton Inn & Suites, 704-660-7700
During the morning, there will be a live, on-site radio broadcast by local country station WKKT 96.9 FM, The Kat. In addition to information about Dale Earnhardt Day; fans traveling to our headquarters will get traffic updates throughout the day from the station, as well. Also, some other Charlotte area radio stations will be taking part in the festive day with live broadcasts and appearances by their on-air personalities.
The following stations will be broadcasting live from our corporate headquarters:
5 - 9 a.m.: WKKT 96.9 (The Kat) - Paul Schadt & Sarah
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.: WWMG Magic 96.1 - Chuck Boozer
3 - 7 p.m.: WEND 106. 5(The END) - Kristen & Jack will be doing the Budweiser Lounge show
The following will be making on-air personality and station appearances:
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.: WRFX 99.7 (The Fox) Wilson from the "Fox at Night"
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.: WFMX 106.7 FM (DEI PR)(4-17-2003)
- Bye-Bye Taurus in 2006-2007? UPDATE but will be back in 2004: Ford Motor Co. plans to phase out its midsize Taurus by 2006 or 2007, and three vehicles under development will replace it, according to people involved in the plans. Two of them will go on sale next year: the Five Hundred, a large, Audi-like sedan, and the Freestyle, a combination sport-utility vehicle and station wagon that shares a similar European styling and will replace the Taurus wagon. This week at the media preview of the New York International Automobile Show, Ford executives will release the first pictures of the Futura, a midsize car aimed at the perennial champions of the car market, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. The Futura is to be introduced in 2005 and will offer a hybrid version that supplements its gasoline engine with electric power.(Star Tribune). NOTE: 'If' this happens, no idea what Ford would use in NASCAR and not looking to guess, have seen images of the Five Hundred, as sposted on my Ford News and Links Page.(4-16-2003)
UPDATE: A Taurus badged race car will be utilized in NASCAR competition in the 2004 season, according to Greg Specht, manager, North American Racing Operations Ford Racing Technology. “I can say for the record that we’ll be racing a Taurus in ’04,” said Specht regarding the future of the Taurus. “The Taurus is changing, the production car – the showroom car, is changing in 2004. And our race car is being changed to reflect those differences. According to NASCAR rules, any car a manufacturer wants to use in competition must be submitted for approval to the Daytona Beach, Fla. sanctioning body no later than July 1 the year prior to its desired rollout. That means that if Ford wants to run a redesigned Ford Taurus in 2004, it must be in NASCAR’s hands by July 1, 2003. Asked if the Taurus might be replaced with another make after 2004, Specht replied, “I can say for sure that we’re going to race a Taurus in ’04.” (Ford Racing)(4-17-2003)
- Not A Happy Camper - NASCAR fan faces prison time for flooding Fox with angry e-mails UPDATE: A man, angered that Fox Entertainment preempted NASCAR racing for Red Sox baseball, sent more than 530,000 e-mail messages to WFXT, disabling the Fox Entertainment website for several hours, according to the US attorney's office. Michael Melo was charged in Boston yesterday with damaging a protected computer, a misdemeanor. Prosecutors say Melo wrote a computer program that automatically sent electronic messages to WFXT repeatedly between April and May 2001. Fox, fearing a denial of service attack, responded by shutting down its website for several hours, authorities said.(Boston Globe)(4-16-2003)
UPDATE: A NASCAR fan faces up to a year in prison for flooding Fox Entertainment with more than a half-million e-mails because he was angry the network aired a Boston Red Sox game instead of an auto race. Michael Melo of Billerica [MA] has agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge of damage to a protected computer system, his attorney said Wednesday. The action forced the network to shut down part of its Web site. Melo designed a program that repeatedly sent the same six e-mails to Fox Entertainment Group Inc. in Los Angeles over a few days in late April and early May 2001. The messages were sent through the company's Boston-area affiliate, according to the federal complaint. ''He was just very upset that the Red Sox would pre-empt NASCAR, so he decided to send these messages to express his views,'' said Melo's lawyer, Andrew Good. Fox received more than 530,000 e-mails from Melo. Fearing a hacker was attacking its computer system, the company shut down a portion of its Web site, costing Fox $36,000, according to federal prosecutors. Also, by taking a portion of its Web site down, Fox Entertainment was unable to communicate via computer with WFXT-TV 25 in suburban Boston for several hours, and left the local affiliate unable to receive viewer e-mail, prosecutors said. The federal complaint did not specify the exact content of the e-mails. The charge carries a maximum of one year in prison. Melo, who works in the computer industry and has no prior criminal record, will ask for probation, Good said. No date has been set for his plea hearing and sentencing.(Boston Globe/AP)(4-17-2003)
- Martinsville TV Ratings: Martinsville Ratings Gets Impressive Small Market Bump for 5.3 Final Number. The viewers in the smaller markets turned out in a big way to give NASCAR on FOX from Martinsville a big boost. Nielsen Media Research reports that the final numbers were a 5.3 rating and 14 share, up from a 4.6 rating and 10 share in the overnights. The race was the second-highest rated sporting event of the weekend, finishing behind the 8.3 rating turned in by The Masters on Sunday. The golf tournament from Augusta declined from a 9.3 overnight rating. The NASCAR numbers represent 5,631,000 households and almost 8 million viewers. Last year's race was on FX, so a direct comparison can't be made. It finished with a 4.5 cable rating (within the April 2002 FX universe) and 3.4 million households. The 2001 race on FOX finished with a 5.4 rating and 15 share, slightly ahead of this year's numbers.(MotorsportsTV)(4-17-2003)
- Yates job is news to Pemberton: Robin Pemberton just chuckles when asked about him name being in the rumor mill as a possible player in the #88 car reorganization process. His reason is very simple — he has not been approached by Robert Yates about the job. “Yeah, I saw that,” said Pemberton regarding Internet reports that he was on the Yates reorganization short list. “But no one’s called me about a job. That includes Yates. I’m just doing my job here and see the rumors and kind of have to laugh about them.” Pemberton has been busy with numerous projects since coming on-board with Ford in February and says that his job as Ford’s director of field operations is quite unlike any other he’s had before. “I’m kind of like a doctor,” said Pemberton. “Stopping here and there, helping as I can. I offer what advice and suggestions I can and move on to the next shop.” (Ford Racing)(4-17-2003)
- Kenseth Leads Vote: The more than 42,000 fans who participated in first-quarter voting for Driver of the Year on the Speed Channel Web site tabbed Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth as their choice over Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip. But the 18-member media panel that voted via teleconference Wednesday leaned toward CART points leader Paul Tracy and Winston Cup star Dale Earnhardt Jr. [not sure how as he was not one of the nominee's] The initial quarterly winner of 2003 will be announced during Speed News on Speed Channel at 6:00pm Saturday.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(4-17-2003)
- Long to attempt the Winston Open: Glenn Racing will team up with Carl Long to run the Winston Open at the Lowes Motor Speedway on May 17th. They will be entering a Dodge and borrowing the #26 from Travis Carter.(Glenn Racing Site)
AND Thee Dixon, owner of Mansion Motorsports, plans to enter a truck for Carl Long to drive in the Hardee's 200 Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May. Norman Negre will be the crew chief. The team is working on acquiring sponsorship for the race.(Carl Long Racing site)(4-17-2003)
- Speedway Children's Charities use racing stars to raise money: Many kids love auto racing, and it seems racers like kids, too -- and show it through Speedway Children's Charities. John Bisci, public-relations manager for the charities and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said the charities were created in 1984 by O. Bruton Smith, founder of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which has six tracks around the country, including the one in Las Vegas. "He decided to start a charity that benefited children," Bisci said. All money raised in Southern Nevada stays there; Bisci said that last year, the charities made grants totaling $228,000 to 31 local groups, including St. Jude's Ranch for Children, the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Nevada, Candlelighters for Childhood Cancer of Southern Nevada and Amerindian Inc. The money comes from several fund-raising events. The recent charity golf tournament, for example, netted $13,500. But the charities' biggest money-maker is the annual driver auction. The most recent one, held Feb. 28, brought in $145,720. Bisci noted the auction coincided with the Winston Cup Series and Busch Series races. All of the Winston Cup Series drivers and the top 20 drivers from the Busch Series were auctioned at Sam's Town Live, he said. Those who can't attend the meet-and-greet -- for which fans pay $35 just to see their heroes -- are auctioned, although Bisci said they normally bring in more money if they're there. Fans bid for the chance to ride around the track with the driver during introductions before the race. And the bids are big. Bisci said the top bid was $7,000 for Rusty Wallace last year; this year, the top bid was $6,400 for Tony Stewart. "Somebody paid $6,400 to go a mile and a half in a convertible with Tony Stewart," he said with a touch of wonder. Drivers sometimes sweeten the pot, he added. For example, Brett Bodine put his winning bidder's name on his car, and a Busch Series driver made his bidder part of his pit crew. A big event being planned for fall, Bisci said, is a fund-raising flight aboard an 80-seat jet, provided through the cooperation of Boeing. Bisci said children including Make-a-Wish kids will be able to ride on the flight -- which may go over the Grand Canyon -- with local businesses bidding to sponsor their seats. The local arm of the charities has an elected board, with Keith DeRiso currently serving as chairman and Lesley Albers as director. Volunteers always are needed to assist with events, Bisci said. For more information, call Bisci at 632-8231. To make a donation, mail a check to Speedway Children's Charities, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. North, Las Vegas NV 89115; attention Lesley Albers.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(4-17-2003)
- The WINSTON 2003 - news and rules announced: The winner of NASCAR's all-star race, The Winston, will enjoy a million-dollar payday in 2003. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and its Winston brand today announced the purse increase and revisions to the format for the 2003 edition of The Winston. Like last year, it'll be "Survival of the Fastest" as drivers will be eliminated from the grid following both the first and second segments, leaving just the 14 fastest drivers to compete for the million-dollar winner's share of a $3.5 million purse in the final 20-lap dash around Lowe's Motor Speedway. Also new in 2003, the "Survival of the Fastest" format will apply to The Winston Open. Only one winner from the Winston Open will advance to The Winston. The No Bull Sprint has been eliminated. As in years past, The Winston Open will be 30 laps, but this year, those laps will be divided into two segments of 20 and 10 laps, respectively.. After the first 20-lap segment, the top-14 cars will advance to the final 10-lap segment. There will be a caution period between segments during which teams may pit, but will lose track position. The Winston Open is composed of drivers and teams who participated in a NASCAR Winston Cup event during the current or previous season and are not otherwise eligible for The Winston.
The Winston Open and The Winston will be held on Saturday, May 17th.
The Winston Open Qualifying: Qualifying session will consist of two laps for each team with the quickest lap determining that team's qualifying position.
The Winston Qualifying: Qualifying procedures for The Winston continue to focus on team performance. Each team will complete three laps around Lowe's Motor Speedway with a mandatory four-tire pit stop during the qualifying attempt. Drivers will have to obey the pit-road speed limit entering pit road, but there is no speed limit exiting pit road. The green flag and checkered flag must be taken on the track. The total elapsed time of the pit stop and laps will determine the pole position for The Winston. The winning team will earn $50,000.
The Winston Open: This 30-lap event is for all NASCAR Winston Cup teams that are not already eligible for The Winston. In the first segment, all laps count including caution laps. The race will be divided into two segments of 20 and 10 laps, respectively.. After the first 20 laps, there will be a caution period. The top-14 cars will advance to the final 10-lap segment with the winner of the race advancing into The Winston. For the second segment of The Winston Open, only green-flag laps count. If a late-race caution occurs, every attempt will be made to ensure a green-flag finish.
The Winston: This race will be 90 laps [135 miles] and run in three segments of 40, 30 and 20 laps. The field will be inverted for the final segment as determined by fan voting.
Segment No. 1: The first segment will be 40 laps. (At the present, the field for The Winston would be 23 cars -- 18 race winner from 2002, one race winner from 2003, two NASCAR Winston Cup champions not otherwise exempt, one car owner (#38) not otherwise exempt and the Winston Open winner). Teams must make a mandatory green-flag, four-tire pit stop at some point during this segment, and each team must complete the final lap on the racetrack. All laps count including caution laps. If there is a late-segment caution, every attempt will be made to ensure a green-flag finish. The top-20 finishers from the first segment will advance to the second segment. The winner of the first segment will earn $50,000.
There will be a 10-minute break following the first segment.
Teams may change tires and make chassis adjustments.
Segment No. 2: The second segment will be 30 laps. Only the top-20 finishers in the first segment advance to the second segment. The first-segment finish will determine the double-file starting order for the second segment. There are no pit-stop requirements, but teams may pit if they wish. All laps count including caution laps. If a late-segment caution occurs, every attempt will be made to ensure a green-flag finish. Only the top-14 finishers in the second segment will advance to the final segment. The winner of the second segment will earn $50,000.
There will be a 10-minute break following the second segment.
Teams may change tires and make chassis adjustments.
The field will be inverted as determined by fan voting.
Segment No. 3: The final segment will be 20 laps. The top-14 finishers in the second segment will compete in the third and final segment with the field inverted as determined by voting by the fans. The start of the final segment will be double file. Only green flag laps count. The winner of the final segment will earn $1 million. Total Purse: $3,500,000.(Lowe's Motor Speedway PR) and see the full story and who is eligible for the Winston and Winston Open on my The Winston 2003 page(4-16-2003)
- Congrats: Michael & Lisa Davis (Mike of Hendrick Motorsports & Lisa of Team Rensi Motorsports) had a healthy baby boy Apr. 14 2003 - Nicholas Eugene Davis 9lbs 4 oz (4-16-2003)
- Some Rookie Notes: #42-Jamie McMurray and #16-Greg Biffle are tied for the lead in the Raybestos Rookie Standing entering the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Both drivers have 89 points, nine more than third place Casey Mears. They are the only drivers to claim Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in more than one race this season. Biffle and McMurray have each been the top qualifying rookie in four races entering the Auto Club 500.
Biffle ranks 22nd in Winston Cup points, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He and McMurray are the only members of this year's class to
score a top-five finish. Each has one top-five entering the California event. McMurray has two top-10 finishes, more than any other Raybestos Rookie.
Five different rookies have earned Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors this season: Biffle (4), McMurray (2), Jack Sprague (1), Casey Mears (1), and Tony Raines (1).
McMurray is the only Raybestos Rookie to start all nine 2003 Winston Cup races without using a provisional. Mears, Jack Sprague, and Tony Raines are the other first-year drivers that have qualified for all nine races entering the Auto Club 500.
The Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway is the only race this season where all six Raybestos Rookies qualified for the race AND all
six were running at the finish of the race.
A Raybestos Rookie Contender has won at least one race in each of the last four seasons dating back to Tony Stewart's win at Richmond in September, 1999. The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is held by Stewart, who won three races in 1999.
A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one pole position in each of the past seven consecutive seasons, dating back to 1996. The record
for most poles in a rookie season is held by Ryan Newman, who won six in 2002.
(Camp and Assoc PR), see my Rookie of the Year page for standings, breakdowns and how the ROTY is calculated.(4-16-2003)
- NASCAR and the Soap Box Derby: The All-American Soap Box Derby, recently named a NASCAR Youth Initiative, is the premier youth and family oriented racing program in the United States involving boys and girls (ages 8-17) from across the U.S. and overseas with the goal of advancing to the All-American Soap Box Derby, held annually at Derby Downs in Akron. The Derby season, which runs March through July, is comprised of 150 local races, with more than 400 local race winners advancing to Akron.(see more at NASCAR.com or allamericansoapboxderby.com.(4-16-2003)
- English Woman Tests a NASCAR car: Camberley (UK) race car driver Claire Tobin impressed onlookers in her debut in a Late Model NASCAR at Hickory Motor Speedway, NC last week. The 28 year old is the latest Brit to drive the Charlie Sigmon Racing Chevy, following in the footsteps of GT driver Tony Littlejohn and the team's regular pilot Rob Croydon. Having completed close to 100 laps and having previously only raced go-karts, Tobin remained unphased by the car's size and power, and driving on an oval circuit. Team Principal Charlie Sigmon added: "Claire showed much natural ability and talent. She listened and did what she was told. I believe she is the first English female NASCAR driver, and I would like to be the first US team to run her in Late Model Stock. She will return to North Carolina for another test in the near future, then we'll see if we can organize a race. Tobin is herself looking forward to returning: "NASCAR is what racing is all about to me. To drive on the oval was a fantastic experience, and nothing in Europe comes close. Going to the home of NASCAR and joining a real NASCAR team with depth of experience and tradition means so much, and I cannot wait to get back in the Charlie Sigmon Chevy"(Crash.net)(4-16-2003)
- Richmond Testing Tuesday: Testing for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Pontiac Excitement 400 and Hardee's 250 NASCAR Busch Series race May 2-3 began at Richmond International Raceway today. Stacy Compton, driver of the #59 Kingsford Busch Series Chevy, led practice with a speed of 122.471. The fastest lap time for the other drivers as reported by the teams include:
#81-Martin Truex, Jr. Busch, 122.338
#26-Kevin Grubb, Busch, 122.283
#2-Ron Hornaday, Busch, 121.896
#19-Chad Blount, Busch, 121.567
#97-Kurt Busch, Cup, 121.076
#37-Derrike Cope, Cup, 121.038
Testing will continue Wednesday and Thursday with more drivers scheduled to test. NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers #21-Ricky Rudd,
#40-Sterling Marlin, #77-Dave Blaney and #14-Larry Foyt are expected along with the drivers that tested Tuesday.(RIR PR)(4-16-2003)
- Kentucky Testing Set: #10-Johnny Benson, #32-Ricky Craven, #9-Bill Elliot, #74-Tony Raines and #7-Jimmy Spencer are scheduled to test their Winston Cup cars at Kentucky Speedway Wednesday and Thursday, the track says. Ford Racing had the facility booked for Tuesday, but no testers are specified. #87-Kyle Busch and #?-Paul Menard are scheduled to test Busch Series cars Wednesday and Thursday. While testing is not open to the public, the track says fans may watch from the visitor center in turn three.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-16-2003)
- Tiebreaker Gives Bobby Labonte's Pit Crew First Place Prize in Martinsville: The crews of #18-Bobby Labonte and #38-Elliott Sadler tied for the top honors in the Virginia 500 among participating teams in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by Powerade, but Labonte's squad took the $20,000 prize by virtue of a tiebreaker.. Each car spent 292 seconds on pit road, but Labonte's Joe Gibbs Racing crew was named the winner by virtue of having a higher finishing position in the race. Labonte finished second, while Sadler was fifth in Robert Yates Racing's No. 38 Ford. In the race for the year's $200,000 top prize, Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #15 team for Michael Waltrip's Chevrolet leads the #8 squad of teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. by a margin of 325 points to 317.(PR), see full press release and standings on my Pit Crew page.(4-15-2003)
- TRAC announcement UPDATE: TRAC - Team Racing Auto Circuit is expected to make a major announcement today. See more at their site www.traczone.com or my TRAC page.(4-15-2003)
UPDATE: Team Sports Entertainment, Inc. through its wholly owned subsidiary, Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC), announced that it has reached a multi-year agreement with ESPN to be the exclusive network for all TRAC races beginning in May of 2004. The two companies have been in negotiations for over a year on the deal, and TRAC National Spokesman and stock car racing legend, Cale Yarborough, stated, "ESPN made stock car racing what it is today. They are the perfect partner for us. I've been waiting a long time for this." The specific schedule is expected to be released in the near future, and the circuit's inaugural race is expected to be in mid May of 2004 culminating in a season ending championship event in mid August. The thirteen event package will air live on ESPN or ESPN2 primarily on Saturday afternoons and evenings. Plans are for the races to be conducted in a two hour window. In addition, TRAC President and Chief Operating Officer, Terry Hanson, announced that Raycom Sports has been retained to sell and market all of TRAC's in-house and league-wide sponsorships including the television advertising package. With these new television contracts in hand, Moag & Company, one of the nation's leading sports and media investment banking firms, will initiate the sale of area team operating rights.(TRAC PR)(4-15-2003)
- Testing at Lowe's UPDATE: Open testing dates have been confirmed for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Goody's Dash Series and the ARCA RE/MAX Series in preparation for The Winston on May 17, the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 and the other stock car events scheduled next month at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Cup dates are:
Tuesday, April 29: 5:00 to 10:00pm/et.
Wednesday, April 30: On-Track: 12:00noon to 10:00pm/et.(Lowe's Motor Speedway PR)(4-14-2003)
UPDATE/CORRECTION: Gate 5A at the front of Lowe's Motor Speedway will be open free of charge during all of the open testing sessions.(4-15-2003)
- Inglebright to attempt Sonoma again: Jim Inglebright, who is currently leading the Winston West points standings, plans to attempt the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA in June. Inglebright also runs a few part time Truck Series race after running a few years full time in the series. Inglebright started 34th and finished 32nd in last years race.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required)(4-15-2003)
- IRS Seize Hass Records: Internal Revenue Service agents seized financial records from Oxnard-based [Calif] Haas Automation Inc. Thursday morning after the agency obtained a search warrant in federal court, officials said. Gary Tang, spokesman for the IRS criminal division, said the warrants were sealed and he could not disclose what they were searching for, why they were searching for it or how many agents were involved in the search. The agents arrived at Haas around 8 a.m., according to some employees on a break outside the company's 800,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Haas General Manager Dennis Dupois said the search warrants were generic in nature and he had no idea what the IRS was looking for. The company remained open for business despite the search. Haas Automation has been in Oxnard for six years and is the 28th-largest employer in the county, with 735 workers, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara Economic Outlook 2003 report. The company's president is Gene F. Haas, a machinist who developed small motors with Kurt Zierhut. Haas is a maker of computer-controlled machine tools for manufacturers throughout the world. Haas also has been involved with motor sport racing since 1995, forming partnerships with PacWest Racing Group, All American Racers and Hendrick Motorsports. Haas joined the NASCAR Winston Cup series in 2002 as a sponsor and owner with the creation of Haas CNC Racing team and has sponsored drivers Jack Sprague and Ricky Hendrick.(Ventura County Star), no idea how this will effect the #0 NetZero/Hass CNC Racing team.(4-15-2003)
- Roush Drivers Featured on Collectibles Tins: Racing fans nationwide now have the opportunity to collect four limited edition tins designed by motorsports master artist Sam Bass featuring four of Roush Racing's drivers: Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin and Jeff Burton. Through June, each limited edition tin is free with the purchase of three-packs of Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese Dishes and Velveeta Shells & Cheese. "The tins are truly a collectors item for race fans nationwide," said Bass. "I'm expecting them to fly off store shelves because they are truly a unique keepsake. I'm betting they won't last in stores long!" A perfect gift for racing fans or motorsports memorabilia collectors, each of the four tins is a reproduction of a watercolor original that artfully depicts a Roush driver from the 2003 lineup, his number, two views of his car, and signature, as seen through Bass' unique perspective. Bass' renditions of Roush Racing drivers, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Burton showcase their determination to the sport, and their own colorful personalities. The competitive spirit they represent is evident in these intricately detailed illustrations. "It's a great honor to be selected for these limited edition tins that feature me and my Roush Racing teammates," said Jeff Burton, a Roush driver since 1996. "Known among race fans and drivers as the first officially licensed artist of this sport, Bass' participation in this program is an incredible opportunity to collect his racing memorabilia." Furthermore, Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese and Velveeta Shells & Cheese will donate $5,000 to Duke (University) Children's Hospital in Durham, NC, a cause that Burton and his wife have supported for years. The tin and three-pack, which retail for $4.99 each and can be found on special display or in the Macaroni & Cheese section of your favorite grocery store, make Bass' hot collectible illustrations available to a wider fan base, a goal shared by both Bass and Kraft. Noted John Kelly of Kraft Foods: "Considering Sam Bass is a recognizable leader in the field of graphic design and that Macaroni and Cheese is everyone's favorite, who wouldn't want to collect these one of a kind tins?" For more information on the Sam Bass Collectible tins, visit www.kraftfoods.com or www.sambass.com.(4-15-2003)
- Toyota Stuff - Ganassi and Davis? UPDATE: Things have been pretty quiet on the Toyota front lately, but work on the Japanese company's new NASCAR Tundra racer is well under way. The two NASCAR teams expected to play a big role in Toyota's truck venture next season are the ones owned by Chip Ganassi and Bill Davis, although neither is willing to confirm anything. Davis' suspected Toyota truck operation, according to team sources, is being run at a secret shop that is being called Area 54, a take-off on the U.S. government's top-secret flight base, Area 51. Where might that shop be? According to sources, it's probably at Davis' old Busch shop in Thomasville, NC.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
UPDATE: AutoRacing1.com say to look for Carl Haas, not Ganassi Racing, to lead the Toyota NASCAR effort when it happens. Seems Ganassi may be too linked to the Dodge program right now.(AutoRacing1.com - need subscription to read)(4-15-2003)
- Sponsorships Up: Roush needs 4? Pennzoil looking? UPDATE: Car owners working the sponsorship marketplace are starting to put offers on the table, and the next few weeks will likely be filled with rumors of possible driver and team changes, rumors based on some contract negotiating points. Jack Roush needs to lock up sponsors for four of his five teams, and DEI's sponsorship deal with Pennzoil is up for renewal. The Pennzoil contract may be the hottest one at the moment, and it's not at all clear if the company will remain with DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
UPDATE: my records show that only the #99 is unknown, the #6 is thru 2005, the #16 and #17 are at least thru 2004 and the #97 us supposedly thru 2006.(4-15-2003)
- Tragic News: El Cajon Speedway promoter Steve Brucker, whose family has owned the track for more than 40 years, was fatally shot yesterday on his doorstep, authorities said. Sheriff's investigators said they had few leads to the gunman and didn't know a motive for the killing. Brucker, 51, dialed 911 himself about 2:25pm and told a dispatcher that he'd been shot in the chest when he answered a knock on his door. Deputies found him inside the house on Medill Avenue just east of the El Cajon city limits near Interstate 8. Paramedics took him to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was declared dead about 4:00pm, said sheriff's Lt. Terry Wisniewski of the homicide unit. Authorities said the shooter was a white man in his 30s, with salt-and-pepper hair, wearing a baseball cap and dark clothes. He was accompanied by a second white man, described only as in his late 20s. They reportedly left in an older-model black Ford Bronco. Brucker leaves a wife and two children, Wisniewski said. Brucker was president of Cajon Plaza, the family owned company that has operated Cajon Speedway next to Gillespie Field airport since 1960. He and his brother, Kevin, ran the business for father Earle Brucker. The speedway started as a course for motorcycles, then auto races were added and the track was paved and expanded to its current 3/8-mile length. The 32-day racing season draws an average race day crowd of 3,000. Rumors that the speedway would soon close down have circulated for years. Steve Brucker was quoted in The San Diego Union-Tribune last year as saying that the family would keep running the track "unless someone shows up with a large pickup filled with money." Brucker said the family holds a lease option on the land good through 2010, but county officials have said they believe the lease expires in 2005.(San Diego Union-Tribune)(4-15-2003)
- TV Ratings for Martinsville - FORE: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Virginia 500 Winston Cup race from Martinsville Speedway drew an overnight Nielsen rating of 4.6 and a 10 share, according to today's Sports Business Daily. The weekend's highest ratings went to CBS, which posted a 9.3/19 for Sunday's coverage of the final round of the Masters golf tournament and a 6.2/14 for Saturday's round, although those figures were down 6 and 11 percent respectively. The 2002 race was aired on Fox's FX cable station, where it drew a 4.5/11, according to Sports Business Daily figures.(Winston Cup Daily Newsletter)(4-14-2003)
- $100 Million into R&D: NASCAR says it plans to invest $100 million over the next decade in its new Concord research and development center -- welcome news for a sour local economy. "Having the NASCAR research and development facility here is like having a Johns Hopkins or Mayo Clinic. That's the kind of impact it'll have," said John Cox, chief executive officer of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. Chief among the problems the local economy has experienced lately are the financial hard times hitting several major companies, including Kannapolis textile giant Pillowtex Corp., which is for sale, and Corning Inc., which mothballed its Midland optical fiber plant this year. Cox said the $100 million investment will ripple through the local economy many times over, from the jobs NASCAR adds, to the homes its employees buy, to the spending by people working for or coming to the center. The NASCAR complex on West Winds Boulevard (off Derita Road across from Concord Regional Airport) houses the racing organization's research and development work, as well as accident investigators, racing series directors and other NASCAR workers. The 61,000-square-foot facility opened in December. The research work focuses on short- and long-term projects ranging from testing surfaces of race track walls to designing safer cars. NASCAR owns 16 acres across from the regional airport, where it has a hangar. Its corporate headquarters is in Florida. NASCAR itself is continuing to expand, and Nelson sees growth at the Concord center mirroring growth in the sport. NASCAR had offices in the Catawba County town of Conover for about two years before it moved to the larger Concord site. The initial investment in the Concord project was $8 million, according to the Cabarrus Economic Development Corp.(Charlotte Observer)(4-14-2003)
- Only Two races to go to get in The Winston: there are only two points races left for some drivers to get into the 2003 The Winston, a few drivers not in the race yet who have won in the past few years: #99-Jeff Burton; #43-John Andretti; #19-Jeremy Mayfield; #01-Jerry Nadeau; #25-Joe Nemechek; #1-Steve Park; #45-Kyle Petty; #49-Ken Schrader and #7-Jimmy Spencer. If these drivers do not win at California or Richmond, they will need to win the Winston Open to get in the race. 2-Rusty Wallace and #5-Terry Labonte are in automatically for being past Winston Cup champs.(4-14-2003)
- Lap Leaders: no new lap leaders for the year at Martinsville. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr [who finished 3rd] led the most laps with 195, just edging out #24-Jeff Gordon. Gordon led at halfway and garnered the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award and the bonus since he won, a cool $35,000 bonus for winning after leading at halfway. The driver with the most laps led in 2003 is #24-Gordon with 604 over #8-Earnhardt Jr at 497, however, Earnhardt Jr has the most miles led with 605.7 while Gordon is 2nd with 572.7. Earnhrdt Jr leads Gordon in 2003 Bonus Points, 50-40. Chevy has led 1628 of the 2909 laps run in 2003 [56%] followed by Ford at 717, Pontiac has only led 15 laps in 2003. Eight drivers have made ALL the races so far in 2003 an NOT led a lap yet: #01-Jerry Nadeau; #9-Jack Sprague; #4-Mike Skinner; #10-Johnny Benson; #23-Kenny Wallace; #42-Jamie McMurray; #49-Ken Schrader; #74-Tony Raines. See my Lap/Miles Bonus Leaders page for the full rundown.(4-14-2003)
- Gordon Fact: Twelve of Jeff Gordon 's 62 victories have come on short tracks.(Roanoke Times)(4-14-2002)
- Stewart wins....a winged sprint car race: Reigning Cup champ #20-Tony Stewart realized a personal accomplishment Friday night. Stewart passed Jake Peters of Sioux Falls, S.D., on a 14th-lap re-start and won his first winged sprint-car feature in the Winged Outlaw Warrior-sanctioned event at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, MO. The race in front of an estimated crowd of 7,500 served as a support-class event as a part of a World of Outlaws sprint-car program. Outlaw driver Danny Lasoski of Higginsville, Mo., supplied a car for Stewart to drive. "This is great, and it was a lot of fun," Stewart said. "We decided to take part in the race at the last minute, and everything worked out well for us." Stewart began his night by running second to Larry Ball Jr. of Knoxville, Iowa, in the last of four heat races. In the feature, Peters led by as much as a straightaway by lap eight, but Stewart closed within three car lengths when Eric Jobe of Kansas City flipped in the fourth turn on lap 13, causing a caution period that set the stage for Stewart's pass on the restart.(Kansas City Star)(4-14-2003)
- Wilburn staying at the #2 UPDATE 2 Parrott to the #2? Denied: #2-Rusty Wallace/Penske Racing crew chief, Billy Wilburn, said there are no truth to the rumors [not here!] that he is leaving the team or being released.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required)(4-10-2003)
UPDATE: the rumor floating around is that once Todd Parrott gets out of his 'lifetime' contract with Robert Yates, he could be headed to the #2 Penske team.(4-10-2003)
UPDATE 2: Penske Racing president Walt Czarnecki says the rumors that Todd Parrott would take over as crew chief for Rusty Wallace were "nonsense." That was comforting to crew chief Bill Wilburn, who who "went right to Rusty" when talk of a change began circulating. "I know we haven't run well lately," Wilburn says. "But if we won a race, no one would be talking." Parrott was placed on indefinite leave by Robert Yates Racing, and sources in the garage say Parrott has been told he has 30 days to find another job.(Sporting News)(4-14-2003)
- Sponsorships Up: Roush needs 4? Pennzoil looking? Car owners working the sponsorship marketplace are starting to put offers on the table, and the next few weeks will likely be filled with rumors of possible driver and team changes, rumors based on some contract negotiating points. Jack Roush needs to lock up sponsors for four of his five teams, and DEI's sponsorship deal with Pennzoil is up for renewal. The Pennzoil contract may be the hottest one at the moment, and it's not at all clear if the company will remain with DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
- Toyota Stuff - Ganassi and Davis? Things have been pretty quiet on the Toyota front lately, but work on the Japanese company's new NASCAR Tundra racer is well under way. The two NASCAR teams expected to play a big role in Toyota's truck venture next season are the ones owned by Chip Ganassi and Bill Davis, although neither is willing to confirm anything. Davis' suspected Toyota truck operation, according to team sources, is being run at a secret shop that is being called Area 54, a take-off on the U.S. government's top-secret flight base, Area 51. Where might that shop be? According to sources, it's probably at Davis' old Busch shop in Thomasville, NC.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
- Roush Comments on the Restrictor Plate Racing: Jack Roush might have a new lease on life, and the accompanying attitude that a near death experience brings, but Roush has no love in his heart for the racing venues known as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
Roush can rattle-off reason after reason why restrictor plate racing should become a thing of the past, including:
• Four races of the year cost the same as a whole program
• He’s tired of hauling wrecked cars home from such tracks
• He dislikes requiring his drivers endure the experience.
But, Roush sums-up the entire exercise — taxing. Add the new no call from NASCAR angle from last week’s Talladega race, where Roush had a vested interest in the winner, and he just shakes his head. “Five teams is probably a fifteen million dollar proposition,” Roush said regarding the investment that is made to prepare Mark Martin’s, Jeff Burton’s, Matt Kenseth’s, Kurt Busch’s and Greg Biffle’s cars for probable destruction on a plate track.(See full story at Ford Racing)(4-14-2003)
- Helton defends Talladega 'no-call': NASCAR president Mike Helton insisted once again Sunday that the no-call on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s controversial pass below the yellow line on Lap 185 of the Aaron's 499 was the right call. "It was clear to us last weekend that when the 8 car (Earnhardt Jr.) went below the yellow line he didn't do it to advance a position," Helton said in a taped interview with Fox Sports anchor Mike Joy. "He did it primarily to avoid an accident." Helton also said that Earnhardt Jr. had already made the pass before going below the yellow line. "He already had the position," Helton said. "(Winston Cup Series director) John Darby explained it inside the garage area to some folks earlier today. If you had a start-finish line at that point before he went below the yellow line, who would the winner be? Everybody agreed it would be the 8 car. If the 8 car was the leader, how can he gain a position?" Appearing on the Fox Sports prerace show, Helton acknowledged the controversy that has raged all week. "The thing that we hope everybody will remember is that...we have areas where judgment calls have to be made," Helton said. "It's just like in baseball with balls and strikes or whether he's out or safe...those type of judgment calls exist in our sport, too. We're the sanctioning body and we're the ones who have to make them."(ThatsRacin.com)(4-14-2003)
- Wrong tires? Ricky Craven's crew apparently got the left-side tires on the right and the right sides on the left on the last stop.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
- No Gas For Herman: #23-Kenny Wallace finished 12th Sunday but had to work his way back from two laps down to do that. Wallace lost the ground when he made a green-flag pit stop before the rest of the field came in under yellow. Wallace was forced into the stop because, on an earlier stop, he didn't get a full load of fuel in his Dodge. "The track only had three gas pumps open," said Wallace, whose team was lined up at the gas pumps to get its fuel cans filled.. "When I pitted we couldn't put gas in our car because we didn't have gas. So I had to pit again. We easily had a top-five car. I came from the back three times and I was two laps down and made them up. What are you going to do?"(ThatsRacin.com)(4-14-2003)
- Rumblings - Martinsville: Jeff Gordon's win was his 4th at Martinsville, the 62nd of his career (he's 7th on the all-time win list), the 110th for Hendrick Motorsports, and he's the first driver to win from the pole this season (Kurt Busch won the 2002 finale at Homestead from the top-spot). We've now had 9 different winners in the first nine races....and Gordon's take of the $4.0+M in posted awards was a cool $219,143 (that's more than Dale got last week at that "big track", tho the posted awards were greater).
Jeff Burton (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Homestead last November.
Ken Schrader (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Darlington in September of 2001
STREAKIN....Dale Earnhardt Jr has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races. Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week (in a very quiet shaft this week) is Bobby Labonte (+37). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-35), followed by Jamie McMurray (-28). This is the second week in a row that Newman has headlined the downer category.
The best move forward in the points goes to Kenny Wallace (28th to 23rd), while Ryan Newman fell the most spots (11th to 20th). Newman was 8th in the points when we left Texas...it sure has been all downhill since his victory there (might have something to do with being the Big Dropper back-to-back).(StockCarFans.Com WinstonCup Newsletter)(4-14-2003)
see the Apr 7-13, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Mar 31-Apr 6, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Mar 24-30, 2003 Archived News Page