PAST NEWS APR 28-MAY 4, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- Rudd Voted Best Race: More than 3,000 fans recently went to Richmond International Raceway's Web site and voted for the best race in its 50-year history. Their choices: September 1972, when Richard Petty rallied to win after a Bobby Allison bump sent him atop the guardrail; February '86, when Kyle Petty won after Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt crashed late; September '91, when Harry Gant won the first night race in the track's modern history; or September 2001, when Ricky Rudd won with a late-race bump-and-run pass of Kevin Harvick. The winner, with more than half the votes, was Rudd's victory two years ago. Kyle Petty's victory got the second-most votes, with Gant's victory third and Richard Petty's fourth.(Daily Press)(5-4-2003)
- Green not a happy camper: #30-Jeff Green, running in the top five of Saturday night's race at Richmond, was hit from behind by Richard Childress Racing teammate #29-Kevin Harvick on Lap 268 of 400, bringing a premature end to a strong run by Green's team.
Green was upset after the incident, and following a radio interview, walked hurriedly down pit road to Harvick's pit. Green first confronted Harvick's crew chief, Todd Berrier, on top of the team's pit box, than had a heated exchange with team owner Richard Childress, who was standing in the pit area. The incident lasted only a few moments before Green left the area and returned to the garage, where his #30 AOL Chevy had been towed. "We're supposed to be teammates, but it doesn't seem that way right now," Green said. "It's one thing to get spun out, it's another to get spun out by your teammate."(ThatRacin.com)(5-4-2003)
- Nemechek wins at Richmond: #25-Joe Nemechek wins a slightly rain shortened Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Speedway, his first win in 45 races when he last won at Rockingham in November 2001. #18-Bobby Labonte was 2nd, his third 2nd place finish in a row. The race was rain shortened by 7 laps [393 run of 400 scheduled]. The win puts Nemechek in The Winston [23 drivers eligible + the Winston Open winner]. #31-Robby Gordon [4th] and Nemechek get their first top fives of 2003. Jason Keller finished 32nd in the #01 US Army Pontiac subbing for injured Jerry Nadeau. Ironically it was the first win for the #25 team since Nadeau won at Atlanta in 2000.
See my Pontiac Excitement 400 Info page for my race rundown, with cautions and why, lap leaders, dnf's, and Notes.
Race Results at Jayski's Pontiac Excitement Results page and at:
ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com or MotorsportsOne.(5-3-2003)
- BAM Racing Friendly: BAM Racing will carry the colors of Friendly's Ice Cream at Richmond. BAM is doing it for free. Friendly's normally sponsors #37-Derrike Cope, but Cope failed to qualify Friday. So BAM owner Beth Ann Morgenthau decided to put Friendly's on Ken Schrader's #49 Dodge for the race. And she's not charging Friendly's a dime. Some race-to-race sponsorships can cost as much as $200,000. "We just like Derrike," Morgenthau said. "He had a bad break, and we could help him out. So we did."(NASCAR.com)(5-3-2003)
- Keller in the #01 for Nadeau: Jason Keller will drive for the injured Jerry Nadeau in Saturday's Pontiac Excitement 400, a spokesperson for Keller said after Friday night's Hardee's 250 NASCAR Busch Series race. Keller practiced Nadeau's #01 U.S. Army Pontiac car in Happy Hour on Friday afternoon. Keller, who has competed in 298 Busch Series races, will be making his Winston Cup debut.(NASCAR.com)
UPDATE: MB2 Motorsports announced that Busch Series driver Jason Keller will substitute for the injured Jerry Nadeau in tonight's Pontiac Excitement 400. It will be Keller's first Winston Cup start. He spent approximately 20 minutes in the U.S. Army backup car during Saturday's final practice session. "While our thoughts are with Jerry during his recovery, we also want to express our appreciation to Jason for filling in on a short notice," said Jay Frye, CEO/general manager of MB2/MBV Motorsports. "Jason has proved himself in the Busch Series and we know he can get the job done." Keller, 33, is in his 10th season as a Busch Series driver and is currently sixth in the Busch point standings. Last year, he finished second in the Busch season point standings and was third in 2001. Keller, his wife, Deborah, and two children - Joe (6) and Jade (4) reside in Greenville, SC.(US ARMY Racing PR), see Nadeau story and updates below....(5-3-2003)
- Ramblings - Richmond: #5-Terry Labonte''s last top-spot was at Texas Motor Speedway in March of 2000, and before that you've got to go back to Sears Point International Raceway (it was called that then) in May of 1996.
When Labonte leads 'em down Saturday Night for the Pontiac Excitement 400, he'll be the 9th different drvier to start from the pole this season.
Front Row Joe Nemechek, it's the first time he's been on the front-row since he had the pole at Talladega in October of 2000.
#45-Kyle Petty (8th) has his best starting spot since he started 6th here in this event last year.
STREAKIN....#12-Ryan Newman has 9 Top-10 starts in a row.
#24-Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races. Joev
#25-Nemechek has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Jimmie
#48-Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
(StockCarFans.com Winston Cup Newsletter)(5-3-2003)
- NASCAR's talks on title sponsorship continue: Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications, said Friday there are "four or five" companies involved in discussions about eventually replacing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco as title sponsor of the sport's top series. Hunter also said, however, that some of companies mentioned as possible candidates in published reports - Anheuser-Busch, AT&T and UPS and others - may not be among them. "McDonald's? Yes, we've talked to them," Hunter said. "I've seen names like Coca-Cola, VISA, Microsoft, Gillette and maybe one or two others pop up. If you say those kinds or companies are included among the ones we're talking to, that'd be accurate."(The Charlotte Observer)(5-3-2003)
- Yates in No Hurry: Robert Yates [#38 and #88 team owner] said Friday at Richmond that he prefers to keep Jarrett's No. 88 team intact for the time being and let that group solve the team's problems. Team engineer Garth Finley took over as interim crew chief after Robert Yates Racing general manager Doug Yates released Brad Parrott. Yates said he wants to give Finley and the rest of the crew "the room, the support, the time" to get Jarrett running well again. Yates said Doug Yates has talked to a few prospects, but "I don't see anybody coming in the door tomorrow," Robert Yates said. Yates said he hasn't talked to Jimmy Makar, who has been in the rumor mill to move to Yates. Makar is the general manager of Joe Gibbs Racing after being moved form Bobby Labonte's crew chief in the off-season.(NASCAR.com)(5-3-2003)
- New York NASCAR's #1 Priority: Over the weekend, Brian France, NASCAR senior vice president and a member of the organization's board of directors, told a group of newspaper sports editors gathered in New York that he would love to see races in the New York and Portland/Seattle areas. France called staging a Winston Cup race near New York City a "No. 1 priority."(Kansas City Star)(5-3-2003)
- Atwood back with Evernham at Pocono UPDATE: Mountain Dew LiveWire, a new Dew that will be available from Memorial Day through Labor Day, is sponsoring the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepid for a one-race deal at the Pocono 500 on June 8, 2003, as part of its "summer-only" product launch. Casey Atwood has been selected by Evernham Motorsports to drive the #91 racecar for the June 8 event in Pennsylvania. In last year's ARCA race at Pocono, Atwood took the checkered flag after starting from the pole position. Mountain Dew is currently an associate sponsor of Evernham Motorsports, driver Jeremy Mayfield and the #19 team known as the Dew Crew.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(5-1-2003)
UPDATE: Ray Evernham said he would like to run his #91 Dodge, a research and development team, in four or five Winston Cup races this season. The team's first race is the June race at Pocono, when former Evernham Motorsports driver Casey Atwood will return behind the wheel. Atwood, who won the ARCA race at Pocono with the same R&D team at Evernham Motorsports, remains without a full-time ride this season. "He's still under contract to me, but he is allowed to do other things," Evernham said. "I told him when stuff came up, when opportunities came up, we would help him. We got an opportunity to run this race at Pocono, which is one of Casey's good tracks, and hopefully we can turn it into something more for him or us or both." Evernham said he hoped Atwood, who drove the #7 Dodge for Ultra/Evernham Motorsports most of last season, would have found a new ride by now. Evernham would like to run the #91 at the July race at Daytona, as well as the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Former Busch series driver Hank Parker Jr. is also slated run at least one race in the #91 this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-3-2003)
- Numbers did ya know in 34 career Cup starts at Richmond #15-Michael Waltrip has NO top 10's and his best finish is 12th. Four (4) is the number of charged provisional starting positions used in the season's first 10 races by the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports and #49 BAM Racing teams. Those teams have only one provisional available until after they attempt to qualify for the 16th race of the season, at Infineon Raceway. 7 -- The number of different Bud Pole Award winners in the last seven races at Richmond. 16 -- The number of Winston Cup races at Richmond won from the pole position. 93 -- The number of NASCAR point races, including three Convertible Division events, held at Richmond since 1953.(see many more 'numbers' atNASCAR.com)(5-2-2003)
- BACE, Raines and the Special Olympics: Look for an extra man atop the box this weekend in the BACE Motorsports Winston Cup pit as Special Olympics athlete and ambassador, Paul Marretti serves as honorary crew chief for NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Raines. The #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy will carry the Special Olympics Virginia logo on its hood when Raines makes his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series start at Richmond. Marretti, a member of the Special Olympics Virginia Board of Directors as an athlete representative, is presently serving a two-year term as a Sargent Shriver Global Messenger. In this position, he has traveled to Canada, Peru and many US cities representing the interests of Special Olympics athletes. Marretti, 27, will tour Ireland in June as part of the Special Olympics World Games. He began as a basketball player and soon expanded to other sports, including bowling, tennis, soccer, skiing, softball, track, golf and swimming. Joining Marretti at RIR this weekend will be Special Olympics Virginia President, Rick Jeffrey.(Tony Raines site)(5-2-2003)
- Craven is the First Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year: Despite temperatures in the single digits back on January 25, well over 500 winter weather enthusiasts joined NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Ricky Craven in his home state of Maine to participate in the sixth annual Ricky Craven Charity Snowmobile Ride. The event totaled nearly $200,000 in contributions that were targeted to numerous charities, the most money raised in the history of the ride. For his efforts in staging the event and generating significant charitable funds, Craven has been named the 2003 First Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year. USG, the Official Building Products Supplier of NASCAR, is in its first year as sponsor of the NASCAR USG Person of the Year program. The award is designed to honor drivers, not only for their accomplishments on the track, but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR USG Person of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR Winston Cup season has been divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts. A select group of panelists will select one of the four quarterly finalists as the NASCAR USG Person of the Year. This award will be presented the week of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. In addition to the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, USG also sponsors the Driver of the Race Award, which goes to the eligible driver who wins each of the 36 NASCAR Winston Cup championship events. Each USG Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR), this used to be the True Value Person of the Year.(5-2-2003)
- Special Scheme for Busch at RIR: #97-Kurt Busch will don the yellow and black colors of Rubbermaid Commercial Products and Brute instead of the regular red and silver colors of the Rubbermaid Ford. Last year in Charlotte's fall race, he finished 12th in a special Rubbermaid Commercial Products paint scheme. "Our entire team has shown that we are tough," said Busch, currently fourth in the championship standings and coming off a victory at California Speedway last Sunday. "We went through a streak of races with some bad luck, but came back in style last week. I think we showed that just like Rubbermaid Commercial Products and Brute, my team is tough and durable! Maybe we can get yet another special paint scheme in victory lane." The Brute brand, which features Brute Totes and Brute Containers, is known for its toughness and durability allowing consumers to work smarter and handle without care. Rubbermaid Commercial Products will begin a national advertising campaign focused on its Brute brand on May 12. Television advertising will be seen during NASCAR races as well as on other network and cable shows. For more information on Rubbermaid Commercial Products, go to www.rubbermaidcommercial.com.(5-2-2003)
- Hornish to the #1? haven't heard this one since last year....Autoracing1.com (need subscription to view/read) is reporting....Hornish to replace Steve Park: Pennzoil sponsors both Sam Hornish (IRL) and Steve Park (NASCAR). Rumors are rampant that Steve Park will lose his ride at DEI, possibly before the season is over. Sam Hornish is now rumored to be taking his place. Giving more weight to the rumor that Park is on his way out is the blatant berating he gave to the media after winning the pole last weekend at Fontana, then going out and crashing on the very first lap, taking Ryan Newman with him. Talk about making a complete and utter fool out of oneself.(Autoracing1.com -need subscription to view/read)(5-2-2003)
- Been Asked many times: What ever happened to the 'Hat Man' who used to great the winning drivers in the winners circle? (answer on my NASCAR Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)), the answer WAS: Well from what I hear, after Bill 'The Hat Man' Broderick was released of his duties when Tosco bought out Unocal he bought a restaurant or tavern in the Chicago area(6-16-1999) -- UPDATE 1: some more tidbits, Broderick is the owner of a tavern near the Fox River in Algonquin, Illinois, in the Northwest Chicago suburbs, that he actually has owned for some time(6-17-1999)
UPDATE 2: Broderick was interviewed by Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) and is now working with the Busch Series team #27 of Brewco Motorsports and driver Joey Clanton and sponsor TrimSpa.(5-2-2003)
- Final California TV Ratings: Nielsen Media Research figures show Fox's broadcast of the Auto Club 500 from California Speedway was the most-watched sports program last weekend with 8.3 million viewers, according to today's Sports Business Daily. Final figures show the race drew a 5.3 rating and 13 share to top the 4.9/12 ABC drew for the NBA's Timberwolves-Lakers playoff game. The final figures represent a virtual reversal of the overnight results that had shown the race drawing a 4.9/11 and the game drawing a 5.3/12 from the nation's largest markets. Despite the small-market boost, the race still fell short of the 5.9/13 it drew last year. The Daily says that so far this season the Fox results are down 3 percent from 2002 with an average of 6.0/14 this year versus a 6.2/15 last season.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-2-2003)
- Special Schemes at Richmond: #31 Reverse, #5 Power of Cheese, #4 Kodak/Easyshare, #2 Miller Lite/600th Consecutive start. See images on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-1-2003)
- Milestone for Rusty: Rusty Wallace will start 600th consecutive Winston Cup race at Richmond and run a special paint scheme (see my Paint Scheme Gallery), Ricky Rudd currently hold the all time racord at 690, Ken Schrader is 3rd at 569.(Stats Menu and Links page)(5-1-2003)
- #600 for Hendrick: When the teams of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series take the green flag at Richmond on Saturday, it will mark the 600th race started in the storied 19-year history of Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick teams have brought home 110 wins in 599 Winston Cup events [18.7%]. The four Winston Cup teams of Hendrick Motorsports [#5, #24, #25, #48] will display a special "600th Start" decal at Richmond. The artwork will take the place of the HMS logo on the "B-post" of each car.(HMS PR)(5-1-2003)
- Petty Ride Update: The next time Winston Cup star Kyle Petty visits Southern California, he will be preparing to lead more than 200 motorcycle enthusiasts cross-country to raise money for children's charities. The 2003 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, featuring NASCAR celebrities, sponsors and fans, will kickoff on June 22 in Palm Springs, Calif. This year's ride will take a southern route. ALSO there will be a Helmet Design contest, which ends on May 5th, for more info, links and phone numbers, see my Racing Charities page.(5-1-2003)
- Fukuyama Celebrates ˜Children's Day" in Richmond: While most NASCAR Winston Cup drivers are fortunate to travel the extensive schedule with their families, journeyman Japanese driver Hideo Fukuyama's family is usually more than 1,800 miles away. That gap will be closed this weekend, however, when Fukuyama enjoys a rare visit from his wife at the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond. Fukuyama's wife, Tayomi, is coming to the U.S., to join him in celebrating a week of Japanese holidays, known as "Golden Week" which culminates on May 5 with "Children's Day," a day that Japanese families set aside to honor their children. Although Fukuyama's two children, (Ryotaro, age 10, Saho, age 8) will remain in Japan for the holiday week, he will be recognizing them in a special way this weekend. "In Japan, Children's Day reminds you of your goal to raise strong, healthy children," explains the rookie Winston Cup driver. "I've always been appreciative of my family because they raised me to be strong and work hard to achieve my dreams. Now it's my turn to do these things for my children. This year, because I am racing, I do what I can through email and phone calls. This weekend, I am going to send them a special message." As a message to their children, Tayomi has brought the traditional and colorful carp banners (koinobori, pronounced KOY E NO BO RI) and windsocks that are usually displayed to wish children a good future. Fukuyama will be flying the carp, atop his #66 Kikkoman transporter during the race this weekend at the three-quarter-of-a-mile oval. Typically, the banners diminish in size from the top to the bottom of the pole, each child in the family represented by a different banner. According to Japanese beliefs, carp are the most spirited of fish, fighting their way up swift-running rivers. This quality makes them the ideal symbol of the courage and determination that children need to overcome life's difficulties and attain their goals. "Being away from my children is difficult," Fukuyama continued. "But, I know they support me and I am teaching them that if they have dreams, they should follow them -- no matter where they take you."(Cox Marketing PR)(5-1-2003)
- Drivers visit wounded soldiers: Eight NASCAR drivers visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center today.. Jerry Nadeau, driver of the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac, was joined by teammate Johnny Benson as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace and Matt Kenseth. The drivers visited soldiers recovering from injuries sustained during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. "The soldiers we visited have demonstrated heroics far beyond most of our ability to imagine," Nadeau said.. "It is their individual acts of bravery for the greater good that underline what the Army is all about - what 'An Army of One' is all about." The drivers were in the Washington, D.C., area prior to the Pontiac Excitement 400 being run this Saturday night in Richmond. "This was an amazing opportunity for me, and I am sure for the other drivers, too," said Earnhardt.. "I know that there are thousands of NASCAR fans among the Army ranks. I just let these soldiers know they have hundreds of thousands of fans in NASCAR and I am one of them."
"It was phenomenal. I really appreciate them," Pfc. Dennis Wallace, an infantryman in the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, said of meeting the racers. "This experience is definitely a lifetime experience." For more information about the U.S. Army and its racing programs, visit www.goarmy.com.(5-1-2003)
- Robby Gordon responds: John Andretti made some comments last weekend that showed he wasn't happy about his cousin, IRL team owner/driver Michael Andretti, selecting Robby Gordon to replace Dario Franchitti in the Indy 500.
John thought Michael would select him to drive for the injured Franchitti, but John hasn't driven in the Indy 500 since 1994 when he became the first person to complete the double of the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. "I'll be there that week and I'll qualify the car, because he [Gordon] will be in the hospital by then," John Andretti told Speed Channel. Gordon responded to John's comment: "All I want to say is I never would wish one of my fellow competitors get hurt so I could get a ride." Andretti realizes sponsor considerations were a factor in the selection of Gordon. Motorola, the sponsor on Franchitti's car, supplies cell phones for Cingular Wireless, the sponsor of Gordon's Winston Cup car.(Dallas Morning News - may need to register to read)(5-1-2003)
- New Concussion test helps determine readiness: Concussions are a fact of life in automobile racing, where crashing into a concrete wall at high speed is relatively common. Until now, one of the most difficult decisions facing doctors who treat race drivers for concussions has been knowing when a driver is well enough to return to a race car. Now, thanks to Mark Lovell, director of the Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, there is a new, important tool. It's call ImPACT, which stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. That's a formal way of describing a computer test devised by Lovell and Pittsburgh Steelers team neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon, in conjunction with several of Lovell's former colleagues at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. The test, which takes 22 minutes the first time and a little less in subsequent uses, measures memory, reaction time, mental speed, information processing, anticipation time and other functions of the brain affected by concussions. The idea is to administer the test while the subject is healthy -- at the start of the season, preferably. That sets a "baseline" with which to measure further tests after a head injury. In auto racing, CART has been using the test since last year, all the Indy Racing League drivers will take the test as part of their physical for entering the May 25 Indianapolis 500, Formula One has the software and plans to implement the program as soon as possible, and NASCAR is studying it. Gary Nelson, managing director of competition for NASCAR, said some drivers are using it on a volunteer basis. Steve Park, who missed the last eight Winston Cup races of 2001 and the first four events of 2002, flew to Pittsburgh in February to take the ImPACT test. Park said he wishes he had known about the test before a crash, at Darlington in a Busch Series car, that temporarily left him with blurred vision and slurred speech.(full story at ESPN/AP)(5-1-2003)
- Hiker to Help Out Victory Junction Camp: Ray Hudson, a shop fabricator at Petty Enterprises with over 25 years of work history at Petty, has embarked on his life-long dream to hike the Appalachian Trial while supporting Petty’s dream to build The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Hudson has received pledges for every mile he hikes on the Trail, all proceeds going to The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Hudson began the 2,171-mile hike from Springer Mountain, GA, on March 1, and hopes to reach the finish line at Baxter State Park, ME, by Aug. 1. Hudson could raise as much as $25,000 by completing the incredible journey. Leaving his family and job at Petty Enterprises for six-months in order to complete the trail, Ray has currently raised over $8,000 for Victory Junction. Friends and family from around the country have made donations and pledges based on the number of miles Hudson completes. Victory Junction Gang Camp, a Proud Charity of NASCAR, is a non-profit organization that will provide camp sessions year round for children ages 7-15 with life-threatening illnesses. The racing-themed camp is under construction in Randleman, NC. and will open in the summer of 2004. For more information or to make a donation to Victory Junction, visit www.victoryjunction.org or call (336) 398-9055.(5-1-2003)
- Team Gordon Offers Ultimate Motorsports Experience to Fans: #31-Robby Gordon will continue his quest to claim victory at both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25 of Memorial Day Weekend. Gordon will run both events, marking the fourth time in his career he has attempted to complete the 1,100-mile endurance journey. Gordon has put together what he calls “The Double Duty Tour.” It is day-long trip that will provide motorsports fans the opportunity to witness two distinctively different forms of racing in one day. The Double Duty Tour was created for those who love racing, regardless whether the vehicle has fenders or not. For those who participate, the Tour will be an experience of a lifetime. Originating in Charlotte, NC, planes, buses and most importantly, police escorts, will help navigate Tour Fans through the logistical challenge of attending two races in two different places on the same day. Each fan gets transportation to and from the races, tickets for both events, a souvenir gift pack, a race scanner and some “up close and personal” time with Gordon before the Indy 500. Gordon wanted to make sure the package would put fans “in the middle” of the journey with him. For more information on The Double Duty Tour and pricing, please visit teamgordon.com.(5-1-2003)
- Nadeau fastest in Weds teating at Lowe's: #01-Jerry Nadeau marched to the top of the unofficial speed chart Wednesday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway as NASCAR Winston Cup teams concluded preparations for The Winston on May 17 and the May 25 Coca-Cola 600. Nadeau ran 181.757 mph. The starter never unfurled the caution flag as the nine-hour testing session was run without an on-track incident. There was one minor accident in the garage area when a speedway security vehicle pulled in front Jeff Green's #30 AOL Chevy, causing damage to both vehicles. Testing for Lowe's Motor Speedway's month of May activities continues Monday night when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers and teams take to the track in preparation for the inaugural Hardee's 200 on Friday, May 16. The session runs from 3 to 10 p.m. and the main grandstand will be open to the public with no admission charge. Tickets for The Winston on May 17 and the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 are still available and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS.
The unofficial speeds:
#01-Jerry Nadeau, 181.757
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 181.087
#4-Mike Skinner, 180.481
#6-Mark Martin, 180.192
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 180.180
#43-John Andretti, 179.372
#54-Todd Bodine, 178.324
#30-Jeff Green, 177.579
#88-Dale Jarrett, 175.484
#11-Brett Bodine, 174.403
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 173.997
#27-Kirk Shelmerdine, 173.533
#74-Tony Raines, 173.355.(LMS PR)(5-1-2003)
- Sponsorships Up: Roush needs 4? Pennzoil looking? UPDATE 2: 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 is supposedly thru 2006.(4-15-2003)
UPDATE 2: Roush Racing’s president, Geoff Smith, spoke with Team Ford Racing regarding the status of the sponsorship deals on the five NASCAR Winston Cup cars his operation runs. Smith began by saying that of his five entries only Greg Biffle’s #16 Granger Ford is 100 percent locked-in with sponsorship, which spans through the 2005 season. Deals are pending with Matt Kenseth’s, Mark Martin’s, Jeff Burton’s and Kurt Busch’s existing sponsors, but are not complete, yet. Pfizer, via its Viagra brand, has a contract with Martin’s #6 team through the end of this year, with an option through the 2005 season. DeWalt, which sponsors Kenseth’s #17 Taurus, inked a one-year deal in 2002 for space. Burton’s #99 and Busch’s #97 both need renewals. Smith told TFR that he’s been “in detailed discussions for a period of time” with the four sponsors that are currently on Roush Cup entries and “in every case we’re past the stage of money.” Smith said that he hopes to have signed sponsors contracts near the end of May. His job is made somewhat easier, despite the tight economy, with programs among the strongest in the industry. As Smith works with potential sponsors the cars sit first (Kenseth) and fourth (Busch) in the point standings and the stable has two marquee drivers in Martin and Burton. Additionally, Smith said there is “interest in our programs beyond these [sponsors].”(Ford Racing)(5-1-2003)
- #1 Rumors abound UPDATE 2 Keller Denies rumors: hearing that Steve Park could be replaced as the driver of the #1 Pennzoil Chevy before the races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, sources have Jason Keller as the possible replacement driver. Keller is slated to driver the #81 DEI car at Checiagoland in July.
AND The LTN HOUR radio show reports that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Roush Racing Ford will drive the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004. However, last reports I have are that he is signed with Roush thru 2006.(4-21-2003)
UPDATE: Steve Park's comments after winning the pole at California on Friday: "Hopefully, this will quiet some critics a little bit," said Park, whose lap bumped Bill Elliott's Dodge to the outside of Row 1 for the Winston Cup season's 10th race. "We're fixing to start winning races." Park, who now has three poles to go along with two career Cup victories, turned defiant as he said he remains confident that he can get the job done with his team. "All the hogwash I have to read that the press puts out there, I have broad shoulders," said Park, whose best 2003 finish has been a 10th at Las Vegas. "Dish it out because I can take it all. When I am in victory lane winning races, everybody who's had bad things to say about this race team is going to bite their tongues. I don't race to finish 20th, I race to win. If I don't have the confidence in my team to win, then I need to go somewhere else. But I do have confidence in (crew chief) Tony Gibson, all of the new people we've hired, our engine shop, the whole team that we have, that we can do stuff like this. We can win poles and win races and we're not going to stop this year until we do that. That will quiet all of the critics that we have." Ty Norris, executive vice president for motorsports at DEI, said he and Park sat down about three weeks ago to discuss the team's slow start in 2003. "I said, 'You're reading a lot of things, but let's focus about what happens inside these walls,'" Norris said. "'Let's come together as a group, believe in each other, pull for each other and help each other. When that happens, no matter what anybody says outside these walls, we're not going to concern ourselves with it.'"(ThatsRacin.com)
On top of that, the team's Pennzoil sponsorship is up in the air. Ty Norris, who runs DEI for owner Teresa Earnhardt, says last month's negotiations with sponsor Pennzoil in Texas were more of a learning experience than anything, because Shell's buyout of the company has resulted in a major corporate shakeup, and only one of the men involved in the original sponsorship negotiations with the late Dale Earnhardt is still around. How the company's new executives might view stock car racing as a marketing machine is unclear.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-26-2003)
AND also hearing that Park recently made a new TV commercial for Food Lion featuring him and six other NASCAR drivers. Park is also featured on boxes of Milk-bone with his dog.(4-26-2003)
UPDATE 2: Jason Keller denies rumors about replacing Steve Park, says DEI hasn't contacted him and the reports of Keller in the #1 Pennzoil Chevy as early as Richmond and no later the Charlotte are unfounded. Keller says he wouldn't leave his current Busch Series owner, Greg Pollex hanging. Keller will drive at Chicago for Dale Earnhardt Jr's Chance 2 team.(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read)(5-1-2003)
- NASCAR to go Unleaded in 2004: Rumor has it that NASCAR's new fuel supplier in 2004 will want the cars to run unleaded fuel. "Several years ago there was the possibility of NASCAR having to switch to unleaded fuel. At the time, there was some concern that lead in fuel lubricates. There was concern that valve guides or valve stems and maybe possibly valve seats would wear out quickly. Most teams that tried it had figured out a way around it if that was going to be the case. There were a couple of teams that struggled and NASCAR decided not to use the unleaded fuel. Supposedly, the unleaded fuel would pull more horsepower because it's got oxygen in it, so it's not a horsepower issue, it's more of a longevity issue. You just convert to different materials on places like your valve seats or valve guides and things like that. (AutoRacing1.com - need subscription to read)(4-30-2003)
- R.J. Reynolds [Winston] to sell? After British American Tobacco PLC reported higher quarterly international cigarette sales volume on flat profits, some European analysts were speculating yesterday that the world's second-largest tobacco company might be thinking about making a bid for struggling competitor R.J. Reynolds. Some analysts said BAT should seize on that opportunity to buy struggling RJR to bolster its size and competitive leverage in the U.S. market. Spokesman Prideaux said BAT won't rule out any possible acquisition, as long as it makes financial and strategic sense. He wouldn't comment on the specific issue of RJR.(Courier-Journal)(4-30-2003)
- Bobby Labonte's Pit Crew Scores Second Straight Win: The pit crew of Bobby Labonte's #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy made it two-in-a-row by winning the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in Fontana. Labonte's car, which finished second in the 500-mile California race, spent 216 seconds on pit road, edging the cars of race winner Kurt Busch (218 seconds) and John Andretti (220 seconds). With the back-to-back wins, the Joe Gibbs Racing Interstate Batteries crew has earned $40,000 ($20,000 for each pit crew win) and has moved into seventh place in the overall pit crew point standings. The season champion of the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade will receive a $200,000 bonus. See my Pit Crew Info Page for race rundown, standing and past news, along with the Pit Crew Chart.(4-30-2002)
- Drivers Killed: Eric Poret, 40, was killed Saturday night in a stock-car accident at Westbank Speedway near New Orleans, the Times-Picayune reported. Poret was driving a 1986 Chevy Monte Carlo when on the ninth of 12 laps, his car began to tip over, then was hit by another car. His death was at least the 303rd in U.S. auto racing since 1990, according to a Charlotte Observer study.(ThatsRacin.com)
AND Two weeks after suffering critical injuries during a low-speed, prerace event, Possum Bourne, New Zealand's only professional rally driver, died Wednesday without regaining consciousness. He was 47. Bourne raced thousands of miles at breakneck speeds on rally courses around the world. In more than 20 years of racing he won the Asia-Pacific title three times. He was the reigning Australian Rally champion, having won the title a record seven times.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-30-2003)
- Testing at Lowe's Today - UPDATE 3 Speeds: 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)
UPDATE 2: 13 drivers are expected to test, don't have a full list, but #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #6-Mark Martin, #88-Dale Jarrett, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #43-John Andretti, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #30-Jeff Green and #01-Jerry Nadeau are expected to test.(4-29-2003)
SPEEDS: #4-Mike Skinner topped the unofficial speed chart Tuesday evening as a dozen NASCAR Winston Cup teams took to Lowe's Motor Speedway in preparation for the May 17 running of The Winston and the May 25 Coca-Cola 600. Speeds were well off the record lap of 186.464mph posted by Johnson during last year's CTC Pole Night qualifying as teams focused primarily on race set-ups and long runs. The five-hour practice session was run without incident. The only caution flag was waved when safety personnel responded to a small fire in the garage area. NASCAR Winston Cup testing for the Coca-Cola 600 continues Wednesday. Drivers will be on the track from 12:00noon to 10:00pm/et and the main grandstand will be open to the public with free admission. The speeds:
#4-Mike Skinner, 180.832mph
#6-Mark Martin, 180.252
#30-Jeff Green, 180.216
#88-Dale Jarrett, 180.156
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 180.138
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 179.330
#54-Todd Bodine, 178.306
#01-Jerry Nadeau, 177.971
#19-Jerry Mayfield, 177.608
#43-John Andretti, 177.410
#11-Brett Bodine, 175.046
#74-Tony Raines, 174.177.(LMS PR)(4-30-2003)
- Congrats: to Rea and Jimmy White on the birth of their son. Zane Marshall White was born at 3:45pm on April the 29th. He weighed in at 7lbs 12oz and was 20" long. Rea's an Associate Editor at Winston Cup Scene and Jimmy works for Camp and Associates and handles PR for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year programs.(4-29-2003)
- Dale Earnhardt Day: North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has proclaimed April 29, 2003 as Dale Earnhardt Day in North Carolina to honor the former NASCAR driver and Kannapolis native.(NBC 17)(4-29-2003)
UPDATE: Taking the lead of North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, several states have proclaimed April 29th "Dale Earnhardt Day", honoring the birthday of the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion who lost his life of the final turn of the 2001 Daytona 500. In addition to North Carolina, four other states passed proclaimations in the past several days. South Carolina, Florida, Texas and Virginia have all joined in honoring the man who rose to worldwide acclaim from humble beginnings.(DEI PR) also the state of Alabama has done the same.(4-29-2003)
- Buck Baker to be inducted: NASCAR great, Buck Baker will be honored as eight athletes are inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame on May 29 in Columbia, SC. The inductees are NBA star Xavier McDaniel; NFL players Kevin Long, J.R. Wilburn and Perry Tuttle; Clemson basketball star Randy Mahaffey; Clemson track athlete Tina Krebs; NASCAR great Buck Baker; and Marion duPont Scott, who is credited with saving the Carolina Cup from extinction in the 1970s and South Carolina track coach Curtis Frye will be given a special achievement award.(Charleston Post and Courier)(4-29-2003)
- Dale Jr in Rolling Stone: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is among a distinguished list of guest commentators in a special edition of Rolling Stone Magazine available now. The May 15, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone marks the 35th anniversary of the magazine, and includes a series of essays about a variety of American icons. Dale Jr. offers his personal insights about why the Corvette is a true American classic. He joins a list of special commentaries by Jay Leno, Cameron Crowe, Bob Costas and a host of other experts on topics as diverse as the American Flag, Elvis Presley, the Fender Stratocaster and uh... Homer Simpson.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch NASCAR Publicity)(4-29-2003)
- Andrews Proud: #99 crew chief Paul Andrews was showing some pride from across the country Sunday evening after his son, Busch North Series rookie Tim Andrews, scored a fourth-place finish in that NASCAR Touring division's opener, the Freedom 150 at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(4-29-2003)
- Celebrate Dale Earnhardt's Birthday at Dale Earnhardt - Tuesday, April 29th Dale Earnhardt Incorporated will continue the tradition that its co-founder seven time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt started 51 years ago. On April 29th, DEI will celebrate at the company headquarters in Mooresville, NC, the birth day of NASCAR's American hero, Dale Earnhardt. The party starts at 8:00 am with live remote on WKKT 96.9 Kat Country and continues until 9:00 pm with the Tim Clark Band closing the day's event along with many activities throughout the day honoring this special celebration. For only the second time since building the premier racing facility, race fans will be allowed behind the walls of the exclusive building, as Teresa Earnhardt shares some of Dale's private possession including a display of the legends Classic Car Collection. During last years inaugural Dale Earnhardt Day some 12,000 fans toured the property as many of the seven time champions race cars were on display in the interior showroom. This year a new display featuring the Music interest and keep sakes that Dale and Teresa collected over the years from the many friends in the music industry can be seen in the public showroom including guitars, albums, stage outfits, and autographed sheet music, along with special cars in the interior showroom can be seen throughout the day.
Other activities during the day will include:
o Special appearance by Dale Jr. and Steve Park live on stage with FOX's Totally NASCAR at 2:00 pm
o Kerry Earnhardt at 8:30 am on Kat Kountry
o Free one year subscriptions to DaleEarnhardtInc.com's DEInsider will be given away every hour by registering at the DaleEarnhardtInc.com display. Join the DEInsider at DEI during the day and receive a copy of the book from Dale Jr's first season racing in NASCAR. (1999)
o Complimentary 4 x 6 photos taken with the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert Chevrolet that Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove to Victory earlier this month at Talladega Superspeedway.
o Special Appearance by Teresa Earnhardt
o Dale Earnhardt Foundation Raffle for an exclusive Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert Guitar, Concert Tickets and Die Cast Cars.
o Sign the message board to our adopted Troop- 2nd Marine Division /2nd Tank Battalion from Camp Lejeune, NC.
o Watch Dale Earnhardt's past championship videos, along with many commercial and music videos featuring Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver's and team members.
o Food and drinks will be available through Domino's Pizza and Poppa's Hot Dog's.
Free shuttle service will begin at 9:00 am from the Wingate Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites and Fairfield Inn located in Mooresville, NC off of Interstate 77 at exit 36. Come join us at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and be a part of the celebration of our American hero. For further information on the days activities go to www.DaleEarnhardtInc.com.(PR) and past info on my Dale Earnhardt Tribute.(4-29-2003)
- New Rigs for Petty's: Freightliner Trucks has presented five spanking-new Freightliner Coronado heavy-duty trucks to Petty Enterprises. Three of the Coronado trucks are assigned to Petty Enterprises race teams, hauling Dodge Intrepid R/T racecars and equipment to NASCAR's Winston Cup races nationwide. The other two will see duty at various tracks around the country where Petty crews conduct tests on their cars and equipment. According to Mark Lampert, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Freightliner Trucks, the trucks are being furnished as part of a sponsorship agreement with Petty Enterprises. Each Coronado is accessorized and custom-painted with the distinctive graphics of the individual sponsors of Kyle Petty's #45 Georgia Pacific Dodge, John Andretti's #43 General Mills Dodge and Christian Fittapaldi's #44 Dodge. Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Ore. Freightliner Trucks produces and markets Class 5-8 trucks and is a company of DaimlerChrysler.(Truckinginfo.com)(4-29-2003)
- The Winston Open Fast Facts:
Location: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
Date: Saturday, May 17, 2003, Time: 7:30 p.m. (EDT)
Eligibility: All NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams that competed in a NASCAR Winston Cup Series event in 2002 or 2003, and are not already eligible for The Winston, may compete in The Winston Open.
Length: The Winston Open will consist of 30 laps, 45 miles, and will be run in two segments-20 laps and 10 laps. The top-14 finishers in the first 20-lap segment will advance to the final segment. There will be a five-minute break following the first segment during which teams may change tires and make chassis adjustments without losing track position. All restarts in both segments will be double-file and only green-flag laps in the final segment will count.
Purse: $870,000 (event record); Winner's share: $47,200 plus a starting spot in The Winston
2002 Winner: Jeremy Mayfield, #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge
Qualifying: The better of two qualifying laps will determine a driver's official qualifying speed for The Winston Open. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday, May 16, at 6:05pm/et
2002 Pole Sitter: Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, 29.454 seconds, 183.337mph
Radio/Television: Motor Racing Network (MRN) will broadcast The Winston Open live to its affiliate radio stations beginning at 7:00pm/et. Cable station FX will televise the race live with coverage set to begin with a pre-race show at 7:00pm/et.
Tickets: Tickets for Lowe's Motor Speedway's May 17 events, which include The Winston, The Winston Open, the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 100 and Miller Time Live Rock 'n' Racing featuring the Goo Goo Dolls, start at just $21 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR) and see my 2003 The Winston page. (4-29-2003)
- GM-Pontiac Rep will Leave Current Post: Al Larsen, General Motors-Pontiac representative, will take a new job starting in two weeks, with Michael Andretti's IRL Indy Car team. Larsen will work his last NASCAR race this weekend at Richmond. A replacement for Larsen isn't known at this time.(Insider Racing News)(4-28-2003)
- Early TV Ratings for California: Fox is going to need a boost from small markets if its ratings for Sunday's broadcast of the Auto Club 500 Winston Cup race at California Speedway are going to match last year's figures. Today's Sports Business Daily says Nielsen Media Research's overnight figures from the nation's largest markets show the race drew a 4.9 rating and an 11 share. While the ratings trail only Sunday's NBA playoff game between the Lakers and Timberwolves (5.3/12) among weekend telecasts of sporting events, they fall well short of the 5.9/13 that Fox drew in 2002 for the California race.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-28-2003)
- Grissom to England: Former NASCAR Busch Series Champion and Winston Cup veteran Steve Grissom has signed to drive the #48 Deuce Racing Unity Project' Chevy in the opening round of the 2003 ASCAR Championship at the Rockingham Motor Speedway [in England]. Grissom is the third American driver to take the wheel of Deuce's Unity Project' car after former Truck Series driver Randy Tolsma and Brandon Whitt. Grissom, who more recently has served as a test and substitute driver for Petty Enterprises, will drive the #48 Chevy during the opening round of the 2003 season, which gets underway on May 11th at the 1.5-mile Rockingham Motor Speedway near Corby.(Crash.net)(4-28-2003)
- Goodyear Looking to save $$? Saving money is apparently the goal behind Goodyear's proposed plans to bring its entire race-tire distribution program in-house. Five different distribution companies handle Goodyear's Winston Cup distribution operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-28-2003)
- Reality Show back on? UPDATE: Word in the garage is that the FX cable network will begin filming for its NASCAR reality series -- which will feature Kevin Harvick and Kenny Wallace -- next week. Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray were originally considered for the series, which has been planned for some time.(NASCAR.com's Buzz), see past news on the reality show on my TV/Media News page.(4-27-2003)
UPDATE: The FX cable network will spend this coming week with drivers Kevin Harvick and Kenny Wallace filming a pilot for a proposed reality-based TV show, NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday. The network will follow the drivers and their teams as they prepare for next weekend's Winston Cup race at Richmond. The show was originally to be based on drivers Rusty Wallace, Jamie McMurray and Harvick, but contract issues could not be resolved. No decision has been made on the likelihood of the series coming to fruition. A final decision by all parties will come after filming of the pilot is completed.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-28-2003)
- More on the #88 Crew Chief Situation UPDATE: Talking about the potential crew chief situation for Dale Jarrett’s #88 UPS Ford and Doug Yates, the new Robert Yates Racing General Manager, starts to pull his cards closer to his vest. No response comes when names of current #38 Car Chief Shawn Parker and Jimmy Makar are mentioned “We’ll see what comes available as far as crew chiefs,” said Yates after several names were thrown at him. “You know, right now, this time of year, it’s kind of tough because everyone’s under contract; and we respect that, just like we want our guys to respect their contracts. We’re just kind of sitting back. We want to make sure when we do make a move that it’s a long-term situation.”(Ford Racing) AND see more past news on my #88 Team News and Links page.(4-27-2003)
UPDATE: Yates Racing GM Doug Yates says a new crew chief has not been selected for Dale Jarrett despite speculation that Shawn Parker, the car chief for teammate Elliott Sadler, would get the job. Several names outside RYR have been mentioned, including Joe Gibbs Racing team manager Jimmy Makar, who is Jarrett's brother-in-law. However, Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for Tony Stewart in Gibbs' #20 car, says he doesn't think Makar will go anywhere. For those on the Todd Parrott watch, one Yates insider says he doesn't expect Parrott, the former team manager, to return.(Sporting News)(4-28-2003)
- Andretti, Petty Set Donation At California: John Andretti and the #43 Dodge team did more than run a race for themselves and their fans Sunday at the two-mile California Speedway. By completing all 250 laps in Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup event, 10,750 new books will now be donated by First Book and Cheerios to children in the greater Los Angeles area. Through the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program, 43 books were donated for every lap Andretti completed Sunday to children participating in Boys and Girls Club of Fontana, Sivaland Head Start and The Agape House, also both in Fontana, and in LA’s BEST, an after-school program serving children in the city of Los Angeles. The goal of the donation was to drive home Cheerios’ commitment to childhood literacy.(Williams Company PR)(4-28-2003)
see the Apr 21-27, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Apr 14-20, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Apr 7-13, 2003 Archived News Page