PAST NEWS JUNE 16-22, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- Jerry Nadeau news and updated on the #01 Team News and Links page
- See past news, links, the official press release, notes from the press conference, who is Nextel? what happens to 'The Winston' All Star race? what happens to the Winston Preview?....all covered on my NASCAR Sponsor page.(6-20-2003)
- Robby Gordon wins at Sonoma: #31-Robby Gordon won The Dodge / Save Mart 350k at Infineon Raceway, his first win of 2003, his first ever road course win, and his 2nd career Cup win. It Robby Gordon's first win since the Thanksgiving race at New Hampshire on Nov 23rd, 2001, 51 races ago. #24-Jeff Gordon [no relation] was a close 2nd. The win puts Robby Gordon into the 2004 All-Star race [whatever it'll be called and where ever it'll be run]. Points leader had his best road course finish, 14th and now leads 2nd place #24-Gordon by 174 points going into Daytona in two weeks. Pole Sitter #01-Boris Said finished 6th. #42-Jamie McMurray was the highest finishing rookie of the year with a 20th place finish.
For my race rundown, top 10, caution info, lap leaders, notes, race result links, see my Sonoma Race Info Page.
Race Results at Jayski's Sonoma Results Page and For full standings, see Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Sonoma page.
other race result links: ThatsRacin.com
- New Gas Can Rule: Beginning with the July 13 race at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR will prohibit teams from throwing or tossing gas cans or gas catch cans over the pit wall during a pit stop. The change was announced in Sunday's prerace drivers' meeting.
If a violation happens under caution, the driver will have to restart at the end of the longest line. If it occurs under green-flag conditions, the driver must return to pit road to serve a 15-second penalty. The change is being made to reduce the liklihood of gas spills during pit stops.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-22-2003)
- AT&T/Carrot Top on the #49 at Sonoma UPDATE: Adding another NASCAR Winston Cup event to its strong schedule the past two years, AT&T - 1-800-CALLATT will sponsor the #49 BAM Racing Dodge this week at Infineon Speedway’s 350-kilometer race. This will mark the fifth event this season the company’s colors have served as primary sponsor on the #49 Dodge of Ken Schrader. AT&T has been an associate sponsor on the car all season. As was announced at the beginning of the season, AT&T will also sponsor the car in two weeks in the 400-mile NASCAR Winston Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in the Pepsi 400, and has already reached agreement with the team for events later this season. "AT&T has been a strong sponsor of ours all season long," said Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns BAM Racing along with her husband Tony. "The addition of this race is exciting for all of us at BAM, and knowing they will be with us in the future is exciting too. We have had AT&T on our car throughout this season, and plan on them being sponsors with us for a long time to come," she added.(Williams Company PR), Schrader starts 42nd in the race.(6-20-2003)
UPDATE: The possibility of an AT&T-sponsored car in what will be known as the Nextel Cup next season took on new life Saturday. NASCAR officials confirmed Saturday they have received a request from BAM Racing to determine whether AT&T could serve as a primary sponsor for its #49 Dodges next season. NASCAR spokesman Terrence Burns said the request was specific to BAM Racing, since AT&T has an "existing relationship" with that team. AT&T had been in talks with several Winston Cup teams, including Roush Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., about sponsorship in 2004, but those negotiations were squashed when this week's 10-year deal between NASCAR and Nextel was announced in New York. Only existing team sponsors of rival telecommunications companies would be allowed in the Nextel-sponsored series, which ended DEI and Roush's bids. However, BAM has had AT&T as an associate sponsor on its cars since the beginning of the year and it has also served as primary sponsor for several races. On Friday, AT&T added Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway to the list of races with which it would serve as primary sponsor. AT&T has not yet indicated whether it will join BAM full time in 2004, but team co-owner Beth Ann Morgenthau called AT&T's addition this weekend "exciting." "We have had AT&T on our car throughout this season, and plan on them being sponsors with us for a long time to come," she said.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-22-2003)
- Harvick wins at Sonoma....the Southwest series event: Kevin Harvick ran away from Said and the rest of the field Saturday in the Southwest series event at Infineon Raceway. For both, it was a tuneup for Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 Winston Cup race. Harvick started fourth, but took the lead on the first lap and relinquished it only during pit stops. Despite four caution flags in the last 23 laps, Harvick quickly opened a substantial lead over Said, who used his blocking skills to hold off third-place finisher David Brown. Harvick's margin of victory was 3.938 seconds. Said starts on the pole Sunday with Harvick sixth on the grid. Harvick's Winston Cup teammate, Robby Gordon, who starts beside Said on the first row Sunday, was a late substitute in the Southwest race. He went out with a mechanical problem on the 28th of 65 laps.(ThatsRacin.com, see results and more at Racing West)(6-22-2003)
- Gordon Rapping for donors: #24-Jeff Gordon will carry a special "Jes Us 4 Jackie" decal on his car this weekend at Infineon Raceway to promote the Jes Us 4 Jackie program, a nationwide effort developed by superstar rapper Nelly and his sister, Jackie Donahue, to raise awareness about the need for marrow and blood stem cell donors. Donahue needs a marrow transplant and is searching for a donor. Through the Jes Us 4 Jackie campaign, Nelly and Jackie hope to increase the number of donors on the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. Jes Us 4 Jackie plans to sponsor donor drives on June 21 in New York, St. Louis and Los Angeles. The campaign will focus on recruiting more African-American donors and donors of mixed heritage.(NASCAR.com)(6-22-2003)
- New Template for the future?: NASCAR introduced a template to the teams at Infinion Raceway. The new measuring stick is designed to keep the car bodies from twisting out of the approved shape in the hands of the teams. As TFR first reported from Pocono, some teams have found a way to skirt the intent of NASCAR’s strict body templates — sloping every so slightly the right rear roof panel. That slope allowed five teams a little extra rear downforce on the right-rear wheel. The handful of teams increased by a few at Michigan. NASCAR had been watching the rear of the car and performing spot measurements to develop the best approach to policing that area of the car. The result was this new cowl template, which lays on the car directly between the car’s hood and the windshield in the position of the air intake. This spot on the car bodies was getting twisted and fooling the templates to indicate the car was square. The new roof template displays a team's altered cowl, intended to gain the clearance needed for the latest trick. If the alteration doesn't disappear from the team's toolbox, the enforcement tool could go into action with the Chicago race. NASCAR is simply showing the template to the teams this weekend. Dealing with the aftermath of the new template one crew chief said of NASCAR, “They give us a [metaphorical] box to build these cars in and they should just leave us alone for the year. They just need to leave us alone or give us the cars – either way.”(Ford Racing)(6-21-2003)
- A Sauter in the #4? UPDATE: hearing that Busch Series driver [#'s 21 and #43] Johnny Sauter will test the #4 Pontiac for Morgan-McClure next week in Chicago.(6-19-2003)
UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports owner Larry McClure said he is in no hurry to find a permanent replacement for driver Mike Skinner in the team's #4 Kodak Pontiacs. McClure is using Trams-Am series driver Johnny Miller this weekend at Sonoma. "I don't have any pressure from (our sponsor) other than pressure to perform well, but that can't be any more pressure than we already put on ourselves to perform," he said. McClure said he would try out a few drivers, including taking some to test, before settling on a replacement. Busch series driver Johnny Sauter is among those under consideration.(ThatsRacin.com); also hearing Stacy Compton may test with the team too.(6-21-2003)
- AT&T Squashed with Roush too UPDATE and with DEI's #1 - Riggs to DEI?: from a USA Today Q&A. Q:) How does NASCAR's new deal with Nextel affect Jeff Burton's team?
A:) Roush Racing's #99 team is losing CITGO as its primary sponsor at the end of the year and had worked out a deal with associate sponsor AT&T to become Burton's primary sponsor next season. Although the Nextel deal has grandfathered in Nextel competitors Cingular [#31] and Alltel [#12], allowing them to remain as primary team sponsors, NASCAR now will not allow AT&T to move up from an associate to a primary sponsor for Roush. That means Roush will have to shop Burton and the team around to other potential sponsors. Smith wonders why NASCAR officials weren't able to negotiate with Nextel to allow competing cell phone companies to keep coming into the sport as team sponsors. Winston, of course, is the only cigarette manufacturer allowed to advertise in NASCAR, but Smith says that deal is outdated.(USA Today)
AND The issue is exclusivity [with Nextel], and NASCAR's definition isn't setting well in parts of the garage. NASCAR's definition may cost Jeff Burton an AT& --T sponsorship that his team has been negotiating. "I understand the series sponsor wanting exclusivity", Burton said. "But it is confusing when Cingular is in here and Alltel is in here. What's the problem with one more, or two more or three more? That's difficult to understand. Something is either exclusive or it's not. This is almost exclusive, or exclusive to some people. It doesn't seem fair that Cingular and Alltel can be here but Sprint and AT& --T can't." Essentially, the immediate question is exclusivity. NASCAR has promised Nextel a modified version of exclusivity, because it was unable to offer complete exclusivity as R. J. Reynolds has had. But AT& --T officials are apparently not quite buying into the concept that NASCAR can allow three of the nation's six cell-phone companies - Nextel, Alltel and Cingular - access to the stock-car racing field and yet not allow the other three. AT& --T has been in negotiations to put its wireless division on the quarterpanel as sponsor either for Jack Roush or Dale Earnhardt Inc. NASCAR has vetoed those plans. However, yesterday AT& --T officials decided to 'make a stand' about their company's determination to stay involved in Winston Cup racing by expanding its sponsorship of Ken Schrader's #49 car [see PR below] for this race. AT& --T has been a part-sponsor of that team, and AT& --T, through its Comcast division, has been a part-sponsor of both the Matt Kenseth and Burton teams. Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, has been negotiating with AT& --T to become full sponsor of Burton's team, and Ty Norris, general manager at DEI, has been negotiating with AT& --T to become full sponsor of the #1 DEI team that features Jeff Green [looks like Pennzoil is out]. 'We were in the final stages of negotiations with AT& --T Wireless,' Norris said. 'But we were quickly informed that if Nextel happens, that only the people who were already in the sport would be grandfathered in."(Winston Salem Journal)(6-21-2002)
UPDATE 2: hearing that Scott Riggs may be the new driver for the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004 if a sponsor is signed.(6-21-2003)
- Hamilton Jr offered #4 Ride UPDATE turned down, why?: during an interview, #25 Busch Series driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr., talked to #4 Morgan-McClure team owner Larry McClure about the now open #4 Kodak Pontiac ride in Cup, but turned it down as he is committed to Team Rensi and is signed with them thru 2004.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio Subscription Required)(6-17-2003)
UPDATE: So why did Bobby Hamilton Jr. earlier this week pass up an offer to drive the 4 Kodak Pontiac as a replacement for released Mike Skinner? ''First, it was a matter of loyalty to my Busch Series team,'' Hamilton Jr. said yesterday. ''This team has worked hard and come a long way, and I can't just bail out on it. Also, the Kodak team has been struggling and I'm not sure it's that good of a situation right now. I may kick myself later, but I turned it down.'' Most Winston Cup drivers command starting salaries of $1 million a year, and Hamilton admitted the ''financial part was tempting. But there's more to this sport than money. '' Hamilton, 25, is coming off his second career Busch Series victory. He intends to run one more full Busch season, then move up to Winston Cup along with the entire Team Rensi Motorsports operation. ''Winston Cup has always been my goal,'' he said, ''but I want to take my time and do it right.''(Tennessean)(6-21-2003)
- New Ford Taurus on Tuesday UPDATE 2: NASCAR officials will get their first look Tuesday at a prototype of the new Taurus that Ford plans to race in the Winston Cup next season. The car was built by [#21] Wood Brothers Racing, and the preview will be at the team's shop in Stuart, VA. Greg Specht, manager of Ford Racing, said if all goes as planned the next step will be to run the car on a racetrack, then take it to the wind tunnel before further development. NASCAR said approval of the car for competition could come as early as August. That would give the Ford teams plenty of time to begin building new cars for next season. The Taurus currently being raced was introduced in 2002. Pontiac and Chevrolet introduced new cars this year, while Dodge has the same model it introduced in 2001. The Tauruses and Intrepids being raced this year both have aerodynamic modifications for 2003.(Thatsracin.com/AP)(6-16-2003)
??? heard nothing on this at all on Tuesday, no PR's or articles.(6-18-2003)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR looked at the 2004 Taurus this week during a visit to the Wood Brothers Racing shop. The visit went well according to those in attendance, but NASCAR indicated a few items need further addressing. The NASCAR visit did not constitute a formal submission, but rather the opportunity for the sanctioning body to become familiar with the car prior to NASCAR personnel’s thorough review prior to its competition approval. Dan Davis, director Ford Racing Technology, said that there are a few ways to get a car through the approval process, but that the best one is to keep NASCAR up to speed on the goals for the new car. Those issues can be born from minor communication problems and easily resolved with a quick look-see as the new car is developed. Davis said, “We want to show NASCAR the car up front, in case there are issues.”(Ford Racing), have not seen any images...yet [the images found are also shown on 2003 models].(6-21-2003)
- Skinner Comments: Mike Skinner is not surprised he was let go by Morgan-McClure Racing because he said this is a performance business and the bottom line is we weren't performing...primarily on Friday's. Skinner thinks his former team has great race cars and hopes they have success and that "I'm a damn good racecar driver and I'm gonna find a job and maybe it'll work out better for both of us." Skinner says "I'd love to drive a Winston Cup car next year but I'd also love to go back to the truck series. I would rather be in a competitive situation. I'm not gonna take any long term commitments unless I know it's got a chance to win races and finish high in the points. I would step down a class or two because sometimes steppin' down is steppin' up."(PRN's Garagepass radio show)(6-21-2003)
- Humpy Expects to Keep All Star Race..at least another year UPDATE to Richmond?: Humpy Wheeler is fairly confident NASCAR's annual all-star race, known since 1985 as The Winston, will return to Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., next season. Beyond that, he said, it's anyone's guess. "I don't see how it could possibly be anywhere else next season," said Wheeler, president of the speedway and of its parent company, Speedway Motorsports Inc. "Logistically, you need at least a year of lead time to do it right. "We have had two very successful Winstons the past two years that would be hard for anyone to match." NASCAR introduced Nextel on Thursday in New York as the new sponsor of what is now known as the Winston Cup Series. Wheeler did not attend the announcement, instead traveling to California for the Cup race SMI's Infineon Raceway hosts on Sunday. The existence of The Winston, held every year but one at Lowe's since its inception in 1985, was written into NASCAR's contract with current series sponsor, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. Thursday, NASCAR said the sanctioning body and Nextel would co-sponsor the event beginning next season, but left its location unresolved. At least in the short-term, Wheeler said Nextel, too, might prefer the all-star race remain where it is. "I don't think Nextel, in its very first season sponsoring the series, would want to take the negative reaction that would be incurred by moving the race from Charlotte," Wheeler said. "Nobody wants to start a new relationship off on a bad note." Wheeler also believes NASCAR's all-star event can't easily be compared with similiar events in other professional sports, which often rotate locations for their all-star events. "Our all-star event isn't like baseball and the NBA, because we have over 100,000 seats to fill," Wheeler said. "You just can't pick it up and move it around like just another game. Certainly, Nextel is going to want anything they associate with or pay to sponsor to be a success. We haven proven we could make The Winston a success."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-20-2003)
UPDATE: NASCAR's Nextel deal raises another major issue - the fate of The Winston all-star race, which NASCAR sources say almost certainly will be moved to Richmond, Va., closer to Nextel's home office in Reston, Va. The date of the all-star race hasn't been set.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-21-2002)
- Geoffrey Bodine to run Daytona road race: Daytona 500 Champion Geoffrey Bodine To Compete In Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway when he races in the Paul Revere 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race on Thursday, July 3. Bodine, who first raced at Daytona 29 years ago on the road course, will share the driving duties on the #8 G&W Motorsports BMW Picchio Daytona Prototype with Darren Law. In the 1974 Permatex 200, Bodine drove a modified Vega to a fifth-place finish on the DIS road course. The Chemung, N.Y., native raced in the modified race for four years before making his first Daytona 500 start in 1979. He has won six races at the historic track, including the 1986 Daytona 500. Bodine will be part of the driving team on the G&W Motorsports BMW Picchio Daytona Prototype for this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International and hopes to get accustomed to the sleek and stylish Daytona Prototype. This year's Paul Revere 250 will go green following the completion of Kraft/Nabisco Qualifying for the Pepsi 400 on Thursday, July 3. Tickets for Kraft/Nabisco Qualifying Night and the Paul Revere 250 are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(6-21-2003)
- Ramblings - Infineon Raceway: #01-Boris Said set a new track record at Infineon Raceway Friday afternoon, and his crew had their hair done for the occasion! Boris cruised around in a smooth 76.522 sec (93.620 mph) for his first ever Winston Cup pole. As a sub for a sub, he's now eligible (along with 10 other drivers thus far) for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This is Said's best qualifying effort since he started on the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August of 1999. Boris will be joined on the front row Sunday for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 by #31-Robby Gordon. This was his best qualifying effort since he started 2nd at Talladega in April of 2002. #1-Ron Fellows (3rd) had his best qualifying run since he lined up on the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August of 1998.
#29-Kevin Harvick (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega in April.
#21-Ricky Rudd (9th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Daytona in February.
#09-Scott Pruett (18th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Watkins Glen in August of 2001.
STREAKIN....Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Tony Stewart has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races. Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
The road course event brought us a healty car count of 47 this weekend....4 on the Trouble Train. PJ Jones (in AJ's #14 this week), #02-Brandon Ash, #33-Paul Menard, and #00-Jim Inglebright all got the early out. For the #14, this was their 5th DNQ of the season....but they'll have a provisional available at the next race at Daytona.
The provisionals this week went to: Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Craven, Jimmy Spencer, Steve Park, Christian Fittipaldi, Ken Schrader, and Hideo Fukuyama. For Fittipaldi and Schrader, they got an additional provisional this week.... and promptly used it up. They can expect
their next freebie at Bristol in August, till then they have to make the race on time....or hope for only 43 or less competitors showing
This will be Fox's swan song for '03 as NBC takes over at Daytona in two weeks [thru the 2004 Daytona 500, next Fox race is Rockingham in 2004].(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(6-21-2003)
- Special UPS Scheme? hearing there may be an #88 UPS Store special scheme to be run later this year, not sure which track.(6-20-2003)
UPDATE: the #88 UPS Store special scheme is for Atlanta in October; why the scheme do you ask? UPS acquired Mail Boxes Etc. a few months back and are converting all the stores to UPS Stores.(6-20-2003)
- What Ever Happened to....Chuck Rider, the Cup team owner? Chuck Rider, a former Charlotte businessman and Winston Cup team owner who fielded cars in the Winston Cup series for Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson and Derrike Cope from 1987 through the first 10 races of 1999, is continuing to battle cancer with chemotherapy treatments.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read - wonder what it'll be called next year?)(6-20-2003)
- Boris Said wins pole at Sonoma: #01-Boris Said [who is subbing for Mike Wallace, who is subbing for Jerry Nadeau] won the pole at Infineon Raceway for the Dodge / Save Mart 350k. It is the first pole for Pontiac in 2003 and put Said into the 2004 Budweiser Shootout. Said speed of 93.620mph [76.522 seconds] is a new track record in the current 1.99 mile configuration. #31-Robby Gordon is on the outside pole, with #1-Ron Fellows starting 3rd. Points leader, #17-Matt Kenseth will start 4th, Kenseth will leave the race still in the points lead, even if he finishes dead last. All six of the Rookie of the Year candidates [who made an attempt] made the race, only one used a provisional. Missing the race were all road warriors: #00-Inglebright, #02-Ash, #14-Jones, and #33-Menard (using a backup car). Two teams used a provisonal: #43-Fittipladi and #49-Schrader and are now out of provisionals again until Bristol in Aug [the 24th races], unless there is a race with 43 or less teams entered or either team gets into the top 25 in owners points, where provisionals are not charged, which is unlikey since the #43 is 35th in owners points and the #49 is 39th at present.
For qualifying results, with practice to pole progression, how did the rookies do? how did the road warriors do? the top manufacturers starts, qualifying speed comparisions, provisional rank, lineup links, notes and more, see my Jayski's Sonoma Qualifying/Grid Page.(6-20-2003)
- Some Qualifying Notes at Sonoma: #48-Johnson spun out in turn 9-10 after locking up his brakes. #49-Schrader ran off into the grass in turn 9 but recoverd and finished his lap. #23-Wallace locked up the brakes which slowed his lap. XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required) reports that #30-Steve Park was replaced in the #30 AOL Chevy halfway thru practice at Infineon Racway, team owner Richard Childress, asked Simo to shake the car down for Park and Park will qualify the car.
#97-Kurt Busch wrecked towards the end of practice in turn 9 and pancaked the right side of the car, the crew is working to fix the car for qualifying.(Speed Channel's Qualifying coverage), they also reported that the following drivers had problems, but didn't specify: #00-Inglebright, #38-Sadler, #33-Menard and #7-Spencer.
UPDATE: Jim Inglebright and Paul Menard both found the tire barrier. Inglebright's crew was busy pounding out the bent-up trunk area on the #00 JellyBelly Chevy, while Menard's crew was hurrying to prepare the backup #33 Turtle Wax Chevy, which made it back to the track before the session ended. #38-Sadler and #7-Spencer spun in practice but didn't damage the cars.(NASCAR.com)
#32-Ricky Craven blew and engine or oil line at the start of his qualifying attempt, left debris on the track, took it right to the garage with no speed recorded and used a provisional.(6-20-2003)
- Bestwick to broadcast track and field: This weekend track and field and gymnastics national champions will be crowned as NBC provides live coverage of the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships presented by Verizon on Saturday and taped coverage of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Saturday and Sunday. NBC will take a slice of NASCAR to its live broadcast of the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships presented by Verizon from Palo Alto, Calif., 4-6 p.m. ET this Saturday. NBC’s NASCAR play-by-play commentator, Allen Bestwick will be in the booth with 1996 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Dan O’Brien and Steve Holman, America’s top miler of the 1990s. Carol Lewis and Lewis Johnson will provide reports from the infield.(NBC PR)(6-21-2003)
- Dale Jr. In Photo Shoot: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Oakland A's star pitcher Barry Zito spent about an hour-and-a-half at Infineon Raceway this morning in a photo shoot and interview for USA Today Weekend. Zito was the CY Young award winning pitcher in 2002 for the Oakland Athletics in the American League. The theme of the shoot was centered around the idea of "Is NASCAR replacing baseball as the American Pastime?" The article is expected to be published sometime in August 2003.(Insider Racing News)(6-20-2003)
- Allison, Miller High Life and Blount at Milwaukee: Miller Brewing Company announced that it will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of its High Life brand by bringing together High Life Racing's past and present to sponsor a stock car in the upcoming Busch Series race at the Milwaukee Mile, June 29. High Life was a prominent backer of all forms of auto racing for two decades beginning in the 1970s and sponsored the High Life stock car in which Bobby Allison captured the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup championship. Now, High Life is returning to the track with the Jesel Racing team and the #66 High Life Dodge, which will be driven by rookie Chad Blount. The car will feature a paint scheme to honor High Life's 100th Anniversary and a design that resembles Allison's championship-winning High Life car. This sponsorship commemorating the 100th Anniversary will make High Life the primary sponsor of Blount and the Jesel Racing team at the Milwaukee Mile, June 28-29. Extensive visibility for High Life on the team's car and crew uniforms, as well as on the driver's suit, is included in the deal. A 23-year-old driver who has participated in 11 Busch Series race, Blount will be making his first-ever start at Milwaukee's one-mile oval in the GNC Live Well 250. This season, Blount has recorded one top-five finish (Texas Motor Speedway, March 29) in the series. In 2002, Blount competed in the ARCA Re/Max series and finished second in the championship point standings. Blount, a Walkerton, Indiana native, recorded four ARCA wins, five pole positions and 11 top-five finishes, en route to earning series Rookie-of-the-Year honors. The car driven by Blount will resemble Bobby Allison's familiar High Life stock car in which he won his 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup championship.(Tom Roberts PR), past rumors/news about this on my Busch Series page - nothing to do with Rusty Wallace or Ryan Newman as rumored.(6-20-2003)
- Marcis helping ASA Team UPDATE: Rite Track Racing announced NASCAR legend Dave Marcis and his resort Camp 28 have become an associate sponsor for the #75 entry piloted by Darren Jones, who attempts to make his ASA debut at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway in the Ohio 250 on Saturday, June 21. Marcis, who is second only to Richard Petty in all-time Winston Cup starts and holds the record for the most starts in the Daytona 500 has assisted Rite Track Racing as a technical consultant since the inception of the team. This is the first occasion Camp 28 has become a sponsor. Camp 28 is a year round resort offering visitors the finest hospitality in the Rib
Lake, Wisconsin area. You can visit them at www.camp28.com or call them at 1-800-414-6407.(ASA Racing PR)(6-20-2003)
UPDATE: ASA Debut Postponed - After shaking the car down Thursday night a major problem was discovered. After a subsequent phone call to Dave Marcis was made it was decided in the best interest of associate sponsors SemiSurplus.com and Camp 28 that Darren Jones and Rite Track Racing will make their debut on June 28th at IRP with his continued assistance.(6-20-2003)
- AT&T Wireless Turned down? UPDATES Bang Racing? hearing NASCAR turned down an AT&T team sponsorship in the past few days due to the new deal with Nextel. Wonder if it was for the #99 team since they used to sponsor the #17 team as an associate?
AND from USA Today: Though Nextel will not be granted the same exclusivity [as Winston/RJR] -- existing team sponsors such as Alltel and Cingular will be ''grandfathered'' into the series, even though they are Nextel's competition -- Roush Racing officials are not sure what that means to their sponsorship deal with AT&T Wireless. In anticipation of losing CITGO, an oil company, as the sponsor of Jeff Burton's #99 Ford, Roush executives have been working the last few months to line up AT&T, one of the team's associate sponsors, to become Burton's primary sponsor next season. Team President Geoff Smith says NASCAR officials have not made it clear to him whether they'll allow the sponsorship. ''We have something in place there,'' Smith says. ''Whether or not it survives scrutiny, I don't know.'' The team might have to find another sponsor for Burton's car, but Smith isn't giving up hope for AT&T: ''It may still be a very real opportunity, depending on what the announcement is as to what the rules are.''(6-19-2003)
UPDATE - Bang Racing? hearing that a new Winston Cup team - Bang Racing was in line to receive the AT&T Wireless sponsorship - not Roush Racing. Bang Racing is a new team founded by Alex Meshkin, a young technology executive from Reston, VA. Ironically - the same city where Nextel is headquartered. Meshkin founded a software company that he sold when he was just 19 years old – he is now 23. Also hearing that Bang Racing is not just another race team - but a technology-based team that enables corporations to make NASCAR sponsorships interactive and measurable using a patented wireless technology. Apparently, this technology will allow fans to interact with teams and sponsors using any wireless phone - not just Nextel phones. Have heard that Bang Racing has been in talks with Nextel about a car sponsorship deal - but Nextel decided to become the title sponsor instead. Nextel and Bang Racing are still talking about a technology deal that would allow Nextel to exclusively offer this technology to their subscribers. Also, hearing that Larry McReynolds may be one of the owners along with Alex Meshkin and other technology executives from Reston, VA.
AND the #49 BAM Racing team is sponsored for seven Cup races in 2003 by AT&T with 1-800-CALLATT and Carrott Top, no word on if this sponsorship will continue in 2004 or be effected.(6-19-2003)
- Final Michigan TV Ratings: Huge Overnight Bump for NASCAR; Michigan Up 13% Over 2002 NASCAR executives, already downright giddy today because of the Nextel announcement, have to be thrilled with the massive overnight bump from the small markets that gave the Winston Cup race from Michigan a 13 percent ratings increase over last year. The Sirius Satellite Radio 400 on FOX turned in final numbers of a 5.4 rating and 16 share, according to Nielsen Media Research, up from last year's final 4.8 rating. 5.7 million households and 8.4 million people tuned in. The 0.9 small market bump (from 4.5 to 5.4) is one of the largest in recent memory. This "bump" is the increase in the ratings that was caused by factoring in the one-third of viewers from the smaller markets that were not counted in Monday's overnight rating. Importantly, NASCAR leapfrogged over both days of the U.S. Open golf tournament on NBC to finish behind only the NBA Finals in the sports ratings. The pre-race show turned in a 3.2 rating and 10 share.(MotorsportsTV)(6-19-2003)
- News on Brett Bodine UPDATE 3: Brett Bodine returned to North Carolina on Sunday evening. He has dentist and doctors appointments the first part of the week but will be traveling to Watkins Glen for the Sahlen Six Hours at the Glen this weekend. Brett was scheduled to co-drive with brother Geoffrey and Darren Law, but will have to sit out and offer support to the team from the sidelines.(Brett Bodine Racing)(6-16-2003)
UPDATE: Brett Bodine will undergo surgery this afternoon at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte to repair the broken clavical, a plate will be inserted to allow the shoulder to heal. Dr. Patrick Connor of the Miller Orthopaedic Clinic will perform the surgery. Bodine will stay in the hospital overnight.(6-17-2003)
UPDATE 2: Brett Bodine underwent surgery last night on his right clavical. A plate was inserted to help the bone heal correctly.. He says his shoulder feels good and he has a good range of movement in his arm and shoulder. Bodine will be released from Carolinas Medical Center today.(BBR)(6-18-2003)
ALSO check out the new Brett Bodine Racing site, where you can leave Get Well Messages to Bodine.(6-18-2003)
UPDATE 3: Brett Bodine has successfully undergone surgery to repair a break in his right clavical from an accident during final practice on Saturday, June 14 at Michigan International Speedway. Dr. Patrick Connor performed the 90 minute procedure on Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Bodine is expected to recover in 4-6 weeks. "I have seen the replay of the accident and realize how fortunate I am. The first thing I saw upon regaining consciousness was my brother Todd's face - what a welcome site that was! Everyone has been incredibly supportive. You just don't realize how many people truly care about you until something like this happens. In addition to having so many people remembering me in their prayers and thoughts, I have received cards, flowers, emails, and gifts from fans across the country. I am truly humbled that so many people - some I don't even know - care so much," said Brett.
Bodine is expected to make a full recovery from the broken clavical and broken tail-bone. "I am real pleased at how well the shoulder surgery went," said Bodine. "If all goes as anticipated, I hope to get back to racing by mid-July. I am so proud of my race team. They never missed a beat getting the job done. Everyone did a great job getting the back up car ready for my brother, Geoff, to drive the very next day and I truly appreciate it" continued Brett. In the meantime, the 44-year old driver will travel to Watkins Glen this weekend to support his brother, Geoffrey, who is co-driving in the Sahlen Six Hours at the Glen. Brett was to have also been a co-driver with Geoffrey and Darren Law, but the injury won't allow it. He will offer support and visit with friends and family. Brett will begin a physical therapy regime on Monday.
Bodine credits Robin Morrisey and Debbie King, the NASCAR Medical Liaisons for their help in coordinating the efforts of the team at the Michigan infield care center, Foote Hospital in Jackson, Michigan and the various medical exams and procedures upon his return to Charlotte. He also applauds Dean Kurtz, the ISC Chief Guest Services Officer, who assisted with other details at each facility."They have made the medical process so much less stressful and accommodating for the competitors, their families and teams," added Bodine.(Brett Bodine Racing PR)(6-19-2003)
- Eury Sr. to miss Sonoma: There will be a very familiar face missing from the #8 Budweiser Chevy team this weekend at Infineon Raceway. Tony Eury, Sr., crew chief for the team, had elective surgery on his neck Tuesday afternoon. Doctors removed two vertebra in his neck and replaced them with titanium ones. Surgery lasted one hour and 45 minutes Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. He will rest at home through the weekend and part of next week. “I went and saw him last night,” said Tony Eury, Jr, his son and the team’s car chief. “I think he’s doing pretty well because the first thing he asked me was if I brought him a hamburger. This is the first race Pops will miss since the Japan exhibition race when Dale Jr. and Dale drove the Coca-Cola cars over there.” Tony Sr. will rest the next two weeks and is scheduled to return to action for the night races at Daytona International Speedway the first weekend in July. He will have to wear a supportive neck brace for a few weeks before switching to a foam one at a later date. Doctors predicted it would take a few months until for a total recovery. For this weekend, Tony Jr. will play the role of car and crew chief in his father’s absence. Since the team is down one man, Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier) will head out to Infineon Raceway early to help the team. Everyone at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. wishes Tony a speedy recovery and look forward to his return.(DEI Site)(6-19-2003)
- Hornish Could End Up in NASCAR: A lot of people are taking notice [of IRL driver Sam Hornish], including some of the top teams in NASCAR. Hornish has stated he wants to stay in the IRL, but that seems unlikely now. Some Winston Cup team owners are going to offer Hornish financial deals the IRL can't match. With his Pennzoil connection, Hornish could be in line for the #1 Pennzoil Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Inc. Pennzoil officials haven't decided if they are going to continue as the major sponsor on the car, but having Hornish as the driver might keep them around. Hornish talked to DEI officials last season about driving a few races this year, but elected to concentrate on the IRL. His frustration level with his current situation may have changed his perspective. The problem for DEI is it won't be the only team bidding for Hornish's services. The racing community is a close-knit group. Everyone in NASCAR understands what Hornish has done this season in inferior equipment. A few team owners may wonder if he can transfer those skills from open-wheel to stock cars, but most of them believe the guy is so good he could sit on a riding lawnmower and finish in the top 10. Hornish is Tony Stewart without the baggage. No temper tantrums, at least not publicly. Hornish isn't the most colorful guy around, but neither is Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman or a dozen other talented drivers in Winston Cup. If you can drive, team owners and sponsors will work around your people skills. And Hornish is driving better than anybody in racing.(Dallas Morning News via the Mercury News), past rumors about Hornish and DEI on my #1 Team News and Links page.(6-19-2003)
- Chris Myers good thru 2005: USA Today reports that Chris Myers [the Hollywood Hotel] has signed on for two more years as the host of NASCAR on FOX/FX.(MotorsportsTV)(6-19-2003)
- Parents face charges: Felony arrest warrants were issued Tuesday for a borough couple accused of leaving their three young children unattended for nearly 18 hours while they went to a NASCAR race. James Wendling, 52, and his wife, Denise Heyer-Wendling, 37, both of Old Forge Drive, are expected to be arraigned before District Justice Elmo Frey Jr. on three counts each of endangering the welfare of children. As of 4:15 p.m., the couple had not surrendered to authorities. Police said they were called to the Wendlings' Old Forge Drive home June 8 after Heyer-Wendling's ex-husband arrived to drop off an 8-year-old child and a 6-year-old child from their dissolved marriage. At that time, the unnamed ex-husband discovered that Wendling and Heyer-Wendling had left a 10-year-old child to watch over a 2-year-old child and a 3-week-old child while they attended the Pocono 500 on June 8 at Pocono Raceway.(Express Times)(6-19-2003)
- Testing at Daytona UPDATE 2: Testing for the 45th annual Pepsi 400 is scheduled for Tuesday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 18, 3:00 - 11:00pm/et at Daytona International Speedway. Winston Cup teams expected to test in preparation for the for the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, July 5 include 2000 Pepsi 400 champion #99-Jeff Burton, #44-Christian Fittipaldi, #49-Ken Schrader, #60-David Green, #02-Hermie Sadler and #09-Phoenix Racing (Buckshot Jones? or Joe Ruttman?). Expected to test for the second annual Winn-Dixie 250 Presented By PepsiCo are Casey Atwood (#82-FitzBradshaw Racing) and Mike McLaughlin (#34-Frank Cicci Racing)(DIS PR).(6-14-2003)
UPDATE: The test session is free and open to the public with access to a section of the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DaytonaUSA.(DIS PR).(6-16-2003)
UPDATE 2: Nine teams invaded Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday for a two-day test session for the upcoming Pepsi 400 weekend on July 2-5. Prepping for the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, July 5 were #99-Jeff Burton, #80-Mike Bliss, #02-Hermie Sadler, #44-Christian Fittipaldi, #60-David Green, #09-Joe Ruttman subbing for Buckshot Jones) and #49-Elton Sawyer subbing for Ken Schrader. #82-Casey Atwood and #34-Mike McLaughlin were shaking down their cars for the second annual Winn-Dixie 250 Presented By PepsiCo on Friday, July 4.(DIS PR), no speeds were reported.(6-18-2003)
UPDATE 3: Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush Racing were among the eight teams that wrapped up a second day of Pepsi 400 testing on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. The three powerhouse teams were searching for speed that they hope will help them catch Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars on the restrictor-plate tracks at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have both entered their research and development teams in the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 5. Green, with Hendrick Motorsports mechanic Gary DeHart, was shaking down the #60 Chevrolet while Bliss had Joe Gibbs Racing team manager Jimmy Makar and engine builder Mark Cronquist working on his #80-Chevrolet during the test session. Hermie Sadler left the Pepsi 400 test session after the first day. No speeds were reported.(DIS PR)(6-19-2003)
- Road Course Victories: Jeff Gordon is the all-time series lead for road course [including the 11 Daytona beach courses] wins with seven. Tied for 2nd is Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace, Richard Petty and Bobby Allison with six in 103 road course races. 43 drivers have won a road course race.(6-18-2003)
- Road Course Poles: Darrell Waltrip is the all-time series lead for road course [including the 11 Daytona beach courses] pole wins with nine. Terry Labonte and David Pearson both have eight, and Richard Petty and Ricky Rudd have six in 101 road course qualifying runs, two had no qualifyings [rain/weather]. 41 drivers have won road course poles.(6-18-2003)
- Did ya know? 25 of all the 92 Winston Cup road course races [not including the 11 Daytona beach courses] have been won from the pole - 27.2%; Lowest start of a Sears Point winner: 13th by Davey Allison, 1991; The winner of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 has gone on to win the championship once in the last 12 seasons (1998-Jeff Gordon); Chevrolet has the most road course wins in NASCAR Winston Cup - 30 road course wins, 28 in the Modern Era, Ford has 29, 14 of which have been in the Modern Era (1972 to present).(6-18-2003)
- Pole for Fellows? Testing Record: During Winston Cup testing in April, Ron Fellows posted the fastest lap for a Winston Cup car ever recorded at Infineon Raceway. Fellows circuited the 2-mile [or 1.99 mile] road course in 1 minute, 16:24 [76.24] seconds [94.439mph]. #20-Tony Stewart holds the current track record of 1 minute, 16:64 [76.64] seconds [93.946mph].(6-18-2003)
- THANK YOU from NADEAU 6/18 3:30pm/et: It's been almost two months since my accident and even though I feel like I'm in the early stages of my recovery, I'm ready and anxious to say a simple thank you from the bottom of my heart. It's a humbling experience to know that people have been praying for me and I want them all to know their prayers were answered. I can't say enough about the overwhelming support from fans, sponsors, NASCAR and the entire racing community.
It's hard to know where to begin - starting with the emergency workers who rescued me from the car to the EMTs in the ambulance, the infield medical center and the helicopter. They all acted so quickly to get me the help I needed. The doctors and staff at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond were just awesome.
And now, here in Charlotte, I am being "coached" through the rehabilitation process by a great group of people at the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation.
I am very grateful to be part of an exceptional race team. It's taken plenty of hard work to go on without me and want to thank every crew member and the front office staff for their support. They're the greatest.
I've never been more proud of my sponsor, the U.S. Army, and how they stood by me through the tough days. You know, I had the privilege of visiting some of the injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center two days before the accident. It meant a lot when they sent me a special greeting from the people I met there.
Of course, when it comes right down to it, family is what pulls you through a crisis, and my entire family has been there every step of the way. But I've saved the "best for last" in thanking my wife, Jada. She has amazing strength and you can imagine how difficult this has been for her, particularly with our baby daughter Natalie Kate.
I am going to take this recovery process day-by-day and I'm not going to rush back. I'll know when the time is right. Until then, I'm going to keep working hard to rebuild my body. I want to come back stronger than ever. I look forward to answering questions from the media in the future and we'll let you know the details when they have been determined.
I'm sure I've left out someone, but I want everyone to know how much I appreciate their support and encouragement - thank you to everyone who has helped, prayed and offered support through this ordeal. I feel incredibly blessed.(US Army PR), see past news on my #01 Team News and Links page.(6-18-2003)
- #94 News: PF2 Motorsports will run a Chevy at New Hampshire in July, Rich Bickle is the scheduled driver, so far the team has Knotless Boat Rope as an associate sponsor. Past news on my #94 Team News and Links page.(6-18-2003)
- Pruett at Sonoma: Matt Chambers will serve as crew chief for #09-Scott Pruett this weekend. The team will be comprised of CGR's test team members. In addition to running the #09 Target Dodge in the Winston Cup race at Infineon Raceway, Pruett will also race in the Trans Am Road Racing Series for Rocketsports Racing.(PR)(6-18-2003)
- Simo to stand by for Elliott: Bill Elliott will drive the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge this weekend. However, Trans-Am Series driver Brian Simo tested the #9 Dodge at Carolina Motorsports Park and is scheduled to standby for Elliott at Infineon Raceway in case Elliott needs relief for his broken foot.(Golin Harris PR)(6-18-2003)
- Double Duty for Harvick: #29-Kevin Harvick will run the Featherlite Southwest Tour Series race on Saturday in the #29 Kevin Harvick Inc. Snap-on Chevrolet Monte Carlo. This will be the second year in a row he'll participate in this race, finishing 35th in 2002 due to an ignition box problem halfway through the 64-lap event.(RCR PR)(6-18-2003)
- Double Duty for Said: Along with driving the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac this weekend at Infineon Raceway, Boris Said will also compete in Saturday's NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Series race for Kenny Schrader's team and Sunday's SCCA Trans-Am event, which follows the Winston Cup race.(US Army Racing PR)(6-18-2003)
- #31 Crew Chief getting married: #31-Cingular Wireless crew chief Kevin Hamlin will marry Patti Miles Thursday in Napa, CA. Gordon and the Cingular Wireless team members will attend.(RCR PR)(6-18-2003)
- Who is Nextel? NASCAR will announce Thursday that the wireless communications company Nextel will replace R.J. Reynolds as title sponsor of its top series. Some information about the company:
-- Nextel is based in Reston, Va., and trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol NXTL. It is the nation's leading provider of all-digital wireless service.
-- The company was founded in April of 1987 under the name Fleet Call. It became Nextel in March of 1993.
-- According to the company's most recent annual report (2002), Nextel accumulated $8.7 billion in domestic revenue, and had a net income of $1.66 billion.
-- The company reported nearly 11 million subscribers in 2002, up 22 percent from the year before.
-- Nextel is no stranger to auto racing. The company has served as the title sponsor of a sports-car event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as well as the sponsor of a PacWest entry in the CART series.(Charleston Post and Courier), more on my NASCAR Sponsor page.(6-18-2003)
- What of the Cingular and Alltel sponsorships? One change that fans won't have to worry about is the status of #31-Robby Gordon and #12-Ryan Newman's teams, which are both sponsored by Nextel rivals. Alltel is signed to sponsor Newman's team through 2006, and Cingular Wireless is signed to sponsor Gordon's team through 2005. Richard Childress, car owner for Gordon's team, said Tuesday he expected both Cingular and Alltel to be grandfathered in, allowing them to remain in the series despite Nextel's presence.(Roanoke Times) AND However, expect Cingular and Alltel to get the cold shoulder, much like RJR grudgingly tolerated the Skoal and Copenhagen sponsorships.. Those cars didn't appear in NASCAR ads, video, promotions or on program covers. Other companies presently in the sport might not fare as well. Cellular One (Busch) and Verizon (ARCA) might have moved up to the Cup series. Now what? If Nextel insists on tracks and teams using only their radio/phone technology, what happens to longtime NASCAR and team sponsors Racing Radios and Racing Electronics? They supply the Motorola two-way radios used by the teams as well as the scanners fans use to eavesdrop on driver to team communications.(6-18-2003)
- Marlin's Pit Crew Wins at Michigan: The pit crew for Sterling Marlin's #40 Coors Light team grabbed top honors for the Michigan round of the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. Marlin's pit crew earned $20,000 for the win and the victory moved the #40 crew into a fifth place tie in the overall McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship season point standings. Marlin's car, owned by Chip Ganassi Racing, spent the least amount of time on pit road during Sunday's Sirius 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The total pit time for the Coors Light Dodge was 188 seconds, four seconds fewer than Kurt Busch's race-winning Ford. "That's great - these guys really deserve the award," said Marlin, who posted a sixth-place finish in Michigan. "The Coors Light pit crew did a great job on pit road - they never messed up once and kept us out in front all day. I'm just sorry I lost the race for them. Just wait for Daytona, we'll have something for them there." The over-the-wall Coors Light pit crew consists of: Steven Wolfe (front tire changer), Trent Davis (front tire carrier), Mike Atwell (rear tire changer), Tim Shore (rear tire carrier), Greg Pasi (jackman), Jerry Schweitz (gasman) and Mike Motil (catch can). The crew chief is Lee McCall and the team trainer is Al Shuford.(DMF Communications PR). For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(6-18-2003)
- School Visits USAR: Students in Greenville Technical College's new McKinney Regional Automotive Technology Center will be involved in some "hands-on" motorsports activities this year as a result of an agreement between the school and the United Speed Alliance Racing motorsports series. Students in the Greenville Tech program are scheduled to attend one or more of several USAR races this summer and will be paired with a series official, track official or race team member to learn about the operations of a race weekend. "We are very honored to be involved in this unique educational partnership with Greenville Technical College," said Tony Cox, USAR's director of operations.(Greenville News)(6-18-2003)
- New Ford Taurus on Tuesday UPDATE well actually...no update: NASCAR officials will get their first look Tuesday at a prototype of the new Taurus that Ford plans to race in the Winston Cup next season. The car was built by [#21] Wood Brothers Racing, and the preview will be at the team's shop in Stuart, VA. Greg Specht, manager of Ford Racing, said if all goes as planned the next step will be to run the car on a racetrack, then take it to the wind tunnel before further development. NASCAR said approval of the car for competition could come as early as August. That would give the Ford teams plenty of time to begin building new cars for next season. The Taurus currently being raced was introduced in 2002. Pontiac and Chevrolet introduced new cars this year, while Dodge has the same model it introduced in 2001. The Tauruses and Intrepids being raced this year both have aerodynamic modifications for 2003.(Thatsracin.com/AP)(6-16-2003)
??? heard nothing on this at all on Tuesday, no PR's or articles.(6-18-2003)
- Men and Speed - updated: The new edition of "Men And Speed" by G. Wayne Miller, with new cover, new photos and a whole new chapter on the 2002 season (behind-the-scenes on Mark Martin's title run, Jack Roush's accident, Kurt Busch's charge, etc.), is now out. More info on my Racing Bookstore page.(6-17-2003)
- Ganassi Closing Down IRL team? Dixon to NASCAR? UPDATE: AutoRacing1.com [love how they 'hear it first' a day after the team press release is out on stuff - LOL] is reporting that the IRL series will be loosing one of its top teams at the end of the season. Target Chip Ganassi Racing will be closing its Indianapolis offices at the end of the IRL season. No CART team, no IRL team. They are currently looking at offers on the property and equipment. They are looking to take Scott Dixon with them to NASCAR land. There is a very small chance, that if they win the championship, they would continue on for one more season. There are some at Ganassi, that are looking for funding to buy the operation, and continue on in open wheel racing, CART or the IRL.(AutoRacing1.com need subscription to read)(6-17-2003)
UPDATE - from Ganassi Racing: "We're fully committed to the IRL and fully committed to the operation and my employees in Indianapolis this year and in the future, " owner Chip Ganassi stated.(6-17-2003)
- Cup Car Cam: Watch as the guys at Body Dynamics Racing Bodies fabricate the body of a 2003 Winston Cup Travis Carter/Belcar Ford Taurus live on their web cam. You can see them fit up templates and lay in the green house of the car at bodydynamicsracing.com.(6-17-2003)
- Hornish and DEI rumor resurfaces UPDATE or is it Mayfield?: Sam Hornish's name is again being mentioned prominently as the man who could join Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season as team mate with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. The 23-year-old Hornish, the 2001 and 2002 IRL champ, is sponsored by Pennzoil, which is the company DEI is trying to re-sign [for the #1 Chevy now driven by Jeff Green/Ron Fellows]. There is word that Hornish might get a shot at a DEI ride at Michigan in August.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-9-2003)
UPDATE: First in line for the DEI job appears to by Jeremy Mayfield, who currently drives for Ray Evernham's #19 Dodge team.(Toronto Sun)(6-9-2003)
UPDATE 2: Jeremy Mayfield said during an interview with XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) that he had no plans to go to DEI and hopes to re-sign with Evernham Motorsports to stay in the #19 Dodge(6-17-2003)
- Hamilton Jr offered #4 Ride: during an interview, #25 Busch Series driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr., talked to #4 Morgan-McClure team owner Larry McClure about the now open #4 Kodak Pontiac ride in Cup, but turned it down as he is committed to Team Rensi and is signed with them thru 2004.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio Subscription Required)(6-17-2003)
- Petree Racing back at Sonoma with Menard: Paul Menard will get his chance to see where he stacks up with the Winston Cup boys this weekend in Sonoma, CA, ruuning the #33 Chevy at Infineon Racway for team owner Andy Petree. Petree, who has been involved in Winston Cup racing since 1982 but had to sit out this year after he was unable to land a major sponsor for his cars, will have his Andy Petree Racing logo back on a Cup track this weekend at Infineon Raceway. Menard will be making his first-ever Winston Cup start as part of Petree's 18-race summer school for the up-and-coming driver. So far, Menard has competed in two ARCA races and two Busch Series events. Those four races were on ovals, but Menard doesn't mind turning both ways for a change. Menard's father, John, a home improvement businessman and owner of an Indy Racing League car, decided to help with the finances by co-sponsoring the cars with Turtle Wax.(Hendersonville Times News)(6-17-2003)
- Newman and Blount? Not Rusty? UPDATE: hearing Chad Blount is going to drive a Busch Series car at Milwaukee. Miller Brewing is going to paint the car up to look just like the #22 Miller High Life car that Bobby drove in 1983, the year he won his and Miller's only championship, as a tribute and celebration of the 20th anniversary of that winning season. Allison will be present for the Press Announcement and for the race. Miller called him and asked him to take part. Rusty Wallace will not be the owner, but his teammate Ryan Newman will be. Rusty Wallace is building a new shop for a part-time Busch Series team, but doesn't have a driver for the deal, yet. See past news/rumors on this at my Busch Series site.(6-16-2003)
UPDATE: other sources say Newman is not part of this deal and FoxSports reports: Chad Blount will drive the 66 Busch car at Milwaukee for Wayne Jesel.(FoxSports)(6-17-2003)
- G.P. Putnam's Sons Acquires North American Rights to D.W., NASCAR Legend Darrell Waltrip's Autobiography: G.P. Putnam's Sons has acquired the North American rights to D.W., which chronicles the remarkable life of NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip, who retired in 2000 with 84 career victories, leaving him tied for third all-time. Now a popular commentator and analyst on FOX Sports' NASCAR broadcasts, Waltrip will write his autobiography with bestselling co-author Jade Gurss. G.P. Putnam's Sons Senior Editor Rob McMahon will edit the book, which was acquired from literary agent Richard Abate of ICM. D.W. will be published in hardcover by Putnam in February 2004. Darrell Waltrip commented, "Over the years, people have always told me I need to share my stories and experiences in a book. This is my first attempt at capturing the life, times and characters I have experienced in racing. It's been fun for me to re-live the highs and lows when going back to compose my thoughts. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed living it."
Waltrip, who began his NASCAR career in 1975, was the sport's brightest and most controversial star in the 1980s. Early in his career he was feared, loathed and admired in some measure by fans and fellow drivers alike. But as the decade wore on, he won over the hearts of his detractors and was voted NASCAR's most popular driver in 1989 and 1990. He has continued to attract new (and younger) fans with his folksy style as a color commentator for FOX Sports' NASCAR coverage.
Waltrip exhibits genuine wit and charm in D.W., the story of a man who lived his dream every time he stepped into a racecar, and whose dreams got better every time he climbed out in Victory Lane. Honest, engaging, amusing and always entertaining, the book also provides an up-close and personal look at the evolution of NASCAR and its greatest drivers, including racing immortals Richard Petty and David Pearson, modern-day legends Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon, and rising stars Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
In addition to his television duties for FOX Sports, Waltrip is a frequent guest on the Imus in the Morning show during the racing season. He lives in Franklin, TN. Jade Gurss is the bestselling co-author of Driver #8, with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He lives in Denver, NC. Hearing that signed copies of DW's book will be available at www.dwstore.com.(PR)(6-17-2003)
- More Engine stuff: Ssome in the NASCAR GM camp at MIS were already bracing for the barbs that'll likely be coming their way after it's officially announced that Ford's Cosworth engine group will help Chevrolet overcome their horsepower deficit the IRL series. GM, which has been looking at the back ends of the Toyota and Honda entries all season in IRL events, should announce.mid-week that Cosworth will be the answer to GM's power problems in that series. One positive spin could be for the GM folks to look it is American forces joining with the English for the second time this year to keep America safe from oversees oppression --- or perhaps the gearing up for the reality of the 2006 Cup season. For recent past news/rumors, see my Engines page.(6-17-2003)
- Racing Champions Introduces new NASCAR Collectibles: Racing Champions-a brand of RC2 hits the ground running with four new product introductions that will be in stores in August. "This brand-new NASCAR Ultra Series of 1:64-scale die-cast cars is more detailed than anything we've done before," said Dell Torgerson, Managing Director for RC2 Corporation. "As the premier marketer of authentically detailed NASCAR replicas and toys, we're noted for the exceptional authenticity of our die-cast products, but the Ultra Series raises the bar to a new level." Four new vehicles-Ford, Dodge, Pontiac, and Chevy-will be included in the initial series offering, all of them featuring die-cast bodies and chassis, rubber tires, authentic decoration, and detailed interiors. The Ultra Series will also continue the Chase the Race program of silver chase cars, car covers, and race-used memorabilia which are randomly inserted into car assortments. Suggested retail price is $3.99.(Racing Champions PR)(6-17-2003)
- Sad News: A race car driver died after his car struck the pit wall with full force during a race at Oxford Plains Speedway. Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston confirmed Sunday morning that Dennis Dee, of Poland, Maine, had died, but wouldn't release any other information. Dee was extricated from the wreckage of his late-model stock car and rushed in an ambulance to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway after the accident. He was later transferred to CMMC. Trooper Andre Paradis said Dee's car and a second vehicle were unable to negotiate Turn 2 after they got bunched up with other cars on the first turn. One vehicle locked its brakes and slowed down, but Dee's vehicle continued going straight and "hit the wall with full force at whatever speed he was traveling," the trooper said. Dee's car appeared to be traveling about 75 mph seconds before the crash, the Sunday Sun-Journal of Lewiston said. Dee began racing weekly at western Maine's Oxford Plains in the mid-1990s and had competed in three different divisions. He was a three-time feature winner in the strictly stock class, which is two notches below late model stock.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-15-2003)
AND The deaths of two drivers -- one in Connecticut and the other in Maine -- are at least the 307th and 308th in U.S. auto racing since 1990, according to a Charlotte Observer study. George Smith of Troy, N.Y., was killed Saturday after his car hit a guard rail during a Sports Car Club of America regional race in Lakeville, Conn. Smith, 68, died after crashing on the 13th lap at Lime Rock Park, state police said. State police ruled out mechanical problems, driver error, unsafe passing and contact with another car as possible causes. In Oxford, Maine, driver Dennis Dee, 38, died after his car struck the pit wall with full force during a race Saturday at Oxford Plains Speedway. Trooper Andre Paradis said Dee's late-model stock car and a second vehicle were unable to negotiate Turn 2 after they got bunched up. One vehicle locked its brakes, but Dee's vehicle continued going straight and "hit the wall with full force," Paradis said. Dee's car appeared to be traveling about 75 mph seconds before the crash, the Sunday Sun-Journal of Lewiston said. The other vehicle also hit the concrete wall, but the driver was uninjured.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-16-2003)
UPDATE: The Charlotte Observer/AP stretches the truth in counting "racing deaths". The paper, self-appointed keeper of a racing fatalities list, boosted their grim tally by writing that 68 year old George Smith "was killed after his car hit a guardrail..." last Saturday at Lime Rock Park. It is believed Smith suffered a fatal heart attack while driving the race car, and did not die from forces sustained in the resultant crash.(sources at Lime Rock)(6-17-2003)
- Driver named for #4 at Sonoma: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced that Trans-Am Road Racing Series points leader Johnny Miller [info at www.milleracing.com] will drive the #4 Kodak Winston Cup Series car at Infineon Raceway this weekend. Miller, who resides in Johnson City, TN, will make his first start in a NASCAR Winston Cup race. Miller, a road course specialist, tested a #4 car in 2002 at Road Atlanta prior to the Sonoma, CA. event for Morgan-McClure. Miller joins a list of road course "ringers" to compete in the Dodge/Save Mart 350. The 37 year-old currently leads the Championship points for the Trans-Am Series. In his past 29 Trans-Am Series starts, Miller has finished in the top-10 an impressive 28 times. For the 2003 season, he has four starts resulting in two third place finishes, a second place, and a win. The Industrial Engineer graduate of the University of Tennessee began racing professionally in 1996 and has captured 32 top-five and 58 top-10 finishes in 95 Trans-Am Series starts.(more at Morgan-McClure Motorsports site)(6-16-2003)
- Morgan-McClure to examine car UPDATE Skinner released: XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio reports that #4 Morgan McClure team owner Larry McClure said they will take the #4 Kodak Pontiac back to their VA shop and lokk it over and find if anything is wrong with the car and if they find nothing, changes may have to be made, but wasn't specific. The team and driver Mike Skinner missed the race at Michigan due to lack of speed and being out of provisionals.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required)
AND quotes by Mike Skinner from Morgan-McClure PR: "It is a situation no one wants to experience. I am devastated. I am proud of our engine shop and our body shop. We brought a new car here that did not have a lap on it. We had not tested it. We all thought it would be better, obviously it was not. We missed it somewhere. This was a group decision made on Tuesday, so there is no one to point fingers at. I feel bad. I wish I could have done more as a driver. Our cars and race team is strong enough to make races and compete. We have dug in a hole and they are not easy to dig out of. We are going to find out how tough we really are.. I cannot say enough about the progress we have made with our engines and the racing. This team has had some tough breaks on the race track. This has dug us in a hole for points."
AND II: "This is a tough situation and I'm going get to the bottom of it. I hope I can go home and find something wrong with the car, some reason we didn't run good," said team owner Larry McClure. "That is just a piece of metal, though. After that, it's people. I will make the decision regardless of what I have to change - whether it's me, the people working on the race car or whoever is driving it." McClure said he had not talked with any other drivers, but that all options were "on the table."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-14-2003)
UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced today that Mike Skinner has been released from his driving duties of the No. 4 Kodak Racing Pontiac. The change is effective immediately. An interim driver for the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. will be announced this week. A permanent driver will be announced at a later date. Skinner has been with the race team since the end of 2001 and began piloting the car in Daytona 2002. Skinner had only one top-10 finish in 50 races with the Abingdon, Va.-based team. Strong efforts and changes, including that of key personnel, were made to counteract the performance of the team, but Larry McClure, team owner, decided a major change was necessary. "We feel it is necessary to perform better for our race team and for our sponsor, Kodak. We appreciate Mike’s efforts in the car, but it is time for a change. We have to finish races and that has not been happening. We went to Charlotte a few weeks ago and qualified third. Then earlier in the year, we qualified sixth at Bristol. I feel this shows our team has potential that is not being utilized in a maximum way," stated McClure.(Morgan-McClure PR); past news and rumors and Smutski on the #4 Team News and Links page. John Andretti for the future?(6-16-2003)
- CITGO leaving #99 Roush Racing team at end of 2003: Roush Racing announced today that it has launched a search for a primary sponsor for the Jeff Burton driven, Roush Racing #99 Ford in Winston Cup competition. CITGO announced earlier today that it was ending its long running NASCAR sponsorship. “I am committed to Jack Roush, Roush Racing and my entire No. 99 team,” said Burton. “Jack and I have had a very successful history together, and we look forward to sharing and extending that history with a new primary sponsor. We’re convinced that the best is still in front of us, and we’re both committed to attaining our goals.”
"So far 2003 has been a banner year for attracting sponsorship interest in our programs,” said Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president. “Now that the Jeff Burton, No. 99 program is available for sponsorship, we can complete our program sales mix by offering one of the top primary sponsorships in NASCAR Winston Cup. The sport is at a great point in its history, with the “blue sky” potential of television being realized, and dynamic sponsorship programs being implemented by many great sponsors throughout the sport.”(Roush Racing)(6-16-2003)
- Robby's Angel's at Sonoma: The #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy and driver Robby Gordon will carry a special Charlie’s Angels II paint scheme this weekend at Sonoma as part of Cingular’s relationship with the movie.(RCR PR), it was rumored to run at Dover a few weeks ago, see an image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(6-16-2003)
- Pruett in Target car at Sonoma: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that road-course specialist Scott Pruett will drive a fourth entry for the team at Sonoma this weekend. Pruett will be entered to drive the #09 Target Dodge [listed as the Phoenix Racing/James Finch #09 team] in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 22, 2003. This is in addition to Ganassi's current stable of drivers: #40-Sterling Marlin, #41-Casey Mears and #42-Jamie McMurray. "I'm excited to put Scott behind the wheel of the Target Dodge this weekend in Sonoma," owner Chip Ganassi said. "Scott has a proven track record on road courses and has had great finishes with our team in the past two years. This team is committed to winning and adding value to our sponsors." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has hired Pruett on two other occasions. Last year, Pruett drove the #41 Target Dodge to a sixth place finish at Watkins Glen. In 2001, Pruett qualified eighth and finished 11th at Watkins Glen in the #01 Ganassi entry. "It's great to be able to work with the Chip Ganassi racing team again," Pruett said. "This is a first class organization that's out to win races. I'm hoping to take the Target Dodge to the Winner's Circle in Sonoma." Pruett has one full season of NASCAR Winston Cup experience under his belt, racing in 2000 for #32 PPI Motorsports in its first season in the NASCAR Winston Cup series. Pruett's best finish was 10th place in the Brickyard 400. In addition to racing in the Trans Am Road Racing Series for Rocketsports Racing in 2003, Pruett also serves as a race announcer for Speed Channel's CART races.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-16-2003)
- TV Ratings for Michigan: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Sirius 400 at Michigan International Speedway, which was won by Kurt Busch in Roush Racing's #97 Ford, drew an overnight 4.5 rating and 11 share from Nielsen Media Resarch's largest national markets, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The network will need a bump from the nation’s smaller TV markets if it’s going to match the 4.8/13 that it drew in the final ratings last year. The ratings lagged well behind those for two NBA playoff games on ABC and the third and fourth rounds of the U.S. Open golf tournament on NBC.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter), see past ratings on my 2003 TV Ratings page.(6-16-2003)
- Davis back to GM in 2004? #22 and #23 Team Owner Bill Davis, although he's officially off the Dodge deal, is expected to keep running Dodges the rest of this season because of his huge inventory of parts and pieces. But next season, he might well be back with General Motors, possibly with Pontiac.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-16-2003)
- Little E wants F-1 rules at road courses: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is lobbying NASCAR to adopt the old Formula One qualifying rules when the Winston Cup teams go to road courses. It would allow drivers to run multiple laps, with the fastest counting as their qualifying time. Under the current setup, drivers run only one lap for qualifying. That leaves little room for error and is challenging for many who aren't as savvy on road courses. “I can race all right, but I just can't get a decent starting spot,” Earnhardt says. “If we don't get the opportunity to do that, then I'm looking to do more road racing stuff, maybe with Jim France's (Grand American) Series to get a little more experience on the road courses.” Junior, who won the 1999 Busch Series race at Watkins Glen, considers road courses the most physically demanding tracks on the Cup circuit.(Sporting News)(6-16-2003)
- John Kernan and ESPN Going Separate Ways: John Kernan will not be returning to ESPN when his contract expires at the end of this year, making him a free agent able to pursue other opportunities. No decision has yet been made on the future of RPM 2Night.(MotorsportsTV)(6-16-2003)
- Weather delays Victory Junction work: Seated on the spot that will be the heart of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Scott McPherson looks over a row of buildings under construction. As workers trudge through the red Randolph County mud, he takes stock of the progress on the $24 million project. See more on my Racing Charities page.(6-16-2003)
- Bodine at the Track: Brett Bodine, who broke his right collarbone in a wreck during final practice Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, was on hand for Sunday's race as his brother Geoffrey Bodine drove the #11 Hooters Ford in his place. Brett Bodine hit the wall between turns 1 and 2, then his car shot down to the inside and he hit a wall of tires head-on. In addition to the collarbone injury, Brett Bodine suffered a concussion and knocked eight caps off his teeth. "To take two hard hits like that is a testament to our cars and safety stuff that we've put in these cars to make them safer for the drivers," Brett Bodine said. "The second hit on the inside was in the soft wall that the speedway had installed and that certainly did its job because I hit that running probably over 150 mph. I was unconsciousness and pretty much hit it straight on, so everything did its job for me to be here today."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-15-2003)
see the June 9-15, 2003 Archived News Page
see the June 2-8, 2003 Archived News Page
see the May 26-June 1, 2003 Archived News Page