PAST NEWS JUNE 30-JULY 6, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- #4 Fuel Cell Confiscated before race: Morgan-McClure Motorsports faces a hefty penalty this week after NASCAR officials confiscated the entire fuel cell assembly from the team's #4 Pontiac prior to Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The car was delayed in pre-race inspection and not did not get on the track until the race's pace laps had already started. The fuel cell was expanded beyond regulation size, NASCAR officials said. The assembly was tagged and placed outside the NASCAR hauler during the race. Team officials declined to comment on the issue.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-6-2003)
- Horish to Penske? in the IRL...not DEI? Rumors continue to circulate that Sam Hornish Jr. will join Team Penske for 2004. But the team's president, Tim Cindric, said his drivers, de Ferran and Helio Castroneves, are signed for next season and intend to return. "There are no plans to run three cars," Cindric said. "If we had wanted to run three, we probably would have done it at Indy this year." It should be noted that Team Penske essentially ran a third car in the 500, releasing one to Sam Schmidt Motorsports for Richie Hearn. Toyota Racing Development president Jim Aust said any IRL team wanting to make its program better, including Team Penske, will make a move to hire Hornish, the two-time league champion. "Undoubtedly there will be a lot of interest in Sam," Aust said. Hornish said he hasn't ruled out re-signing with Panther Racing. But part of that will depend on how the new Chevrolet-Cosworth engine deal, expected to be signed and announced within the next 10 days, works out. Chevy's current engines were the slowest six cars in qualifying Saturday at Kansas.(Indianapolis Star)(7-6-2003)
- Drivers to test Homestead.....virtually: Winston Cup drivers won't be allowed to test their cars on the new banking at Homestead-Miami Speedway until the week of the season finale, but they will be able to race the new course on a new computer-program simulator being developed for NASCAR's stock-car teams by Electronic Arts. "This will be the first time ever that the teams will be able to set up a race car on a computer on a track that was computer built - so you can set up a car for a track while that track is still dirt," said Curtis Gray, who runs the track for Bill France Jr.'s International Speedway Corporation. "Or at least it's a good starting point." NASCAR officials spent time at Homestead last week to review progress on the track's reconstruction. Gray said the project, which began in May, 'is right on schedule. In the first five days we had the whole track torn apart, and it took them 22 days to build the actual dirt banking, 55 feet wide.'(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2003)
- Gibbs getting resumes: Joe Gibbs Racing has received about 200 resumes for its diversity Late Model racing program it plans to start. Steve DeSouza, vice president of Busch operations and special projects, said the program would probably make it to the track next season. Former NFL player Reggie White is a partner in the program.(Roanoke Times), see past news about the program on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(7-6-2003)
- More on AT&T as a team sponsor UPDATE 2: NASCAR executives are still studying AT& --T's sponsorship program with #49 car owner Beth Ann Morgenthau [driver, Ken Schrader qualified 4th forthe Pepsi 400], who has had a contract this season allowing AT& --T to become primary sponsor whenever it desires. AT& --T wanted to up its stake in NASCAR in 2004 by putting its Wireless division on the quarterpanel of a Jack Roush [#99] car or a Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#1] car. But NASCAR insists that the new series sponsorship contract with Nextel precludes any such new deal, that only current wireless sponsors Cingular and AllTel could be 'grandfathered' in, and that Cingular and ALLTEL could only remain in the sport as long as they remain with current car owners Richard Childress and Roger Penske. But AT& --T officials are not willing to be pushed out of the picture so easily. Even now, two weeks after NASCAR and Nextel signed, NASCAR officials have been unable to resolve the AT& --T situation. The specifics at issue with AT& --T are unclear, but NASCAR faces a situation where it must avoid the appearance of one set of rules for powerful car owners like Childress and Penske yet another set of rules for less powerful car owners such as Morgenthau. The AT& --T situation has stunned observers in the Winston Cup garage because AT& --T is currently one of NASCAR's 'official' sponsors and thus presumably in close contact with the sanctioning body. There are also a number of legal issues related to the Nextel-NASCAR-ATT affair - does NASCAR have the legal right to read any car owner's contract?(Winston Salem Journal)(7-4-2003)
UPDATE - AT&T can sponsor #49 in 2004: #49 Car owner Beth Ann Morganthau learned that AT&T will be allowed to sponsor her #49 Dodge next year. The new title sponsorship contract with Nextel prohibits other telecommunications companies from coming into the sport, but NASCAR agreed since AT&T had been a part-time sponsor this year for Morganthau's BAM Racing, it could return.(Florida Times Union)(7-5-2003)
UPDATE 2: "AT&T wants to expand its program long-term," #49 BAM Racing program manager, Gus Larkin said. "But we have to be sensitive to NASCAR's deal with Nextel. We have to be very careful we do this properly." One hot debate is paint - AT&T's blue-and-white globe logo. It's a registered trademark of AT&T, but Nextel said the Morgenthaus can't use it next year on their car because it's also a logo used, under lease, by AT&T Wireless. "AT&T has been on our car all year long, this is one of the important points,' Larkin said. 'We've had an agreement with them, and this entire program was based on building something they could expand. That means running several different brands within the AT&T consumer group. That's why you saw the AT&T car in California. You'll see another one in Atlanta, and another paint scheme in Darlington. Those are things that NASCAR obviously wants to take a look at - 'What are your plans, how creatively are you going to do it on the car? AT&T said the program has gone very, very well, they're happy with BAM Racing, and they're aware that if AT&T is going to stay within the sport, it's going to be with BAM racing. Their long-term plan has always been one of expanding and turning it into a full-time program, and being able to pull from several different budgets internally. Let's face it, NASCAR did a very good deal with Nextel, and we've got to be sensitive to that agreement. There was confusion this was an AT&T Wireless deal. But that is a completely separate company. This is the AT&T consumer group, that's the point we're trying to stress. AT&T Wireless was spun off years ago, and there is a licensing agreement with Wireless to use the AT&T globe logo. That is specifically what we're starting to get down to - how that globe is used, what does it mean, and the actual branding of the race car - what will it look like."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2003)
- More about Nextel/NASCAR/AT&T at Transition tough for Nextel by Mike Mulhern of the Winston Salem Journal.(too long and too much info to be a blurb here)(7-6-2003)
- Nextel boss at Daytona: Tim Donahue , president and CEO officer of Nextel, which recently signed a 10-year agreement to sponsor what is now known as the Winston Cup series beginning in 2004, was on hand for Saturday's drivers meeting at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR President Mike Helton introduced several Nextel representatives and when Donahue was introduced, he was greeted by a standing ovation from those in attendance. "We've never been in anything as big or as exciting as this sponsorship. We want to make it a great time for the fans, for the teams, for the drivers, for the owners, for everyone involved," Donahue said. "No one understands the importance of relationships more than I do. This is a partnership in the true sense of the word. We really want to enhance the relationship and do everything we can to take the NASCAR sport you all started to the next level." Donahue also thanked officials with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for their work sponsoring the series since 1972. "We are humbled by the opportunity and I think RJR has done a fabulous job over the last 30-plus years, and we're going to work real hard to fill those very big shoes."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-6-2003)
- Stock Car Fans: Rumblings - Daytona: In what can only be labeled as a major shocker from Daytona International Speedway, #16-Greg Biffle had just enough fuel to last and captured his first ever Winston Cup victory in the Pepsi 400. In becoming the first first-timer since Johnny Benson won at Rockingham last November Biffle proved once again that the race doesn't always go to the swift.
Biffle's win was the 65th for Roush racing, and ties him for 109th on the all-time win list. One interesting point.....Roush Racing's last 11
victories have been gained by drivers other than Mark Martin or Jeff Burton (arguably Jack's premier teams). Or maybe it proves they
really have figured out a way for equal equipment for all.
Quite a night for Roush engines....1, 2, 3 and 6.
Biffle is the 14th different winner in the first 17 races this season. His previous best was a 5th at Bristol in March.
#99-Jeff Burton (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Phoenix in October of 2001.
#21-Ricky Rudd (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Martinsville last October.
#5-Terry Labonte (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon Raceway in June of 2002.
#19-Jeremy Mayfield (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th when we were here in February.
#23-Kenny Wallace (15th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Martinsville in April.
#09-Buckshot Jones (17th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Atlanta in March of 2002 (only 5 races).
#45-Kyle Petty (23rd) had his best finish since he was 11th at Talladega in April.
STREAKIN....Bobby Labonte has 8 Top-10's in the last 9 races. Matt Kenseth has 7 Top-10's in the last 8 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Burton (+34), followed by Matt Kenseth (+31), Greg Biffle (+29), Jimmy Spencer
(+28), Todd Bodine (+28), Ricky Rudd (+24), and Terry Labonte (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Steve Park (-38) followed by Ken Schrader (-34), Jamie McMurray (-29), Ricky Craven (-26), and Robby Gordon (-22). Nearly 30% of the field was "in the shaft" this week.
Six of the Top-10 in points changed hands this week. Matt Kenseth now has a 180 point lead over second place as Dale Earnhardt Jr re-assumes that spot.
Greg Biffle advanced the most spots (25th to 20th), while Ricky Craven (14th to 17th) and Dave Blaney (23rd to 26th) fell three spots each in
the standings.(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-6-2002)
- HUGE UPSET at THE PEPSI 400: Rookie of the Year candiate, #16-Greg Biffle WON the Pepsi 400 at Daytona...WOW. Biffle's teammate, #99-Jeff Burton ended up 2nd as #18-Bobby Labonte ran out of gas with a 1/2 lap to go, Lanonte ended up 5th as he coasted to the start/finish. Biffle is the first ever Rookie of the Year Candiate in the Modern Era [1972-present] to win a race at Daytona. See my Pepsi 400 Race Info page for my race rundown, caution explanations, notes and stuff.
Race Results at Jayski's Pepsi 400 Results Page or at:
- Trouble at School? NASCAR Technical Institute – Mooresville, NC's high-profile school that attracts would-be automotive and race car technicians from across the country – is battling stormy public relations in its own hometown. The school's students have been keeping Mooresville police busy over the past several months. From Nov. 14, 2002 to June 27, 2003, police received 176 calls involving NTI students – from traffic infractions and noise disturbances to reckless driving, property damage, harassment, burglary, DWIs and assault. NTI Director Mike Fritz said he distributed a letter on May 9 – "right after the meeting with Capt. Hillard" – to be read aloud to students in each NTI class. "It was reminding them of the student code of conduct in the student's success guide," Fritz said of the letter, adding that it also reminded students that their actions "on and off campus can and will be dealt with by the school." He told the Tribune on Monday that the letter "seems to have curbed (the police calls involving NTI students) to Capt. Hillard's satisfaction."(Mooresville Tribune - maybe the future 'home newspaper' of Jayski)(7-5-2003)
- Petty: Engines to Blame UPDATE: Why did two Petty Enterprises cars [#43 and #44] miss the Pepsi 400 at Daytona? What went wrong? Simple, Kyle Petty said. The engines weren't up to snuff. "It's the way things go, especially at a restrictor-plate race," Petty said. "Somewhere, we've gotten behind on our engines, and we just ain't caught up. It's been showing everywhere we've been, but it really showed up here. Mike's engines have been really, really good, but these are the same cars that we ran here before. We lost ground this time. You can't say it's got a lot to do with the cars. I've got to put all this on our engine department." Petty Enterprises engines are built by Mike Ege Racing Engines, a company started before the 2002 season to exclusive construct engines for the Pettys. Ege came from Robert Yates Racing, long known as one of the best engine-building companies in NASCAR. But Ege hasn't gained any horsepower on restrictor-plate engines. That doesn't sound too bad, but when you consider everyone else is gaining a few horsepower, the Pettys slide backwards.(NASCAR.com)(7-4-2003)
UPDATE: After two of the team's three cars failed to qualify for the Pepsi 400, car owner and driver Kyle Petty was seen holding engine builder Mike Ege against the chain-linked fence in the garage area. Petty said Ege will continue to build engines for the team and that the two had a confrontation after time trials.(Florida Times Union)(7-5-2003)
- Tony HANS ready: Tony Stewart is about to start wearing a HANS device while racing. Stewart was the last Winston Cup holdout before NASCAR made it mandatory in October 2001 for drivers to wear head and neck restraints in the aftermath of Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s death from head injuries in 2001. Because he is claustrophobic, Stewart chose to wear the less-constrictive Hutchens Device, which uses belts and straps, rather than the Head And Neck Support, a collar that restricts mobility. But that is about to change. ``We're still wearing the Hutchens,'' Stewart said. ``But we recently have been working with the HANS device at test sessions, trying to get more comfortable with it. Test results that we've seen have shown a pretty big discrepancy as far as HANS vs. Hutchens.'' The biggest problem in the switch remains comfort. ``We're trying to see what we can do to make it comfortable to wear,'' Stewart said. ``Kind of the same things we had to do with the Hutchens. It took time to get comfortable with it. We're taking the opportunity during test sessions to try to fabricate cars with the HANS device and trying to make it more comfortable for me.''(Tampa Tribune)(7-5-2003)
- More on Jesse Jackson and NASCAR: Both black and white conservatives are calling for NASCAR to end its relationship with its most unlikely of partners: the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. It's a difficult spot for NASCAR, which is trying to diversify its fan base but doesn't want to alienate its traditional supporters, who tend to be politically conservative. Headed by the staunchly Republican France family, NASCAR has also given $250,000 to the Citizenship Education Fund, an arm of Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. The group says it has used the money to boost minority participation within motor sports. But critics -- including a network of black conservatives -- accuse Jackson of intimidating NASCAR into giving him money to keep him from making a public fuss about the lack of minorities in motor sports. See full story at the Orlando Sentinel.(7-5-2003)
- New Car Chief for the #38 and #24 crew changes: Since #38 Elliott Sadler lost his car chief to the #88 team [as crew chief, Shawn Parker], Sadler has just one top-ten finish in the last five races. Former Roush Racing and Hendrick Motorsports crewman Dave Smith has joined the M&M's team as car chief and front tire changer to help the #38 return to contention. "It was something that I wanted to do so I think that was the easiest decision," Smith said. "It's close to the house, but it's still that shot at winning the championship. If we get Elliott in Victory Lane and get him winning some races and win a championship, it'll be more gratifying than with Jeff (Gordon) because he's won so much."
"We were lucky enough to get Dave to come over, and he's got some great experience," Sadler said. "He'd been with Matt Kenseth for a while and with the 24. Very young, seems very eager and optimistic and I think he knows what he's doing."(FSN's Totally NASCAR)
AND - so who replaces Smith at the #24? Rear tire changer David Smith left the DuPont team after the Sonoma race to become the car chief for #38-Elliott Sadler. Smith, who departed Matt Kenseth's team for Hendrick Motorsports after the 2002 season, joins his third race team in less than seven months. Smith will be replaced by Adam Davis on Jeff Gordon's pit crew. Davis was formerly a tire changer for Joe Nemechek's Winston Cup team. Davis, 24, came to Hendrick Motorsports after spending last season with Petty Enterprises. He was a tire changer on Kyle Petty's car in 2002. Prior to entering the NASCAR world, Davis attended High Point University in North Carolina on a soccer scholarship. He holds a degree in sports medicine. In addition to his pit crew duties, Davis will continue his role as a mechanic for HMS.(Jeff Gordon Online)(7-5-2003)
- Helton Talks About the 'gentleman's agreement': During Saturday's pre-race drivers meeting at Daytona, NASCAR President Mike Helton reiterated the need for drivers to adhere to the gentlemen's agreement not to race back to the caution flag. "It was realized a long time ago the drivers really don't want NASCAR into that part. We would be better off if NASCAR didn't have to get into this issue," Helton said. "Drivers came up with an agreement that if the caution came out, the leader would put out his hand signaling other drivers to (slow down). It's been working pretty well up until recent years. We joked at Sears Point (now Infineon Raceway) about there really wasn't much of a 'gentleman's agreement' anymore. The point is there should be." Helton acknowledged the debate that has raged over the issue since the Sonoma race. He warned if drivers fail to adhere to a gentlemen's agreement, NASCAR would be forced to implement a rule. "You are the only ones that can make this happen. There should be a 'gentleman's agreement,' " Helton said. "If there's not going to be one, and it gets out of hand, then NASCAR will step in. We don't want to do that and I don't think you want us to do that."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-5-2003)
- Rusty Busch Team? Penske Involved? UPDATEs: Rusty Wallace is planning to field a Busch team next season, and the questions now are: Who might drive for the Winston Cup veteran, and will this team be a step toward the expansion of Penske South to a three-team Cup operation?(Winston Salem Journal); Chad Blount?(6-9-2003)
UPDATE: hearing Chad Blount could be the driver and it will not be a Penske fielded car. The announcement should come this week or next week.(6-11-2003)
UPDATE 2: hearing Miller beer is involved somehow and that Jessel Motorsports, who ran the #36 and #66 Dodges in the Busch Series last year will be involved somehow or rent cars/equipment/shop. Also of note, some folks think this may a team for his son Stephen, who will run a Late Model at Hickory, NC this year, but he is only 15 and won't be 18 until Aug 2005, in NASCAR, you need to be 18 to race in the top three divisions.(6-11-2003)
UPDATE 3 - Rusty's team? Hearing that Chad Blount will be in the #66 Miller Dodge at Milwaukee and will be testing at that track next week.(BGNRacing.com)(6-13-2003) AND 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 is returning to the track with the Jesel Racing team and the #66 High Life Dodge, which will be driven by rookie Chad Blount.(Tom Roberts PR)
UPDATE 4 No 3rd Penske Team: Don Miller, president of Penske Racing South, said the team is not looking to field a third car to join #2-Rusty Wallace and #12-Ryan Newman.(Roanoke Times)(6-4-2003)
UPDATE 5: Penske Racing part-owner Don Miller said the team, which fields Dodges for drivers Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman, has signed NASCAR Busch Series driver Chad Blount to an agreement to test the organization's Winston Cup cars. Miller said, contrary to recent reports, that Blount has not been hired to drive for a Busch program. "We don't have a Busch team and we don't have any Busch cars," Miller said. Miller said Penske's agreement with Blount lasts through the end of the year.(ThatsRacin.com)
....so Blount is not with Rusty in a Busch deal, but did run the #66 Miller High Life car for Wayne Jesel at Milwaukee with Penske-Jasper engines...AND The field at Milwaukee last week was set per owners points/the rules book [past winners, race attempts and qualifying draw]. No matter how #66 team owner Wayne Jessel figured it out, he was not able to get driver Chad Blount in the race as it was their first race of the season [no owners points of race attempts] and they hadn't drawn a high enough position in qualifying [34th]. Jessel convinced the teams of #52-Brad Teague [10 attempts, 43rd owners points, 2nd in qualiying order], #70-Morgan Shepherd [4, 53rd, 21st], #97-Kenny Hendrick [3, 73rd, 11th] and #67-Brad Mueller [actually #66 was in better position then this team also attempting it's first race and was 45 in qual order].....to withdraw from the event and ensure his team a spot in the race [starting 43rd and finishing 40th]. No one would comment, but it reportedly took a low five-figure range to seal the deals. PLUS have heard that word around the garage area at Daytona this weekend is that Roger Penske funded the payoff of the four Busch teams to withdraw. It reportedly cost Penske $50,000 total to convince those four drivers to withdraw.(7-5-2003)
- oops...practice ABOVE the yellow line: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s performance during Friday evening's final Winston Cup practice drew a stern warning from series director John Darby. After Earnhardt Jr. apparently dropped below the yellow line during the final 10 minutes of practice, Darby came over the NASCAR channel on the radio, wanting a message sent to Earnhardt Jr.'s spotter. "I know this is just practice," Darby said, "but it would be a good thing to practice that yellow line rule since we'll be enforcing it tomorrow night." NASCAR received much criticism in Arpil when Earnhardt Jr. dipped below the yellow line in the final laps of his win at Talladega. No penalty was assessed. There has since been a large amount of discussion among drivers about the intent and enforcement of the yellow line rule, which was first introduced in 2001.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-5-2003)
- The Yellow Flag 'rule': Mike Helton says a change is not imminent. For the time being at least, NASCAR will allow drivers to race back to the flag under yellow. It is, perhaps, the most controversial rule, or non-rule, in the sport. A "gentleman's agreement," whatever that is, which allows some cars to pass the race leader under some conditions, none of which are clearly defined.(Lakeland Ledger)
.....seems to be the 'big' topic today, see my Article/Column/Story links page, there are a big ole' batch of columns about it, with various opinions.(7-5-2003)
- Win #400 in modern era for Chevy possible at Daytona: With five Chevrolet drivers starting in the first three rows of tonight's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, odds are that the manufacturer could get its 400th Winston Cup win in NASCAR's modern era. Retired driver Bobby Allison got Chevy's first modern era win at Atlanta on March 29, 1972. Robby Gordon grabbed the latest two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway. Going back to the beginning of the Cup series in 1949, Ford leads with 536 victories to Chevy's 515, but since the modern era began in 1972, Chevy leads Ford 399-261.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-5-2003)
- Special UPS Scheme? UPDATE 3, it is official: 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)
UPDATE 2: UPS will announce plans this weekend to run a special paint scheme later in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. The announcement is scheduled to take place at 3:00pm/et, on Friday, July 4th at the front entrance to Daytona USA.(Elevation Motorsports/UPS PR), hmm..was told by RYR just before Texas that the #88 would be making NO paint scheme changes and would NOT run any special schemes in 2003.....oops.(7-1-2003)
UPDATE 3 - it is official - wonder where I hear this before.... UPS today announced plans to showcase The UPS Store on the #88 UPS Ford Taurus for the upcoming Georgia 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 26. The new paint scheme was unveiled today at Daytona International Speedway. The UPS Store car takes on a decidedly different flare from the normal paint scheme run by the #88 UPS Racing Team. UPS yellow is the predominant color on the car, and The UPS Store logo is featured on the hood, which is normally adorned with the new UPS shield logo that was introduced this past March. NASCAR enthusiasts and collectors can also look forward to the release of a unique 1:43 scale die-cast car that will commemorate the #88 The UPS Store race car run at Atlanta Motor Speedway in October. .The 1:43 scale car, which has not yet been released, will be made available later this fall exclusively through participating locations of The UPS Store. Beginning in September, race fans can also register to win a trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the October race as part of a special consumer promotion. Visitors to The UPS Store locations will discover a wide range of products and services, including UPS shipping at lower prices direct from UPS, full-service packaging, mailbox and postal services, black-and-white and color copying, document finishing, office and packaging supplies, and other business services. UPS acquired Mail Boxes, Etc., Inc. in 2001, and in April 2003, more than 3,000 Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees across the U.S. opted to convert their locations to The UPS Store brand. To find The UPS Store locations and other information, log on to www.theupsstore.com.(Elevation Group/UPS PR), have not seen any images of the car....yet.(7-4-2003)
- 2004 Taurus meets NASCAR requirements: NASCAR’s John Darby told Team Ford racing that the new 2004 Taurus has met the requirements set forth in the rulebook as they pertain to new car submissions. The NASCAR rulebook clearly states that all cars that are to be considered for competition in the following calendar year must be submitted to NASCAR no later than July 1 of the current event season. “The submittal process is well underway,” said the director of NASCAR. “We’ve seen the first iterations of nose and tail and things like that and have worked through that process. From there they’re going back to clean some real small minor issues up.” Estimating when he’d get the car Darby said, “I think probably mid-August we’ll have the car where we’ll be able to track and tunnel test it.” The track and tunnel test are a sure sign that the 2004 Taurus is well on it’s way to NASCAR’s final scrutiny, including a visit to Atlanta Motor Speedway for on-track runs. Once those laps are completed the car will be loaded onto a hauler and transported to the Lockheed wind tunnel for aero testing.(Ford Racing)(7-4-2003)
- New Cowl Template: According to NASCAR’s John Darby the surveying of car builds with the unofficial new cowl template will continue. The new template ensures that the cowl is on the car squarely, which keeps the teams from fooling the dreaded “F3” template.(Ford Racing)(7-4-2003)
- Safety Meeting UPDATE and the hatch: NASCAR has driver safety update meetings scheduled for July 4th for competitors in the Cup and Busch Series at Daytona. The series has been holding such meetings a couple of times a year or so since Dale Earnhardt 's fatal crash at Daytona in 2001.(Roanoke Times)(6-23-2003)
UPDATE: NASCAR has a safety seminar scheduled for Winston Cup drivers this morning, to bring them up to speed on projects like the roof escape hatch and third roof spoiler. The seminar is expected to be closed to the media.(Winston Salem Journal) AND NASCAR's Gary Nelson said NASCAR is moving ahead with other safety devices. A rooftop escape hatch is now a top priority, and its worthiness will be tested at the University of Nebraska's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. 'We're hoping to induce a rollover and see how it performs,' Nelson said. 'It's directly above the driver.' The hatch could be extremely important if there is a fire. Neither Ken Schrader nor Dale Jarrett was injured after their cars burst into flames after crashes last month at Pocono Raceway, but both drivers had to squeeze through narrow side windows and barely escaped being burned. Nelson said hatches will be an immediate option for teams this season and probably mandatory next year if the Nebraska test goes well. Jimmy Spencer said he was impressed when he saw the hatch.(Winston Salem Journal/AP)
AND more on the hatch: NASCAR's stock cars may soon have escape hatches. ''You mean alternative exits,'' said Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of competition who is now headquartered in NASCAR's new research and development center at Concord. Several drivers tried out the car equipped with the roof exit. It's almost like a T-top. NASCAR plans to take a car donated by Michael Waltrip's team and fit it with the new exit to take to its testing facility in Nebraska next week. If it passes the safety tests, Nelson said it will become an option for drivers. The cost is minimal. ''It's for some of the bigger guys,'' Nelson said. ``Small guys maybe don't need it. I saw Matt Kenseth a year ago jump out of his car in a blink of an eye. Maybe he wouldn't see the need for it, but it would maybe be good for the bigger guy who has to shoehorn himself in and out.'' Winston Cup drivers Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton and Ken Schrader and Busch Series driver Coy Gibbs have all tried it, and Nelson said they liked it.(Miami Herald)(7-4-2003)
- WD-40 Joins Bill Davis Racing: WD-40 Company announced that it has entered into a professional services agreement with NASCAR Winston Cup team Bill Davis Racing [#22 CAT and #23 Stacker 2 Dodges]. The sponsorship will include the company's WD-40 brand logo on the uniform of #22 driver Ward Burton for the remainder of the NASCAR racing season. Burton has served as a spokesperson for WD-40 the past two seasons, including a current online promotion that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the WD-40 brand. WD-40, the Multi-Purpose Problem Solver of NASCAR, plans to use Burton in various aspects of an integrated marketing campaign as well as point-of-sale materials for the remainder of the year and next season. The brand's association with Bill Davis Racing will be even more visible in marketing materials through the use of Ward's race uniform, which will include the famous WD-40 logo as well as the Lava logo. Lava is. a heavy-duty hand cleaner also made by WD-40 Company. Additional information about WD-40 Company may be obtained at www.wd40.com.(WD-40 PR)(7-4-2003)
- Homestead Next with SAFER? during an interviw on TNT's Pepsi 400 at Daytona qualifying coverage, Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray was interviewed and said the track plans to install the SAFER barrier, either for the races in November or for the 2004 season.
AND Homestead-Miami Speedway will get more than just new 20-degree banking during its $10 million reconfiguration project. The 1 ½-mile oval is one of three tracks NASCAR has chosen to have soft walls installed this season as part of its safety study in a ``real-world environment.'' ''We're just waiting on NASCAR for approval of the timing,'' speedway president Curtis Gray said. NASCAR and Gray would like to have the soft walls put in before Ford Championship weekend in mid-November, when NASCAR's top three series -- Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck -- end their seasons. But it will happen by then only if engineers can quickly design a tethering system that will enable the soft walls to attach properly to the new steep banking. The walls are made of tubing that has to be custom fit to each track.(Miami Herald)(7-4-2003)
- Park on the pole at Daytona: #30-Steve Park won the pole for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona with a speed of 184.752mph, his 2nd Bud Pole of 2003 [1 with the #1 car, and 1 with the #30]. On the outside pole is Park's teammate, #29-Kevin Harvick. Petty Racing had a tough night qualifying, #45-Kyle Petty had to use a provisional, #43-Shane Hmiel and #44-Christian Fittipaldi [in a cool Bugle's car] both missed the race as did #83-Kerry Earnhardt and for the first time in 2003, rookie of the year #74-Tony Raines misses a race. #09-Buckshot Jones, #80-Mike Bliss and #60-David Green are among the non-regular's who made the race. #4-Stacy Compton just made the race, using a provisional and the team is now out of provisionals until Bristol in August. See the qualifying results, DNQ's, Provisionals, Other lineup links and other stuff on Jayski's Pepsi 400 Qualifying/Grid Page.
Odd Daytona fact the Busch Series pole was 186.308mph by Dale Earnhardt Jr., the Cup pole is 184.752mph [just my opinion, but that shouldn't happen, and the Busch run was in the heat of the day].(7-3-2003)
- It's SAFER Day! NHIS will also install SAFER: New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) has announced plans to install the SAFER barrier. "We are very pleased to announce that following Dr. Dean L. Sicking's recommendation to NASCAR, we will be installing the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier at New Hampshire International Speedway," said Bob Bahre, Chairman of the Board. Dr. Sicking, the Director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has developed the barrier that will be attached to the outside walls at NHIS. The SAFER barrier will cover all four of the track's turns. "It is our plan to have the SAFER barrier in place for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Sylvania 300 weekend this September," Bahre stated. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series Sylvania 300 weekend, from Thursday, September 11 through Sunday, September 14, will also feature the New Hampshire 200 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; the New Hampshire 125 for the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series; and the New Hampshire 100 for the Featherlite Modified Series, NASCAR Touring.(NHIS PR), see the story about Richmond installing SAFER below and for past news, see my Softwalls/SAFER page.(7-3-2003)
- SAFER at Richmond in Sept: A major safety upgrade awaits Richmond International Raceway, which will become the first short track fitted with the energy-absorbing Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barrier in the coming weeks. The 0.75-mile oval, where a handful of NASCAR's most violent crashes have occurred the past two years, will have the SAFER system in place for its NASCAR tripleheader Sept. 4-6 [Cup,Busch,Trucks]. The barrier, which relies on steel tubes and foam to absorb the impact of a crash, will be attached to the outside walls in two 1,100-foot sections that will cover the track's four turns. RIR President Doug Fritz said construction would begin a few weeks before the race weekend, which will feature NASCAR's top three touring series. "We're proud to be one of the first tracks to have the system installed," Fritz said. "The installation of this state-of-the-art safety system is an example of Richmond International Raceway and International Speedway Corp.'s ongoing commitment to driver safety." The "soft wall technology" has proved highly effective since being installed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 2002. Several Indy Racing League and Winston Cup drivers have endured hard collisions at IMS in the past year, but there have been no serious injuries. Because the barrier originally was designed for Indianapolis' 2.5-mile oval, months of testing were required to adapt SAFER for shorter tracks. Dr. Dean Sicking, who was commissioned by the IRL in 1998 to build the barrier, led a team of researchers that conducted several tests on a replica of an RIR wall at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility in Lincoln, Neb. NASCAR President Mike Helton recently said the goal is to erect the SAFER barrier at several tracks by next spring. New Hampshire International Speedway, a 1-mile oval where Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin Jr. were killed in separate crashes in 2000, likely is next to implement the SAFER barrier, possibly for its Sept. 15 Winston Cup race.(Richmond Times Dispatch) and more about SAFER on my Softwalls/SAFER page.(7-3-2003)
- A Sauter in the #4? UPDATE 3 Sauter to run Chicago: 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)
UPDATE 2: Stacy Compton is expected to be in Larry McClure's #4 Kodak Pontiac at Daytona next week, in what is a one-shot ride for the moment.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2003)
UPDATE 3: NASCAR Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter will drive Morgan-McClure's No. 4 Pontiac next weekend at Chicagoland, team officials confirmed. Sauter recently tested with the team at the track where Sauter won the Busch race last year. "It was a good test. It's a good opportunity for me to get in a Winston Cup car," he said. "I was happy. I think they were happy. We're going to run the race and see how it goes."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-3-2003)
- Bodine offers fans a chance to sponsor #11 car at Indy UPDATE another brick in the wall: Brett Bodine Racing will offer fans an opportunity to become a sponsor on his #11 Ford Taurus entry for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 3, 2003. The #11 Ford entry will have a special "brick" paint scheme for the event and fans will have an opportunity to help Brett Bodine build his Brickyard 400 entry, brick-by-brick, by purchasing a "brick" in the paint scheme. In addition to being known as a sponsor of this special "brick car", those participating will receive an autographed Sponsor Certificate and a 1:24 scale Racing Champions limited edition commemorative diecast replica of the "Brick Car" for each "brick" purchased. Information on how to participate can be found on Brett Bodine's website www.brettbodine.com. "I really like running the Brickyard 400. In addition to the prestige of racing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I have a second-place finish at the inaugural Brickyard 400 and also broke the track record for the fastest stock car during qualifying in 2000," said Brett. "In addition to this being the 10th running of the Brickyard 400, this will be my first race since I was injured at Michigan last month. We plan on testing Indy in a couple of weeks and the team has had additional time to prepare while I was healing. Since we lost our sponsor mid-season, we have had lots of inquiries from fans who want to help us while we are searching for a full-time sponsor, so we thought we could make this race and this race car something extra special for all of us," he continued.(Brett Bodine Racing PR), see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-1-2003)
UPDATE: Brett Bodine has been courting a new sponsor for his NASCAR Winston Cup team to replace Hooters, which unexpectedly dropped its deal late last month. Bodine wants to run in the lucrative event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 3 even if that deal doesn't materialize. An Indiana marketing man came up with a clever idea for Bodine to raise money for that race by allowing fans the chance to become sponsors on his #11 Ford Taurus. The car will have a special brick-colored paint scheme for the event and fans can purchase one of the bricks for $500. The promotion, which began Tuesday, allows fans to put a name on a brick decal that will be applied to the body of the car. Fans also receive an autographed sponsor certificate and a commemorative replica of the car for each brick purchased. "The response has been incredible," team spokeswoman Carolyn Carrier said Wednesday. "The fans have come up with some very creative ways to purchase a brick." Carrier said some fans are forming groups and pooling their money to buy bricks. Carrier said if Bodine's potential sponsor signs a deal before the race, the team may run a second car at the Brickyard 400 for Brett's older brother Geoffrey.(Elmira Star Gazette)(7-3-2003)
- American history on display at Daytona: As part of Fourth of July festivities, NASCAR fans attending this weekend's activities at Daytona International Speedway will have an opportunity to view one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence. The display is part of The Home Depot's sponsorship of the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, a traveling exhibit featuring the document.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-3-2003)
- Sad News: Briggs Swift Cunningham, an icon of American road racing, died Wendesday of complications related to Alzheimer’s Disease in Las Vegas at the age of 96. Cunningham was at the forefront of the rebirth of road racing in America following World War II, and was renowned as a sportsman of the highest caliber. He represented America superbly in the 24 Hours of Le Mans throughout the 1950s and ‘60s as a driver and team owner, both with cars bearing his own name and others. His induction this year into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala., was richly deserved and long overdue. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Laura, of Las Vegas, son Briggs S. Cunningham III of Danville, Ky., daughters Lucie McKinney of Green Farms, Conn., and Cythlen Maddock of Palm Beach, Fla., stepsons Bill Elmer and Joe Elmer, 19 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren Services will be held on at 2:30 p.m. on August 8 at the Pacific View Cemetery, 3500 Pacific View Dr., Corona Del Mar, Calif. The family has requested that donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association in lieu of flowers. See full obit/column at vintagemotorsport.com.(7-3-2003)
- Stock Car Fans Ramblings - Daytona: #30-Steve Park grabbed his second Bud Pole of the season tonight at Daytona Internations Speedway, and it was in the same car that Jeff Green put on the pole for the 500 in February. It's the 4th pole of Park's
career (he was the fastest qualifier at Fontana when he was still in the #1 car in April). He'll bring 'em to the green on Saturday Night
for the Pepsi 400 with his Richard Childress teammate #29-Kevin Harvick alongside. For Harvick, this is his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at Talladega in April.
#40-Sterling Marlin (4th) has his best starting spot since he started on the pole at Darlington last September....but qualifying was rained out
there and the field lined up by points. This is his best starting spot on time since he lined up 4th at Chicagoland last July.
#15-Michael Waltrip (6th) has his best starting spot since he started 6th at Atlanta last March.
#49-Ken Schrader (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Martinsville in April.
#42-Jamie McMurray (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Rockingham last February.
#14-Larry Foyt (26th) has his career-best starting spot. His previous best was 29th at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.
A buncha Welcome Back's this week: Buckshot Jones (19th) makes his first start since Martinsville in April of 2002, David Green (21st) makes his first start since Darlington in September of 2000, Mike Bliss (32nd) makes his first start since Martinsville last October, and
Stacy Compton (43rd) makes his first start since Lowes Motor Speedway last October.
STREAKIN...Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
The Trouble Train had four cars on it tonight. Kerry Earnhardt (he's 0 for 3 this season), Tony Raines (that team had made every race....quite a feat considering they're grossly underfunded), Shane Hmiel (in the #43 this week), and Christian Fittipaldi (in the #44 this week). For Petty Enterprises, it wasn't a night to remember. This is the first DNQ for the #43 since John Andretti missed the May race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2001.(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-3-2003)
- Jeff Gordon Promotes Safety Program: Jeff Gordon promoted the DuPont Get Real Behind the Wheel teen driver safety tour during an appearance on "The Today Show" on NBC Wednesday, July 2nd. The traveling exhibit is scheduled to make more than 20 stops in 11 cities through October, appearing at concerts, festivals, NASCAR races and other venues that attract young people. A 45-foot Get Real trailer houses a simulator in which teens can take two-minute test drives to assess their skills in hazardous driving conditions. . Details about the program are available at www.dupontgetreal.com.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-3-2003)
- Fuji Film Scheme for #41 at Chicago: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced a new paint scheme for the #41 Target Dodge in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The green, white and red of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., will be the featured artwork on the #41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears for this one event. Fujifilm is recognized around the world for its technological
innovation and high quality, offering a complete portfolio of imaging and information products, services and e-solutions to retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. Fujifilm has been a valued partner of Target Chip Ganassi Racing for over six years and
the Tropicana 400 will mark Fujifilm's second primary sponsorship of a Winston Cup car. "Fujifilm has been riding along with me all season and I'm proud to carry the company's colors as the primary sponsor for the Chicagoland race," said Mears. "Race fans instantly identify with the Fujifilm green so I'm sure I will have plenty of fans behind me at the Tropicana 400."(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-3-2003)
- Bootie Call on Speed: NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Robert "Bootie" Barker has been added to Speed Channel’s on-air team and is scheduled to host a regular segment each Saturday as part of SpeedNews – NASCAR Edition. The new segment—"Bootie Call"—debuts this weekend from Daytona and will be an insider’s look at what’s going on in the NASCAR garage area from week to week. "Most of what is said about what’s going on at the track is from an outsider’s perspective," said Barker, crew chief for the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford piloted by Dave Blaney. "This will be an effort to get the SPEED Channel viewers even closer to the action."(Speed Channel)(7-3-2003)
- Some NBC Stuff: The technology that superimposes lines across football fields, to show where teams need to go to get first downs, is coming to NBC's NASCAR coverage. NBC, picking up the second half of the NASCAR season starting with Saturday's Pepsi 400, has used the lines on Olympic ski jumping and swimming. On NASCAR, it will show viewers where drivers, coming out of caution flags, begin to break formation and accelerate to resume racing. NBC will also use a ''virtual engine'' -- a computer simulation letting viewers see re-creations of what's going on under the hood without the grease -- as well as put an aluminum engine in the broadcast booth, also for educational purposes. NBC producer Sam Flood also promises the network will put ''more celebrities'' in the race car that analyst Wally Dallenbach drives around tracks before races for taped features. Says Flood, likely speaking for many viewers: ''We like to have Wally scare the [heck] out of people.'' But not sponsors: Amidst speculation that NASCAR broadcasters sometimes give more exposure to race teams whose sponsors are also TV advertisers, Flood says he's ''never had any pressure from anyone'' to do such a thing.(from USA Today)(7-2-2003)
- Watch car get fixed: Watch the Andy Petree Racing/Menard''s sponsored #33 Road Course Cup Car get new sheet metal at Body Dynamics Racing Bodies on cam.(7-2-2003)
- Elliott's Foot - update: "I'm telling you what, these guys have done a fantastic job of keeping us moving forward. I struggled trying to get a feel for what I had to do to drive with this foot, and I feel like I was a little bit of a negative to this team. We kept on plugging away at it though and Sonoma was a good day for us. We needed that little boost after what we've been through the past month or so. I'm anxious to keep that going into the part of the season where're we've done pretty well in the past." says Bill Elliott, driver of the #9 Summer Days Sales Dodge Dealers Dodge.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(7-2-2003)
- Jeff Green injury update; going synthetic: Jeff Green, driver of the #1 Pennzoil DEI Chevy, about his broken tailbone: "I feel very good this week. Having the past two weeks off was actually a blessing for me. I am able to do things this week that I wasn't a week ago, and a week ago I could do things that I wasn't able to before. Truly it's not an issue for me. I feel great." Green returns to action in the Pennzoil Synthetic Scheme car this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The specialized silver paint scheme promotes Pennzoil's synthetic brand of lubricants, which protects a car's engine through extreme temperatures. This same paint scheme has previously been used during the Coca-Cola 600.(Jeff Green site), see images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-2-2003)
- A Dream Date with Mears: Into the rugged adventurer, sultry music lover or international soap opera star? How about an incredibly fast NASCAR driver or a professional NBA star? Whatever type strikes your fancy, Regis and Kelly have got ‘em. Ready for the chance to go on a dream date with one of these five eligible bachelors? The NASCAR driver is....Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodge in the Cup seires. See more at Dream Day Search, what? no Jayski....more like a mightmare...(7-2-2003)
- Twilight Rides at Daytona: After the the Pepsi 400, fans get a chance of their own to ride the historic high banks of Daytona International Speedway under the lights with the Twilight Richard Petty Driving Experience ride-along program. For the second straight year, the RPDE program will offer rides to guests under the lights on Sunday, July 6 and Monday, July 7 from 5-10pm. The Twilight Richard Petty Driving Experience costs $134, which is the regular price for Richard Petty Driving Experience at DIS. It's recommended that fans sign-up in advance for an hour time slot to participate in the Twilight Rides, but walk-ins are allowed. Call DAYTONA USA Guest Services at (386) 947-6530 for more information or to sign up for Richard Petty Driving Experience Twilight Rides. Only individuals who purchase tickets for a Twilight RPDE ride can participate. Tickets are not transferable.(DIS PR)(7-2-2003)
- Ward Burton Special Guest: #22-Ward Burton, along with recording artist Ricky Van Shelton, will be special guests for a "Return to Nature" benefit dinner in Lynchburg July 22nd, at Cattle Annie's. Ward Burton, South Boston NASCAR driver - "We're going to be able to help 'Return to Nature' which is good for the people of Virginia. I'll be able to meet a lot of neat people down in the Lynchburg area. And I feel like every time I've done stuff for like Schewel's down there, I've had a lot of people show out and a lot of race fans. And I think we're going to have a great night, it's going to be a lot of fun." The "Return to Nature" benefit July 22 includes an autograph session with Ward, a NASCAR auction and Ricky Van Shelton book signing. Tickets are $60 per person, and can be purchased at Trackside Collectibles in Lynchburg. (wset.com)(7-2-2003)
- Schrader and Sadler at South Boston UPDATE postponed: on Wednesday, July 2nd, Hermie Sadler and Ken Schrader will join the ARCA regulars to run a 150-lap ARCA Race at South Boston Speedway in VA. Plus Matthew Carter, son of longtime Winston Cup team owner Travis Carter [#26 and #66], is also entered.(7-1-2003)
UPDATE: The July 2 ARCA RE/MAX Liberty 200 presented by Bank of America at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway has been postponed due to rain. The event has been rescheduled for Saturday September 20, 2003.(SBS PR), Why called so early? the racewas postponed due to the weather system associated with Tropical Storm Bill.(7-2-2003)
- Florida Court Won't Consider Earnhardt Case: The Flordia state Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider whether the law restricting access to autopsy photos is constitutional, letting stand a decision stemming from Dale Earnhardt's death. The publisher of the Independent Florida Alligator was seeking to have the law overturned, but the Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, declined to take up the case. The court did not comment on its decision. The law generally bars public access to autopsy materials. Campus Communications asked the high court a year ago to review a decision by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach. The appellate court had upheld the law and said the unauthorized viewing of autopsy photos is a violation of privacy. The law was passed in 2001 following Earnhardt's death in the Daytona 500. Newspapers sought access to the photos as questions arose over how the star driver died in a crash and whether better safety equipment might have saved him. Earnhardt's widow, Teresa, obtained an injunction barring medical examiners from making the photos public, then asked the Florida Legislature to pass a bill sealing autopsy photos, which it did in March 2001.(ThatsRacin.com/AP), past news on the autopsy photos and laws, see my Dale Earnhardt Tribute - Reactions page.(7-2-2003)
- Waltrip going for a rare triple: If #15-Michael Waltrip wins Saturday night's Pepsi 400, he'll become only the second driver to win three consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup points races at Daytona. Cale Yarborough is the only driver to have a Daytona "triple". Yarborough won the 1967 Firecracker 400, then swept the Daytona 500 and Firecracker 400 in 1968.(NASCAR PR)(7-2-2003)
- Herman to run special scheme at Daytona UPDATE: #23-Kenny 'Herman' Wallace will run a special Stacker2 scheme at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona promoting the new energy drink, YJ Stinger. YJ Stinger, the newest energy drink from Stacker 2 [NVE Pharmaceuticals], is set to launch this summer and comes in three flavors: Pounding Punch, Sinful Citrus and Enraged Raspberry.(mentioned by Kenny Wallace in Speed Channel's Inside Winston Cup TV progran)(6-24-2003)
UPDATE: NVE Pharmaceuticals, the parent company of Stacker 2, "The World's Strongest Fat Burner," has announced it has created special paint schemes for Kenny Wallace and Scott Wimmer in NASCAR events at Daytona International Speedway this weekend and at Dover International Speedway in September. The special schemes will coincide with the launch of new energy drink YJ Stinger, an extension of NVE's current Stacker 2 product line. Kenny Wallace will drive the #23 YJ Stinger Red Dodge in the Winston Cup Series race while Scott Wimmer will pilot the #23 YJ Stinger Green Chevrolet in the Busch Series race. YJ Stinger is a new energy drink that comes in three great tasting flavors: Pounding Punch, Sinful Citrus and Enraged Raspberry. It is scheduled to launch in stores around the country the middle of July. "Stacker 2 is about creating marketing programs that inject enthusiasm for our brands into our consumers, and we know they'll be revved up about YJ Stinger when we unveil the YJ Stinger cars that Kenny and Scott will drive," said Bob Emilian, Vice President of marketing for NVE Pharmaceuticals. "Once we have the fans energized, we'll give them ample opportunities to use up that energy at our interactive exhibits outside the tracks." The YJ Stinger energy drink can be sampled at tracks around the country. Look for the "Splash of Energy" display, scheduled to appear at 12 tracks.(Keystone Marketing), see images of the cars on my Paint Scheme Gallery, notice the nose/front shot, that grill sure looks like a Ford Taurus. Been told the car is a showcar ONLY and Wallace will be in a Dodge at Daytona, thought so, just having fun with the image.(7-2-2003)
- NASCAR visiting NASA: #88-Dale Jarrett, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #12-Ryan Newman on Wednesday have been invited to take a special NASA tour at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. The group, which also will include Newman's crew chief Matt Borland and Penske Racing South Vice President Don Miller, is scheduled to visit various facilities and sites at the Space Center including the Space Station Processing Facility, Shuttle Pad A, NASA Crawler vehicle, Orbiter Processing Facility and Astronaut Memorial. One of the highlights of the visit will be at the Orbiter Processing Facility. The drivers are scheduled to get the rare opportunity to actually sit in a shuttle cockpit behind the controls.(NASCAR PR)(7-2-2003)
- Dry Spell at Daytona for Pontiac: There have been 38 Cup races since the last Pontiac victory at Daytona when Richard Petty drove the #43 STP Pontiac to a win, with President Ronald Reagan in attendance, on July 4, 1984. It was Petty's 200th and last NASCAR Winston Cup victory.(NASCAR PR)(7-2-2003)
- Testing at the Magic Mile: Racetrack officials imported pavement all the way from Trinidad and placed it around the turns at the New Hampshire International Speedway this spring. The hope was, in part, to create a track resistant to rising in hot temperatures, thus eliminating one of NHIS's several notable problems. Then, folks at NHIS rolled out the red carpet -- or at least the new, black pavement -- for the five Winston Cup and Busch Series racers who accepted the invitation to test their cars on the track. Yesterday [June 30th], the selection of racers sped along the resurfaced speedway and, after zipping through a morning of test runs, issued a verdict on the track, a verdict much more mundane than the foreign-imported surface on which they drove. ''The track itself is the same track,'' Ricky Craven said. ''There's really not that much difference.'' Among the five drivers -- #32-Ricky Craven, #37-Derrike Cope, #77-Dave Blaney, #20-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon -- reasons for accepting invitations to NHIS varied. Cope wanted to experiment with two car models [Chevy/Pontiac] and decide on which he preferred. Craven wanted to improve his team's short-track program. Gordon aimed to make amends for his two disappointing races here last year. But the drivers also were valued for their responses to the track, and taken together, their input could be grouped into something of an NHIS State of the Union. In short, the feedback sounded a lot like last year's, with a lot of recycled observations: The track is flat, challenging, and, at times, problematic. ''To me, this is one of the trickiest tracks on the circuit, it really is,'' Gordon said. ''It's very flat and has a tight radius, and if you're not comfortable, you're not going to go fast.'' All four drivers who spoke with the media yesterday (Stewart chose not to) said the track was slippery in the morning but improved considerably following a few test runs.(Boston Globe)(7-1-2003)
- Keller tests at Kentucky: Jason Keller was at Kentucky Speedway on Monday, June 30th, testing the #81 DEI Chevy he will run at Chicago next week.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required)(7-1-2003)
- Compton in the #4 at Daytona as a pirate (puffy shirt?) UPDATE: Eastman Kodak Company and The Walt Disney Company announced a joint promotion of Disney's epic motion picture, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, through Kodak's NASCAR marketing program. A Pirates of the Caribbean 'wrap' will adorn the Kodak #4 car during the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5. The movie theme also will appear on the suit worn by driver Stacy Compton. "NASCAR is the perfect venue to build awareness for a fast-paced, adrenaline-rush-type of motion picture such as Pirates of the Caribbean," said Eric Rodli, president, Entertainment Imaging and senior vice president, Kodak. "This is the first time ever that a Kodak race car has featured a motion-picture film theme - and we wanted to involve our studio partners in this exciting opportunity. Disney is one of our long-standing partners - in fact, Pirates of the Caribbean was shot and printed on Kodak film - so this promotion is just a great fit for both companies." From producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Pirates of the Caribbean stars Johnny Depp as the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow whose nemesis Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) steals his ship, the Black Pearl. When Barbossa later attacks the town of Port Royal and kidnaps the governor's daughter, her childhood friend (Orlando Bloom) joins forces with Captain Jack in a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl. The movie is scheduled for release on July 9. Disney and Kodak also will host a Pirates of the Caribbean show car at the movie's premiere at Disneyland in Los Angeles. During the week of July 7, the show car will be on display at Walt Disney World in Orlando. (Business Wire)(6-25-2003)
UPDATE - Official - Compton to drive #4 Kodak Pontiac at Daytona: Morgan-McClure Motorsports named Stacy Compton as the driver of the #4 Kodak Pontiac for the upcoming Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Compton, who currently races weekly in the Busch Series [#59 Kingford/Johnsonville Chevy], has 87 Winston Cup starts with one top-10 and two pole positions to his credit. Both poles were at Talladega Superspeedway in 2001. Compton will drive the #4 Kodak Grand Prix featuring Disney's epic motion picture, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The special "wrap" will be the first time a Kodak-sponsored race car has featured a motion picture theme. Stacy Compton quotes: "I am excited to get a chance to work with Larry and Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Larry and I have known each other for many years. I raced at Lonesome Pine Speedway every weekend and would stop by their shop on the way to the track. It is. nice having a Virginia-based team paired with a Virginia driver. Morgan-McClure is a good organization. To have the opportunity to work with a sponsor the caliber of Kodak is exciting also. The Pirates of the Caribbean car is probably one of the coolest cars I have ever seen. It is sure to be a big hit."(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR), past news about the team on my #4 Team News and Links page and see images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-1-2003)
- Update on the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert: Just like Dale Earnhardt used to rack up victories at Daytona International Speedway and bring fans to their feet, his Tribute Concert did the same. Tens of thousand [estimates are about 40,000] of fans packed the infield and trioval grandstands to bond and reconnect their love and devotion of the seven-time Winston Cup Series champion on Saturday, June 28. FOX will telecast two hour primetime special on Thursday, July 10, at 8:00pm/et. The special, hosted by Teresa Earnhardt, will feature highlights from the music and memories of the seven-time Winston Cup champion from the Saturday, June 28th tribute concert at Daytona International Speedway. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation focusing on the charities that Dale championed during his life - children, education and wildlife preservation. The overwhelmingly large crowd at the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert was treated to seven, Grammy Award-winning acts entertaining them on an immense stage. Alabama, Kenny Chesney, the Goo Goo Dolls, Sheryl Crow, Brooks & Dunn, Hootie & he Blowfish and Delbert McClinton echoed their musical talents off the famed grandstands. Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s NASCAR Winston Cup stars Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Michael Waltrip even surprised the fans helping a couple of the headliners as they performed at the start-finish line of the "World Center of Racing," Earnhardt and defending two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip will be performing a bit differently at the historic track this weekend as they will power their Winston Cup cars at speeds over 200mph to in attempts to be the first to cross the hallowed finish line at Daytona International Speedway in the "Pepsi 400". Before Alabama took the stage, Teresa Earnhardt, president and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. welcomed the crowd. She appeared on stage between each act to pay tribute to her husband with video highlights and to introduce the next artist. When she first appeared, the fans roared a welcome to their hero's wife before she even uttered a word. "Welcome," she said, as the crowd applauded and yelled much like they did during driver introductions for Dale. "It is great to see and have you all here. It is just wonderful to see all of you here to pay tribute to Dale and enjoy the musical guests we have lined up for you to enjoy." To kick off the festivities, four Navy F-14 Tomcats flew over the huge crowd. In honor of the event, the squadron was renamed E03 and Teresa called them in as they soared above in formation.(DEI PR and another article at the DEI site)(7-1-2003)
- M&M'S Hoops For Hope raises over $45k: Elliott Sadler announced today a donation of $45,093 to the Autism Society of America, with the donations stemming from the M&M'S Hoops For Hope basketball game Sadler hosted on May 21, 2003. A combined effort of ticket and t-shirt sales, memorabilia auctions and private donations helped Sadler and his Hoops for Hope game raise money for autism research. Sadler will make the presentation via video to the Autism Society of America at their National Conference in Pittsburg on July 19, 2003. Autism hits home for Elliott Sadler as his niece Halie Dru -- brother Hermie's daughter -- was diagnosed with the condition in 2001. When sponsor M&M'S signed on board, they asked Sadler what charity was close to his heart and how they could help support his efforts. With that conversation, the idea of M&M'S Hoops for Hope to raise awareness of autism was born. In addition to participating in the M&M'S Hoops for Hope game, Sadler attends various bowling and golf events to raise money for the fight against autism all year long.(see full PR at the Sadler Fanclub site)(7-1-2003)
- Showcar site: one thing I never had time for is to keep track of showcars and schedules since there are so many out there, heard of a site that cover that called Outside the Pit Box, see it at www.outsidethepitbox.com, it will be linked on my Driver Appearances/Races/TV/Cruises/Links page from now on.
- Hornish to Decide by August on 2004 plans: Chevrolet might need to move quickly with its possible Cosworth engine program to keep two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. in its camp for the 2004 season and beyond. Hornish, whose three-year contract with Panther Racing expires at season's end, said his future will be shaped in August. "I'll know soon, but no sooner than the beginning of August and no longer than the end of August," he said before Saturday's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. That's a window that coincides with a possible Cosworth debut in an IRL race. Chevy tested the engine June 19 at Chicagoland Speedway but has not applied to the IRL for a change (due to its relative lack of power against the Toyotas and Hondas). Chevy officials aren't saying what their plans are, much less what their time schedule might be. Some competitors believe a Cosworth engine or two could race by the end of July, but they doubt enough can be prepared for all five Chevy teams by the end of the season. IRL officials have said it's an all-or-nothing move for Chevy. Hornish said he knows the parameters of Panther's contract extension offer. Team co-owner John Barnes can't predict if it will be enough to keep Hornish from jumping to a Toyota or Honda team -- or even a NASCAR team -- and he's not fretting over it, either. "Sam knows what this team is about and if he wants to stay, he'll stay," Barnes said. "If he doesn't, that's fine, we'll move on. But at this point, we can't worry about it."(Indianapolis Star)(6-30-2003)
- Brett Bodine Plans UPDATE: For now, Brett Bodine's Winston Cup cars will sit idle in his Mooreseville, NC, race shop until another sponsor is signed. "The next 10 to 15 days are very critical to our future," said Bodine, who is trying to accelerate a potential sponsor deal that was meant for 2004. Regardless, he is planning to compete in the Brickyard 400 in August with a one-race sponsor. He is scheduled to test there in mid-July. Bodine had been running a scaled-down Winston Cup schedule with his limited Hooters sponsorship this year. He'd been courting this potential sponsor prior to learning of Hooters' decision to pull its money. "I feel real good about it (the potential sponsor), but I just hope the timing works out," Bodine said. "They weren't planning on this season and it might be tough to get them to speed up, that could be the issue. They are trying to make it happen. When you're asking people for a lot of money there are issues. They've got to get their issues taken care of so that this thing can come around and be a good sponsor for us." If the sponsorship comes through, Bodine said it will allow him to compete full time again. More importantly, he said it would be substantially more money than Hooters and his biggest deal ever, one that could take his team up a level. "It would be a long-term, multiyear deal," Bodine said of the sponsor, which would be new to NASCAR and would begin no later than the Brickyard 400. If so, he would also compete in the Sirius at the Glen on Aug. 10, an event that wasn't on his schedule with Hooters.(Elmira Star Gazette)(6-26-2003)
UPDATE: Brett Bodine said yesterday [at the Canada Day Shootout at Cayuga Speedway, where his brother Geoffrey subbed for him] he has a new three-year deal on the table and should have it signed within 10 days.(Toronto Sun)(6-30-2003)
- Auto Museum Renovation, scheduled to re-open in 2005: The Frederick Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum is undergoing a spectacular, $85 million transformation. Borrowing from the success of popular theme parks and advances in digital-age technology, the new Frederick C. Crawford Museum of Transportation and Industry will be a far cry from the auto-aviation museum located in Cleveland’s University Circle. The new museum, which will be in Cleveland’s vibrant downtown, will feature state-of-the-art activities along with a wonderful collection of classic autos and aircraft. It will stand a stone’s throw from Memorial Shoreway, one of the nation’s oldest expressways. The new museum, which will encompass some 150,000 square feet, will use digitalized and interactive displays to create an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages, director Ed Pershey says. Museum visitors will experience what it was like to ride in a one-cylinder automobile or compete in a 1930s air race. At the Assembly Line Diner, visitors can get in classic vehicles parked outside the eatery, turn on radios, and learn about the cars and their owners. The museum will feature eight “environments.” Among those is the Time Zone, which will house some of the Crawford’s formidable collection of automobiles, as well as aircraft and a locomotive. About 60 automobiles at a time, from the museum’s collection of 190 cars, which include everything from the world’s first enclosed car, an 1887 Panhard et Levassor, to the March Indy car Bobby Rahal drove to the win in the first Cleveland Grand Prix, will be on display. Meanwhile, all 15 of the Crawford’s classic aircraft will be on permanent display. The new facility will feature a multimedia theater located inside a 1930s airship, highlighting Cleveland’s role in aeronautics. From 1929 to 1949, the Cleveland National Air Races were a showcase of design and performance. The new Crawford museum was set to open in 2004; funding problems and a limping economy have pushed completion to 2005.(Autoweek)(6-30-2003)
- CASCAR Race: The Dodge Canada Day Shootout started out being about Kenny, Sterling and Geoff[rey]. It ended up being a great battle of the Petes. Peter Gibbons of Stouffville led all but 12 of 200 laps to win the CASCAR Super Series race last night before 7,000 people at Cayuga Speedway. Pete Vanderwyst of St. Thomas, who hadn't raced since May 18 in the Mopar 300 at Delaware, shook off the cobwebs to finish second. NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Kenny Wallace, Sterling Marlin and Geoffrey Bodine finished 18th, 23rd and 32nd respectively in the 37-car field. Last year, NASCAR's Matt Kenseth drove around CASCAR champion Don Thomson Jr. of Hamilton with two laps remaining to win the inaugural Canada Day Shootout. Wallace started last in that 19-car field and passed 12, nudging a few out of his way, to finish seventh. "We just had to move 'em out of the way a little bit and get on with the program. I'm glad nobody got spun," he said. "These are great race car drivers up here. You just can't come in and whoop 'em." Marlin finished fifth in the second 50-lapper. Bodine wasn't happy with the car he was provided. He didn't finish the second 50-lapper. "Hopefully the crew got it all glued back together," he said before the 200. Adding to his embarrassment was the car stalled on the front straightaway before the feature.(London Free Press/Toronto Sun)(6-30-2003)
- Stock Car Fans: Ramblings - Offweek: Our last free weekend of the season....hope you mowed the lawn cause that
grass is gonna get awful long by the time we get to Homestead in November. And, a final chance for us to catch up on some oddball numbers....
First, Mr. Lead Lap. [note: have a few of these pages/stats linked on my Stats Menu and Links page] You remember him....he's the driver who always finishes as the last car on the lead lap (or, for you half-empty types, the first driver one lap down). Ol' LL is coming off a horrible effort. He's never liked the road courses, and last week at Infineon was no exception. He suffered through his worst finish since the season opening Daytona 500, struggling home with a placing of 30th. He fell 4 spots in the standings (he's now in 14th), and that dismal afternoon moves his average finish to 16.3 for the season. As bad as that looks, our hero is actually on the improve from last season. After 16 events in 2002, he had 47 points less and was residing in 16th place with a 17.6 average finish.
Some comparison of the point standings from last year at this time to the present. The first thing that jumps at you is that Matt Kenseth has nearly 200 more points as the leader than Sterling Marlin had last year. Might be why he's got a 174 point advantage, huh? With his 2396 point total, recent history tells us Matt is right on schedule for where he wants to be in November. At this point in 2000, Bobby Labonte had 2400 markers, and in 2001 Jeff Gordon had 2351....and those drivers went on to win the Championship.
In the Top-10, Kevin Harvick shows the most improvement from 2002. At this point last year he was 32nd in the points...he's 9th right now (course he missed the Martinsville event because of that little run-in with NASCAR), while Bobby Labonte have gone from 20th last year at this time to 4th this season. Ricky Rudd has certainly not improved with his change of ride....he's dropped from 7th to 26th in a year. But then, Dale Jarrett (his teammate last year) stayed put and he's gone from 11th to 29th, so go figure.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(6-30-2003)
see the June 23-29, 2003 Archived News Page
see the June 16-22, 2003 Archived News Page
see the June 9-15, 2003 Archived News Page