PAST NEWS: JULY 7-13, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- Newman wins the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway: #12-Ryan Newman won the Tropicana 400 for his third 2003 win and fourth career win. His sponsor for the race was Mobil One Speedpass. #20-Tony Stewart was the runnerup after #29-Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel. #18-Bobby Labonte was involved in a scary wreck in which his car was engulfed in fire and it took him a while to get out, but he did and is ok. Stewart led the most laps with 80. Points leader, #17-Matt Kenseth ended up 12th, a lap down [and this is reported as a 'bad' day]. #8-Daler Earnhardt Jr. had a ill handling car all day and finally wrecked and ended up 38th. See my race rundown, with laps led, caution commentary, notes, on my Tropicana 400 Race Info page
Re-air: the race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, July 16th, 8:00pm/et and Thurs, June 17th, at 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
Lineup/Qual Results/Lineup Links at Jayski's Tropicana 400 Grid page.
Race re-air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, July 16th, 8:00am/et and Thurs, Jyly 17th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
Race Results at Jayski's Chicago Race Results page
- Arnold Motorsports to Debut at Indy; Occupies Melling Shop: Arnold Motorsports will field the #79 Dodge in seven races as the 2003 season winds down, with hopes of embarking on the full NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule in 2004. Billy Bigley Jr., the former Hooters Cup and NASCAR All Pro late-model champion and Craftsman Truck Series leadfoot, will occupy the driver's seat. Having completed two days of test laps this past week at the USA International Speedway in Lakeland — and with two days of tweaking ahead Monday and Tuesday at the storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Arnold Motorsports' initial foray into the most competitive stock car arena of all will be a qualifying attempt for the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis on Aug. 3. After Arnold got the green light from NASCAR this past fall to move forward, he officially registered the team and began the process of finding a location where the operation could fit in. Arnold negotiated on a number of race-team warehouses and workshops in the Charlotte, N.C. area, ultimately reaching an agreement with Mark Melling, son of Harry Melling, to occupy a 21,500 square foot, turn-key operation. The Melling team that had transformed Dawsonville, Georgia's Bill Elliott into a marquee name in the sport, ceased operation due to lack of sponsorship after the 2002 NASCAR season. Now leasing the modest shop with an option to buy, Arnold took possession on Feb. 1 and went right work, inventorying the goods and ordering in additional supplies that were needed. Doug Howe is now the crew chief of the #79 Dodge that at least initially, will have Arnold Development Companies plastered on the hood and rear-quarter panels as the team sponsor. Arnold now has 14 employees on his race-operation payroll — still bare bones compared to the established, highly financed, multi-car teams that compete week in and week out. Arnold says he thinks he already as established a good rapport with the powers that be in the Dodge Motorsports headquarters. Two cars built by the established Bill Davis Racing operation and driven by Ward Burton have been purchased. Two others are being built from scratch. A fifth car, which also was built over a two-month span in the Arnold Motorsports shop, was demolished after only three laps of practice recently at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Because of its connection with Dodge and record of race reliability, Arrington Manufacturers of Martinsville, Va., has been chosen as the engine supplier by Arnold. He will lease the engines under what is called the "Arrington A" program. The involvement of NASCAR Legend Bobby Allison — the patriarch of the famed "Alabama Gang" has been on board about six weeks — came about largely because of Bigley's long career in the All Pro late-model ranks. The team's seven race schedule [6 Cup, 1 ARCA]: Aug. 3: Brickyard 400; Aug. 23: Bristol; Sept. 6: Richmond: Sept. 21: Dover; Sept. 27: ARCA race at Talladega; Oct. 19: Martinsville; and Nov. 16: Homestead.(Naples Daily News), see past news and rumors about the team on my #79 Team News and Links page.(7-13-2003)
- IROC winner to see who won the Chicagoland IROC race and leads the points and other stuff, see my 2003 IROC page. TV: the race aired last night on ESPN, but will re-air on ESPN2 TODAY at 12:00noon/et [good buffer after FSN's NASCAR This morning and the race coverage at 2:30pm/et] and on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 at 3:00pp/et.(7-13-2003)
- Schrader to Retire after this season? UPDATE: Ken Schrader, driver of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge, dropped a minor[?] bombshell at The Beacon News Celebrity Sports Club dinner on Thursday night at Long Island Sound. "This might be the last year for me," Schrader told the near-capacity crowd. "There's no sense racing if you're not having fun. It's a profession where you have a lot of fun and I'm the oldest guy running now." The 48-year-old from Fenton, Mo. wasn't able to finish three of his last four NASCAR Winston Cup races. He had accidents June 8 at the Pocono 500 and June 15 at the Sirius 400, running his season total to four. He also crashed in the season-opening Daytona 500. Last Sunday in the Pepsi 400, engine troubles prevented him from crossing the finish line. Schrader, who spoke in an easy-going manner and showed a bit of comic timing, made it clear that he wasn't considering abandoning the sport entirely, just the NASCAR circuit. He avoided crashing Tuesday at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, winning a short-track race at the Hawkeye Downs Raceway. Schrader races his self-owned team in the Craftsman Truck Series, Winston West Series, ARCA and Southwest Tour Series. He still finds time to race on dirt tracks in the Midwest.(Beacon News)(7-11-2003)
UPDATE: Ken Schrader was quoted this week as saying 2003 might be his last year, but Schrader said that was taken just a little bit out of context. He did say that is a possibility, but it more hinges on whether or not his current team gets good sponsorship. That's the Beth Ann Morgenthau team, the [#49] BAM Racing operation. If they get good, solid sponsorship, or if he gets a ride offered to him in 2004. There are a lot of solid rides open out there, including Petty Enterprises and the Morgan-McClure team so Schrader may or may not be back in 2004.(NASCAR This Morning)(7-13-2003)
- Stock Car Fans Rumblings - Chicagoland: #12-Ryan Newman had enough gas to last today and powered to his 3rd win of the season in the Tropicana 400. It was the 4th career win for Newman (moving him into a tie for 63rd on the all- time win list) and the 45th for Roger Penske as a car owner. Still not enough side-by-side racing at this place....but it's getting better. NBC had an interesting look at the racing groove before the race, and I don't know that I've ever seen that type of view before. As anybody who's ever lost a file on a computer knows...."it pays to save".
#42-Jamie McMurray (8th) had his best finish since he was 5th at California Speedway in April.[he used the same car]
#1-Jeff Green (16th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Texas in March [when he was in the #30 car].
#30-Steve Park (26th) had his best finish since he was 24th at Martinsville in April [when he was in the #1 car].
#43-Christian Fittipaldi (29th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 35th, accomplished twice.....at Michigan last month
and at Daytona in February.
STREAKIN....Jeremy Mayfield has 3 Top-10's in a row.
This Week's Elevator...UP: Operator of the Week is Robby Gordon (+28), followed by Ricky Rudd (+24), and Jeff Burton (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Casey Mears (-30), followed by Joe Nemechek (-25), Dave Blaney (-22), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (-22). Gordon's Operator award makes him part of a 6-way tie at the top with two Op's this year.
Matt Kenseth still has a healty points lead (165), but Jeff Gordon moves back ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr to take the runner-up spot. Tony
Stewart advanced the most spots (11th to 8th), while Kurt Busch, Rusty Wallace, and Joe Nemechek each dropped two spots each.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-13-2003)
- Sad News: Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Mark Lovell, 43 , and Roger Freeman, 52, both of England, were fatally injured Saturday during the first special stage of the Oregon Trail SCCA ProRally event. The first car away from the starting line, driver Lovell, and co-driver Freeman, left the prescribed course moments into the stage and struck a tree in their Subaru Impreza WRX. The two were pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel. Details of the incident were held until the families were notified. The duo who had been rallying together for twenty years were competing in their third event together of 2003. They entered the Oregon Trail fresh from success winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb of June 27. The 2001 Overall Drivers Champion, Lovell is survived by his wife, Julia, and his children Oliver and Thomas. Roger Freeman is survived by his wife, Alison, and children Becky and John. A decision was made to finish Day One of the rally while information regarding the accident was gathered and after rally organizers had consulted with SCCA national staff, national safety stewards and at the request of Subaru Rally Team USA Manager and close personal friend of Lovell and Freeman, David Campion. The field then ran an abbreviated schedule of stages later in the day. The rally will continue with the completion of the final six stages on Sunday as scheduled.(see full story at the SCCA site)(7-13-2003)
- Gordon under the weather: #24-Jeff Gordon has been fighting a bug of some kind this week that left him sick as a dog before he got to Chicago. "I'm on the upslope of getting better," Gordon said. "I don't know what I caught, but I was in bad shape Tuesday and Wednesday. Today's a lot better. I had a high fever. I'm on a decongestant and an antibiotic."(NASCAR.com)(7-13-2003)
- Latest on Jerry Nadeau UPDATE: Jerry Nadeau, who suffered head, lung, shoulder and rib injuries in a wreck during practice May 2 at Richmond, is likely to make his first public appearance at a race track in the next couple weeks. MB2 Motorsports general manager Jay Frye said Friday it was "very possible" Nadeau would make an appearance at next weekend's race at Loudon, NH. He would almost certainly make a visit by the July 27 race at Pocono. New Hampshire would be a logical choice since it is the closest Winston Cup venue to Nadeau's hometown of Danbury, Conn. Nadeau spent several weeks following the accident in a hospital in Richmond, Va., and at the Charlotte (N.C.) Rehabilitation Institute. Recently, he has been undergoing outpatient therapy at the institute.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-11-2003)
UPDATE - Racing Program Planned: Frye said the team will develop a testing program to prepare Nadeau for his racing return. That would start with Nadeau driving a go-kart for a few weeks, then move to a full-body car at a short track. That process would take four to six weeks before he moved into Cup car.(Roanoke Times)(7-12-2003)
- Kmart back? on the quarter panels of the #17 Ford in the Busch Series that Matt Kenseth is driving at Chicago......The big Kmart 'K'.(7-12-2003)
- Skinner to test at Indy...but for who? it was reported in an XM Radio interview with Mike Skinner, that he will test for an independent team at Indianapolis on July 14-15th. Said he would give feedback and could even end up running the race.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required) - hearing it could be the #79 Arnold Motorsports team.(7-12-2003)
- Stewart Looking? UPDATE 3 - DENIED: Though Bobby Labonte re-signed with Joe Gibbs Racing [thru 2008] , there are persistent rumors that teammate and defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart is looking for a new ride. Stewart's contract doesn't expire until 2004, and it would take deep pockets to buy out the remaining year.(Sporting News)(7-7-2003)
UPDATE: The big news in the Tony Stewart camp is yet another unconfirmed report about Stewart's future: Will he jump to Chip Ganassi's Dodge operation? It is being rumored that Dodge wants to sign Stewart to a five-year contract. If so, would Home Depot stay with Joe Gibbs or follow Stewart to Ganassi? Already there is talk that Stewart, in his negotiations with Ted Johnson to find a new owner of the World of Outlaws, has been talking with Home Depot execs about its becoming title sponsor of that series. And if Stewart were to leave, would crew chief Greg Zipadelli go with him? Right now Stewart would simply like to get back to winning. "People talk about momentum in this sport and how important it is,' Stewart said. 'We'd like to create a little bit of our own. This is typically the point in the season where we excel, and we need to make the most of it. We have four DNFs already this year, so we need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2003)
UPDATE 2: The latest rumor, offered by no fewer than two respected publications, has Tony Stewart leaving Joe Gibbs Racing for Chip Ganassi Racing. However, Stewart still has more than a year remaining on his contract with Gibbs, and if he's frustrated with his current employer, he's made no public remarks to that effect. If Tony Stewart's in at Ganassi and Home Depot stays put, would Casey Mears be the odd man out? For Gibbs, do you promote veteran Mike Bliss or son Coy into the No. 20? Or could another veteran with star power -- Dale Jarrett, perhaps -- be enticed into switching from Ford to Chevrolet?(more at a column on NASCAR.com)(7-11-2003)
UPDATE 3: after Stewart win the pole and was in the media center, David Poole of Thatsracin.com asked about the rumors of him leaving Gibbs. As heard on XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio, Stewart talked about the contract deal in the media center and said he hasn't read the latest rumor mill [and doesn't read the papers, uses them in his fireplace only]. Stewart said "That's not a rumor that's true. My contract is up at the end of next year. Joe's been gone and I've been gone but I know that he resigned Bobby already and. I know that Greg had talked to me about Joe [Gibbs] wanting to re sign me soon so I'm sure that will happen pretty soon.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required)(7-11-2003)
- Petty Not Changing Engine Builders: Kyle Petty said Friday he had no intention of removing Mike Ege Racing Engines as the engine builder for Petty Enterprises, despite his scathing statements last week at Daytona. Petty said he went public with his criticism of Ege because private efforts to get Ege's attention went unheeded. Petty said Ege's company responded by working 72 straight hours to bring better engines to Chicago. Petty practiced well, posting the 20th-best speed. But he and Fittipaldi still needed provisionals to make the field.(NASCAR.com)(7-12-2003)
- Andretti and Ganassi? Rookie Casey Mears may be on the hot seat at Chip Ganassi's, and crew chief Jimmy Elledge said he realizes the team will have to pick up its performance the second half of the season [seems to have done pretty good at Chicago so far]. Mears' best finish is a 15th at Las Vegas, and his average is 29.0. 'I'm sure the boss isn't too happy this team is on this side of the garage (34th in the standings),' Elledge said. 'I haven't heard anything ... but if we don't pick up, we may all be looking for jobs.' John Andretti [sure won't be Michael] is one name being mentioned for the ride. Andretti was under consideration for the ride last fall.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-12-2003)
- Stewart wins pole at Chicago: After a near two-hour delay due to a rain storm, #20-Tony Stewart won the Bud Pole for the Tropicana 400 at Chciagoland Speedway, blistering the old track record [183.717] with a lap of 184.786mph. Five other drivers ran faster then the old track record, including #24-Jeff Gordon who is on the outside pole at 184.445. And how about #4-Johnny Sauter, out of provisionals and qualifies 20th, the highest Pontiac, not bad for his first start. For qualifying results, speeds, and other qualifying stuff, see my Jayski's Chicago Qualifying/Grid Page for speeds, practice speeds, qualifying order, provisional rank, if a team is out of provisonals, where a driver started and finished in 2002 at Chicago. Due to the small entry list and #81-Keller not being fast enough to make the race and since it was the first attempt for the race, it had no provisonals avaiable to use, #43-Fittipaldi and #49-Schrader, both out of provisonals, made the field by Owners Points postions and will starts 42nd and 43rd.(7-11-2003)
- Some Chicago Stuff: #29-Kevin Harvick, #6-Mark Martin, #97-Kurt Busch and #9-Bill Elliott are the only drivers to score top-10 finishes in both races at Chicagoland Speedway. Elliott is the only driver to start and finish in the top 10 in both races at Chicagoland Speedway. Only two other drivers have started in the top 10 at both Chicagoland events, #40-Sterling Marlin and #25-Joe Nemechek. Only Harvick, Martin and #38-Elliott Sadler have led at least one lap in each race at Chicagoland.(NASCAR PR)(7-11-2003)
- BACE trying Hendrick for Chicago: during an interview with #74-Tony Raines, it was mentioned that his #74 BACE Chevy was using a Hendrick Engine AND to gauge its existing engine program, BACE Motorsports used a Hendrick Motorsports engine Friday at Chicagoland Speedway and came away with good results. Driver Tony Raines was 16th fastest during the Friday practice session and posted the 29th fastest speed in qualifying, safely making the field for Sunday's Tropicana 400. The team has been relying on Amick Engines for power. "We needed to know where we stack up," Raines said. "This is a new team and everything. We've got a different power plant to see how we stack up and it runs a little better, and that's something that we needed to answer for sure."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-11-2003)
- No AT&T for the #49 in 2004? UPDATE: hearing that Nextel has said AT&T can NOT sponsor the #49 car next year. NASCAR has told the team it will have to find another sponsor for 2004. Apparently NASCAR gave Nextel the choice because of the grandfathering of current sponsors, and Nextel said no. AT&T has sponsored the team all year. Not sure how this affects the #49 for next season or Ken Schrader.(7-11-2003)
UPDATE: BAM Racing officials confirmed Friday NASCAR has informed them that AT&T will not be allowed to become a full-time primary sponsor of their #49 Dodges next season. Cingular Wireless and Alltel, which sponsor the #31 Chevrolets of Robby Gordon and the #12 Dodges of Ryan Newman, respectively, were allowed to remain with their teams when Nextel signed a 10-year agreement last month to sponsor what is now the Winston Cup series beginning in 2004. AT&T has been an associate with BAM all season and has been a primary sponsor on the car for several races. Despite the existing relationship, BAM will not be allowed to use AT&T as the primary sponsor in 2004. "Nextel has blocked the ability of AT&T to become primary sponsor on a full-time basis next year. We've been informed of that," said BAM Racing's general manager, Gus Larkin. "NASCAR has been very supportive of us and went to Nextel on our behalf and explained to them how critical it is for us to continue this existing relationship with AT&T. And the reply back was 'no.' " NASCAR officials confirmed AT&T's relationship with BAM Racing would not be allowed to change or expand beyond what it already enjoys with the team. Nextel officials could not be reached for comment. Larkin said there were three points Nextel sought in order to allow AT&T to remain with the team: AT&T marketing personnel would not be allowed at tracks; AT&T would be restricted in what products they could offer; and the use of the AT&T globe logo would be restricted on the car. Larkin said the third item was the main hang-up in the process. "Given those terms, it's hard to do anything on the race car," Larkin said. Team co-owner Tony Morgenthau said he was confused over Nextel's reluctance to allow AT&T to remain as a primary sponsor. "I find it exceedingly hard to believe that Nextel didn't do due diligence and realize AT&T didn't have a presence in the series. I don't think they really cared," he said. Morgenthau said the loss of AT&T would be hard on the team, but he didn't think it would be a "death blow." "We have some other prospects. We'll see how it all turns out," he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-11-2003)
- New Minimum Bolt Size: NASCAR on Thursday mandated a minor equipment change in reaction to an incident Sunday in which the hood of Robby Gordon's #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy flew off into the frontstretch grandstand near the end of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. A NASCAR investigation found the bolt securing a tether that connects bars in the engine bay to the hood failed on Gordon's car. Those bolts now must be at least 5/16th of an inch, NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said. There previously was no minimum size. NASCAR officials did not release the size of the bolt that failed during the 156th lap of the Pepsi 400, causing Gordon's hood to injure a woman who was treated and released from Halifax Medical Center. It was the second time a hood flew into the stands at Daytona since 1997. Hoods also are secured with steel hinges and pins. NASCAR is not expected to fine Gordon. The new requirements will be in effect for Sunday's Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.(St Petersburg Times)(7-11-2003)
- Burton to run Busch race at NHIS: In 2002, Jeff Burton raced the #9 Ford in 14 Busch Series races. In 14 starts he chalked up five wins, two poles, and eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes. This brought his career totals in the Busch Series to 20 wins, 10 poles, 61 top-five and 103 top-10 finishes in 233 starts. Burton is hoping to add to his win column in New Hampshire next weekend. Burton will race the Roush Racing #9 Ford, sponsored by SKF and Chicago Rawhide, Saturday, July 19 in the New England 200. Kevin "Cowboy" Starland will serve as the crew chief. Five of the over the wall members come from the #60 team [which suspended racee operations]; Al Tully (rear tire changer), Chris Burger (rear tire carrier), Gary Pierce (front tire carrier), Mike Freeman (gas man) and Eric Gifford (catch
can). Burton’s front tire changer, Jason Myers, will come over from the #99 CITGO team to help out and Tony Martin will resume his Saturday duties as jack man for the #9 team. These seven along with Jeff Zarella (tire specialist), Jason Brenkus (pit sign/windshield), Brian Chase (second gas can), Lucas Tucker (support), Jeremy Brickhouse (spotter) and Kim Fisher (scorer) will make for a strong team heading to New England.(Roush Racing PR)(7-11-2003)
- StockCarFans.Com: Ramblings -- Chicagoland: It was a record-bustin day at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday afternoon. A little delayed....a little damp....but certainly not a little slow. #20-Tony Stewart nabbed his first Bud Pole of the season today, and he led
five other drivers who were all quicker than the previous track record. Tony will start from the top-spot for the first time since Atlanta last October, but that was a rain-out for qualifying.....just like at Lowe's Motor Speedway earlier that month when he again led the points thereby getting the #1 starting spot. So....this is his first pole on speed since he won the one back home in Indiana at The Brickyard last August. It's the sixth Bud Pole of Stewart's career, and he'll be joined on the front-row by Jeff Gordon. For Gordon, this is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Martinsville in April.
#9-Bill Elliott (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at California Speedway in April.
#41-Casey Mears (4th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 10th at Talladega in April. Throw in a Busch pole for tomorrow's race and Casey had a banner day
#16-Greg Biffle (7th...and another guy who's had a pretty good week) has his best starting spot since he started 5th at Homestead last November.
#4-Johnny Sauter (20th....just how many Sauter's are there?) will make his first Cup start on Sunday.
#37-Derrike Cope (25th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 24th at Bristol in March (only 4 starts, tho).
STREAKIN....Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races. Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Elliott Sadler has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
Provisionals were taken by: Ricky Rudd, Kenny Wallace, Todd Bodine, Mike Wallace, Kyle Petty, Christian Fittipaldi, and Ken Schrader. We're into the Special Provisional part of the rules now as both Fittipaldi and Schrader were out of freebies, but make the event since this was the #81 car's first attempt (Keller). If you're scoring at home (and I know you do), this is the #43 car's 8th total provsional....one
non-charged, six charged, and one special. It's gonna be a tough stretch for the #4, 43, and 49 till we get to Bristol the end of next month.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-11-2003)
- Now this should be fun: Jim McMahon the often outrageous former quarterback that piloted the 1985 Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl XX victory [and was a Philly Eagles QB for a few year - a Jayski Fave], is scheduled to be piloted around Chicagoland Speedway by NBC analyst Wally Dallenbach for Dallenbach’s “Wally’s World” segment in NBC’s “Discover Card Countdown to Green” pre-race show.(NBC PR)(7-10-2003)
- Brett Bodine Ready to Return to the Track: After suffering multiple injuries in an accident last month at Michigan International Speedway, Brett Bodine has healed and is anxious to return to racing. Doctors have released him to race again after a successful recuperation period following surgery on his right clavical and some other minor injuries. Bodine is scheduled to test next week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with plans to return to competition at the Brickyard 400 next month. "I am really looking forward to getting back on the track. I'm afraid I don't make a very good spectator," Brett said following his return from the Pepsi 400 where he watched his brother race. "I really glad the Brickyard 400 will be my first race back. I love racing there and have a little history in my books from that place....a 2nd place finish in the inaugural race and the NASCAR speed record in 2000. This year, being the 10th running of the Brickyard, will also be special for us, as we will be running a special paint scheme specifically for this event. Fans, whether individuals, groups or small businesses,. have an opportunity to buy a "brick" on the car. The "bricks" will display their name and these special sponsors will receive a sponor's certificate and. a limited edition 1:24 scale die cast collectible car," shared Brett. "The interest has been good and we hope to have the car covered in "bricks". for the Brickyard 400. This opportunity is available either on my website or on eBay for two more weeks," he stated.(Brett Bodine Racing PR), plus buy a brick on the #11 car at the site www.brettbodine.com.(7-10-2003)
- Testing at Watkins Glen: July 28th and 29th are the annual NASCAR Winston Cup test days at Watkins Glen International. The tentative lineup signed up to attend:
#24-Jeff Gordon, #17-Matt Kenseth, #6-Mark Martin, #31-Robby Gordon, #88-Dale Jarrett, #40-Sterling Marlin, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip, #16-Greg Biffle, #45-Kyle Petty, #44-Christian Fittipaldi, #18-Bobby Labonte, #1-Ron Fellows, #33-Paul Menard, #74?-Joe Varde, #4-Johnny Miller.(Watkins Glen PR)(7-10-2003)
- Raines fastest at Weds Indy testing: #74-Tony Raines turned in the fastest lap of the first week of private testing July 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recording a lap of 179.918mph. For the second day in a row, #1-Jeff Green was second fastest at 179.874 followed by #41-Casey Mears at 179.696. Speeds increased dramatically from Tuesday, as the top seven drivers all recorded speeds faster than #19-Jeremy Mayfield’s 176.214 lap, fastest Tuesday. Rain showers forced the lunch hour to be extended an extra hour today, and the track was closed an hour early at the end of the day due to a thunderstorm. Most drivers focused on qualifying setups in cooler temperatures Wednesday after a day of finding race trim in the 90-degree heat Tuesday. Although testing pays nothing and earns the team zero Winston Cup Series points, Raines said being at or near the top of the charts in any test – but particularly in preparation for an important race like the Brickyard 400 – is great for a team such as BACE, which lacks a major sponsor. “It gives this team a boost,” he said. “When you’re on top of the charts, they (the crew) just walk different, stand a little taller. That is certainly good for morale – everyone works a little faster, little harder. When you have a good car, it stays a good car. It’s hard to make a bad car fast. It gives us a little more confidence when we come back in August.” #40-Sterling Marlin is as confident about his chances for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400, scheduled for Aug. 3, as he has been in years. While he clocked the fourth-fastest lap of the day at 179.341. A second round of NASCAR Winston Cup Series private testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets underway Monday, July 14. Reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Brickyard 400 remain available. Tickets and parking can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.imstix.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.(Brickyard400.com)(7-10-2003)
- Arnold Motorsports tests at Lakeland? UPDATE 2: hearing that Arnold Motorsports, supposedly #79 with driver Billy Bigley Jr., tested at Lakeland, FL on Tuesday in Dodge's purchased from Bill Davis Racing [#22 and #23]. Scott Wimmer was also testing, but wasn't told if it was his Busch Chevy, a Davis Dodge Cup car or for Arnold Motorsports, who has a press conference scheduled at Chicagoland Speedway this Sunday to announce their 2003-2004 plans. Also hearing that Bigley may now NOT be the driver for the team, but have not heard who else may be. Past news can be found on my #79 Team News and Links page.(7-9-2003)
UPDATE: P.J. Jones was testing with Arnold Motorsports at Lakeland - USA International Speedway along with Bigley Jr, both will test with the team next week at Indy, where the team plans to debut in the Brickyard 400. Bigley Jr. has not been cleared by NASCAR to run a large track, so another driver will debut the car, maybe Jones, maybe another driver.(7-9-2003)
UPDATE 2: been told Bigley Jr., has been cleared to test and run Indy.(7-10-2003)
- IRL Driver Scott Sharp Replaces Injured Felipe Giaffone in IROC race: IRL driver Scott Sharp will replace the injured Felipe Giaffone in the 2003 True Value IROC Series. Giaffone suffered a fractured leg and pelvis as a result of a crash in the July 6 IRL event at Kansas Speedway. He is recuperating from surgery performed at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2003 True Value IROC season. This will be Sharp's third appearance in the IROC series. His first came in 1994 representing his Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) title and again in 2002 representing the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. Sharp finished 12th overall in 1994 and 9th overall in 2002 with his best race finish, third in the 2002 IROC opener at Daytona International Speedway. Going into the Chicagoland Speedway event this Saturday, July 12, Giaffone/Sharp is 11th in the point standings and will start second, in the outside pole position, next to fellow IndyCar Series driver, Helio Castroneves, currently 12th in the standings.(IROC PR), and see my 2003 IROC page for past news and info.(7-10-2003)
- ASA at Lowe's? ASA is hitting the "Big Time" once again. "Big," of course, in terms of the size of the track they are testing on this week. ASA, with drivers Mike Garvey and Robbie Pyle, began their experimental session at the Lowe's Motor Speedway, just outside Charlotte, NC, on Tuesday. There are a lot of question marks surrounding a possible race date for ASA at a place like LMS and ASA knows it. But that's why ASA is conducting this test and it's also why they did certain things during day number-one of the session. ASA is tinkering with a lot of different things to make the cars the best they can be on the big track, but day number-one was more about making the car comfortable than it was about making it race-ready. When Garvey was wide-open, he turned a lap of 32.67 seconds at an average speed of 165.289mph. His top speed on the fastest portion of the track was 169mph; his slowest point on the track was recorded at 157mph. In fact, the entire day went without incident. In fact, the only issues the test team faced were with the telemetry they were using to record tire temps; it rubbed on the tire in the first laps of the day; and they also had a faulty battery at one point. Veteran ASA driver Robbie Pyle also climbed in the car at one point, but he only had four laps at speed. Garvey has experience at LMS, but for Pyle, it was the first laps he had ever turned at the facility.(51 Sports PR)(7-10-2003)
- Points - standing and race are now adjusted and corrected. NASCAR.com changed their race results for the points earned at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. #15-Waltrip from 135 to 110; #45-Petty from 99 to 74; and #4-Stacy Compton from 64 to 39. See my Pepsi 500 Race Results page. As for the Drivers and Owners Points; each driver had 25 drivers points deducted and each team had 25 points deducted. The Owners Points standings rank didn't change. Howerver the dirvers points had a few changes. #15-Waltrip stays 5th in points going from 2159 to 2134 points. #45-Petty goes from 1190 to 1165 and drops from 35th to 36th, #0-Sprague moves up a spot. #4-Compton lost 3 spots, going from 56th to 59th [only 60 drivers listed] 64 points to 39. See the Drivers/Owners Points stadning after Daytona page and my Provisional Land Rules and Standings page.(7-9-2003)
- #4 Fuel Cell Confiscated before race UPDATE 2 Penalty announced cash and points: 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)
UPDATE: hearing Morgan McClure Motorsports will be penalized heavily today by NASCAR due to their fuel cell infraction last weekend at Daytona. Hearing a member of the Kodak crew inserted a air-pressure type device into the fuel cell of the #4 attempting to stretch it. The problem is he went too far and the fuel cell actually blew up like a balloon. Supposedly the fuel cell stretched so much that it bent the brackets which hold it in place. "It looked like the shape of a football," according to one person who got a glimpse of the fuel cell. NASCAR especially frowned on this since 1) it was a blatant rules violations and 2) attempting to enlarge the fuel cell could have
resulted in an explosion.(7-9-2003)
UPDATE 2: The #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports Pontiac was penalized for having an unapproved fuel cell container modification that was found by NASCAR officials during pre-race inspection. Crew chief Chris Carrier was fined $25,000, Stacy Compton forfeited 25 championship driver points and Larry McClure forfeited 25 championship owner points for the infraction. The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
- Waltrip's Carb Pulled, other parts taken UPDATE 2 Fines and Points, no Suspension: NASCAR officials confiscated the carburetor from Michael Waltrip's #15 Chevy during pre-qualifying inspection Thursday morning at Daytona International Speedway. Winston Cup series director John Darby said the carburetor had problems with openings through which air travels. Larger openings theoretically can mean increased horsepower, especially at Daytona and Talladega where NASCAR mandates speed-reducing carburetor restrictor plates. Darby said Waltrip's Dale Earnhardt Inc.-owned team will likely be penalized. No penalties are expected until early next week, however. Waltrip, who won the season-opening Daytona 500, said he was not aware of any problems on his car when asked about it Thursday afternoon. Waltrip's car was also found to have unapproved window braces. The carburetor, as well as other unapproved parts confiscated Thursday, will be placed on display at the NASCAR hauler on Friday, Darby said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-3-2003)
AND Kyle Petty 's #45 Dodge had unapproved rear jacking bolts confiscated during an inspection before practice.(Roanoke Times)
ALSO: taken was an unapproved spring from the #09 Dodge of Buckshot Jones.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-4-2003)
UPDATE: An illegal carburetor discovered during inspection at Daytona was expected to bring a penalty, possibly a two-week suspension, for Richard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief for #15-Michael Waltrip. Expect Bobby Kennedy, Waltrip's Busch Series crew chief, to make the calls on race day, if needed.(Sporting News)(7-7-2003)
UPDATE 2: The #15 DEI Chevrolet was found to have an unapproved carburetor modification during opening-day inspection. The result was a $25,000 fine for crew chief Richard Labbe, the loss of 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship driver points for Michael Waltrip and the loss of 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship owner points for Teresa Earnhardt. Labbe also received an additional $500 fine for an unapproved roof strip, which was found during the opening-day inspection period as well.The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book.(NASCAR PR)
Labbe's Comments: "NASCAR didn't like what they saw on that particular carburetor and took it during inspection on Friday morning. We all have to abide by their rules and accept our penalty. All we can focus on from this point is moving ahead."(DEI PR)(7-9-2003)
- #45 Unapproved Jacking Bolt UPDATE Penalized and docked points: Kyle Petty 's #45 Dodge had unapproved rear jacking bolts confiscated during an inspection before practice.(Roanoke Times)(7-7-2003)
UPDATE: The #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge was found to have unapproved rear jacking bolts during opening-day inspection. Crew chief Steven Lane was issued a $25,000 fine while Kyle Petty forfeited 25 championship driver points and Pattie Petty forfeited 25 championship owner points.The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
- Sad News: Jett Field, driver of the Jett Force jet dragster and former Top Alcohol Funny Car racer, passed away Tuesday, July 8, from injuries sustained in an accident at Spokane (Wash.) Raceway July 5. Funeral arrangements for the Idaho native will be posted at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway site. "Jett had performed with us on several occasions during the last two years, with his most recent appearance taking place at The Strip on Saturday, June 14," said Chris Blair, LVMS' director of drag racing operations. "We were joking at the last event that he had made so many runs at The Strip in the last two years that we should make him ‘the official jet dragster of LVMS.’ He always went out of his way to make the show better. His last pass at LVMS was the last-minute match race we put together between his jet dragster and an alcohol funny car that brought the crowd to its feet. He was a good friend and a great racer. He will be missed." AND Spokane Raceway Park was informed by a press release on July 8th, 2003 that Jett Field of Team Jett Force has passed away. Spokane Raceway Park, the Staff, tech crews, extend their condolences, and prayers to Jett, Jett's family, friends of Jett, and the racing community. You will be truly missed as your influence in the racing community has been one of true admiration.(7-9-2003)
- #16 when Greg Biffle won with the #16 at Daytona on July 5th, 2003, it was the first time since September 1st, 1975 at Darlington when Bobby Allison won that the #16 has been in victory lane. See my Wins by Car Number/First and Last wins by car number page.(7-9-2003)
- Testing at Indy SPEEDS: NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will test July 8-9 and July 14-16 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 10th annual Brickyard 400 on Aug. 3. Unlike previous years, the 2003 tests are not mandatory for teams. The hours of testing for each day are 9:00am - 5:00pm, with a lunch break from 12:30-1:30pm. Although the tests are private, the public can view testing at no charge from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. Testing Roster for July 8-9, tentative, subject to change: #6-Mark Martin, #16-Greg Biffle, #18-Bobby Labonte, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #32-Ricky Craven, #40-Sterling Marlin, #41-Casey Mears and #77-Dave Blaney.(Ford Racing)(7-6-2003)
UPDATE - Tuesday - CORRECTION: #19-Jeremy Mayfield turned the fastest lap on the first day of 2003 Cup Series private testing July 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recording a lap of 176.214mph. #1-Jeff Green was second fastest in today’s practice at 175.446, followed by #91-Casey Atwood at 174.690 and #41-Casey Mears at 174.514. Teams are testing at the world’s greatest racecourse in preparation for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Aug. 3. Eleven drivers turned laps July 8, and testing for the same group of drivers continues July 9. Another round of teams is scheduled to test at IMS July 14-16. Others testing included #6-Mark Martin, #16-Greg Biffle, #18-Bobby Labonte, #40-Sterling Marlin [who was reported as the fastest earlier], #77-Dave Blaney and #32-Ricky Craven [11 drivers tested, so missing one]. No other speeds reported.(Brickyard400.com)(7-9-2003)
- Gordon's hood goes over fence fan injured UPDATE 3: the hood of the damaged #31 Chevy of Robby Gordon flew over the catchfence and into the crowd, there were some injuries, no reports of the extend of the injuires yet.(NBC Post-race coverage)(7-5-2003)
UPDATE: The hood from Robby Gordon's #31 Chevrolet came off on Lap 156 in Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway and went into the grandstands on the frontstretch, injuring at least one race fan. The fan, an unidentified woman, was taken to Halifax Medical Center for observation, track officials said. Her condition was unknown. Gordon's car was heavily damaged in an accident on Lap 74, but he returned to the track later in the race in order to help curb the damage in the series points race. While Gordon was exiting Turn 4 and driving down the frontstretch, the hood came off, flew high into the air and over the catch fence. It dropped down into the stands, where it was soon swarmed by fans.(ThatsRacin.com)
AND The hood from the damaged car of Robby Gordon came off his car and flew into the frontstretch grandstands at Daytona International Speedway late in the Pepsi 400, injuring one fan, according to spectators [which we saw on the NBC broadcast]. Track and NASCAR officials said immediately after the race they were aware of the hood going into the stands but did not have any other information. Gordon's car sat in the garage area after the race under a car cover. Its hood, obviously, was not there. NASCAR officials stood next to the car. The hood came off along the tri-oval and went 30 to 40 feet in the air, according to spectators near the area where it came down [could be seen on an NBC replay also]. "It fluttered up in the air for a while," said Ty Crosthwaite of Melbourne, Fla., who estimated the hood landed 50 feet to his left. "It landed about three or four rows up." Crosthwaite said a female spectator was carried away on a stretcher but appeared to not have any serious injuries, other than a gash on her forehead. The fan was transported to Halifax Medical Center, where she remains under evaluation. Her name was not released. "She was waving to the crowd when they took her under the stands," Crosthwaite said. The hood was later taken back to the garage area.(NASCAR.com)(7-6-2003)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway confirmed only that a person had been injured when the hood flew off Robby Gordon's car and sailed into the frontstretch grandstands late in Saturday night's Pepsi 400 . . . and that the person was taken by speedway-provided ambulance to nearby Halifax Medical Center for evaluation. Medical privacy law prevented release of the name, they said. She was released from the hospital Sunday, according to a Daytona International Speedway spokesman.(Orlando Sentinel)(7-7-2003)
UPDATE 3: NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said Monday that no determination has been made as to what caused the hood from to come off of Robby Gordon's car and fly into the grandstands and injuring a spectator in during Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. "The process is underway to investigate and we will find out what happened," Branham said. "We take things like this very seriously."(full story at ThatsRacin.com) AND Following is a statement from Kevin Hamlin, crew chief of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy driven by Robby Gordon, concerning the incident Saturday evening at Daytona International Speedway in which the hood of the #31 Chevrolet flew off the car. “Following the accident, we took our time and made all the proper repairs to the Cingular car and prepared to return Robby to the race.. We correctly secured the hood and the hood tethers per NASCAR’s specifications.. NASCAR is investigating how and why the hood flew off in an effort to ensure this does not happen again.”(RCR PR)(7-8-2003)
UPDATE 4 the reason the hood flew off: NASCAR officials have determined a bolt connecting the hood with a safety tether failed in Winston Cup driver Robby Gordon's #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, causing the hood to fly off the car and into the grandstands during last Saturday's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said Tuesday officials continue to investigate the incident, including finding a cause for the bolt's failure. "There remains a lot of work to be done on this," he said. NASCAR officials are working on ways to prevent the bolt failure, including the possible use of different size bolts, Zizzo said. No penalties are likely to be assessed to the #31 team. Zizzo said it appeared the team had followed all NASCAR guidelines while preparing the car for a return to the race track. Winston Cup cars are required to have two tethers made from a fiber called Vectran attached from bars in the engine bay to the hood at points approximately 12 inches from the rear of the hood. The hoods are also anchored by steel hinges in the rear, attached with bolts, and pinned in front with four steel fasteners. It was one of these bolts that failed in Gordon's car, Zizzo said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-9-2003)
- Biffle Joins Exclusive Crowd: With his Winston Cup win at Daytona on Saturday night, Greg Biffle became the sixth driver to win a race in all three of NASCAR's national series [Cup, Busch, Trucks]. The club also includes Mark Martin, Bobby Hamilton, Kevin Harvick, Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader. Biffle owns Busch and Truck championships.(FoxSports)(7-9-2003)
- New RYR Chassis Engineer: Bill Riley, technical director and co-owner of Indianapolis-based Riley & Scott Racing, is leaving the chassis design company to become chassis engineer for NASCAR's Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88] on July 21.(Indainapolis Star)(7-9-2003)
- Harvick looking to make history: #29-Kevin Harvick will be gunning for his name to be written in the record books by winning his third Tropicana 400 in a row at Chicagoland Speedway. No driver in recent NASCAR Winston Cup Series history has ever won the first three races at any track. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Richard Petty have set the standard with two consecutive wins at a new track, but no driver has made it three in a row.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-9-2003)
- Nice Gesture by CAT: Caterpillar will host the family of Mike and Donna James, their son Grant and nephew Adam at this weekend’s race. The James family lost their son Evan in the Iraq war. The James Family is from LaHarpe, Ill., and their son Evan was a Marine Corporal. Chicagoland Speedway will provide race tickets and Caterpillar will provide hospitality passes as well as give them the
opportunity to meet Ward Burton, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, during his visit to the hospitality tent Sunday morning.(Bill David Racing PR)(7-9-2003)
- #500 for Martin: #6-Mark Martin is scheduled to run a special paint scheme for his 500th Consecutive Winston Cup Start at New Hampshire Intl Speedway in Sept. See an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery - Cup page 1.(7-9-2003)
- #01 Camo Scheme The #01 US Army Pontiac will run a special camouflage paint scheme at Kansas in October. See an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery - Cup page 1.(7-9-2003)
- Rudd Consecutive Race Streak scheme: #21-Ricky Rudd is scheduled to run a special paint scheme for his 700th Consecutive Winston Cup Start at Pocono Raceway. The secret paint scheme is 'supposedly' not to be unveiled until the day of the race. See an image of the logo on my Paint Scheme Gallery - Cup page 1.(7-9-2003)
- Younger Labonte wins again: Twenty-two year-old Justin Labonte, son of 1984 and 1996 Cup champion Terry Labonte, won his second Late Model Stock Car race of the season in last Thursday's Firecracker 300 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. Labonte, of Trinity, NC, is seeking his first track championship in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at the same track where his uncle, Bobby Labonte, won 12 races and the 1987 track championship.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
- DW and the Stooges: Darrell Waltrip will run the #17-Aaron’s Rent/"3 Stooges" Chevy Truck on October 18th at Martinsville Speedway. This program is a joint venture between Michael and Darrell due to sponsorship.(7-9-2003)
- Cat in the Hat Schemes: hearing some some drivers will run special Cat in the Hat schemes at Atlanta in October, so far the only driver known is Michael Waltrip in his Busch #99 Aarons/Cat in the Hat Chevy, also World of Outlaws driver Danny Lasoski will run the scheme, maybe Tony Stewart in Cup?(7-9-2003)
- Congrats: Shawn Parker, crew chief of the #88 UPS Racing team, and his wife Tara, welcomed a new member to their family on Sunday, July 6th as adopting Jagger Alexander Parker after he was born at 7:05am/et weighing in at 6 pounds and 12 ounces and 20 inches long. Jagger is the first child for Shawn and Tara.(Elevation Group/UPS Racing PR)(7-8-2003)
- Jeff Burton's Team Claims Pit Crew Win in Daytona: The pit crew for Jeff Burton's #99 Citgo Ford joined a growing list of multiple winners of the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE after claiming top honors in last week's NASCAR Winston Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. The #99 crew, which also collected the $20,000 first-place prize at the May 3 Richmond race, became the sixth team to win the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship twice during the first 17 point races of the season. The other two-time winners are: Michael Waltrip's Team, Dale Earnhardt Jr's Team, Bobby Labonte's Team, Robby Gordon's Team and Bill Elliott's Team. The fast and accurate performance by the #99 crew was key in Burton's second-place finish in Daytona. Burton's car spent 132.222 seconds on pit road. Elliott Sadler's M&M's Ford was second (132.659) and Earnhardt Jr's Chevrolet was third (134.002). "I am so proud of this team," said Burton.. "Every member has given 110% all year and that's what this team is all about." The #99 pit crew consists of Donnie Brown (front tire changer), Ryan Buscaglio (front tire carrier), Richard Boyles (rear tire changer), Chip Goode (rear tire carrier), Joe "Haas" Karasinski (gasman), Eric Slade (catch can) and David Cox (jackman). The windshield/drink person is Jason Myers and the crew chief is Paul Andrews.(DMF Communications PR)
For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(7-9-2003)
- #48 Looking.... Ryan Pepe, the rear tire changer for the #48 Lowe's Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson, tore an ACL and is likely out for the year. The team will be looking for a replacement. Get well Ryan. AND any tire changers with Winston Cup experience looking.... Please contact the folks at www.racecityresumes.com they are currently receiving many inquires from CUP Teams looking for experienced tire changers. Also see other job sites on my Racing Schoools/Jobs page.(7-8-2003)
- Early TV Ratings for Daytona UPDATE: NBC’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 drew a 5.1 overnight rating and 10 share from Nielsen Media Research to top all sports events on television this weekend, the Sports Business Daily says. The race ratings easily outdrew the 4.0/11 NBC garnered for the Wimbledon women’s final. Final figures in 2002 show that the race drew a 5.2/12 for Fox, while the 2001 race on NBC drew a 6.1/13.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter) AND NBC's coverage of NASCAR's Pepsi 400 led to a comfortable ratings win for the night, as viewers began to return to the television after a boisterous 4th of July. Overall, NBC averaged a 5.4 rating/12 share, well in front of CBS' 4.1/9. FOX averaged a 2.6/6 and finished third, beating ABC's 2.5/5. Among adults 18-49, NBC lapped the field with a 3.3 rating. FOX took second at 1.4 and ABC, 1.3, and CBS, 1.1, were close behind. Due to the nature of live events, particularly sporting events that air in primetime in much of the country, but not all, numbers are subject to change. At 8 p.m., NBC's NASCAR coverage took the hour with a 5.4/12. CBS was second with a repeat of "The Price is Right," which lost the showcase showdown with a 4.3/10. FOX was third with "Scream 2," beating ABC's presentation of "Star Trek: First Contact," which had a 2.1/5 for the hour. The NASCAR race culminated during the 9 p.m. hour for most of the country, averaging a 5.7/13. "The District" had a 4.3/9 for second place. FOX's "Scream 2" concluded with a 2.8/6, ahead of ABC's "Star Trek" movie. NBC was still in first at 10 p.m. with lingering race coverage. "The Agency" took second for CBS with a 3.9/8 and "Dragnet" on ABC trailed with a 3.2/7.(Zap2It)
UPDATE: NBC’s coverage of NASCAR’s Pepsi 400 from Daytona International Speedway was watched by 20 million viewers and earned a 6.0 national rating/13 share, a gain of 15 percent over last year’s 5.2/12 on Fox, according to Nielsen Media Research. This also marks the fifth time in three years that NASCAR on NBC has cracked a six national rating. The rating built throughout the race and peaked with a 7.1/15 from 10-10:24pm/et as rookie Greg Biffle took the Pepsi 400 checkered flag to score his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory. The Pepsi 400’s 15 percent ratings increase starts the 2003 NASCAR on NBC & TNT season in impressive fashion and continues two years of significant ratings growth. NASCAR on NBC & TNT experienced a 59 percent increase from 2000 (2.7/8) to 2002 (4.3/10).(NBC PR)(7-8-2003)
- Odd Fact: did ya know a #99 Vehicle finished 2nd in the three major NASCAR series this past weekend? #99-Jeff Burton at Daytona in Cup; #99-Michael Waltrip at Daytona in Busch; #99-Carl Edwards at Kansas in Trucks.(Monday's FSN's Totally NASCAR)(7-8-2003)
- Testing for Jarrett: The #88 UPS Racing team begins an aggressive month of testing starting at The Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin this Tuesday. The team will spend two days at the flat, one-mile track before leaving for Chicagoland Speedway for Sunday’s 400-mile event. The team will travel from Chicago to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for another two-day test session. Two more tests will take place in the last two weeks of July with the first at the road course of Virginia International Raceway, and then at Watkins Glen before the Brickyard 400.(Elevation Group/UPS Racing PR)(7-8-2003)
- Parrott back at the Track: former #88 Crew Chief and RYR Team Manager Todd Parrott made his first appearance at a race track Saturday since he parted ways with Dale Jarrett [actually Robert Yates Racing] in April. "I missed eight races, the most since 1983 when I graduated from high school," he said. "From that point until this year, I had missed just one race and that was in 1992 when my son was born." Since stepping back from the sport, Parrott said he's been spending time with his family. He almost went to the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte in May, but got stuck in traffic and turned around and went home. But he came to Daytona with his father, Buddy, and the two were making their way through the garage Saturday, stopping every few feet to exchange greetings with old rivals. Then Parrott went to the Winston Cup sign-in and officially announced his arrival by signing his name on Jarrett's list of team members. He's under contract at Robert Yates Racing, but said he's talking with other teams about opportunities. "I've missed it," he said. "I probably shouldn't have stayed gone so long, but I've been resting and relaxing and I feel great." Parrott, who spent seven seasons as Jarrett's crew chief and won the 1999 Winston Cup championship, and his younger brother, Brad, both left the #88 team in April as Jarrett [actually team owners Robert/Doug Yates] tried to shake things up and get his season back on track. Todd had been working as the team manager at the time and Brad was in his first stint as a Winston Cup crew chief.(Sporting News/AP)(7-8-2003)
- UPS to Debut Newest Race the Truck Ad: All season, UPS has been pleading its case to Dale Jarrett to race the big, brown truck. The newest installment of the “Race the Truck” campaign debuts this weekend during NBC’s broadcast of the Tropicana 400 at Chciago.(Elevation Group/UPS Racing PR)(7-8-2003)
- HOF Racing may start in Busch instead of Cup: Bill Saunders, the managing partner of the Hall of Fame Racing team of Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, said Monday the team probably will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004 instead of Nextel Cup. The former Cowboys quarterbacks announced in January the formation of the team and their plans to race Winston Cup in 2004, which switches naming rights to Nextel Cup. But they have not been able to secure the sponsorship dollars needed to run in the Cup series next season. "Running in Cup next year is unlikely at this point," Saunders said. "It probably will be 2005, but that's not to say we won't be . . . racing in 2004. We are still in negotiations on that and probably will finalize things within 30 days." Saunders said they don't know if the team will run one or two Busch cars next year. He said an announcement on a sponsor and a driver, or drivers, probably would be made soon in Dallas. "But we probably would unveil a car at a Busch event later this season," Saunders said. "All this depends of completing an agreement with a sponsor. Nothing is done yet, but things are progressing." The going rate to sponsor a competitive team in the Busch Series is $4 million to $5 million a year. The top-tier teams in Winston Cup receive sponsorship dollars in the $12 million to $15 million range. Saunders said Hall of Fame Racing will have a working agreement with an existing NASCAR team but would not reveal which one. Winston Cup team owner Joe Gibbs, the former Washington Redskins head coach, has been a consultant to Staubach and Aikman to help them get started. Saunders said he also hopes the Busch sponsor would be willing to move up to Nextel Cup with the team in 2005.(Mercury News/Dallas Morning News), see past news on the team on my HOF Team News and Links page.(7-8-2003)
- More on Horish: Decision time is nearing for Sam Hornish Jr. as the two-time defending IRL champ determines the direction of his racing career. Hornish could stay at Pennzoil Panther Racing if his agent, John Caponigro, is able to increase his salary with the team. Or he could end up at Penske Racing, where one official admitted "anyone would be crazy not to consider Sam Hornish Jr." as a driver, depending on the type of sponsorship. And for the first time in months, Hornish actually is discussing the possibility of competing in NASCAR. "NASCAR is an option. It's definitely possible," he admitted. "I don't have any room to say anything further. Whatever my decision is in the end, it's going to be what is the best opportunity for me and my best opportunity to win. There are people within the IRL that I have talked to and there are people outside of Indy car racing that I've talked to. I'm not at liberty to say who I have talked to and who I haven't." DEI president Ty Norris said last month he did not think Hornish's heart was in a stock car career and that the driver wanted to remain in open-wheel racing. Norris had a plan of running Hornish on a limited Busch series schedule and a few Winston Cup races this season with a full-time shot at the elite series when it becomes the Nextel Cup in 2004. "I want to be in the biggest series. I want to be in the series that gets the most attention and has all the best drivers because you don't want to be a big fish in a small pond," Hornish said. "But the IRL continues to grow. NASCAR is the biggest right now, but that doesn't mean the IRL can't grow and be the biggest right now."(ESPN/Sportsticker)(7-8-2003)
- Sad News: Mr. Thomas "Tommy" Wilson Turner, 66, of Huntersville, NC, died Friday, July 4, 2003 at his residence. Tommy was born February 21, 1937, a son of the late Withers Wilson Turner in Charlotte, NC. Tommy had a life long career in racing, building high performance engines for NASCAR and other racing venues [including Holeman Moody, Rosuh Racing and the Wood Brothers]. Mr. Turner was well known in the racing industry for his ability to construct the finest of racing engines. He was an avid golfer and was a member of Carolina Golf and Country Club in Charlotte. Tommy was very fond of Classic Cars, especially '57 Chevys and had a few of his own. Mr. Turner is survived by his wife of forty-six years, Mrs. Bonnie Blue Turner of the home; daughter, Delana Snead and husband Charlie of Monroe, NC; sister, Janet Ratterree of Charlotte; and two grandchildren, Neil Thomas Rappe and Lauren Michelle Rappe, both of Monroe, NC. Memorials may be made to Independence Hill Baptist Church, c/o "Hearts and Hammers Fund", 10220 Eastfield Road, Huntersville, NC 28078.(Charlotte Observer)(7-7-2003)
- Sad News: Clarence Cagle, who helped save the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from oblivion after World War II and served as track superintendent for 30 years, died July 5 in Daytona Beach, FL. He was 88. Cagle, a native of Terre Haute, Ind., returned from 33 months of Army duty, much of it in the European campaign, in 1945 and went back to work for the Hulman family. When Tony Hulman purchased the dilapidated Speedway a few months later, he called in Cagle from his road job as expediter of raw materials for the family-owned Clabber Girl Baking Powder firm to help put the track in shape in time for resumption of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, barely seven months away. In a quiet and methodical way, Cagle spent the next 50 years working either as superintendent or consultant for the track he considered "my baby." He saw it rise from the ashes of World War II disuse - the track was closed from 1942-45 - into the magnificent Mecca of automobile racing that it is today. He worked for Hulman until 1977 and, many years later, provided advice for the track's current president and Hulman's grandson, Tony George. The Speedway Hall of Fame Museum was the only project during Cagle's time that took two years to complete. It was opened in time for Hulman to see thousands of fans streaming through its doors before his death in October 1977. Cagle was born July 29, 1914, the first of Tom and Molly Cagle's seven children. His father taught him the value of hard labor. As a youngster, Cagle helped the Hulman's harvest their crops and Tony Hulman Sr. took a liking to him. As soon as Cagle graduated from high school, he was hired by the senior Hulman to work in the family's various businesses. In August 1977, Cagle retired and settled down in Ormond Beach, Fla., just north of Daytona Beach. Of course, retirement to Cagle meant a lot of times only 10-hour workdays. He had known NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. since 1946 and became France's troubleshooter while continuing his steady relationship with the Hulman-George family. Whenever an old track needed paving or new one went up, Cagle was on call. Ironically, Cagle's last assignment before health problems slowed him was in the construction of Kansas Speedway, which opened in 2001. Cagle's death came on the same weekend that the Indy Racing League, which he enjoyed, raced for the third time on the 1.5-mile oval. Cagle was inducted into the Indianapolis 500 Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2000. His memberships included the 500 Oldtimers Club. Survivors include: Wife, Gladys; stepdaughters Linda Weber of Speedway, Ind., and Cheryl Cantrell of Manchester, Mo., five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a sister, Juanita Willan of Milton, Fla. A memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. (EDT) Friday in the Ormond Funeral Home, 733 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach, Fla. 32174. A memorial service will take place in Indianapolis later this summer on a date to be announced.(see more at the IMS site)(7-7-2003)
- TV Renegotiations? UPDATE 2: The TV package with Fox, NBC and TNT runs out in 20 months, and renegotiations are hotly anticipated. ABC says it too plans to make a bid for the Winston Cup series. It is not clear if any of the three networks has actually turned a profit on NASCAR, and that could make upcoming talks difficult from the NASCAR side. It is also not clear who will be the chief TV negotiator for NASCAR; last time around it was Bray Cary, who drove amazingly hard bargains and then took his percentage and vanished. This time Neil Pilson, the former CBS executive and a long-time NASCAR TV adviser, could get the call to the boardroom.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-24-2003)
UPDATE: The TV package with FOX, NBC, and TNT does not run out in 20 months. The contract, which was signed in November of 1999, runs from 2001 - 2006 for NBC and TNT. For FOX, the contract is for the same six years, but also includes an option to go two more years. Furthermore, FOX is already billing itself as the TV home of the 2007 Daytona 500, so it sounds like they are counting on the option being exercised through 2008. However, even if the option with FOX was not exercised, the earliest that a new TV partner would be in place would be for 2007. Negotiations probably wouldn't start until the second half of 2005, at the earliest. Also, there's no indication this early in the process that ABC or any other network will or won't make a bid for NASCAR. ABC Sports president Howard Katz resigned about a month ago and the new boss is ESPN honcho George Bodenheimer. It is doubtful that Bodenheimer has even thought that much about ABC making a bid for a 2007 NASCAR TV package. Of course, however, it's likely that big names like ABC, CBS, and ESPN will all inquire about the NASCAR rights, but no one has made a definitive decision to go after the rights this early in the game.(see full story at MotorsportsTV.com)(3-25-2003)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR is also midway through the third year of its six-year, $2.4 billion television deal with Fox and NBC. Buoyed by ratings that have increased over 56 percent from the prior deal, television executives predict that extension negotiations may occur early next year. The future remains bright in the media area as well. Speed Channel now reaches over 60 million homes, and other entertainment projects include NASCAR.com Entertainment, an IMAX movie titled "The NASCAR Experience 3-D" (in conjunction with Warner Bros.) -- international television distribution is also being increased.(Sports Business News)(7-7-2003)
- License Plates: NASCAR-inspired license plates are racing to the front of the pack in Mississippi. After a year of sales, more than 12,000 NASCAR tags are on the road statewide, 900 in DeSoto County alone. "NASCAR's in about five states now, and Mississippi, it appears, has sold the most of any of those five states in the first year," said Patsy Holeman, Mississippi director of motor vehicles.
Mississippi's NASCAR tags, which were introduced in July 2002, are the third most popular specialty tags in the state. Only wildlife and university tags adorn more vehicles, and they've been available for a decade, Holeman said. The racing tags feature the name and number of a popular driver - 28 are now available. As of July 1, Tennessee also offers NASCAR plates, but 1,000 motorists must commit to buying them before any hit the roads, said Beth Tucker Womack, public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Safety.(GoMemphis). See past news on NASCAR licenece plates on my Collectible Links page.(7-7-2003)
- Stewart was fast: Did you know Tony Stewart posted his 10th NASCAR Winston Cup victory earlier in his career than any driver in the modern era. His 10th victory came at Richmond on May 5, 2001, in his 79th career race. It was the quickest that a driver had posted 10 victories since Dick Hutcherson posted his 10th win on March 20, 1966, in his 61st career race.(Insider Racing News)(7-7-2003)
- Waltrip's Carb Pulled, other parts taken UPDATE Two Week Suspension?: NASCAR officials confiscated the carburetor from Michael Waltrip's #15 Chevy during pre-qualifying inspection Thursday morning at Daytona International Speedway. Winston Cup series director John Darby said the carburetor had problems with openings through which air travels. Larger openings theoretically can mean increased horsepower, especially at Daytona and Talladega where NASCAR mandates speed-reducing carburetor restrictor plates. Darby said Waltrip's Dale Earnhardt Inc.-owned team will likely be penalized. No penalties are expected until early next week, however. Waltrip, who won the season-opening Daytona 500, said he was not aware of any problems on his car when asked about it Thursday afternoon. Waltrip's car was also found to have unapproved window braces. The carburetor, as well as other unapproved parts confiscated Thursday, will be placed on display at the NASCAR hauler on Friday, Darby said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-3-2003)
AND Kyle Petty 's #45 Dodge had unapproved rear jacking bolts confiscated during an inspection before practice.(Roanoke Times)
ALSO: taken was an unapproved spring from the #09 Dodge of Buckshot Jones.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-4-2003)
UPDATE: An illegal carburetor discovered during inspection at Daytona was expected to bring a penalty, possibly a two-week suspension, for Richard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief for #15-Michael Waltrip. Expect Bobby Kennedy, Waltrip's Busch Series crew chief, to make the calls on race day, if needed.(Sporting News)(7-7-2003)
- Biffle helps boost a rookie streak, and takes points lead: A Raybestos Rookie Contender has now won at least one race every season since 1999, dating back to Tony Stewart's win at Richmond in September, 1999. Other freshman drivers to win: Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond, 2000), Matt Kenseth (Charlotte, 2000), Harvick (Atlanta, 2001), Newman (New Hampshire 2002), and Johnson (Charlotte and both 2002 Dover races). The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is held by Stewart, who won three races in 1999 (Camp and Assoc PR). With the win Saturday night, Greg Biffle vaulted past Jamie McMuarry in the Rookie of Year race and has a 6 pointss lead, with one less race run [Biffle DNQ'd at Las Vegas](7-7-2003)
- Stewart Looking? Though Bobby Labonte re-signed with Joe Gibbs Racing [thru 2008] , there are persistent rumors that teammate and defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart is looking for a new ride. Stewart's contract doesn't expire until 2004, and it would take deep pockets to buy out the remaining year.(Sporting News)(7-7-2003)
- Hatch Test: NASCAR was scheduled to test the “ultimate exit,” a rooftop escape hatch, this week at the University of Nebraska. Technical director Gary Nelson said engineers planned to hook a car to a cable and pull the car into the SAFER wall at 135-plus mph to see what happened to the barrier, the test dummy and the new hatch during the crash. Nelson planned to roll the car over during the test. With that additional data, NASCAR hopes to make a decision about how soon the hatch can be installed in racecars.(Sporting News)
AND Another area where NASCAR is attempting to address safety issues deals with driver escape hatches, and how to best implement a workable system into the roofs of the cars to allow for easier driver exit in the case of a wreck. “In my opinion NASCAR needs to work on expediting a roof hatch,” Jeff Burton said of the ongoing project. “The effort is there. The desire is there but there are times when I wish they could expedite a little better. How can you make it so it opens to the left or to the right because you might have to open it one way or the other way, or the bottom or the rear. When you start getting into OK, how do you do it? NASCAR painted some scenarios where the thing wouldn’t open with what they had done [in an original design]. So they had to go back and come up with a different idea. There are a lot of things that go into it and that’s why it feels like it doesn’t happen quick enough. NASCAR tries to paint every scenario and then they go through a practice and they come up with something. Then they’ve got to go paint another scenario. Then they’ve got to redo everything. Their unwillingness to compromise on the unknown is why it’s slow,” Burton added. “Some people could say, ‘Well, I’d rather have something that doesn’t work very well versus something that doesn’t work at all and so those people get impatient. But then it’s wrong to do something that’s worse than what you’re doing. There have been many examples where I’ve had conversations and I’ve said, ‘What the hell, let’s just do it.’ And it’s like, ‘Well, yeah but look at this’ and they’d walk me through some scenarios that I hadn’t thought about and I’d say, ‘Yeah, it was more complicated than I thought it was.’” NASCAR’s Darby told TFR Thursday that the full court press is on to get the roof hatch completed and that some crash testing will be required before the system is implemented. Darby cited several reasons why the roof hatch is not as simple to implement as say roof flaps. The roof flaps, which are the only approved pieces that are supplied as kits, attach only to the cars’ roof sheetmetal. The roof hatch, however, would need to be secured to the roll bars to give it the strength it needs in the case of a rollover accident. Slowing the process somewhat are the roll bars which, while close to being standardized, are not at a point where a “one size fits all” approach can be taken, such as is the case with roof flaps.(Ford Racing)(7-7-2003)
see the June 30-July 6, 2003 Archived News Page
see the June 23-29, 2003 Archived News Page
see the June 16-22, 2003 Archived News Page