PAST NEWS: JULY 28-AUG 3, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- Jerry Nadeau news and updates on the #01 Team News and Links page
- THE NEXTEL CUP - See past news, links, the official press release, notes from the press conference, who is Nextel? what happens to 'The Winston' All Star race? what happens to the Winston Preview?....all covered on my NASCAR Sponsor page.(6-20-2003)
- Harvick wins the Brickyard 400 at Indy: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first ever won from the pole. It is the 2nd win for the team [the late great Dale Earnhardt won in 1995 with the same team, then #3]. It is Harvick's 4th career win and first of the season. Harvick blew the right rear fender off the car when his burn out popped and shreaded the tire. Finishing 2nd was #17-Matt Kenseth, who extends his points lead even more. Last years winner, #9-Bill Elliott came back and finished 5th. Nice finish by #7-Jimmy Spencer and Mongo. And rookie #42-Jamie McMurray lead 22 laps and finished 3rd, his best finish of the season.
See my race rundown, cautions and notes on my Brickyard 400 Race Info page.
Race re-air: NOTE: Speed Channel has changed their lineup starting in August - so there will be a one-hour recap of the race on Wednesday, August 6th at 7:00pm/et and again on August. 7th; a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, August 7th
Race Results at Jayski's Brickyard 400 Race Results
- More on Ward Burton and Bill Davis and a possible split: from an XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) interview by Claire B. Lang (CBL):
XM-CBL: Is Ward looking elsewhere?
Bill Davis: "Well....it's no secret that we have have had two very unproductive years - I mean we did win two races last year including the Daytona 500 but we haven't raced to our potential in a couple of years. You know we've been together a long time and these things don't usually go on forever and we've been dissatisfied with the performance and just haven't been happy with what we've had going on and you know it may well be time for a change and a fresh start for both of us.
We need to make some changes.We need to check some things up. You know We're well into our second very unproductive season for both teams. We haven't raced to our potential in a long time. We haven't put up the numbers that we needed to. We won two races but still finished what 14th in points or something and that's just not acceptable. I tell everybody that works for us nobody's job is secure right now because we need to make some cfhanges and get some fresh blood and some fresh ideas in here and you now get going with something.
XM-CBL: Have you told Ward he's free to look around?
Davis: Well Ward's under contract. I guess he's out shopping around so whatever.
XM-CBL: So it could be a driver - a crew chief a team member -anything?
Davis: Anything could happen around here in the next 60-90 days - we're looking for some improvement.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required)(8-3-2003)
- Congrats: Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 ALLTEL Dodge and his girlfriend Krissie Boyle got engaged last Tuesday [July 29th].(FSN's NASCAR This Morning)(8-3-2030)
- IROC: no spoiler here, to see who won the race and who won the IROC Championship, see my 2003 IROC Page, also there is TV re-air schedule.(8-3-2003)
- StockCarFans.Com: Rumblings - The Brickyard: #29-Kevin Harvick led the first 17 laps....then the final 16 laps. He didn't
bother messing with Mr. Inbetween! Harvick won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon for his 4th career win and first of the season. He becomes the 15th different winner this season, and is now tied for 65th on the all-time win list. He put Richard Childress in Victory Lane at Indy for the second time and provided him with his 73rd win [Jayski stats have RCR at 75 as does the RCR site] as a car owner. This was Harvick's first win since he captured the event at Chicagoland Speedway in July of 2002.
Harvick's win from the pole (the 4th by a driver this season) was worth a measley $418,253 from the paltry $8,175,873 in posted awards. Finish last this week and pocket a mere $102K. Mighta been why we had 52 cars, huh?
#17-Matt Kenseth (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.
#42-Jamie McMurray (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Lowe's Motor Speedway in October of last year.
#7-Jimmy Spencer (8th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.
#10-Johnny Benson (13th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Dover in June.
#57-Kevin Lepage (30th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Atlanta in November of 2001 (only 6 races).
STREAKIN....An empty category. No driver has strung more than two together.
This Week's Elevator....UP [moved up the most postions]: Operator of the Week is #10-Johnny Benson (+27), followed by #7-Jimmy Spencer (+24), and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr (+22). DOWN [lost the most positions]: The Big Dropper (for the second week in a row) was #81-John Andretti (-32), followed by #19-Jeremy Mayfield (-31), #25-Joe Nemechek (-30), #38-Elliott Sadler (-26), #22-Ward Burton (-22), and #40-Sterling Marlin (-22).
#01-Mike Skinner led today for the first time since he led one lap at Loudon in July of 2002. He's the 41st driver to lead a lap this
season....last year we had 46 leaders.
Matt Kenseth tacked another 54 points onto his lead today....it's now 286.
#42-Jamie McMurray (25th to 21st) gained the most spots this week while #25-Joe Nemechek (22nd to 25th) and #21-Ricky Rudd (23rd to 26th) dropped the most positions.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-3-2003)
- Narrow Pit Road; F-1 road an option in the future? #25-Joe Nemechek has become a fan of Formula One at Indy, if for no other reason than envy. The Winston Cup veteran and No. 7 starter for today's race wants to use the pavement strip that F-1 uses for pit road. Nemechek contends Indy's oval-track pit road is too narrow at 39 feet wide. The F-1 pit road is 50 feet wide. "I want to ask (Speedway president) Tony George if we can use the F-1 road," Nemechek said. "The one we've got is so narrow that you've really got to be careful. It's one of the narrowest we've got." A narrow pit road requires precision on entry and exit. If a team pitting in the middle of pit road decides to take fewer tires than its competition, the driver must dodge incoming and outgoing traffic. But there are no plans to use the F-1 road. The Speedway has temporary bleachers there and has sold all of the tickets. Plus, the grandstands in the area closest to the fourth turn are permanent.(Indianapolis Star)(8-3-2003)
- Safety at IMS: Indianapolis Motor Speedway is using the traveling Indy Racing League safety team for today's race, and Bill Elliott says it's time for NASCAR to have its own traveling safety crew. ``It's something I'd like to see NASCAR adopt,'' he said. ``I feel like it's time this sport goes into a realm of common people coming in every week that know the drivers and understand what the values are out there. My hat's off to [IMS president] Tony George and all the guys here because they have been on the leading edge of safety. When we talk about soft walls, all this stuff, they put them up.''(Tampa Tribune)(8-3-2003)
- StockCarFans.com: Ramblings - The Brickyard: I tell ya....dem boyz like to wear poor ol' Tom Carnegie out. We heard
"it's a neeeew traaack recooooord" so much it sounded like a recording. All told, eleven drivers were faster than the old mark set by Tony Stewart last year. #29-Kevin Harvick crossed that yard of bricks in 48.822 (184.343), a new track record if you hadn't heard, and will lead 'em to the green tomorrow for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the Bud Pole. It's the second career top-spot for Harvick (his other pole was at Daytona in July of 2002). Harvick is the 13th different pole winner this season.
#22-Ward Burton (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Martinsville last October.
#25-Joe Nemechek (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 7th at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.
#57-Kevin Lepage (21st) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Atlanta in November of 2001 (only 6 races).
#0-Jason Leffler (26th) has his best starting spot since he started 7th at Homestead in October of 2001 (only 4 races).
STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Bobby Labonte has 3 Top-10 starts in a row.
You know this is a big one if we have a car count of 52! We had 9 drivers hit the bricks and load up on the Trouble Train, and one of those
brings to a close a very long consecutive race streak.
Since Ken Schrader went full-time on the Winston Cup circuit in 1985, he's started every race we've had. That streak (579 consecutive races) came to an end today as he missed the field by a little over 3/100th's of a second.
The other DNQ's were: Brett Bodine, Billy Bigley, Jim Sauter, Christian Fittipaldi, David Reutimann, Ted Musgrave, Hermie Sadler, and Robert Pressley.
Provisionals were used by: Jeff Burton, Terry Labonte, Ricky Rudd (all of those were non-charged), Johnny Benson, Kyle Petty, Larry Foyt, and Derrike Cope. Foyt used his last provisional on the #14 car....if they continue to run that number that team won't be eligible for their
next provisional till we get back to Loudon in September.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-3-2003)
- Evernham Honored: [#9, #19, #91 team owner] Ray Evernham was named the winner of the event's True Grit award, which honors a veteran chief mechanic for outstanding achievement.(Indianapolis Star)(8-3-2003)
- Different Points Systems, Different Results [well...not really]: from the USA Today - The Winston Cup points race would look much different if NASCAR adopted another series' scoring system:
Current NASCAR Winston Cup points standings (43 cars score points; 175 for a victory, 34 for 43rd):
1. Matt Kenseth (1 win) 2,977
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) -232
Hypothetical standings if NASCAR awarded 50 bonus points for winning a race:
1. Matt Kenseth (1 win) 3,027
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) -232
Hypothetical standings if NASCAR used the Formula One's scoring system (eight cars score points; 10 for a victory, 1 for 8th):
1. Bobby Labonte (1 win) 69
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) -1
Hypothetical standings if NASCAR used the CART's scoring system (12 cars score points; 20 for a victory, 1 for 12th):
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1 win) 163
2. Matt Kenseth (1) -2
Hypothetical standings if NASCAR used the Indy Racing League's scoring system (33 cars score points; 50 for a victory, 1 for 33rd):
1. Matt Kenseth (1 win) 546
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) -49.
See the USA Today for the top 10 in each system.(8-3-2003)
- Paul Tracy to NASCAR? Volatile, hard-driving Paul Tracy, an outspoken Indy-car star, may be looking for place to race next season, with CART going down the tubes. And two Winston Cup team owners interested in Tracy are Chip Ganassi and Richard Childress. Childress has made a career of dealing with hard-to-deal with drivers. It's unclear if Childress might be considering expanding to four Winston Cup teams.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2003)
- Ganassi expanding to 4 teams? Look for Ganassi to expand to four teams next season, according to team sources. That could be fuel for the report that Robert Yates has expressed interest in selling his teams. But Ganassi is more likely to make a run at Sam Hornish, GM's struggling Indy-car star, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2003)
- More Consecutive starts stuff: #24-Jeff Gordon is set to make his 350th consecutive start this weekend at Indianapolis. That is the record for most consecutive starts from a driver's debut. #49-Ken Schrader 's streak of 579 consecutive starts could be in jeopardy this weekend. His team is out of provisionals, so he must qualify in the top 36 or he won't make the Brickyard 400.(Roanoke Times), see the list on my Stats and Stats links page.(7-30-2003)
#49-Ken Schrader's streak came to an end when he missed the Brickyard 400.(8-2-2003)
- Coke Rethinking? Coca-Cola officials may be rethinking their NASCAR marketing plans, according to sources. The Atlanta-based company, with profits growing, has been marketing under the logo 'the Coca-cola family of racers,' with tie-ins to half a dozen Winston Cup stars. It is unclear if Coke might now want to focus on a single-car sponsorship. At least four car owners are looking for such a car sponsorship, Teresa Earnhardt, Jack Roush, Rick Hendrick and Jim Smith.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-2-2003)
- The Brick Car: the #11 U.S. Micro/Brick Ford with driver/owner Brett Bodine was on the track Friday practicing for the Brickyard 400 at Indy. Nice spot they chose for Jayski.com...Thanks. Bodine was 43rd fastest in Friday's practice, with Bodine 46th in owners points and a slow qualifying run [was 37th fastest, just missed the cut] Bodine missed making the Brickyard 400, so don't get to see the bricks in the race.(8-2-2003)
- Harvick wins the pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indy: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser Pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indy with a new track record of 184.343 [the old record from 2002 was 182.960mph, by Tony Stewart]. Eleven drivers qualified faster then the old track record. #49-Ken Schrader will miss his first Winston Cup race after 579 consecutive starts. #11-Brett Bodine failed to get the BRICK car in the race, shame, that would had been cool. Both Morgan-McClure teams missed the race, #4-Robert Pressley and #04-David Reutimann. The #07-Ted Musgrave and #79-Billy Bigley Jr's teams missed the race while making their 2003 Cup debut. #14-Larry Foyt used his last provisional for that car until the team attempts 24 races. For the results and some stats, who missed the race and who used provisionals, see my Jayski's Brickyard 400 Qualifying Page.(8-2-2003)
- New Taurus Unveiled: Fans at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis were treated to a "first" today as Ford Racing unveiled a freshened exterior Taurus and all-new F-150 pickup truck that will be competing next season in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, respectively. Cisco Codina, vice-president, Ford Customer Service Division, and Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology, unveiled the vehicles today as part of the annual Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day. Numerous Ford Racing drivers from the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck series assisted in the presentation. This marks the second time that Taurus has received a styling and design change to its nose and tail sections since becoming the first four-door entry in NASCAR's top division in 1998. The F-150 is also undergoing its second facelift, but it's the truck's first since 1996. The new styling on the race vehicles reflects the styling changes that will appear on the production 2004 Taurus and 2004 F-150 that will be on sale this fall. Although being shown for the first time today, the Taurus and F-150 race vehicles won't make their competition debut until February 2004, at the start of Daytona Speedweeks.(Ford Racing PR)(7-31-2003)
IMAGES: see my Ford News and Links page for a few images of the car and truck.(8-1-2003)
- Special Announcment: NASCAR announced Friday that R.J. Reynolds, whose 33-year sponsorship of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series helped elevate the premier stock car series to one of the most popular sports in the United States, will be officially recognized for its contribution to the sport through the "Victory Lap" tribute program. The "Victory Lap" tribute will recognize drivers who captured a championship during R.J. Reynolds' sponsorship tenure at designated tracks throughout the remainder of the 2003 season. See the full press release and many of the schemes that will be run or displayed on my Victory Lap Paint Scheme page.(8-1-2003)
- Jarrett staying at Yates: Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett made it clear in no uncertain terms Friday he is not leaving Robert Yates Racing and may in fact remain there until he retires from the sport. During a news conference Friday honoring former winners of the Brickyard 400, Jarrett took the opportunity to direct comments at reporters who have said he was considering leaving Yates, even returning to Joe Gibbs Racing, should Tony Stewart leave that organization. "I'll take this chance to take a second and say I am at Robert Yates Racing, I intend to be at Robert Yates Racing for quite a while and UPS is going to be the sponsor," Jarrett said. "We have been a little frustrated. We haven't been exactly happy with our performance, but that isn't any reason to quit. We'll continue to strive to get better and, hopefully, this weekend will help turn us around." Jarrett is 27th in points, with five top-10 finishes and one top-five, which was a win at Rockingham, N.C., earlier this season. "I look at it as being unfortunate, that maybe it's human nature that as people struggle they get kicked while they're down and others try to help that scenario, if you will, by starting things that they don't know anything about," he said. "I have a contract through next year. We've agreed on 2005 and 2006 in principle. it's just something that hasn't ever been a priority with Robert Yates and myself, that we have to have a piece of paper doesn't really mean a lot. It's what's in your heart."(Thatsracin.com), see my #88 Team News and Links page the recent news and rumors on this.(8-1-2003)
- Ganassi and Stewart have spoken: Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart and car owner Chip Ganassi have spoken about teaming up at some point. Ganassi fielded an IRL car for Stewart two years ago in the Indianapolis 500 and said Friday that partnership could eventually lead to a merger. Stewart's current team, Joe Gibbs Racing, offered him a contract extension, but Stewart says he hasn't looked at it. His deal expires at the end of the 2004 season and there's been rampant speculation that Ganassi is trying to land him. "Tony drove for us a couple years ago, and we've had an ongoing rapport since then," Ganassi said. "And we have talked about the possibility of him driving a Winston Cup car for us someday if he ever became available." Stewart has repeatedly denied having any contact with Ganassi, and the car owner was not specific about when the two last talked. The discussion of Stewart's future has followed him to Indy, his home track, where is he preparing for the Brickyard 400 on Sunday. Because Gibbs likes to renew contracts before they expire - teammate Bobby Labonte re-signed last month - the talks have started with Stewart. "Any car owner on top of his game would be remiss not to try to talk to him," Ganassi said. "There's a big difference between a guy who can win races and a guy who can win championships, and Tony can win championships." NASCAR does not have rules prohibiting a car owner from pursuing a driver already under contract, although some owners wait out of respect until deals are expiring before talking to a driver. But because contracts can easily be bought out, others are more aggressive. Gibbs is currently negotiating with sponsor Home Depot and crew chief Greg Zipadelli on contract extensions to keep the team together past 2004. Those deals are believed to be close to done. The speculation over Stewart's future has swirled through the garage area for the past month or so, and is now involving other drivers and teams. Earlier Friday, Dale Jarrett used a news conference honoring former Brickyard winners to tersely deny speculation that he would leave Robert Yates Racing to take Stewart's seat at Gibbs if it opened up. The natural fit for Stewart would be joining Ganassi, who could enter him in the Indy 500 - the one race Stewart truly covets - every year. Stewart has not run Indy since Ganassi gave him a car in 2001, focusing on his Winston Cup effort the past two years. But Ganassi said the two spoke the past two years about entering the race.(Thatsracin.com/AP)(8-1-2003)
- Roush, Yates and Wood Bros re-up with Ford: Ford Racing officials on Friday announced they had signed new, five-year contract extensions with three of the top Ford teams in Winston Cup - Robert Yates Racing, Roush Racing and Wood Brothers Racing.
Together, the organizations field eight Cup teams each weekend and include such drivers as 1999 champion Dale Jarrett, current series leader Matt Kenseth and veterans Mark Martin and Ricky Rudd, among others. "Loyalty is something that we just take extremely seriously at Ford," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing. "We like to reward loyalty and these three organizations have been so loyal to us that I felt it was important for Ford and Ford Racing to demonstrate our loyalty to them. We've picked our dance partner and for Ford Motor Co. and NASCAR, these are our dance partners." These organizations were also instrumental in the development of the 2004 Ford Taurus, which will be officially submitted to NASCAR this week for competition beginning next season. "The kind of commitment that need to made for research and development and pooling of information and for the development of strategies can't be made on an ad hoc basis," said team owner Jack Roush. They can't be made annually. They almost have to me made with a decade in mind, and this certainly is moving in the right direction."()(8-1-2003)
- Safety Plans: NASCAR is looking at long-term and short-term answers to safety concerns.
-- An escape hatch on stock cars could be ready in two weeks that would be optional for competitiors to use during the rest of the Winston Cup season.
-- Beginning next week, a heat sensitive fire extinguisher will be required near the cars' fuel cell.
-- Indy already has soft walls. Richmond and New Hampshire will have them by this fall's races.
-- NASCAR is working on a new fuel cell that would prevent fires from ever starting.
-- A larger driver compartment has been developed but will need to be integrated into the stock cars.
-- NASCAR is testing aluminum foam to be placed in the car to absorb some of the G-forces generated in crashes.(story and more detail at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-1-2003)
- Parrott to PE? maybe Roush? UPDATE 3 looks like neither: Sources in the garage say former Robert Yates Racing crew chief Todd Parrott could be coming out of retirement and headed for Petty Enterprises -- if the Pettys can afford the seven-figure price tag it would take to retain him.(more 'Dish' at Sporting News)(7-21-2003)
UPDATE: Earlier this year, Todd Parrott was released as director of competition at Robert Yates Racing. Earlier this week, there was a report that Parrott may wind up with Petty Enterprises, but a source told me Friday that Parrott could wind up at Roush Racing. We'll keep you posted on that.(Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR)(7-26-2003)
UPDATE 2: Crew chief Todd Parrott is shopping for a job, and two places he's applied are Petty Enterprises and Roush Racing. But sources say that Parrott won't be offered a job with Roush. 'Todd came to me, and I have talked with him,' Jack Roush said, without further explanation.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
UPDATE 3: Petty Enterprises has talked to Todd Parrott about its General Manager's job, but Kyle Petty says Parrott will not be joining the team. Petty continues to look for a GM for the team.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to view)(8-1-2003)
- Shepherd withdraws: #89-Morgan Shepherd has withdrawn his Winston Cup entry from the Brickyard 400. "The pistons for the new engine didn't come in, " stated Shepherd. "Instead of embarrassing myself or the sport I decided not to use the old engine." Shepherd said he will not return with the Cup car until the new engine is ready. However, according to team sources, Earl Ramey of Hitech, located in Mooresville, NC, said the pistons should be in by the middle of next week. This will allow Shepherd the needed time to have the Cup engine ready for his plans to compete in the Shapie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23. Shepherd will attempt to qualify for the Craftsman Truck Power Stroke Diesel at IRP.(Morgan Shepherd site)(8-1-2003)
- Three Contenders for IROC Championship: In recent True Value IROC seasons, the scenario going into the finale at the Brickyard has been a wide spread battle, usually consisting of half the 12-driver field or more. But the sixth consecutive, True Value IROC at Indy championship crowning event Saturday, August 2, will be a contest of three, consisting of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch, NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion, Mike Bliss, and Busch's Winston Cup teammate Mark Martin. Winning races, collecting bonus points for leading laps and decent showings, when not winning, separates Busch, Bliss and Martin from the remainder of the field, but not by much. If Busch finished last and NASCAR Winston Cup driver, Ryan Newman, fourth in points, won and collected five-bonus points for leading most laps, he would lose the championship by the tiebreaker, which awards the championship according to average finishes over all four-races. Martin is a four-time True Value IROC Champion and has won every IROC race he has competed in at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting with the inaugural event in 1998 and continuing with consecutive wins in 1999 and 2000 - each win came from the back of the pack. Martin's unabashed goal is to capture a, record-breaking, fifth title; he currently shares the record of four-titles with the late Dale Earnhardt. Adding to that, a repeat of his 1998 combination race win and championship would give him a 12th IROC race win and would break his shared record of 11 all-time wins, which he holds with Earnhardt and Al Unser Jr. Busch and Bliss are at the opposite end of their IROC careers. Both are bottle-rocket rookies with IROC wins under their belts. Busch won race two on April 5 at Talladega Superspeedway and Bliss won race three on July 12 at Chicagoland; both also maximized their victories by collecting five-bonus points. But, the two have a formidable situation sitting just ahead of them - literally. The line up for the race is by reverse order of the point standings, which will start Mark Martin 10th, one row ahead of Bliss and Busch starting 11th and 12th, respectively. The reigning True Value IROC champion, Kevin Harvick, sixth in points, is out of contention for a repeat championship. The 40-lap, 100-mile True Value IROC finale will get underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 2:00pm/et and be broadcast on ESPN, Sunday, August 3 at 1:00pm/et.(IROC PR). See my IROC page for past news and stuff.(8-1-2003)
- Some Rookies Stuff: #42-Jamie McMurray has led more miles than any other Raybestos Rookie entering the Brickyard 400: eight times in three races for 97.25 miles (52 laps, I have 55 laps). The other rookies to lead this season: #16-Greg Biffle (twice in two races for 54.50 miles, 22 laps) and #41-Casey Mears (twice in two races for 22.50 miles, nine laps) [#14-Larry Foyt also led 5 laps [12.5 miles] at the June Pocono race].
Did You Know? A Raybestos Rookie has posted a top-10 finish in each of the past four Brickyard 400 races: Tony Stewart in 1999 (fourth), Scott Pruett in 2000 (10th), Kurt Busch in 2001 (fifth), and Ryan Newman (fourth) and Jimmie Johnson (ninth) in 2002. Johnny Benson is the only Raybestos® Rookie to lead the most laps in the nine previous Brickyard 400 races. In 1996, Benson led three times for 69 laps and finished eighth in the race.
Newman was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in last year's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. He was also the top qualifying rookie, taking the fifth starting position time trials. Jimmie Johnson finished ninth after a disappointing 37th place qualifying run. Neither driver led a lap in the race.
The most recent Raybestos Rookies to lead a lap in the Brickyard 400 were Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick in 2000. Harvick led once for
18 laps while Busch led once for one lap.
With Biffle's win in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, a Raybestos Rookie has now won at least one race in each of the last five seasons dating back to Tony Stewart's win at Richmond in September, 1999. Other freshman drivers to win: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond, 2000), Matt Kenseth (Charlotte, 2000), Kevin Harvick (Atlanta, 2001), Ryan Newman (New Hampshire 2002), and Jimmie Johnson (California and both 2002 Dover races). The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Johnson (2002) and Stewart (1999).
A Raybestos Rookie has posted multiple victories five times in NASCAR Winston Cup history: Davey Allison (two wins in 1987), Tony
Stewart (three wins in 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two wins in 2000), Kevin Harvick (two wins in 2001), and Jimmie Johnson (two wins in
2002). A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one pole position in each of the past seven consecutive seasons, dating back to 1996. The record for most poles in a rookie season is held by Ryan Newman, who won six in 2002.(Camp and Assoc PR). For standings and rules, see my Rookie of the Year page and Rookie Race by Race pages.(8-1-2003)
- Contract Stuff: When Winston Cup drivers and owners open up their 2004 contracts - the 'no sign, no drive' contracts that NASCAR officials require teams to sign each season - they won't be those loosely written three-page deals that have been sent out for years. The 2004 contract package is expected to be detailed on sponsorship issues, and some Winston Cup team owners are worried about what rights NASCAR executives may try to get them to sign away. There are also expected to be a number of legal issues at stake.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-1-2003)
- Wimmer to run Bristol Cup race. . in a Chevy or is it Dover? UPDATE: Scott Wimmer said Monday on Speed Channel's Inside NBS that he's planning to enter the Cup race at Bristol in August. Bill Davis Racing has two [#27] Chevrolets back in the shop for him and he's planning on testing soon [supposedly tested at Dover in May too].(Inside NASCAR Busch Series on SPEED via BGNRacing.com)(7-21-2003)
UPDATE: Wimmer will likely run the Cup race at Dover on Sept 21st, in a Chevy. Wimmer tested a Chevy at Dover in May, and it was announced he would run there, then was withdrawn [right as the news that Dodge pulling their support of Davis broke](Winston Cup Scene - need sub to view)(8-1-2003)
- Elliott Sadler wins 2nd Qtr NASCAR USG Person of the Year: A former basketball player, NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Elliott Sadlersaw the opportunity to play basketball to help raise money to benefit a cause that directly impacts his family. Sadler, with the help of his sponsor M&M's, donated over $45,000 to the Autism Society of America through various events, most notably via his śHoops for Hopeť charity basketball game in May, all to help raise awareness of autism. For his efforts in staging the Hoops for Hope event and generating significant charitable funds, Sadler has been named the 2003 Second Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year. Autism is a disease that has personally affected his family. Sadler's niece, Halie Dru, was diagnosed with autism in 2001. USG (United States Gypsum), the Official Building Products Supplier of NASCAR, is in its first year as sponsor of the NASCAR USG Person of the Year program. The award is designed to honor drivers, not only for their accomplishments on the track, but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR USG Person of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR Winston Cup season has been divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts. A select group of panelists will select one of the four quarterly finalists as the NASCAR USG Person of the Year. This award will be presented the week of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. Other second quarter nominees included Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton. The 2003 First Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year winner was Ricky Craven. In addition to the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, USG also sponsors the Driver of the Race Award, which goes to the eligible driver who wins each of the 36 NASCAR Winston Cup championship events. Each USG Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR)(8-1-2003)
- Gaughan to run some Cup races? Brendan Gaughan is tied for the points lead in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He might compete in a couple of Winston Cup races later this year. "We have the car," he said. "We just don't know if we have the money."(Dallas Morning News)(7-31-2003)
- DW Wired at IRP: Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip is strapping in for this weekend's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park (Friday, 9:00pm/et) and Speed Channel is taking viewers along for the ride. Waltrip, a regular on Speed Channel's Trackside program, will be wired for sound and his #17 Tide/Give Kids the World Chevy will be equipped with extra cameras. Fox broadcast partners Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will get in on the act, with Larry serving as DW's spotter and Hammond taking position on the pit box. Both will have live mics as part of the live Speed Channel broadcast from IRP. Waltrip finished sixth in last year's race on the .686-mile track. Waltrip's brother, Michael, is the team owner and will be in the Speed Channel broadcast booth to help call the race.(Speed Channel)
AND The team will use the Tide group again for IRP. Tide along with Winston Cup #32 car owner Cal Wells feel like it's important that they keep their crew involved. DW tested at Hickory Speedway last Thursday to test.(FoxSports)
AND MORE: The #17 Tide Chevrolet driven by Darrell Waltrip at Indianapolis Raceway Park's (IRP) NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Aug. 1 will carry the colors of the Give Kids The World Village - a non-profit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses. With the paint scheme at IRP, Tide Racing kicks off a month-long awareness initiative for Give Kids The World. The campaign will culminate Aug. 31, 2003, with another special paint scheme on Ricky Craven's #32 Tide Pontiac at Darlington Raceway's Southern 500 - a design created by 19-year-old Lisa Healey of Amherst, N.Y., this year's Tide/Give Kids The World Coloring Contest winner and sister of a wish child who visited the Village in 1998. In addition to the two special paint schemes, Tide is producing 1/64th-scale collectible die cast cars featuring Lisa's design. Racing Champions donated 50,000 cars to help Tide raise funds for the Village - an effort that has raised more than $1.3 million in the past five years. Cars are available for a donation on www.blair.com beginning in August, with all proceeds going directly to Give Kids The World. Tide is joined this year by two of its #32 Tide Racing partners in support of Give Kids The World: Blair Corporation (and its website, Blair.com), the nation's premier multi-channel direct marketer providing apparel and home products to the value-conscious consumer; and Super 8 Motels, Inc., the world's largest economy motel chain.(PR)
See the truck DW will run at IRP on my Truck Series Paint Scemes.(7-31-2003)
- New NASCAR TV To Anchor Speed Channel Programming Schedule: Book-ended by Inside Winston Cup on Monday and Trackside on Friday, NASCAR TV will now anchor SPEED Channel's new prime time programming lineup, which debuts Aug. 4, 2003. The announcement was made jointly by Speed Channel President, Jim Liberatore and Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting, NASCAR.
As part of the new programming schedule, NASCAR TV, including Inside Winston Cup, Trackside, NASCAR Performance, NASCAR Past Champions, Totally NASCAR, Inside NBS, NASCAR Fast Forward and,Men Behind the Wrenches, as well as live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and live qualifying coverage from the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series will air 6:00-8:00pm/et, Monday through Thursday, most the viewing day on Friday, and continue to serve as the major component of Speed's Monday through Thursday daytime lineup.(NASCAR PR)(7-31-2003)
- Not NASCAR but a shame UPDATE 2 car found: When Coby Beltran is on the racetrack, all is right in his 5-year-old world. The Modesto boy can forget about the pump that feeds him through tubes in his stomach. He can forget about doctors and diagnoses. He just focuses his thoughts on the race -- the colored flags, the cheering crowd, the cars, the trophy to be won. On the outside, Coby doesn't look different. He's a talkative child who tells elephant jokes and pushes Lego race cars around the living room floor. His NASCAR-decorated room is full of racing memorabilia that he's happy to share. Then he lifts up his T-shirt. On the left side of his stomach are two small tubes that are hooked up to a pump twice a day -- once for food, once for a laxative. Coby's intestines don't work. The machine helps do the work that his body can't. Racing means everything to her son, Lori Beltran said. Which is why the family was devastated when Coby's race car -- a blue quarter midget worth about $3,200 -- was stolen last week from the front yard of their home on Will Scarlet Way, off Merle Avenue in northeast Modesto [CA, where NASCAR great and Jayski Fave, Ernie Irvan is from]. The family was planning to sell the car to pay for repairs to a new car they bought for Coby. The new car is a better fit for him, but it needs new tires, shock absorbers and a better engine. On July 22, Coby's father, Robert Beltran, was preparing to remove the engine from the older car. He left the race car on the lawn while he went inside for a drink and played a video game with Coby. He returned to the yard about a half-hour later. The car was gone. The family filed a police report, posted fliers around the neighborhood and put a sign in their front yard asking for information about the theft. The family is guarding the remaining car by keeping it on its trailer, and keeping it hooked to the truck -- so the car is never left home when no one is there. So, Coby saved his birthday money and allowances and collected spare change to put in his piggy bank. He used the money to pay for the car that was stolen last week.(see full story at the Modesto Bee and check out Coby's site: Coby's Racing Page )(7-30-2003)
UPDATE: Coby's car was found. It is in pretty good shape but they had been trying to start it for a week. The police and newspaper went with the parents to pick it up from a fellow who purchased it out of the back of a pick up truck. It was one town south of them. There will be more info in the Modesto Bee soon. The CERES Sheriffs department did the recovery with them.(7-31-2003)
UPDATE 2 - good news: Coby Beltran approached the blue-and-yellow race car with caution Thursday morning. The 5-year-old's skepticism hid his signature smile. Could the car really be his? The one that was stolen from his front yard last week? Sure, it looked like his car, and it had his name on the front. But Coby wanted to be sure. He ran his fingers over the roll cage. He leaned into the car and checked the pedals and steering rods. Then he climbed in the driver's seat and smiled. It was his car. The quarter-midget car valued at about $3,200 disappeared July 22 from the Bel-tran family's front yard on Will Scarlet Way, near Merle Avenue in northeast Modesto. Wednesday, The Bee reported the theft, and readers responded in a big way, offering donations, tickets to big-time auto racing and sponsorships for Coby's races. The best news came from Eddie Mora, a construction worker who lives in south Modesto. He had the car, and explained that he bought it for $525 from an un-identified man Sunday afternoon. Lori Beltran said Mora is Coby's new hero.(see full story at Modesto Bee)(8-1-2003)
- #74 to be the Aaron's Dream Machine at Indy: Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership announced today a new partnership with BACE Motorsports and NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Raines.. This weekend the Atlanta-based corporation will transform the #74 BACE Chevrolet into the Aaron™s Dream Machine for The Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Outside of being one of the most prestigious races on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule, the Brickyard 400 is special to me as an Indiana native" said Raines. "It's a great honor to drive the Aaron's Dream Machine for BACE Motorsports this weekend at the Brickyard. Aaron's has been a great sponsor and supporter of NASCAR and for them to take notice of our organization and join our team for such an important race is a compliment to what we've accomplished this season at BACE." In the first 19 starts of his debut campaign, Raines has already claimed Winston Cup Rookie honors three times, via his 16th-place finishes at Talladega Superspeedway and Pocono and a 14th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway. In just seven Busch Series starts this season, Raines has driven to the front of the field in each event, finishing 2nd in the first Bristol event, posting a 3rd- place effort in Richmond, and grabbing another top-10 at Chicagoland. "Aaron's has been watching Tony and the 74 car all season," said Ken Butler, President, Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership. "Despite the fact that BACE Motorsports has been funded internally in 2003, they're having an impressive season. Indianapolis has such a rich motorsports heritage, and to have the Dream Machine competing at the Brickyard will bring even more excitement to Aaron's consumers who have followed our racing program. We look forward to having a great run for all of Tony's fans in his home state of Indiana."
"As a NASCAR Team Owner, and as President and CEO of Staff America, when a company with Aaron's history and understanding of the sport makes such a prominent investment in our team, it carries with it a badge of honor that we are proud to wear," said Bill Baumgardner, Owner of BACE Motorsports. "We have dedicated the 2003 season to building the foundation for a successful Winston Cup program at BACE and we are starting to see rewards from the hard work and commitment of those involved." For more information on Aaron's visit www.shopaarons.com.(BACE Motorsports PR)(7-31-2003)
- NBC Cams at Indy and more TV stuff: NBC’s coverage of the Brickyard 400 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets underway this Sunday with the “Discover Card Countdown to Green” pre-race show at 2:00pm/et followed by green flag racing from the Brickyard 400. TNT telecasts NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Indy [IRP], Saturday night at 8:00pm/et. “Daytona brought NASCAR racing to the fans,” said Bill Weber, NBC pre-race host and lead pit reporter. “The Brickyard brought fans to NASCAR racing, simply by the name Indianapolis and the history associated with this track. Usually it’s about the race, but on this weekend, it’s about the place.”
“For a lot of people, Daytona is the biggest race, but you’d be surprised at the number of drivers who would tell you the Brickyard 400 is the biggest prize,” analyst Wally Dallenbach said. “To me and to a lot of other drivers who remember growing up here or in this track’s shadow, a win at the Brickyard is on the top of their list.”
NBC Sports will deploy 79 cameras including cameras unique to Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Squash-Cam, Wall-Cams and the “Eye-Full
Tower Cam.” An extra bank of 11 monitors will be added to the NBC Sports production truck to accommodate the additional cameras for the Brickyard 400.
“Squash-Cam” is a lipstick-size camera buried in the grass just inside Turn 1. The camera often shows a car moving over or extremely close to the camera lens to give the audience the feeling of being “squashed,” especially on starts and restarts.
“Wall-Cam” is a lipstick-size camera embedded inside the outside wall of Turn 2 and Turn 4. The cameras shoot cars in Turns 1 and 3 respectively and give the viewer the sense of speed of the cars when they drive past the cameras.
The “Eye-Full Tower-Cam” is a robotic camera atop the scoring pylon 92-feet in the air overlooking the infield and providing viewers a sense of the magnificent spectacle of Indianapolis Motor Speedway with its “Canyon of Fans” in the grandstands on either side of the
racetrack’s frontstretch.(NBC PR)(7-31-2003)
- Hammond off to Finland: Trackside host Jeff Hammond will travel to Finland next week to get a first-hand look at World Rally Championship racing, providing segments to air during the Aug. 8 edition of Trackside on Speed Channel. "I love watching World Rally," Hammond said. "World Rally demonstrates what we try to show our viewers in NASCAR. What unfolds between the co-driver and driver during the course of competition is the same communication that you see between a NASCAR driver and crew chief only the NASCAR driver doesn't benefit from riding along. I am anxious to see how the two discuss how the car feels and how much influence the co-driver has on the actual set up. A long time ago, before all the safety issues, I rode with DW at Talladega," Hammond added. "I sat behind him with only a helmet -- no seatbelts -- and rode over 200 mph for six to seven laps. I rode with the Thunderbirds and jumped out of an airplane, so I know I am the right guy for this mission." Early plans call for Hammond to serve as a co-driver in a WRC car, examine activity in the Service Park (the pit area) and hang with race fans. Speed Channel is the only one to "cross breed" between the series that it broadcasts," Hammond said. "We saw earlier this year the Gordon-Montoya Tradin Paint swap at Indianapolis and now this link from NASCAR to World Rally. I think it is great for the fans."(Speed Channel)(7-31-2003)
- Tony Stewart teach's Today's Matt Lauer to Drive Indy: #20-Tony Stewart is scheduled to teach Matt Lauer, of NBC’s “Today” show, how to drive on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval. The segment will air between 7:00-8:00am/et on Friday morning. Lauer said, “All the NASCAR people keep telling me how many horsepower this car has and what speeds it can reach. All I want to know is what kind of brakes it has, and how quickly it can stop!”(NBC PR)(7-31-2003)
- #8 crew wins Pocono Pit Crew competition UPDATE: The weekly McDonald's/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew at the Pocono 500. Earnhardt spent 240.375 seconds in the pits, the least amount of pit time among teams competing in the program. Michael Waltrip's crew still leads the competition over Earnhardt's second-place crew, while Robby Gordon's crew overtook Bobby Labonte's to move into third place by 12 points. In addition, the Mechanix Wear Pit Crew Championship second quarter voting took place last weekend with Raybestos Rookie candidate #74-Tony Raines team collecting the most votes. Matt Kenseth's crew won the first quarter voting in the Mechanix Wear Pit Crew Championship. Both teams are now eligible to win the $75,000 year-end award.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
UPDATE - Pit Crew For Earnhardt Jr. Wins In Pocono: The pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Sunday's (July 27) Pennsylvania 500 at. Pocono Raceway. It was the third time this season the No. 8 crew captured first-place honors. The team's other victories were at Las Vegas and Atlanta. Earnhardt's pit crew remains in second place in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship standings with 687 points, 73 behind Michael Waltrip's No. 15 pit crew. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus. Earnhardt's pit crew captured the Pocono win and the $20,000 first-place prize as a result of the team's Budweiser Chevrolet spending the least amount of time on pit road - 240.801 seconds. Second was Sterling Marlin's No. 40 Coors Light Dodge (253.308) and third was Waltrip's NAPA Chevrolet (260.860). "We've never been better on making the right calls and the right changes in the pits as we were today," said Earnhardt following the Pocono race. "The yellow flags helped us on gas mileage, but we had a great day in the pits." Earnhardt's over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff Clark (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Jay Guarneri (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Bill Snyder (catch can). The team's crew chief is Tony Eury and the car chief is Tony Eury Jr. For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(7-31-2003)
- Some Techy Stuff: IBM and Dassault Systemes announced the signing of a contract for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions with Evernham Motorsports LLC, a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race team. IBM PLM Solutions, with CATIA(R) V5 for collaborative product development and SMARTEAM(R) for collaborative lifecycle management from Dassault Systemes, will allow Evernham Motorsports to develop high performance race cars through virtual testing rather than building costly, full-scale physical prototypes. Additionally, Evernham Motorsports will integrate the new PLM platform with its own inventory and maintenance programs. By linking with PLM Solutions from IBM and Dassault Systemes, Evernham engineers will make design modifications while accessing car building-material information, field usage statistics, and inventory all in one streamlined view, saving precious hours between races. This will allow Evernham Motorsports to gain efficiencies and focus more time on innovative ways to build faster, safer competition vehicles.(see full story at MCADCafe)(7-31-2003)
- Yeley going for Stewart's record, then NASCAR: J.J. Yeley, whom Ford is grooming for a NASCAR career, has won 19 USAC races in just 46 starts, a 41 percent clip that has him on pace to win 33 races. The leader of all three of the U.S. Auto Club's national divisions -- midgets, sprints and Silver Crown -- is on a record-setting pace that could go unequaled. Yeley entered Wednesday night's midget race at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway with 19 USAC victories this season, matching the achievements of A.J. Foyt (1961), Sleepy Tripp (1988) and Jay Drake (2000). "I'm on pace, but I still have to get it done," he said Wednesday before the Anderson race. "My goal is to get between 26 and 28 (wins). If I can get to 30, that would be fine, too." Yeley's next chance at victory comes tonight. He has already won three of the six races in the series this season, including the IRP event in May. In pursuing Tony Stewart's 1995 feat of winning all three USAC titles in the same season, Yeley is only three sprint-car victories shy of Tom Bigelow's all-time mark (14 in a season, set in 1977). Yeley maintains his own sprint car, which is owned by Stewart.(Indianapolis Star)(7-31-2003)
- Lots of $$ Availble to Kenseth: #18-Bobby Labonte claimed the previous record-high NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus at the Brickyard 400 in 2000 when he was awarded $190,000 by winning the race while also leading the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. Current NASCAR Top 10 leader Matt Kenseth, with a 232-point lead over Dale Earnhardt, Jr., has the only opportunity to take home the record bonus, which now stands at $210,000, following the Pennsylvania 500. The $10,000 bonus is available following every NASCAR Winston Cup race. If the point leader does not win the race, the bonus rolls over to the next week. The last driver to claim the bonus was #40-Sterling Marlin following his win at Darlingtonin March 2002, 51 races ago.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
- New Scheme for Biffle: #16-Greg Biffle will be running a revised version of the primary Grainger paint scheme this weekend at Indianapolis. The front end of the race car has been changed to red from black and the car will run this way for the remainder of the season.(Roush Racing PR)(7-30-2003)
- NASCAR to require Cup, Busch, Truck teams to add fuel cell area fire extinuisher: NASCAR officials announced today that all vehicles in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will require an additional fire-extinguishing cylinder solely dedicated to the fuel cell area, effective Aug. 13 but recommended immediately. An automatic, thermally activated discharge nozzle recommended by the manufacturer for this application must activate the cylinder, which is required to be made of DOT-approved metal. The automatic system may have a manual and/or pneumatic override from the driver-activated system. The cylinder must be mounted in the driver's compartment and will attach to a steel bracket welded to the frame and/or roll cage of the vehicle. When discharged, the extinguisher releases Halon in the area of the fire. Halon, a proven and extremely effective fire suppressant, is a liquefied compressed gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion. A minimum of 10 pounds of fire extinguishing agent is required in the cylinder for the fuel cell area. In addition to the fire extinguisher cylinder being added for the fuel cell area, NASCAR has enhanced its requirements and specifications for the current on-board driver protection system as well as the fuel cell vent area. The cockpit extinguisher, a manually controlled push or pull knob that activates a fully charged fire-extinguishing pressurized cylinder, now must contain a minimum of five pounds of extinguishing agent. Should the cylinder also be used for fire extinguishing in the engine compartment, it must contain a minimum of 10 pounds of extinguishing agent. The cylinder also must be securely mounted to the frame and/or roll cage, and hose clamps, worm drive clamps and cable ties are not permitted. In addition, all discharge lines and fittings for the cylinders must be steel or steel-reinforced hose although the nozzles may remain aluminum. A maximum length for the neck of the fuel cell check valve vent hose has been set at three inches. By limiting length, it will make the component more impact resistant. The neck connects the fuel cell to the fuel cell vent hose and is located inside the trunk area of the vehicle. To accommodate the maximum neck length standard, fuel cell vent hoses will increase in length from 60 inches to a maximum of 66 inches.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
- Roof Hatch to be tested on August 6th: NASCAR will conduct a test of its alternate exit, or more commonly known as the roof hatch, on Aug. 6 at the Midwest Roadside Facility in Lincoln, Neb. NASCAR, which is working closely with facility director Dr. Dean Sicking on this project, will conduct a crash test that will simulate a rollover-type accident. A successful test could lead to a recommendation of the safety component by NASCAR to teams in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series. This safety initiative will provide drivers with an alternate exit through a hatch in the roof of the car in the event of an emergency situation.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
- Penske Incentive: Indy Extra Incentive -- 50th Stock Car Win For Penske:
The count is at 49 with Ryan's win Sunday at Pocono and a win this Sunday at Indy by Rusty or Ryan would reach that monumental 50th stock car victory for Penske Racing. Here is the breakdown entering the Brickyard 400 (driver & wins):
Rusty Wallace - 36
Ryan Newman - 5
Bobby Allison - 4
Jeremy Mayfield - 3
Mark Donohue - 1 (the first win, which came in the 1/21/73 Winston Western 500 at Riverside, Calif. Donohue started 4th and led 138 of the 191 laps in a Penske Racing AMC Matador)(Tom Roberts PR)(7-30-2003)
- Gibbs offers Stewart Contact Extension: Team owner Joe Gibbs has offered reigning Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart a long-term contract extension but isn't sure whether Stewart will eventually sign the deal. "Obviously I don't have the answer. But I would expect him to stay here," Gibbs said during a teleconference Tuesday. "The most important thing for drivers is to have a place where they think they can win races. Our number one job as a race team is to make sure we're in the forefront of what's going on and that any driver would think he has a chance to win in our stuff." Stewart's current contract expires at the conclusion of the 2004 season, but Gibbs said he prefers to sign drivers and sponsors in his organization to long-term deals long before contracts expire. Already this season, Gibbs signed Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Bobby Labonte, to a contract extension and Gibbs apparently is close to announcing extensions for Stewart's crew chief, Greg Zipadelli and his team's sponsor, Home Depot, sources said. Rumors have been rampant over the past several weeks about Stewart's future. The most common scenario mentioned is Stewart moving to the Dodge camp and Chip Ganassi Racing. Asked Tuesday whether Dodge was involved in courting Stewart, John Fernandez, director of Dodge Motorsports Operations, said: "Actually we've got a great lineup of drivers that we're working with today, and I don't know if Tony is under contract with Joe Gibbs right now, so we're not pursuing Tony at this point in time." Stewart, himself, has denied looking at other teams. Tuesday, he said he had received the contract extension from Gibbs but had not reviewed it. Zipadelli said he hoped Stewart would remain with the Gibbs organization.(Thatsracin.com)(7-30-2003)
- Ford Looking for Most Colorful Fan: Ford Racing fans in attendance at the Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day in downtown Indianapolis will have the opportunity to show off their Ford Racing spirit, which could earn them prizes. Join Ford Racing and Your Indiana Ford Stores at the RCA Dome [Thursday, July 31st] from 4:00-8:00pm CDT for Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day where the fan wearing the most exciting, colorful and cheerful Blue Oval gear will be selected to win a Ford Racing sweatshirt, Ford Racing electric sign and Rick Crawford autographed racing gloves. One fan in attendance will also have the chance to win a set of four race and pre-race hospitality tickets to Friday night’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The lucky winner will also serve as an honorary pit crew member for Crawford’s #14 Circle Bar Racing team. See more at the Ford Racing site.(7-30-2003)
- Prior to his record-setting 700th-consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup start at Pocono Raceway Sunday, Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus, received a letter of congratulation from President George W. Bush. The letter to Rudd is as follows:
July 25, 2003
Mr. Ricky Rudd
Concord, North Carolina
Congratulations on your 700th consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup start. I join your family, friends, and race fans everywhere in recognizing this unparalleled accomplishment. In reaching this milestone, you have compiled an outstanding record of achievement. You have demonstrated skill, endurance, and determination over almost three decades, establishing yourself as one of the greatest stock car drivers in history. I applaud your hard work and commitment to excellence. Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for continued success.
George W. Bush
(Ford Racing PR)(7-30-2003)
- TV Ratings - Pocono: Last Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway earned a 4.6 rating on TNT and was the top program for the month among adults in the 25-54 age groups. The race was also the highest-rated sports event on cable. (Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research).(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
- #25 Crewman Injured at Pocono: #25 Front-tire carrier Kevin Sigafoos was injured on Sunday at Pocono while repairing damage to the #25 Chevy's left-front fender caused by a brush with the #41 car of Casey Mears. Sigafoos was taken to the infield care center where he received four stitches to his right ring finger. Despite the injury, Sigafoos plans to go over the wall this weekend at Indianapolis.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(7-30-2003)
- Testing at the Glen on July 28th and 29th UPDATE Tuesday Speeds: Many drivers are scheduled to test at Watkins Glen International in preparation for the SIRIUS at The Glen, August 10th. Fans who have purchased tickets for the SIRIUS at The Glen, August 7-10, will be admitted free of charge both days. Fans should present their SIRIUS at The Glen tickets at the gate to gain free admission or pick-up a voucher at the ticket office if they have not received their event tickets.(Watkins Glen International PR)(7-28-2003)
UPDATE: The fastest speeds on Tuesday were: #6-Mark Martin at 124.051mph; #16-Greg Biffle at 123.703; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 123.012; #24-Jeff Gordon at 122.978; #31-Robby Gordon at 122.858; #1-Ron Fellows at 122.671; #4-PJ Jones at 122.500; #35-Joe Varde at 122.483 [Team Amick]; #04-Johnny Miller at 122.330; #17-Matt Kenseth at 122.161; #01-Boris Said at 121.992; #44-Christian Fittipaldi at 121.924; #18-Bobby Labonte at 121.655; #41-Casey Mears at 121.655; #09-Scott Pruett at 121.655; #33-Paul Menard at 120.938; and #45-Kyle Petty at 120.657. The track qualifying record is 122.698mph. Tickets for the event start at $50 and are still available. Tickets for the SIRIUS at The Glen weekend, as well as the remaining 2003 racing season at Watkins Glen International, are now available by calling The Glen's ticket office at 607-535-2481 or online at www.theglen.com.(Watkins Glen PR)(7-30-2003)
- New Assoc Sponsor for Rudd and the #21 UPDATE: As if the celebration surrounding Rudd’s 700th career start wasn’t enough for the Wood Brothers, broadening the smile is the addition of a new associate sponsor to the famed race team’s effort, Team Ford Racing has learned that beginning with the Brickyard 400 that the Motorcraft Ford will sport an associate sponsorship from Rent-A-Center.(Ford Racing)
AND jayski has been told by a source, that Rent-A-Center may be the primary sponsor for a race or two later in the season.(7-27-2003)
UPDATE: Rent-A-Center, Inc. (Nasdaq: RCII), the nations largest rent-to-own company, will become an associate sponsor of the Wood Brothers Racing #21 Motorcraft Taurus, following the signing of a multi-year agreement that was announced today by team officials.
Rent-A-Center, Inc., headquartered in Plano, TX, currently operates more than 2,500 company-owned stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico. The stores generally offer high-quality, durable goods such as home electronics, appliances, computers, furniture and accessories to consumers under flexible rental purchase agreements that generally allow the customer to obtain ownership of the merchandise at the conclusion of an agreed-upon rental period. "We are so pleased that Rent-A-Center has decided to join the Motorcraft/U.S. Air Force team, stated Eddie Wood, co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing. "With their paint scheme on the car for the Brickyard 400 it is a great opportunity for Rent-A-Center to showcase its service to a vast new audience. The Brickyard 400 is certainly one of the biggest events on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule, and we are happy that we could start our new association at this race." The distinctive Rent-A-Center graphics will take a prominent position on the #21 Ford Taurus, both on the rear deck lid and on the rear quarter-panel area at the rest of the races this season. See www.rentacenter.com for more info on the company.(Ford Racing PR)
AND hearing the 2nd race with the Rent-A-Center scheme could be at Watkins Glen AND also hearing they may be the new primary sponsor of the #21 and Rudd in 2004.(7-28-2003)
UPDATE 2: Motorcraft is signed with the #21 Wood Brothers team thru 2005 with an option for 2006 and beyond. The deal with Rent-A-Center is like the Air Force sponsorship, a major associate and run a few races as the primary.(7-30-2003)
- Kyle gets claws: Although the crewmembers at Petty Enterprises work hard to turn the team's Dodges into tigers on the track, their newest race car has proved to be a real pussycat - thanks to motorsports designer Sam Bass. It was Bass who took the image of Garfield, the world's most famous cartoon cat, and wrapped him around the wind tunnel-tested curves of Kyle Petty's #45 Dodge Intrepid. Garfield, who celebrates a milestone 25th birthday this year, has loaned his mischievous, Cheshire-like grin to the front of Petty's car, while the chunky feline's trademark orange-and-black tail curls to the back, anticipating his next opportunity for lasagna. Garfield's appearance on the Intrepid's hood wearing Richard Petty's cowboy hat, shades and Petty Enterprises crew jacket makes it clear he imagines himself to be the new King of stock car racing. The special paint scheme's appearance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway's August 3 Brickyard 400 is part of a celebration to honor Marion, Ind., native Jim Davis' cartoon creation during the week of the race. "I like it," commented Davis about the Bass design. "It's fun, bright, colorful and captures Garfield's wit. We should be able to see this car from outer space!"
"It's hard work to draw for a living," Bass said about his and Davis' occupations. "To create a comic strip character that is still being enjoyed a quarter-century later by readers of all ages, all around the world is an incredible accomplishment. I have been a fan of Jim's work and creativity for a long time. It was so much fun for me to work on this project." Bass has announced the release of a fine art poster commemorating Garfield's 25th birthday that features the Petty car design. It will be available through the Sam Bass Gallery for $20 per poster. For more information about the Kyle Petty/Garfield car design, log on to www.sambass.com or phone 704/455-6915.(7-30-2003)
- Hughes Looking to Increase Minority Participation in Motorsports: Tinsley Hughes, a longtime African-American NASCAR team owner is utilizing Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway as a foundation for his efforts to increase minority participation in motorsports. Hughes, founder and owner of BH Motorsports, has fielded cars in NASCAR Winston Cup racing off and on since 1989. Hughes formed the Motorsports Academy as a driver development program for BH Motorsports. The academy gives urban and inner city youth the opportunity to develop skills needed to eventually advance to NASCAR’s top level as drivers or crew members.
“When you look at the top three NASCAR series, one thing is very obvious—the lack of diversity,” said Hughes. “It’s not that African Americans or other minorities do not have the desire to drive race cars or pursue a career in motorsports, it’s that adequate funding is an obstacle. Unlike most stick and ball sports, it takes significant capital in equipment to race. In addition, you’re not going to find a race track at your local community park next to the basketball goals and soccer fields, so it takes a serious commitment and effort to race at any level.” Hughes recognizes the need for a detailed plan and course of action to help young drivers in their quest to become future NASCAR stars. Participants in his development program gain valuable experience in driving, car set-up and other aspects of motorsports industry. This summer, Hughes Motorsports Academy is fielding two Thunder Roadsters in the popular Summer Shootout Series at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and at other tracks throughout the Southeast, including Atlanta Motor Speedway. Reggie Primus, a 32-year-old African American from Hartsville, SC, is currently piloting the academy’s #36 Thunder Roadster while 19-year-old Kyle Beattie of Concord, N.C., handles the #007 entry. As noted, Hughes is no stranger to the NASCAR Winston Cup garage area. Formerly involved as a principle in Mansion Motorsports, drivers such as Mike Skinner, Carl Long, Ron Hornaday Jr. and even three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip have driven Hughes’ cars. Last October, Hornaday drove a Hughes entry to a second-place finish in the ARCA RE/MAX season finale at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Information about BH Motorsports and Hughes Motorsports Academy is available online at www.bhmotorsportsonline.com or by calling (704)335-0770. See the full Press Release on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(7-30-2003)
- Maxwell to drop the hammer in the #43 at Watkins Glen UPDATE: Toronto sports car driver Scott Maxwell has been signed to drive the #43 Cheerios Dodge for Petty Enterprises at the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen Aug. 10. The low-key Maxwell, who has a long and distinguished career in the sports car racing world, already has tested in the legendary #43 machine at Virginia International Speedway. Another test is planned for Thursday at Road Atlanta. Maxwell's championship pedigree includes winning titles in Formula Vee (1984), Ontario Formula Ford 1600 (1985 and 1986), Showroom Stock (1992 and 1993) and GARRA Cup GSI (2002). The highlight for Maxwell's career, however, came at Le Mans in 2000 when he took victory in the LMP 675 class for Multimatic Motorsports with John Graham and Greg Wilkins. Maxwell's other major sports car triumphs include winning the LMP 675 class at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in 2001 as well as the Daytona Prototype victory at this year's Daytona 24 Hour.(Toronto Sun), more info about Maxwell, see his bio at the panozmotorsports.com site.(7-29-2003)
AND see more at Inside Track News.(7-30-2003)
- NASCAR Changes Ad agencies: NASCAR is changing ad agencies, dumping the company that created the award-winning 'How bad have you got it' ad campaign and signing on with a company with ties to Nextel, NASCAR's new series sponsor. Interpublic Group's Martin Agency of Richmond, Va., will take over for Chicago's Y& --R. An official at Y& --R said that NASCAR was cutting its ad budget and was getting tight on production, which NASCAR disputed. When the original contract was signed three years ago, it was worth $25 million to $35 million a year. The new contract is estimated to be worth $20 million.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-30-2003)
- Craven to be honored in his hometown: Ricky Craven will return to his hometown of Newburgh, ME, Wed., July 30. Craven will be honored with signs that will be placed on the main roads around the town. The signs will read, "Welcome to Newburgh, Maine, hometown of NASCAR driver Ricky Craven." State representative Brian Duprey, who introduced the legislation that secured permission to place the signs, says that Craven means a lot to the local area. Maine State Representative Brian Duprey: "Ricky's a big hometown hero from a small town. He's helped to put Newburgh on the map, and he's never forgotten where he's from. I'm sure this means a lot to him, but
it also means a lot to the community. We're proud to call him one of our own." Ricky Craven: "I'm very humbled by this honor. I'm extremely proud of where I'm from. Even though I spend a lot of time in North Carolina, I keep ties to the area through my home on Moosehead Lake, my business and my charity Snowmobile ride. I'm just a kid from a small town who got lucky, so I try everyday to make the people of Maine proud."(PPI Motorsports PR)(7-30-2003)
- Brett Bodine gets sponsor for Indy: In its second season as a sponsor of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Brett Bodine, U.S. Micro Corp. is taking over as primary sponsor of Bodine's #11 U.S. Micro Brick Car for the 10th running of the annual Brickyard 400, on Aug. 3. U.S. Micro, a national computer disposal, refurbishment, leasing and sales company, views the jump to primary sponsorship as a natural progression of its already successful NASCAR marketing plan. "As a pioneer among smaller NASCAR sponsor companies, we carefully weighed the benefits of NASCAR marketing before partnering with Brett's team last year," said Jim Kegley, president of U.S. Micro Corp. "Our sponsorship of Brett in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series has delivered everything we had hoped for: customer and prospect entertainment opportunities in all parts of the country; increased local and national exposure for our company through the media and the added marketing muscle of NASCAR; and enjoyable incentives and rewards for our employees. Based on those benefits, we embraced the opportunity to become Brett's primary sponsor for the Brickyard 400, one of NASCAR's most prestigious races." For the 2002 and 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup seasons, U.S. Micro has been the official computer provider to the Brett Bodine Racing team, supplying laptops, desktop PCs, monitors, servers, networking equipment, printers, digital cameras and other hardware. The equipment is used in every phase of the team's operation, from administrative functions to car engineering and testing. "Our relationship with U.S. Micro has enabled us to upgrade our computer equipment both at the shop and at the track, and we are very appreciative of their involvement with our team," said Brett Bodine. "Small businesses like U.S. Micro are what the country and our sport were founded on and help keep us going." In addition to U.S. Micro's assuming primary sponsorship for the Brickyard 400, Brett Bodine Racing is offering a unique way for NASCAR fans to become a "personal sponsor" of Bodine's car for this 10th running of the Brickyard 400. For $500, fans can purchase a "brick" decal with their name on it, to be integrated into the car's paint scheme on the bottom half of the car. Each personal sponsor receives a die-cast model of the U.S. Micro Brick Car autographed by Brett Bodine, as well as a commemorative certificate suitable for framing.(Brett Bodine Racing PR), more info on U.S. Micro at : www.usmicrocorp.com(7-28-2003)
SOLD OUT there were 85 bricks sold and they are now sold out.(7-30-2003)
- #25 Looking for a sponsor in 2004? UPDATE UAW Will NOT Return: quote from DEI's Ty Norris at the WSJ: 'You have Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, DEI and Jim Smith ... and somebody is going to be left out because we're not even aware of two companies willing to spend that kind of money, let along four,' Norris said. Norris is worried about finding someone willing to write a check for the $12 million to $18 million it takes to feed these monster teams. I don't know if Rick Hendrick will run Joe Nemechek's [#25] car white (UAW isn't expected to renew)(Winston Salem Journal)(7-27-2003)
UPDATE: Add Hendrick Motorsports to the growing list of Winston Cup organizations looking for new sponsors for next season. UAW, which along with Delphi co-sponsors Hendrick's #25 Chevrolets driven by Joe Nemechek, has informed the team it will not return in 2004, ThatsRacin.com has learned. UAW's decision is not based on team performance, sources said. Asked about the sponsor and driver contracts, Hendrick team spokesman Jesse Essex said Tuesday the team does not comment on contract negotiations.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-29-2003)
- Labonte looking to extend contract thru 2004 UPDATE 3: Terry Labonte, a two-time champ, is negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports for a one-year extension of his contract to drive the #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet.(Sporting News)(2-20-2003)
UPDATE: Rejunivated Terry Labonte is in contract talks with Hendrick Motorsports. Labonte's current contract runs out at the end of this year. An announcement is expected in the next few weeks for a three or four year deal.(Insider Racing News)(6-23-2003)
UPDATE 2: #5-Terry Labonte, whose contract with Hendrick Motorsports expires after this season, said he plans to be back and has talked with the team about a contract extension.(Roanoke Times)(7-28-2003)
UPDATE 3: Kellogg's, which has sponsored Hendrick's #5 Chevrolets and driver Terry Labonte since 1994, is expected to return next season with the start of a multi-year contract extension, sources said. Labonte, who is in the final year of his current contract with Hendrick, is also expected to return to the team for at least one more season, sources said. Asked about the sponsor and driver contracts, Hendrick team spokesman Jesse Essex said Tuesday the team does not comment on contract negotiations.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-29-2003)
- Lepage and Team CLR team up for Indy: After successful testing in Indianapolis for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400, Kevin Lepage will be driving the #57 Ford Taurus for Team CLR Racing. Lepage last raced in the Brickyard 400 in 2000. Lepage said, "This is probably the best test I’ve had here with data. My team’s very knowledgeable as far as what this race car wants with this track." Team
CLR's last race in Winston Cup was with Brett Bodine as driver in the Spring Darlington race in 2003. Even though Team CLR has not had a car on the track the team has kept very busy building cars, testing and pitting for other teams/drivers, including Kevin Lepage, Lance Hooper, Hermie Saddler, AJ Henriksen and others. Team CLR Racing is still looking for sponsorship for the Brickyard and beyond. The team has been able to sign as an associate sponsor for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400, LS Mold, Inc. of Beech Grove, IN. LS
Mold is an EDM shop dedicated to exceeding industry standards for clients like Ford, MTM, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens. More info about sponsorship opportunities, see the Team CLR Site. The Brickyard 400 will be the Winston Cup debut for the "Over The Wall" crew as OTW Racing has formed a unique relationship in supporting the crew that goes over the wall for Team CLR Racing. OTW Racing will be on the crews helmets in all races that the team supports in Winston Cup, Busch, Craftsmen Truck and ARCA series races.(PR) - been told that the #57 CLR Ford is the car Lepage tested at Indy recently from his own shop.(7-29-2003)
- Pressley to drive the #4 UPDATE: the Robert Pressley Site is reporting that Robert Pressley will drive the #4 Kodak Pontiac at the Brickyard 400, the quote: "I am really glad to have the opportunity to go to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the No. 4 car,” said Robert Pressley. “I want to thank Morgan-McClure Racing for the chance to compete in one of the biggest Winston Cup races of the season, the Brickyard 400. I hope that I can come in and do what I can to help this team overcome a few problems and get the car in the field. I am excited to be able to help out Morgan-McClure.” Supposedly David Reutimann will be in the #04 Kodak Pontiac for Morgan-McClure(7-28-2003)
UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced two entries for the Brickyard 400 this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Veteran driver Robert Pressley will drive the #4 Kodak Pontiac, while David Reutimann will be behind the wheel of the #04 Kodak Grand Prix. "We are pleased to have two entries at the historic Brickyard this week. I feel confident with our driver choices. The team enjoyed working with David last week in the ARCA Series and looks forward to getting him in his first Winston Cup event. He drove a smart race and communicated well with the crew. Robert has been a favorite driver of mine for a long time. He is a good racer and we hope to have a great finish this weekend," team owner Larry McClure said. While preparing for a busy weekend in Indy, the team also tested its road course cars at Watkins Glen on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Johnny Miller returned to test the #04 Pontiac after turning in a respectable effort for the team earlier this season at Sonoma. Testing the #4 Kodak Grand Prix was another road racing specialist, P.J. Jones.(Morgan-McClure PR)(7-29-2003)
- Skinner in the #01 car, Wallace out? UPDATE done deal: hearing that Mike Wallace has been released from the #01 US Army Pontiac and replacing him will be Mike Skinner (I hear for the next three races, except for Watkins Glen where Boris Said will run)(7-28-2003)
UPDATE: Mike Skinner has been named to drive the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac for MB2 Motorsports beginning with this weekend's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Skinner will take over driving duties from Mike Wallace who has substituted for the injured Jerry Nadeau since The Winston Open (May 17) at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Road racing specialist Boris Said, who drove the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac to a sixth place finish at Infineon Raceway, will take the wheel again at Watkins Glen International for the Aug. 10 road race. "Mike (Skinner) has agreed to drive for us at least through Darlington," said Jay Frye, CEO/General Manager of MB2 Motorsports. "The team seems to have lost a little momentum since Sonoma, but hopefully Mike will help get us back on the right track. His record of success speaks for itself."
"I'm very excited that the team chose me to help them out," said Skinner. "My goal, first and foremost, is to help Jerry's recovery. We want him back in the U.S. Army Pontiac. Speaking from experience, though, getting back in the car before you are 100 percent isn't the best thing to do for anyone. Hopefully, I can help take a little pressure off of Jerry so he can recover at his own pace. I want to get his team back on its feet, and maybe even give them a win -- that would be an added bonus for all of us."(MB2 Motorsports PR)(7-29-2003)
- Bye-Bye Jesse: In response to pressure from a conservative legal watchdog group and racing fans, NASCAR is cutting off its funding of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. NASCAR has paid a total of $250,000 to an affiliate organization of the black advocacy group in recent years. But a person familiar with NASCAR's internal decisions confirmed that the racing organization has not paid Jackson's group any money in 2003 and doesn't plan to. NASCAR is seeking more subtle ways to back Rainbow/PUSH without appearing as though they directly support the politically volatile Jackson. Said Charles Farrell, a spokesman for Rainbow's sports division: "We have had no contact whatsoever with NASCAR that would indicate that they are changing the status of their support for Rainbow/PUSH." Four months of media attention and fan backlash have prodded NASCAR into cutting ties with Jackson. At a Rainbow/PUSH conference in June, which was attended by NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne, one of the organization's board members called NASCAR "the last bastion of white supremacy" in sports. (USA Today), see past news on this situation on my NASCAR Past News page.(7-29-2003)
- Sadler in the booth: Winston Cup driver Elliott Sadler, driver of the #38 M & M's car, will join Allen Bestwick and Benny Parsons to provide race analysis during TNT's coverage of Busch Series racing from Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday, August 2 at 8:00pm/et.(Turner PR)(7-29-2003)
- IDIOT ALERT UPDATE 2: some nimrod ran out of the infield, across the track and into the woods [maybe the line to the restrooms were too long?] supposedly the police are in pursuit of the fool.(TNT/MRN Race Coverage)(7-27-2003)
UPDATE - the streak: In the midst of the running of the Pennsylvania 500, one of the more than 100,000 fans on hand bolted from the speedway infield, raced across the track in the face of an oncoming field of stock cars, vaulted another barrier and ran into a nearby wooded area. According to an eyewitness, what looked like a man, shirtless with his pants below his knees exposing part of his derriere, "streaked" across the lower end of the Pocono frontstretch as the field was circling the track at 65 mph behind the pace car. One source said Sunday's "streak" was caught by one of the many television cameras on hand for the TNT production. The TV source said the feed was seen by people in production, but did not go over the air for public consumption. Regarding the Pocono incident on Sunday, track spokesman Bob Pleban said someone was apprehended in the woods outside the track's first turn shortly after the incident by Pocono Raceway security. He was turned over to Pocono Regional Police. A woman who identified herself as Barb, but would give no last name, answered the phone at Pocono Regional headquarters. She said she knew nothing of the incident, but that regional police handle cases on the track grounds. "I have no idea," she said. "We do have detectives at the track. You will have to wait until they issue a press release." Pleban said there is a facility and a magistrate on the speedway grounds to handle cases of lawbreaking.(see full story at the Express Times)(7-28-2003)
UPDATE 2: Pocono Regional Police say [a man, see story for name], 25, from Long Pond, Pa., was arrested on four misdemeanor counts when he sprinted across the racetrack course near Turn 1. #19-Jeremy Mayfield had to swerve to avoid [the man] during a caution period. "Somebody went across down by Turn 1, hopped over the wall and was quickly apprehended," Pocono Raceway spokesman Bob Pleban said. "He's in lockup right now." After reviewing a videotape provided by TNT, which telecast the race nationally, Det. Jeff Bowman said [the man] jogged across the track, then exposed his buttocks before hopping over the outside retaining wall. NASCAR, which sanctioned Sunday's race at Pocono, would not offer comment about the incident. [The man] was charged with disorderly conduct, open lewdness, public drunkenness and simple trespassing. But Bowman said the list of charges could grow and become more serious depending on Mayfield's account of the incident. Pocono Raceway officials plan to review its security operations before hosting its next Winston Cup race during the 2004 season.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(7-29-2003)
- Testing at the Glen on July 28th and 29th UPDATE Monday Speeds: Many drivers are scheduled to test at Watkins Glen International in preparation for the SIRIUS at The Glen, August 10th. Fans who have purchased tickets for the SIRIUS at The Glen, August 7-10, will be admitted free of charge both days. Fans should present their SIRIUS at The Glen tickets at the gate to gain free admission or pick-up a voucher at the ticket office if they have not received their event tickets. All other spectators can take in the action for only $5.00 each day at the gate. Gate 4 will be open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. both days.
Scheduled drivers: #01-Boris Said; #09?-Scott Pruett; #1-Ron Fellows; #4-Johnny Miller; #6-Mark Martin; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.; #15-Michael Waltrip; #16-Greg Biffle; #17-Matt Kenseth; #18-Bobby Labonte; #24-Jeff Gordon; #31-Robby Gordon; #33-Paul Menard #40-Sterling Marlin; #41-Casey Mears; #45-Kyle Petty; #44-Christian Fittipaldi; #35-Joe Varde [Team Amick]; #88-Dale Jarrett
Tickets for the races that weekd start at only $50 and are still available.(Watkins Glen International PR)(7-28-2003)
UPDATE: #31-Robby Gordon at 122.858mph; #16-Greg Biffle at 122.398, #6-Mark Martin at 122.347; #1-Ron Fellows at 121.823; #4-PJ Jones at 121.790; #01-Boris Said at 121.773; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 121.655; #17-Matt Kenseth at 121.471; #24-Jeff Gordon at 121.321; Bobby Labonte at 121.204; #41-Casey Mears at 120.822, #04-Johnny Miller at 120.706; #09-Scott Pruett at 120.377; #45-Kyle Petty at 119.593; #44-Christian Fittipaldi at 119.577; #33-Paul Menards at 119.351. The track qualifying record is 122.698mph. Tickets for the event start at $50 and are still available. Tickets for the SIRIUS at The Glen weekend, as well as the remaining 2003 racing season at Watkins Glen International, are now available by calling The Glen's ticket office at 607-535-2481 or online at www.theglen.com. Testing concludes Tuesday and is once again open to the public.(Watkins Glen PR)(7-29-2003)
- Kenny Wallace wins in NJ: After meeting with fans and signing autographs, the quartet of Winston Cup drivers, Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Steve Park and Kenny Wallace, battled in their own 30-lap main event at Wall Township Speedway in NJ. While Waltrip and Marlin took turns leading early, Kenny Wallace took control off a restart with eight laps remaining to grab his first ever Wall Township Speedway win by a half car length. Waltrip, Marlin and Park followed. "This is great! Not only can I say that I've raced at Wall, but I can also now say that I have won at Wall," Wallace said. "I know all of us had a great time here today. The track is great and the people are real nice. We all had a lot of fun." See more to the story at Jerseyracing.com.(7-29-2003)
- A funny from Garage Pass: A funny thing happened Sunday morning at Pocono to Ford car owner Jack Roush on his way to the race track. His brand new 'borrowed' Chevrolet rental car ran out of gas on Mt. Pocono! Roush, who said he was unfamiliar with Chevy gas gauges, fortunately managed to drift the car into a nearby BP gas station. Unfortunately, the gas station's computer didn't like his VISA credit card, so Jack had to scrape together enough gas money to make it to the track. The car was refueled at the track so Roush could make it back to the airport after the race. Laughing about the ordeal Jack said, "Chevy's must not come with a full tank¦I know Fords do!"(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-29-2003)
- Wimmer looking to move up to Cup in 2004: car owner Bill Davis is looking for a full Winston Cup sponsor, for Busch star Scott Wimmer, who won Saturday at Pikes Peak. Wimmer is scheduled to move up to Winston Cup next year. Mike Brown, Davis' general manager, has said that the operation's current lineup is up for review, because of lackluster results this season. Already there are rumors that Ward Burton could be under scrutiny from owner Richard Childress, if Childress chooses to make a driver change.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-29-2003)
- Smirnoff and the #99? or to Penske? hearing that Smirnoff Ice/Triple Black could end up being the sponsor for the #99 Roush Racing team and driver Jeff Burton, either in a full time capacity or similar to what they are doing with #17-Matt Kenseth this year [seven races as a primary sponsor on the car], OR could re-up with Kenseth for another year OR could do a similar deal with #12-Ryan Newman [not sure how Miller Lite would like that] also being a sponsor on one of Penske's IRL cars [who is losing Marlboro] with one of their hard liquior labels, which is allowed in the IRL but not in NASCAR. While mulling over this one, kmowing it looks like a sponsor will stick with NASCAR, check out their contest: Smirnoffice.com - Hang With Matt & The Crew [that Chris Brock seems fun to hang out with](7-28-2003)
- The rumor that will NOT die: Stewart/Ganassi: According to Winston Salem Journal sources, car owner Chip Ganassi and sponsor Target are offering Tony Stewart five million dollars a year, plus bonuses. That would be nearly three times as much money as he's making with car owner Joe Gibbs, according to sources close to the situation. Stewart has been noncommittal about the situation, but Cary Agajanian, his agent, confirms that a number of people are interested in hiring Stewart. And according to sources the proposed Ganassi-Target contract for Stewart is a five-year deal starting at $5 million the first year, plus bonuses, and a 20-percent increase each year, with a significant part of that salary paid by Dodge. The conventional wisdom is that Stewart is simply trying to driving the price up with Gibbs, but throughout the weekend, reports have been rampant that a Stewart-Ganassi deal is all but done. And in the Indy-car world, the word is it's a done deal. Jimmy Makar, Gibbs' general manager, said, 'It's obvious he hasn't signed a contract (with Gibbs), but they're negotiating and working through it right now. They just finished up Bobby Labonte's a few weeks ago, and now they're working with Tony. But that's really between Tony and Joe. It can be a distraction, if you're not careful. It hasn't been in the past though.' One question - if Stewart leaves Gibbs, would Home Depot follow? Sources say Gibbs and Home Depot officials have all but signed a new deal in the past three weeks.
And there are unconfirmed reports that Gibbs is already studying the market to see who's available if Stewart leaves, and rival owners expect Gibbs to make a run at Dale Jarrett if Stewart were to move. Jarrett once drove for Gibbs, and Jimmy Makar, Gibbs' manager, is married to Jarrett's sister, Patti. There are also unconfirmed reports that Gibbs is looking at Greg Biffle, and there is a push from the Indy-car world for Gibbs to take a look at Sam Hornish Jr. and even Sarah Fisher.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
- UPS Not Happy? Robert Yates squelched rumors about selling his team, but buzz persists regarding driver Dale Jarrett and the UPS sponsorship. With a yearly investment of $16 million, UPS isn't taking the recent turmoil on the #88 team lightly, and there has been talk that if Jarrett leaves Yates, UPS will go with him. That would make for an impressive package for an organization looking for a sponsor. Some believe Jarrett, the 1999 Winston Cup champion, will finish his career with Joe Gibbs Racing and team manager Jimmy Makar, his brother-in-law.(Sporting News)(7-28-2003)
- Ward to the #30? Sources in the garage say the AOL ride is available next season and that the sponsor would like a mature driver capable of winning races. Sounds like the perfect fit for Ward Burton [who is signed with Bill Davis thur 2004]. Not only has he won at a variety of tracks, he would be a good hunting buddy for owner Richard Childress.(Sporting News)(7-28-2003)
- Parrott to PE? maybe Roush? UPDATE 2: Sources in the garage say former Robert Yates Racing crew chief Todd Parrott could be coming out of retirement and headed for Petty Enterprises -- if the Pettys can afford the seven-figure price tag it would take to retain him.(more 'Dish' at Sporting News)(7-21-2003)
UPDATE: Earlier this year, Todd Parrott was released as director of competition at Robert Yates Racing. Earlier this week, there was a report that Parrott may wind up with Petty Enterprises, but a source told me Friday that Parrott could wind up at Roush Racing. We'll keep you posted on that.(Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR)(7-26-2003)
UPDATE 2: Crew chief Todd Parrott is shopping for a job, and two places he's applied are Petty Enterprises and Roush Racing. But sources say that Parrott won't be offered a job with Roush. 'Todd came to me, and I have talked with him,' Jack Roush said, without further explanation.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
- Shakeup at PE? Richard Petty is not happy with the shape of things at Petty Enterprises [#43, #44, #45], and a shakeup may be coming.(Winston Salem Journal), see above story.(7-28-2003)
- Drivers for Rusty's Busch team? Rusty Wallace is looking for a driver for his Busch team, and two men he's considering are Billy 'Catfish' Parker, Hank Parker's kid brother, and Burt Myers, the son of Bowman Gray racer Gary Myers. Chad Blount has been scratched from the list, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
- New Enginer for the #2: Wallace's team changed its engineer this week. Chief engineer Roy McCauley was with the team at the track for the first time this season.(Roanoke Times)(7-28-2003)
- 1-800-jeffgoron? Among the innovative twists Nextel officials are looking at for fans next season is a 1-800 service to listen to drivers and crew chiefs, like 1-800-JeffGordon. What some Winston Cup team owners would like Nextel to do is help open up the European marketplace for possible sponsors. Nextel's sports marketing company does handle the British Grand Prix, which offers a tantalizing opening. However, that Nextel subsidiary hasn't done very well with that venture.(Winston Salem Journal), so, wondering outloud here, AT&T handles all the communications at the track now for NASCAR and nascar.com, which is run by Turner Broadcasting, what happens in 2004???(7-28-2003)
- Gaughan and Evernham? UPDATEs: some sources say that Brendan Gaughan's [#62 in the Truck Series] name has come up as an option for Evernham Motorsports if changes are made or they choose to run the third R&D car [#91 Dodge](3-22-2003)
UPDATE: .....a mention of CTS driver Brendan Gaughan as a possible driver for on of Evernham's three cars, brought this response from Gaughan: "I want to go to Winston Cup, we know that," Gaughan said. "But I don't ever want to hope that someone does bad. I'm rooting for all the other Dodge drivers. Right now I'm just worried about getting our team through this Craftsman Truck Series season. We're third in points -- two points out of second -- and that's right where we want to be at this point. I haven't heard anything about the rumor, but it's cool my name's out there. That's a bonus." ...(Las Vegas Review Journal)(3-28-2003)
UPDATE 2: Brendan Gaughan, one of the hottest drivers on NASCAR's Truck tour, is under consideration for a Winston Cup ride with Ray Evernham, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
- Changes in the provisionals? Owners would like it: #89-Morgan Shepherd's return to the stock-car tour in the past few weeks has provoked controversy because, under NASCAR's rules, Shepherd has been able to get provisional entries into the field, even though he's not running the full tour, while denying full-time rivals a spot because those rivals have been out of provisionals. Larry McClure's #4 team was the latest victim. For next season teams are pushing NASCAR to change the rules to allow only full-time teams any provisionals. 'If you're not in the top 43 in points, you shouldn't get any provisionals,' car owner Bill Davis says. 'Some of these part-timers wait until a regular is out of provisionals and then they show up and send home teams with full-time sponsors like Kodak."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
- Get Well UPDATE: A [Nashville, TN] Fairgrounds Speedway driver was severely injured in a fiery crash yesterday afternoon as he practiced for last night's feature race. Hartsville racer Dave Traini was taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for treatment of what track officials described as second-degree burns on 36% of his body. A later hospital report said Traini had third-degree burns on his arms, chest and neck. He remained in intensive care. ''Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Traini family,'' Fairgrounds Speedway president Dennis Grau said. ''We will go to the hospital (today) and help out any way we can. We always are sad to see one of our drivers injured. It's something that can happen any time you strap yourself into one of these cars.'' Traini was practicing for the Late Model feature when he crashed into the first-turn wall and a fuel line apparently ruptured. When the race began, another fiery crash destroyed the car of Travis Trotter but the rookie from Lebanon bailed out without injury.(Tennessean)(7-27-2003)
UPDATE: Hartsville race driver Dave Traini continued to undergo treatment yesterday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for severe burns suffered in a Saturday crash at Fairgrounds Speedway. ''Dave's doing better,'' said Fairgrounds Speedway president Dennis Grau, who visited Traini yesterday. ''He will probably remain in the hospital for five or six days, then has a lot of out-patient treatment ahead of him. It was a scary incident but thankfully he's going to be OK.'' A hospital spokesperson said policy prohibited issuing a report on Traini's condition. ''The plastic visor on his helmet melted, along with the padding on the car's roll bars,'' Grau said. ''That's what caused some of the more severe burns.' 'The one thing we will do starting this week is inspect each driver's fire suit,'' he said. ''Dave's suit did its job — it prevented even worse injuries. But after those two crashes we want to double-check and make sure every one of our drivers has a proper fire suit.''(see more at the Tenneseean)(7-28-2003)
see the July 21-27, 2003 Archived News Page
see the July 14-20, 2003 Archived News Page
see the July 7-13, 2003 Archived News Page