PAST NEWS: AUG 4-10, 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)
- So what's up with Shawna? Shawna Robinson returned to her auto racing roots Saturday during an Iowa State Fair special held at the half-mile oval track at the fairgrounds. The Des Moines native came to compete last summer, but her transmission locked during a heat race. Saturday she again left her world of asphalt behind for a chance to circle her former dirt track. And there was lots of dirt - and dust - during the annual daytime races. "Let me just say that I couldn't see anything," Robinson said. The former Saydel High School student finished 20th out of 25 cars in the "A" feature for stock cars, which turned into a dust bowl. She qualified for the "B" feature through a heat, but was given a promoter's provisional to start at the back of the "A" feature. "I feel like I need to get used to it," she said before her feature. "I'm a little nervous, but it's all in fun." She rarely drives on dirt tracks anymore. Robinson, 38, was the first woman in more than a decade to start a NASCAR Winston Cup race when she did so in 2001. She became the first woman in more than two decades to start the Daytona 500 in 2002. "Last year it was amazing how many people looked at me as being a big-time racer because I drove Winston Cup," she said. "I never looked at it that way." Robinson drove John Hunnell's No. 62 stock car Saturday. The two attended the same high school. "Last week I drove this car and won," Hunnell said. "We'll see how she does." As the afternoon went on and the track dried, visibility reduced dramatically. A thick cloud of dust hovered around the track surface. Steve Jackson, defending track champion from Des Moines, won the stock car feature. He took over the first position midway through the 15-lap race. Jackson, who also races in Boone, said it was nice to say he raced against a NASCAR driver. But since Robinson rarely competes on dirt, Jackson said he doesn't think he defeated her under fair circumstances. "Put us in one of her cars on asphalt, with her in front, then see what happens," Jackson said. Robinson, who now lives in Charlotte, N.C., competed in an ARCA race earlier this season and in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in June for Aaron's Dream Team at Texas Motor Speedway, which had an all-female pit crew. She'll race with Aaron's Dream Team twice more - in September and October. "Next year I want to get in a Busch car and earn my way to Winston Cup," Robinson said.(Des Moines Register)(8-10-2003)
- StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - Watkins Glen: #31-Robby Gordon led the last 30 laps today at Watkins Glen International and captured his second win of the season (and 3rd of his career) in the Sirius at The Glen. He becomes the 3rd Sweeper since we added
Infineon Raceway to the schedule in 1989, and they're both named Gordon. Jeff did it twice, in 1998 and 1999 (more on him later).
Robby's win moves him into a tie for 80th on the all-time win list, and is the 74th win for RCR Enterprises (or 76th if you count the two that
Ricky Rudd got for Childress Racing in 1983).
It was certainly a wild event....a pit fire, splashers in the mud, sun bathers on the beach, a few visits to the kitty litter, and trouble for Jeff Gordon in the first turn of the first lap and last turn of the last lap. He lacked about 100 feet from finishing (Mr. Lead Lap will like that).
Gonna be interesting to see what happens on the safety front the next couple weeks. The drivers are starting to get their fill of it, and
with Mike Helton saying "this works for NASCAR" you can bet they're gonna come back with "how about something that works for NASCAR's drivers"? Ryan Newman was rather vocal after his wreck on Friday (to take that long to get to a driver during practice has gotta take some 'splainin), and Jeff Gordon touched on it after his last lap crash today. Now we'll see if NASCAR responds.
#39-Scott Pruett (2nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 6th here last year. His Top-5 gives us 28 drivers to score that mark this season....last year's number was 31. His Top-10 gives us 40 drivers at that level this season....last year's number was 42.
#22-Ward Burton (6th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Martinsville last October.
#0-John Andretti (19th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Fontana in April (only 8 races).
#39-Scott Pruett led today for the first time since he led here once for three laps in August of 2001. He's the 42nd driver to lead a lap this
season.... we had 46 of those last year.
STREAKIN....Robby Gordon has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races. Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
This Week's Elevator...UP: Operator of the Week is Scott Pruett (+26), followed by Jeremy Mayfield (+24), Dale Jarrett (+23), and Michael
Waltrip (+21). The Big Dropper was a tie between Jeff Gordon (-32) and Rusty Wallace (-32), followed by Greg Biffle (-29), Boris Said
(-29), and Ron Fellows (-20).
Matt Kenseth lost 28 points off his lead today....it's now 258 over Dale Earnhardt Jr. No drivers were mathematically eliminated today; that
line remains unchanged at 46th and below.
Kevin Harvick (7th to 5th), Tony Stewart (13th to 11th), and Ward Burton (22nd to 20th) made the only multiple position gains in the Top 45.
Rusty Wallace (10th to 12th) and Dave Blaney (24th to 26th) did the same in the opposite direction.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-10-2003)
- Thanks Ryan: at the Winston Breakfast Club on Saturday, Ryan Newman was the guest, one of his comments were pretty cool [so? one of the few times I am self serving here, lol]: Question: WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?
Answer: "Thanks to Jayski, I was looking on there and at this time last year we had 10 more points than we do now [see the Stats and Stats Links page for the stat]. It's just that Matt Kenseth's had a runaway year. We've had our problems no doubt, but we've overcome those. We've had bigger problems in the form of crashes, but we've had bigger victories as far as the quantities of wins. We're just going to go out and do the best job we can and let the points lie where they lie. We can't make points. We can just do out best to get what we can."(Golin Harris PR)(8-10-2003)
- CASCAR Team stuff stolen: For the second time in the past few years, the CASCAR Super Series’ visit to Montreal’s Autodrome St-Eustache has been marred by the theft of the entire race hauler, race cars and tools of one of the series’ top teams. Last night, Fitzpatrick Motorsports was the victim as the team’s hauler – including Don Thomson’s #4 Home Hardware Chevy and John Fitzpatrick ’s #14 Cambridge Rigging Chevy – were stolen from the parking lot of the Radisson Hotel, in Laval, QC.(more info at Inside Canadian Racing), been told the hauler was recovered, but empty.(8-10-2003)
- Biffle not signed...yet: during a NASCAR This Morning [Fox Sports Net - each Sunday at 10:30am/et] #16-Greg Biffle was interviewed and asked by John Roberts if he was signed for next year , Biffle said no, but they are working on a contrat extension for next year and beyond and to do some Busch Series racing.(8-10-2003)
- Paul Tracy to NASCAR? UPDATE with Childress: 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)
UPDATE: ....Childress is pondering what could be his next reclamation project, Paul Tracy, the wildest of the Indy-car wild men. Now Childress might not wind up hiring Tracy - though a large number of Winston Cup regulars would love the chance to put a fender to Tracy and see how much excitement he could take - but Childress said that Tracy is 'definitely' a card on the table for him. That Childress would even take a gander at another big project such as this, instead of simply settling for a solid guy such as Steve Park or Ward Burton, shows how confident Childress is that his operation has finally turned the corner.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-10-2003)
- Newman not happy with rescue workers response UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman qualified 13th for Sunday's Sirius at The Glen in a backup Dodge after crashing his primary car in practice Friday morning. Newman, who wound up with his car turned sideways sitting on the driver's side after it slammed thick foam barriers guarding a tire barrier off Turn 9 of the Watkins Glen course, was uninjured in the crash. Still, he was critical of the way the track's emergency team handled the crash. "I hit a rock with my helmet getting out of my car because the safety crew was about 10 minutes late getting there," he said. "It was pretty ridiculous. When they got there they didn't know what they were doing"(ThatsRacin.com)(8-9-2003)
UPDATE: Ryan Newman rolled his car onto its driver side at Turn 9. While rolling a car is never pleasant, waiting for the safety crew to arrive at the car to help the driver out of the car borders on the intolerable, at least according to Newman. “I got loose in Turn 9 and had a couple of wiggles and never recovered,” explained Newman. “I hit a rock with my helmet getting out of my car because the safety crew was about 10 minutes late getting there. They were definitely late,” Newman continued. “It was pretty ridiculous. When they got there they didn't know what they were doing. It seemed like they were pretty uneducated about what to do." Watkins Glen International safety matters are handled by the volunteer organization Race Services Incorporated. According to the RSI website the crew is “an organization of volunteers committed to promoting the cause of road racing enthusiasts, and promoting Watkins Glen International as a leader in road racing.” The only requirement for a first responder job is that the volunteer must be a certified member of a New York or Pennsylvania fire department. One case showing the volunteer group’s lack of familiarity with NASCAR specific issues, which occurred in 2001, had rescue volunteers pouring water onto a TV box [#31-Robby Gordon] which contained a significant amount of lithium in the battery pack that powered the unit. This combination of water and lithium cells caused the cells to explode.(Ford Racing), maybe time to rethink a full-time traveling rescue crew?(8-10-2003)
AND Winston Cup director John Darby responded to Newman's concerns. "Our safety concerns we never sleep on," Darby said. "Any incident on the racetrack, including the one yesterday, if it took 30 seconds to respond, then immediately after that incident the team that's responsible is trying to figure out how to do it in 20 seconds. It's something we never sit still on," Darby said. "If we didn't do it 100 percent right, we'll find out why and the next time we'll make sure we do." Darby said he personally was not aware how much time it took from the impact of Newman's car into the barrier and the arrival of the safety vehicles. The vehicles responded from a station that was at the exit of the Inner Loop, the track section right in front of where Newman crashed that's little more than 200 yards away. Darby said the track's safety vehicles never move until they are dispatched by the NASCAR control tower. "We know that if we pull an emergency vehicle out in front of a race car that's traveling 180 miles an hour, we're going to have a bigger problem than we started with," Darby said. "There's a lot of things that play into moving equipment, and when and how it's moved." Newman said that, particularly in practice mode, NASCAR needs to do a better job.(more at NASCAR.com)(8-10-2003)
- NBC to have 57 Cameras, Including the Return of "Squash-Cam": Just as the road course presents a unique set of challenges for drivers it also presents a unique set of challenges for broadcasters. "Unlike the typical oval track, there is no single camera that can
cover the entire course at Watkins Glen," said Mike Wells, director, NASCAR on NBC & TNT. "It’s a combination of there being so many
turns, the track being so big, the elevation changes and the inner-loop that makes it a challenge for everybody. For many of the same reasons the course is tough for some of the drivers, it’s also a challenge for the television crew."
57 Cameras & "Squash-Cam" Returns: NBC’s production arsenal includes 58 cameras to cover the road course at Watkins Glen. "Squash-Cam," which was used effectively last weekend at the Brickyard 400, will be taken to Watkins Glen for this Sunday’s race. "Squash-Cam" is a lipstick-size camera that will be buried in the grass in the inner-loop (chicane) at Watkins Glen. The camera often shows a car moving over or extremely close to the camera lens to give the audience the feeling of being "squashed."(NBC PR)(8-10-2003)
- 20 USAF Recruits to be sworn in: The Air Force will have a special paint scheme on Ricky Rudd's #21 Motorcraft Ford Taurus for a special occasion. Before the race, Gen. John W. Handy, who heads the U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command, will officially swear in 20-plus Air Force recruits [Jayski remembers when he got sworn in, Philly in a hot room - this sounds like more fun]. Four F-16 fighter jets from the 174th Air National Guard Fighter Wing in nearby Syracuse, N.Y., will do a flyover to mark the occasion. Rudd, who qualified 26th, has 25 top-five finishes in 48 road-course races, more than any driver in NASCAR history. He has two wins and eight top-five finishes at Watkins Glen and won the pole last year.(ESPN/AP)(8-10-2003)
- #8 Removes In-Car Camera: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. received permission Saturday from his team's sponsor, Budweiser, to have the in-car camera system it had paid for removed from his car. Each week several teams' cars are equipped with the in-car systems. The systems are generally paid for by one or more of a team's sponsors. With the system removed, Earnhardt Jr.'s team had to add 30 pounds of weight to offset the difference. Earnhardt Jr. sought the change following Saturday's final 45-minute practice session. He said the in-car system's weight was throwing off the balance of his car on the road course. "It was enough to kind of offset the balance of the car compared to when they were here testing," said team publicist Jade Gurss. "They did have two test dates up here. The team was excited. Junior's excited. "After they put the camera system in before practice, the weight differential was enough that he didn't feel like it was balanced quite like it was before." Earnhardt Jr. qualified sixth for Sunday's Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. He was 12th fastest in Saturday's first practice and third fastest in the final practice. Gurss said Budweiser did not have a problem with the request. "The executives at Budweiser have always told the team that performance is the key," Gurss said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-10-2003)
- rain update: well...looking at the radar as of 12:00noon/et, looks pretty clear with very little green in the area, it is partly sunny, forecasts lhave rain in the area around 3:00-400pm/et, so good chance the race will get in under dry condidtions, but never know with the rain, and it tends to do opposite of what I post.(8-10-2003)
- 80% chance of rain; could be Historic at the Glen: The forecast for Sunday's Sirius at The Glen was calling for an 80 percent chance of rain, and the chance that NASCAR would conduct its first-ever race using Goodyear's rain tires became a possibility. "It could be historic," said Rick Heinrich, marketing manager for Goodyear. "That's why we bring 'em. We want to be ready." A torrential downpour forced the Busch North series race to be called after 41 of 62 laps Saturday, giving Ted Christopher the victory. Heinrich said Goodyear shipped 1,200 rain tires to Watkins Glen. He added that NASCAR indicated it would not like to begin the race on the tires, which cost $394 apiece and have a tread depth of 6/32nds. "They want to have the option to use them under the right circumstance in order to get the race in," Heinrich said. If the tires are used, pit strategy could become critical. Heinrich said that under extremely wet conditions cars could run the whole race on one set of tires. Mike Skinner won an exhibition race in Suzuka, Japan in 1999 on rain tires, and Mark Martin, Terry Labonte and Robby Gordon are among a handful of drivers who have tested in the rain at The Glen. NASCAR said a decision will be made at race time. If it rains, one windshield wiper and one brake light in the rear window would be added to each car.(ESPN/AP)(8-10-2003)
- 'Rain' Tires could be used: Goodyear has brought its specially developed rain tire here and NASCAR President Mike Helton said he might let the Winston Cup teams use them during practice today if the conditions are right. Helton said the tires could be used during Sunday's Sirius at the Glen if it rains. "That's why we brought them here," he said. The National Weather Service forecast for today is calling for a 60 percent chance of rain throughout the day. There's a chance of thunderstorms Sunday. If the track is wet today, the Mohegan Sun 150 NASCAR Busch North Series race, scheduled for 1 p.m., would be canceled. However, "happy hour," the 45-minute Winston Cup practice session scheduled for 11:10 a.m. today could be run, with the field equipped with rain tires. Goodyear developed a rain tire for Winston Cup a few years ago. Aside from a couple of impromptu tests, including one here, they have never been used in an official session. Winston Cup cars normally run on treadless, slick tires. "We're ready," Rick Heinrich, Goodyear's marketing manager said. "It would take us just a very short period of time to have a set mounted for every team." The treaded tires, all 1,200 of them, have been sitting in climate-controlled storage at Goodyear headquarters in Akron, Ohio, for a couple of years. The tires, which would be enough to supply the field for Sunday's race, are in a trailer at Watkins Glen this week. Heinrich said the tread pattern is similar to its aquatread street tire pattern and is designed to pump the water to the edges of the tire as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If the rain tires are used, a single windshield wiper would be installed on the cars, along with a rear brake light.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-9-2003)
- So...rain? Tires? what happens at Watkins Glen if it rains this coming weekend? [a 50% chance per the Weather Channel and 31% per Accuweather.com], can assume [oops] that Goodyear will have their 'wet' race tire available for the teams. It is NOT a rain tire. The cars would not run in a steady or heavy rain, but could run on a wet track. A windshield wiper [front only] and a rear brake light would also be installed. The 'wet' tires are only used on road course track, if needed.(8-6-2003)
UPDATE: Rain tires? Watkins Glen is the one track where NASCAR has threatened to use them, but most drivers and car owners consider that more of a marketing ploy to boost ticket sales in the area than a real possibility. The last time NASCAR tried to get drivers even to run a few laps, they finally decided it was too wet for the rain tires.(Winston Salem Journal), 'wet' / 'rain' tires are NOT mentioned in the Goodyear Tire Notes but Goodyear does have 1200 wet/rain tires at the track.(8-7-2003)
AND Winston Cup Series director John Darby also said that the use of rain tires this weekend is a possibility, but that they would be employed only in the race on Sunday in an effort to complete the race if bad weather came after the event had started.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-9-2003)
- Stewart wants Zippy as part of the deal? UPDATE: According to sources, the only reason Stewart hasn't signed with Ganassi yet is Greg Zipadelli, his crew chief. Stewart wants Zipadelli, but Zipadelli isn't sure what he wants to do. It appears to be a similar situation to that which faced Ray Evernham and Jeff Gordon a few years ago. Zipadelli wants Stewart to stay with Gibbs, but Stewart - though he is not saying much - seems inclined to move on.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2003)
UPDATE: With rumors continuing to circulate concerning Tony Stewart’s future post-2004 — when his contract at Joe Gibbs Racing expires — Stewart said there were no changes. He and his agent/lawyer, Cary Agajanian, continue to negotiate with the intent of extending his relationship with Gibbs. Yes, said Stewart, he has talked with rival owner Chip Ganassi. “I talk with Chip every week, but not about driving with him. I talk him because I see him in the garage and we know each other,” Stewart said. Stressing that his contract still has another full season to run after this one, Stewart said he hadn’t had the time to devote much attention to renewing the contract.(Gaston Gazette)(8-9-2003)
- More on the Wind Tunnel tests: Winston Cup Series director John Darby said Friday that NASCAR officials were pleased with the results of wind tunnel tests done earlier this week on eight cars after last week's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Darby said the range from the best to worst among the four manufacturers was around 75 pounds of downforce, showing NASCAR has made progress in keeping the cars evenly matched. He also said the drag numbers on all four makes were within an even smaller range. Given those results, Darby indicated he's confident that if NASCAR elects to trim the rear spoilers on all makes before the 2004 season - a possibility clearly being considered - the effects would be equal among Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac and Dodge teams.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-9-2003)
- Davis offers to terminate Ward's contract/Tracy and Childress? Blaney back to Davis?: Ward Burton said Bill Davis Racing has offered to terminate his contract with the #22 team for next season, but Burton isn't prepared to sign it yet, "It's an option to terminate our agreement for '04, Nov. 30. Obviously, I'm not going to sign it until I have an agreement with someone else." Burton has talked to other car owners but declined to name any. One of the car owners reportedly interested was Richard Childress. Childress and Burton said Friday at Watkins Glen International they have talked, but it was about hunting.(NASCAR.com) AND Ward Burton's future may be the second-hottest driver story on the Winston Cup tour - along with Richard Childress' surprising negotiations with Paul Tracy, a temperamental Indy-car star. Burton and car owner Bill Davis appear destined to split at the end of the season, perhaps sooner. Mike Brown, Davis' general manager, said Davis has no plans to replace Burton in the coming weeks, despite reports that Dave Blaney, who once drove for Davis, might return. Burton said he expects to be in Davis' car the rest of the season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-9-2003
- First Time for Morgan-McClure: For the first time in Morgan-Mcclure's 20 Year History, the team will field two Cup cats in a race by making the Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. P.J. Jones will drive th #4 Kodak Perfect Touch Processing Pontiac and Johnny Miller will drive the #04 Kodak Easy Share Pontiac. Miller qualified 32nd and Jones was 33rd. The team tested with both drivers two weeks ago at Watkins Glen. P.J. Jones has four Winston Cup starts at Watkins Glen and one Busch Series start. Johnny Miller has one Winston Cup start, which took place at Infineon Raceway in June. The entire race team was in Rochester, New York, visiting Kodak City on Thursday. The team participated in a Teamwork day, which involved learning booths, simulated pit stops and autograph sessions. Hundreds of Kodak employees were able to interact with the Kodak Racing team, while parallels in racing and manufacturing were discussed. Making a special appearance at the event was Dan Carp, CEO of Eastman Kodak.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-9-2003)
- #30 Decision by Mid Oct: Steve Park said he and car owner Richard Childress haven't talked about what's going to happen with the #30 AOL Chevrolet next season, but both said a decision should be made my mid-October. Childress said he prefers to keep Park in the car, and Park clearly wants to remain with Richard Childress Racing. Rumors surfaced recently that Park was talking to Bill Davis about a ride, but Park just smiled.(NASCAR.com)(8-9-2003)
- Cup Drivers do ok in the Bully Hill Vineyards 250: there were a few drivers with NASCAR connections in Friday's Bully Hill Vineyards 250 at Watkins Glen International. Rick Carelli and John Metcalf picked up their first Rolex Series GTS win in the Team Re/Max Racing #05 Corvette on Friday night. The duo took a three-lap victory over the second-place Gunnar Racing #6 Porsche GT1 of Gunnar Jeannette, Kyle Petty and Paul Newman. The Porsche was able to take second in the class despite a spin by Newman that sent the car into The Glen's foam walls and brought out a caution. The team was able to repair the car and get it back on course before the track went back to green flag conditions. Petty was the only guest NASCAR driver to earn a spot on the podium. Robby Gordon finished fifth in the Daytona Prototypes class in the Cegwa Sport #3 Toyota, and Geoffrey Bodine took seventh in the class in the G&W Motorsports #8 BMW. The Bully Hill Vineyards 250 will be broadcast on SPEED Channel on Sunday, August 10 at 5:00pm/et. The overall race was won by Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber. Former Busch driver and son of Racing legend Mark Donohue, David Donohue was 2nd.(Grand American Road Racing Association Site)(8-9-2003)
- Stockcarfans.com - Ramblings - Watkins Glen: #24-Jeff Gordon grabbed his second Bud Pole of the season today (he had the top-spot at Martinsville in April) at Watkins Glen International for Sunday's Sirius at the Glen, and it was a new track record. For that
matter, with the cloudy and overcast conditions, the first 18 drivers were quicker than the previous track record.
With a time of 70.798 sec (124.580 mph), Gordon claimed his 44th career pole. He'll be joined on the front-row by #16-Greg Biffle, who claimed his career-best starting spot. His previous best was 4th at New Hampshire last September.
#6-Mark Martin (3rd) has his best starting spot since he started 3rd at Rockingham in February.
#2-Rusty Wallace (5th) has his best starting spot since he started on the outside pole at Dover in June.
#54-Todd Bodine (17th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 14th at Pocono in June.
#45-Kyle Petty (31st) has his best starting spot since he started 27th at Dover in June.
STREAKIN....Bobby Labonte has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
The road course event brought out a car count of 47, so we've got 4 cars loaded up for the early out on today's Trouble Train. Ken Schrader,
Joe Varde, Scott Maxwell (in the #43 this weekend), and Larry Foyt were all DNQ's this week.
Provisionals went to: Sterling Marlin (his first of the year), Ricky Craven, Jimmy Spencer (friend to road racers everywhere), Jeremy Mayfield (his first provisional of the season as well), Steve Park, Tony Raines, and Paul Menard (making his first ever Cup start).(Stockcarfans.com Winston Cup Newsletter)(8-9-2003)
- Army offers free diversions at track: The Army has a sprawling display among the vendors near the Pyramid shopping complex along the Watkins Glen International infield. A tank, helicopter and race car simulators, a pit crew challenge, combat games and marksmanship competitions are part of the setup, free of charge. "A lot of it's for fun," said Steve Ingo, 45, who travels the NASCAR circuit with the Army. "It also doubles as a recruiting station." The booth will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.(Star Gazette)(8-8-2003)
- Milestones: #10-Johnny Benson will start his 250th Winston Cup race; #97-Kurt Busch will start his 100th Cup race. #18-Bobby Labonte will start his 350th consecutive Cup race at Watkins Glen.(8-8-2003)
- NY Army National Guard to take a lap: Watkins Glen International invitated the members of the New York Army National Guard to drive the NASCAR drivers on the parade lap around the track. The NYARNG will also provide the color guard, proudly presenting our nations color's for the national anthem. All the soldiers are members of the 1-108th Infantry, the 427th Support Battalion, the 101 Cavalry, and the 27th Brigade from Rochester, NY.(8-8-2003)
- New Color Scheme for Cup: It appears NASCAR's premier series will not only get a name change next season, but also a new color scheme. Nextel Communications signed a 10-year deal to begin sponsoring what is now known as the Winston Cup series beginning in 2004. The change will also include the series' marketing colors, from traditional red and white to predominantly yellow and black [HEY - just like Jayski!!], ThatsRacin.com has learned. The change in color would be new for NASCAR as well as Nextel, which uses primarily maroon now in its advertising. The change will be made in part to make Nextel's involvement more distinctive, sources confirmed. The Winston Cup series' logos and colors can be found all over the country, including billboards, souvenirs, signage at tracks and even the colors of NASCAR's mobile headquarters haulers.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2003)
- Congrats: #7 Ultra Motorsports crew chief Tommy Baldwin and his wife Beth are proud parents of a newborn son, Jack Harris Baldwin, born on Monday, Aug. 4th.
- DW, Mikey and the Stooges PLUS: Michael Waltrip, Inc. (MWI) announced today that Darrell Waltrip (D.W.) will compete for his third NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series race this year at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 18. Darrell will be behind the wheel of his younger brother's #17 Aaron's/Three Stooges Chevrolet race truck, the latest addition to The Three Stooges 75th Anniversary racing program that has the vaudevillian troupe climbing aboard several race cars in the National Hot Rod Association and NASCAR circuits. Action Performance Companies Inc., C3 Entertainment Inc. and Global Icons came up with the idea of bringing the Three Stooges to the races. In addition to The Three Stooges truck, Michael Waltrip's #99 Aaron's Dream Machine, NASCAR Busch Series entry will also promote the Three Stooges 75th anniversary. See the press releasse on my Truck Series site AND see an image of the truck on my 2003 Truck Schemes page.(8-8-2003)
- Good Answer: Car owner Chip Ganassi doesn't appear to be in any hurry to sign reigning Winston Cup series champion Tony Stewart, should he become available. Asked Friday what his timetable was to hire Stewart, Ganassi replied: "Whenever his contract is up." Stewart's contract with Joe Gibbs Racing expires after 2004, but Gibbs has presented Stewart with a long-term contract extension. Stewart has yet to sign off on the new deal and has been the subject of speculation about his future, including a possible move to Ganassi in 2005. Stewart's crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, and sponsor, The Home Depot, have both agreed to extensions but are waiting for Stewart. Ganassi has previously said he would be interested in Stewart.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2003)
- Geoffrey Book in 2004 and some plans: Former WGI press liaison and current manager of public relations for Grand-Am J.J. O'Malley said Thursday his Geoffrey Bodine biography is targeted for release in the fall of 2004.(Corning Leader)
AND Bodine will team with Darren Law at Watkins Glen to race the #8 car in tonight's Bully Hill Vineyards 250 Rolex Series race MORE Looking ahead to next season, Bodine said he's exploring opportunities for himself and his brother Brett in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Looking ahead to tonight's race, Bodine seemed more concerned with impressing his hometown fans than a Winston Cup team.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-8-2003)
- NASCAR vs IRL Points: what would the top ten in Drivers Points look like using IRL system? (where they stand in other system in parens)
Matt Kenseth (1 in Cup system))
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2)
Jeff Gordon (3)
Bobby Labonte (6)
Kurt Busch (8)
Ryan Newman (9)
Jimmie Johnson (4)
Michael Waltrip (5)
Kevin Harvick (7)
Tony Stewart (13)
Current top ten in Winston Cup Points system:
Matt Kenseth (1 in IRL system)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2)
Jeff Gordon (3)
Jimmie Johnson (7)
Michael Waltrip (8)
Bobby Labonte (4)
Kevin Harvick (9)
Kurt Busch (5)
Ryan Newman (6)
Rusty Wallace (11)
Not a huge difference at all.(see full comparision at Stockcarfans.com)(8-8-2003)
- Good News: Dave Traini, seriously burned in a fiery crash at the Fairgrounds Speedway [Nashville, see my Past News - 7-28-2003 on 7-28] two weeks ago, has been released from Vanderbilt Medical Center and will continue treatment and rehabilitation at his Hartsville home. Traini said he wished to express his appreciation to friends and fans who offered their support during his ordeal.(Tennessean)(8-8-2003)
- Smirnoff and the #99? or to Penske? UPDATE - Sponsor Announcement Soon for the #99? 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, knowing 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)
UPDATE: Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president, is very bullish on the prospects of getting Jeff Burton’s Ford sponsored for the 2004 season and beyond. In fact, Smith hopes to have something to announce soon. “We’re in discussion with sponsors,” the executive told TFR. “I hope that one of the prospects will have a deal within 30 days.” Asked about the difficulty placing sponsors, Smith said, “We’re having a really good selling year. We’ve had three companies sign with us that could have gone away.” Plus, he is speaking with four potential parties for Burton’s car.(Ford Racing)(8-8-2003)
- Changes soon with the #16? UPDATE: Though rookie Greg Biffle won last month at Daytona, his learning curve would be accelerated by the addition of a veteran Winston Cup crew chief. Biffle's crew chief is Randy Goss, who is in his first full Winston Cup season in that job. Roush would not confirm that changes are ahead for any of his teams, but he says he won't wait until the end of the season if he believes a move should be made.(Sporting News), Jimmy Elledge is one possibility.(8-5-2003)
UPDATE: Some shifts and changes have taken place within Greg Biffle’s rookie team. “We have a new program that has a new driver and new crew chief,” Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said of the re-evaluation the team underwent, “to get the right support system around the program.” However, Smith added, “I can tell you unequivocally that [crew chief] Randy [Goss] wasn’t one of the people that will be shifted. That doesn’t mean that he won’t be shifted, but that’s not happened – the reports are premature.”(Ford Racing)(8-8-2003)
- Richard Petty on "Fox & Friends" This Morning: Richard Petty will unveil a commemorative 100th Anniversary New York Yankees car in New York on Friday. He will be interviewed live on Fox & Friends with the show car during the 8:00 hour on FOX News Channel, probably around 8:35am/et. AND Richard Petty will also be on The Best Damn Sports Show Period tonight on FOX Sports Net. Petty and baseball Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra will be interviewed while promoting the show car from Yankee Stadium.(MotorsportsTV)
AND Petty threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, his catcher was baseball legend, Yogi Berra (FSN's Totally NASCAR show), also see some new images of the real #44 Dodge on my 2003 Cup Schemes page - #24-99.(8-8-2003)
- NASCAR and U.S. Army Launch Diversity Outreach Program in Three Cities: NASCAR and the U.S. Army recently announced the launch of a new diversity outreach program designed to introduce inner city teenagers in three cities to the broad range of opportunities available in motorsports. The program will reach out to teens in Indianapolis, IN, Richmond, VA and Miami, FL, through a unique interactive off-site event, special at-track tours, and discussions with NASCAR and U.S. Army representatives prior to attending a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The program's official launch was in Indianapolis on Friday, Aug. 1, 2003 and included more than 70 young adults from the Indianapolis Urban League and other community organizations, ages 16-22. The youngsters were transported to the Indianapolis Raceway Park for a day of at-track hospitality that included a NASCAR diversity and career opportunity presentation during dinner before the race, pit and garage tours and discussions with NASCAR industry representatives including Sam Belnavis, African American Owner of a NASCAR Winston Cup Series #54 team -BelCar; Anthony Martin, Executive Director of the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia; and Wayne Clapp, Executive Director of the Association for Diversity in Motorsports. The two other events will take place in Richmond on September 4th and in Miami on November 14th. "NASCAR is working directly with our entire industry to broaden our sport's appeal and to help create meaningful opportunities for the many diverse communities throughout our country," said Dora Taylor, head of NASCAR's Diversity Affair's Department. "We are calling on all members of the motorsports industry to promote diversity in every facet of their operations." NASCAR and the U.S. Army will be working with the local affiliates of the National Urban League and other community organizations to identify the young adults for these exciting events. Much more information about NASCAR and the the U.S. Army's plans at www.diversityinternships.com.(8-8-2003)
- UAW leaving but... as announced previously [see the #25 Team News and Links page], UAW will not return in 2004 to sponsor the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and driver Joe Nemechek, however, Delphi, co-sponsor on the car the past few years, will return in some form. The team is not worried about landing a replacement for UAW.(Wisnton Cup Scene - need sub to read)(8-8-2003)
- Stewart wants Zippy as part of the deal? According to sources, the only reason Stewart hasn't signed with Ganassi yet is Greg Zipadelli, his crew chief. Stewart wants Zipadelli, but Zipadelli isn't sure what he wants to do. It appears to be a similar situation to that which faced Ray Evernham and Jeff Gordon a few years ago. Zipadelli wants Stewart to stay with Gibbs, but Stewart - though he is not saying much - seems inclined to move on.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2003)
- 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: 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)
UPDATE 3: #5-Terry Labonte will be back at Hendrick Motorsports in 2004 as something has been worked out, Rick Hendrick says no contracts have been signed but that Labonte will be in the #5 in 2004.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-8-2003)
- Foyt Delivers Meals to Seniors: #14/50 NASCAR driver Larry Foyt looked poised and prepared Thursday morning, but not for a big race. Instead, he was getting ready to hop in his race car to deliver meals to the elderly. Corning Meals on Wheels, the local organization that delivers meals to homebound seniors, plan-ned the event with the help of Harrah's Entertain-ment Inc., a Las Vegas-based company. "This has been a really fun program for me. You've got a really awesome Meals on Wheels facility here," said Foyt, whose father, A.J. Foyt, recently was voted Driver of the Century. "This has been an excellent opportunity to give something back." Foyt has delivered meals in cities from Las Vegas to Chicago.(Corning Leader)(8-8-2003)
- TV Ratings for Indy UPDATE: In Indianapolis, at last Sunday's Brickyard 400, approximately 300,000 fans were on hand. As far as the Indy market's TV race-watchers were concerned, the event (broadcast by NBC) earned an incredible 22.1 rating “ outside the Daytona 500, the highest local market rating for any race this year. Indy led the way for 16 markets that had a rating greater than 8.0, including non-traditional NASCAR markets Dayton (10.5), Milwaukee (8.7), Columbus (8.5) and St. Louis (8.2). (Figures from NBC and Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)(8-7-2003)
UPDATE: The Brickyard 400 on NBC finished as the #1 ranked sports broadcast for last week, turning in a 6.0 rating and 15 share, representing 6,415,000 households, according to Nielsen Media Research This is down 5% from last year's 6.3 final rating. The closest competitor to the race from Indy was the ABC primetime Battle of the Bridges with Tiger Woods, garnering a 4.6 rating and 8 share.(MotorsportsTV)(8-8-2003)
- #0 News UPDATEs: hearing that Jason Leffler will drive the #0 Netzeo Pontiac at Indy in the Brickyard 400 and that Netzero may not be back as a sponsor in 2004 for the team. AND as was previously reported [see the #0 Team News and Links page, Leffler will drive the #0 in 7-9 races in 2003, 6 straight from MIS thru Dover...
UPDATE: the future isn't expected to include current sponsor NetZero, as the company failed to notify the team of its intent to return by a July deadline. The team isn't worried as Haas Automation, company of team owner Gene Haas wanted to sponsor the team this year and will do so in 2004 if another company doesn't come aboard. No word on who will drive the car in 2004 but Leffler could be a candidate, depending on his situation with his Truck Team owner Jim Smith.(Wisnton Cup Scene - need sub to read)(8-8-2003)
- SAFER Installation to start at RIR on Aug 18th and No All Star Race in 2004: Richmond International Raceway will begin installation of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction [SAFER] barrier Aug. 18 and expects to have the "soft-wall" technology assembled in seven to 10 days, RIR President Doug Fritz said yesterday. That timeline would put the SAFER system in place well before the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 Winston Cup race Sept. 6. The addition of the barrier, which made a successful debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year, will limit testing at the 0.75-mile oval for the Sept. 4-6 NASCAR weekend to the next 11 days [before the barrier is installed]. Teams traditionally test the week or two before an event. NASCAR prevents testing on the week of a track's race. Fritz said the same workers who constructed the SAFER wall in Indianapolis have been hired to install Richmond's version of the barrier, which reduces the forces absorbed by drivers during a crash and has prevented any serious injuries at Indianapolis since its May 2002 debut. Also RIR won't be playing host to the NASCAR's all-star race. The event, which formerly was known as The Winston, is expected to return to Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2004 in its first year with the series' new title sponsor, Reston-based Nextel.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-7-2003)
- Sad News: Binkley dies: Longtime Nashville, TN area racing figure Ray Binkley died earlier this week. Binkley was related to several drivers who have competed at Fairgrounds Speedway over the decades, and built engines for Darrell Waltrip early in Waltrip's career.(Tennessean)(8-7-2003)
- AT&T To Stay: AT&T apparently won't keep its telecommunications off the circuit next year despite restrictions set forth by new sponsor Nextel. With Nextel set to replace Winston as the title sponsor the NASCAR's top level of stock car racing in 2004, the only telecommunications companies allowed to sponsor cars will be companies already on the circuit. BAM Racing has a part-time sponsorship from 1-800-CALL-ATT, but Nextel decided to add so many restrictions on AT&T, including the banishment of AT&T's famed global emblem from the car and all of its marketing, everyone thought the deal was dead. "It looks like AT&T will be with us in some form in 2004, and this offers another tremendous opportunity for a sponsor," said BAM owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. "They appear to be very willing to work with our 2004 sponsors, develop cross-promotions and marketing opportunities, and help whoever comes in with BAM Racing." One way Morgenthau can make the AT&T deal work around Nextel's restrictions is to promote the company's 800-calling plan, not its telephone service.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-7-2003)
- Starr might fit well for Aikman-Staubach team: Hall of Fame Racing, the new NASCAR team being formed by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, still hopes to run one or two cars in the Busch Series next year. One driver who would appear to be a perfect fit is NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racer David Starr. His name alone is a great marketing tool for a team owned by former Cowboys, but Starr also has a few other things going for him. He's a respected racer with the talent to win, he has the looks and personality that sponsors love, and he's a Texan who lives just down the road from Texas Stadium.(Dallas Morning News)(8-7-2003)
- Leffler in the #0 for more races? UPDATE: The fast, consistent test laps Jason Leffler ran at Kentucky Speedway were among the reasons crew chief Tony Furr elected to put Leffler in the #0 NetZero Pontiac at Indy. Leffler joined the team at 5 the morning of the test and stayed until 3 the next morning to make sure the car would be ready, and that sealed the deal. Furr was impressed enough by Leffler that he signed him to nine races, on the weekends Leffler doesn't have a conflict with the trucks series. John Andretti already was signed to drive the car Sunday at Watkins Glen.(Sporting News)(8-4-2003)
UPDATE Leffler to run the #0 at MIS: Jason Leffler will return to the driver’s seat of the #0 Netzero entry at Michigan International Speedway.(NetZero Racing PR) AND Fox Sports Nets Totally NASCAR reports that Leffler will race Michigan and the following five race [for a total of 6] and may run as many as nince races.(8-7-2003)
- Rutemiller to sub for Bryan: Robert Rutemiller will serve as jackman on the #88 UPS Racing Team while John Bryan rests from the accident he was involved in at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week. Rutemiller currently works in the NASCAR Busch Series as jackman on the #59 Busch Series team.(UPS PR) AND Fox Sports Nets Totally NASCAR reports that Bryan will be out for 5-6 weeks.(8-7-2003)
- NASCAR Recruiting and Training Officials: NASCAR is beginning an extensive recruiting and training program for NASCAR officials. They have set up an e-mail address and phone number for candidates. The new director of officiating for NASCAR Joe Garone is working full-time on the project and preparing detailed manuals and official training courses for new officials in all positions in all series which will include both book and on the job training with veteran officials. A web site comming in Jan. Before they go to Daytona 2004.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required) For the email address and phone number, see my Racing Schools and Jobs page.(8-7-2003)
- Kurt Busch's Team Grabs Pit Crew Honors at Indianapolis: In Sunday's (Aug. 3) 10th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the pit crew of Kurt Busch's team captured the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. The victory paid the No. 97 crew $20,000 and lifted the team into fifth place in the season pit crew point standings. Busch's Roush Racing Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road - 196.331 seconds -- during the 400-mile race. Robby Gordon's Chevrolet was second - 219.670 and Bill Elliott's Dodge was third - 221.298. Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Andy Thurman (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can). The team's crew chief is Jimmy Fennig. Michael Waltrip's pit crew continues to hold a commanding lead in the McDonald's/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship standings with 794 points, 77 more than the second-place pit crew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus.
For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(8-7-2003)
- Donlavey Racing to run Nashville ARCA race: This weekend, Junie Donlavey's ARCA team, featuring driver Jason Hedlesky in the EMP Stewart Components Ford, will try to earn a spot in the lineup for Saturday's Waste Management 200. EMP Stewart Components is an industry leader in high performance cooling systems. "We took Jason to Nashville when the track first opened," Donlavey said from his shop in Richmond, Va. "It was one of the weekends the Winston Cup Series was off, and I went there to watch practice and qualifying. Jason had difficulty with the car on his second qualifying lap, and it got too beat up to fix before race time. What a difference two years makes. Jason has made terrific strides, and I've been proud of the progress he has made during a sporadic driving schedule. I look for him to accomplish a career-best finish there this weekend." Waste Management, Superior Logistics Services and Accu Industries are associate sponsors of the team this weekend, and Donlavey and Hedlesky will sign autographs and answer questions for the 200-300 Waste Management employees at the race.(Keystone Marketing PR)(8-7-2003)
- Wanna Engine? the Smokey Yunick Foundation is raffling off Big Block Chevy Engine that ran in the #13 car in the 1967 Daytona 500, more info at www.smokeyyunick.com or on my Racing Charities page.(8-6-2003)
- Last 'Ringer' to win? Road Course 'Ringers' [drivers who specialize in runnig road course tracks/series] have not won a road course race in Winston Cup since Jayski fave, the late Mark Donohue won at Riverside, CA in the #16 AMC Madator for Roger Penske AND speaking of Donohue, there will be a Mark Donohue Tribute Reunion at Watkins Glen at the on September 5-7th during the 2003 Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix. The main event will include a demonstration race with the cars from Donohue's past. More info on my Mark Donohue Tribute Page.(8-6-2003)
- Magic Number: seen this a few places, but what is #17-Matt Kenseth's 'magic' number? meaning where does he need to average to win his first [and the last] Winston Cup? Kenseth has 3152 points, 286 over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr's 2866. If Earnhardt Jr. wins the remaining 15 races and leads the most laps, he would have 5641 points, the most he can get. So Kenseth would need 2490 to beat Dale Jr. [a tie would go to Jr. since he would have 16 wins to Kenseth's 1]. 2490/15 works out to 166 points, so he would need to average 166 points to win the Cup, third place finish is worth 165. So if Kenseth can average a third place finish in the 15 races for 2475 points and lead a lap in three races, he can't lose the Cup.(8-6-2003)
- 2003 vs 2002 - Comparison after 21 races: not as close as a few weeks ago...but:
2003: #17-Matt Kenseth has 3152 points, 286 ahead of 2nd in the standings, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2002: #40-Sterling Marlin had 2866 points, 211 ahead of 7th place in the standings, #20-Tony Stewart, who won the Cup
so there still is a chance with 15 races to go.
Here are some Facts: Marlin lost the points lead at the Sept New Hampshire race, race #27, got hurt in race #29 at Kansas, Stewart passed him [3rd - Marlin 4th] in race #28 at Dover. Marlin fell from the lead two weeks before he got hurt.(8-6-2003)
- Stewart's car features 'store of the week': Home Depot store #703, located in Memphis, Tenn., will be represented on the lower rear quarterpanel of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet during the Sirius Satellite Radio At The Glen. Store #703 was judged to be the outstanding store of the week, thereby earning its place on the orange and black Joe Gibbs Racing machine.(True Speed Communication PR)(8-6-2003)
- Joe Gibbs Racing Fanfest: Joe Gibbs Racing has announced its third annual Fall Fanfest will be held Friday, October 10th from 8am-2pm at the team headquarters in Huntersville, NC. This annual event allows the race fans to participate alongside the Joe Gibbs
Racing family and drivers to help support local charities. This year Joe Gibbs Racing and participating sponsors will once again be focusing their efforts on the Toys for Tots campaign that has been so successful in the past. In addition to that on-going association, Joe Gibbs Racing is proud to announce that the Victory Junction Gang Camp development fund will also join the list of beneficiaries from the Fanfest. See more info at the Joe Gibbs Racing site or on my Racing Charities page.(8-6-2003)
- Dale Jr' and Lorenzen Voted to the Walk of Fame: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be enshrined in the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in nearby Davey Allison Memorial Park. On the eve of the EA SPORTS* 500, Dale Jr. will be inducted into the Walk of Fame after receiving the most votes by the fans. This is the quickest any driver has been inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame. This is only Dale Jr.'s fourth full season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. His father, Dale Earnhardt, was the first active driver to be inducted into the Walk of Fame, in the inaugural class of 1995. Fred Lorenzen, voted as one of the 50 greatest drivers in NASCAR history, will be enshrined into the Walk of Fame as the inactive driver of 2003. The 2003 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony is on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in uptown Talladega , a block south of the town square. This year's ceremony marks the 10th anniversary of Davey Allison's death. Joining emcee Benny Parsons on stage will be Larry McReynolds and special guests Liz Allison, along with children Robbie and Krista Allison. The induction ceremony begins at 7 p.m. and is free to the public.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(8-6-2003)
- So...who wins the 'trade' between DEI and RCR? Some comparisions of #30-Steve Park and #1-Jeff Green.
after the May Richmond race, Green was released from the #30 Richard Childress AOL Chevy and Park was released from the #1 Dale Earnhardt Inc. #1 Pennzoil Chevy. The same week, Green was named to drive the #1 car and Park was named to drive the #30, so how have they fared?
Park: after 11 races in the #1 Chevy, Park had an average finish of 26.5; after 9 of 10 races in the #30 Chevy, Park's finishing average is 26.0. Best finish in the #1 was a 10th, best finish in the #30 [so far] is 8th.
Green: after 11 races in the #30 Chevy, Green had an average finish of 26.3; after 9 of 10 races in the #1 Chevy, Green's finishing average is 25.7. Best finish in the #30 was a 7th, best finish in the #1 [so far] is 16th.
Didn't count Sonoma in Park's average [43rd place finish] since Green didn't race there in the #1, Ron Fellows did. Looks pretty even as trades go.(8-6-2003)
- More on Stewart/Ganassi: ....Rumors that Stewart might be considering a move to Ganassi's operation surfaced nearly a month ago and show no signs of dying down. [Crew Chief Greg] Zipadelli admits that has become something of a distraction for the team. Zipadelli said the issue has not caused a great deal of friction between him and his driver, who goes to Watkins Glen International as the defending champion of the Winston Cup race on that road course. Sources have confirmed to The Charlotte Observer that Ganassi's contract offer is for 2005 and beyond. If such a deal were to be reached now, it would present several possible scenarios for 2004. Stewart could drive for Gibbs in the final year of his contract. He could be allowed to leave and drive for Ganassi in 2004 while Gibbs finds another driver. Or, Stewart could be replaced at Gibbs, but be contractually prevented from driving in Winston Cup for another team. That, theoretically at least, could send him back to the IndyCar Series or to another form of competition for 2004. The negotiations with Ganassi do not include The Home Depot, primary sponsor of Stewart's car at Joe Gibbs Racing. If Stewart did drive for Ganassi next year, that team would likely expand to four teams with current drivers Sterling Marlin, Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray keeping their rides.(in part from ThatsRacin.com)(see all the past news and rumors about this on my #20 Team News and Links page)(8-6-2003)
- Testing at Kentucky: #32-Ricky Craven and the Tide team will spend Wed. and Thurs., Aug. 6-7, testing at Kentucky Speedway. The team will use the session to collect data for General Motors and to test different concepts that can be applied at some of the 1.5-mile tracks the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will visit in upcoming months.(ppi motorsports) AND also #19-Jeremy Mayfield will test on Wednesday, August 6th, Brian Vickers will test a Cup car for Hendrick Motorsports on Wed and Thurs, Aug 7-8th.(Kentucky Speedway)(8-6-2003)
- Dodge and ARCA: Dodge Motorsports announced a season-long contingency program with the ARCA RE/MAX Series. The contingency program begins with the Waste Management 200 race at Nashville Superspeedway on August 9. Under the guidelines of this program all Dodge drivers in the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be awarded $2,000 for each victory, $1,000 for every second-place finish and $750 for every third-place finish.. Dodge will also award a $5,000 grand prize to any Dodge driver who wins an ARCA RE/MAX championship. The partnership with the ARCA RE/MAX Series represents Dodge's ongoing commitment to leverage its motorsports initiatives at the grass roots level.. The program runs through the final eight races of the 2003 ARCA RE/MAX Series season, and will continue throughout 2004.(Dodge Motorsports/Golin Harris PR)(8-6-2003)
- Bud Moore back: Racing fans can be excused for checking their calendars when they attend the 30th annual Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Aug. 15-17, at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. They might think it's 1970 all over again, or 1967, as the Bud Moore Trans-Am teams reunite for the first time in more than 30 years. Reunited 1967 Mercury and 1970 Ford Championship Trans-Am Teams Bud Moore, Parnelli Jones, George Follmer, Dan Gurney, Ed Leslie and David Pearson meet fans at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca Bud Moore Trans-Am Cougar and three Boss 302 Mustangs will race again. Memories will surely come flooding back with the presence of three of the team's famous Mustangs in the reunion. George Follmer's stunning red, black and white Boss 302 Mustang owned by Vic Edelbrock of Torrance, California will represent the 1969 season, and two of the famous "school bus yellow" Boss Mustangs will recall the 1970 season. They are George Follmer's No. 16 car also owned by Ross Myers, and Parnelli Jones' No. 15 car owned by Harry Lipetz of Vancouver, British Columbia. All of these cars and the 1967 Cougar will be racing at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, August 16, in "The Historic Trans-Am" race that features 1966-1972 cars. More information at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Site.(8-6-2003)
- SIM Stuff: NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway has renewed its licensing agreement with International Speedway Corporation (ISC) through 2005, forging a multi-year relationship with the ownership group of some of America’s greatest racing facilities. Customers of the 14 unique racing centers will be able to continue to enjoy simulated NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing on ISC tracks. Perfect Line, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMTS, owns and operates NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway. The racing centers currently feature ISC properties Daytona International Speedway and Richmond International Raceway on the simulators, two of the six NASCAR Winston Cup Series tracks that NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway customers can choose from when competing in simulated races [the other four are: Atlanta, Bristol, Indianapolis and Lowe's]. The development of additional ISC tracks is in Perfect Line’s plans during the term of the license.(Perfect Line PR), see SIMs links, and past news on my Fantasy League/Games/SIMs links page.(8-6-2003)
- Ernie at Atlanta Thursday CANCELLED: Former NASCAR Winston Cup star Ernie Irvan will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway this week for Papa John's Fan Appreciation Night at Thursday Thunder, where he will be signing autographs for the fans and racing against his young protégé in a celebrity Legends race.
UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway regrets to inform its fans that Ernie Irvan and Kevin Conway have cancelled their appearance at
tomorrow's Papa John's Fan Appreciation Night at Thursday Thunder. Both 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White and current Busch competitor Ron Young will still be on hand to sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on the concourse.(AMS PR)(8-6-2003)
- TV Stuff and Commercials: MotorsportsTV.com has a Brickyard 400 Special Broadcast Log - With so much controversy about commercials on NBC and TNT, they decided to provide a complete log of all of the action and the commercial details, see it on their main page MotorsportsTV.com and on their News Briefs for August 4, 2003 has a commercial breakdown for the last four Brickyard 400's: "yesterday's broadcast had 3 minutes and 33 seconds less in commercial time per hour than ABC's broadcast in 2000" and almost a minute less then in 2002 [and of note, your typical sitcom on network TV does 7-8 minutes of commercials ever 30 minutes, so 14 in an hour is pretty normal, and is of course what allows NBC and Fox to bring us the races LIVE on the tube].(8-4-2003)
AND see more at MotorsportsTV: Multi-Billion Dollar NASCAR TV Contract Has Caused No Significant Increase in Commercials, MotorsportsTV.com Study Shows.(8-5-2003)
- Mexico? Australia [can I go?] Canada? in the future for NASCAR UPDATE: NASCAR's search for new markets for Winston Cup racing could take a decidedly unexpected twist - think Mexico City and Australia. Car owner Jack Roush says that an early January Cup race in Australia would be perfect timing, since the weather's great, and he likes Canadian and Mexican options, too. While the Indy Racing League would be the obvious choice to replace CART at those venues, NASCAR sources say that the stock-car sanctioning body - which, after all, runs one of the world's most popular auto-racing series - may be approached by sponsors to consider running races at Mexico City and in Australia in CART's stead. Two such Winston Cup races could perk the interest of NBC and Fox, who haven't been making money on the sport they're paying $400 million a year to broadcast. Two venues closer to home, with more logical markets, are Vancouver, British Columbia, and Denver [street courses for Cup cars?].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2003)
UPDATE: NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham confirmed Tuesday the sanctioning body is exploring the "long-term possibility" of holding a Busch or Truck series race in Mexico, likely in the Mexico City area. NASCAR has expanded beyond the continental United States before but only with non-points "exhibition" races held in Japan in 1997 and 1998. "People in Mexico are intensely interested in NASCAR and Mexico borders areas of the U.S. also with a lot of fan interest," Branham said. "It should come as no surprise there would be interest in holding a race in Mexico considering the tremendous growth of the sport." In its third year of distributing its programming overseas, NASCAR started the 2003 season with an expanded global reach including television broadcasts in more than 100 countries in 21 languages each week. "We are working hard to drive more worldwide exposure and attention to NASCAR and we are pleased with the early results our international television partners are seeing in their local markets," said Paul Brooks, NASCAR's vice president of broadcasting. Asked specifically if the 2005 season was a possibility for a NASCAR event in Mexico, Branham said there was not established timetable.(Thatsracin.com)(8-5-2003)
- Ward Talks: As driver Ward Burton and car owner Bill Davis are talking about a possible split at the end of the season, Burton says he's exploring his options and talking with other car owners to see what's available. Burton said "I haven't done it for so long I feel quite new at it so I'm gonna see in the next couple weeks what options may be out there for me." Burton went on to say "It's somewhat awkward, I've got a lot of mixed feelings about it, but at the same time I feel like that I could do a good job for someone on the racetrack so the opportunities could be exciting as well." Burton has driven for Davis since 1995 winning the 2002 Daytona 500 and the 2001 Southern 500.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-5-2003)
- 2,172 miles, 14 States, 143 Days - Ray Hudson finishes the Appalachian Trail: Not many people can boast that they hiked 2,172 miles, through 14 different states all in one attempt. Ray Hudson can say just that, and that he did it all to help his favorite charity. Ray Hudson, a shop fabricator at Petty Enterprises, hiked the entire 2,172-mile Appalachian Trail starting in Springer Mountain, GA on March 1. Hudson finished his hike on July 21, 143 days since he began. His inspiration for this incredible hike was to raise funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Ray will return to his hometown of Randleman, North Carolina to a huge welcome home bash and his very own Ray Hudson Day. The town of Randleman has generously named August 11th Ray Hudson Day. All of the individuals who donated to Ray's hike will be invited to join Richard and Kyle Petty to welcome back Ray. A check with the total amount from Ray's hike will be presented to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. "This is huge, we are all really proud of Ray," said Kyle Petty.(Victory Junction Gang PR)(8-5-2003)
- #02 Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Jeff Buckner has been fined $1,000 for a rule infraction that occurred during the Brickyard 400 race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Buckner was penalized for having unapproved rear axles on the #02 Pontiac of driver Hermie Sadler. NASCAR officials discovered the infraction during last Saturday's (Aug. 2) post-qualifying inspection. Buckner was in violation of Sections 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(8-5-2003)
- Petty to drive a Porche at the Glen: Kyle Petty will return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Cars Series at Watkins Glen International, August 7-8, driving a Porsche in the Bully Hill Vineyards 250. At the same time, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran will be raising awareness for the eight Hole in the Wall Gang camps for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their families. Petty will join Gunnar Jeannette in the Gunnar Racing #6 Porsche GT1. The car, driven by Petty to a second place finish in the GTS class in the recent Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway, will carry a special paint scheme featuring all eight Hole in the Wall Gang
camps for the 250-mile race. "Kyle joined us at the Paul Revere 250, and he liked racing in our car and asked if he could drive it again," said team owner Kevin Jeannette. "Of course we were thrilled to have him come back and join us. Because of our team's prior affiliation with Paul Newman, who founded the Hole in the Wall Gang camps, and Kyle's Victory Junction Gang Camp, I thought it would be a great idea to help promote awareness of these camps in front of the Winston Cup crowd at The Glen." Jeannette will donate his winnings from the race to the Hole in the Wall Gang camps, and plans to encourage all of the other Rolex Series teams to do the same at the Bully Hill Vineyards 250. The car will mark the first time that all eight of the Hole in the Wall Gang camps have been featured together. That number includes the Victory Junction Gang Camp near Greensboro, N.C., founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of Adam Petty, which will open in 2004. The
other camps include the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut, Boggy Creek Gang Camp in Florida, Double "H" Hole in the Woods Ranch in New York, Barretstown Gang Camp in Ireland, L'Envol in France, Painted Turtle Camp in California and Jordan River Village in Israel. Petty is no stranger to Gatorade Victory Lane at The Glen. He won the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, and joined John Andretti in the Orbit Porsche to capture GT honors in the 2001 Bully Hill Vineyards 250. He has also competed four times the Rolex 24 At Daytona, scoring two overall finishes in the top seven driving the Orbit Racing Porsche.(Watkins Glen PR)(8-5-2003)
- NASCAR Trading Cards: The Topps Co., famed candy and baseball card maker, is selling trading cards of NASCAR drivers exclusively online via etopps.com. etopps NASCAR, which officially launches today, plans to offer two cards per week starting with Kyle Petty and Matt Kenseth for about 30 drivers in all. Once the ordering window closes, the cards will not be offered again. Card prices range from $4 to $9.50.(CharlotteObserver)(8-5-2003)
- Marlin testing at Nashville: Sterling Marlin and the #40 Coors Light team are testing Tuesday and Wednesday, August 5-6th at the Nashville Superspeedway. Also, #42-Jamie McMurray is testing there too.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(8-5-2003)
- McClure wins Late Model race: Eric McClure and Michael Kidd earned the pole for their respective Late Model Twin 50 event Saturday night at Lonesome Pine Raceway, and both jumped out to the lead on the initial start and held on for the win. McClure, who won the second Twin 50 of the evening, marked his second career NASCAR Weekly Racing Series win and his first this season. McClure did win a 150-lap United Auto Racing Association Late Model touring race at LPR in June, however. McClure is the son of #4 Morgan-McClure co-owner and raceday spotter Jerry McClure.(Kingsport Times News)(8-5-2003)
- Changes soon with the #16? Though rookie Greg Biffle won last month at Daytona, his learning curve would be accelerated by the addition of a veteran Winston Cup crew chief. Biffle's crew chief is Randy Goss, who is in his first full Winston Cup season in that job. Roush would not confirm that changes are ahead for any of his teams, but he says he won't wait until the end of the season if he believes a move should be made.(Sporting News), Jimmy Elledge is one possibility.(8-5-2003)
- Wind Tunnel Testing Tuesday UPDATE: NASCAR will take cars to the wind tunnel for the first time this season Tuesday in Marietta, Ga., to test how they react to a reduction in spoiler height. The cars that will be tested: Chevrolet, #24-Jeff Gordon and #20-Tony Stewart; Ford, #17-Matt Kenseth and #38-Elliott Sadler; Dodge, #2-Rusty Wallace and #42-Jamie McMurray; and Pontiac, #32-Ricky Craven and #10-Johnny Benson. Reducing the spoiler height likely would lead to slower speeds because the rear end of the car wouldn't be as stable. The tests also will serve as baseline for the 2004 Taurus, which will go to the wind tunnel later in the week.(Sporting News)(8-4-2003)
UPDATE: McMurray's and Kenseth's engines will be torn down and inspected Wednesday at NASCAR's tech center.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
- Helton and DEI? Unlikely: There is validity to the long-running reports that NASCAR president Mike Helton's name is once again in the hat to take over Dale Earnhardt Inc., according to top NASCAR sources. Owner Teresa Earnhardt has asked Helton to take over running the company built by the late six-time Winston Cup champion, according to sources. It is unclear how interested Helton might be in such a position or how such a move might change the power structure inside the stock-car racing sanctioning body.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
- Pemberton to leave Ford and go back to a team? Now that Robin Pemberton has successfully helped Ford get its new Taurus through the NASCAR approval process, look for the veteran crew chief to move back to his former job running a race team. The most logical position for Pemberton would be with Robert Yates, whose two-car operation has been struggling.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
- Marlboro, Penske and Cup? NASCAR's proposed ban on tobacco sponsorships comes as reports are surfacing that Philip Morris' Marlboro brand may be interested in sponsoring a Roger Penske Winston Cup team. There have been persistent reports that Penske is considering a third Cup team, but the team continues to deny those reports.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
- #88 Jackman Injured UPDATE 2 at home: On his first pitstop #88-Dale Jarrett spun out, hit his jackman, John Bryan, who was attended attended to on pitroad [which was closed] - John was (and is) awake and alert, Bryan was transported to the local hospital, Doug Yates told IMS radio that Bryan's shoulder hurts and he has pain in his pelvic area, but is awake and alert and Yates thinks he is OK - Good News! (radio and TV reports)(8-3-2003)
UPDATE: #88-Dale Jarrett was headed to pit road on lap 37 when his brakes appeared to lock up and his car began to spin down the service road. He hit jack man John Bryan, who was unable to get out of the way. "It's the most devastating thing I've ever been associated with," Jarrett said. "It was just stupidity on my part." The car spun around and went backward into the wall, pinning Bryan against the concrete barrier and sending his helmet flying into the fence. Bryan was awake and alert when taken to the hospital, complaining of a sore shoulder and pain in his pelvis. He was released Sunday night with no sign of serious injuries. Also injured was Joe Krupa, a photographer for The Star Press of Muncie, Ind. Another member of Jarrett's crew dropped a tire which came up and hit Krupa. He also was released Sunday night. Jarrett had the first pit box. "I knew which pit box we had, and I thought I'd seen how far I could get in," Jarrett said. "Apparently we just got in too far today." Jarrett started 34th, but he never recovered from the pit accident. He finished 39th, 18 laps behind winner Kevin Harvick. "I didn't even care about the rest of the race. I had to finish it for the guys," Jarrett said. "I could have cared less. My thoughts were just, 'God take care of John Bryan."'(Thatsracin.com/AP)(8-3-2003)
UPDATE 2: John Bryan is at home and resting after being involved in a pit road incident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the running of the Brickyard 400. After being evaluated at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Bryan was released with all tests coming back negative. Albeit a little sore, Bryan’s spirits are up and he is looking forward to getting back to the race track. “I’m very sore . . . I feel like I was hit by a racecar,” Bryan joked Monday afternoon. “I am a little sore all over right now but the biggest thing that’s sore is my shoulder, which makes sense because I landed on my right shoulder. Other than that, I feel pretty good and hope to get back to the shop later this week.” Bryan, who has been working at Robert Yates Racing since 1996, has been part of the #88 team pit crew since April 2002. He has worked as the Parts Manager since 1996, and shortly after that went to work pitting the #28 Robert Yates Racing Fords before moving to the #88 team in 2002. Bryan says he has every intention of returning to his jackman duties as soon as possible. Bryan, who flew home with the team on Sunday night, talked to Jarrett before leaving Indianapolis. “I saw Dale at the airport and I think seeing me in person and being able to see I was OK was a big help for him,” Bryan said. “DJ is a great person and a great driver. We’re having a tough time as a team, but we’ll get through it and I just want to get back to the track and be part of that.” Bryan says one of the positives that came out of the weekend was the performance of his safety equipment. “The safety equipment did a great job,” Bryan said. “I wear a Troy Lee helmet which has a chin guard and I think that made a huge difference. I think I was able to figure some things out too that may even help make this job safer and have talked to both Robert (Yates) and DJ (Jarrett) about it.” Bryan will sit out this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen and probably the August 17th race at Michigan International Speedway. He hopes to be able to attend the race in Michigan for moral support for the team. “These things happen,” Bryan said. “This is the class I signed up for 10 or 11 years ago when I started doing this. I’m not quitting and I’m looking forward to getting back to the track in the next couple weeks.” Bryan is going to continue resting for the next couple days before returning back to work.(Elevation Motorsports PR)(8-4-2003)
- Jerry Nadeau Update and MORE: Jerry Nadeau says it's "a pretty realistic goal" that he'll make his return at next year's Daytona 500. Team officials had talked about Nadeau possibly racing again at the end of the season, but Nadeau is not sure that schedule will work as he continues to recover from injuries suffered in a crash at Richmond in May. "I was looking at timetable-wise Atlanta because Atlanta is such a good place and I've won there," Nadeau said of the Oct.26 race. "But, you really never know."(Roanoke Times)(8-2-2003)
UPDATE: Jerry Nadeau is considering making a return to Richmond for the Cup race Sept. 6. He won't be behind the wheel of the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac. He'd prefer that he was - even though his last trip around the 0.75-mile track was harrowing. "I'll probably go to Richmond," Nadeau said. "But it'd probably be better if I would go back to drive rather than watch. That's what I do for a living is drive. If I go back where the horse bucked me off, it would make it a better time to get back. I need to make the horse pay for my injuries." He is uncertain of his return to the car but is targeting next year's Daytona 500 as a goal. He raced a go-kart three times last week. Nadeau made his second appearance as a spectator at a track [at Indy] this weekend after rejoining his team as at New Hampshire International Speedway two weeks ago. He said he is improving steadily. "I can't tell visibly that I'm better," he said. "People that see me once a week can see a difference."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-4-2003)
- Sad News - Woman Killed, Son Injured, in a racecar: A Lower Lake [CA] race car driver died when she lost control and struck a crash wall at Lakeport Speedway at the Lake County Fairgrounds, the race course's first deadly accident. Marlene Baker crashed during a "ladies powder puff race" Saturday. Baker's son was a passenger in the car and was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with a severe concussion. The crash occurred on the last lap of the last race of the evening on the quarter-mile oval track, Nadine Strauss, the speedway's manager, said in a statement released Sunday evening.(Press Democrat)(8-4-2003)
- Laps at the Brickyard: Bill Elliott, the 2002 Brickyard 400 champion, has completed a record 1,599 of a possible 1,600 laps in 10 starts. Bobby Labonte, the 2000 race champion, finished one lap down and has completed 1,598 laps. Robby Gordon joined John Andretti and Tony Stewart as the only drivers to lead laps in both the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400. Gordon led the Brickyard race for the first time Sunday, and also has led the open-wheel Indy 500 in 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2003. Three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon led three laps. He has led a record eight Brickyard 400s and a record 309 laps.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(8-4-2003)
- Garfield's Engine Has No Purr: Kyle Petty's #45 Georgia Pacific Dodge was painted in a tribute to the 25th birthday of Garfield, the popular comic character created by Muncie [IN] native Jim Davis [do not remember seeing much of it on TV during the race]. The famous cat didn't help the car purr, however. "It felt terrible today," Petty said. "We have no motor, no motor, no motor. We have to figure it out. We need to find a motor somewhere." Petty used a provisional to start Sunday's race in 41st place. The rear end broke in the car on lap 95, forcing Petty to the pits, where repairs cost him 19 laps. Petty finished 40th, 19 laps behind winner Kevin Harvick.(Muncie Star Press)(8-4-2003)
- Mexico? Australia [can I go?] Canada? in the future for NASCAR: NASCAR's search for new markets for Winston Cup racing could take a decidedly unexpected twist - think Mexico City and Australia. Car owner Jack Roush says that an early January Cup race in Australia would be perfect timing, since the weather's great, and he likes Canadian and Mexican options, too. While the Indy Racing League would be the obvious choice to replace CART at those venues, NASCAR sources say that the stock-car sanctioning body - which, after all, runs one of the world's most popular auto-racing series - may be approached by sponsors to consider running races at Mexico City and in Australia in CART's stead. Two such Winston Cup races could perk the interest of NBC and Fox, who haven't been making money on the sport they're paying $400 million a year to broadcast. Two venues closer to home, with more logical markets, are Vancouver, British Columbia, and Denver [street courses for Cup cars?].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2003)
- Leffler in the #0 for more races? The fast, consistent test laps Jason Leffler ran at Kentucky Speedway were among the reasons crew chief Tony Furr elected to put Leffler in the #0 NetZero Pontiac at Indy. Leffler joined the team at 5 the morning of the test and stayed until 3 the next morning to make sure the car would be ready, and that sealed the deal. Furr was impressed enough by Leffler that he signed him to nine races, on the weekends Leffler doesn't have a conflict with the trucks series. John Andretti already was signed to drive the car Sunday at Watkins Glen.(Sporting News)(8-4-2003)
- P.J. Jones to drive for Morgan-McClure at The Glen: Former CART driver P.J. Jones will drive the #4 Kodak Chevrolet [actually he tested the #04 for Morgan-McClure while Johnny Miller tested the #4] this week at the road course at Watkins Glen, N.Y. He finished fourth in last year's race. Robert Pressley failed to get the car qualified for the Brickyard.(Indianapolis Star) Jones ran the #14 Foyt Racing Dodge at Sonoma in June, no idea if Larry Foyt will drive or if the team will hire another road course specialist.(8-4-2003)
- New Ford Engine: Ford officials said they have talked to NASCAR about submitting a new engine. "We're heading towards submitting a piece of hardware by the deadline, which we're shooting for a September-October time frame," said Greg Specht, North American Operations Manager, Ford Racing Technology. "It's going to be nothing radical and, frankly, nothing they haven't seen before, but it's going to give our engine builders some new ground to work on and to catch up with our competitors."(Roanoke Times)(8-4-2003)
- Vickers may debut in Cup later this year: Car owner [#'s 5,24,25,48,60] Rick Hendrick said he plans to put Brian Vickers in a Cup car this season, most likely in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick said Vickers has tested a Cup car in Kentucky during an engine test.(Roanoke Times)(8-4-2003)
- Ward to the #30? UPDATE 2 Park?: 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)
UPDATE: Ward Burton is looking to get out of his contract with Bill Davis Racing, perhaps at the end of this season. Burton has one more year remaining on his deal with Davis but wants to get out of it early. He told The Associated Press that he and Davis are "looking at other options" for next season, and a team spokesperson confirmed that Burton was looking to leave. Davis had left the racetrack to head to Indianapolis Raceway Park for Saturday night's Busch Series race and was unavailable for comment. "I would love to get our differences straightened out, but I don't know if it's possible," Burton told The Associated Press. "It's just lack of respect and lack of communication.(NASCAR.com)(8-3-2003)
UPDATE 2: Who might [Bill Davis Racing GM Mike] Davis pick to replace Burton? Steve Park was at Davis' shop the other day and did fly up here with the team, but Brown insisted that there is no quid-pro-quo in the works to swap Burton for Park with Richard Childress. 'Not an ounce of truth,' Brown said. 'Steve was bringing his motorcycle by for a ride that Bill and Steve and a few others are going on after Watkins Glen.' But Brown said: 'We've told Ward that timing is everything, and we can't wait 60 to 90 days for him to make up his mind on what he wants to do. Sometimes if you want to do something different, you've got to be willing to step up and do the right thing so everybody can move on. We haven't talked with anyone about the ride. We feel if we and Ward part ways and do it in a timely manner, then we won't have a problem putting anybody in the car.' One entanglement is Burton's close ties with sponsor Caterpillar. Brown insisted that Caterpillar wouldn't leave if Burton leaves. 'We've had recent meetings with Caterpillar and they've assured us they're 100 percent behind the race team,' Brown said. 'This is the first year of a five-year deal, and they want us to make the racing decisions, though they want to be aware of everything that's going on and they want to buy into anything that's going on.' Brown declined to comment on reports of disagreements Friday between Burton and crew chief Frank Stoddard. Dodge officials want to keep Burton, last year's Daytona 500 winner, and one place that might have an opening is Ray Evernham's.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2003)
- Upgrade the Points System? UPDATE 2: NASCAR may use the sponsorship change from R.J. Reynolds to Nextel as an opportunity to change the championship points system and give a points bonus for winning poles and races. But there is also talk among crews and car owners about giving every race entrant at least 30th-place points, even if he finishes last. The move would be a safety plus, by removing any points-incentive to repair a damaged car. The danger of lightning-fast garage repairs during a race was seen when Robby Gordon's hood flew into the Daytona grandstands last month. Plus there are dangers to crewmen making the repairs.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-2-2003)
UPDATE: NASCAR is considering changing its championship points system to give bigger rewards for winning poles and races. The current system favors consistency over winning. The system, which began in 1975 and is often criticized, has been under attack this season while Matt Kenseth has built a whopping 232-point lead in the championship race with just one victory but a string of top-10 finishes. "We are reviewing the points system, as we often do when there is talk about one driver having so big of a lead that it looks like the championship will be decided before the season is over," NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said Saturday. One of the scenarios NASCAR is looking at is awarding a sizable points bonus to the race winner -- anywhere from an additional 10 points to 50 -- and giving a bonus for winning the pole. Other options include awarding the same amount of points to drivers who finish 30th through 43rd, or not awarding any points after 36th position. Both of those scenarios would make it pointless for damaged cars to return to the racetrack. NASCAR has already applied all those scenarios to past seasons and found that it never changed the series champion, Hunter said.(NASCAR.com)(8-3-2003)
UPDATE 2: Changing the points system was a hot topic last weekend at Indianapolis. NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. says NASCAR is looking at awarding bonus points during different periods of each race. Although race winners likely will receive a bump in points, France doesn't anticipate teams receiving points for qualifying [ie - the Pole]. Regardless of what is agreed upon, expect a new points system to be in place for 2004.(Sporting News)(8-4-2003)
- Kenny on the hot seat? Another question facing Bill Davis' team is the future of driver Kenny Wallace. Brown denied speculation that Scott Wimmer would step up from the Busch tour to replace Wallace. 'There have been a lot of people speculating that, because we've said Wimmer is ready for Winston Cup,' Brown said. 'But we've been exploring other sponsorship opportunities there. Kenny has always been an integral part of the Stacker2 brand -- he's responsible for getting us and them hooked up. So Kenny will always have a place in that car as long as Stacker2 wants to use him.'(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2003)
- Provisionals Changes? saw this a few places - NASCAR issued a bulletin that changes the way provisional exemptions will be handed out for the rest of the year. Essentially, cars positioned in the top 25 in the car owner standings are guaranteed a starting spot in every race the rest of the year. Teams ranked outside the top 25 will have to use one of their allotted exemptions.(Augusta Chronicle/Sporting News). This has been in place for a few seasons, don't see what the change in policy is? From my Provisional Land page: " If a team is in the top 25, they will not be charged a provisional. So if a team was out of the top 25 in owners points and is charged all four provisionals and then gets into the top 25, that team can still use a provisional spot because it will NOT be charged" That started a few years ago...so...???(8-4-2003)
- Target and General Mills Team Up to Raise Funds for Target House: The first annual Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series race is scheduled for November 8, 2003, at North Carolina Speedway. Target and General Mills will be working together to raise money for Target House, a home away from home for families and children receiving care at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. "We're grateful to have such a high-profile event to help raise funds and visibility for Target House and the hospital," said Richard Shadyac, National Executive Director of ALSAC/St. Jude, the hospital's fund-raising arm. "I know the kids are looking forward to cheering on their favorite drivers during the race." To help raise funds for Target House, Target will be selling souvenir die-cast racecars on target.com. All proceeds from the die-cast cars will benefit Target House. In addition, a portion of sales from select, specially-marked General Mills snack products sold at Target stores will go toward Target House, with a maximum donation of $50,000. The General Mills snack products include Fruit Gushers, Pop Secret Popcorn, Fruit Roll-Ups and Chex Mix. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing team associate sponsors including Fujifilm, Coca-Cola, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle Purina and Clorox have committed an additional $30,000 to Target House. Target has a long history of supporting motorsports and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing team has supported St. Jude and Target House since 1997 through donations from the race team. The team provides $25 for each lap lead, $1,000 for each pole position and $5,000 for every race win. Over the past six seasons, the team has raised more than $275,000 for the hospital and Target House. "Target House is one of our leading community programs and we're happy this race will heighten the visibility of the ground-breaking work taking place at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," said John Remington, vice president, events marketing and communications, Target Corporation. Fans can order tickets to the inaugural Target House 200 by calling the North Carolina Speedway ticket office at 1-800-PITSTOP or 910-582-2861 or by visiting online at www.northcarolinaspeedway.com.
About Target House: Funded by Target Stores and its vendor and celebrity partners, Target House is a home-away-from-home for families with children receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As an extension of St. Jude's commitment to care for any child regardless of the family's ability to pay, Target House provides fully furnished apartments, free-of-charge. Based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-4-2003)
see the July 28-Aug 3, 2003 Archived News Page
see the July 21-27, 2003 Archived News Page
see the July 14-20, 2003 Archived News Page