PAST NEWS: AUG 11-17, 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)
- Newman wins 5th race of 2003: #12-Ryan Newman's fuel held out and he won the The GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 5th win of 2003 and 6th of his career. #97-Busch was leading with 2 laps to go, but ran out of fuel and ended up 18th. #29-Kevin Harvick finished 2nd. Bad days by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(32nd) and #24-Jeff Gordon (30th) and lost a ton of points to points leader #17-Matt Kenseth, who ran a consistent quiet race and now leads the points by 329. Nice runs by #30-Steve Park [5th - his first top five in 65 races at Dover in June 2001 and first since his wreck at Darlington in Sept 2001], #49-Kenny Schrader [8th] and #10-Johnny Benson held on for a nice 10th. #16-Greg Biffle was the highest finishing rookie of the year candidate with a 4th place finish.
The UNOFFICIAL Top Ten (start pos in parens), lap leaders, cars out, cautions and some notes as well as results links on my GFS Marketplace 400 Race Info page.
Race Results at
JAYSKI - GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan Race Results from NASCAR
- StockCarFans.Com: Rumblings - Michigan: In what was yet another fuelish event, #12-Ryan Newman made his gas last the
final 52 laps today at Michigan International Speedway and won the GFS Marketplace 400. For Newman, it was his 5th victory of the season and 6th of his career. He's now the lone driver in Cup history with 6 wins....58th on the all-time win list. This was also the 47th victory for Roger Penske (or 50th if you count the three that Jeremy Mayfield got for partner Michael Kranefuss)....with the last six for Penske Motorsports being earned by Ryan. Had a nice "beer crash" at pit-in today....wonder what Junior called Rusty? One thing's for sure....it was the pits for Earnhardt's chances after that. Notice how fast the response was today by the rescue teams? Also, we saw
a press release this week about a new "chase" vehicle for NASCAR with a face familiar to drivers aboard. It's all about damage control.
Second beef....NASCAR.com must be fixed. Last week, they decided to eliminate the 43rd position in their results. Today, it's 14th! Is
this some kind of contest....guess the driver we've forgotten? For the record, Ward Burton was 14th (I was able to find this at one of
those "unofficial" websites).
#30-Steve Park (5th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Dover in June of 2001! His Top-5 finish gives us 29 drivers to hit that mark this season....last year we had 31 of 'em.
#49-Ken Schrader (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Atlanta in March of 2001!
#10-Johnny Benson (10th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Dover in June.
#45-Kyle Petty (16th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Talladega in April.
#37-Derrike Cope (34th) had his best finish since he was 29th at Las Vegas in March (only 9 races).
Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
Robby Gordon has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-5's in the last 5 races.
Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
The Rookie Report: For the ninth time this season, Greg Biffle (4th) was the top-finishing first year driver. He was followed by: Tony Raines (24th), Jamie McMurray (36th), Larry Foyt (39th), and Casey Mears (42nd). Biffle & McMurray are now tied at the top in this category.
This Week's Elevator...UP: Operator of the Week is Johnny Benson (+25), followed by Matt Kenseth (+24), Ken Schrader (+22), Tony Stewart (+20), Kyle Petty (+20), Mark Martin (+20), and Mike Skinner (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper is Bobby Labonte (-36), followed by Jason Leffler (-29), Kevin Lepage (-27), Christian Fittipaldi (-26), Larry Foyt (-25), and Casey Mears (-25). With all those surprises at the
top of the lineup and all those good drivers at the bottom of the starting grid, this week was a shaft-watchers delight! Nearly 1/3 of the field involved.
Matt Kenseth put some more distance between himself and Little E today....71 points worth. His lead is now a very strong 329 markers, with a "Magic Number" of 4 (that's pretty high with 13 races to go). Greg Biffle (21st to 19th) made the only multiple-position move in the
Top-50. Rusty Wallace went down in flames (don't you just love a good pun?), falling from 12th to 15th.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-17-2003)
- More on Dale Jr. and his contract situation: RELATIVE TO YOUR CONTRACT WITH DEI, HOW IMPORTANT IS TEAM OWNERSHIP TO YOU? "It's not a big deal to me. I never said it was a big deal to me. There are other things in the contract. I haven't talked to Teresa (Earnhardt) one on one. So I don't know what certain aspects we need to sit down and discuss yet. So I can't say what is holding the process up.
(WHERE DID THIS OWNERSHIP RUMOR COME FROM?) "I don't know. I guess people were speculating on the (contract) hold up or what could be the situations of disagreement or circumstances that need to be compromised in the contract between me and Teresa (Earnhardt). I guess that was one of the things that people thought might be my interest but it's really not. I don't really find interest in ownership at this particular time. I enjoy the Busch Series team that I have and I'm only 50% owner in that. But it's fun and I'm learning as far as that goes. That'll be the experience that will tell me whether I want to have anything to do with ownership down the road. Right now, this is enough. I haven't even gotten to where I want to be as a race car driver. I've got a long way to go as a race car driver. Ownership is just way, way out of the picture right now."
(ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT THIS CONTRACT ISSUE IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW? THE MEDIA THOUGHT THIS WAS SIGNED AND OVER WITH LAST JANUARY?). "I knew it was going on and we just didn't particularly have any interest in sharing information with anybody. But you know me when I'm asked a question. I can't help but give an honest answer."
(DID THAT GET YOU IN TROUBLE?) "Well, it looked a little poorly upon myself. And it did put the company in a little bit of a strain.. We're trying to seek sponsors for the No. 1 Chevrolet and we don't need any mysteries about what I was going to be doing next year. My initiative it to try to find sponsors for the No. 1 car and try to put a driver and a team together on every level of that company that can run good. So my interests are very similar to the ownership side of it. And I want to drive well for my Bud car. I really enjoy those guys and I'm having a great time. I never thought about it. I entertained the idea for driving for somebody. You always do that. You daydream about everything in the sport. But it was never anything I ever thought would be a reality. But on the other side of that, I'm definitely out to get what I feel like I deserve. As sure as everybody can be about me driving the No. 8 car for as long as I drive, I'm not going to do it for free. I would expect to get paid and get compensated as I would for anywhere else in this business."
(HOW ABOUT BUDWEISER AND DEI - ARE THEY SIGNED?) "Budweiser of course, in doing the smart thing, is going to wait until our issues are secured until they can sign an extension. They want to definitely know that everything is in place. They're like everyone else - including the press - and everybody else out in the public. They don't know the whole story. And (they) don't really know my true feelings. If they did, I feel like everybody would just calm down about it. My mind and my heart are in driving the No. 8 car and it always has been."
UPDATE: HIGHLIGHTS OF Q&A's WITH CHILDRESS AND THE MEDIA: DALE JR. RECENTLY CREATED A STIR WHEN HE SAID HE WAS A FREE AGENT.. DO YOU EVER SEE HIM DRIVING FOR RCR?) "No, not as long as DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) is going and their doors are open, I think you'll see him racing for DEI. I know what Dale's (Earnhardt) plans were for DEI and where he wanted to see Jr. and Kerry race. I hope that if he ever did decide to race somewhere else that he would come and talk to me and would want to drive an RCR car." (HAS HE EVER DONE THAT?) "No, not really. We haven't sat down and talked about it directly."(GM PR's)(8-17-2003)
- More on Tracy and Childress: "We've talked on occasion,'' Childress told the Indianapolis Star at Watkins Glen over the weekend about Paul Tracy. ``He'd definitely be my kind of driver if he'd like to try Winston Cup racing.'' With CART's future in doubt, Tracy has been checking out his options. And Childress could have an opening next year. Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon will be back in RCR's #29 and #31 cars, but Steve Park has no such security in the #30 car. Park is a candidate for that ride, as is Ward Burton, who has asked out of his contract with Bill Davis Racing. The next step would be a stock car test, possibly at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, near Tracy's Nevada home. Tracy, who got his sixth win of the season Sunday at Mid-Ohio, told reporters he's interested. Though Tracy has a year left on his contract with Players/Forsythe Racing, he has had run-ins with CART's hierarchy, including CEO Chris Pook. He could be looking for a way out.(Tampa Tribune)(8-13-2003)
UPDATE: HIGHLIGHTS OF Q&A's WITH CHILDRESS AND THE MEDIA: HAVE YOU TALKED TO PAUL TRACY ABOUT JOINING RCR? "A lot of people have asked me about that when the word came out about the IRL and wanted to know if Paul Tracy would be my driver since he's in CART now and might be looking to move to IRL some day. I don't know what his plans are.. I haven't talked to him in two years. Two or three years ago we talked about it. He said some day he wanted to go Winston Cup racing and whenever he did, he was going to talk to us. So I haven't talked to him. But he's my kind of driver. He's got a little flair to him. I'd rather have the drivers that you have to sit down and talk to or the driver that wants to win every week. They've got to have a little fire in their guts. I was with one of the best for 20 years so that's set the standards for what we've got to have for RCR."(GM PR)(8-17-2003)
- 8 Straight at MIS: There have been eight different race winners in the past eight Winston Cup races at Michigan which ties Charlotte, New Hampshire and Pocono for the second longest streak of different race winners. Martinsville holds the all-time record for different race winners, with 11 different winners between the spring of 1997 and the fall of 2002.(ThatsRacin.com for more facts)(8-12-2003)
Make it 9: when #12-Ryan Newman won at Michigan [Aug 2003], he is now the 9th different winner in nine Cup races at Michigan International Speedway. The others: 1999- Bobby Labonte; 2000 - Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace; 2001 - Jeff Gordon and Sterling Marlin; 2002 - Matt Kenseth and Dale Jarrett; 2003 - Kurt Busch and now Ryan Newman.(8-17-2003)
- Wally's World: During TNT's Live Coverage of NASCAR Winston Cup Michigan 400, Brad Arnold, lead singer for the Grammy-nominated rock band Three Doors Down, will climb into the passenger seat of TNT/NBC analyst Wally Dallenbach's car for a few laps around Michigan International Speedway this weekend for TNT's Wally's World segment. The segment, highlighting the differences in NASCAR's tracks around the country, will air during TNT's live NASCAR Winston Cup Series coverage of the Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 17 at 1:30pm/et. "It's a dream come true to be able to get in a racecar, just to do a lap at near race speed. I'm really, really, really looking forward to it. I've told 20 people already," said Arnold. Three Doors Down will be well-represented at Michigan International Speedway this weekend, with defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart using a Three Doors Down paint scheme for the NASCAR Busch Series race on TNT on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 1:30pm/et. The band will also play a concert at the track on Saturday night following the Busch Series race. The first video from the band's sophomore album Away From The Sun was "The Road I'm On", which features Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. racing each other in sports utility vehicles.(NBC/TNT PR)(8-14-2003)
AND check out the pictures of 'the ride' at MotorsportsTV.com.(8-17-2003)
- Changes coming at Petty Enterprises:......However, outsiders say that the problems are not so much technical as managerial, and [Kyle] Petty agrees: 'So we're getting ready to make a structural change in the next couple of weeks. I'm starting to give some of it to other people, so I can focus on just the driving and the business.' So will Fittipaldi be in that car again next year? There is speculation that Jeremy Mayfield may get a Petty ride. Petty said: 'Our plan is for Christian to be in that car next year, and that's the plan we've laid out for General Mills. However, if all of sudden Tony Stewart, for example, comes knocking at the door, then he's either going to get my seat or Christian's. 'Barring unforeseen circumstances, Christian will be in that car. But I won't give you a definitive, because I don't think there are any definitives in racing any more ... except we're Petty Enterprises and we're going to be here for a while.'(see full story and many quotes at the Winston Salem Journal)(8-17-2003)
- Pit Road Extended: For the second straight race, NASCAR has extended the onset of the pit road speed limit in an attempt to make conditions on the service alley safer. For Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway, teams were told in the drivers' meeting that the pit road speed limit of 55 mph would be enforced from a line 195 feet before the first pit box. In June's Winston Cup race at Michigan, the pit road speed limit began at a line 45 feet before the first pit box.(NASCAR.com/TNT Pre-Race Coverage)(8-17-2003)
- Money Honey: Posted awards for the GFS Marketplace 400 are $4,235,337 – an increase of 9.2 percent over last year’s $3,880,083. This is the first time that the purse for the GFS Marketplace 400 has topped $4 million. Total posted purse for first place is $137,630, second is $96,030, third is $80,335 fourth is $71,595 and fifth is $62,430.(MIS Site)(8-17-2003)
- Texas Lawsuit: NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. is expected to give a deposition Tuesday in the lawsuit over a second Winston Cup date for Texas Motor Speedway. Plano, TX resident Francis Ferko and Highland Village resident Rusty Vaughn are shareholders of Speedway Motorsports Inc., the parent company of TMS. Ferko and Vaughn are suing NASCAR over failing to deliver on an alleged promise to provide a second annual Winston Cup race at TMS. The suit also alleges federal anti-trust violations in NASCAR's relationship with International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 facilities where Winston Cup events are held. The France family owns NASCAR and has a controlling interest in ISC. France will be deposed in Daytona Beach, Fla., where NASCAR is headquartered, by attorneys for Ferko and Vaughn.(Dallas Morning News), see past news on the lawsuit on my Lawsuit News page.(8-16-2003)
- Sauter back in the #4 at Bristol: Johnny Sauter tested the #4 Kodak Pontiac at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday in preparation for the Aug. 23 Sharpie 500. Sauter will also compete in the Aug. 22 Food City 250 Busch Series race.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-16-2003)
- Chase Car: NASCAR added a "chase vehicle" to its repertoire of emergency vehicles last season, designed to add an extra layer of communication and safety in case of accidents during Winston Cup races. ASCAR president Mike Helton said the chase vehicle is not specifically an extra emergency vehicle to serve in a medical capacity, but it is to help give some familiarity to drivers involved in accidents. "We have a vehicle on the racetrack that we put into play last year that will respond to a scene," Helton said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "It is a NASCAR official, a person that the drivers will be familiar with, a face that the drivers will be familiar with." Last weekend at Watkins Glen International, drivers Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon criticized emergency workers for their slow response to getting to wrecked cars. NASCAR employs local emergency personnel to staff tracks, and Helton said the sanctioning body wouldn't swerve from that policy. Helton said there is only one chase vehicle at the racetrack, but road courses like Watkins Glen makes it difficult for one vehicle to cover the entire circuit. Helton said adding extra chase cars for road courses probably won't happen. But Helton said NASCAR would be open to change. The NASCAR official who mans the chase vehicle drives to the scene of the accident as soon as possible, but stays away from the immediate area to let the safety crew work. If the driver chooses not to ride in the ambulance, the chase vehicle takes the driver to the infield care center.(see full story at NASCAR.com)(8-16-2003)
- New Fire Suppression System Required at MIS: This event marks the first where the new NASCAR-mandated trunk-mounted fire suppression system will be required. The new system, with automatic and manual triggering systems, is meant to give the drivers a few extra moments of safety in the case of a car fire after a rear impact. Recently, several drivers experienced frightening situations in rear impact accidents with the walls. The teams rose to the occasion nicely with Winston Cup director John Darby giving a nod to the teams that work in his garage. “Any issues surrounded more installation rather than the actual parts and pieces,” Darby told TFR. “I would say that the garage put on a very impressive performance on getting everything up ad running.” Darby added, “Very, very nice installations and substantial mounting brackets, the kind of stuff we [NASCAR] like.” Explaining the operational aspect of the system Darby said, “With the Halon agents that we use they are a flooding agent. In other words, once they’re released they flood whatever area they’re in. “The thought is on impact if a fire ignites the bottle that we have for the trunk automatically fires on heat sensing. And when it does it floods the whole area where the fire is. This will give the drivers more time to get out of the car.”(Team Ford Racing)(8-16-2003)
- Tony Stewart Foundation Kicks Off at Michigan: Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has formed his own charitable foundation.. The Tony Stewart Foundation was created to raise funds that will then be primarily distributed to organizations that help care for critically ill children, as well as to lend support to families of race car drivers who have been injured in motorsports.
Specific charities that will benefit from the Tony Stewart Foundation will be the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Ronald McDonald Children's Charities and the Make-A-Wish Foundation - all of which have a long-standing relationship with Stewart.
"The foundation is something that I've wanted to do for quite awhile," said Stewart.. "We've raised money for charity before, but it was always a deal here and then a deal there.. We never had anything that was ongoing.. With the foundation now in place, our fund-raising can be sustained year-round.. More people, at various times throughout the year, can now be helped."
Stewart's first charitable contribution from the foundation that bears his name comes Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.. There, Stewart is making his first NASCAR Busch Series start in four-and-a-half years for Chance 2 Motorsports - the team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. - in the Cabela's 250.. Stewart will receive 50 percent of the winnings, with Chance 2 receiving the other 50 percent.. Stewart's share of the purse, regardless of where he finishes, will be donated to his recently formed foundation, whereupon the money will then be granted to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation.. Also going to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation will be Stewart's race-worn firesuit and helmet.
"Driving for Junior's team meant that the Dale Earnhardt Foundation would naturally be the first recipient of any funds we raised from running the Busch race," said Stewart.. "It's an understatement to say that Dale meant a lot to everyone in the garage area.. I'm no exception.. Making our first donation to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation just seemed like the right thing to do.. They're in the business of helping people too." Those wishing to make tax-deductible contributions to the Tony Stewart Foundation can do so via the following address:
Tony Stewart Foundation
5671 West 74th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46278
(True Speed Communication PR)(8-16-2003)
- More Victory Lap Unveilings: Martinsville Speedway, North Carolina Speedway and NASCAR are combining for an exciting media event at the NASCAR Café in Greensboro, NC., on Tuesday, August 19. Two former Winston Cup champions, Darrell Waltrip and Benny Parsons, will be unveiling their “Victory Lap” tribute cars at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 19 at the NASCAR Café. The “Victory Lap” tribute will honor Winston Cup champions during RJR’s 33-year tenure in the sport at various tracks through the end of the season. After the official unveiling, Waltrip, Parsons and officials from both Martinsville Speedway and North Carolina Speedway will be available for photo opportunities and interviews.(Martinsville Speedway PR), see many of the schemes and the past news on my Victory Lap Schemes/News page.(8-16-2003)
- Stock Car Fans - Ramblings: Michigan: There must be something about this place and the Labontes. Are you sure we're in Michigan and not in Corpus Christi? [TX] #18-Bobby Labonte grabbed his 4th Bud Pole of the season for Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 this afternoon. After a two hour rain delay he blistered off a lap of 37.847 (190.240 mph), good enough to edge out #12-Ryan Newman by .062 seconds. Bobby (now just one behind Newman in the race for most poles this season) now has 25 career top-spots in Winston Cup, and swept both poles here this year.
#31-Robby Gordon (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Infineon Raceway in June.
#57-Kevin Lepage (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Texas in March of 2000!
#5-Terry Labonte (5th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 5th when we were here two months ago. That's the second half of that Labonte connection.
#0-Jason Leffler (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Kansas in September of 2001.
#43-Christian Fittipaldi (7th) had his career-best qualifying run today. His previous best start was 17th at Phoenix last November.
#99-Jeff Burton (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Las Vegas in March.
#7-Jimmy Spencer (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Bristol in March. And, once again, Jimmy didn't have a problem telling us how he feels about the current state of racing in NASCAR during that rain- delay. And you can bet that Jimmy has tons of race fans who agree with him!
#50-Larry Foyt (14th) had his career-best qualifying effort today. His previous best was 26th at Daytona in July.
#74-Tony Raines (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 22nd at Bristol in March.
STREAKIN....Bobby Labonte has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(8-16-2003)
- Races at Michigan in Jeapardy? UPDATE NO!! The worst blackout in Michigan history could threaten this weekend's GFS Marketplace 400, and NASCAR officials said they are monitoring the electrical crisis that wiped out power to a good portion of this area and have talked with Gov. Jennifer Granholm and other area politicians about the crisis. Several counties near Michigan International Speedway have been declared disaster areas, including towns that are temporarily home to Winston Cup teams. The National Guard is hauling water into the Detroit area, a million gallons of gasoline is to be shipped into southeastern Michigan, and 50 state police troops have been assigned to Detroit. Fans trying to get to Michigan International Speedway yesterday were confronted by amazing lines at service stations when they attempted to stop for gas. With power out to many service stations, the few that were able to pump gas were deluged with customers, who at times backed up on the Interstate. It is unclear what effect that state-police redeployment could have on the traffic control operations here. However none of these NASCAR crews is at all eager to face the possibility of having to haul back up here in late November. The next open date on the schedule is Nov. 23.(Winston Salem Journal)
BUT the MIS site posted on Friday: All track activities for August 15, 16 and 17 will go on as scheduled at Michigan International Speedway. Michigan International Speedway has electricity and track facilities are running smoothly.(MIS)
UPDATE: folks at MIS inform me that the reports of the races being in jeopardy are TOTALLY unfounded and false and everything is going as scheduled.
AND from the Free Press: The power stayed on Thursday and Friday at Michigan International Speedway, and stock car races today and Sunday will go on as usual. The only glitch Friday was a rainstorm, which delayed qualifying for the GFS Marketplace 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race. It started about two hours late. "I think we were simply fortunate," MIS president Brett Shelton said Friday. "We've been running mainly on regular Consumers Power since the blackout. We just happened to be west of all the major issues." While food vendors and other suppliers at MIS were unaffected by the crippling power outage in southeast Michigan, NASCAR officials decided to operate backup generators for timing and scoring during practice and qualifying Friday. "We wanted to test the system in case we need to use it Saturday or Sunday," Shelton said. "We have redundant systems that allow us to go ahead with events under almost any circumstances." Shelton anticipated a smooth operation. "You hope you never have to use any backup system," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, they can gather dust." A few fans called asking if the races would be held, but "I'd say they were isolated," Shelton said. "I guess the word got out that the show was on."(Free Press)(8-16-2003)
- Dale Jr. Featured COLUMN POSTED: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be featured on the cover of USA WEEKEND Magazine's 8/15 issue. The cover story, The real national pastime? NASCAR (vs.) Baseball, features Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Barry Zito discussing each sport. You can you read this entire article online beginning 8/15 at usaweekend.com, or check your local newspaper for your own copy. Earnhardt on winning a championship, "For three years, I was never taken seriously. But now I'm
different."(USA WEEKEND Magazine PR)(8-13-2003)
THE COLUMN: NASCAR vs. baseball by Dennis McCafferty. Thanks for the mention Dale Jr.! (8-15-2003)
- Pemberton to leave Ford and go back to a team? UPDATE denied: 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)
UPDATE: The has been some speculation in the past few weeks, rumors about Robin Pemberton, a Ford's representative, yearning to return to the ranks of crew chief again. Pemberton says he has no intentions of leaving Ford and the job that he has now. "This rumor circulates every week," says Pemberton, I'm perfectly happy doing what I'm doing."(Insider Racing News)(8-15-2003)
- Fuel Supplier Chosen? a correction UPDATE 3: it was reported earlier that ExxonMobil had won the bid to become the official fuel supplier for NASCAR next season, however, there was some changes [not sure what], and being told that now that ExxonMobil has NOT signed with NASCAR, and remains one of three companies vying for the fuel deal.(8-11-2003)
UPDATE: hearing it will be Sunoco and there will be an announcement at MIS this weekend.(8-12-2003)
some NOTES: the Exxon post was removed from the Sporting News article on their site, but the old one is still posted at Fox. MSNBC and Yahoo. What I posted is an update to that. ALSO, some folks are getting confused over the Mobil ads that proclaim them as the "Official Lubricant of NASCAR", it has been the case since the beginning of 2003 [see Exxon PR or my NASCAR Sponsors page dates 11-7-2002] and has nothing to do with the Fuel deal, which is currently supplied by Unocal 76. Like I said, been told it is Sunoco and will be announced at MIS this weekend.(8-12-2003)
UPDATE 2: Sunoco has emerged as the favorite to replace Unocal 76 as NASCAR's fuel supplier. Unocal, which has one of racing's longest-running sponsorships, is leaving.(Tampa Tribune)(8-13-2003)
UPDATE 3 hmm...heard this someplace before:.....Sunoco will replace Union 76 as the official fuel of NASCAR's top three series, beginning in 2004. An industry source, who spoke Thursday to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Sunoco will supply all the fuel used in NASCAR's Winston Cup - which will become the Nextel Cup next year - Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. NASCAR planned [planned? or plans?] to make the announcement at a news conference Friday at Michigan International Speedway. ConocoPhillips, owner of longtime fuel supplier 76, informed NASCAR it would not be continuing the relationship because of a shift in its marketing strategy and focus after the merger of the two companies last year. The 76 brand, which had several different owners during the period, was the official fuel of NASCAR for more than 40 years. The source said several other companies were interested in replacing 76, but NASCAR chose the Sunoco brand "because of its longtime racing involvement, supplying fuel for about 30 different racing series." The deal with Sunoco is "long-term," but details were not immediately available.(ThatsRacin.com/AP - only posting this to stop all the email about it)(8-14-2003)
- Major NASCAR Announcent Friday UPDATE: Major NASCAR announcement with NASCAR President Mike Helton, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne at 10:00am/et on Friday, Aug. 15 at MichiganInternational Speedway media conference room. AND SPEED Channel will cover Friday's NASCAR Press Conference LIVE from Michigan, beginning at 10:00am/et. SPEED's Bob Dillner will be reporting.(8-13-2003)
UPDATE 2: the announcement is aired on Speed from approx 10:30 to 10:35am/et, the blackout caused some problems with the initial broadcast due at 10:00am/et. No word on any re-air's, look for it in part on tonight's Totally NASCAR on FSN/Speed.(8-15-2003)
UPDATE - It's Official Sunoco to be NASCAR's official fuel: NASCAR announced today that Sunoco, the world's largest manufacturer of premium racing gasoline, will become the "Official Fuel of NASCAR," beginning with the 2004 season. Under the 10-year agreement, Sunoco will provide racing gasoline for NASCAR's three national series “ the NASCAR Winston [um, it will be Nextel Cup in 2004] Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Sunoco, a leading manufacturer and marketer of petroleum and petrochemical products, distributes gasoline to more than 400 race tracks in the United States. Sunoco already has a relationship with NASCAR as the gasoline supplier to approximately 80% of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series that competes at 75 tracks.
"Because our sport literally runs on gasoline, this partnership is one of the most important relationships for NASCAR," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. "Sunoco has a well-earned reputation for producing the highest-quality racing gasoline and for reliably distributing it to race tracks. In our NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series association with Sunoco, we have been impressed with Sunoco's people, products and passion for our sport. We are proud to welcome them as the Official Fuel of NASCAR."
"While Sunoco is already the authorized gasoline manufacturer for more than 30 racing series, we are extremely proud of this partnership with NASCAR, one of the world's premier motorsports and the epitome of performance-based competition," said Robert Owens, senior vice president, Sunoco. "Sunoco has enjoyed a reputation for producing high-quality race gasoline for more than two decades. Through our dedicated manufacturing facility in Marcus Hook, Pa., Sunoco produces racing gasoline that delivers the exact components, exactly the same way, every time. This partnership with NASCAR is a crowning achievement for our performance products."
Sunoco will replace Conoco Phillips'Unocal "76" brand as the official fuel provider of NASCAR in 2004. After the recent merger of Conoco, Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Company, the company's marketing strategy shifted; Conoco Phillips chose not to renew the 76 fuel supplier contract, which expires at the end of the 2003 season.
"Unocal 76 has been a trusted and valued partner for more than 40 years," Helton said. "We've enjoyed our long and successful relationship, and would like to thank 76 for their support and partnership in helping grow NASCAR through the years."
Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE:SUN), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., is a leading manufacturer and marketer of petroleum and petrochemical products. With 730,000 barrels per day of refining capacity, approximately 4,500 retail sites selling gasoline and convenience items, interests in almost 11,000 miles of domestic crude oil and refined product pipelines and 34 product terminals, Sunoco is one of the largest independent refiner-marketers in the United States. Sunoco is a growing force in petrochemicals with approximately 6 billion pounds of annual sales, largely chemical intermediates used in the manufacture of fibers, plastics, film and resins. Utilizing a proprietary technology, Sunoco also manufactures 2 million tons annually of high-quality blast furnace coke for use in the steel industry. For additional information, visit Sunoco's Web site at www.sunocoinc.com.
Sunoco Performance Products, with a distributor network selling and promoting three racing gasoline brands “ Sunoco Race Fuels, Turbo Blue Racing Gasolines, TRICK Racing Gasoline “ offers information on these products on the following web sites: Sunoco Race Fuels at www.racegas.com, Turbo Blue at www.turboblue.com and TRICK at www.trickgas.com.(NASCAR PR)(8-15-2003)
- Childress to the IRL? NASCAR Winston Cup team owner Richard Childress might be the newest Indy Racing League team owner. Childress confirmed talks with IRL president Tony George and a couple of open-wheel teams about fielding a car in the 2004 season.
Childress’ biggest interest is with Panther Racing, which has an engineer (Andy Brown) who has caught his eye. “It would be a little of our [stock car] technology and a little of theirs,” said Childress. “I think it would help our Winston Cup teams. But I don’t have time to do it on my own.” Childress’ involvement could go a long way toward helping Panther retain two-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who also would like to run the Daytona 500 next year. It also opens some other interesting possibilities, like having Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon, winners of the past two Winston Cup races, in the Indy 500. Childress and Harvick attended this year’s 500 as guests of the Andretti Green team.(Autoweek)(8-15-2003)
- Power Outage UPDATE: as most probably know, there is a major power outage in the North East effecting North New Jersey [Jayski is in South NJ and not effected], it extends over to Detroit Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is about an hour west of Detroit. Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR reports that power did shut down at MIS for a bit but is now back on and all drivers and teams have already arrived.(8-14-2003 at 6:05pm/et)(8-14-2003)
UPDATE: All track activities for August 15, 16 and 17 will go on as scheduled at Michigan International Speedway. Michigan International Speedway has electricity and track facilities are running smoothly. AAA Pole Day track activity starts this morning with NASCAR Busch Series practice from 8:45 –10:50am/et. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars will be on track for their practice from 11:00 – 12:55pm/et followed by NASCAR Busch Series Qualifying at 1:05pm/et for Saturday’s Cabela’s 250. NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying will follow the Busch Series at 3:05pm/et.(MIS PR)(8-15-2003)
- Sarah Fisher Looking at NASCAR? "If the Gen IV (Chevy/Cosoworth engine) isn't it, and if a major sponsor isn't forthcoming real soon, (Sarah) Fisher might even turn to stock cars - one of the few four-wheeled racing vehicles she has never commanded. 'That's definitely one thing I'm looking at,' she said. 'We've talked about it this year. It's a lot easier for a sponsor to justify a NASCAR program, even though it requires more expense.'"(Cincinnati Post via MotorsportsTV.com)(8-15-2003)
- Atwood and Bradshaw visit the Pentagon: During a recent visit to the Pentagon, the Navy’s [#14 Busch team] racing team visited the Sailors they represent on the track. NASCAR driver Casey Atwood, National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Armando Fitz of the FitzBradshaw Racing team toured the Pentagon and signed autographs for fans. Bradshaw and Atwood also ate lunch with Sailors to show their appreciation for the men and women they represent. Bradshaw and his FitzBradshaw Racing Team partner, Fitz, own the blue and silver Number 14 Navy car, which serves as a retention and recruiting vehicle for the Navy. The car was on display in the Pentagon Courtyard during their visit. Bradshaw, a four-time Super Bowl champion and Fox Sports football commentator, said he has the utmost respect for Sailors and is proud to be associated with the Navy. “It's an exciting program,” said Bradshaw. “It's a perfect fit.” As a part of the sponsorship deal, Atwood will represent the Navy in eight Busch Series races and one Winston Cup Series race between Memorial Day and Nov. 30.(Navy Newstand)(8-15-2003)
- didja know? even if the winner was awarded 50 points instead of 5 for winning a race the top ten in 2003 Drivers Points would be vurtually unchanged? #12-Newman would move from 9th to 7th and #18-Labonte would fall from 7th to 9th. Newman would be 523 behind Kenseth, instead of 658. Marty Smith of NASCAR.com also has the a recent comparison and Kenseth would lead in the IRL and CART systems while being tied in the F-1 system with Dale Earnhardt Jr. See the story: By any system, Kenseth is the points leader.(8-14-2003)
PLUS see Stock Car Fans updated page: How NASCAR points would look in IRL.(8-15-2003)
- Some Michigan Facts and Notes: Alan Kulwicki brought the state of Wisconsin a NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship in 1992, by overcoming a 278-point championship points deficit with six races remaining. Eleven years later, Matt Kenseth (#17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford), a native of Cambridge, Wis., is trying to bring the Badger State another title – by keeping a 258-point lead intact with 14 races remaining. History may prove that Kenseth’s task is the harder of the two. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series has one of the longest season schedules in all of professional sports and it’s only recently passed the halfway mark. In other words, there are a lot of laps yet to be raced and plenty of championship points to be won or lost between now and November. Statistically speaking, a driver can gain or lose as many as 151 points in a single race. For Kenseth, a single DNF or irreparable mechanical problem in the early stages of a race could change his championship outlook dramatically. Last weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#8 Budweiser Chevrolet) trimmed 28 points from Kenseth’s lead by finishing just five positions ahead of him. So, Kenseth must steer his No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford relatively trouble-free for the next 4,753 laps – including stops at some of the series’ most unforgiving race tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway.
Winston Leader Bonus reaches $230,000 … As if the $4.25 million champion’s share of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series point fund were not a big enough incentive, a record $230,000 Winston Leader Bonus is out there for the taking – for Matt Kenseth’s taking, that is. As the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader, Kenseth is currently the only driver eligible for the cash bonus that is awarded to the series points leader if he wins a race. The Winston Leader Bonus, first introduced in 1996, starts at $10,000 and increases by that same amount at each event until it is won. The bonus has not been awarded this season and the current amount is already $40,000 more than the previous record payout. Bobby Labonte collected $190,000 for winning at Indianapolis in 2000.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won two Bud Pole Awards at Michigan – both during the GFS Marketplace 400 weekend in August. His qualifying speed of 191.149 mph in 2000 was the first Bud Pole speed at Michigan over 190 mph and stands as a track record. That speed places Michigan among the top-five fastest tracks, as determined by the top qualifying speed, on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. (Talladega, Daytona, Atlanta, and Texas have produced faster qualifying speeds.) #9-Bill Elliott leads all active drivers with six Bud Pole Awards and seven wins at Michigan.
Over the years, starting up front at Michigan International Speedway is much more important than many may think. Forty of the 68 NASCAR Winston Cup races at MIS have been won from the first four starting positions (58%). Also, 14 MIS race winners have won from the pole, more than any other starting position. Only 11 races at MIS have been won from outside the top-10 starting positions (16%) and all have occurred in the last 24 races at MIS. #97-Kurt Busch won June’s Sirius 400 from the fourth starting postion. That’s why NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series drivers will put a little bit of extra effort in competing for the top starting position in the August 15 AAA Pole Day at MIS. Also, drivers and teams will be shooting for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s track-record breaking pole speed of 191.149 mph.(MIS PR)(8-15-2003)
- Bye-Bye Intrepid? Hello Charger? Daytona?: The Winston Cup Scene is reporting that the Dodge Intrpid will stop being made in 2004. While not announced, Dodge is expected to cease production of the Intrepid by the end of 2004. Dodge is supposedly looking at bring the Dodge Charger or Dodge Daytona back in 2005. Wintson Cup director John Darby said NASCAR has been informed by Dodge that the Intrepid would be replaced. The submission for a new car will be July 1, 2004 but the car doesn't hvae to be completed by then. The Intrpid has won 15 Cup races since making it debut in 2001.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read online)(8-14-2003)
- Fittipaldi To Do Double-Duty at Bristol: Petty Enterprises has announced that Christian Fittipaldi will compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Fittipaldi will drive the #9 Bugles/Wells Fargo Financial Ford for Ballew Motorsports. He is in his first season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and will be seeking to gain experience on the high-banked short track that will transfer to his #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge for the Winston Cup Event. Petty Enterprises CEO Kyle Petty suggested the idea to help Fittipaldi gain race experience on the track before the Winston Cup race three nights later. Fittipaldi is excited about the opportunity to run two races at Bristol next week.. He last pulled double-duty at Pocono in July, entering the ARCA and Winston Cup events.. For the ARCA race he qualified third and was running in the top five before losing an engine.(Williams Company PR)(8-14-2003)
- #74 gets a sponsor for Michigan: In addition to serving as the title sponsor of this weekend's GFS Marketplace 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), Gordon Food Service, Inc. will take over primary sponsorship of the #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy driven by Tony Raines. With over 100 years of food service experience, GFS Marketplace specializes in offering restaurant quality products and unparalleled service to thousands of businesses and organizations. GFS Marketplace stores, which are open to the public without membership fee, were created to service the needs of local restaurant owners, schools and events planners in 94 locations throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. In addition to the team and race sponsorship, Gordon Food Service is also lending a hand to BACE's core charity, America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest hunger relief organization. "Through a partnership with Tyson Foods, GFS Marketplace will donate 25-pounds of chicken to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for every mile Tony Raines runs in the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday," Gordon announced. "NASCAR fans are not the kind of people to sit idle while their neighbors are in need, and we're proud to aid BACE in their support of America's Second Harvest by assisting the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan." BACE will host a pair of Michigan racing fans that did their part as well. In an August 8th auction held by mid-Michigan radio station WKCQ in support of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan's annual "Drive to End Hunger," Jerry Jamieson of Lapeer, MI and his grandson, Christopher, fought off the other bidders to join Raines and BACE crew behind the wall of the GFS Marketplace 400 as honorary crew members. The Second Annual, "Drive to End Hunger" generated over 250,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan's 22 county area, which contains over 200,000 food insecure individuals serviced through 370 partner agencies that distribute over 13 Million pounds of food annually.(BACE Motorsports PR)(8-14-2003)
- Burton Plans Fund-Raising Run at Darlington: Roush Racing says driver Jeff Burton and Citgo, primary sponsor of his #99 Ford, will team up again to help raise money to find a cure for muscular dystrophy during the Aug. 31 Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Burton’s car will sport a special red, white and blue paint scheme for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Burton will wear a special helmet and firesuit that will be auctioned off to help raise money for MDA. This will be the third year the driver and sponsor have teamed on the effort.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-14-2003)
- Nextel Article: Nextel Communications made history June 19 when it signed on to be the title sponsor of what will be known as the NASCAR Nextel Cup, starting with the 2004 season. Nextel replaces the current sponsor, Winston, which has been the title sponsor for 33 years. The 10-year contract for a reported $700 million to $750 million is the largest sponsorship deal in the history of sports, dwarfing other pacts like Nike's 13-year deal for $440 million with English soccer club Manchester United and Winston's current $200 million five-year agreement with NASCAR. Nextel beat out other companies like McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Visa, which were all reportedly interested in signing on as the title sponsor. But the question that investors must ask is this: Can Nextel make a profit on this deal? At the press conference announcing the agreement, Nextel stated that the deal would not negatively affect its bottom line. A closer look at the numbers shows in fact there could be a tremendous upside to the deal for Nextel. In the first quarter of this year, Nextel generated an average of $67 in revenue per customer. Its 11.1 million customers produced $2.2 billion in service revenue for the quarter. See full article at Forbes.com: Nextel's Push To Talk Profits and see past news on the deal, announcment and other things on my NASCAR Sponsors page.(8-14-2003)
- ABC Report to be filmed: ABC, which was to film at Highland Rim Speedway last Saturday, has rescheduled its visit. Track spokesperson Tammy Williams said the camera crew did not complete another assignment in time to get to the track, and plans to try again next month. ABC plans to use the segment as a part of a report about wives whose husbands are involved in a dangerous sport.(Tennessean)(8-14-2003)
- The Virginia Motorsports Initiative: Gov. Mark R. Warner announced Wenesday, a program to transform the state's NASCAR venues and other motor sport centers into engines for job creation and tourism, especially in economically depressed Southside and southwest Virginia. Standing in the pit of the 88,000-seat Martinsville Speedway, Warner (D) announced the launch of the Virginia Motorsports Initiative, a public-private partnership that he said will help "grow" jobs from the state's far southwestern tip to its midsection, a region where recent unemployment rates have climbed as high as 14 percent. Warner said several state agencies will help promote popular racing locales such as Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond as magnets for engine builders, component makers, race car teams and other sectors of an industry that has grown dramatically as a spectator sport -- and even boosted the Democrat's own 2001 campaign for governor. (see full story at the Washington Post)(8-14-2003)
- Triplett close to being a candidate: A former NASCAR executive has moved a step closer to announcing his candidacy for the 9th District congressional seat. Kevin Triplett of Abingdon, who recently resigned as managing director of business operations for the car-racing association, said yesterday he has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission that will allow him to further explore a bid for the Republican nomination in the so-called "Fightin' Ninth." The FEC requires prospective candidates to file a statement of candidacy within 15 days of raising $5,000 for a potential congressional bid, Triplett said. Triplett could make a formal announcement next month. The election will be in November 2004.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-14-2003)
- SEM Products Sponsors BAM Racing #49 At Michigan and Bristol: SEM Products, Inc., celebrating its 50th year of automotive product research, production, manufacturing and distribution, will sponsor the #49 BAM Racing Dodge of driver Ken Schrader in the upcoming NASCAR Winston Cup stock car races at Michigan Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. SEM will feature its Color Horizons custom finish paint through the sponsorship, and BAM will showcase a special paint scheme using Color Horizons Flakes and Color Horizon Pearl Pigments in the Aug.23 night race at the .533-mile Bristol track. “SEM and the fabricators at BAM are putting together a deal that is going to look incredible under the lights at Bristol,” said Schrader. “Everybody is always trying to come up with these special night paint schemes. With the ingenuity of SEM and the expertise of our fabricators, this is going to be one that will really show off this race car.” SEM Products recently revamped Color Horizons, which create a rainbow of color combinations for almost any look. Color Horizons, which can be applied to metal, aluminum or plastic surfaces, and is available in an array of base and candy concentrates, metal flakes, and pearlescent pigments as well as easy to use aerosols for a showstopping finish. “We are very pleased SEM Products and Color Horizons will be on our car for the next two races,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns BAM Racing along with her husband Tony. Having SEM with its history of excellence as a part of BAM Racing means a lot to all of us,” she continued. “We plan on giving them our best effort for two races, and are excited to see how good our car will look at Bristol when we use Color Horizons.”(Williams Company PR)(8-14-2003)
- Final Watkins Glen TV Ratings: The Sirius At The Glen on NBC finished with final numbers of a solid 5.6 rating and 15 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. This is a 5 percent increase over last year's race, and the numbers represent 5,926,000 households. Sunday's race was the second highest rated sports broadcast for the week, finishing behind the NFL Hall of Fame Game, which garnered a 7.4 rating and 13 share in prime time on ABC.(MotorsportsTV.com)(8-14-2003)
- Bodine to announce sponsor soon UPDATE and a Truck ride for Geoffrey: Motorsports marketing agency, RKR MotorSports has inked a long-term primary sponsorship deal for Brett Bodine Racing's #11 NASCAR Winston Cup team. While the identity of the new sponsor has not yet been made public, this new sponsorship program will begin during the second half of 2003 and continue through completion of the 2005 season. Complete details will be announced at a press conference in the coming weeks.(BBR PR)(8-12-2003)
UPDATE: Brett Bodine's concerns ended Tuesday, when he signed the largest primary sponsorship contract his team has ever had. The deal, which is expected to begin at the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C., on Aug. 31, will last through the 2005 season. The deal was announced Tuesday on Bodine's official Web site, www.brettbodine.com. Bodine could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The name of the sponsor, which Bodine said in June would be new to NASCAR, will be announced at a press conference in a few weeks. "This is going to be more money than he's ever had," team spokeswoman Carolyn Carrier said from her North Carolina home Wednesday night. Carrier said Bodine told her, "This is such a huge relief to know we have a future. I definitely slept better last night." Bodine had been running a scaled-down Winston Cup schedule this year, with a small sponsorship from Hooters. Since Hooters left the team in June, Bodine has attempted to race in only one event, the Brickyard 400 earlier this month. Bodine had been courting this sponsor prior to learning of Hooters' decision to pull its money. Carrier said the money should be able to take the team up a level, though it will probably take some time to do so. "You can't just spend that kind of money overnight and expect to come out of the box and improve," she said. "It will help us get the people, the equipment, and get everything the way we had hoped to be all these years." She said real improvement should be seen heading into the 2004 season. "Every year we've been scrambling at the last minute not knowing what we were going to do," Carrier said. "This will be such a total relief to be able to plan ahead for a change. We've never been able to do that." Carrier, who said Bodine had to lay off "most everybody" on the team, said he is in the process of hiring people back. "We were bare bones," Carrier said. "We didn't have the funds to do anything and were not sure of the future." In addition, Carrier said a deal is in the works for the team to run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004, with Brett's older brother, Geoffrey, doing the driving. "That looks good," she said. "That would just be icing on the cake. It would be wonderful."(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-14-2003)
- Drivers willing to pay for safety crews: #48-Jimmie Johnson said that drivers are willing to spend their own money to provide a full-time traveling safety team that NASCAR executives have steadfastly refused to pay for. 'I guarantee you that is something every driver would like to see happen,' Johnson said of canning the dangerous yellow-flag racing rule. 'And if it was required of the drivers to help in the funding of that safety team, I think the drivers would all participate. I'd like to see us put something in place like the CART series has, with a traveling group of (safety) people that all the drivers know and all the team members know, that are trained professionals and know our race cars inside and out and can respond immediately and be there on time. I know Alex Zanardi, and I know people that work with him. If that crew of people that CART has was not there and didn't start working on him immediately and rode on the helicopter with him to the hospital, Alex wouldn't be here today." Safety has resurfaced as an issue among NASCAR drivers, particularly the slow response time of emergency teams - in part because of NASCAR's rule about racing back to the caution flag - and the difficulty in getting out of a wrecked car. Racing back to the yellow, Johnson said, is part of the problem. 'That's a big part of it,' Johnson said. 'The last thing we want to do is put an ambulance or truck full of safety workers in harm's way because we race back to the caution. On a road course I think you could probably roll a little easier in come cases. But on an oval you've got cars coming at 200 mph. You've got to wait until everybody is contained by the pace car." NASCAR has a new emergency roof hatch that is expected to be approved later this summer. But some drivers are wary about installing it.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2003)
- #21 testing at AMS UPDATE 2 Jarrett testing a 2004 Ford NOT REPLACING RUDD in the #21: on Wednesday, August 13th, the #21 Wood Brothers team and driver Ricky Rudd are scheduled to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway which is closed to public.(AMS PR)(8-12-2003)
Jarrett to test 2004 Ford at AMS on Wed: Ford Racing will conduct a one-day test session Wednesday, August 13, at Atlanta Motor Speedway to test the 2004 Ford Taurus with NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett. Ford officials originally expected Ricky Rudd to test the car but announced the substitution this week for the new Ford, built by the Wood Brothers. The test session will be closed to the public and to the media.(AMS PR)(8-12-2003)
NOTE: some folks are reading this a Jarrett replacing Rudd in the #21 - NO, NO, NO - it doesn't say that.....The Wood Brothers built the 2004 Ford [just as they did with the Taurus when it first was tested]. Rudd ended up not being able to test the car, so Jarrett was recruited, that is all. Rudd will be in the #21 in 2004 and Jarrett will be in the #88 in 2004.(8-13-2003)
UPDATE 2: The 2004 Ford Racing Taurus participated in a test session at Atlanta Motor Speedway today, and when it was over, Ford Racing officials were very happy. "It went extremely well and pretty much according to plan," said Greg Specht, Manager, North American Racing Operations, Ford Racing Technology. "And we're very pleased that we got the track test out of the way." The 2004 Ford Racing Taurus was built by the Wood Brothers and was driven in the test by 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett, who also was pleased by the test. "Everything went well," said Jarrett. "The car seems to be very well balanced. They did a really good job of building the car. It looks really nice, the lines on it are good, and it did things on the race track that we think will help us to be more competitive even for next year." Specht said today's test with the 2004 Taurus was truly a team effort, involving Wood Brothers Racing, Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing. "I'd like to thank the Woods for allowing Dale Jarrett in their car in place of Ricky Rudd, who had a previous commitment and couldn't be here today," said Specht. "This is a great sign of cooperation between our top NASCAR teams. We had all three of our partners represented at the test here today: Dale, being the driver from Robert Yates Racing; obviously, the Wood Brothers built and brought the car here; and, we got engineering support from Roush Racing. I think that's important as well." Jarrett said the 2004 Ford Racing Taurus seemed to have improved downforce over the current model. "I can see where the car has potential when you get it in race trim," said Jarrett. "Something the Fords fight, and that's a little more front downforce, and it seems like this car may have that without creating a lot of drag. And I think that's something that we were interested in: Could we make something that was good for us still on the straightaways, but get us through the corners a little bit, too?" The on-track test consisted of a series of multi-lap runs. "They wanted to run over 10 laps at a time, and so we went out and did that, and they were looking at times," said Jarrett. "They had a certain time that they wanted to see, and I didn't even know how many laps I was going to be running, I just ran until they told me to come in, that the NASCAR folks were satisfied that that's what they were looking for." The 2004 Taurus was tested later in the day with NASCAR at the windtunnel at Lockheed in Marietta, Ga.(Ford Racing PR), see my Ford Past News page for images of the 2004 Ford.(8-13-2003)
See two images of the test at the Ford Racing site.(8-14-2003)
- A Decade at the Brickyard DVD: The continuation of a highly successful partnership created to bring motion picture-quality home entertainment to an estimated 75 million enthusiastic NASCAR racing fans, NASCAR Images and Shoreline Media Group (SMG) today announced the upcoming release of A Decade at the Brickyard. Home to the internationally renowned Indianapolis 500(r) since 1911, the 2.5-mile "Brickyard" is regarded as the most historically significant racetrack in the world. Although it took NASCAR nearly 50 years to reach the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway(r), in one short decade the annual "Brickyard 400(r)" has become one of the most significant dates on the yearly motorsports calendar. A Decade at the Brickyard will trace the popular event from the
historic first race in 1994 to a behind-the-scenes coverage of the 2003 Brickyard 400(r). From the first of three race wins for Indiana native Jeff Gordon at the inaugural race in 1994 through Bill Elliott's touching win in 2002, A Decade at the Brickyard will incorporate all of the colorful Brickyard 400(r) images that only the "Racing Capital of the World" could produce. Thanks to the gifted storytelling of NASCAR broadcast veteran Ken Squier, fans will enjoy an unprecedented presentation of Brickyard history including Ricky Rudd's 0.183 second win over Bobby Labonte in 1997 and the legendary Dale Earnhardt's 1995 victory. In addition to reviews of each previous Brickyard 400(r), the
NASCAR Images' award-winning production team will cover the 2003 event with the highest quality of documentary production values. "It is our intention to take our viewers well beyond the Brickyard 400(r) experience they normally enjoy on race day," explained Jay Abraham, CEO, NASCAR Images. "With A Decade at the Brickyard our growing fan base will have the world's best garage pass without having to leave the comfort of their living room." An officially licensed product of NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway(r), A Decade at the Brickyard follows the popular 2003 releases of NASCAR Winston Cup 2002 Year In Review (NASCAR Image's first ever DVD home video release) and Road to Daytona 2003. The product will first be distributed through SMG's direct distribution system with advertisements directing customers to call their 800# (800-856-4266) or to purchase through their website at SportsDVDHeadquarters.com.
"Over the past several months, the overwhelming response to our NASCAR-based video and DVD products has confirmed our commitment to distributing ultra high-quality sports home entertainment products into the marketplace," added Jennifer Burns, CEO of Shoreline Media Group (SMG). "A Decade at the Brickyard" is an exciting next step toward reaching our objectives."(Shoreline Media Group), see more at their site: www.sportsdvdheadquarters.com.(8-13-2003)
- Elliott Sadler's Pit Crew Wins at Watkins Glen: Elliott Sadler's pit crew took home the first-place check of $20,000 for winning Sunday's (Aug. 10) McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Watkins Glen International. The victory was the first for Sadler's pit crew, which is ranked seventh in the overall McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship point standings. Sadler's team also became the 13th different pit crew winner in the first 22 NASCAR Winston Cup point races of the season. "The M&Ms pit crew works hard week in and week out to get the job done for me on pit road," said Sadler. "These days with competition as tight as it is, pit crews are essential to get valuable track position. Their jobs are as important as mine. I'm real proud they won at the Glen." Sadler's No. 38 M&Ms Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road at Watkins Glen International - 84.106 seconds. Bobby Labonte's Interstate Batteries Chevrolet was second with 85.287 and Casey Mears' Target Dodge was third with 86.504. Sadler's over-the-wall crew consists of: Dave Smith (front tire changer & car chief), Scott Wood (jackman), Kevin Hall (front tire carrier), Ray Holm (Rear Tire Changer), Paul Volk (rear tire carrier), Norman Koshimizu (gasman) and Danny Dickerson (catch can). The team's crew chief is Raymond Fox III. For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(8-13-2003)
- PE's Ray Hudson finishes the Appalachian Trail, raises $45k for VJGC: 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 raised over $45,000 for 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. On August 11th at 4:00 pm Ray attended a huge welcome home bash and celebrated his very own Ray Hudson Day. The town of Randleman generously named August 11th Ray Hudson Day.. Over 100 individuals who donated to Ray's hike joined Richard and Kyle Petty at the Petty Enterprises Fab Shop in Thomasville.. A check in the amount of $45,000 from Ray's hike was presented to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. "My goal was somewhere between $15,000 to $20,000. I just can't believe that I raised $45,000, I had no idea. This is amazing, thank you", said Ray Hudson. Kyle Petty was just as shocked at the amount raised, " Ray we are so proud of you.. By living out your dream you helped us to build our dream of Victory Junction". For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.org.(The Victory Junction Gang PR)(8-13-2003)
- Update on Ward and Dusty: Last September it was reported [see the #22 News and Links page and scroll to 9-30/10-5-2002] in the Kansas City Star that Billy Duncan took son six-year-old Dusty Duncan to Grandview for an autograph session with NASCAR driver [#22] Ward Burton. Dusty, along with his four-year-old sister, Angie, suffers from a cleft palate. While the condition doesn't threaten his life, it affects his personal appearance, which in turn threatens his self-esteem. Burton was touched by the young boy in a way that surprised even Dusty's parents. After the autograph session, Burton sent a security officer after the parents, desperate to know what was wrong with their son. The security officer tracked down the Duncans and brought them back to Burton. After explaining the condition of their two young children to Burton, he asked how he could help. When the media caught wind of the story an outpour of support ensued on Dusty's behalf. The Shriner's Hospital for Children contacted Burton and told him they would handle the surgery for both children and do whatever they could to assist in treatment.
Many of Burton's fans inquired as to how they could help the Duncans with medical expenses. Since the Shriner's Hospital was handling the surgery, an address was posted on the internet for contributions. In addition to Burton's large donation, many small contributions were made to the Duncan fund.
The Duncans flew to Galveston, Texas, where Dusty and Angie were evaluated and returned home. After two months without word from the Shriner's Hospital, Sonja Duncan, the children's mother, called the Galveston hospital for an update. Sonja was told that the Shriner's would not be able to assist with the children's procedures because the family had doctors locally who could provide the service and the children were covered by Medicade. Billy Duncan did not take the news sitting down. He contacted the administrator of the Shriner's Hospital in Galveston [click for link] and demanded that all of the donations made in Dusty and Angie's name be returned to the contributors.
"The administrator asked "what donations," said Duncan. "After I talked to him awhile, he said he would get something done and they would do the kids' surgeries." As of Tuesday, Aug. 5, the Duncan's were still awaiting a phone call from the hospital.
The Duncan's have stayed in contact with Burton's office and have been assured that something will be done to help their children receive the treatment they need.(see full story at Ward Burton Fan Site - but this has most of the details) That is where things stand as of now, will update as I hear more. The last thing about Dusty on the official Ward Burton Site is from Oct 2002.(8-13-2003)
- The burnout at the Brickyard: getting many questions about Kevin Harvick's burnout at the Brickyard 400 when he popped the tire and tore up the rear 1/4 panel. A far as I know, NASCAR, even thou it was rumored a year ago [dated 8-8-2002], did not stop the drivers from doing the victory celebrations, just as long as they stay off the top of the roof [remember the pvc 'fence'?]. If a driver blows a tire, the team puts new ones on before the car is put threw post-race inspection, under NASCAR's watchful eye of course. The only thing that got a bit messed up from the fender getting tore up, is that the car didn't go to the wind tunnel, which most teams would love for NASCAR to do, a free wind tunnel test.(8-13-2003)
- Sad News: Keith Hutton, 53, succumbed to injuries sustained August 12, 2003 during competition at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Hutton was competing in his qualifying C main with the SCRA sanctioned [Sprint Car Racing Association] Non Winged World Championship Series event at Southern Iowa Speedway when his car made contact with the outside retaining wall and launched into a series of flips, resulting in fatal injuries.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-13-2003)
- Is the IRL insane? We'll take him: J.J. Yeley -- leading all three of the United States Auto Club's highly-competitive open-wheel divisions and is trying to duplicate Tony Stewart's triple crown of 1995, recently broke a USAC record set by A.J. Foyt in 1961. His work ethic is right out of Foyt's era as he takes care of his sprint car and knows as much about a chassis and engine as any mechanic. At 26, he's very clever, handsome, articulate and marketable. Yeley is the ideal American oval-track racer and the perfect peg for the puzzle that has become Tony George's Indy Racing League, which was supposedly formed to restore deserving USAC drivers to Indy-car prominence. A series now dominated by road racers, foreign drivers and Japanese engines is crying out for a Heartland Hero from Indy's grass roots heritage like Yeley. But, unless one of the IRL's owners suddenly wises up and notices this kid's pedigree, he's headed south to join Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Jason Leffler and Stewart. Yeley will be yet another USAC star swallowed up by NASCAR's vortex because nobody in the all-oval IRL is paying attention. "I haven't heard from anyone in the IRL all year but several NASCAR teams have called me," said Yeley, who qualified for the 1998 Indianapolis 500 at age 21 but has only been employed to drive the IRL's two-seater around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since that May. "There's nothing I can do about who's interested and who isn't. I don't have anyone chasing me in the IRL right now and that's fine by me. I've got some things happening in NASCARland and you know that's where the racers are going right now. There's nothing available in the IRL for us USAC guys. Our future is in NASCAR."(see full Robin Miller story at ESPN), imagine the IRL with Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Jason Leffler and Tony Stewart...and NASCAR without them.(8-13-2003)
- More on Tracy and Childress: How to describe Paul Tracy to stock car racing fans who don't follow CART? Jimmy Spencer with talent [yikes!]. ``We've talked on occasion,'' Childress told the Indianapolis Star at Watkins Glen over the weekend. ``He'd definitely be my kind of driver if he'd like to try Winston Cup racing.'' With CART's future in doubt, Tracy has been checking out his options. And Childress could have an opening next year. Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon will be back in RCR's #29 and #31 cars, but Steve Park has no such security in the #30 car. Park is a candidate for that ride, as is Ward Burton, who has asked out of his contract with Bill Davis Racing. The next step would be a stock car test, possibly at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, near Tracy's Nevada home. Tracy, who got his sixth win of the season Sunday at Mid-Ohio, told reporters he's interested. Though Tracy has a year left on his contract with Players/Forsythe Racing, he has had run-ins with CART's hierarchy, including CEO Chris Pook. He could be looking for a way out.(Tampa Tribune), see past news/rumors on this at my #30 Team News and Links page.(8-13-2003)
- Dale Jr. a Free Agent? UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he is a “free agent” and has no long-term commitment to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. In January, Junior said during a news conference he had reached a deal to stay with DEI through 2007. But he never signed a contract and said last weekend at Watkins Glen he has only a “driver's agreement” that runs from race to race. Junior says he wants to get the contract done—but on his terms. “I've paid my dues to get where I am, and I feel I have to stand up for myself,” he says. “There's too many security blankets on one side of the fence, and there need to be a few on my side. Right now the contract looks out totally after Dale Earnhardt Inc. rather than myself.” Junior expressed concerns that if the complexion of DEI should change through the sale of the company or the addition of a new partner, he wants the option to leave if he doesn't agree with the new ownership. Junior says he and crew chief Tony Eury Sr., an uncle, and car chief Tony Eury Jr., a cousin, are a package deal. Though Junior hopes to work things out with DEI, there are a lot of fans who would love to see him team up with Richard Childress, his late father's longtime car owner. DEI better not drag its feet.(Sporting News and PRN's Garagepass)(8-11-2003)
UPDATE: While Dale Earnhardt Jr. still has not signed a contract to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. through the 2007 season, his sister and business manager said Tuesday that Earnhardt Jr. has "no issues with his team" and no plans to drive anywhere else. "The whole thing is way overblown," said Kelley Earnhardt, who as business manager for JR Motorsports has been part of the contract talks with DEI. "There is a verbal agreement and 95 percent of the deal is worked out. There are just a few things Dale Jr. and Teresa (Earnhardt, Dale Jr.'s stepmother) need to work out." Earnhardt said early this year that he'd reached an agreement on a new contract, but the Sporting News and the Performance Racing Network reported Monday that Earnhardt Jr. said this weekend at Watkins Glen that too many of the new deal's "security blankets" were on the DEI side of the fence. Earnhardt Jr. was quoted as saying he feels a need to take care of himself in the deal. Kelley Earnhardt said Tuesday that none of the remaining issues have anything to do with his role as driver of the No. 8 Chevrolets and that Earnhardt Jr. has no plans to go to any other team. One issue still being discussed, she said, was an ownership position in DEI for Earnhardt Jr.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-13-2003)
- Lowe's Testing Dates: Lowe's Motor Speedway has confirmed open testing dates for the Oct. 11 UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. Testing dates/times on Tuesday, Sept. 2 and Wednesday, Sept. 3 from 3:00 to 10:00pm/et. The main grandstand is open free of charge during each of the testing sessions.(LMS PR)(8-13-2003)
- Long/Carter withdraw: Veteran NASCAR Winston Cup team owner Travis Carter had hoped to put Carl Long in his #66 Travis Carter Enterprises Ford at Michigan International Speedway this weekend as an opportunity to do research and development work to help out the team. However, plans for this event fell through, and the team will not make the trip to Michigan. Carl Long hopes to drive for Travis Carter again soon if sponsorship can be found to help fund their effort.(Carl Long SIte)(8-13-2003)
- Fan Sentenced: An angry NASCAR fan who flooded Fox Entertainment with e-mails after a Boston Red Sox game pre-empted an auto race has been sentenced to six months of home detention. The fan paid $36,000 in restitution before his sentencing and also will have to pay a $2,000 fine. He pleaded guilty in May to a federal misdemeanor charge of damage to a protected computer system. He admitted he wrote a computer program that fired off more than a half-million e-mail messages to WFXT-TV 25 in Boston after a Red Sox game was aired instead of a NASCAR race in 2001. The e-mail messages were automatically forwarded to Fox-25's Los Angeles parent company, Fox Entertainment. The network, thinking it was a hacker attack, shut down Internet communications with the affiliate and was forced to spend about $36,000 to clean up the site.(Sporting News/AP)(8-13-2003)
- ALSO NOTICED - #01 a PE??: no idea why, but the #01 MB2 Motorsports team and Boris Said are listed as a PE (means POST ENTRY) on NASCAR.com's OFFICIAL Results from Watkins Glen. Not sure why, this is usually only used for a team that enters at the last minute, unless the #01 team got the entry blank in late. This is why I should learn NOT to do stats pages before the official results come out.(8-11-2003)
UPDATE: the points, Drivers and Owners reflect that the team and driver both got 46 points, so the PE on nascar.com is probably is a mistake. No speculation needed, thanks.(8-11-2003)
The Official Watkins Glen Race Results from NASCAR [not NASCAR.com] are now posted, Said and the MB2 team have 46 points from The Glen.(8-13-2003)
- Compton in the #4 this week, Brewer to serve as Crew Chief: Stacy Compton was announced as driver of the #4 Kodak Perfect Touch Pontiac for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Compton, who drove for Morgan-McClure Motorsports in July at the. Daytona Pepsi 400, had an eighth place finish in last year'˜s Busch Series race at Michigan. Tim Brewer will serve as crew chief. (Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR), no word on the #04 which was rumored to be running, looks like a one car team at MIS.(8-12-2003)
- Bodine to announce sponsor soon: Motorsports marketing agency, RKR MotorSports has inked a long-term primary sponsorship deal for Brett Bodine Racing's #11 NASCAR Winston Cup team. While the identity of the new sponsor has not yet been made public, this new sponsorship program will begin during the second half of 2003 and continue through completion of the 2005 season. Complete details will be announced at a press conference in the coming weeks.(BBR PR)(8-12-2003)
- Richard Childress to Unveil No. 3 "Victory Lap" Car UPDATE and an IMAGE: On Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 2:00pm/et at Lowe's Motor Speedway, six-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion car owner Richard Childress and four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon will attend a special press conference concerning the Lowe's Motor Speedway portion of the "Victory Lap" program which is recognizing R.J. Reynolds' contributions to the sport. H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, and Mark Dyer, vice president of licensing and consumer products for NASCAR, will also participate in the press conference which will conclude with the unveiling of the specially painted #3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that Childress will drive during pre-race festivities for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 11. In what promises to be one of the most memorable moments of the "Victory Lap" tour, Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 Dupont Chevrolet alongside Childress and the #3 during the pre-race festivities. Gordon's "Victory Lap" car will also be on display.(LMS PR)(8-11-2003)
UPDATE: Richard Childress unveiled the specially painted #3 “Victory Lap” Chevrolet Monte Carlo Tuesday afternoon at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. In what promises to be one of the most memorable moments of the “Victory Lap” tribute program recently detailed by NASCAR, Childress will drive the No. 3 during pre-race festivities for Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 11. The “Victory Lap” tribute will recognize drivers who captured a NASCAR Winston Cup championship during R.J. Reynolds’ 33-year sponsorship tenure. The tribute will take place at designated tracks, including Lowe’s Motor Speedway, throughout the remainder of the season, Winston’s last as title sponsor of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Offering a fitting tribute to Winston, the Lowe’s Motor Speedway portion of the “Victory Lap” tribute will mark the first on-track appearance of the #3 car since the death of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500. The special No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo unveiled by Childress features the legendary Earnhardt black along the bottom with silver dominating the hood, roof and rear deck lid. The “Victory Lap” logo, honoring Winston, appears several places on the car. Earnhardt won five NASCAR Winston Cup Series events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and was the first three-time winner of The Winston, NASCAR’s annual all-star race. Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon will represent “active” NASCAR Winston Cup champions in the UAW-GM Quality 500 “Victory Lap.” He will drive a specially painted #24 Dupont Chevrolet alongside Childress and the #3 during a pre-race parade lap.(LMS PR)(8-12-2003)
IMAGE: see an image of the #3 car on my Victory Lap Paint Schemes page, along with shots of most of the cars, including new shotss of the 'real' #5.(8-12-2003)
- Paul Tracy to NASCAR? UPDATE 2 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)
UPDATE 2: While rumours were rampant late last week that Richard Childress might be interested in [Paul Tracy] the 34-year-old CART Champ Car star, nobody on the team was willing to confirm the validity. But Tracy's win Sunday at Mid-Ohio suddenly got Childress to speak about the possibility of having Tracy "on the list" of drivers he'd like on his team. "He's a card on the table," Childress said of his interest in Tracy. The next move would have to be a Winston Cup test for Tracy, likely at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Tracy told reporters in Lexington on the weekend he would be interested in such a test.(Toronto Star)(8-12-2003)
- The Battle of the Busch's: Brotherly love will be left in the pit area Tuesday [August 12th] night when NASCAR Winston Cup ace Kurt Busch squares off against younger brother and rising star Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Celebrity Grudge Match during the final night of the 10th annual Summer Shootout Series at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Even though the two will undoubtedly race against each other many times in the future, the NASCAR Celebrity Grudge Match showdown, in which the two Las Vegas natives will drive Winston Cup-style convertibles, will finally end a long-standing tie.(See more and info on attending at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Site)(8-12-2003)
- Testing at Darlington: Cup points leader, #17 Matt Kenseth tested at Darlington Raceway on Monday, August 11th and will again on Tuesday.(Darlington Raceway PR)(8-12-2003)
- Testing at Bristol: Michael Waltrip will test his #15 Napa Chevy and #99 Aaron's Dream machine at Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Kenny Wallace will be there also helping Scott Wimmer with his Busch Team.(Speed Channel's IWC) Also, add #2-Rusty Wallace and Casey Atwood testing the #19 Dodge.(8-12-2003)
- #88 Tests at Kentucky: The #88 UPS Racing Team is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday before heading to Michigan for this weekend’s race activities. Crew chief Shawn Parker said Tuesday’s test session will determine which car Jarrett will drive this weekend at Michigan.(UPS PR)(8-12-2003)
- TV Ratings for The Glen: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Sirius at The Glen proved to be the top sports event on television this weekend, according to Nielsen Media Research’s overnight numbers, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The race drew a 5.0 rating and a 12 share. The second biggest draw was NBC’s pre-race show with a 2.9/7, ahead of CBS’s 2.8/6 for its final round coverage of the PGA Tour event. Last year’s race drew a final 5.3/14, which was up 12.8 percent over the 4.7/13 in 2001.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-11-2003)
- Cingular to Donate $100,000: Cingular Wireless, primary sponsor of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, will donate $50,000 each to FDNY and Special Olympics as a result of Robby Gordon’s win Sunday at Watkins Glen. The donation marks the third time Gordon’s on-track success has benefited FDNY and Special Olympics. Following his November 2001 victory at New Hampshire International Speedway, car owner Richard Childress and Gordon donated $203,924, their total purse money, to the Uniformed Firefighters Association’s Widow’s and Children’s Fund. Cingular Wireless also donated $18,800 to Special Olympics Team USA in April 2003, a $100 per-lap-completed donation, after Gordon completed all of the 188 laps in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. Cingular Wireless had pledged to each organization $50,000 if Gordon won Sunday’s Sirius at The Glen.. As part of Cingular Wireless’ support of FDNY and Special Olympics, the #31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevrolet also carried a special paint scheme this past weekend at Watkins Glen International. “Sweeping both road course races this year is pretty special but being able to raise money for FDNY and Special Olympics makes it even more awesome for me,” Gordon said. “It’s all about us being able to give something back to these everyday heroes. I got to know a lot of the guys with FDNY back in 2001 when Richard Childress and I presented a check to them after we won at Loudon. They’re just a great group of selfless people and I’m glad we could help them out. I’ve also gotten to know a lot of the athletes with Special Olympics as a result of Cingular Wireless’ relationship with them and they are truly amazing people in everything they do. This win was for both of these great organizations.” A date and location for Cingular and Gordon’s check presentation to FDNY and Special Olympics will be announced in the near future. Cingular Wireless is the largest U.S. corporate sponsor in Special Olympics history, raising more than $28 million nationwide during the past three years.(RCR PR)(8-11-2003)
- Riggs to DEI? UPDATE 2: hearing that Scott Riggs may be the new driver for the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004 if a sponsor is signed.(6-21-2003)
UPDATE: Insiders continue to look for Scott Riggs to get the call to join DEI next season, if sponsors agree. DEI officials expect to have a decision on the company's third team car by Darlington in three weeks.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2003)
- Finishing Order for the Sirius at the Glen looks like it has changed, with #41-Mears being dropped from 22nd to 32nd and all in between moving up a spot. I will correct my stats pages already done accordingly. Please not the UNOFFICIAL RESULTS at NASCAR.com still show the OLD order while most AP results show the new one and most post-race PR's reflect the AP order. NASCAR.com has released OFFICIAL Results with the corrected final results.
Why the change: Rookie #41-Casey Mears lost 10 spots Sunday after being penalized 30 seconds for going straight through the Inner Loop. Mears had unofficially finished 22nd before the penalty, which was the highest finish of any rookie. After the penalty, he ended up 32nd. AND During the last lap of the race, Mears ran out of fuel and drove through a section of the racetrack that is not allowed. He was penalized for the move and relegated to a 32nd place finish.(8-11-2003)
- Subway on the #54 UPDATE: Didn't hear about this or notice until Bodine spun out the #54 Ford, but Subway is on the rear quarter panels of the National Guard Ford.(NBC Race Coverage)(8-10-2003)
UPDATE: supposedly it is a 2-race deal at Watkins Glen and Martinsville.(8-11-2003)
- Lepage returns in the #57 to MIS: After successfully qualifying and running in the 10th Annual Brickyard 400, Team CLR Racing will now head to Michigan International Speedway to compete in the GFS Marketplace 400 with Kevin Lepage as driver of the #57 Ford Taurus. Team CLR Racing was at Michigan with Hermie Sadler in his #02, Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling Chevy Monte Carlo's, in both the ARCA and Winston Cup races run earlier this year. In the ARCA race they qualified 2nd and finished 2nd to Casey Mears. In Cup they qualified 16th and finished 36th. Team CLR is still looking for both major and associate sponsorships. To learn more about Team CLR on the Internet, surf www.TeamCLR.com or www.OTWracing.com.(Team CLR PR)(8-11-2003)
- Didja know? Richard Childress Racing teammates #29-Kevin Harvick and #31-Robby Gordon were the only drivers to finish in the top five in both of this season's road-course races this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-11-2003)
- McClure Quotes on Kodak: Larry McClure, owner, quotes: "I think today was a bright spot for the team. It was something to build on and move on to Michigan. We have Bristol coming up and some other good tracks for the team. It was exciting to have two cars in a race for the first time. Our sponsorship with Kodak will continue for another two and a half years. I hope after that, it will go on for another 18 years. That is a question many people have been asking me. When someone is not having success, the buzzards start flying. We would certainly like to be doing better. This is a business. We make decisions that work sometimes and other times they do not. This is no different than other businesses in that area, Even Kodak has to go through that. We spent Thursday up at Kodak Park in Rochester. The support they showed our race team was an inspiration. Everybody is trying to do the best they can do."(Morgan-McClure PR)(8-11-2003)
- Traction Control being used by 16 Cup drivers? As many as 16 Winston Cup teams may have used traction control this season, #54-Todd Bodine says. And he says he's been beaten this season by the illegal but virtually undetectable technology that keeps a car from spinning its rear wheels: 'Yes, unequivocally yes. I've heard numbers that up to 16 cars in here have it. The funny part is the guys who win with it and then forget they have it, and they can't do the burnout. So they stop, switch the (ignition) box, and then do the burnout. It's happened three times in Busch this year with two different drivers.' Traction control - standard equipment on many passenger cars - has long been a no-no in NASCAR. It was also a no-no in Formula One until inspectors finally gave up trying to police it. Some Winston Cup teams want NASCAR to legalize it, too, since it has proven impossible to police. 'They're almost undetectable,' Bodine says. 'There is one the driver himself can put in and take out when he gets in and out of the car. I don't know exactly how they all work, but I know they're hard to find. 'They've caught people, but the people they've caught, they're not going to say anything about. That's just the way they do it." So what's NASCAR to do, just ignore it? 'It's almost to that point' Bodine says. 'It's either that, or do like ASA and NASCAR puts the ignition boxes in the car itself,' Bodine says. The penalty for using traction control? 'You would definitely be thrown out of NASCAR,' car owner Jim Smith says. 'No fine. Just indefinite suspension. Pack your stuff up and go home.' However Smith concedes he's been hearing numerous reports that traction control is widespread, particularly on the Truck tour. 'There are even systems out there you can operate with your cellphone,' Smith added. Car owner Jack Roush dismisses all the talk: 'I'm like the dog that never heard the whistle, so I'm not getting fed. It looks to me like people are organizing a snipe hunt. I doubt NASCAR is missing anything, certainly not with the teams they inspect. If there were an opportunity, it would be for a team that wasn't torn down after a race.(see full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2003)
- Dallenbach to run some Busch races UPDATE 3:: It appears the deal that former Winston Cup crew chief and current FOX Sports broadcaster Larry McReynolds and driver/broadcaster Wally Dallenbach have been trying to put together to compete in the Busch Series will happen. Dallenbach, the former SCCA Trans-Am champion who works the second half of the NASCAR season for TNT/NBC, plans to compete next weekend in a Reiser Enterprises car when the Busch Series races at Kentucky Speedway. But he and McReynolds are on the verge of announcing a deal to race four times in the fall, in Busch races at Kansas Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.(NASCAR.com)(6-8-2003)
UPDATE - Dallenbach to run Kentucky: NBC/TNT broadcaster/driver Wally Dallenbach is entered at Kentucky in the #17 Aleve Ford owned by John Reiser. The car has been driven by NASCAR Winston Cup Series point leader Matt Kenseth in six races this year and has been to Victory Lane twice (California and Charlotte). In three races last year, Dallenbach had two top-10 finishes with his best (seventh) coming at Lowe's Motor Speedway in October.(NASCAR PR)(6-11-2003)
UPDATE 2: hearing the sponsor for Dallenbach and McReynolds will be Mr.Clean and the team will be run out the Reiser shop and be #17.(6-11-2003)
UPDATE 3: NBC/TNT broadcast Wally Dallenbach mentioned during the NBC's Watkins Glen broadcast that he had a five-race Busch Series deal with John Reiser [the #17 Busch team] and hinted that they will have a 'clean' sponsor, then the camera show a Mr. Clean look-a-like and Wally said it was a clue. The races mentioned above plus the 2004 Busch race at Daytona.(8-11-2003)
- The Big Red Hauler is busy: The NASCAR hauler was a busy place after Sunday's race. Kevin Harvick and crew chief Todd Berrier were summoned following Harvick's last-lap incident with Jeff Gordon, who had run out of gas. Making the trip on their own accord were drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon. Earnhardt Jr. went to thank NASCAR officials for allowing him to remove the in-car camera system from his car Saturday. He said it had thrown off his No. 8 Chevrolet's balance. Gordon went to the hauler to discuss his wait for an ambulance to arrive at his last-lap wreck and the ensuing ride to the track's infield care center.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-11-2003)
- Simpson Update: Speculation in the garage is that safety guru Bill Simpson settled his suit with NASCAR out of court in order to simplify the distribution of his new product line, Impact Racing, which features, among other things, improved helmets. Simpson says he has pressurized the helmet with air from the top, which keeps carbon monoxide away from the driver's face and prevents the visor from getting clogged up. The helmet is a pound lighter than his previous models, which is better on the neck during impact. Joe Nemechek, Ricky Craven, Casey Mears and Rusty, Kenny and Mike Wallace are wearing the new helmets.(Sporting News)(8-11-2003)
- Students Take the Checkered Flag: On Monday, August 11th, NASCAR Technical Institute Celebrates its Inaugural Graduating Class, the first graduation ceremony of 80 students. Developed by the Universal Technical Institute, Inc. and NASCAR to boost the number of automotive service technicians entering the manufacturer, aftermarket and motorsports industries, the institute is the country's first- ever technical training school to combine a complete automotive technology program and a NASCAR-specific motorsports program. The graduates, who began their studies in July 2002 as the institute's initial students, have trained to excel as entry-level technicians. The school provides coursework in engine construction, electrical, fuel and lubrication systems, drive trains, body and chassis fabrication and racing theory principles.(dbusiness.com) and see their site at www.ntieducation.com and for other schools and programs [such as NASCAR looking to train officials], see my Racing Schools/Jobs page. Been told this ceremony actuall took place on Friday, August 8th, not today.(8-11-2003)
see the Aug 4-10, 2003 Archived News Page
see the July 28-Aug 3, 2003 Archived News Page
see the July 21-27, 2003 Archived News Page