SEPT 1-7, 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)
- Richmond Shorter Now? The SAFER barriers might force NASCAR to re-measure Richmond International Raceway. A track's distance is measured five feet [actually been told it is 15 feet, not 5, per my Racing FAQ page] from the outside wall and Richmond is advertised to be three-quarters of a mile in distance. The SAFER barriers, however, extend two-and-a-half feet into the turns. That should make Richmond a little shorter in distance.(Augusta Chroncile)(9-7-2003)
- The King does a nice thing: Richard Petty did a nice thing Saturday. Typically, he didn't say anything about it, choosing not to draw attention to himself. Petty dispatched his jet to carry a teen-ager and his mother from Charlotte to their home near Minneapolis. The boy was critically injured in an Aug. 30 highway crash that killed his father on I-77 near Charlotte. Jeff and Kyle Erickson had spent the last summer weekend at their vacation home bear Boone, N.C. Jeff was driving Kyle to Douglas Airport, where Kyle would return to start his senior year in high school. Jeff's wife was flying in for a week with her husband near Boone. Jeff was killed and Kyle badly hurt when an SUV cross the median and hit their rental car. Petty knew the Ericksons through their long-time support of the annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. "Good people, really, really good people," he said of the father and son. "It's something I wanted to do for them. The family will be having a hard time with this for a while."(Daily Press)(9-7-2003)
- Some Highlights from the TNT coverage: from a TNT/Turner PR for those who may not have seen the broadcast:
Notes from TNT's NASCAR Busch Series and Winston Cup Series Racing from Richmond, VA
TV Booth: Allen Bestwick, Wally Dallenbach and Benny Parsons.
Pit Reporters: Bill Weber, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum and Dave Burns
Friday, Sept. 5, NASCAR Busch Series. - Funai 250 - Guest analyst Tony Stewart
"Grab your seats folks, you are about to get seasick" - TNT guest analyst Tony Stewart on fellow analyst Benny Parsons working one of the cameras on a race re-start.
"Absolutely. Matt Kenseth thinks he can push me around for some reason....he can't push me around." - Johnny Sauter on whether he intentionally knocked Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth out of his way to get the victory.
Saturday, Sept. 6, NASCAR Winston Cup Series - Chevy Rock 'n Roll 400
Best Open: TNT opened the Chevy Rock 'n Roll 400 with a LIVE performance from the band Trapt, interspersing race highlights with the band's well known song "Head Strong."
Best Video: The on-board camera of Jimmy Spencer (#7 Sirius) had a bumper sticker on the dashboard that said "Who wants to sponsor this car in 2004?"
Benny and the Pits segment focused on the driver of Jeff Burton's hauler, Joe Weren't and his wife Christy, who make stops on the road and correspond with mentally disabled children, using the geography of his trips as a teaching tool.
Best Line: Allen Bestwick after AOL driver Steve Park was involved in a multi-car crash - "Instant messenger message for Steve Park, your racecar is a mess."
Dallenbach - "There's a worm in your system."
TNT had the Winston Cup drivers with Warner Brothers' artist paint schemes introduce their car and who they were representing, similar to NFL players announcing their college affiliations. Winston Cup drivers included Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Staind), Robby Gordon (Trapt), Michael Waltrip (Hootie and the. Blowfish), Kevin Harvick (Sugar Ray) and Joe Nemechek (Uncle Kracker).
Benny Parsons on Kevin Harvick's team running to his car during a post-race altercation with fellow driver Ricky Rudd - "These Goodwrench guys, they were there to protect Kevin from himself. They aren't there because of Ricky Rudd."
* Kevin Harvick, interviewed by TNT's Matt Yocum, on the altercation with Ricky Rudd - "Ricky Rudd took a (expletive) cheap shot. He is a cheap shot artists and if he is going to cheap shot me I promise you that I will cheap shot him back."
* Ricky Rudd, interviewed by TNT's Marty Snider, on the altercation with Harvick - "This stuff here, that NASCAR would allow this, I can't understand it. We have hood damage and we have to race next week.....I couldn't hear him (Harvick). He has that little yap yap mouth. I couldn't listen to him."
Robby Gordon, interviewed by TNT's Marty Snider, on being knocked out of the race by Jeff Burton - "Totally immature on his side. I'm disappointed that he has to race like that."
Burton, interviewed by TNT's Dave Burns, on knocking Gordon out of the race - "I messed up. It was 100-percent my fault. Robby didn't do anything wrong right there. I messed up."(TNT PR)(9-7-2003)
- Nadeau back at RIR: Jerry Nadeau spent the past two days in and around Richmond International Raceway shaking hands and rushing to photo ops rather than making laps. He might have felt out of his element, but he still felt like himself four months after surviving a Turn 1 crash that left him in critical condition with a moderate to severe head injury. "I'm the same smart-[aleck] guy as I was before," he said. "Last week, I took all my guys to a [go-kart track], and we all got kicked off. Probably a month ago, I was afraid to get hit because of my injury. Last week, I was the roughest guy there. I feel like I'm getting better."(more at the Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-7-2003)
- Burton and Davis - nothing new: Team owner Bill Davis said he and Ward Burton still haven't firmed up their plans for 2004. Burton has a year left on his contract to drive the No. 22 Dodge, but he and Davis agreed last month to explore other options.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-7-2003)
- Newman wins at Richmond: #12-Ryan Newman won the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond, Newman's 6th win of 2003. #19-Jeremy Mayfield came in 2nd, his first top five of 2003 and first since the May 2002 race in Richmond when he was 5th, 50 races ago. The rest of the top five were #21-Ricky Rudd, #99-Jeff Burton and #2-Rusty Wallace. #29-Kevin Harvick drove onto pit road and bumped into #21-Ricky Rudd, then climbed out of his car and tired to get over to Rudd, but his crew held him back, Harvick did get a walk accross Rudd's hood, but his wife and crew got him away from the situation. NASCAR has called the whole teams of both the #21 and #29 teams to the NASCAR Trailer. Meanwhile most of Newman's victory celebration is missed and not covered, we got an interview with Newman, but missed any donuts, burnouts, entering victory lane and him exiting the car.
Race Re-air: NOTE: Speed Channel has changed their lineup since August - so there will be a one-hour recap [called Fast Forward] of the race on Wednesday, September 10th at 7:00pm/et and again on September 11th at 1:00am/et; a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, September 11th
See my Chevy Rock and Roll 400 Race Info page for the race rundown, top 10, alp leaders, cautions and narritives, notes on the race...and much more.
Race Results at
JAYSKI's Richmond Race Results
See full driver/owners standings at JAYSKI's Drivers/ Owners Points page.(9-6-2003)
- Escape Hatch Test: NASCAR expects to conduct a final test this week in preparation for allowing teams the option of installing a roof exit in cars. Winston Cup driver Michael Waltrip will participate in a test at Daytona International Speedway with the roof exit installed to determine if any aerodynamic issues exist with the new hatch, said Gary Nelson, director of NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, NC. When the roof exit is finalized, teams will be allowed the option of installing it, but it will not be required, Nelson said. "If that test goes well, I already have the (technical) bulletin so the guys can use it," Nelson said.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-6-2003)
- Dale Jr still not signed: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s future with the team that bears his father's name remains open to interpretation. Asked Friday if he could be 100% certain he'd be driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season, Earnhardt said, "It just depends. I want to be there." But, he says, "I ain't going to. .. drive without a contract." Is this a big deal? "It's a big deal not to have one," he said. "I'd like to have one." Earnhardt set off media speculation last month when he revealed that he has yet to sign a contract with the team for next year. But he attempted to defuse the situation by telling reporters that his mind and heart "are in driving the #8 car and it always has been." Earlier this season, Earnhardt submitted a contract proposal to DEI that would allow him to do fewer appearances on behalf of his sponsors. The issue went away, but the deal apparently never was signed. As of last month, Earnhardt hadn't sat down with stepmother Teresa Earnhardt — who inherited ownership of the team after Earnhardt's fatal crash in Feb. 2001 — to personally discuss his contract. He also said that his team's sponsor, Budweiser, would wait until he was signed before it agreed to an extension with DEI. "Budweiser of course, in doing the smart thing, is going to wait until our issues are secured until they can sign an extension," he said. "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." A move to another team remains unlikely, but Earnhardt acknowledged last month that he has entertained thoughts of driving for other teams. "You always do that," he said. "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 #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." Earnhardt Sr.'s former car owner, Richard Childress, was asked last month if he thought Earnhardt Jr. would ever drive for another team. "No, not as long as DEI is going and their doors are open, I think you'll see him racing for DEI," Childress said. "I know what Dale (Sr.'s) plans were for DEI and where he wanted to see Junior and (brother) Kerry race." Childress said he and Junior have never talked "directly" about him racing for RCR. "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," Childress said.(USA Today(9-6-2003)
- #79 May or May Not Attempt Dover: In their third Winston Cup qualifying at-bat on Friday at the Richmond International Raceway, Billy Bigley Jr., team owner Don Arnold and the rest of the crew came up hitless again, failing to make the 43-car field for tonight's Chevy Rock & Roll 400. The slowest of the 45 cars that made qualifying runs Friday afternoon, the #79 Arnold Development Companies Dodge was one of just two cars that didn't make the race. The other was Larry Foyt. "Totally unacceptable," Arnold said of the team's latest performance. Qualifying attempts at Indianapolis and Bristol, Tenn., in August also proved unsuccessful. Next up on the proposed schedule for the upstart team is the Dover 400 at Dover Downs in Delaware on Sept. 21. But Arnold hinted that a qualifying attempt there will now be re-examined. "I'm not sure about that right now," he said early Friday evening. "We have to regroup and see why we are not being successful. We don't really know what went wrong today. We'll do what we have to do so that we make the next race," Arnold emphasized.(Naples Daily News)(9-6-2003)
- #77 'Dodge' at Talladega? hearing the #77 Jasper Motorsports team may run a Dodge instead of a Ford at Talladega at the end of the month. Penske-Jasper builde both Dodge engines [for the #2 and #12] and Ford engines [the #77].(9-6-2003)
- Hamilton Jr. to attempt Cup race at Kansas: it was mentioned during TNT's Busch Series race coverage while reporting on the full field that Bobby Hamilton Jr. would be attempting to make the Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Oct.(TNT's Race coverage of the Busch Series race)(9-6-2003)
- The King Honored: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) honored champion racecar driver Richard Petty for his support of veterans and VA activities. "VA is honored to recognize Richard Petty, admired by millions as the longtime king of stock car racing, for his support of programs benefiting veterans," VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert H. Roswell said.. Roswell presented Petty with the Secretary's Award in recognition of his contributions to VA activities. Petty has allowed the use of his name and likeness in flyers and posters promoting sales events at VA canteens, the stores and food services operating in VA medical centers to serve veteran patients, visitors, volunteers and caregivers.. In addition, Petty will be a special guest at upcoming VA rehabilitation events that promote accomplishments of disabled veterans through sports and the arts. Before he retired as a driver at the end of the 1992 season, Petty earned seven wins in the Daytona 500, seven NASCAR Winston Cup championships and a record 200 career race victories.. He owns Petty Enterprises, which fields two NASCAR Winston Cup teams, and continues an active participation in the sport. While not a veteran himself, he has credited veterans for the freedom that has allowed him to pursue a career in auto racing.. In addition to his support for the VA canteens and special events, he said he hopes to visit VA facilities when possible to boost veterans' spirits.(Williams Company PR)(9-6-2003)
- Sadler Sponsor for RIR: Hermie Sadler is running the #02 "Dollar Tree" Chevrolet in the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway [he was to run it in the Busch race but the rain cancelled qualifying and his hopes to run that race]. The race will also be the first major sponsorship in NASCAR for Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., whose.corporate offices are located in nearby Chesapeake, VA. Not sure if this is still in effect as it was for the Busch race but.....In addition to sponsorship, Dollar Tree is also providing Sadler with added incentive to perform.well. Dollar Tree stores have pledged donations for each lap completed. The donation will be made to The Faison School for Autism in Richmond. If he can complete all 250 [was the Busch race length - 400?] laps, that will mean over $30,000.00 for the.Faison School, which is attended by Sadler's daughter, Halie Dru. "This is going to be a very special weekend for me", stated Sadler. "I am honored to carry the Dollar Tree colors at Richmond. They are a great company, and what they are doing for the Faison School means a lot to my family." (in part from the Dollar Tree Stores Busch SeriesPR), see an image of the car on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes - Cars #'s 0-23 page.(9-4/6-2003)
- Biffle signs for 2004 - could add more UPDATE: At Roush Racing, rookie #16-Greg Biffle renegotiated the final year of his contract (2004) and is working to add two more years.(from the Sporting News)(9-1-2003)
UPDATE: Greg Biffle, who has one year remaining on his contract, said he's still negotiating with Jack Roush on a contract renewal and hasn't signed anything yet.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-6-2003)
- More Darlington TV Stuff: The Mountain Dew Southern 500, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race held last Sunday at Darlington Raceway and televised by NBC, was the most-watched sporting event of Labor Day weekend, with an average of 7,965,000 viewers. The race's household viewership of 5,241,000 easily outdistanced the weekend's second-most watched sporting event “ college football on ABC on Saturday night “ by 40%. Other TV highlights from Labor Day weekend:
...... The Mountain Dew Southern 500's viewership was 20% higher than 2002, when the race was broadcast by TNT.
...... The NASCAR Busch Series' Winn-Dixie 200 Presented by PepsiCo, held last Saturday at Darlington and also televised by NBC, had an average of 2,292,000 viewers, a 40% increase from 2002's TNT telecast. The household viewership of 1,803,000 was a 52% increase from 2002.
...... The Winn-Dixie 200 Presented by PepsiCo was the most-watched NASCAR Busch Series race in the history of Darlington Raceway.(Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)(9-6-2003)
- Eli Lilly to sponsor a team? Could this be for the #99? Eli Lilly may become the next pharmaceutical company to join NASCAR, according to industry sources, possibly marketing Cialis, a Viagra alternative.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-6-2003)
- More Kodak: From this weeks Speedway Scene Magazine: There's little doubt left that Kodak is looking to do something with their struggling investment in NASCAR, the question however is what? There were a number of scenarios painted by industry sources at Darlington last weekend that made it readily apparent that Kodak is in play. The basic premise is that NASCAR is intervening on Kodak's behalf, which seems to be the only consistent part of the varied stories that were floating around the Darlington garage. What happens with the sponsorship, if they do leave Morgan McClure [#4] at the end of this year that is, seems to run along two thought processes. The first speculative plan called for NASCAR to take the Kodak money for themselves and make it a contingency program of some sort. What we'd heard in this rumored plan was that all cars would be required to carry a Kodak sticker and be paid some sort of incentive for carrying the photography giant's logo. The other scenario was that NASCAR would place the sponsorship on one of the teams that needs sponsorship. There were varied reasons why NASCAR would act as mediator in the Kodak sponsorship, but soothing a
guilty conscience or two maybe playing into this angle.(Speedway Scene Magazine Print - no website)(9-6-2003)
- Penske and NASCAR: Greg Penske, Roger's son, could be in line for a top NASCAR job, according to NASCAR sources. Penske is on the ISC board of directors and runs Penske Automotive Group.(Winston Salem Journal), this is back to the Mike Helton leaving rumor, see my NASCAR News page for the past news on this.(9-6-2003)
- Tire Test at DIS: Goodyear is having a tire test in preparation for the "Great American Race" 46th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, 2004. The test will be held on Monday, Sept. 8 and Tuesday, Sept. 9 at Daytona International Speedway with expected drivers being 2003 Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip, driver of the #15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet and 2003 Daytona 500 second-place finisher Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid Ford for Roush Racing. The test is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand available through DAYTONA USA, the official attraction of NASCAR.(DIS PR)(9-6-2003)
- Mayfield signed his half? Evernham has not? #19-Jeremy Mayfield has been expected to leave Evernham Motorsports, but he has signed a contract renewal and sent it to Evernham. 'It's signed. My half. Let's see if he'll sign his half,' Mayfield said. Mayfield is also figured to be under consideration by Richard Childress. However, complicating the Evernham issue is the possibility Dodge executives could reshuffle their NASCAR sponsorships, cutting some teams back to a single deal. Expected to land a full Dodge deal, however, is car owner Jim Smith -- crew chief Tommy Baldwin says he'll need to know the team's sponsorship situation within the next 30 days or prepare to move on.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-6-2003)
- Nextel/NASCAR assignments? Andrew Feit, one of the key men in NASCAR's New York office, is expected to be assigned full-time to NASCAR's Nextel account, and Brett Yormark, the head of that office, could be named 'Marketer of the Year' for his work in closing the $700 million/10-year deal.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-6-2003)
- Sam Bass Guitar Trophy at Richmond: When NASCAR artist Sam Bass pulls into the infield of Richmond International Raceway for Saturday's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Winston Cup race, he'll be carrying the event trophy and a lifetime of memories from his "home track." The race trophy is a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar with graphics designed by Bass and hot rod-style flames carved directly into the polished wood body. Orange and black dominate the trophy, which features the race logo, small-scale Goodyear race tires for control knobs and the title "2003 Race Winner" along the length of the neck. As has been the case with more than a dozen commemorative guitars - the first being a limited edition featuring Dale Earnhardt in 1998 - Bass worked closely with the craftsmen at Gibson's Custom Shop to create a truly unique instrument. Designed in Concord, NC, crafted in Nashville, TN, and sponsored by Detroit's own Chevrolet, this special Gibson is a perfect all-American trophy to be awarded in the one-time capital of the South. The one-off six-string won't be the only Sam Bass design at the track on Saturday; more than a dozen cars in the starting lineup will display paint schemes created by Bass. Bass' time in Richmond is always a homecoming of sorts. His boyhood home in Hopewell, Va., was less than 20 minutes away from Richmond's half-mile Fairgrounds Raceway, which is where the young artist saw his first NASCAR Winston Cup event in 1972. Ten years later, it was Sam Bass the college student who applied for and received his first garage access credential. In 1988 Bass was asked to create a program cover to commemorate the end of the old fairgrounds track and the debut of the three-quarter-mile Richmond International Raceway. That cover was a classic piece of artwork that doubled as a résumé for the artist's graphic talents. Even though hundreds of covers, logos and car designs have followed, that particular illustration has remained special to Bass. "'Into The New' was a split image showing the old track in black and white and the new facility in color," remembers Bass. "I showed Bobby Allison and Bobby Hillin's Miller Buicks, which I designed, racing from old to new. Painted on RIR's solid wall was the new track logo I had created." Although he moved to Charlotte in the early '90s, Bass' artwork has maintained a devoted following in the Richmond area, including an extensive display of his images at Joyner Paint & Frame in nearby Petersburg. Part of any homecoming is spending time talking to old friends and making new ones - an activity Bass plans to enjoy at an autograph session scheduled for the day of the race from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the UAW-GM Motorsports trailer. For more information about Sam Bass' artwork and guitars, visit www.sambass.com or phone 704/455-6915.(Sam Bass PR)(9-5-2003)
- Biffle to start his own Busch team? #16-Greg Biffle is considering starting his own Busch Series team, which would begin operation in 2004. "I'm exploring options right now. I think running in the Busch series really helps my Winston Cup program," Biffle said. "There aren't a lot of Ford Busch teams, so it's tough for me to find a decent ride with someone else." Biffle, who drives the #16 Fords for Roush Racing in Cup, has run several Busch races this season with Evans Motorsports but received some criticism from Ford since Evans uses Chevrolets. "There is such a conflict with Ford and Chevy and we don't want to give information to other teams, so I'm looking into doing my own program," he said. "I would entertain the thought of running a partial or full schedule, even." Biffle said Roush officials have told him they have been trying to put together a Busch program for him. "They've been saying for quite some time that they were going to get something together. We were going to run a part-time Busch deal when we were Truck racing; a part-time Cup deal when we were Busch racing; and now a part-time Busch deal when were Cup racing. None of it has materialized," Biffle said. "If I'm in control of it then I know it's going to happen." Biffle doesn't own a race shop but said the most difficult part would be finding the sponsorship money.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-5-2003)
- Cup and Busch car to run SPECIAL 9-11 Decals at Richmond: As the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks approaches, the memory of those that lost their lives is in the forefront of people's minds. This is especially true of New York City police officers and firefighters. Believing that something needed to be done to honor his fallen comrades, one Bronx policeman reached out to his beloved sport and asked that it do something in memory of the victims. NASCAR responded with a resounding "Yes!" Police Officer Victor DiPierro is a lifelong resident of the Bronx and NASCAR fan. When he is not on the streets protecting the people of New York, he is at home cheering on Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the # car. With the second anniversary of the September 11 tragedy weighing on his mind, DiPierro felt he had to do something to honor those that lost their lives - several of whom he knew personally.
Speaking of how much it moved him to see the pit crews holding American Flags and the armed forces flybys before each race, DiPierro had an idea. “I thought it would be cool to have a sticker on the cars in honor 9-11,” he explained. “Millions of people watch this sport every week. I couldn’t think of a better tribute.” With the idea in his head, the officer approached NASCAR in New York. After hearing what DiPierro had to say, the league asked him to send a sample sticker to see what it looked like and where it could be placed on the cars. The decal that the officer selected pictured the patches worn by the NYPD, FDNY and Port Authority Police Department with the Twin Towers and an American Flag in the background. The simple images were punctuated by the words “Fallen Heroes.” Seeing the sticker was enough to convince NASCAR that it was a fitting tribute. "I was talking to [NASCAR] on the phone and they told me to send them 250 stickers right away," said DiPierro. "They were willing to put the stickers on the cars." The simple, yet moving, image affected NASCAR officials enough to order that all the cars running in this weekend's Funai 250 and Chevy Rock & Roll 400 would not only carry the badge on their bodies, but on their dashboard in view of the on-board cameras. In addition, all of the teams’ haulers would wear the badge. NASCAR spokesman Rob Copelan explained why the organization decided to go forward with the sticker placement. “There’s a deep bond that goes beyond sports,” he said. “It’s about humanity and people and neighbors – about friends helping friends.”
Copelan said that NASCAR has maintained an office in New York City for over 20 years and that, like everyone in the nation, the events of September 11, 2001 affected it deeply. “NASCAR has not or never will forget the events of 9-11. We’re grateful we could say yes to Officer DiPierro. It’s a small way to remember our fallen heroes and pay our respects to the city workers that responded to the disaster.”
In order to get the stickers in a timely fashion, DiPierro worked with a local police uniform distributor to order the required number. Even with a friendly discount, DiPierro paid for the stickers out of his own pocket. Copelan said that NASCAR offered to reimburse the officer for his expenses, but the policeman declined. See full story and the decal at the XM144.com site.(9-5-2003)
- Elliott to decide by end of month: #9-Bill Elliott says he will decide by the end of the month whether he'll retire at the end of the current Winston Cup season or return for one more year. But the choice isn't as simple as it seems. He's struggling to make a decision that is in the best interest of a host of parties, including his car owner Ray Evernham, his crew, NASCAR and his legions of fans. He's in the last year of his contract with car owner Ray Evernham, but Evernham has said the No. 9 Dodge is Elliott's for as long as he wants to drive it. Elliott, who is still fully capable of winning, says he won't leave Evernham unless a top-notch replacement is standing by to take over his car. Complicating matters is the fact that Elliott's teammate Jeremy Mayfield is struggling, which could mean he might be forced out of the #19 Dodge. If Elliott retired at the end of this year, that could leave Evernham in the difficult position of having a multi-car race team with no drivers in place for the upcoming season. Then there are the top NASCAR officials who are urging Elliott to continue for at least one more season, so his contributions to the sport can be properly recognized. But Elliott, who shuns the spotlight whenever possible, said he wants no part of the type of retirement tour that Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip took in the final season of their careers.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and see past news/rumors on my #9 Team News and Links page.(9-5-2003)
- Skinner wins the pole at Richmond: #01-Mike Skinner won the pole for the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond in the US Army Pontiac in a backup car with a speed of 125.792mph, putting him in the 2004 Budweiser Shootout, it is the 2nd pole for the team, Boris Said won the pole at Sonoma in June. Skinner will have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag since he is in a backup. So #6-Mark Martin, who qualified 3rd, will move up to the #1 spot, before the start of the race, the cars move up in the same line as the car dropping back, not over by position [like 2 to 1 etc]. Starting on the outside pole is #16-Greg Biffle, his best career start and the highest starting rookie of the year candidate, with a speed of 125.646.
Missing the race were #50-Larry Foyt and #79-Billy Bigley Jr. Not sure if the provisionals used were charged, will check into it, if so, #43-Fittipaldi used his last one up until Martinsville, if not, he still has one.
For speeds, who used provisionals, practice speeds comparisons, provisional rank, other site lineup links and other notes, see Jayski's Richmond Grid/Qualfying Page - click here.(9-5-2003)
- Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - Richmond: What a day for the #01 team of Mike Skinner. Hows about wrecking on your
first lap in practice? Then, your team busts their butt getting the backup ready and you grab the pole! Then, you wreck in Happy Hour and you're now waiting for another car to come from the shop in Charlotte. Down, Up, & Down again. And, all this at the track where regular driver Jerry Nadeau had his bad accident in Happy Hour last May. For Skinner, it's his 6th career Bud Pole....and it will gain him
entry (the 14th driver qualified thus far) into next February's Budweiser Shootout. If they decide to go to the backup car, he'll have to relinquish that top-spot however. Mike's last pole was at California Speedway in April of 2000 (back in the RCR #31 era).
Skinner will be joined on the front-row by #16-Greg Biffle (who ties his career-best starting spot....he was outside the front row at Watkins
Glen last month).
#40-Sterling Marlin (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Daytona in July.
#99-Jeff Burton (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Las Vegas in March.
#10-Johnny Benson (9th) had his best qualifying run since he had the outside pole at Rockingham in Febraury.
#45-Kyle Petty (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th when we were here in May.
#54-Todd Bodine (12th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 10th at Darlington in March.
STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races. Mark Martin has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
45 cars on hand...two on the Trouble Train. Larry Foyt and Billy Bigley get the early outs.
Provisionals were taken by: Dale Jarrett (non-charged), Dave Blaney, Steve Park, Jason Leffler, Christian Fittipaldi, Mike Wallace, and
We had 15 cautions when we were here last (but we did dodge a lot of rain that night), so we should find out once again why they call this place the "Action Track".(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(9-5-2003)
- Busch Drops Complaint Against Spencer: #97-Kurt Busch dropped his assault complaint against rival #7-Jimmy Spencer, who punched him in the face after a race last month at Michigan International Speedway. A spokesman for Busch called the Sheriff's Department Wednesday, asking that the case be dropped, sheriff's Capt. Jack Welsh said Friday. Welsh said the representative told him NASCAR's penalties against Spencer were satisfactory. Busch was left with a bloody nose and chipped tooth during the Aug. 17 fight between two of the more aggressive drivers in the Winston Cup series. NASCAR barred Spencer from driving in a NASCAR-sanctioned events for a week and fined him $25,000. Busch was fined $10,000. NASCAR placed both men on probation until the end of the year. Spokesmen for Spencer and Busch did not immediately return calls. See past news on my #7 Team News and Links page or my #97 Team News and Links page.(more at ThatsRacin.com/AP)(9-5-2003)
- Labonte could be the 6th: Should #5-Terry Labonte win the pole position this week, he would join an exclusive group of drivers in the Richmond record book. Since the track began running two Winston Cup races a year in 1959, only six drivers have swept both pole positions in a single season. Ted Musgrave was the last to do it (1994), while Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and the late Alan Kulwicki have also accomplished the feat.(Hendrick Motorsports)(9-5-2003)
- Stewart on the tube for the Busch race: Benny Parsons to go behind the scenes of the TNT production during NASCAR Busch Series Race. Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart will join the TNT telecast team and will join TNT play-by-play announcer Allen Bestwick and analyst Wally Dallenbach in the booth at 8:00pm/et to give his insights during TNT's coverage of the Advil presents NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Richmond. This is the third consecutive season that Stewart has worked behind the microphone for TNT, having most recently made three appearances on the network last year.. Not one to take the night off, fellow NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion Benny Parsons (1973) will go behind the scenes during Friday's NASCAR Busch Series race to try his hand as a cameraman, tape operator, a pointer for RF (wireless camera) and catering assistant.(PR)(9-5-2003)
- #54 BelCar looking for a 2004 sponsor? Travis Carter said #54 BelCar Racing isn't sure if sponsor Army National Guard will return in 2004 as their sponsor. Carter co-owns the team with Sam Belnavis and hopes to know something this month. Todd Bodine is the driver of the #54 Ford.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-4-2003)
- Changes for Talladega UPDATE: According to NASCAR Winston Cup director John Darby, there will be an adjustment to the speedway formula when the tour arrives at Talladega, Ala., to contest the Sept. 28 EA Sports 500. Darby told TFR the change would come in the throttle response area. “We’re going to increase the plate size and also increase the spoiler so that we can still keep our control on the speeds. We’ll put a taller spoiler on it so we’ve still got a handle on the speeds but essentially it’s a matter of putting a little more drag on the car and a little more horsepower underneath the hood.” The goal, Darby explained, is to keep the drag horsepower ratio the same as it was the last time the Cup cars ran at Talladega, which will keep the speeds from escalating to beyond the comfort level of the sanctioning body. Asked if NASCAR considered again working with the roof blade on the speedway package Darby replied in the negative, “They may be back some day or a different version of it."(Ford Racing)(9-4-2003)
UPDATE: When the Winston Cup circuit returns to Talladega Superspeedway for the Sept. 28 EA Sports 500, drivers should feel a little more pep when they step on the gas pedal. That's because NASCAR is opening the holes in the restrictor plates used on superspeedways from 7/8 inch to 29/32. That allows more fuel to the engine's combustion chamber and therefore more response when the throttle is opened. To compensate for the increase in power and speed, the rear spoiler, which causes speed-reducing aerodynamic drag, is being raised from 6 1/4 inches high to 6 3/4 inches. Winston Cup director John Darby said the changes were based on results of wind tunnel tests of cars following the Brickyard 400. He said top speeds, which are limited at Daytona and Talladega to keep cars from becoming airborne, shouldn't change much. "They'll probably be a little faster, if anything," Darby said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(9-5-2003)
- #66 Closed Up? UPDATE operations suspended: hearing that the #66 Travis Carter team has shut down, due to lack of sponsorship. Guess Hideo Fukuyama couldn't supply the sponsorship and is looking for a ride.(8-26-2003)
UPDATE: Travis Carter said the #66 team he fielded on a part-time basis for Hideo Fukuyama has ceased operations as it ran out of money. Carter says Fukuyama stops by the shop almost everyday.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-4-2003)
- Sad News - Mongo Dies: Martha, the perky Jack Russell terrier that won the hearts of fans and drivers at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn this summer, is dead. Winner of the MIS "Where's Mongo" look-alike contest, Martha was struck by a tow truck Aug. 12 in Brooklyn, N.Y. She died soon after. Mongo is the dog pictured on the hood of Jimmy Spencer's NASCAR Winston Cup Ultra Motorsports Dodge. Martha and her owners, Joe and Chung Vella, were guests of MIS at the Sirius Satellite 400 race weekend in June, where their little pooch quickly warmed to the burly Spencer. According to Vella, Martha was hit as she chased a vehicle owned by his next-door neighbor. Vella, who recently retired from the New York City police force, said he had passed the news of Martha's demise on to the Ultra Motorsports team. "In July, Martha was at a Jimmy Spencer golf outing in Berwick, Pa.," Vella said. "She was a big hit with the Spencer family." The Vellas have since purchased a dog to replace Martha. "We talked it over and decided to buy a new pup," Vella said. "She's three months old and is a Jack Russell, just like Martha. Her name is Maggie and she's white with a black patch over one eye." Vella said he thinks often about Martha, who was a birthday gift to his wife last year. "You don't forget a dog as good as Martha," he said. "Our trip to Michigan with her was something I'll always remember." Later this month, Joe, Chung and Maggie will relocate to Phoenix, where they'll enjoy the warm weather, while Joe plays a little golf.(Detroit Free Press)(9-5-2003)
- Atlanta Braves NASCAR Night on Monday with Kyle Petty: On Monday, September 8, the Atlanta Braves will host NASCAR Night at Turner Field, prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Fans will have the opportunity to see a number of authentic NASCAR stock cars live at Turner Field. The cars scheduled to be on hand are #50 NASCAR on TNT, #20 The Home Depot car, #15 NAPA Auto Parts car, #31 Cingular Wireless car, #8 Budweiser car, #45 Georgia-Pacific car, and the Richard Petty Driving Experience show car. Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty will be the Braves’ honorary team captain for the evening. The Braves are planning a special in-game feature with field drive-arounds during designated innings.(Atlanta Braves Press Release via MotorsportsTV)(9-5-2003)
- Stewart and Schrader do some dirt trackin': Tony Stewart and Ken Schrader love to race anything, anytime, anywhere, and this love for turning fast laps brought them to the Sheboygan County Fair Park in Plymouth, WI on Wednesday night. Both racers gave a good show on dirt in the IMCA Modified cars but they were plagued by mechanical problems most of the evening. See more to the story and images of the cars at MotorsportsTV.com.(9-5-2003)
- Rally Driver to NASCAR? Colin McRae is almost resigned to his career as a rally driver being cut short at the end of the season and is contemplating a switch to motor racing. It's not looking good. There's a couple of other things I'm looking at," he said. "Not all the doors are closed in the world championship. If I was five years younger I'd do another year just to be there, but I'm not doing it for nothing, in terms of money or the car. I always said if I stopped rallying I'd like to try something else." He declined to comment on rumours that he might consider taking up Nascar, North America's ultra-successful stock car formula, which races on banked ovals at speeds approaching 200mph. However, he has tried something similar, racing a less powerful car at the Rockingham Oval in the Midlands. He has also tested a formula one car, lapping Silverstone in a Jordan two seconds slower than Martin Brundle in 1999, in only 10 laps. But his racing experience is minimal.(much more at Guardian Unlimited)(9-5-2003)
- Fans That Care was designed for fans to participate in the America’s Most Wanted Racing Team and assist them in achieving their goals of assisting in the recovery and education of missing and exploited children nationwide. We have all heard the reports of a child being abducted and every one of us has experienced the emptiness in our stomachs and thought to ourselves I wish I could help. Those are the same thoughts of the America’s Most Wanted Racing Team. How can we use our professional motorsports status to assist in the recovery and education of missing and exploited children? So they designed the AMW Racing Team, and will place a photograph of a missing child in three strategic places on our racecars in each event in the Cup, Busch and the Craftsmen Truck series with a focus on the Busch Series as well as broadcast them throughout live television, in person at events and the worldwide web. More info at the AMW Racing Team SIte - Fans That Care page. These cars have been seen on Fox Sports Nets Totally NASCAR and NASCAR This Morning TV shows.(9-4-2003)
- Lawsuit to cost NASCAR $1 Billion? SMI's Bruton Smith and NASCAR's Bill France are on opposite sides of the biggest and most compelling lawsuit in the 55-year history of NASCAR. As most NASCAR fans have heard, the case of Ferko vs. NASCAR is about Texas Motor Speedway [TMS] not getting a second annual Winston Cup race. Plano resident Francis Ferko is a minority shareholder in Speedway Motorsports Inc. Smith is chairman of SMI, a $1.9 billion operation and the parent company of TMS. The lawsuit accuses NASCAR officials of failing to deliver on a promise to award TMS a second Winston Cup race. It sounds simple. It isn't. This is major litigation that could rock NASCAR to its foundation. Big-money lawyers are preparing to argue the merits of the case. The suit is scheduled for trial in January 2004 in U.S. District Court in Sherman. Bill France gave his deposition in Daytona Beach three weeks ago. Smith was deposed in June.
Some of the most prominent attorneys and most prestigious law firms in the country are involved. The TMS side includes Johnnie Cochran, who became famous as the attorney for O.J. Simpson. He has estimated financial damages at upwards of $1 billion, although other attorneys involved say $200 million is more realistic. NASCAR has the firm headed by David Boies, the man who argued for Al Gore in the litigation over the Florida voting process in the 2000 presidential election.(See full story at the Dallas Morning Star) and see past news on my Lawsuit page.(9-4-2003)
- MBNA bonus at $50,000: The MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award is worth $10,000 to the leader of a race's halfway point (among teams participating in the MBNA contingency award program). MBNA also pays a $5,000 bonus if the halfway-point leader goes on to win the race. If the bonus isn't collected, the $5,000 rolls over to the next event. Here's where we are: the MBNA bonus now stacks up to $50,000. The last time it was collected was at Daytona in July when #15-Michael Waltrip won the Pepsi 400 and an extra $5,000.(NASCAR PR), see the list of all the winners of the award and bonus' above.(9-4-2003)
- Different Drivers at RIR: There have been nine different race winners in the last 11 races at Richmond International Raceway. Only Tony Stewart has repeated at Richmond since 1998, winning three times (late-summer 1999, spring 2001 and spring 2002). And in the last eight races at Richmond International Raceway, there have been eight different Bud Pole winners.(NASCAR PR)
- Totally NASCAR's number of the day = 2: since the Richmond International Raceway [RIR] was configured between the two races in 1988 there have only been two (2) pole sitters go on to win the race.(FSN's Totally NASCAR), who were the drivers? Davey Allison in the first race in the current configuration in Sept 1988 and Bill Elliott in the spring of 1992.
- Rusty is good ar RIR: #2-Rusty Wallace leads active drivers in Richmond victories, with six. Wallace has a 7.7 average finish in 30 races at Richmond, the best of all drivers on the facility's current .75-mile configuration. #24-Jeff Gordon has 13 top-10 finishes, including two victories, in his 21 Richmond races. Three of #20-Tony Stewart's 16 NASCAR Winston Cup Series wins have come at Richmond, including his first career victory as a rookie in the 1999 late-summer race. That night, Stewart dominated, leading 333 of 400 laps (83.2 percent).(NASCAR PR) The all time track winner is Richard Petty with 13 followed by Bobby Allison.(9-4-2003)
- Kyle was the first: #45-Kyle Petty became the first third-generation NASCAR Winston Cup Series race winner when he won his first NASCAR Winston Cup race on Feb. 23, 1986 “the Miller High Life 400 at Richmond. Kyle's grandfather Lee Petty won the very first Richmond race in 1953.(NASCAR PR), the three Petty's have 16 wins at the track, 13 by Richard, 2 by Lee and 1 by Kyle - all on the old configurations.(9-4-2003)
- 2004 All Star Race to stay at Lowe's Motor Speedway: NASCAR's annual all-star race will return to Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. The race, called The Winston since its inception in 1985, will be run on May 22, 2004 - the traditional Saturday night spot on the schedule prior to the track's first Winston Cup race of the season, the May 30 Coca-Cola 600, sources confirmed Thursday. A formal announcement of the race date will likely come in the next few weeks. The name of the race remains unclear. Track officials would not confirm the race date Thursday. "Nothing can officially be said until NASCAR releases its 2004 schedule," said track spokesman Jerry Gappens. "Obviously, we feel very positive it will return to its rightful place in 2004." Lowe's signed a one-year extension to host the all-star race this  season. Last year, NASCAR suggested it might rotate The Winston to other cities, news that did not go over well with community leaders across the Charlotte region. The race generates $75 million for the track area's economy, a 1999 UNC Charlotte study found. Since then, The Winston has grown even more popular, and this year attracted a record crowd of 150,000. A nonprofit group organized to promote the race this year raised $650,000 and used the theme, "There's No Place Like Home." Most drivers and race teams live in the region, and the track has hosted the race every year since 1987. The departure of series sponsor Winston - announced in June - ensured the race would at least change in name, and possibly in location. Nextel Communications, based in Reston, Va., signed a 10-year agreement to begin sponsoring what is now known at the Winston Cup Series, beginning in 2004. At the time of their announcement, Nextel officials said they would be involved in the all-star race, but said they would leave the location up to NASCAR. There had been a lot of speculation in recent months that the race could end up at some point at Richmond International Raceway, since it is the closest Cup track to Nextel's headquarters. Last month, Lowe's officials confirmed they had signed a sanctioning agreement with NASCAR to host a Truck series race on May 21, an indicator that the all-star race would return next season. The track hosted its first Truck race this season on the night before The Winston and it was a success with more than 40,000 in attendance. Speedway officials said then they did not plan to hold a Truck race as a stand-alone event and planned it to once again coincide with the all-star race.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-4-2003)
- Radio Communication in 2004, changes? As vital as a good motor or good setup is to a race car, so too is communication. With that in mind the teams have though the years tweaked and dialed-in two-way radio systems to fit the unique rigors of racing. Don’t think a radio is an important part of the mix? Just tell that to the driver who is patting the roof or door panel as he tries to tell his crew chief whether his car is loose or tight. And the driver who doesn’t have a working radio is living in a world of chaos and that’s just if his outbound communication has failed. The problem increases 100-fold when the driver’s radio can’t receive a radio signal because he losses not only his crew chief but also his spotter. And with the current cocoon style of driver restraint the driver’s reliance on his spotter easily becomes a safety issue. There are currently two major suppliers for two-way radio gear in NASCAR’s top three series with Racing Radios and Racing Electronics [Jayski sponsor of the Scanner Freq page] handling the majority of installation and service requirements of the industry. With communications vital in the racing game the issue was naturally brought up shortly after Nextel was named the series sponsor of NASCAR’s elite series for 2004. Nextel, with its Direct Connect offering, is obviously in the radio business and this reality led to questions as to whether NASCAR would require the teams to start using Nextel radios, beginning next year. “Well, let’s see now. Currently Racing Radios provides the communications,” NASCAR Chief Operating Officer, George Pyne, hedged at Sears Point several weeks ago. “I think that will all work itself out. Continuing Pyne added, “It’s interesting when you look – you need tires, you need fuel and you need to be able to communicate.” When asked directly if Nextel would replace the teams’ current two-way radio systems Pyne replied, “I think you can expect [Nextel] to be a provider of communication if the technology and service is as good or better than what it is today. We’ll work through that with Racing Radios. “Again, I expect that to be a very positive and seamless situation.” Giving a practical indication of where team communications might head in the near future comes from a job listing for the program manager for the Nextel Motorsports program. The job description lists one of the position's responsibilities as: "Develop relationship with Nextel engineers, track operators, teams and other third parties to insure smooth transition from 2-way radios to Nextel".(Ford Racing)(9-4-2003)
- BACE to Hendrick Motors: BACE announced it will run Hendrick Engines for the remainder of the 2003 season at all Winston Cup events in the #74 BACE Motorsports Chevrolet. Entering this weekend, The #74 Chevy with Tony Raines driving has been powered by Hendrick motors at six events so far during the 2003 season. Out of those six races, The #74 has finished outside of the top-25 only once, coming last week at Darlington after Raines was caught in a multi-car accident on lap six.(BACE MotorsportsPR)(9-4-2003)
- Biffle Injured? UPDATE no: from The State, a quote Greg Biffle: "Man, my stomach dropped," Biffle said. "I had about a 4-second lead and the flywheel broke coming off (Turn) 2. ‘.‘.‘. "I think it cracked my ribs, it was shaking so bad inside the car. I was in so much pain the last 70 laps; never felt so much pain in my life."(The State)(9-1-2003)
UPDATE: Following last weekend’s Southern 500 Greg Biffle complained that it felt as if he’d broken his ribs from the violent shaking that occurred in the Grainger Ford, after the flywheel exploded. However, according to Roush Racing sources Biffle is just fine and will be ready to go for this weekend’s Richmond International Raceway events. Roush officials said that the report of broken ribs was taken out of context [oops], somewhat, due to the beating that Biffle received in the last 50 laps of the event from the severe vibrations from the broken driveline.(Ford Racing)(9-4-2003)
- Kerry Earnhardt and RCR: Kerry Earnhardt may race a Looney Tunes RCR Busch car in the Phoenix race. The car will have several of the characters on it. There is no sponsor as of yet. The possible number on the car is #03. Kerry may also field an RCR Winston Cup car at the Atlanta race. This car also does not have a sponsor and will be decorated with The Cat In The Hat characters. The number being considered for this car is also #03.(a notice to some diecast dealers)(9-4-2003)
- McMurray Again Fastest as Testing Concludes at Lowe's: For the second consecutive night, #42-Jamie McMurray topped the speed chart Wednesday as NASCAR Winston Cup teams made final preparations for the UAW-GM Quality 500 Saturday night, Oct. 11, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. With teams focusing on race set-up for the inaugural nighttime running of the 500-mile Fall Classic, McMurray's #42 Havoline Dodge was clocked on the unofficial stopwatches with a fastest lap of 177.282 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. McMurray, the surprise winner of last year's UAW-GM Quality 500, ran many consistent laps between 176 and 177 mph. "We are definitely better than we were here in May," McMurray said. "We've gone through a bunch of shocks, basically trying stuff we don't have time to try during a race weekend. We think we've found something and the car is driving really good. I'm looking forward to coming back in October."
Jeff Fultz, a former ARCA RE/MAX Series winner here, was second fastest at 177.072 mph in the #55 Ford. Two-time UAW-GM Quality 500 winner Dale Jarrett was third fastest at 175.821 mph in the #88 UPS Ford. Like McMurray, Jarrett made several long runs consistently recording laps in the 175-mph range. Christian Fittipaldi was fourth fastest at 173.482 mph in the #44 Dodge. NASCAR Busch Series point leader Scott Riggs was also on hand, but the #57 CLR team loaded up their Ford prior to sunset. #50-Larry Foyt and #27-Scott Wimmer did not return for the second day of open testing. The six-hour session was run without an on-track incident. Tickets for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 11, start at just $19 and are available online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.
The unofficial speeds:
#42-Jamie McMurray, 177.282 mph;
#55-Jeff Fultz, 177.072;
#88-Dale Jarrett, 175.821;
#44-Christian Fittipaldi, 173.482;
#57-Scott Riggs, 173.176.(LMS PR)(9-4-2003)
- Nadeau to be at Richmond to support #01 Team: Crew chief Ryan Pemberton doesn't harbor any ill feelings or negative thoughts. Yet, he does feel he has some unfinished business to attend to at Richmond International Raceway, site of Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race. The last time Pemberton was in Richmond, tuning and overseeing the performance of the No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac, he saw a promising weekend turn to anguish. With Jerry Nadeau behind the wheel of the U.S. Army car at the Richmond spring race, the team posted a solid qualifying effort of 12th and was running in the top three in the ensuing practice session. It was all clicking for Pemberton and Nadeau. But as the practice session went on, misfortune struck the U.S. Army team when Nadeau slammed into the wall driver-side first between the first and second turns. He was airlifted to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond where he was listed in critical condition with head, lung and rib injuries.
"That was a very difficult time," said Pemberton. "My best friend and driver was laid up in the hospital and you could sense it wasn't good. None of us wanted to be at the track, but we had a job to do. We had to get the backup car out and go find a driver. We not only had to find a driver who was willing to fill in, but one who was about the same size as Jerry. Jason Keller (Busch Series driver) agreed and he did a good job for us considering the circumstances." Pemberton is hoping that he and the team's current substitute driver, Mike Skinner, will also click with a successful combination for the .75-mile oval. "Frankly, I'd like to duplicate everything in Richmond except Jerry's last lap," said Pemberton. "We had had a good qualifying run and Jerry was running real fast in race trim. We never got the chance to really show our hand. Hopefully, we'll have just as good of a combination for Mike. This will be his fifth race for us and he has done a good job." Offering support to Pemberton and Skinner in Richmond will be Nadeau, who is recovering from the injuries he sustained on May 2. "I am going to Richmond to thank a lot of people and give my support to the team," said the 32-year-old Nadeau. "There are so many people that I want to personally thank - the doctors and staff at the hospital, the emergency workers and the medical staff at the infield care center. Regarding the team, I think they're going to do well in Richmond. We had a fast car in May and I feel it will be just as good this weekend."(US Army PR)(9-4-2003)
- SunTrust Bank Joins U.S. Army Racing Again at Richmond: SunTrust Bank, Mid-Atlantic has partnered once again with the MB2 Motorsports NASCAR Winston Cup team for the September 6 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. SunTrust will be featured as an associate sponsor on the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac driven by Mike Skinner, who is substituting for the injured Jerry Nadeau. "This is another great opportunity for SunTrust to work with a top-notch group," said Michael Newbrand, Senior Vice President and SunTrust, Mid-Atlantic's Marketing Director. œWe are glad to hear that Jerry Nadeau is doing well and are pleased that he will visit the SunTrust client hospitality suite as our guest." Nadeau was scheduled to meet SunTrust's officials and guests before their inaugural race together May 3 at Richmond, but a practice accident the day before the event sidelined Nadeau. He continues to recover from those injuries, but is looking forward to visiting both his team and SunTrust representatives this weekend.
SunTrust will also offer fans the opportunity to enter a "Racing With The Works," drawing to be selected as an honorary #01 U.S. Army pit crew member. Anyone over the age of 18 can complete an entry form at the SunTrust booth located on the track midway on Friday, Sept. 5 and Saturday, Sept. 6.. This drawing coincides with SunTrust's "Banking With The Works" promotion which features the Bank's new line-up of checking account products and low rate equity line products. in addition to these activities at Richmond International Raceway, the #01 U.S. Army show car was displayed at SunTrust's Fort Lee branch in Fort Lee on Wednesday for military members and their families. SunTrust's Internet address is www.suntrust.com.(MB2 PR)(9-4-2003)
- Craven Tests at Milwaukee: #32-Ricky Craven and the PPI Motorsports (PPIM) team spent Wed., Sept. 3, testing at The Milwaukee Mile track in Wisconsin. The team tested with chassis No. 49, the same car it plans to use in the Sept. 14 NASCAR Winston Cup event at New Hampshire International Speedway. PPIM used the last of its five "official" tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year, so the team is now testing at tracks that do not host Winston Cup events.(PPIM PR)(9-4-2003)
- #9 Crew Wins Pit Championship Award for 4th time after being fastest at Darlington: The inaugural McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade has paid out $500,000 to pit crews during the first 25 NASCAR Winston Cup races of the 2003 season. Leading the prize money list is the pit crew for Bill Elliott's team, which swiped its fourth victory of the season Sunday at the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Elliott's crew has earned $80,000 ($20,000 for each win) and is the first four-time winner of the championship that recognizes and awards the unsung heroes of the sport. Elliott's car, which finished fifth in the Darlington race, spent the least amount time on pit road for participating teams. The #9 Dodge was off the track for 469.770 seconds, edging Bobby Labonte's Interstate Batteries Chevrolet that spent 470.354 seconds on pit road. Third was Elliott Sadler's Ford at 471.403. "With the level of competition the way it is now you shoot to spend as little time on pit road as possible," said Elliott's crew chief Mike Ford. "That's a combination of your driver, calling the race and your pit stops. Your goal is keeping the car on the racetrack and not in the pits." Elliott's over-the-wall crew consists of: Todd Colburn (jackman), Nick Bailey (front tire carrier), Jim Pohlman (front tire changer), Eric Wakeland (rear tire carrier), Joe Kruschek (rear tire changer), Rodney Rhodes (gasman) and Steve Lawrence (catch can). The team's pit crew coach is Greg Miller. With 11 races remaining, Michael Waltrip's crew leads the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship with 912 points, a 53-point lead over the second-place pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Elliott's team, which did not join the program until the fifth race of the season, is ninth with 777 points. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus.
For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(9-4-2003)
- DEI to test Atlanta later this month: #15-Michael Waltrip and another DEI team are scheduled to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 29-30th. The test is closed to the public.(AMS PR)(9-4-2003)
- Stacker 2 cars to carry special decals: The Station #23 program was developed to pay tribute to the fallen firefighters of Station 23 FDNY (Midtown Manhattan), who were performing their jobs of saving lives when tragedy struck on September 11, 2001. The name of their station is “The Lion's Den.” Through the common grief following September 11th, a special bond was created between Station 23 FDNY and Station 23, Grand Terrace (San Bernardino County FD) in Grand Terrace, California. The two have become “sister stations” and Station 23, Grand Terrace, has since adopted the name “The Lion's Den” in honor of the fallen firefighters. “The Lion's Den” decal being placed on the #23 Stacker 2 Busch and Cup cars feature both "sister stations" and will be included on the team cars throughout the month of September.(Bill Davis Racing see the cool decal there)(9-4-2003)
- Donohue to be Honored: The Zippo Vintage Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, N.Y., this weekend will pay tribute to the road-racing career of Delaware County's [PA] Mark Donohue, who died at age 38 after a crash during a Formula One practice run in 1975. Nearly two dozen race cars from Donohue's collection will either be on parade or compete in races on Saturday and Sunday. The vintage racing event, which features vehicles of the 1940s through the '70s, is the largest of its kind in the Eastern United States.(Philadelphia Inquirer), more info about the event, links and Donohue on my Mark Donohue Tribute page.(9-3-2003)
- Artist Looking: The popularity of NASCAR has spread to numerous types of memorabilia, posters, and even paintings. With paintings like Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Junior, Bristol native Bryan Haren has caught the eye of bigwigs at Bristol Motor Speedway and even Teresa Earnhardt. That hobby is now turning into a career with B-M-S using this Haren painting for the speedway's new Dale Earnhardt terrace. (See full story at the Bristol Herald Courier) and links to other artists, photographers and images on my Images Links Page.(9-3-2003)
- Mayfield Out? Re-signed? UPDATE 2 going to the #30 car?: Ray Evernham may be in the market for a new driver, if Jeremy Mayfield leaves [the #19 car]. Evernham and other Dodge team owners have been under heavy pressure from Dodge executives to improve performance.(Winston Salem Journal) AND being told by source Mayfield will leave the #19 team, no idea where he goes, and who goes into the #19? would imagine a young gun of some caliber.(8-30-2003)
UPDATE: however, PRN's Garage Pass reported on Thursday that Mayfield's option for 2004 was picked up by Evernham Motorsports.(8-31-2003)
UPDATE 2 - not so fast? PRN's Garage Pass radio show reported last week car owner Ray Evernham and driver Jeremy Mayfield agreed to a new contract extension, however it appears that hasn't stopped Mayfield from talking with car owner Richard Childress. Sources tell PRN Mayfield has talked with Childress about the AOL Monte Carlo ride if Childress decides to replace Steve Park. Park, who says he wants to make it hard for Childress to replace him wants to stay with the #30 team. He recently finished 5th at Michigan.(9-3-2003)
- McMurray speedy at Lowe's testing: #42-Jamie McMurray, last year's surprise winner of the. UAW-GM Quality 500, led the speed parade Tuesday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway as seven NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and teams fine tuned their "night moves" in preparation for the inaugural nighttime running of the track's 500-mile fall classic. McMurray's pacesetting lap was posted after the sun had set and the track surface cooled, nearly identical conditions teams will face during Bojangles' Pole Night qualifying on Thursday, Oct. 9. Interestingly, McMurray's lap came in a different car than the one he drove to victory last year. That #40 Dodge is still part of the stable of cars being wheeled by McMurray's teammate, Sterling Marlin. Dale Jarrett, a two-time UAW-GM Quality 500 winner, was second fastest on the unofficial watches at 180.566 mph in the #88 UPS Ford. Jeff Fultz, the May 2002 winner of the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 100 ARCA race, was third fastest at 180.391 mph in the #55 Ford. NASCAR Busch Series point leader Scott Riggs, making his first appearance in the #57 CLR Ford, was fourth fastest at 179.509 mph while Scott Wimmer rounded out the top five at 177.954 in the #27 Chevrolet.
A brief rain shower shortly before 5 p.m. forced officials to stop the session for just over an hour. The only on-track incident came when Christian Fittipaldi's #44 Dodge scraped the outside wall in turn four. Testing for the UAW-GM Quality 500 continues Wednesday. NASCAR Winston Cup cars will be on the track from 3:00 to 10:00pm/et and spectators will be admitted free to the main grandstand. Tickets for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 11, start at just $19 and can be purchased online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.
The unofficial speeds:
1. #42-Jamie McMurray, 181.002 mph;
2. #88-Dale Jarrett, 180.566;
3. #55-Jeff Fultz, 180.391;
4. #57-Scott Riggs, 179.509;
5. #27-Scott Wimmer, 177.954;
6. #44-Christian Fittipaldi, 176.476;
7. #50-Larry Foyt, 175.873.(LMS PR)(9-3-2003)
- Stewart to run Truck race at RIR: Tony Stewart will drive Andy Petree Racing’s Monaco Coaches/Diamond Rio Chevrolet in the Virginia Is For Lovers Truck Series race at Richmond. A year ago, Stewart and Petree won the event. The victory continued a string of strong runs for Petree’s Truck teams, the previous ones coming with Petree himself behind the wheel. Stewart started 25th in the Richmond race a year ago but steadily made his way to the front, taking advantage of his own championship driving talents and the top-notch equipment fielded by Andy Petree Racing. He grabbed the lead from Kevin Harvick 34 laps from the end and never looked back, pulling away to a .259-second victory. Petree is also fielding a car for young up-and-coming driver Paul Menard through an ARCA, Busch and Winston Cup combination program. Menard is driving the Turtle Wax/Menard’s entry in Friday night’s NASCAR Busch Seires race at Richmond as well, and that car will have Monaco as an associate sponsor. Petree will be back behind the wheel of the Monaco Coaches Chevrolet in the Truck Series race at Martinsville in October. Monaco Coach Corporation, a Coburg, Ore., based company has become one of the world’s leading RV manufacturer since it was founded in 1968, and remains one of the fastest-growing in the industry.(Williams Company)(9-3-2003)
- Some Provisionals News UPDATEs and CORRECTIONS: Four teams have started every race and not used a provisional in 2003: #9-Bill Elliott; #20-Tony Stewart; #24-Jeff Gordon; #97-Kurt Busch. Six teams are out of provisionals until Martinsville (32nd race, if the team has attempted all 32): #14-Larry Foyt [attempted less then 24]; #37-Derrike Cope [attempted 18 races, will get one on his 24th race attempt]; #4-Morgan McClure;#43-Petty Enterprises; #45-Kyle Petty; #49-Ken Schrader. For more info, rules and standings, see my Provisional Page.
IMPORTANT: there was a change at Chicago, I didn't catch: "In the event the number of entrants that are eligible for a provisional starting position for the event is equal to or less then the number of starting positions available [usually 43], as provided by the Official Entry Blank, provisionals assigned to fill starting positions 37 through 43 under those conditions will not count toward the maximum season allotment". So..I have some adjusting to do on my unofficial provisonal standings. But from quick calculations, #43-Fittipaldi and #45-Petty should now have one left and #37-Cope is back to 3 as none should have been charged at Chicago or Bristol.(9-2-2003)
UPDATE: looks like I got it UNOFFICIALLY Straightened out. #43-Fittipaldi has one left, #45-Petty has two left and #37-Cope has 3 provisionals left to use. Also added provisionals left to the following teams: #'s 23,54,01,1,89,50,41 and 19. Looks like races where provisionals were not charged after the new rule [starting with Chicago] were: Chicago, Pocono, Michigan and Bristol. This week at Richmond, 47 cars are entered [but the #11 and #37 will not be there, so it is 45], two are entered without provisionals: #4-Johnny Sauter and #49-Ken Schrader, so as it stands provisionals shouldn't be charged this week.
See my 2003 Provisonals Used and Provisional/Owners Points Page for the corrected and updated provisionals [unofficially of course](9-2-2003)
- Nemechek still working on his deal UPDATE Nemechek out/Vickers In the #25 for 2004: [#5, #24, #25, #48, #60] team owner Rick Hendrick is pondering next season's Winston Cup lineup, and team sources say that either Kyle Busch or Brian Vickers could be promoted to a full-time ride. In fact, an announcement could come Tuesday. Despite his victory at Richmond in May, #25-Joe Nemechek senses that he's on the hot seat. Terry Labonte is also trying to negotiate a new contract. "'There is a lot of stuff going on at Hendrick Motorsports, and I don't know the answers,' Nemechek said. 'Rick said in a week or two everything would be decided. It's a great organization, and I'd love to finish out my career there. But if I can't, man, I've got some great experiences here."(from the Winston Salem Journal)
AND Nemechek, 39, hopes his contract will be renewed for next season and is awaiting word from owner Rick Hendrick. Nemechek says the No. 25 Chevrolet is the best car he has driven in his 11 seasons in Cup competition, and he should be a factor in several races down the stretch, including New Hampshire, Charlotte, Atlanta and Rockingham.(from the Sporting News)(9-1-2003)
UPDATE - Vickers to Cup in 2004 in the #25: Hendrick Motorsports #5 Busch Series driver, Brian Vickers, is getting a bump up to Winston Cup. Vickers, 19, and his Busch Series sponsor, GMAC, will move to Hendrick Motorsports' #25 Chevy next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. An official announcement of Vickers' move could come as soon as Tuesday afternoon. Vickers will replace Joe Nemechek, who has spent over a year in the car and won earlier this season at Richmond, Va. Nemechek is 23rd in points, with a win, one top-five and four top-10 finishes. He has also failed to finish six races. Following his win last weekend, Vickers moved into third in Busch points, just 67 behind leader Scott Riggs. He has won two of the past four races (Indianapolis and Darlington). Vickers' move to Winston Cup will open his #5 Chevrolet ride in the Busch Series. Hendrick plans to move 18-year-old Kyle Busch into the ride next season, sources said. Busch, brother of Winston Cup standout Kurt Busch, has been running a combination schedule of Automobile Racing Club of America and Busch series races this season. He has two ARCA wins and two poles in five starts and has finished second twice in three Busch starts.(ThatsRacin.com), see the official releases at the Hendrick Motorsports site.(9-2-2003)
- Burton, Jeff that is, staying put UPDATE: #99-Jeff Burton, though still sponsorless for 2004, just signed a new contract extension with Jack Roush.(from the Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2003)
UPDATE - Burton re-ups with the #99 team: Roush Racing announced today that Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 Roush Racing Ford, has been signed to a new multi-year contract to continue driving for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. “Jeff Burton is and has been an integral contributor to the success of Roush Racing for many years,” said Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president. “Jeff is an outstanding talent and ambassador for Roush Racing and the industry and his renewed commitment allows us to maintain our complete competitive strength.” “Now that Jeff is signed, we will continue to move forward to solidify a primary sponsor for the #99 team for 2004 and beyond,” Smith added. “Jack Roush has done so much for me and my career over the last eight years, I’m truly looking forward to continuing our partnership into the future,” said Burton. “We have a really strong, young team and they all have a tremendous work ethic and a hunger to win which is what Jack Roush and Roush Racing is all about. That combined with Jack’s willingness and ability to provide us with everything we need to be competitive, will enable us to win many races in the future and vie for championships.” Said owner Jack Roush, “The re-signing of Jeff, in addition to our other outstanding drivers, completes our competitive Winston Cup structure and provides us with an unmatched and quite remarkable line up for the next several years.” For sponsorship inquiries please contact John Miller at Roush Racing at 704.720.4600.(Roush Racing PR)(9-2-2003)
- Early Darlington TV Ratings: NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Mountain Dew Southern 500 drew a 4.4 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research to top all televised sports this weekend, USA Today reports.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter - free)(9-2-2003)
- Park in the #30 at Talladega NOT Andretti: Steve Park's official web site [www.steve-park.com see the scroll] reports that Steve Park [the current regular driver] will be in the #30 AOL Chevy and John Andretti will be in a 4th Childress car NOT the #30 Chevy as reported. [See my #1 Team News and Links page for past news on it]. Am hearing it could be #03, no idea on a sponsor....yet.(9-2-2003)
- 2nd Team for Wells in 2004? UPDATE Riggs? #32-Ricky Craven, whose single-car team has struggled at times in a sport dominated by multi-car operations, may soon get some help. "I believe Cal is well on his way to having a second team, as early as next year," Craven said this week at Darlington, referring to car owner Cal Wells III. Wells fielded two cars in 2001, but dropped back to one after losing a sponsor.(Charleston Post and Courier)(8-24-2003)
UPDATE: hearing Busch Series driver Scott Riggs [#10 Nesquik/ppc Racing Ford] could end up in the 2nd PPI Motorsports Ride and the team is close to signing a sponsor.
However being told that the team has brought in at least two other drivers to talk to in the past week who were not Riggs.(9-2-2003)
- Stewart Wins ARCA Race: Tony Stewart ran away with his first ever ARCA RE/MAX Series win at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds "We just had a blast today," said Stewart. "Some people go fishing to relax on their day off; I go racing. Just want to thank all the guys who helped with this. I love this place, and I'm really proud of this victory." Ken Schrader, in the Federated Auto Parts Pontiac, finished second with ARCA veteran Joe Cooksey third. "Tony (Stewart) was on his own page today," said Schrader. "There was no way we were going to catch him. Heck I feel good about finishing second."(see results at ThatsRacin.com)(9-2-2003)
- Dale Jr spends time at Ganassi's shop AND more on DEI UPDATE: Friction between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his stepmother Teresa Earnhardt continues to hold up a deal that would legally bind Junior to the organization his father founded. Sources say that Earnhardt Jr., who has never had a formal contract with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, was ready to ink his deal last week. But after a brief meeting with Teresa he walked away with the contract still unsigned. Most DEI insiders believe that it is all a matter of time before an agreement is reached. However, as long as Earnhardt Jr. is still technically a free agent other teams are trying to seduce the young star -- which may explain why Junior spent four hours last week at the Chip Ganassi shop.(from the ESPN site)
AND: Despite DEI's on-track success, the Winston Cup garage has been rife with reports of in-house problems, highlighted by Teresa's inability to sign Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a new contract after months of negotiations, and by reports from the Indy Racing League about DEI's failure to sign two-time IRL champ Sam Hornish after long talks. Norris denied the IRL report that Theresa vetoed his handshake deal with Hornish for a Winston Cup ride. 'I told Dale Jr. that Sam was the guy we wanted to drive our Busch car, and I was going to put him in some ARCA races too, and run him in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 and all the Cup races after the IRL season,' Norris said. 'But Dale talked with him and said he didn't seem that interested, and Sam's agent said he wasn't interested in a Busch ride.' Hornish signed an Indy-car deal last week with Roger Penske, who runs Dodges in NASCAR and Toyotas in the IRL.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has still not signed his contract, Norris said. 'He has a couple of issues he wants Teresa to address, and it's up to those two, but there has been some movement. 'As far as 'power struggle,' I do my job, and Steve Hmiel does his job, and Teresa owns the company and makes the final decisions. Don't think for one minute just because she's not sitting on the pit box that she is not fully engaged with what is happening with our teams and our sponsors.' John Andretti will take over as DEI teammate with Earnhardt and Michael Waltrip next week, but Norris said that 2004 is still up for debate. And team sources said that it could be a while before a decision is made. 'We have options for that car,' Norris said. 'The sponsor knows who those options are, and they're comfortable. We have two very legitimate potential sponsors, but we're on their schedule.' Greg Biffle is reported to be on DEI's list of potential drivers [Jayski Note: Biffle reupped with Roush - see below]. 'It's all open right now,' Norris said. 'John ran for us at Indianapolis, and that was a great weekend for us to see how he would interact with our guys. Now we want to see how he does at Richmond, Loudon and Dover. If he has some consistent runs, it will bode well for his career and our sponsor search. 'The sponsor front is a lot better than it was at the beginning of the summer, when it was a really tough time for everybody. I've been talking with other GMs, and they're all pretty pleased with the sponsor movement. A lot of that has to do with the work by Brett Yormark, Andrew Feit and Chris Brahe in NASCAR's New York office, because during the entitlement search they got companies excited about NASCAR.' Kraft, an associate sponsor, won't be stepping up, Norris said. 'That's not in their plans the next three years.'(Winston Salem Journal)
UPDATE - However been told by the folks at Ganassi Racing that Earnhardt Jr., has NOT been to the shop.(9-2-2003)
- Driver of the Year: Vote Now for Driver of the Year - Third Quarter 2003 at Speed Channel. Fan voting for 3rd Quarter will take place online from Saturday, August 30 until Friday, September 12th. The winner will be announced Live on Speed News on Saturday September 13th at 7:00pm/et. Scott Pruett (Trans-AM); Helio Castroneves (IRL); Larry Dixon (NHRA); Kevin Harvick (NASCAR); Ryan Newman (NASCAR); Paul Tracy (CART) and J.J. Yeley (USAC).(9-2-2003)
- Sad News: Cancer has claimed the life of Bob Dotter, three-time Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) National Stock Car Champion. Dotter, 64, passed away on Monday, September 1. Dotter is the father of part time Truck Series driver and team manager, Bobby Dotter. More information on the Short Track News site along with arrangements for Dotter.(9-1-2003)
- NASCAR looks at #41 Car: NASCAR officials weren't sure what they'd found when an accident midway through the Southern 500 tore the side of Casey Mears' #41 Target Dodge open. But they removed a small yellow "brick" with wires attached from inside the side of the car. After the race, Winston Cup technical director Steve Peterson supervised the dismantling of the dashboard of Mears' car. After inspecting the back of the car's gauge package, picking and probing at the wiring, Peterson gave the OK to Ganassi Racing crewmembers to load the car. Later, Winston Cup director John Darby said the device was simply a voltage monitor designed to track the voltage of the car's battery.(NASCAR.com)(9-1-2003)
- #16: #5-Terry Labonte became the 16th different winner this season. The series record for different winners in a season [modern era] is 19, set in 1956 and tied in 1958, 1961 and 2001.(as seen on my Stats and Stats Links page)(9-1-2003)
- Craven's Store Damaged by Fire UPDATE: An early morning fire has gutted Ricky Craven Motorsports North store along Searsport Avenue. The fire was reported to authorities at 6:30am. The store is owned by Ricky Craven, a Newburgh native who races on NASCAR's Winston Cup Circuit. Lowell Keene told VillageSoup that he noticed some black smoke coming from the rear of the building but could not see any flames. More info at the Belfast VillageSoup.(8-31-2003)
UPDATE: A fire gutted a store owned by Winston Cup driver Ricky Craven on Sunday. The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause. Waldo County officials learned of the fire around 7 a.m. Sunday when a caller reported smoke inside Ricky Craven Motorsports North. The store was unoccupied at the time and no injuries were reported. The business, which opened in September 2000, sold all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and racing paraphernalia associated with Craven, a native of nearby Newburgh. Lauri Matheson, Craven's sister and manager of the store, described the fire as a setback that would not put an end to the business. "We are ready to fight and build a new business," she said. "It's life, it does happen. We're not going anywhere." Matheson said in addition to merchandise, trophies and other memorabilia were destroyed. "A lot of it's priceless," said Matheson, adding that a temporary office was being opened. Craven learned of the fire just before the Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C., his sister said. "Then he went out there and raced a great race," Matheson added. Craven, who won at Darlington in March, finished eighth Sunday.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(9-1-2003)
- Newman Treated and more on the Kill switch: #12-Ryan Newman was unavailable after the Southen 500 at Darlington for an interview as he received treatment for excessive heat and some carbon monoxide poisoning.(from ThatsRacin.com) AND Newman apologized over the radio for accidentally hitting the engine-kill switch on his steering wheel. A team official said after the race that a water bottle handed to Newman during the pit stop inadvertently turned off the ignition, causing the engine to stop.(Roanoke Times)(9-1-2003)
- Biffle Injured? from The State, a quote Greg Biffle: "Man, my stomach dropped," Biffle said. "I had about a 4-second lead and the flywheel broke coming off (Turn) 2. ‘.‘.‘. "I think it cracked my ribs, it was shaking so bad inside the car. I was in so much pain the last 70 laps; never felt so much pain in my life."(The State)(9-1-2003)
- Biffle signs for 2004 - could add more: At Roush Racing, rookie #16-Greg Biffle renegotiated the final year of his contract (2004) and is working to add two more years.(from the Sporting News) So that kills off another part of the 'rumored' Elliott to retire/Biffle to the #9. See my #9 Team News and Links page for the past stuff on this.(9-1-2003)
- Gant and DW Inducted: Darrell Waltrip and Harry Gant were inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association in ceremonies held Saturday night at the Darlington Country Club. Waltrip, a three-time Winston Cup champion who won 84 races and now serves as an analyst on Fox Sports' NASCAR telecasts, remembered seeing Darlington Raceway on television as a boy. "I remember in 1965 when Cale Yarborough went out of the track in Turn 1," Waltrip said. "I was watching on television and said, 'Wow, that's cool.' And that was before I even knew Cale." Darlington is also the track where Yarborough hung the nickname "Jaws" on his frequent rival. Waltrip was inducted by his brother, Michael, while Johnny Bruce inducted Gant. Gant had 18 career victories, including four straight in a memorable streak in 1991 in which he won four straight races in the same month to earn the nickname "Mr. September." Bruce, a long-time associate and friend of Gant's, remembered the driver's matter-of-fact approach to things. "Harry's thing was always, 'It ain't no big deal,'" Bruce said. "Harry, this is a big deal."(from ThatsRacin.com)(9-1-2003)
- Blaney Back with the #77 in 2004? UPDATE: Dave Blaney, driver of the #77 Jasper Motorports Ford, should know Monday if his owners will renew his contract.(from the Winston Salem Journal)(8-30-2003)
UPDATE: Jasper Engines' co-owner Doug Bawel says Dave Blaney will return to drive the No. 77 in 2004. Another year with crew chief Bootie Barker should benefit Blaney and the team.(from the Sporting News)(9-1-2003)
- Nadeau to get checked out, could test soon: Jerry Nadeau goes back to the doctor next week and if he gets clearance he could be approved for testing at Concord and Kentucky. 'We'd put him in a late model at Concord, and give him own team and let him go over there any time he wants to,' general manager Jay Frye says.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2003)
- No Major Changes in Points System Planned: NASCAR is not likely to make any drastic changes to the championship points system, instead focusing on alterations to the cars. Since NASCAR adopted common templates this year, drivers have complained that passing is nearly impossible and the competition is too even. By fixing that - perhaps by reducing rear spoilers by a half inch next season, thus cutting down on downforce - NASCAR officials said Sunday it would help even out the current points system. NASCAR has been toying with different ways to change the points system, ranging from awarding extra bonuses for victories and poles and changing the way points are given to cars finishing at the back of the pack. But every formula under consideration has been applied to the past 10 years final point standings, and NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said the champion never changed. Plus, talk of making changes is insulting to current points leader Matt Kenseth, who has built a tremendous lead through consistency and just one victory this season. NASCAR is still considering awarding extra points for victories and poles, but Hunter said changes to the way points are given to the back of the field will likely not change.(from the AP/ThatsRacin.com)(9-1-2003)
- 2004 Templates and a meeting: NASCAR is putting the finishing touches on Cup templates for 2004 and plans to show them to teams and explain the differences at a September 9 meeting. Ford will have a new nose and tail, and Dodge will have a new tail.(from the Sporting News)(9-1-2003)
- and...more on Kodak: The fate of Kodak's NASCAR sponsorship is the topic of considerable debate at the moment, and there are reports that Jack Roush and DEI are two teams in the running for a Kodak deal, if the photo giant leaves car owner Larry McClure. However, Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, insists his company isn't interested in Kodak. And Ty Norris, general manager at DEI, says he doesn't want to discuss Kodak at all. While Jeff Burton has a new contract, he still doesn't have a new sponsor, Smith concedes. 'We have four companies we're quite active with, and each is doing due-diligence, because they're all new to the sport,' Smith says. 'Kodak is not one of them. We haven't not done anything with Kodak. But we would do something with Kodak if they're not under contract with Larry McClure. But we have heard this week that marketing companies have been contacted by people with that team asking for help looking for sponsorship. But NASCAR would be the one to tell us if that particular sponsorship is available. And we're like others, waiting to see if it opens up.'(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2003)
- Lead-change report at Darlington: There were 24 lead changes, but only three occurred at speed (eliminating those that occurred due to yellow flags, pit stops and mechanical failures). The percentage of passes at speed to total passes was .125. The low was .077 (1-13, Tropicana 400, Joliet, Ill.). The highest percentage (.818, 9-11) was the season’s first race at Bristol. The season percentage is .389 (176-453).(Gaston Gazette)(9-1-2003)
see the Aug 25-31, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Aug 18-24, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Aug 11-17, 2003 Archived News Page