OCT 27-NOV 2, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- OFFICIAL - no racing back to the yellow flag:
See the news, the rules and a NASACR Q&A/Transcript regarding the new rule on my Caution Rule 2003 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)
- Earnhardt Jr. wins at Phoenix: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Checker Auto Parts 500 Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, his first victory an a non-restrictor plate track since Dover in September 2001. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd, followed by #12-Ryan Newman [the pole sitter], #97-Kurt Busch [who led the most laps] and #15-Michael Waltrip. The victory also helped Earnhardt Jr. solidify his hold on second in the Winston Cup standings behind #17-Matt Kenseth, who had his strongest run since a fourth at Bristol in August. Kenseth, who started 37th on Sunday, finished sixth and now leads Earnhardt Jr. by 228 points with just two races left in the season. Kenseth needs to finish only 30th or higher in the final two races to clinch the championship [or leaves Rockingham with a 186 points lead]. There were ten caution flags, tying the Phoenix Cup race record set in 1991, the 66 caution laps are a new record.(full story at ThatsRacin.com)
Scheduled Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel:
one-hour recap/Fast Forward on Wednesday, November 5th at 7:00pm/et and again on November 6th at 1:00am/et;
and a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, November 6th
See my Checker Auto Parts 500 Race Info Page for race results links, top 10, lap leaders, drivers out of race/off track, cautions/narrative, notes, lucky dog 'winners' and much more.
Race Results at
Jayski's Phoenix Race Results Page
and see full standings at Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix.(11-2-2003)
- NASCAR.com's Smith heading to Ireland UPDATE: Snickers Marathon is running into the NASCAR family in a unique way as it sponsors NASCAR.com writer Marty Smith as he travels to Ireland to conquer the 26 miles that encompass the Dublin Marathon, but the product is already a ‘distant relative’ to stock car racing. Masterfoods USA, which produces Snickers Marathon, also produces its sister product and high profile NASCAR sponsor M&M’s Chocolate Candies. M&M’s currently sponsors Elliott Sadler and the #38 RYR Ford Taurus. “I decided about a year ago that running a marathon was a challenge that I wanted to conquer, and here I am headed to Dublin to take on the 26 most grueling miles of my life,” Smith said. “I’ve never attempted anything the magnitude of a marathon before, but with a hectic lifestyle and an intense job, I’ve had days where I honestly felt like I had logged 52 miles in a day, so I really felt like I could do this. People everywhere are like me and put in a lot of miles in an ordinary day,” Smith continued. “They don’t intend to cover so much ground…it just kind of happens. Snickers Marathon not only helps me in training, it helps me get through a normal day.” Snickers Marathon didn’t target Smith for a sponsorship, but as an ‘everyday marathoner’ he was the perfect fit to represent their new product abroad in the 24th Adidas Dublin Marathon in an effort to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation as a member of the "Joints in Motion" training team.
Smith follows the NASCAR circuit around week to week translating the day to day happenings into words for 8 million fans that frequent the official website of NASCAR - NASCAR.com. Smith’s usual sit-down job is very time consuming and the travel involved is intense. Being on the road for 30 weekends a year means logging hundreds of miles in airport terminals, from parking lots to media centers and chasing driver celebrities for interviews. Though he’s never run 26 consecutive miles, there is not doubt he worn out more than one pair of sneakers in his ‘ordinary’ line of work.(Elevation Group PR)(10-15-2003)
UPDATE: hadn't gotten an update on this, so did some searching and founs that Martin 'Marty' Smith finished 3152 [time was 4:19:15] out of 6278 finishers [and over 10,000 entrants - many fell out] at the 24th Adidas Dublin Marathon in Dublin, Ireland. The woman Jayski sponsored, Jamiee Pearce [GEM Store, Dennisville, NJ] was 5124th. The race was won by Onesmus Kilonzo with a time of 2:17:03 - a tad over 11mph.(24th Adidas Dublin Marathon site)(11-2-2003)
- Gordon's Car Cleared of Traction Control: Perhaps you noticed last week’s race winner Jeff Gordon having difficulty completing a proper burnout after winning last week’s race. You might have also noticed Gordon was able to run through Atlanta Motor Speedway’s corners so high that he was kicking up dirt and dust, but never pulled the car’s rear end into the wall. If so, you were not alone as a vast number of those who toil in the Winston Cup garage noticed these things as well, including NASCAR officials. According to NASCAR PR staff, Gordon’s car was torn down, inspected with a fine toothed comb and special attention paid to the ignition system. NASCAR officials did take the rear end from Gordon’s car into the Conover, N.C., R&D center, where the unit, away from the prying eyes of the competitors, was cleared later in the week. This confiscation was not widely publicized within the industry, but few were surprised when they did hear the news. One driver simply said of the impounded piece, “It doesn’t surprise me. I was running as hard as I could and I certainly couldn’t pull half the moves that [Gordon] was. Nope. It doesn’t surprise me, that they took it and that they didn’t find anything wrong.”(Ford Racing)(11-2-2003)
- Fireball Site: This site is dedicated to the legendary Daytona Beach driver, Fireball Roberts, who captured the 1962 Daytona 500: www.fireballroberts.com.
See other past/retired driver site links on my Retired Drivers News/Links page and tribute links on my Driver Tribute page.(11-2-2003)
- StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - Phoenix: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr powered past Jimmie Johnson on lap 252 and led the final 51 circuits to capture today's Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Havoline at Phoenix International Raceway. It was the second win for Little E this season (he captured Talladega in April), the 9th of his career (5 plates and 4 non-plates), and the 15th for DEI. Jr. is now tied for 47th on the all-time win list....and to say that crew looked happy in Victory Lane would be an understatement!
#97-Kurt Busch (4th) had his best finish and first Top-5 since he won at Bristol in August.
#17-Matt Kenseth (6th....and more about him later) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
#99-Jeff Burton (8th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Richmond in September.
#22-Scott Wimmer (9th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was a 17th at Talladega in October of 2002. He also gives us 41 drivers to score a Top-10 this season....last year's number was 42.
#6-Mark Martin (10th) had his best finish and first Top-10 since he was 10th at Watkins Glen in August.
#40-Sterling Marlin (11th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Pocono in July.
#25-Brian Vickers (13th) had his career-best (albeit short) finish today. His previous best was 33rd at Lowe's Motor Speedway last month.
#14-Larry Foyt (28th) tied his career-best finish today. He also finished 28th at Dover in June.
Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10's in a row.
Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10's in a row.
Ryan Newman has 8 Top-10's in the last 9 races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week (for the second week in a row) is Matt Kenseth (+31), followed by Tony Raines (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Casey Mears (-33), followed by Rusty Wallace (-28), Jeremy Mayfield (-27), Joe Nemechek (-21), and Ward Burton (-21). Kenseth has now clinched no worse than a tie in the Op of the year category....this was #5.
We've had seven drivers score 100 or more bonus points this season. I don't know if thats a record or not, but it's certainly waaaay above
average. It's the most we've had that I can find in my stats going back to 1996. We had six drivers hit the century mark in 1999 and
five in 2000. Other than those years, the norm is four.
Matt Kenseth has done everything but clinch his first Championship. His lead is now 228 (he lost 30 points off his margin), and his Magic
Number vs Dale Earnhardt Jr is 30th. If Matt finishes 7th or better next week, he clinches (no matter what Jr does).
Kevin Harvick's problems the last two races have certainly been costly. He was 2nd coming out of Martinsville but he's fallen to 6th over the last two weeks.
Kurt Busch (11th to 9th) and Michael Waltrip (14th to 12th) made multi-position moves upward this week. The aforementioned Mr. Harvick (3rd to 6th) dropped three spots.(StockCarFans.Com Winstoncup Newsletter)(11-2-2003)
- McMurray OK: Jamie McMurray was working on his Havoline Dodge when a metal sliver fell into one of his eyes. It was removed at PIR's infield medical center.(Arizona Republic)(11-2-2003)
- Fire Supression in the #32: #32-Ricky Craven is the only driver in the field whose car is equipped with a fire suppression system designed to deploy dry chemical powder following a rear-end collision. A Scottsdale, AZ-based company manufactures the device.(Arizona Republic)(11-2-2003)
- #250 for Craven: #32-Ricky Craven will make his 250th career Winston Cup start today at Phoenix.(11-2-2003)
- Musgrave Battling Cancer: Truck series championship contender Ted Musgrave battled cancer early this season, his team owner revealed Saturday. "We were winning races while he was going to the doctor on Monday getting chemotherapy," Jim Smith, owner of Ultra Motorsports, said in an interview with a publicist for Dodge. Musgrave, 48, formerly of Franklin, Wis., was not available a day after finishing second at Phoenix International Raceway in the series' second-last race of the season. His wife, Debi, was stricken with leukemia years ago. Musgrave has won three times this season and ranks second in the standings, 26 points behind Brendan Gaughan, and has scored 13 victories since coming to the series three years ago. "I think if anybody's deserving of (a championship), it's Ted Musgrave," Smith said.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2003)
- #7 Team Plans to be back in 2004: #7 Dodge / Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith said Saturday he is moving ahead for plans for 2004 with his Winston Cup operation despite the lack of a primary sponsor secured for next season. Smith said he believes his Cup organization should remain mostly intact, other than the loss of crew chief Tommy Baldwin, who has already notified Smith he will not return to the team next season. "We've got some money in our checking account, and rather than putting it in my checking account and going home, we're going racing," Smith said. "We're talking to a few people a little bit, but nothing of major consequences. I'm confident that something somewhere will pop up. We don't have to have $18 million to operate. They've had everything they wanted this year, and I think you can waste money in Winston Cup, too. I know what an adequate number is to run a Winston Cup team, and I won't go racing without that adequate money." Veteran Jimmy Spencer has driven for Smith this season and is expected to return next year if Smith continues with the team. "Jimmy doesn't want to go anywhere. I'm proud of all these guys. Tommy didn't want to leave. They have families and stuff, and they have to make decisions," Smith said. "I'm going to meet with all the top people at Ultra Motorsports and assure them they have a job. If we don't end up Cup racing all year, the Truck teams are certainly going to be a lot better than they are right now."(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2003)
- and yet more on Traction control: When #24-Jeff Gordon couldn't do a decent post-race victory burnout at Atlanta, rivals were quick to question whether he might have been running traction control, the illegal system that prevents rear wheels from spinning out of control. Many teams suspect use of traction control is rampant this season, and one driver says he suspects as many as 16 teams [none named.....again] have used the device, which is believed to be impossible to detect. Some wonder why NASCAR couldn't modify its engine chassis dyno to detect traction control. Others say that NASCAR uses a sophisticated sound analysis system that can detect traction control. Robbie Loomis, Gordon's crew chief, says Atlanta wouldn't be a very good track for traction control, and some fellow crew chiefs agree. "I don't really know enough about it," Loomis said. "Obviously it would work at the short tracks and anywhere you have a lot of wheel-spin. But at Atlanta the car stays pretty hooked up and you have a lot of traction. Me personally, I don't think it's out there that much. Somebody might slide in and use it every now and then on you. But my hat's off to any team that's got an engineer good enough to dial that stuff in." The chassis dyno wouldn't be a good detection system, Loomis said, "because they talk about the driver being involved in putting it in the car and taking it out." One question rivals had was about the sometimes erratic performance of Gordon's car off the corners at Atlanta. Loomis said that was a fuel line problem. "Unfortunately we were having trouble with the fuel system. It scared me early in the race. We've got some stuff out here to look at it, and hopefully we've got it fixed."(Winston Salem Journal)(11-1-2003)
- Biffle to RCR? Greg Biffle may be considering a $3 million deal to drive for Richard Childress, according to sources. But Geoff Smith, head of Roush Racing, says he expects the Winston Cup rookie to be back with Jack Roush next season.(full story and quotes at the Winston Salem Journal) and see another article at ThatsRacin.com: Biffle's remarks: Attempt at humor or foreshadowing?(11-1-2003)
- DW Grand Marshal at the Toyota All-Star Showdown: Darrell Waltrip, three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, Fox Sports NASCAR analyst and occasional NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor, will officially start things off at the Toyota All-Star Showdown. Toyota named Waltrip as the event’s Grand Marshall and the popular NASCAR driver/TV analyst will give the command for the drivers to start their engines on Saturday night at Irwindale. "Toyota is delighted to have an icon of the sport as our Grand Marshall at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown," said Les Unger, National Motorsports Manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA. "We are working diligently with NASCAR and the staff of Irwindale Speedway to make sure this inaugural event is remembered for years to come." The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway will be held Nov. 6-8, 2003 and televised on Speed Channel on Nov 7th at 11:00pm/et and on Nov 8th at 8:00pm/et. More info at www.nascartouring.com/toyota.(NASCAR PR)(10-31-2003)
- Didja Know 2? that #24-Jeff Gordon has won on every race track [19 current and at defunct North Wilkesboro] on the Cup circuit with the exception of Phoenix, Texas, Chicagoland and Homestead. Gordon's most wins at a track is six at Darlington.(11-1-2003)
- Didja Know 3? when Kevin Harvick won the Truck Series race at Phoenix on Friday, he became the second driver ever to win a race in all three of NASCAR's National Series in the SAME season. Who was the first? Terry Labonte in 1995 [3 Cup wins, 1 Busch and 1 Truck win]. Seven drivers have won at least one race in all three series: Jimmy Spencer, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin [Truck sin in 1996 but NO Cup wins that year], Bobby Hamilton, Kevin Harvick [no Busch wins in 2002], Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader. Biffle owns Busch and Truck championships. NOTE: Geoffrey Bodine's Truck win was an exhibition race and doesn't count.(a few readers asked...so I looked it up...so you don't have to)(11-1-2003)
- No Comment by Busch: #97-Kurt Busch declined to comment on NASCAR's decision to revoke his "hard card" - an annual credential used to gain access to tracks - in response to a pit road incident during the Oct. 19 race at Martinsville, Va.
Throughout the day Friday, Busch directed questions regarding the manner to NASCAR officials. Busch's hard card was revoked last weekend at Atlanta by NASCAR President Mike Helton. For the rest of the season, Busch must pick up paper credentials outside the track each weekend, as well as a hot pass - used for garage access - from Winston Cup series director John Darby.(ThatsRacin.com), see original report on my #97 Team News and Links page(11-1-2003)
- NASCAR to meet with Stewart: NASCAR officials plan to meet with #20-Tony Stewart this weekend at Phoenix to discuss his failure to meet media obligations following Monday's race at Atlanta, said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for corporate communications. Stewart finished second in Monday's race, won under caution by Jeff Gordon. He did a brief TV interview immediately after the race, but did not report to the media center, a requirement for the top-three finishers in a race. This is the second time in four races NASCAR has had a driver who finished runner-up in a Winston Cup event fail to meet media obligations after a race. Bill Elliott refused all but a brief interview after his second place run at Kansas on Oct. 5.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-30-2003)
UPDATE: Tony Stewart had a "productive" meeting Friday with NASCAR officials regarding his failure to meet media obligations following Monday's race at Atlanta, said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for corporate communications. After finishing second at Atlanta, Stewart failed to attend a post-race news conference, which is required of the top-three finishers of each race.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2003)
- #10 Cup Crew to be replaced? with #10 Busch Crew? The #10 MBV Motorsports crew may be facing a major shakeup, according to sources who say that incoming driver Scott Riggs may be bringing his Busch crew and crew chief Doug Randolph along with him. Current crew chief, Jay Guy, says he and the crew haven't been told what's in the future.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-1-2003)
- BAM Team told it will be back; 2 cars? .....#49 BAM Racing's determination was recently rewarded by Dodge Motorsports. The manufacturer said it would supply the team with technology and equipment, including use of its wind tunnel and assorted dynamometers. A team that's gone without for so long may have enough backing to run two cars in 2004. Team Owner's Tony and Beth Ann's Moganthau have Ken Schrader as a driver. There is no contract between them, other than their words. That's binding enough for both sides. Schrader now knows the future of the team depends on signing a sponsor. The search for a sponsor has been so promising that the team was told this week it would be back in 2004.(full story at the Augusta Chronicle)(11-1-2003)
- Million Bucks a race to be the pace car? General Motor's decision to pull the plug on Pontiac support in NASCAR caught everyone by surprise and it is apparently related to pressure from NASCAR demanding more money from the Detroit car maker - at least $1 million a race, according to reports - to be the official pace car of the Winston/Nextel Cup circuit. Pontiac officials, according to sources, said no.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-1-2003)
- Bill Davis 2nd Team looking for a sponsor; Driver could be Park? UPDATE: Bill Davis is a car owner [#22/#23/#27] juggling a lot of balls at the moment. And he has much more on his plate than just watching Scott Wimmer in his top [#22] car. Davis is also trying to put together a package for his second team, now that Kenny Wallace is expected to step back to either the Busch or truck series, though still running for Davis. And Davis will be playing next season without any official factory support. General Manager Mike Brown concedes that a lot of things are still up in the air, even this close to the end of the season. "On the Cup side, we're actively pursuing a second sponsor (for the team Wallace drives for). We have a couple of good leads, and we'll see how it plays out. Stacker2 (the current sponsor) is about to announce its intentions; they're remaining with us and Kenny, just with a change in how they market their products in the Winston Cup series. So if we get our second Cup deal done, there will probably be a new driver in that." There is speculation that it may be Steve Park. But, said Brown, "We wouldn't shy away from bringing another rookie in the fold," even though Scott Wimmer, the man taking Ward Burton's place, has only half a dozen Cup races under his belt. "There are some good rookies out there. A lot of times the sponsor dictates the driver, because of the marketing they're looking for."(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(10-31-2003)
UPDATE - Wallace not leaving BDR...but? Kenny Wallace denied a report that he won't be back in Bill Davis Racing's #23 Dodge next season. And there is speculation that Wallace could be the next to go, perhaps to the Busch Series in a Davis car. "Is there?" Wallace said after qualifying Friday. But he denied he was leaving. "Everything's the same," Wallace said before ducking into the team's hauler.(NASCAR.com)(11-1-2003)
- Didja Know? that #5-Terry Labonte is the only driver who has been running at the finish of all 15 NASCAR Winston Cup Series races run at Phoenix International Raceway, which will host Sunday's 312-lap event. His 1994 victory was Chevrolet's last win on the one-mile desert oval.(HMS PR)(10-31-2003)
- StockCarFans.com - Ramblings Phoenix: Ryan Newman picked up Bud Pole #10 for the season today at Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Havoline. It's the third pole in the last four events for Newman, and the 17th of his Winston Cup career. He's now hitting a lusty .218 for the top-spot. Remember last week when we said that #25-Brian Vickers was setting the bar pretty high? Well, he raised it today. In only his 3rd career Cup start, he'll start from the outside front row on Sunday, besting that 4th place start he had at Atlanta last week. A strong qualifying day for the Hendrick Motorsports Chevies....2nd, 3rd, and 4th...bookended by those Penske Dodges.
#77-Dave Blaney (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.
#6-Mark Martin (12th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Richmond in September.
STREAKIN....Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10 starts in the last 9 races. Jimmie Johnson has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races.
The Trouble Train contained only two cars today. Derrike Cope (for the 8th time this season) gets the looong ride home, while for Brandon Ash it's a little shorter but none too sweet. Ash has attempted three West Coast events this season (Las Vegas, Infineon, and today) with no success.
Provisionals went to: Matt Kenseth, Ricky Craven, Dale Jarrett, Steve Park, Tony Raines, Jeff Green, and Kevin Lepage. This marks the 12th freebie the #43 has had to take this season.
Seems like every driver loves the re-design of this racetrack....lets see if they're still as happy come Sunday.(StockCarFans.Com Winstoncup Newsletter)(10-31-2003)
- 2004 IMHOF Inductees Named: The next inductees into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame include competitors in NASCAR, CART and drag racing, plus a racing executive and the first member who drove boats. Officials of the Talladega-based hall announced Thursday in Birmingham that the Class of 2004 will be:
----- Charles "Red" Farmer, who raced and won in seven different decades starting in the 1940s. Farmer, who still runs dirt tracks every weekend, has won four NASCAR Touring Series Championships and was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.
----- Bill France Jr., who took over as NASCAR's top executive from his father in 1972 and turned it into a national sport and hot television commodity. He handed the presidency to Mike Helton in 2000 and the CEO position to his son, Brian, this year.
----- Shirley Muldowney, who has won four Top Fuel national championships in drag racing and has been named to drag racing's All-American team five times. A crash in 1984 nearly ended her career, but she returned to racing 18 months later.
----- Bill Muncey, who won eight Gold Cups, seven national championships, and four world titles in hydroplane racing. Muncey, who had a record 62 wins, died at age 52 from crash injuries. He is the first power boat racer to be chosen for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
----- Bobby Rahal, who has won three CART championships, 24 races and 18 poles. He won the 1986 Indianapolis 500, as well as the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 House of Sebring, and was selected by RACER magazine as one of the 20 Greatest Drivers of the 20th Century. The five will be inducted on April 22, bringing the total membership to 106.(AJC/AP)(10-31-2003)
- Robby Gordon at Baja: Robby Gordon is again returning to his off-road racing roots as he gears up to pre-run the Baja 1000 course in preparation for the legendary Nov. 21 race. Gordon, a two-time Baja 1000 champion, built his #31 SCORE Trophy Truck (Chevrolet CK500) in his off-road shop in Anaheim, Calif., and will take it to Phoenix this weekend for testing Saturday following NASCAR Winston Cup Happy Hour in the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. The vehicle Gordon will use this weekend is his pre-runner truck, not the actual Trophy Truck he will race in the Baja 1000. As soon as he completes the Nov. 16 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Gordon will board a plane to Baja California, Mexico. He will pre-run the Baja 1000 course, which starts and finishes in Ensenada, Mexico, Nov. 17-Nov. 19 in order to familiarize himself with it. Gordon will compile notes about the lay of the land, which measures only 765 miles this year instead of the traditional 1,000. The 34-year-old drew a 20th-starting position out of a current 20 Trophy Trucks entered in the competition, which commences at 8:30 a.m. local time on Nov. 21. For further information on the 36th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, go to www.score-international.com.(RCR PR)(10-31-2003)
- Special Scheme at the Rock for Petty - and - Petty/Stewart to appear in NYC: The Victory Junction Gang, a Proud Charity of NASCAR, and Toys "R" Us will join together this week for a special event to unveil the #45 "Hands to Victory" Dodge, which will be driven by NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC, on November 9. The car features hand-prints of 46 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers. Petty will join 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart at the Wednesday, November 5 event taking place at Toys "R" Us Times Square at Broadway and 44th Street. Both drivers will be on hand for a private autograph session signing "Hands to Victory" die-casts following the presentation and unveiling of the car. Those who purchase a "Hands to Victory" die-cast from Toys "R" Us Times Square, while supplies last, will receive a ticket to attend an autograph session, being held from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. To receive a ticket for the signing session, purchasers must bring their "Hands to Victory" receipt to Personal Shopping on level three of the Toys "R" Us Times Square location. Proceeds from purchases of the "Hands to Victory" die-casts will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp, founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty, which is due to open 2004 in Randleman, N.C. The camp, the only year-round multi-disease camp of its kind in the Carolinas and Virginia, was founded in honor of their late son Adam. Victory Junction Gang Camp will be geared toward making every child's camp experience unforgettable and empowering. For more information, visit their site at www.victoryjunction.org.(NASCAR PR), see an image of the car on my Cup Paint Schemes Gallery - Cars #'s 24-99.(10-30-2003)
- Huge Victory for the Southern New York Racing Association: The Southern New York Racing Association came up big for the Victory Junction Gang Camp at their annual reunion. For the second straight year, the Reunion Committee chose Victory Junction as their charity of choice. This year, SNYRA raised $45,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a camp for kids with life- threatening and chronic illnesses. SNYRA was formed in the mid-1940’s as a group of individuals who had a passion for racing – but they have continued through the years to also display a passion for charity. On September 28, 2003, the group held its annual reunion in Danbury, Connecticut. The event was filled to the brim with good will and classic cars, all with the goal of helping to make a dream come true in North Carolina. Millie Godfrey, chair of the Reunion Committee, presented SNYRA’s donation to Pattie Petty at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 10th. Their generous donation to Victory Junction makes SNYRA a member of the 45 Club.(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(10-30-2003)
- DEWALT's Million Dollar Challenge contest at Phoenix: Earn $1,000,000 in 6.5 seconds. That’s what the fastest 14 drill slingers in North America will try to do as they compete November 1-2 in the DEWALT “Million Dollar Challenge” cordless screwdriving contest, sponsored by Chevy Trucks. The challenge is to see who can drive five screws into a piece of wood the quickest with a DEWALT cordless drill. Contestants must start a timer, pick up the drill, drive the screws, and then stop the timer with the drill.
Ben Palmer - Russelville, AR - 7.03 seconds
Dan Rancourt – Wilton, NH- - 7.19 seconds
Jaime Mills - Holland, OH - 7.23 seconds
Eric Howard - Concord, CA - 7.47 seconds
Mike Rennie - Kirkland, WA - 7.51 seconds
Kane Powell - Panora, IA - 7.7 seconds
Mark Martin - Ostrander, OH - 7.7 seconds
Mike Fischer - Huntley, IL - 7.99 seconds
Rocky Lane - Loudon, TN - 8.18 seconds
Tom Holland - Philadelphia, PA - 8.42 seconds
James McAnally - Longwood, FL - 8.68 seconds
Sergio Romero - Tucson, AZ - 8.7 seconds
Alex Mealer - Columbus, OH - 8.9 seconds
Kevin Brunette – Calgary, Alberta (Canada) - 10.09 seconds
The 13 Americans and one Canadian will be seeded tournament-style according to their times. Contestants will be eliminated until the last two men clash head-to-head in the final “screw off” November 2. The “King of the Drill” is guaranteed to win $25,000 and a premium Chevy Silverado pick-up truck. To win the $1,000,000 grand prize, the champion must sink five screws under 6.5 seconds during the final round in front of thousands of spectators at the Phoenix International Raceway. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Most of the contestants built their own screwdriving practice stations using plans posted on DEWALT’s web site. Some of the finalists have driven more than 450,000 screws in practice, while a few have even videotaped themselves to see where they can cut time. This is the second year for the national screwdriving challenge. Earlier this year DEWALT staged qualifying contests in more than 100 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada where people tested their prowess driving screws. More than 100,000 people entered. Regional contests were held last month to finalize the top 14 competing in Phoenix. The 2003 DEWALT Million Dollar Challenge is presented by DEWALT Power Tools and Accessories, Chevy Trucks, the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, Bombardier ATV, Richard Petty’s Driving Experience, Carhartt contractor clothing, Greenlee storage boxes, and Adrian Steel commercial van and truck equipment. Visit www.DEWALT.com for contest information.(DeWalt PR)(10-30-2003)
- DEWALT Donates To “Race For Relief”: DEWALT announced that they plan to donate several of their tool lines to California Speedway’s “Race For Relief” fund today. The wildfires that have plagued the area of Southern California recently necessitated the gift to the men and women on the frontlines of the fires. Roush Racing driver Matt Kenseth, who is scheduled to make a media stop through Los Angeles on Monday, echoed their sentiments. “From what we’ve all seen on television lately, it’s been a tragedy for the homeowners out in the area,” stated Kenseth. “I hope that the donation will be well received. DEWALT has been a wonderful sponsor for me throughout my career and gestures like this one remind me that they are a class organization,” he added. Kenseth also had some words of encouragement for the front line firefighters currently battling the blazes. “I think the job they do is remarkable considering the circumstances and we wish them safety and success during this tough time,” he stated. The DEWALT tools were sent to the firefighters via California Speedway and their fund as of Wednesday, October 29th.(Roush Racing PR)(10-30-2003)
- Busch's 'Hard Card' Revoked UPDATE 'no comment': #97-Kurt Busch has had his "hard card" - an annual credential used to gain access at tracks - revoked by NASCAR for the remainder of the season as punishment for an incident on pit road during the Oct. 19 race at Martinsville. The move doesn't affect Busch's participation in Cup races, but the absence of a hard card does add several inconveniences during a race weekend. Each Friday, including this week at Phoenix International Raceway, Busch must sign in at the NASCAR registration hauler outside the track and receive paper credentials. He then must take those to Winston Cup series director John Darby, who will issue Busch a hot pass good for the weekend. Busch must return the pass after the race on Sunday. "Our president, Mike Helton, is trying to make a point," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for corporate communications. "We need to do what is necessary to get Kurt's attention." After his #97 Ford blew its engine during the Martinsville race, Busch came down pit road and spun in his own oil. He then spun several more times while pit crew members worked on other drivers' cars. NASCAR officials called Busch, his crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, and owner, Jack Roush, to the NASCAR hauler after the race, but Busch failed to attend. Busch claimed he did not know of the meeting, NASCAR sources said. NASCAR rescheduled the meeting with Busch for last Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and had it coincide with the start of Winston Cup practice. Busch missed most of the practice session while attending the meeting, which was directed by Helton, NASCAR sources said. It was during that meeting that Busch turned over his hard card and had to go outside the track and receive paper credentials for the rest of the Atlanta race weekend. Roush Racing officials were unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon. Busch was expected to arrive at the track sometime Thursday or Friday morning. Hunter said he could not recall a driver ever having his hard card revoked previously. Some drivers' hard cards have been confiscated when they were suspended.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-30-2003)
- IRL Driver to Cup? Hearing that former IRL driver, George Mack, and former Indy car team owner, Gary Trout, are joining forces to compete in the 2004 Nextel Cup Series. Also, hearing that Trout, who bases his racing operation out of Friendship, Ind., has lured a major sponsor that has not been involved in Cup before. Apparently, the sponsor was interested in a diversity program utilizing Mack, who is currently preparing for an intense testing schedule leading up to Speed Weeks at Daytona.(10-30-2003)
- Brett Bodine Close? #11-Brett Bodine told Ford officials last weekend that the financial commitment from a multi-year sponsorship package for his NASCAR Winston Cup team is due Saturday. That was reported on the Web site www.fordracing.com. If the money comes through, Bodine said he may be able to debut his yet-to-be named sponsor at the season finale Nov. 15 in Homestead, Fla. Bodine has been unusually closed-lipped about the sponsorship since he signed the contract back in mid-August. Perhaps it's because he doesn't want to jinx the deal, which he has said would be the largest in the team's eight-year history. Or it could be that the deal is indeed in jeopardy. Bodine told Ford officials he is tempering his excitement until the sponsor honors its commitment. On Tuesday, the Web site www.jayski.thatsracin.com reported that Bodine's crew chief, Mike Hillman, has left and joined the Arnold Motorsports Winston Cup team. Could that be another bad sign for Bodine's sponsorship deal? The team has been running on a shoestring budget. Many of its employees have been laid off. With the expected new sponsor signing, Bodine had hoped to be back racing by mid-September. That didn't happen, but Brett said several weeks ago that he might compete in the final three races of the season.(Star Gazette)(10-30-2003)
- Story on Traction Control - Electronics to be exposed in 2004: NASCAR has had it with the finger-pointing, accusations and fruitless investigations about the use, uh, make that alleged use, of illegal traction control systems in its Winston Cup Series. Starting next season, Nextel Cup teams will have to mount all of their wart-ugly ignition parts, pieces and wires so that anyone strolling through the garage area can inspect the system through the front windshield. "They will be in full display on the dashboard," Winston Cup director John Darby said this week. "The Busch Series and Truck Series are going to have the same rule." Any traction control system utilizes the ignition system to send the right amount of torque and power to the rear wheels. With a traction control system in place, a driver would have a distinct advantage over other competitors with a regular ignition system, especially at NASCAR flat tracks. Prior to this season, most of the ignition system was hidden from sight under the dashboard area. Those in the know say all it would take to convert a plain old ignition system into a traction control beast is a preprogrammed computer chip. They say such a chip could be inserted into the ignition system by the driver just before the race and quickly removed after the checkered flag, making traction control virtually undetectable.
NASCAR doesn't want this kind of technology infesting its circa-1950s motor and electrical setups, but even after issuing a you-will-never-race-with-us-again-if-caught ultimatum about traction control, the whispers continued. When Darby talked about NASCAR's plans to bolt these electrical parts to the dashboard, he never uttered the words "traction control." He said the purpose of the rule is to let everybody else know what a team is running in their car. "Right now ignition systems are not in full view of every competitor," Darby said. "It goes along with our open garage, open inspection philosophy. With the ignition systems in clear sight of everyone, all the competitors can look at it just like they look at the body, springs and chassis."Most everybody thought this was going to happen before the 2003 season because traction control was such a hot topic during most of 2002.(see full story at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(10-30-2003)
- Sad News:
Tom Wilson, former short-track driver, track announcer and a longtime supporter of racing in the Kansas City area. suddenly passed away on Wednesday. Wilson, 56, complained of chest pains in the morning and was taken by ambulance to Research Medical Center. At the hospital, Wilson collapsed and died. “I guess what always appealed to me about Tom was that he was a champion for local short-track racing,” said Marc Olson, owner of Lakeside Speedway. “Everybody in the Kansas City area owes him a debt of gratitude for what he has done.” Wilson drove for years at places such as I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo. He later served as track announcer at Lakeside when it was located on Leavenworth Road. He was the current track announcer at Central Missouri Speedway in Warrensburg and State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, Mo. Wilson was known for the nicknames he would give drivers. He also was a frequent contributor to racing radio programs in Kansas City. He has held several positions in the Central Auto Racing Boosters organization, was on the CARB board of directors during 1995-97 and was a leading proponent to bring CARB to Central Missouri Speedway. Wilson is survived by his wife, Valerie, and daughters Valerie and Stephanie. A visitation will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Floral Hills Funeral Home in Raytown. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Floral Hills.(Kansas City Star)(10-30-2003)
- Tony Stewart Driver and RAD: On behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Race Against Drugs (RAD) program, Eric Saunders, a fifth-grader at LaVille [IN] Elementary School, accepted an invitation to participate this week in the Pentagon's Inner Courtyard National Red Ribbon Week Celebration. The RAD exhibit is one of several recognizing and celebrating drug prevention programs and initiatives throughout the United States. Saunders also has something special that not many other young racers have: sponsorship. Besides Suzuki, several others are sponsoring Eric. He also has a bond with NASCAR Winston Cup 2002 champion Tony Stewart. Eric rides for Tony Stewart Racing.(see full story at the South Bend Tribune)(10-30-2003)
- Elliott's Pit Crew Wins For Seventh Time: Bill Elliott's No. 9 pit crew took first place honors in Atlanta, scoring its seventh win of the season in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was also the fourth win in the last nine races for Elliott's crew, which has pocketed a series-leading $140,000 in the inaugural championship that recognizes the unsung heroes on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. In the McDonald's/POWERade season point standings, the pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. has seriously cut into the lead of Michael Waltrip's crew. With Waltrip's crew placing 25th in Atlanta and Earnhardt's crew sixth, the point differential is now at 19. The season champion of the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade will earn a $200,000 bonus. Elliott's crew narrowly edged Bobby Labonte's No. 18 crew in Atlanta for the weekly prize. The No. 9 Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road - 199.037 seconds. Labonte's Interstate Batteries Chevrolet was a few ticks away with a time of 200.176. Third was Kurt Busch's Ford at 202.485. "I told the guys on the radio during the race that they were doing an awesome job," said Elliott. "They kept me up front when it mattered. I can't say enough about how this team has come together. These guys deserve every bit of recognition for the hard work they've put in, not just the past few months, but all season." 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 crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coach is Greg Miller.(DMF Comminications PR), see results from Atlanta and Season Standings on my Pit Crew Page.(10-30-2003)
- #0 Team Penalized; Points and $$: NASCAR Winston Cup Series team Haas CNC Racing was fined, and forfeited championship driver and owner points for rules infractions during the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend (Oct. 24-27) at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today.
The #0 Haas CNC Pontiac was found to have an unapproved carburetor modification (to the venturi) during opening-day inspection. The result was a $25,000 fine for crew chief Tony Furr, the loss of 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship driver points for Ward Burton and the loss of 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship owner points for Gene Haas.
All parties were in violation of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book, Section 12-4-A: Actions detrimental to stock car racing and Section 12-4-Q: Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: Unapproved carburetor modification.(NASCAR PR)
The deduction in drivers points move Burton from 20th to 21st in drivers points and moves #40-Marlin to 20th.
The deduction in owners points moves the #0 team from 37th to 38th in owners points and the #49 up a spot.(10-29-2003)
- GM Strengthens Chevrolet NASCAR Program in 2004; No Pontiac Support UPDATES: Following the end of the 2003 NASCAR season, GM will consolidate its resources in NASCAR to exclusively support the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and further advance and solidify the dominant position enjoyed by Chevrolet in this series. "GM Racing will focus its 2004 NASCAR program on the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and will no longer race or support the Pontiac Grand Prix race car," said Doug Duchardt, director of GM Racing. "This transition will enable GM Racing to strengthen its Chevy Nextel Cup program and, at the same time, work with Pontiac on its future racing plans."
"Given Pontiac's long association with NASCAR and our many great accomplishments over the years, the decision to withdraw from NASCAR was not an easy one," said Lynn Myers, general manager of Pontiac-GMC. "Consistent with GM efforts to focus its racing programs, Chevrolet will carry the NASCAR banner while Pontiac can now devote resources to developing future racing and marketing programs consistent with our new performance products, including the GTO, Grand Prix Comp G, G6 and the GXP performance series. We are proud of our racing accomplishments and we recognize that it is a powerful engineering, people development and marketing tool. Pontiac is investigating new opportunities to highlight the performance of our vehicles on the track." Coming into the 2003 season, the Pontiac Grand Prix won two of the past three NASCAR Winston Cup drivers' championships: Bobby Labonte in 2000, and Tony Stewart in '02. Chevrolet has an ongoing record of dominance in NASCAR's modern era. Chevrolet has won 23 of the last 31 NASCAR Winston Cup manufacturers' championships including the 2003 title with 10 different drivers capturing 17 wins in 33 races so far this year. Through 2003 in the NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck series, Chevrolet has won 10 of 13, and five of nine NASCAR manufacturers' titles respectively. With 2003 drivers' titles still to be determined in both series, Chevrolet has won 11 of 21 in Busch and seven of eight in Craftsman Truck.(GM PR)
NO word on what the Pontiac Teams of #0 Haas CNC Racing, #01-MB2 Motorsports, #4-Morgan McClure, #10-MBV Motorsports, #32-PPI Motorsports. Would expect the #0, #01 and #10 to field Chevy's as Hendrick Motorsports, who fields Chevy's, provide those teams with technical support, the #4 team used to run Chevy's, the #32 was with Ford before switching over to Pontiac and having the only 2003 Pontiac win.(10-28-2003)
LOOKS LIKE CHEVY's: been told the #01, #0 and #10 will run Chevy's; the PPI Motorsports site has a statement by #32 owners Call Wells: "We're disappointed, as PPI Motorsports is very proud to be a part of the Pontiac family. It was a tremendous honor to take the Pontiac Grand Prix to Victory Lane at Darlington Raceway in March. We're continuing our preparations for 2004 and beyond, and we're looking forward to the opportunities available to us with Chevrolet." No word from the #4 team what their plans are.(10-28-2003)
UPDATE: What those teams will drive next season is unclear except for PPI Motorsports, which had a contract through 2006 and will switch to Chevrolet. #4-Car owner Larry McClure declined comment. An official for #0-Haas CNC Racing says the team plans to run Chevrolets next season. The team runs Chevrolets in the Busch series. An official from MB2/MBV Motorsports was unavailable.(Roanoke Times)
HOWEVER on FSN's Totally NASCAR, #01 crew chief was interviewed and said they would likely switch to Chevrolet.(10-29-2003)
- Pontiac facts:
· The first Pontiac to drive in Winston Cup competition was in 1950 when Will Albright finished 19th at Daytona's beach/road course.
· Pontiacs have scored 154 victories in Winston Cup, fifth all-time.
· Pontiac's first Cup win was in 1957, with Cotton Owens on Daytona's beach/road course.
· In 1961 and 1962, Pontiac scored 30 and 22 wins, respectively, headed by Daytona Beach's Fireball Roberts winning the '62 Daytona 500.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(10-29-2003)
- More Rockingham Testing today: The following drivers will be at North Carolina Speedway Wednesday, October 29 testing for the upcoming NASCAR weekend November 7 - 9, 2003:
Cup: #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; #15-Michael Waltrip; #18-Bobby Labonte; #9-Bill Elliott; #45-Kyle Petty;
Busch: #8-Martin Truex, Jr.; #05-Eric McClure; and #79-Elton Sawyer [Evernham Busch car?]
Grandstand gates are open 9:00am to 4:00pm/et and the general public is invited to view the test session from the grandstand.(North Carolina Speedway PR)(10-29-2003)
- Johnson Helping Out: Jimmie Johnson will donate $48 - he drives the #48 Chevrolet - for every lap he completes Sunday in the NASCAR Winston Cup Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The money will be ticketed to help those families affected by the wildfires in Southern California. Johnson grew up in the city of El Cajon, near one of the fires burning in San Diego County. In addition, Lowe's, the sponsor on his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross.(Orange County Register)(10-29-2003)
- Tire Testing at Homestead UPDATE 3: NASCAR has picked [2004 Cup] rookie Scott Wimmer and Johnny Benson for Goodyear's Homestead tire test. The choice of Wimmer has raised eyebrows in the Winston Cup garage because Bill Davis' new driver has virtually no Cup experience. Goodyear is under the gun - it will have to pick the Homestead tire before the test. But Goodyear was on the mark at Chicago and Kansas City when they opened two years ago.(Winston Salem Journal)
UPDATE or is it Blaney? or all three? #77-Dave Blaney is scheduled to do the Goodyear tire test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 28-29. Blaney will be the only Cup driver to run on the reconfigured track before an open test session two days before qualifying there Nov. 14.(News and Record)(10-18-2003)
AND other reports I have heard have it being Wimmer and Benson, Benson is for sure as he missed IWC to head down to Homestead after the race at Atlanta on Monday.
UPDATE 2: Dave Blaney and the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Racing Team made a brief stop in the Carolina's before departing Tuesday morning at 5:30am to head to Miami for the Goodyear tire test.(10-28-2003)
UPDATE 3: You would think that a driver who won at a Speedway might not be in favor of it being torn up and re-configured into a completely new racetrack. Not so with NASCAR Winston Cup driver Scott Wimmer, who won the Ford 300 NASCAR Busch Series race last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Wimmer and fellow NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers Johnny Benson and Dave Blaney were at the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway today in a Goodyear Tire Test, becoming the first drivers to test on the track's new surface featuring 20-degree, variable banking.
"I think it's a big improvement," said Wimmer of the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway. "It's a lot different. I've already driven a couple of different lines out there and there are a couple of different ways around the track. The high side seems real good and so does the middle groove. I'm excited about coming back. The more rubber we get down and the more time we get on the track, it will have a lot of grooves and should be really good for racing."
Benson and Blaney agreed with Wimmer's assessment of the new track.
"I'm really impressed with it, although it still doesn't have any rubber on it since we're the first ones here," said Benson. "This place will become really fast and I'm sure you'll see two-wide racing."
"I think we all like it," said Blaney. "I can't really compare it to any other track since it kind of has its own personality. Right now, it's got more of a middle groove than I thought it would. I thought we'd be running predominately on the bottom, but we really aren't. So far, it looks great. It's a cool track. It'll be a great show for the fans and that's what matters."
The drivers will continue the Goodyear tire test tomorrow [Wed, Oct 29th] before the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Winston Cup Series return for their respective series finales during Ford Championship Weekend November 13-16 at Homestead Miami Speedway. Open practice for all drivers begins Monday, November 10 with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, followed by the NASCAR Busch Series on Tuesday, November 11 and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series on Wednesday, November 12.(HMS PR)(10-29-2003)
- Some Benson Stuff: Johnny Benson will have at least one solid option for 2004. Cal Wells is hoping -- contingent upon sponsorship -- to start a second team. Atop the list of driving candidates for the possible second PPI Motorsports team is Benson. Ricky Craven currently drives Wells' #32 Tide car. Benson is also rumored to be a candidate for the RCR #30 AOL Chevrolet and potentially one of the Petty Enterprise cars.(ESPN)(10-29-2003)
- Rusty has his replacement: #2-Rusty Wallace has offered no solid hints on when he will retire, but he has his replacement in mind. Billy Parker, a Late Model star who will drive for Wallace's new Busch team in 2004, apparently is being groomed to take over Wallace's No.2 Dodge at Penske Racing South. Stephen Wallace, Rusty's 16-year-old son, then would replace Parker in the Busch car. "I really like this kid," Wallace said yesterday of Parker. "He's good looking and going to be great for the sport. I'd love for two to three years down the road, or whenever I decide to get out of the car, that Billy would drive the No.2, and Stephen would get in the [Busch] car."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-29-2003)
- Hot Wheels Hall of Fame: Five Automotive Legends, Rides and Moments to be Honored at Star-Studded November 11 Induction Gala with Master of Ceremonies Jay Leno. Celebrating the 35th anniversary of Hot Wheels cars, Mattel, Inc. announced the five inaugural inductees into the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame, a new installation being added to the permanent Hot Wheels exhibit at the
Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. An invitation-only induction ceremony on Nov. 11, 2003, with "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno as Master of Ceremonies will honor these significant people, vehicles and moments and reveal the permanent displays that will remain in the Petersen Automotive Museum. The evening will benefit RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving), the entertainment industry's voice on road safety.
Selected by a blue-ribbon panel of auto journalists, manufacturers, designers and drivers, the inductees were chosen as the embodiment of the Hot Wheels tradition of speed, power, performance and attitude in three categories:
Legends: People who have designed or driven the coolest cars:
Wally Parks: A trailblazing drag racer and motorsports editor
Richard Petty: Synonymous with class, excellence and NASCAR championships, Petty's 200 victories, seven wins at the Daytona 500, an amazing 27 wins in a single season, and seven NASCAR championships earned "The King" his throne in the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame.
Greatest Rides: Cars that epitomize the Hot Wheels attitude of speed, power and performance:
1932 Ford V-8: The first popular eight-cylinder automobile offering brisk performance at a reasonable price
1964 Pontiac GTO: The original muscle car.
Milestone Moments: Historic automotive event that captures the Hot Wheels essence:
Jan. 16, 1953: The introduction of the Chevrolet Corvette at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York
Two special awards also will be presented during the evening, including an honorary award to Mattel founder Elliot Handler, the "father of Hot Wheels," and the Hot Wheels People's Choice Awards(tm) based on the public's selection from the above three categories after months of voting at www.hotwheels.com.
The Hot Wheels Hall of Fame opened in April 2003.(Golin/Harris International PR), see much more about this on my Hall of Fame/Museum Page.(10-29-2003)
- Bigley Out? UPDATE: hearing Bill Bigley Jr. and the #79 Arnold Motorsports team have parted ways. no word on the new driver, hearing Homestead is the the next race planned.(10-27-2003)
UPDATE: been told that Bigley is out at Arnold Motorsports and that Rich Bickle, who tested with the team earlier this year, is one of the drivers on the list, also hearing the team has a new crew chief, Mike Hillman, formerly of Brett Bodine and Foyt Racing.(10-28-2003)
- Testing at the Rock UPDATE: The following drivers will be at North Carolina Speedway Tuesday, October 28th testing for the upcoming NASCAR weekend November 7 - 9, 2003. Cup drivers #25-Brian Vickers and #43-Jeff Green; Busch Series #7-Kyle Busch, #75-Jay Sauter and #2-Ron Hornaday. Grandstand gates are open 9:00am to 4:00pm/et and the general public is invited to view the test session from the grandstand.(North Carolina Speedway PR), supposedly Evernham Motorsports will test too.(10-28-2003)
UPDATE: Eric McClure will test Rockingham Tuesday and Wednesday in a Morgan-McClure prepared Busch car for his upcoming Busch Series debut. MMM veteran Robert Larkins is overseeing the 24-year old's efforts in the #05 "I CAN Learn" Chevrolet Monte Carlo.(10-28-2003)
- RJR merges: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and rival Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. are uniting their U.S. operations in a $2.6 billion deal aimed at weathering an onslaught of discounted brands and lawsuits. The deal announced late Monday vastly expands the reach of two tobacco companies that together produce about one of every three cigarettes smoked in the United States. The merged operation will be called Reynolds American Inc., with about $10 billion in annual sales. R.J. Reynolds makes Camel, Winston, Salem and Doral, while Brown & Williamson's top brands include Kool, Lucky Strike and Capri. The combined company will still trail industry giant Philip Morris USA, whose market-leading Marlboro and other brands command about half the U.S. cigarette market.(AP/Charlotte Observer)(10-28-2003)
- Hmiel back in 2004? Shane Hmiel appears to be on the road back into NASCAR racing, and people close to him believe he will be back in a NASCAR machine - truck or Busch car - or an ARCA car at Daytona next February. Hmiel was parked by NASCAR officials last month for violating the sport's substance-abuse policy.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2003)
- Kahne signed...sort of? Kasey Kahne, a 23-year-old Busch racer, is reported to have signed a tentative contract with car owner Ray Evernham and Dodge, and Kahne, according to sources, feels that the only real debate is over who pays for the buyout. However, Ford officials are adamant about keeping Kahne in their camp. Kahne may have an out - he feels his contract says that Ford must match an offer from any other manufacturer with equal equipment. Ford, according to sources, has offered Kahne a deal with Travis Carter's two-car team [#66 TorqueSpeed Carter team?]; the offer from Dodge, those sources say, is to take Bill Elliott's ride.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2003)
- Driver Dies at Track UPDATE: A race car driver, 50, died Saturday at the New Smyrna Speedway, officials said. Homer Gordon of Orlando, driving in last place in a 10-lap race, drove his Monte Carlo into the outer wall around 9 p.m., said track spokesman Don Narrone. Gordon was found slumped over the steering wheel by the track's workers.Paramedics pronounced Gordon dead at the scene. The track canceled all other races after the death. Volusia County Sheriff's deputies could not immediately confirm what caused the man's death. An autopsy was scheduled for today.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(10-27-2003)
UPDATE: An autopsy showed Monday that an Orlando race car driver who died Saturday night during a race at New Smyrna Speedway did not die as a result of a collision with a wall. Homer Charles Gordon, 50, was pronounced dead shortly after the race. Investigators have not concluded how Gordon died.(Orlando Sentinel)(10-28-2003)
- Jeff Gordon wins at Atlanta: #24-Jeff Gordon wins the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his 2nd Cup win in a row, the 18th time in his career that he has won back-to-back races, it is his 3rd win of 2003 and his 64th career win. #20-Tony Stewart took 2nd place, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #9-Bill Elliott and #18-Bobby Labonte. Points leader, #17-Matt Kenseth finished 11th and now leads the Drivers Points by 258 points with three races to go. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [finished 6th] moves back into 2nd in the points race. #01-Joe Nemechek had a nice run in his first race in the U.S. Army Pontiac and nice run by #4-Kevin Lepage, who came home 14th. Pole sitter was running 6th with three laps to go when he hot wiggly in front of the #8 and got tapped by Earnhardt Jr. and hit the wall hard [he is OK and showed his displeasure].
Scheduled Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel:
one-hour recap/Fast Forward on Wednesday, October 29th at 7:00pm/et and again on October 30th at 1:00am/et;
and a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, October 30th
Jayski's Atlanta race rundown: [result links, caution narritive, notes, lucky dog stuff, lap leaders, DNF's, etc] on my Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Race Info Page.
Race Results at Jayski's Atlanta Race Results Page
See full driver standings at Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points After Atlanta page.(10-27-2003)
- StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - Atlanta: Jeff Gordon held off Tony Stewart to take the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 one day late at Atlanta Motor Speedway this afternoon....and, as is often the case, it came down to pit stops. Tony's crew had a problem two stops from the end and he couldn't catch up. If was the 3rd victory for Gordon on the season, the 64th of his career (he's 12 wins behind the late Dale Earnhardt in 7th on the all-time list), his 4th at Atlanta, the 117th for Hendrick Motorsports....and it was worth $249,978 from the over $5.3M in posted awards.
Bobby Labonte (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Daytona in July.
Jimmy Spencer (9th) had his best finish since he was 8th at The Brickyard in August.
Ward Burton (13th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Bristol in August. This was also the best finish for the NetZero "0" car in it's
brief history....their previous best was 14th at the Daytona 500 with Jack Sprague.
Kevin Lepage (14th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Talladega in October of 2001
Tony Raines (18th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Pocono in July.
STREAKIN....Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-5's in a row. Tony Stewart has 6 Top-5's in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races.
This Week's Elevator...UP: Operator of the Week (for the 4th time this season) is Matt Kenseth (+26), followed by Sterling Marlin (+24), and Tony Stewart (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-39), followed by Todd Bodine (-35), Ryan Newman (-28), and Michael Waltrip (-25).
Tony Raines led a lap today (#289 to be precise) for the first time in his Cup career. He becomes the 47th different driver to lead a lap this season, surpassing last year's number of 46.
What little chance Kevin Harvick had of catching Matt Kenseth disappeared today with his 20th place finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr has now moved past Kevin into second place...but still 258 points out of the lead. The "Magic Number" has now ballooned to 21st place. Even in Matt finishes last the final three events, Jr would still have to run 14th or better to win. Matt needs a lead of 370 to be crowned Champion
next week (unlikely)...a lead of 302 (only 45 more than he has now) would give him a clinch just by starting the final two events.(StockCarFans.Com Winstoncup Newsletter)(10-27-2003)
- Stewart Blows Off Interviews: Members of the print media were enraged to learn following today's race at Atlanta that second-place finisher Tony Stewart and highest-finishing rookie Jamie McMurray both blew off ther post race press conferences.
McMurray said he had to catch a flight. It was announced McMurray was excused. Stewart said he had a previous engagement to attend. This comes on the heels of the Kansas race where second-place finisher Bill Elliott failed to appear before the media.
NASCAR said after Kansas that fines could be imposed if it happened again. NASCAR's Jim Hunter went into the Winston Cup garage after the race today searching for Tony Stewart. The driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet was nowhere to be found. Ironically while third-place finishing Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe's Chevrolet, sat and fielded questions, Stewart, sponsored by Atlanta-based Home Depot quickly exited the premises. Hunter said he would look into the matter this week. Stewart did field an interview with TNT and PRN radio after the race.(source)(10-27-2003)
- No Restrictor Plates in NASCAR's future? Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of research and development, says engines could run free of restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega in the near future. Nelson, a former crew chief, always has thought restrictor-plate races are a pain, and he's looking at other ways to decrease horsepower without restricting the airflow to the carburetor.(Fox Sports/Sporting News)(10-27-2003)
- Raines to the #30? UPDATE 2 on the #30 - Benson? Dixon? Andretti?: One new name being mentioned for the #30 seat is that of Tony Raines, who is completing his Winston Cup rookie season in the #74 Chevrolets owned by BACE Motorsports. America Online has another year on its deal, so team owner Richard Childress needs a driver who'll take a one-year commitment. "I've heard that I've been talking to him," said Raines, who starts 33rd in today's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. "I don't know how to answer that." Raines' current team, owned by Bill Baumgardner, has run without a primary sponsor all year. His best finish was 14th at Richmond, Va., in May. He's made the field for 32 of 33 races.(Charlotte Observer), so if Raines leaves does Johnny Benson consider the #74 ride since he drove for BACE in the Busch Series and won a champiobship with the team?(10-26-2003)
UPDATE: the Winston Salem Journal reports that Jeff Burton or Greg Biffle have been on Richard Childress' radar scope, according to sources, although the two are under a tight contract with Jack Roush [Jayski Note: and there is supposedly a coming announcement about Roush fielding a Busch team for Biffle...see below]. Childress says he'd like to have Biffle; and there have persistent reports for two years now that Childress would like to hire Burton. While Burton rolls his eyes and dismisses the Childress talk as old news, sources close to the situation say that Burton may indeed be caught in the middle of a waiting-game power play between Childress and Roush. Burton's loyalties are with Roush, but Geoff Smith, head of Roush Racing, still hasn't signed a sponsorship for Burton, and there are indications that if a sponsorship isn't signed by a certain, unknown, date, then Burton could be a free agent. Childress, according to those close to him, may try to wait for that date. Burton has long insisted that he has no plans to leave Roush. Childress has only one year remaining on that AOL contract, but he is trying to persuade AOL to extend.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2003)
UPDATE 2: “We’re back to square one”. Those were the words from one member of Richard Childress Racing after he was asked about Jeremy Mayfield staying put with his current #19 for the 2004 season. Apparently Childress, along with GM officials, was somewhat surprised as word spread through the NASCAR Winston Cup garage that Mayfield had inked a deal keeping him in Evernham’s Dodge. It’s not known how far down the path Mayfield had gotten in his talks with Childress, but judging by the amount of concern shown in the affected camps it was likely very far. With Mayfield off the table names that were advanced included Johnny Benson, who was formally told this week that he’d not be returning to the #10 Valvoline Pontiac in 2004 and John Andretti. Also talked about was 2003 Indy Racing League Champion, Scott Dixon, who recently tested very well in a Cup car, at Kentucky.(Team Ford Racing)(10-27-2003)
- Points Change? Next season's race winners will likely receive a 10 or 15 point bonus, and drivers finishing 37th or lower will likely receive the same points, if NASCAR goes ahead with its plans to revise the Winston/Nextel Cup point system. But then maybe the point system doesn't need revision. After all, the Busch tour uses the same system, and five men still have a shot at the title.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2003)
- Ford Engine Updates: Ford has been working very diligently with NASCAR to try to improve their engine program. That's going to consist of a new cylinder head, and they've also requested a new block. NASCAR has not approved either one yet.(FoxSports). This is all I know about the Ford Heads, see past news on my Ford page or my Engine Rules page.(10-27-2003)
- Parts Confiscated from Two Teams: NASCAR inspectors confiscated the carburetor from the #0 NetZero Pontiac driven by Ward Burton during pre-qualifying inspection Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The size of the venturis - components in the carburetor that can dictate the flow - exceeded the maximum diameter under NASCAR rules. NASCAR officials said the #0 team likely faces a penalty, which should be announced sometime this week. Also taken this weekend were unapproved valence spacers from BACE Motorsports' #74 Chevrolet driven by Tony Raines.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-27-2003)
- Wilburn to be re-assigned? UPDATE 2 will be back in 2004: hearing current #2 crew chief, Bill Wilburn, will not be the #2 Miller Lite Dodge crew chief in 2004, but will be be re-assigned within the organization, no word on any candidates yet.(10-24-2003)
UPDATE: during rain delay coverage, NBC interviewed Rusty Wallace, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Wallace said Wilburn would be back in 2004 as his crew chief and that they have 2-years invested in working together.(NBC Rain Delay Coverage)(10-26-2003)
UPDATE 2: Rusty Wallace refuted recent reports that crew chief Bill Wilburn would be leaving after the season. Wallace hasn't claimed a victory since Wilburn became his crew chief at the beginning of 2002. "We've got a lot of time and effort invested in Billy Wilburn, but we're getting better and better together," said Wallace, who is winless in 94 races. "There's been a lot of controversy on the Internet about Billy, but he's a friend of mine. He's a good kid, and we've got a good race team."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-27-2003)
- More on another Wood: Keven Wood, son of Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Len Wood, added another highlight to his blossoming career by winning the semipro division of the Legends Nationals on Saturday night at Southern National Speedway in Kenly, N.C. The 19-year-old, who also started and won his first race at the 0.4-mile track, qualified on the pole by beating out 58 drivers in his class. He led every lap of the main event, which his father watched after catching a last-minute flight to North Carolina from the airport adjacent to Atlanta Motor Speedway. Wood became the first rookie to win the Legends national championship in semi-pro this year, beating out 622 drivers from around the country.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-27-2003)
- And just when ya think all the talk was exhuasted: the Winston Salem Journal reports that #9-Bill Elliott wants to cut back his schedule dramatically next season and run only a handful of races, probably five to eight. But he has reluctantly agreed, according to sources, to run the full 2004 Nextel Cup tour one more year if car owner Ray Evernham and Dodge can't find a suitable replacement. Busch racer Kasey Kahne has been mentioned for the Elliott seat, but Ford officials are adamant that they intend to hold him to his contract, which they say has another two years to run. The entire situation has put intense pressure on both Evernham and Elliott, most vividly on Evernham, who has lashed out at reporters over the issue. But Evernham and Elliott aren't alone; Dodge executives have been putting pressure on all their teams the past several months.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2003)
- Baldwin to Gibbs...not Evernham? UPDATE 2 1/2: now hearing that #7 Ultra Motorsports [Jimmy Spencer driver/Sirius Satellite Radio sponsor] may not be a lock to go to Evernham Motorsports to crew cheif the #9 Dodge in 2004. Hearing he is also talking to Joe Gibbs Racing about the third Cup team that Gibbs plans to start to run full time in 2005. The team supposedly will have J.J. Yeley as the driver, doing an ABC [ARCA/Busch/Cup] program in 2004.(10-24-2003)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs' planned third Winston Cup team may no longer be on the fast track, at least not with Sprint star J. J. Yeley. Jimmy Makar, general manager, says that it might be a 10-race deal for next season, or a 20-race deal. Yeley, who has tested for Gibbs, is sometimes difficult to deal with, according to those who have worked with him. "A lot depends on who we pick for the driver," Makar says. "Best-case scenario we could go to Daytona with an ARCA car."(Winston Salem Journal)(10-25-2003)
UPDATE 2: Lots of talk and speculation have surrounded crew chief Tommy Baldwin’s future during the past several weeks and time has brought little closure to the talk. Baldwin has been rumored to be moving to Ray Evernham’s operation and more recently to Joe Gibb’s shops. “The only reason that Tommy left is because other teams were pressuring him,” says Baldwin’s current employer, Jim Smith. Making the statement all the more interesting is Baldwin’s presence here at Atlanta with Smith’s team as their crew chief. “He’s got a family to feed. And you know what? That’s a difficult position to be in. You can’t blame a guy for securing his family’s economy,” Smith said. TFR asked Joe Gibbs Racing technical honcho, Jimmy Makar, about Baldwin and learned that there’s been no talk between the two parties, as of yet. That might change down the road if Gibbs moves on his tentative plans for rookie J.J. Yeley. Evernham refused to talk about Baldwin, saying during yesterday’s press conference, “This is about Jeremy and Bill,” said the team owner of the press conference.(TFR/Ford Racing)(10-26-2003)
UPDATE 2 1/2: Joe Gibbs' new third team could well be headed by veteran crew chief Tommy Baldwin, according to sources. If the driver is sprint star J. J. Yeley, the 2004 schedule could be a mix of ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup events. The prospect of Yeley on the Cup tour has some car owners and drivers, and some of Gibbs' own crewmen, shaking their heads because the 26-year-old Yeley is considered high-strung.(Winston Salem Journal - little condradiction between the two WSJ posts)(10-27-2003)
- Sad News: Myrtle Beach Speedway lost a big part of its heart and soul Friday when longtime general manager and promoter Roy Gore died from an extended illness. Gore passed away at the age of 55 on Friday afternoon at his home in Florence after battling cancer and other health problems in recent years. But he never let it interfere with his life's work and love - racing. Gore was a fixture at Myrtle Beach Speedway since 1989 and helped the track play host to the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series for more than a decade. But his true passion was in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series that he oversaw every weekend. The family will receive friends at 6-8 p.m. today at Waters-Powell Funeral Home in Florence, and services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Myrtle Beach Community Church behind Waccamaw Pottery. But the most fitting tribute will likely come at the Nov. 20-23 Myrtle Beach 400 at the track. Just the way Gore would have wanted it, the show will go on.(Myrtle Beach Sun Times)(10-27-2003)
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see the Oct 13-19, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Oct 6-12, 2003 Archived News Page