NOV 3-9, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- Elliott wins at the Rock: #9-Bill Elliott wins the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway after starting from the rear [because of an engine change after Friday's practice], led halfway and led the most laps , it was Elliott's 44th career win [think this will quiet the retirement talk?]. #48-Jimmie Johnson ended up 2nd, followed by #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #17-Matt Kenseth [clinches the 2003 Winston Cup Championship] and #12-Ryan Newman [the pole sitter]. #74-Tony Raines, who started 4th, finished 6th, his first ever top 10 in an unsponsored car.
Scheduled Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel:
one-hour recap/Fast Forward on Wednesday, November 12th at 7:00pm/et and again on November 13th at 1:00am/et;
and a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, November 13th
Results links, top 10, laps led, lucky dogs, DNF's, caution/narratives, notes on my Rockingham Race Rundown/Info Page and
Jayski's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 Race Results page with awards standings and stuff.
See full standings at Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Rockingham page.(11-9-2003)
- Toyota All-Star Showdown Info - Winners Saturday: On Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway in California, Winston West driver Austin Cameron won the Grand National Division Showdown and and Ron Breese Jr. won the Elite Division Showdown races in the Toyota All Star Showdown.(Speed 51/Irwindale Speedway site)(11-9-2003)
Winners Friday: Ron Breese Jr. and Jim Pettit captured the Elitie Division wins and Andy Santerre and Joey McCarthy took home the Grand National wins.(Speed 51)(11-8-2003)
North East Racing
BNS Racing[lists the 15 BNS drivers]
- Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - Rockingham: Bill Elliott broke a 49 race losing streak this afternoon as he dominated the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway. His 44th career victory (he's 14th all-time) was his first since he won at The Brickyard in August of 2002. And, considering he had to go to the back of the field for an engine change, it was all the more impressive.
Pretty good weekend for the Ray Evernham Racing. First, you win the pit-crew Championship on Saturday, then you run 1-3 on Sunday. This was Ray's 4th win as an owner....all with Elliott as the wheelman.
Bill becomes the 17th different winner this season....we had 18 last year.
A very chopped up race today....that'll happen when the cautions fly during a pit cycle. As in life, timing is everything.
Matt Kenseth (4th....and we might have a little something more on him later in this newsletter) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
Tony Raines (6th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 14th at Richmond in May. And, his first-ever Top-10 gives us 42 drivers to register than mark this season....the exact same number as last year.
Jeff Burton (7th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Richmond in September.
Sterling Marlin (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Pocono in July.
Larry Foyt (28th) equaled his career-best finish today. This was the third time he's finished 28th....Dover in June and Phoenix last week were the other two.
STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10's in a row.
Ryan Newman has 9 Top-10's in the last 10 races.
Tony Stewart has 7 Top-10's in the last 8 races.
Bill Elliott has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Green (+22), followed by Sterling Marlin (+21), and Tony Stewart (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Mark Martin (-29), followed by Michael Waltrip (-26), and Brian Vickers (-22). Not a lot of action in the "Shaft" today at The Rock.
Little did we know when Matt Kenseth took the points lead after Atlanta back in March (Race #4) that school was out. And, for those
detractors who say he didn't win enough races, remember who won the most events in 2002. It's consistency that counts....and nobody
epitomized that more than Kenseth this season.
Six of the Top-10 in points changed this week, and the last paying spot (25th) is still up for grabs. Johnny Benson (27th to 25th) was the
only multi-position move upward. No one fell more than one spot.
Elliott's win clinched Kenseth a spot on the Winners Circle plan for '04. Kevin Harvick is holding onto the last spot, but if any of 7 drivers win [the drivers with one win] next week, the 29 team is off.(StockCarFans.com Newsletter)(11-9-2003)
- Benson to BAM? Fox Sports Nets's NASCAR This Morning reports that if Ken Schrader takes the #30 AOL RCR gig, that Johnny Benson couild end up in the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2004, and Benson is supposedly the front runner if Cal Wells starts a 2nd team to join #32-Ricky Craven in the PPI Motorsports stable.(11-9-2003)
- Dale Jr. Still Leads Popular Vote: With just over a week remaining for nationwide fan voting, Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. The the Most Popular Driver is determined by an online vote of fans at www.mostpopulardriver.com. The winner will be announced during the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet weekend, Dec. 4-5, 2003, in New York City.
More than 2.8 million votes have been cast, and Earnhardt Jr. has led since voting began in February. The driver standings may change this final week, however, as fans hope to move their favorite drivers into the top spot before the balloting ends at 11:59pm/et, Monday, Nov. 17, the day after the final race of the season at Homestead, FL. Jeff Gordon currently is second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Steve Park, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Bobby Labonte.(Williams Company PR) and see past updated and links on this award, voting and to vote for Speed Channel's Driver of the Year on my Awards/Voting page.(11-9-2003)
- Toyota Unveils Tundra Racing V8 at SEMA Show: The SEMA Show unveiling of the Tundra Racing V8 for the Toyota Tundra race truck represents one of the most critical steps in Toyota's journey to NASCAR's victory lane. It follows a historic press conference at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show where Toyota first rolled out a race-prepared Tundra pickup to formally announce its plans to begin participation in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The normally aspirated, Tundra Racing V8 engine was designed entirely in America by Toyota Racing Development. TRD's technical capabilities came to the forefront as they designed and produced "from a clean sheet of paper," an overhead valve racing engine in a remarkably short period of time. The engine design focused on high quality, performance, lightweight, reliability, and ease of manufacture. Measuring 358 cubic inches of displacement, the V8 is capable of producing up to 650 horsepower. The cast aluminum cylinder head and cast iron cylinder block both use a computer-optimized cooling system. The engine is also equipped with forged aluminum pistons, forged steel connecting rods, and a high strength billet steel crankshaft. Its fuel pump and exhaust were each developed by TRD. The engine's Craftsman Series debut will take place at historic Daytona International Speedway in February 2004 where it will be represented by at least six American-built Tundra race trucks. Team affiliations will be determined soon [see my Truck Series site for what I have heard, including drivers]. TRD will design, develop, and build the Craftsman Truck Tundra V8 to NASCAR specifications in its Costa Mesa, Calif., facility.(Motorsports Forum)(11-9-2003)
- Last Chance to Fish: Racing fans will have one more opportunity to bid on the chance to spend a morning fishing with some of their favorite NASCAR Winston Cup drivers at the 2nd Annual NASCAR Drivers Hot Rods & Reels(tm) Charity Fishing Tournament. The event helps kick off the festivities of the Ford Championship Weekend at the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway. Drivers including Robby Gordon, Jeremy Mayfield, Jimmy Spencer and Johnny Benson still have seats remaining with them in their boats at the fishing tournament. Fans can visit eBay.com now through Monday, November 10th and bid on the chance to go bass fishing on the Speedway's infield lake with one of these great drivers at the November 14th charity event.(Speed Channel)
- BP's Father Ill UPDATE 3: Benny Parsons was not on the broadcast team Monday at Atlanta as he was home with his father Harold who was feeling under the weather, get well HP.(10-27-2003)
UPDATE: Benny and Phil's father, Harold Parsons had a massive stoke Sunday morning [Oct 26th] and remains in ICU at Wiston-Salem Hospital Forsythe in NC. Benny and Phil's mom Hazel isinsisting that Phil and Benny broadcast their respective races this weekend at Phoenix because Harold would be very upset with both of them if they missed work for ANY reason. The whole Parsons' family is with him.(10-30-2003)
UPDATE 2: Harold Parsons has been upgraded from ICU in Winston Salem Forsythe Hospital to "Critcal but Stable Condition".(11-3-2003)
UPDATE 3: Harold Parsons remains in Critcal but Stable condition in Winston-Salem Forsythe Hospital. There hasn't been any change since last Sunday. The doctor who is a stroke specialist from Johns-Hopkins has said she is not anticipating any spetactular changes but admits she is suprised that he's fighting as hard as he is. She told the family that most patients that have the kind of massive stroke do not survive 48 hours. Parsons is not on any kind of life-supportor ventalator.(11-8-2003)
- Sad News: Early Friday morning, Wylie Langhurst 37 years old, the Manager of Trackside Vending Operations for Racing Electronics passed away unexpectedly. Wylie was married to Andrea and had a 10 year old son, Griffin. Wylie was well known by many race fans throughout the country. Funeral arrangements will be posted on www.racingelectronics.com when finalized.(11-8-2003)
- More on Diversity: NASCAR is implementing a diversity program that hopes to place four minority drivers in the Weekly Racing Series, and six to 12 crewmen in the Craftsman Truck Series by next season. The program will be supported by corporate sponsors, with the goal of developing individuals who may one day advance through the ranks. The NASCAR program arrives at a time when Dodge is ending the diversity program it started three years ago. The demise of the Dodge initiative has left Bill Lester, a Craftsman Truck driver and currently the lone black competitor within NASCAR's three national divisions, without a ride for 2004.(Charleston Post and Courier)(11-8-2003)
- NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Speed's Wind Tunnel: Below are select quotes [see full PR on my #8 Team News and Links page] from Thursday's [11-6] Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., spoke with Dave about everything from superstitions to safety.
Earnhardt on whether teaming with Richard Childress is in his future: "I want to drive race cars as long as I am healthy and I enjoy it and that could be for a very long time ... I don't see an opportunity to drive for Richard. I feel like my loyalty belongs to DEI - what we've built up over the last several years and what we've put into that company. All the money and all the effort my father put forth for years to make that happen, I feel like my loyalty belongs there and I'm going to stick it out."
Earnhardt on future as a team owner: "I feel like it is a huge interest of mine and I feel like I would be very good at it. I think I've got a pretty good eye for talent -- not only driver-wise, but who could run each department."
... and to settle a bet with a producer, Dave asked Junior, "What was the last music you listened to before coming on the show?" The answer: Boston's Greatest Hits [great choice! Jayski fave].(Speed Channel PR from Wind Tunnel Quotes - see the full - auite long - PR on my #8 Team News and Links page)(11-8-2003)
- Wilburn to be re-assigned? UPDATE 3 No, Rusty says he stays; Wilburn says they need to talk: 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)
UPDATE 3: Bill Wilburn, crew chief for Winston Cup driver Rusty Wallace, said Saturday he plans to sit down with his driver after the season is over to determine whether he will return next season. Wallace and Penske Racing co-owner Don Miller have expressed confidence in Wilburn over the past week. Wilburn, however, said he wants to make sure Wallace is pleased with the team's direction.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2003)
- Fittipaldi will be back at PE: Christian Fittipaldi remains under contract with Petty Enterprises and will drive a combination Busch, ARCA and Nextel Cup schedule next year if the team can find sponsorship, Richard Petty said.(Tampa Tribune)(11-8-2003)
- Nadeau Back Racing this Sat - in a Kart UPDATE teaming with Ernie: Jerry Nadeau will be back behind the wheel in a race Saturday, but not in a 3,500-pound stock car. Nadeau, a NASCAR Winston Cup driver, will be racing a 175-pound kart at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. For Nadeau, who was critically injured in May during practice at Richmond, Va., it's an important step in his comeback. Only a few months ago, he could barely walk, still had difficulty talking and was happy to be alive. "I used to be the wildest guy on the go-kart track," said Nadeau, 33. "But when I recently got into a kart, I was so afraid somebody would hit me. I was scared stiff of getting whacked." Nadeau, a former World Karting Association champion, had every reason to be nervous. He had spent two weeks in a coma after his huge wreck, suffering a closed-head injury, not to mention a partially collapsed left lung, fractured shoulder blade and busted rib cage. In the hours after the crash, Nadeau was touch and go.
"I've been battling pretty hard since the accident," said Nadeau, who drove the No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac for MB2 Motorsports. "Thank God I've been able to do stuff with my young daughter, Natalie Kate, and my wife, Jada. You just can't put a Band-Aid over this thing and go back. It takes time to heal."
Nadeau has no intention of climbing back into a race car until he's good and ready. Veteran Joe Nemechek will drive Nadeau's Pontiac in the last two races of the season, including Sunday at Rockingham, N.C., and is contracted to run a full season in the Army entry next year. If Nadeau feels comfortable, he might - and he stresses might - drive in an ARCA or Busch Grand National race around April or May.(Full story at Mercury News via Detroit Free Press)(11-7-2003)
UPDATE: The 33-year-old Winston Cup driver will compete in a 3-hour, go-kart endurance event at Lowe's Motor Speedway outside Charlotte. Nadeau will participate as part of a three-man team that also includes his father Gerard and Ernie Irvan, another former driver whose NASCAR career was interrupted by a head injury. Nadeau suffered a moderate to severe head injury when his Pontiac crashed during practice on May 2. While he has driven Legends cars on a track with other drivers, today's go-kart event will be his first real race of any type since the accident. "It's very encouraging that he's able to do this," Jay Frye, general manager of Nadeau's MB2 Motorsports Winston Cup team, said Friday at North Carolina Speedway. "It's competition, so that's good. It will test his stamina, so that's good. He's very excited about it, so that's good. You could see a little hop in his step this week."(Charleston Post and Courier)(11-8-2003)
- No Points Change per Roush: Don't count car owner Jack Roush [#'s 6,16,17,97,99] among those who want a change in NASCAR's point structure. There's been criticism most of the year over the way points are distributed - mostly because Roush driver Matt Kenseth has built a nearly insurmountable lead through solid finishes instead of victories. Kenseth has just one win this year, while Ryan Newman, who sits fifth in points, has won eight races. "You aren't suggesting just because I am finally on the verge of my first Winston Cup title that NASCAR should change the points?" Roush joked Friday at North Carolina Speedway. "I think the system is fine just the way it is." Roush acknowledged that he has had suggestions in the past on how the system could be changed, ranging from allowing a driver to throw out his three worst finishes of the year to placing a premium on qualifying or winning the race. But he points to the championship races in the Busch Series and the Trucks Series - which will all be decided in next weekend's season finales in Homestead, Fla. - as proof that there is nothing wrong with the system. "The same scenario is used in the other two series and they've got races going on there," he said. "The only reason there hasn't really been one this year is because Matt didn't have any bad luck. He's had a Cinderella season and those don't come often."(Augusta Chronicle/AP)(11-8-2003)
- Rusty looking to talk to Tony: #2-Rusty Wallace took the blame for an accident last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway that started when he bumped Tony Stewart. The wreck has caused Wallace so much anxiety that he's still not over it, he said at Rockingham. Wallace bumped Stewart in Turn 2, causing the two to slide up the track. As they slowed, Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick also piled in. "We had a pretty good car until I screwed up," Wallace said. "I caused that whole damn mess myself. I sailed off into the corner at Phoenix, totally uncharacteristic of myself, and got in too deep. I got the front end pushing, and I bumped Tony." Wallace said he would seek out Stewart this weekend. "I haven't talked to Tony about it yet, but I will," Wallace said Friday morning.(NASCAR.com)(11-8-2003)
- Ford Heads Approved UPDATE: NASCAR has approved new engine cylinder heads for Fords for the 2004 season, giving the car builder its first major motor adjustment in a decade. The technology has changed over the years, and now it's more like they're letting Ford catch up in certain areas where they were restricted," said Ford team owner Len Wood. The change should increase Ford's horsepower potential significantly.(Greensville News)(11-7-2003)
UPDATE: Many Ford engine builders are walking around the North Carolina Motor Speedway garage with smiles on their faces. The remarkable attitude at the end of the long hard fought season is thanks to seven words spoken by NASCAR Winston Cup director John Darby — "The Ford cylinder head has been approved." It's been a long time since Ford was granted a new cylinder head, with the last approval for a new piece coming in 1992. Since then a lot has happened under the hood in the sport, including the GM camp getting the SB2 cylinder several years ago and Dodge designing the purpose built P7 for their Winston Cup program in 2000. The Dodge and Chevrolet engine cylinder heads have shared a common critical dimension in port height with the Ford engine giving up ground in this area since the introduction of the SB2. This lack of port height real estate limits power development and has made life tough for Ford engine builders as they coaxed an incremental horsepower or two from an 11 year old piece.(see full story at the Ford Racing site)
AND NASCAR has OKed a new cylinder head with a raised intake port that Ford has been requesting for four years. And Chevy teams weren't really complaining that much. According to sources, NASCAR rejected a manifold that Ford had wanted paired with the cylinder heads, but Roush insisted that no such manifold had been requested.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-8-2003)
- #4 Will be back: Larry McClure said Friday that Morgan-McClure Motorsports will race next season, despite the hurdles the team is facing. "We'll be here next year, and the year after that," McClure said. He said Kevin Lepage, who is the team's current driver, would likely continue in that role next season. McClure said he is "very close" to working out issues with Kodak, the team's primary sponsor, which has two years remaining on its contract.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2003)
- An odd Elliott rumor - back to Ford? UPDATE: hear a hot rumor circulating around the garage area at Martinsville this weekend is that Ford and Dodge are working on a swap. Ford will release Kasey Kahne from his contract to drive for Evernham Motorsports. In exchange, Elliott will run one last season in a Ford in 2004 with a team to be determined. Unsure if it would be a full season or a partial season as had been rumored.(source)(10-19-2003)
UPDATE: After weeks of speculation, Totally NASCAR has learned that 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bill Elliott will retire from full-time competition at the end of this season. Elliott will reportedly run five races next year at tracks significant to his career. Sources say Elliott, who has 43 wins and 55 poles in 726 starts, might make it official this weekend in Atlanta. Elliott is from nearby Dawsonville, GA.(FoxSports)(10-21-2003)
UPDATE 2: The latest on Bill Elliott: Ford Motor Company officials may be trying to woo him away from Dodge for a limited 10-race schedule next season as a third team for Robert Yates, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-8-2003)
- Special Gloves for VJGC: Mechanix Wear of Valencia, CA is very pleased to announce the creation of a special glove for the Victory Junction Gang Camp “Hands to Victory” event at North Carolina Speedway on November 9, 2003. The “Hands to Victory” program kicks off at the Rockingham race featuring a special paint scheme on the #45 Georgia Pacific Dodge driven by Kyle Petty. The car is Kyle Petty’s way of saying thank you to the 46 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and their crewmembers for supporting The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Kyle and Pattie Petty founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in honor of Adam Petty. The camp will be located in Randleman, North Carolina. Mechanix Wear has created a special mechanic’s glove for this event that features the Victory Junction Gang Camp and “Hands to Victory” logos. All NASCAR Winston Cup crewmembers have been invited to wear this glove during pre-race and race activities at Rockingham. One set of gloves from each team will be autographed by all the team members and will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. A limited quantity of gloves exactly like those worn at Rockingham will be available for sale. They can be purchased at the Petty/Cheerios/Georgia Pacific souvenir trailer trackside or online at sportsdesign.com or by calling Sports Design at 800-796-8989. Victory Junction will receive a portion of the proceeds from the gloves sold.(PR)(11-8-2003)
- Changes at the #31: Richard Childress is reported to be considering a change in the setup of the Robby Gordon-Kevin Hamlin team, possibly promoting Hamlin to general manager and engineer Chris Andrews to crew chief. Childress made a similar move earlier this season with the Kevin Harvick team.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-8-2003)
- Pop Secret Makes Donation: As events surrounding the final Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway get underway, Pop Secret representatives today announced a donation of 50,000 bonus Box Tops for Education to L.J. Bell Elementary School in Rockingham. The donation is a symbol of appreciation from Pop Secret to the Rockingham community for its enthusiasm surrounding the Pop Secret 400 since 1999. Box Tops for Education is a school fund-raising program of General Mills in which both Pop Secret and L.J. Bell Elementary School participate. Pop Secret selected L.J. Bell Elementary School as the donation recipient because it was the Rockingham school that earned the most money through Box Tops for Education during the 2002-2003 school year. To redeem the 50,000 bonus Box Tops, L.J. Bell representatives need simply to submit the certificate presented to them from Pop Secret along with the other Box Tops they have collected. The school will then receive the cash value of the 50,000 bonus Box Tops plus the cash value for any other Box Tops they submit, assuming the value of those Box Tops fall within the program guidelines.(Williams Company PR)(11-8-2003)
- Baldwin to Yates? J. J. Yeley may have signed a contract with car owner Joe Gibbs, according to sources. No word on the crew chief. Tommy Baldwin had been considered on Jimmy Makar's list for that job, but now it appears that car owner Robert Yates may be wooing Baldwin to take a job with his team.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-8-2003)
- Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - Rockingham: #12-Ryan Newman nabbed his 11th Bud Pole of the season today at North Carolina Speedway for Sunday's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400. Ryan sped around this 1 mile oval in 23.533 sec (155.577) to register his third top-spot in a row (and 4th in the last 5 events) and the 18th of his career. His 11 poles are the most since Bill Elliott did it in 1985 and is the second-highest total of the modern era. If you don't think retro is hot, check out that #12 car this week. It's a throw-back to Bobby Allison and those Red, White & Blue Penske Matadors.
Brian Vickers went out first.....and had the pole for over an hour. But, after all, Newman was the last car out. Not a bad day for Vickers....first ever Busch Pole and outside the front-row for the Cup race just a couple hours later. If this front-row looks familiar, watch out for Rod Serling waving the green flag. You are not entering the Twilight Zone....this is the same front row we had last week at Phoenix.
#19-Jeremy Mayfield (3rd) has his best starting spot since he started 3rd at Dover in June.
#74-Tony Raines (4th) has his career-best starting spot. His previous best was 12th at Bristol in August....and he actually tied Jeremy Mayfield on time for 3rd spot today.
#01-Joe Nemechek (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond in May.
#99-Jeff Burton (9th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Richmond in September.
#16-Greg Biffle (10th) has his best starting spot since he started 4th at New Hampshire in September.
STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
46 cars this weekend so three get the early out. The Trouble Train included: Hermie Sadler (he missed by less than 3/100th's of a second), Tim Sauter (in Dave Marcis' #71 car this week), and Rich Bickle (his first attempt of the season).
This is our last fall event at Rockingham....next year California gets an extra date and Darlington slides into this spot. When you figure we've been coming here since 1965, it's been one heck of a ride!(Stock Car Fans)(11-8-2003)
- Bootie gets a gig: former #77 crew chief, Robert 'Bootie' Barker, is the new crew chief for Jason Leffler and the #00 Haas CNC Racing Busch Series team, starting this weekend at Rockingham and for the 2004 season.(Speed Channel's coverage of Busch Series Qualifying)(11-7-2003)
- Evernham, why a Busch team? Evernham Motorsports, running their first Busch race this weekend at Rockingham, is running the Busch Series to get Jeremy Mayfield get some track time and because team owner Ray Evernham plans to start building Busch Series engines to lease in 2004. Also of note, Elton Sawyer, former Busch Series driver is working with the team as a consultant.(Speed Channel's coverage of Busch Series Qualifying)(11-7-2003)
- Team Hollywood? hearing movie producer John Shestak (Blair With Project) and actor Anthony Edwards (formerly of ER) are expected to announce involvement in a NASCAR team for 2004 at Homestead. The names of Bradley Whitford (West Wing) and actress Rene Russo have also been mentioned as involved. The driver will be a young up-and-comer from California.(11-7-2003)
- Get Well: Barbara Bigelow, the former Waterford Speedway [CT] Powder Puff driver is laid up and in the need of a little rehab at the St. Johnsbury Health and Rehab Center. If you're a former fan of hers, she'd love a card. Her mail goes to 19 Lincoln St., St. Johnsbury VT 05819.(11-7-2003)
- Final Phoenix TV Ratings: Nielsen Media Research says NBC's broadcast of last Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 Winston Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway drew a 4.7 rating and a 10 share, according to today's Sports Business Daily. The figures represent a 7% increase over the 4.4/10 the event drew last year and a 17.5% over the 4.0/9 in 2001.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-7-2003)
- Winston West Awards Ceremony: I don't cover the Winston West [no idea what it'll be called next year or who will sponsor it, won't be Nextel] but since the last race was cancelled, thoguht this was good to post: NASCAR has announced plans to hold the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series awards ceremony at the Eldorado Hotel in Reno, Nev., on Friday, Dec. 12. The event, which had been slated for Nov. 2 in Glendale, Calif., was postponed because of the devastating wildfires in that region.(Racing West Site)(11-7-2003)
- Another Open Wheeler to NASCAR? Open Wheel driver, Buddy Rice, on Thursday flew to Cleveland, where he was to be fitted inside a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Chevrolet owned by Doug Thorson [#88/#98 Team]. He is slated to test Monday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Craftsman season ends next Friday at the 1.5-mile oval, and Rice may make his NASCAR debut at the recently revamped track with Thorson's regular driver, #88-Matt Crafton [who will drive for Kevin Harvick in 2004], as his teammate. "I've never driven anything this big," said Rice, who lives in Phoenix. "I'm kind of excited about the opportunity. It's a new adventure for me. It's like when I drove Chris Neville's Trans-Am car in 2000. I was real excited about doing that, too." Rice drove this past season in the Indy Racing League for car owner Eddie Cheever Jr., but the team struggled and Cheever chose to replace Rice with Alex Barron for the final three races. Rice and Cheever have since mutually agreed to end their contract, which still had one year and an option remaining. "I'm a free agent," Rice said. Rice has talked to several IRL teams, including one owned by Chip Ganassi. Ganassi, however, filled the team's lone open seat recently by hiring Darren Manning to replace Tony Renna, who was killed last month while testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Arizona Republic)(11-7-2003)
- And what is up with the Yeley rumor? For weeks, representatives of NASCAR Winston Cup Series owner Joe Gibbs and J.J. Yeley have engaged in contract talks, but a deal has yet to be finalized. Speculation is Yeley, who is on the verge of capturing the U.S. Auto Club Triple Crown (Silver Crown, sprint car and midget championships in the same season), and Gibbs are discussing a deal that would include ARCA, Busch and a few Cup races. The holdup may be in the number of ARCA and Busch races Yeley would do in each series.(Arizona Republic)(11-7-2003)
- Ward is third-quarter Spirit nominee: #0-Ward Burton has been named the third-quarter nominee for the NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award, not for his well-known work on behalf of wildlife causes, but because he took time to care about one kid. While Burton's wildlife work is public knowledge, the soft-spoken Virginia native is just as willing to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate, often outside of the spotlight. Such was the case of Dusty Duncan, a young fan who met Burton during an autograph session late last year. Duncan and his younger sister, Angie, are afflicted with cleft lip, a medical condition which can affect speech as well as self-esteem. One in 700 children are born with some type of cleft condition each year, and it is the most common facial birth defect [See info about this on my Racing Charities/Ongoing news page]. The two children are scheduled for surgery in Chicago on April 29. The award, presented each January, recognizes character and achievement in face of adversity, as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Car owner Richard Childress received the association's first-quarter award; the late NASCAR historian Bob Latford was named the second-quarter recipient.(The State)(11-7-2003)
- Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame AND: Texas open-wheel racing icons A.J. Foyt Jr. and Johnny Rutherford, winners of a combined seven Indianapolis 500s, have been selected as inaugural inductees into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame at Texas Motor Speedway. Foyt, of Houston, and Rutherford, of Fort Worth, emerged as runaway choices for the Class of 2003, a five-member group selected by a panel of motorsports media from throughout the state. Racer/designer Carroll Shelby, recently retired IRL IndyCar Series star Gil de Ferran and NASCAR Craftsman Truck title contender Brendan Gaughan also will be honored at The Speedway Club on Jan. 27, 2004. Gaughan, of Las Vegas, will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year award as the individual who has been most successful at the track this season. Gaughan won both Truck Series races on the 1.5-mile quadoval in 2003, giving him a record run of four consecutive victories in Fort Worth. The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame will be located adjacent to The Speedway Club as a year-round attraction. Groundbreaking is scheduled for early next year. All proceeds from the hall will benefit Happy Hill Farm, a residential school in Granbury for at-risk children, in association with Speedway Children's Charities. For information on the inaugural gala in January, call (866) 463-8392 (HOF-TEXAS).(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(11-6-2003)
AND - Vote: The Hall is also conducting an online Fan Favorite poll at www.txmhof.com from TMS Racer of the Year candidates Ryan Newman, Gil de Ferran, Brendan Gaughan, Al Unser Jr. and Joe Nemechek. Fans can win T-shirts, hats or tickets to the Inaugural Gala just for voting.(11-7-2003)
- Special Schemes for Penske Cars IMAGE: As part of Penske Racing's 50th win commemoration this weekend at Rockingham, Wallace's Miller Lite Dodge will carry the familiar and popular black and gold colors that Wallace used in recording 30 of his 54 career wins (total of 36 [not 38] at Penske Racing) and in three of his five Rockingham victories.(TRPR - no image of the car...yet)
AND also #12-Ryan Newman is supposed to run a special 50th win commemoration scheme at the Rock, nothing mentioned, but see an image of the scheme on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes - Car #'s 0-23 page.. Penske's 50 wins [actually 53] are Wallace, 36; Newman 9; B Allison, 4; Mayfield, 3; Donohue, 1.(11-6-2003)
IMAGE See an image of the #12 on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes - Car #'s 0-23 page..(11-7-2003)
- A New Cup Team? NASCAR's Nextel Cup series gets its second African-American-run team next season, this one entered by the estate of the late Roots author Alex Haley. Majority owner Sam Belnavis became the first black full-time owner this year by starting BelCar Motorsports with Travis Carter. Belnavis' partner is Haley's brother, George, a former U.S. ambassador to Gambia and executor of the Pulitzer Prize-winner's estate. A statement from the estate said the venture seeks to "perpetuate ... Haley's spirit and legacy of family, brotherhood and understanding" and to foster African-American and minority participation in NASCAR. The estate is seeking sponsors for the car that would include tributes to Haley, whose novel tracing his lineage to slavery was adapted for ABC into TV's most-watched miniseries when it was broadcast in 1977.(USA Today)(11-7-2003)
- Heading to Rockingham, four drivers remain mathematically in contention -- six actually. If Kenseth just walked away -- see you, guys -- and refused to run the final two races, Ryan Newman (329 behind) and Kevin Harvick (351 out) could still have long shots. Realistically, however, the four remaining are Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, who has only the slimmest of chances.
The fewest points (season total) Kenseth can score, at 34 per race [as long as he starts each race], is 4896. The most points fourth-place Gordon can accumulate, by winning and leading the most laps, is 4898. So here are the odds for the final three challengers.
#24-Jeff Gordon is simplest. He must win both Rockingham and at Homestead and lead the most laps in both, with Kenseth finishing last (43rd) in both and not leading at all. Meanwhile, Gordon has to hope that Johnson finishes no better than fifth (not leading a lap) or sixth (leading at least one lap). It also is necessary that Earnhardt finish no better than eighth in either race (leading no laps) or 10th (leading at least one).
#48-Jimmie Johnson can win it by winning and leading the most laps in both races, plus the following circumstances: Kenseth must finish no better than 33rd (leading no laps) or 31st (leading one lap). The difference between third-place Johnson and second-place Earnhardt is problematic -- just 13 points. Therefore, in addition to Kenseth's misfortunes, Johnson must hope that Earnhardt either a) finishes second without leading a lap in one or the other of the races, or that Earnhardt's final two finishes are second and third.
Being second, #8-Dale Earnhardt's chances revolve around Kenseth, who as noted can average 30th place and tie it up. Earnhardt must win and lead the most laps in each of the final two, with Kenseth finishing 31st or worse in both (without leading a lap) or 33rd (with one lap led in each race).
Kenseth's finish average the past six races? 16.8, counting two disastrous slip-ups in October which cut his 436-point lead nearly in half. His finish average the past four? 9.5.(more at the Speed Channel site)(11-6-2003)
- Kyle Busch to attempt Homestead: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick announced that 18-year-old Kyle Busch will attempt to qualify for the Nov. 16 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In his first-ever Winston Cup event, Busch will drive Hendrick's #60 Chevrolet with primary sponsorship from ditech.com, which has backed the Las Vegas native in the ARCA Series and NASCAR Busch Series this year. "This is an excellent way for Kyle to gain some additional experience," Hendrick said. "Our goal is for him to spend as much time behind the wheel as possible before next season and this is a great way to accomplish that." If he makes the field, Busch, who turned 18 on May 2, will become one of the youngest drivers to start a Winston Cup race in NASCAR's modern era. Busch has earned a pair of runner-up finishes and five top-10 starts in six Busch Series appearances this year. He will compete in his final Busch Series event of 2003 on Saturday at North Carolina Speedway before joining the circuit full-time next season in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets. After joining Hendrick Motorsports in February, Busch also competed in seven ARCA Series events, posting two victories and two pole positions.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(11-6-2003)
- Delphi to be major assoc of the #5 and Terry Labonte in 2004 IMAGE: Delphi Product & Service Solutions, part of Delphi Corp. announced today that they are renewing their relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and will become a major associate sponsor of the #5 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2004. "We are very excited about the new sponsorship agreement with Hendrick Motorsports on the No. 5 car," said Francisco A. (Frank) Ordonez, president, Delphi Product & Service Solutions and vice president, Delphi Corporation. "Our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has been successful both on and off the racetrack during the past three years, and this new agreement demonstrates our commitment going forward. We are thrilled about having the Delphi brand associated with the winning tradition of the No. 5 team." Delphi will be prominently featured on the #5 Chevy in all Nextel Cup races during the 2004 season. In addition, Delphi will be the primary sponsor of the car at the Brickyard 400, along with three other events, yet to be determined.(Yahoo Biz)(11-4-2003)
IMAGE see an image of the new scheme on my 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page.(11-6-2003)
- #41 Team Helping Out: #41/#19-Casey Mears will be running a special Target House paint scheme in the Busch Series race as well as the Winston Cup race this weekend at Rockingham. Target House is an innovative approach to long-term housing for families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The apartments allow residents the privacy of a furnished two-bedroom apartment, while offering several common areas to interact with other families and children.
Special Helmet Design: During this weekend’s races at Rockingham, Casey Mears, will wear a helmet with a design created by one of the kids at Target House.
Raising Money for Target House: Target is selling the Target House paint scheme souvenir die-cast cars on target.com. All proceeds from the die-cast cars will benefit Target House. A portion of sales from select, specially-marked General Mills snack products sold at Target stores will go toward Target House, with a maximum donation of $50,000.
Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: The Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Nov. 8 will feature a starting call from the kids at Target House. During the race day, the honorary positions of grand marshal, green flag starter and pace car rider will all be served by cancer survivors who received treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(11-6-2003)
- Former Cup team facitilty to be auctioned off: The former #7 Mattei Motorsports [also former Kulwicki shop] team facilities on Tuesday, Dec 2nd. Includes the shop, office space, engine shop, paint booth. The property at 6007 Victory Lane is suitable for any number of business pursuits, which are sure to benefit from traffic counts of 40,000 vehicles a day on Highway 29 alone. This road parallels I-85, making the property convenient to shopping and restaurants. Situated on 2.3± acres in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Industrial Park, the former Winston Cup facility is a 25,200±-square foot, multi-use commercial building that boasts handsome office space and a superbly maintained engine shop, conference room, kitchen and workout room. Other bonuses include ample paved parking and landscaped grounds. More info at the www.nationalauctiongroup.com site.(11-6-2003)
- Waltrip's Pit Crew Wins in Phoenix; Increases Points Lead For $200,000 Bonus: Michael Waltrip's No. 15 pit crew rebounded Sunday in Phoenix, claiming the top prize and an important 43 points in the inaugural McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. In the chase for the $200,000 bonus that goes to the season champion, Waltrip's pit crew has a 22-point lead over its DEI teammate - the No. 8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. There are two races remaining - Rockingham (Nov. 9) and Homestead-Miami (Nov. 16). Waltrip's NAPA pit crew, which has five McDonald's/POWERade victories and $100,000 in prize money to date, has led the championship since the season-opening Daytona 500. "The NAPA boys stepped it up in Phoenix," said crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe. "The first stop was 12.82 seconds and we gained six positions - a great indication for what the day was going to be like. Their success is a direct result of the training by Walt Smith (DEI pit crew trainer). The No. 15 team and the No. 8 team are running first and second in the McDonald's/POWERade competition - what a testament to Walt and the preparation he makes." Waltrip's Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road at Phoenix International Raceway - 159.435 seconds. Jamie McMurray's Dodge was second at 162.096. Ricky Rudd's Ford was third (165.198) and Earnhardt's Chevy was fourth (172.933). The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip's team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Pete Rondeau (catch can).
See standings, top 10 from Phoenix and winners each week, see my Pit Crew News page and Pit Crew Chart.(11-6-2003)
- DeWalt's 2003 King of the Drill: Mike Rennie has been crowned as the 2003 DEWALT "King of the Drill." The 34-year-old drywall contractor from Kirkwood/Seattle, WA won first place in the DEWALT "Million Dollar Challenge" national cordless screwdriving contest, sponsored by Chevy Trucks. The challenge was to see who could drive five screws into a piece of wood the fastest with a DEWALT cordless drill. Contestants had to start a timer, pick up the drill, drive the screws, and stop the timer with the drill. Rennie competed against the 13 other fastest "drivers" from the U.S. and Canada during the final contest held November 1-2 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona. The 14 contestants were seeded tournament-style. A process of elimination determined the final winner. Rennie sank five screws in 7.6 seconds in the 4th round to win the event along with $25,000 and a new Chevy Silverado pick-up truck. He also had the chance to earn a $1,000,000 grand prize if he could sink five screws under 6.5 seconds during the grand finale. Standing front and center on the start/finish line, Rennie was on pace to beat the clock but got hung up on the fourth screw. He ended the million-dollar round with a time of 8.06 seconds.(DeWalt Site)(11-6-2003)
- Green in the #43 in 2004? hearing that current #43 Petty Enterprises driver, Jeff Green, has a contract in hand to drive the 43 next year and the team is waiting for his decision.(11-6-2003)
- Wood Brother's team skips Pit Crew Competition: Twenty-four of the 25 teams eligible for the Union 76-Rockingham Pit Crew Competition have entered the event, scheduled for Saturday afternoon at North Carolina Speedway [the top 25 teams in Owners Points are eligible]. The #21 Wood Brothers Racing crew is the only group that did not enter the competition, after making a crew chief change this week with Roush Racing, which entered Mark Martin's crew, led by Pat Tryson.(NASCAR.com)(11-6-2003)
- Instructor Injured: A pit crew instructor was hit by a car Tuesday while training in Mooresville. Authorities say Lance Munksgord sustained a broken shoulder and leg after getting knocked about 60 feet. The accident happened behind a training building where the pit crew was practicing. As the truck [not car] approached, the crew jumped the wall, but the it didn't stop. Munksgord is the pit coach for three different race teams at Ultra Motor Sports.(WSOCTV.com)(11-5-2003)
AND it was actually a truck that hit Munksgord as the #2 team was doing pit stop practice when the accident happened. The brakes failed on the truck. The tire changer got around the front, Munksgord was carrying the front tire and got hit. He was released from the hospital the night that the accident happened with a broken shoulder, right arm and right leg and some miscellaneous stiches. Get well Lance!(11-6-2003)
- Rusty's tire changer to race: Rob Fuller, rear-tire changer & assistant shock specialist for Rusty's team, is competing in this weekend's North/South modified "shootout" at the Concord Motorsports Park. He is to drive a Jamie Tomaino-owned car.(TRPR)(11-6-2003)
- Rusty's son at the Snowball Derby: Stephen Wallace, Rusty's 16-year-old son, is hoping to compete in the annual prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., the first weekend of next month. "Trying to put a deal together to run Richie Wauters car down there," Stephen reported. "Thing is that we need some sponsorship to make the trip and we're looking for it now." Rusty participated in the annual racing classic several times. His best finish was second (to winner Freddy Fryar) in the 1979 edition.(TRPR)(11-6-2003)
- From the Archives: On October 31, 1965 at North Carolina Speedway, Curtis Turner was making his seventh start since returning to NASCAR Grand National (now NASCAR Winston Cup) racing in September. He was driving a first-class Ford for the famed Wood Brothers, but Turner had to be a bit rusty and, after all, he was over 40 years old, very unusual for race drivers in that era when most had retired by their late 30s. Turner qualified fourth in the first series event at the venue, but could he win? He hadn’t seen a NASCAR victory lane since March 1959. In contention for most of the race, Turner took the lead for the final time on Lap 474. The last 25 laps saw the “old pro” wage a duel with young upstart Cale Yarborough. It was a classic scene of age and wisdom against youth and nerve, with Turner winning out. The race closed a chapter in NASCAR history. It was Turner’s last win and the final victory for any of NASCAR’s pioneer drivers. A new generation was coming on, such as Yarborough. Gone from the headlines were the names of Flock, Roberts, Thomas and Weatherly. In a year or two, names like Bobby Allison, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Richard Petty and David Pearson would dominate.(NASCAR PR)(11-6-2003)
- Kenny to visit a school: Kenny Wallace will visit Richmond County Senior High School Thursday, November 6th as part of “YJ Stinger’s Race to Bee Safe” program. The Race to Bee Safe program is designed to teach teenagers the importance of safe driving and good car maintenance. Students sign a promise to practice safe driving. The promise will act as an informal contract between the student and the student’s parents. The promises will also be used in a drawing for prizes, including tickets to the Nov. 8th Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series event at North Carolina Speedway.(BDR PR)(11-6-2003)
- #10 Cup Crew to be replaced? with #10 Busch Crew? UPDATE: 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)
UPDATE - Randolph leaving the #10: #10 ppc Racing crew chief, Doug Randolph will leave the team at the end of the 2003 season. The driver of the #10, Scott Riggs is leaving also, moving up to the Cup Series.(FoxSports Net's Totally NASCAR) Rumors have Randolph going to the #10 MBV Cup team with Riggs.(11-5-2003)
- Gordon Wins 4th Quarter Voting for USG Person of the Year: The Jeff Gordon Foundation originated in 1999 with a mission to support the physical, social and intellectual needs of children and their families. During the month of October, Gordon, through his “An Evening with Jeff Gordon” dinner – which included the opportunity to bid on a Signature Edition Jeff Gordon Monte Carlo – and his “3rd Annual Go-Kart Challenge,” raised nearly $300,000 for the Foundation. In addition to these contributions, the Foundation donated $60,000 to the Hendrick Marrow Foundation. For his efforts assisting charitable organizations, Gordon has been named the 2003 Fourth Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year. The Jeff Gordon Foundation supports Riley’s Hospital for Children, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Hendrick Marrow Foundation.
For the purpose of determining the NASCAR USG Person of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR Winston Cup season has been divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts. A select group of panelists will select one of the four quarterly finalists as the NASCAR USG Person of the Year. This award will be presented the week of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. The 2003 First, Second and Third Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year winners were Ricky Craven, Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett, respectively.
In addition to the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, USG also sponsors the USG Driver of the Race Award, which goes to the eligible driver who wins each of the 36 NASCAR Winston Cup championship events. Each USG Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR)(11-5-2003)
- Mayfield in the #79 Busch Series Dodge at the Rock: Evernham Motorsports will field the #79 Mountain Dew Dodge in the Busch Series at Rockingham. Mayfield will drive the entry and Sammy Johns will serve as crew chief. In addition to Mountain Dew, Dodge, Ingersoll-Rand, Cometic Gaskets, Action Performance, Freightliner, Siemens, Valvoline, and PPG will serve as associate sponsors on the No. 79 Dodge. The entry is the first for Evernham Motorsports in the Busch Series.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(11-5-2003)
- Testing at Kentucky UPDATE: a few NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Series teams will test at Kentucky Speedway on Wed-Thurs, Nov 5-6. Mark Green will test the #10 Valvoline car, #79 Arnold Motorsports, not sure which driver since Billy Bigley, Jr. and the team split last week and Billy “Catfish”Parker and Hank Parker, Jr. for Rusty Wallace's 2004 Busch team.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-4-2003)
UPDATE: Billy “Catfish” Parker prepared for his 2004 NASCAR Busch Series debut with Rusty Wallace, Inc., by opening a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway today. Parker shared the track with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title contender Ted Musgrave and veteran Mark Green. Musgrave helped Ultra Motorsports Winston Cup team with research-and-development work while Green shook down a race machine for MBV Motorsports.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-5-2003)
- It's Back: This weekend #20-Tony Stewart is scheduled to drive the car that NASCAR impounded at Texas. It would be the first time the car has been run since NASCAR returned it. NASCAR officials impounded the car after it failed a pre-event inspection when the rear end was found to be offset beyond the rules. Series officials studied the car for several weeks before returning it.(Roanoke Times)(11-5-2003)
- Cars to the Chassis Dyno at Phoenix; #20 had the most power UPDATE 2: NASCAR put nine cars on the chassis dyno after the race, to compared effective horsepower at the rear wheels: the Dodges of #12-Ryan Newman, #9-Bill Elliott and #22-Scott Wimmer, Fords of #97-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth and #38-Elliott Sadler, and Chevys of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #20-Tony Stewart.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2003)
UPDATE: Of the nine cars NASCAR tested on the chassis dynamometer after the Phoenix race, Tony Stewart's #20 had the most horsepower.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
UPDATE 2: The preliminary figures from Sunday's chassis-dyno runs showed Tony Stewart with the strongest engine, pulling 742 horsepower at the rear wheels, and Kurt Busch with the weakest, 702 horsepower, according to sources. That's a sizable difference.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-5-2003)
- A Labonte in Office: Political newcomer Robert Labonte knocked off an incumbent and another challenger in Trinity's [CN] Ward 3 City Council race, according to incomplete and unofficial returns Tuesday night. Labonte, father of NASCAR drivers Bobby and Terry Labonte, captured 605 votes. His nearest challenger was incumbent Carlton Boyles, who received 313 votes. A third candidate, Buddy Maness, received 151 votes.(New and Record)(11-5-2003)
- Brick Cars For Sale: #11 Brett Bodine are offering the limited edition "Brick Car" Racing Champions diecast for sale on Brett's Bodine's website.(11-4-2003)
- Greg Steadman Takes Helm Of #45 Dodge Veteran to lead G-P team for rest of season: Veteran Greg Steadman will serve as crew chief of the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge for the final two races of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Steadman, who has previously served as crew chief of the #43 and #44 Dodges at Petty Enterprises, had been serving as shop foreman. “Greg has done a great job in the shop but he realizes we need him back on the road,” said Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 and CEO of Petty Enterprises. “As a crew chief with both the #43 and #44, he did a tremendous job, and is a great leader. We are fortunate to have him available. “We have not been able to build on our improvement in 2002. We feel Greg can help us get back on the right track,” Petty added.(Williams Company PR)(11-4-2003)
- 2003 Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition Pit Road Champion Will Be Crowned At NCS: The quest for a championship in the 2003 Winston Cup season isn’t limited to Sunday races. Pit crews, rather than drivers, are in the spotlight November 8, 2003, at North Carolina Speedway for the 36th annual 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition. The purse for this year’s event is $100,000, with $30,000 going to the winning team. Setting a new world record will result in a $10,000 bonus.
Reigning champion – winning consecutively in 2001 and 2002 – is Roush Racing’s No. 17 DeWalt pit crew for current Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth. The DeWalt crew bettered their own world record last year by .862 seconds, becoming the first crew to break the 16-second barrier since teams began changing four tires. The current world record, and the time teams will aim to beat in 2003, is 16.823 seconds.
Past champions of this elite event include such notable teams as Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Petty Enterprises. Richard Childress Racing and the Wood Brothers organization each won the championship a record four times. Roush Racing holds two titles with the No. 17 DeWalt team, but three 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Championships overall.(Elevation Motorsports PR), see full PR and more info on my Pit Crew News page for past few years Pit Crew Championships results. ALSO - no word on if Sunoco will take over the Competition in 2004 since Union 76 is leaving at the end of 2003.(11-4-2003)
- Delphi to be major assoc of the #5 and Terry Labonte in 2004: Delphi Product & Service Solutions, part of Delphi Corp. announced today that they are renewing their relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and will become a major associate sponsor of the #5 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2004. "We are very excited about the new sponsorship agreement with Hendrick Motorsports on the No. 5 car," said Francisco A. (Frank) Ordonez, president, Delphi Product & Service Solutions and vice president, Delphi Corporation. "Our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has been successful both on and off the racetrack during the past three years, and this new agreement demonstrates our commitment going forward. We are thrilled about having the Delphi brand associated with the winning tradition of the No. 5 team." Delphi will be prominently featured on the #5 Chevy in all Nextel Cup races during the 2004 season. In addition, Delphi will be the primary sponsor of the car at the Brickyard 400, along with three other events, yet to be determined.(Yahoo Biz)(11-4-2003)
- #71 at the Rock: The #71 Marcis Racing team plans to be at North Carolina Speedway for the Pop Secret 400 on November 7th-9th. Tim Sauter will be driving the #71 Monte Carlo, sponsored this weekend by Aran Trading and Naples Trucking. The car is the same brand new Chevy Monte Carlo that was used at Brickyard and the washed out attempts at New Hampshire and Dover. The engine for Rockingham will be an in-house Marcis engine.(Marcis Racing Site)(11-3-2003)
IMAGE: see an image of the car on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes - Cars #'s 24-99 page.(11-4-2003)
- Hermie to honor Dad: #02-Hermie Sadler plans on competing in both races this weekend at Rockingham. In the Winston Cup race, Sadler will be sporting a "retro" paint scheme, as the car will be painted gold and black to honor his Dad, Herman Sadler, Jr. for all of his efforts to further mine and Elliott's racing careers. The Gold and Black "Weekend Warrior" was owned by Sadler's Dad in the 70's and won over 100 feature races on dirt tracks across the Southeast. The car was driven by such drivers as his Uncle Bud Elliott, J.E. Beard (now an engine builder at #4 Morgan-McClure) and James Hylton. "That car just sitting in the shop brings back a lot of memories of when I was 4-5 years old going to the races. It has instigated many stories being told about the good old days. We are looking forward to carrying those colors this weekend." said Sadler.(11-4-2003)
- Hot Wheels and Roush Racing: Mattel and Roush Racing announced that the parties have extended their mass retail market die-cast through the 2006 race season. The agreement also includes exclusive rights to the Wood Brothers famed Number 21 program based out of Stuart, Virginia. Team owner Jack Roush, President of Roush Racing, Geoff Smith, Tony DaDante, Vice President / General Manager of Hot Wheels® Racing and NASCAR drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and current NASCAR points leader Matt Kenseth were in attendance for this special occasion. Hot Wheels cars thundered into the toy world in 1968. Nearly 35 years later, Hot Wheels is a global lifestyle brand and a leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of vehicles, playsets and track sets. In addition to leading the way with speed, power and performance, Hot Wheels cars are also Cool Collectibles for adults. For the latest information on Hot Wheels® products, make a break on the information superhighway and cruise over to www.hotwheels.com.(Mattel PR) Also, see info about the Hot Wheel Hall of Fame in my Hall of Fame/Museums page.(11-4-2003)
- NASCAR Hire: NASCAR announced that Paul Sparrow has joined its licensing division as director of retail development. Sparrow, who was director of marketing and retail development with the National Football League, will be responsible for developing new retail relationships as well as programs and promotions that sell NASCAR-licensed products to retailers.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-4-2003)
- Pit Accident at Phoenix: During the a pit stop on lap 120 in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway when the #40 Coors Light Dodge, there was an accident when the air hose was tangled with another competitor’s car. Mike Motil, tire specialist and catch can man for the #40 Dodge, was taken to the infield care center after experiencing pain in his knee. He was then taken to the local hospital and released after x-rays were taken.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR).
Also: been told that Motil left knee was diagnosed for having torn ligaments and will receive further test when he gets back to Mooresville, NC.(11-3-2003)
- Schrader to the #23? HOWEVER: [hi Mags!] Kenny Schrader [currently with the #49 BAM Racing team] is being courted for a ride with Bill Davis as teammate with rookie [#22] Scott Wimmer, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal), past rumors have current #23 driver, Kenny Wallace and sponsor Stacker 2 going to the Busch Series, another rumor had Steve Park under consideration for the #23 ride.(11-3-2003)
HOWEVER hearing there may be a non-change in the works...meaning that Kenny Wallace and Stacker 2 may be staying in the Cup Series and not moving to the Busch or Truck Series.(11-3-2003)
- Biffle to RCR? UPDATE - back with the #16: 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)
UPDATE: from a NASCAR.com conversation: Q) First of all, we'd love to know your plans, your for-sure plans next year? What's been decided? What's going on with you? A) Greg Biffle: Well, right now the for-sure plans are to run for a championship in the 16 car next year. Preliminary plans are to run quite a few Busch races. We haven't announced that yet, but we're trying to get that finalized. Hopefully in the next little bit, we'll be able to make an announcement of how many races we're going to run and who the sponsor is going to be. We're really excited about both programs for next year.(NASCAR.com)(11-3-2003)
- Best Western theOfficial Hotel of NASCAR and to the #15 as an assoc in 2004: Best Western International, Inc. has entered into a three-year partnership with NASCAR to become the sport's first-ever Official Hotel, beginning January 1, 2004. Best Western will also serve as an associate sponsor of reigning Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and the #15 NAPA Chevrolet for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Waltrip is a driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc.(Yahoo Finance)(11-3-2003)
- BAM Announcement at Homestead? UPDATE none planned: BAM Racing hopes to announce at Homestead that it has a sponsorship deal that will enable the organization to add a second car and a teammate for Ken Schrader. Team owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau are optimistic that the #49 car will have two major sponsors to split the season, and that a full-time sponsor will fund the second car. AT&T will remain as a major associate sponsor for Schrader's car. BAM already has benefited this season from the "full technical support" the team receives from Dodge, including wind-tunnel time, track-test time and additional engineering support from the manufacturer.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
UPDATE: BAM Racing is getting closer to sponsorship for 2004 and is in discussions with several potential sponsors right now but does not have an announcement scheduled for Homestead, and no announcement is currently planned for there.(source)(11-3-2003)
- NASCAR Peformance Brand Announced: NASCAR on Monday announced the launch of the NASCAR Performance brand. Targeted to installers and consumers, NASCAR Performance will appear on more than 25 aftermarket brands such as Mobil 1 oil, Goodyear belts and hoses, Moog Chassis parts, Exide batteries and Wix Filters. The brand will serve as a NASCAR "seal of approval" for quality and reliability. NASCAR made the announcement at the annual AAPEX meeting here. NASCAR licenses its mark to automotive aftermarket products to provide a point of difference in a highly competitive retail environment. Surveys show that NASCAR fans are three times more likely to purchase products bearing the NASCAR mark. NASCAR Performance products are available nationwide through installers, dealers and retail outlets. The new brand will be made visible through the NASCAR Performance Network -- a marketing program that promotes vehicle maintenance and directs consumers to nearby service facilities. The network, housed on NASCAR.com, features a shop locator service for driving directions, store hours, services and certifications. An ad campaign (TV, print, radio and internet) for the NASCAR Performance Network uses NASCAR crew chiefs such as Greg Zipadelli of Joe Gibbs Racing, Slugger Labbe of Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Ryan Pemberton of MB2 Motorsports.(for full release, see NASCAR.com)(11-3-2003)
- No Points for the #7 at Phoenix? UPDATE: Unless NASCAR issues a reprieve, Jimmy Spencer and the #7 Ultra Motorsports team won't earn any points in this Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500, not even if they win the race. Spencer's team is listed as a "post-entry" this weekend because NASCAR did not receive the official entry blank before the deadline, which is seven days before qualifying. Teams are required to submit an entry blank for each race, with the deadline anywhere from seven to 10 days before qualifying. If an entry blank is received after the deadline, neither driver nor owner points are awarded. Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith and crew chief Tommy Baldwin met briefly with Darby after Winston Cup Happy Hour on Saturday. But Smith said nothing had been worked out yet, but he was hopeful NASCAR would decide to award the team points. Entry blanks are typically mailed in, and Winston Cup director John Darby understands that problems can arise. Darby said the any change in the status of the team would be released when the official race report is sent out Monday. "They're currently listed as a post-entry, but that just on the very surface," Darby said. "We will go back and understand the whole process and try to make sense of it all before we make a final decision."(NASCAR.com)(11-1-2003)
UPDATE - No Points: per the 'official results' on NASCAR.com, the #7 car is listed as an PE - Post Entry and didn't get any driver/owner points for finishing 40th at Phoenix.(11-3-2003)
- What Happened to DJ: been getting a lot of question what happened to #88-Dale Jarrett at the end of the race when he fell from the top 10 after the last restart to finish 29th. From the UPS site: "Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team were poised to turn in a hard-fought top-10 finish in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway with less than 10 laps to go. A flat right, front tire dropped Jarrett from eighth in the running order to 29th where he eventually finished the 312-lap event."(11-3-2003)
- Yeley and Gibbs close to a deal? It's looking more and more as if JJ Yeley may have found a home at Joe Gibbs Racing. Yeley, a Phoenix native now living in an Indianapolis suburb, could sign a contract with NASCAR Winston Cup Series team owner Joe Gibbs by week's end. Yeley, 27, is on the verge of becoming only the second driver in U.S. Auto Club history to capture the circuit's "Triple Crown," which encompasses winning Silver Crown, sprint car and midget championships in the same season. He visited with Gibbs on Sunday at the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. If a deal is consummated, team President J.D. Gibbs, Joe's son, said it likely would include a 2004 season of mostly Automobile Racing Club of America and Busch Series races. Yeley also could be entered in a few Winston Cup events, J.D. Gibbs said. "We think he can wheel a car pretty good," J.D. Gibbs said. "We've tested him, and we're hoping to put something together. We think we have a good chance to sign him. I think he's got a great future, and I'd love for it to be with us. Tony (Stewart) and Jeff Gordon came over from open wheel, and what JJ has done in USAC leads you to believe he could do the same thing. We think the world of him."(Arizona Republic)(11-3-2003)
- Dale Jr. off to film commercials: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. flew to Los Angeles soon after the Victory Lane ceremonies. He is starring in two new Budweiser commercials to be filmed this week in L.A. before he returns to the east coast for the Rockingham race weekend.(fingerprint inc/Budweiser PR)(11-3-2003)
- #9 Crew Chief to Yates? Mike Ford, #9-Bill Elliott's crew chief, may be leaving Elliott's team and moving to Robert Yates' team to work with Dale Jarrett and crew chief Shawn Parker, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal), may have something to do with the past rumors of Tommy Baldwin Jr. going to the #9 team.(11-3-2003)
- More Yates Changes....New GM: #38, #88 team owners, Robert Yates has replaced himself as G.M. of Robert Yates Racing with Eddie D'Hondt. Both RYR teams finished last season in the top 10 in points and they combined for three wins. This year, Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler have struggled to stay in the top 25 in points. "I left Eddie a big mess to clean up, but I feel we have found someone who can organize and motivate the team without being a ‘yes man.' It was time for a change," Yates says. D'Hondt, 44, previously worked for Bill Elliott and Ray Evernham in Winston Cup and most recently oversaw Damon Lusk's Busch team, whose crew chief is Tommy Baldwin Jr.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
- Points Change? UPDATE: 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)
UPDATE: NASCAR will change its point system for 2004. An announcement could come as early as the Winston Cup awards banquet next month in New York, but more likely it will be made during the annual media tour in January. The new system is expected to award more points for wins and discourage drivers in damaged cars from returning to the track just to collect additional points.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
- Dale Jr. First: #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. became the first second-generation NASCAR Winston Cup Series winner at Phoenix International Raceway in winning Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500.(PIR PR)(11-3-2003)
- More on the Hendrick/MBV/MB2 relationship: Rick Hendrick's engineering brain trust is working overtime to help the Johnny Benson-Jay Frye-James Rocco team make it to the top 25 in the final standings, because that's the cutoff mark for NASCAR's special financial plans, including the TV plan. Hendrick officials held detailed planning sessions with Benson's crew this weekend. However, there are growing questions about possible ownership changes at the Frye-Rocco team and the Joe Nemechek-Frye team, with increasing indications that the owners may sell the 2-car operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2003)
- More Teams For Roush? Roush hinted yesterday he might expand to nine or 10 teams next year. He currently fields seven NASCAR teams - five in Winston Cup and two in Busch [actually Truck, none in Busch]. Asked if he would have more than five Cup teams, Roush responded: "Well, right now it's six if you count the Wood Brothers. But it might be more than that." Before expanding, the most pressing issue for Roush still remains signing a primary sponsor for the No. 99 of Burton.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-3-2003)
- Cars to the Chassis Dyno at Phoenix; #20 had the most power: NASCAR put nine cars on the chassis dyno after the race, to compared effective horsepower at the rear wheels: the Dodges of #12-Ryan Newman, #9-Bill Elliott and #22-Scott Wimmer, Fords of #97-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth and #38-Elliott Sadler, and Chevys of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #20-Tony Stewart.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-3-2003)
AND Of the nine cars NASCAR tested on the chassis dynamometer after the Phoenix race, Tony Stewart's #20 had the most horsepower.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(11-3-2003)
- Crew Chief Flip-Flop? UPDATE: MRN Radio race coverage reported early in the race at Phoenix that #6 Roush Racing crew chief Ben Leslie will take over the crew chief job at the #21 Wood Brother's team for driver Ricky Rudd and that #21 crew chief, Pat Tryson will assume the crew chief duties of the #6 team for driver Mark Martin, effective, Monday November 3rd.(MRN Radio Race Coverage)(11-2-2003)
UPDATE: Roush Racing and Wood Brothers Racing announced today that they will switch crew chiefs on the No. 6 and No. 21 racing teams. Effective Monday morning Ben Leslie will become the crew chief of the No. 21 Motorcraft Racing Team with driver Ricky Rudd, while Pat Tryson will take over the crew chief duties for the No. 6 Viagra Racing Team with driver Mark Martin.(Ford Racing)(11-3-2003)
- Pennzoil and Roush in 2004 MORE: Acting to position Pennzoil motor oil squarely at the forefront of NASCAR competition, Roush Racing and Pennzoil have announced a lubrication sponsorship and technology partnership across all Roush Racing teams in all NASCAR series. The program will include Pennzoil participation and associate identification on all Roush Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup (NNC) teams, beginning with the Daytona 500 in 2004. Additionally, Roush Racing will feature a special Pennzoil design and paint scheme on the #16 Greg Biffle NNC entry at Pocono Raceway next June. Capping the sponsorship announcement was the news that Mark Martin, the winningest driver in the history of the NASCAR Series will 'unretire' to race the Pennzoil colors as part of a three driver Busch Series 'Pennzoil Super Team' consisting of Martin, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton. The three drivers will combine to race different Pennzoil entries in nine Busch Series events during 2004, beginning with Mark Martin at Daytona in February. The Pennzoil-Roush partnership draws on Pennzoil's advanced lubrication technologies, and will provide Roush Racing with not just lubrication products but also with the expertise to maximize the performance side of the engineering equation. An announcement regarding the entire nine race 'Pennzoil' Busch Series schedule for Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton will be made at a later time. Mark Martin will kick off the 2004 Busch Series season at Daytona in a Pennzoil Roush Ford.(Pennzoil PR)(11-2-2003)
More on the deal...and a Kodak mention: The money for the new Roush sponsorship is estimated at $10 million, enough for associate sponsorship decals on all Roush cars and for a 9-race Busch program that will kick off at Daytona. Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth will each run three Busch races. "This is a full 10-car associate sponsorship," said Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing. "So this is a different strategy, and there are different advantages. You have Coke with multiple drivers and now Pennzoil with multiple drivers." Kodak has been interested in a similar program, instead of backing a single team.(Winston Salem Journal), see an image of the scheme on my 2004 Busch Series Paint Schemes page.(11-3-2003)
- Dale Jr. gets an eyefull: After winning the Checker 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. conducted a press conference in the infield media center, which is located behind pit road in the Phoenix International Raceway infield. One side of the press-conference area is bordered by windows. Early in the question-and-answer session, a young woman walked up to the window and bared a part of her anatomy that is typically concealed by clothing. A large contingent of the media — and, of course, Junior himself — witnessed the incident, which set off quite the raucous scene. Earnhardt Jr. waited for the whoops and laughter to subside; then, with a sense of timing that Bob Hope would have envied, leaned into the microphone and said, “The demographic of this sport is changing.” Meanwhile, the ample young woman was being led away outside.(Gaston Gazette)(11-3-2003)
- Johnson's Donation: #48-Jimmie Johnson promised to donate $48 dollars - the amount of his car number - for every lap he completed Sunday to the American Red Cross' Disaster Relief Fund. He completed all 312 laps so he will cut a check for $15,076 to help the wildfire victims near his Southern California home.(Augusta Chronicle)(11-3-2003)
see the Oct 27-Nov 2, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Oct 20-26, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Oct 13-19, 2003 Archived News Page