Points Change? not sure if this was a joke or what, seemed off the wall, but on Speed Channel's Inside Winston Cup, Jimmy Spencer [and he sounded serious) said while at Homestead he was talking to NASCAR's Brian France, and was told that NASCAR 'may' change the Cup drivers points system where after the race at Richmond in Sept 2004 with 10 races left, the slate would be 'cleaned' and the top 10 would be locked in and they would run for the title. NOTE: have heard NOTHING on a change like this, no idea how it would work or what happens to the points with the drivers 11th and back, if this is serious or just a tongue in cheek to saying how crazy it is to change the points system when two out of three national series had such close points battles. Not looking for comments, debates or new system ideas, just reporting what was on the show. UPDATE: Been told this is seriously being discussed.(11-18-2003)
(please...no email on the subject, not looking for comments, etc.
So far after 13090 votes, 55.4% answered NO, 44.6% answered YES in some fashion.
Speed Channel DOTY 4th Qtr = Ryan Newman: Ryan Newman backed up his convincing third quarter Speed Channel presents Driver of the Year 2003 title by easily topping the vote for the fourth quarter. The winningest driver in the Winston Cup series this year scored three more wins, six poles, and had eight top-five finishes in the final quarter of the season. The 25-year-old, from Indiana who drives the Alltel Dodge, had to rebound from a slow start to his season. With nine first-place Driver of the Year 2003 votes Newman far outdistanced (107-71) second place vote getter, Kenny Bernstein, of the NHRA who had two. Steve Kinser, racing in the World of Outlaws, was third in the balloting (57 points) followed by Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) who also had two first-place votes. In the fan vote - between eight nominated drivers - available at www.speedtv.com, NASCAR's Winston Cup drivers dominated again garnering the top three positions, with Gordon taking the top honors, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Newman, Anderson, Bernstein and Kinser. The Driver of the Year Award will be announced on Speed News, Speed Channel.(see full PR on my Voting and Awards page)(11-22-2003)
#9 Crew Chief to Yates? UPDATE 3 Official - Yes: 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) UPDATE: being told Mike Ford will be the new crew chief, replacing Shawn Parker, no word on Parker's plans.(11-18-2003) UPDATE 2: Mike Ford, who as crew chief helped return veteran Bill Elliott to victory lane after a seven-year absence, has been hired as the new crew chief for Dale Jarrett and his #88 UPS Fords. A formal announcement regarding Ford's hiring at Robert Yates Racing could come as early as Thursday, but Ford has already made appearances at his new race shop, sources confirmed. Shawn Parker, who has served as Jarrett's crew chief this season, has been offered another position at Yates, but has not decided whether he will remain with the organization.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-19-2003) UPDATE 3: Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88] announced several changes to key personnel positions for the #88 UPS and #38 M&Ms® Racing Teams:
Eddie D’Hondt was hired in late October to assume the role of General Manager for the organization, while Mike Ford and Barry Swift return to RYR where the pair was part of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship team. Effective immediately, Ford will assume crew chief duties for driver Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Team while Swift will oversee all work performed while serving as the shop foreman for both teams.
“This is just the beginning of the changes we will be making over the course of the next month,” said owner Robert Yates. “We obviously slipped in 2003 from where everyone expects us to perform and that is everyone from our sponsors, to the media and most importantly ourselves. We know that championship caliber teams require the talent of experienced people and securing the right people is the first step in getting ourselves back to the level that everyone expects us to perform. Mike Ford and Barry Swift were with us when we won the championship in 1999, and really have proven their talent and capabilities while they have been away. It means a lot to have them back. For us, the 2004 season starts today with the addition of Mike and Barry moving forward. This is going to be an aggressive multi-step process which Eddie and our staff are in the midst of formulating and this is just the first step.”
Ford and Swift worked at Robert Yates Racing through the 1999 season, winning the NASCAR Winston Cup championship before leaving to join Evernham Motorsports. In four seasons as crew chief for the #9 team and driver Bill Elliott, Ford led the team to four wins with the most prestigious being the 2002 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and most recently the Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway.
“It feels like being home,” Ford said of his return to RYR. “The organization has obviously grown since I left, but there are a lot of familiar faces around. I always enjoyed working with Dale, and I know coming into this the talent he has as a race car driver. I feel like I can contribute to getting this team turned around from the recent performance. I know it is going to be a lot of work, but knowing the kind of driver Dale is and the support Robert (Yates) puts into this organization, I know we can have better results.”(Elevation Motorsports PR)(11-22-2003)
Third Penske Team in 2004? UPDATE 3 Gaughan and Penske and Kodak? to the #77? Blaney OUT? The Kodak fact finding mission stopped at Roush Racing, BAM Racing, Bill Davis Racing, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and reportedly to Penske Racing South – where there is interest in starting a third team.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2003) UPDATE: hearing Brendan Gaughan is "supposed" to go to a third Penske team next year, with Kodak sponsorship. Somehow, the whole (Kodak) deal is contingent on his winning the Truck Series championship.(11-14-2003) UPDATE 2 and more: Kodak's departure from the #4 Morgan-McClure car appears imminent [may stay as an assoc - Jayski]. Several organizations have bid on the Kodak account, including Dale Earnhardt Inc., BAM Racing and PPI Motorsports. Although DEI has been rumored to be the front-runner, Kodak officials were spotted at Penske Racing last weekend. Garage chatter has Craftsman Trucks driver Brendan Gaughan running a limited 2004 Nextel Cup schedule for Penske with eight-figure sponsor support from Kodak.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-17-2003) AND on Wednesday's Wind Tunnel show, Brendan Gaughan called in and said Dodge was working on a few race Cup deal for him in 2004, but he didn't know which team and that the 'rumor' was blown out of proportion.(11-20-2003) UPDATE 3: Don Miller Penske Racing South on XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio when asked if Penske is starting a third team: "This is where we are. We have been approached by another sponsor to run a third car. As You know it's Kodak. Kodak has come down in the Charlotte area and talked to half a dozen of the really good race teams and we just happen to be one of them. At this point, you know, nothing has been settled one way or the other but they have let us know that we are (one of the teams) in the final selection process."(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required) AND Penske Racing and Jasper Motorsports are considering an arrangement where they would split ownership of Jasper's #77 Fords and bring the team under the Penske umbrella next season. Truck series driver Brendan Gaughan is the preferred candidate for the ride if the new deal is completed, sources said. Dave Blaney, who currently drives the #77, would not return to the team next season. The completion of the deal rests largely on the team's ability to secure a sponsor and a decision in that regard could come as early as Monday. The Penske-Jasper deal is one of three teams from which Kodak, which bought out its remaining contract with Morgan-McClure Motorsports, will select as its new home in what will become the Nextel Cup Series in 2004, sources said. Kodak is expected to make a final decision by Monday, choosing offers from Penske, Roush Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. "There could be the possibility of a third team next season, but how that team is structured and who the driver would be remains up in the air," said Don Miller, Penske vice president, who was reached Friday by phone. Team owner Roger Penske, in an appearance on the Speed Channel show "Wind Tunnel" Thursday night, was asked by show host Dave Despain about a possible third Penske team. "There has been interest by our team to possibly look at a third car. Kodak has come back through and talked to four or five teams in Charlotte - they came to our shop and we made a proposal," Penske said. "At this particular time, we have interest, we have engine capability with our Penske Jasper program ... to bring another young driver in might be a real opportunity for us for next year." Asked specifically about Gaughan as a driver, Penske said, "Brendan is one of the young Dodge drivers and obviously with our relationship with Dodge with Rusty and Ryan, he could be a possibility." Gaughan, 28, won six races this season and led the series points entering the season finale at Homestead, Fla. He was involved in a wreck in the race and ended up fourth in points. If he gets the ride, Gaughan would become the third member of the 2004 Nextel Cup rookie class, joining Brian Vickers and Scott Riggs [and maybe Johnny Sauter and Kasey Kahne??]. Gaughan in is Mexico racing this week and was unavailable for comment. Several issues remain to be worked out before the Penske-Jasper deal is completed, including: the car's number; where the team would be based; the listed car owner; and whether it would keep car owner's points from the 2003 season. The team would join the Dodge camp and utilize Penske engines, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-21-2003)
Bill France Jr named WCI Person of the Year: NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated magazine has named retired NASCAR Chairman Bill France Jr. its 2003 Person of the Year for his leadership in growing the sport after taking over from his father in 1972 until stepping aside this year. "Despite his great knowledge and an obvious willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done, there was no guarantee France Jr. would find success in a sports-crazed country where today's triumph is tomorrow's laughingstock," writes Jon Gunn, the magazine's managing editor. Columnist Ben White writes that France Jr. earned the honor "for his countless contributions" and adds, "Maybe in his case it should be called 'Person of the Century.'" The magazine, which is published by NASCAR Winston Cup Scene's parent company, Street & Smith's Sports Group, is available on newsstands now.(Winston Cup Scene Free Daily Newsletter)(11-21-2003)
Petty Movie Update: Richard Petty's life and racing career will soon appear on the big screen. Whether the film showcases the North Carolina landscapes where "The King" became famous remains uncertain. The Randolph County Tourism Development Authority wants the state to develop a film incentive program that keeps the state competitive for this and future movie projects. That comes after officials in Georgia made a push to land the project about the NASCAR legend. Petty, who's from Randolph County, won seven Daytona 500 races and seven Winston Cup championships during his 35-year stock-car racing career. The film could have a $75 million budget and will be a joint venture between actor Dennis Quaid and Disney Studios. Filming is expected to begin between early 2004 and spring 2005. Producers said Georgia has offered a 10 percent savings on the $75 million budget if the film is made in and around Atlanta. That has government officials, including Gov. Mike Easley and state Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, scrambling to find a solution. Easley's office, the state Commerce Department and the North Carolina Film Office are talking with movie producers and studios about the project, but officials would not elaborate on possible incentives. Rebecca Clark, head of the Piedmont Triad Film Commission, said local officials believe the best option is to waive sales taxes on production costs. Local officials estimated Tuesday that the government would give up roughly $1 million in sales taxes to capture $18 million to $25 million for hotel operators, production assistants, construction workers, retail outlets, trades people and actors. An estimated 30 percent of a movie budget is spent in the area where filming takes place. In exchange, Warner Brothers promised to spend $12 million on the 12 episodes, hire 120 local people for production jobs and hire 300 locals as extras.(WRAL/AP) past news about this and other movies, see my Media-Movie News page.(11-21-2003)
Testing at Kentucky UPDATE 2: Testing for the 2004 Nextel Cup Series is already getting cranked up. #7-Jimmy Spencer is scheduled to test an Ultra Motorsports entry there Wednesday and Thursday, and Mark Green is scheduled to test an MBV Motorsports entry on Thursday. While testing is not open to the public, the track says fans may watch from the front of the visitor center in the corner of turn three.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-18-2003) UPDATE: J.J. Yeley supposedly tested a Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy at Kentucky on Wednesday.(11-20-2003) UPDATE 2: J.J. Yeley wasted no time getting into a Joe Gibbs car testing Tony Stewart’s Home Depot Monte Carlo at the Kentucky Speedway Thursday. Mike McLaughlin turned laps in Bobby Labonte’s Interstate Batteries Chevy. Jimmy Spencer wrapped up the second of a 2-day test at there and Mark Green shook down the Valvoline machine for MB2 Motorsports.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-21-2003)
Running in the Dirt: More than 270 racers will drive through the Mexican desert this weekend in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. The 805-mile, 13-checkpoint race begins Friday in Ensenada-Baja California, Mexico, about 65 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The race ends Saturday in Ensenada. All vehicles will have a 32-hour time limit from the time they start. A pair of NASCAR drivers, Winston Cup's Robby Gordon and Craftsman Truck Series' Brendan Gaughan, are entered. Teammates Dan Smith and David Ashley and brothers Tim and Ed Herbst along with Gordon highlight the featured Trophy-Truck division. Other noted drivers entered: CART's Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jordain Jr., SCCA's Jeff Zwart, rally racer Rod Millen and former open-wheel racers Mike and Robbie Groff, Roberto Guerrero, Stefan Johannson and Johnny Unser.(USA Today/Wire) for more info and too keep up with the race see www.score-international.com site or RobbyGordon.com site or the offroad.com site.(11-20-2003) AND Kyle Busch has entered the IMCA Modified Duel in the Desert at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 21-22. Busch will be part of a two-car team with Pahrump’s Jason Pike. Pike is one of the top modified racers on the west coast, and has won numerous championships at various tracks around the country. Practice and heat races for the Duel in the Desert will be Friday, Nov. 21. IMCA Modified features will begin Saturday, Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The 40-lap A-Feature is set for 9 p.m. In addition, Thunderstocks will compete in a 15-lap feature on Saturday night. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. each day.(LVMS PR)(11-20-2003)
Nothing New on Elliott UPDATE well.....maybe something: Bill Elliott was supposed to meet with owner Ray Evernham today, have heard nothing concerning any decision on Elliott's 2004 plans.(11-18-2003) UPDATE: Mike Ford's departure from Evernham Motorsports and its #9 Dodges is likely to open the door to the hiring of crew chief Tommy Baldwin. Team officials confirmed Wednesday Baldwin no longer works for Ultra Motorsports [#7 Dodge], where he spent the 2003 season with driver Jimmy Spencer. Where all this leaves Elliott and his possible retirement remains unclear. Elliott and team owner Ray Evernham were expected to meet Tuesday, but bad weather prevented Elliott's arrival in the Charlotte area. NASCAR Busch Series driver Kasey Kahne, who has said he has talked with Evernham Motorsports about moving to Winston Cup, has yet to be released from his contract with Ford Motor Co. However, the team he drives for in the Busch Series, Akins Motorsports, announced earlier this week it was moving to Dodges next season.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-19-2003) UPDATE 2: Elliott to Ford [see past news on this rumor from a few weeks back on the #9 Team News and Links page] is getting stronger play in the rumor mill, now with Robert Yates Racing for a 10-race deal. But at this point have heard so many different things....who knows?(11-20-2003)
Yeley signs with Gibbs to run A-B-C sched in 2004 UPDATE 2: JJ Yeley, the 26-year-old USAC national sprint-car champ and Silver Crown champ, has signed a contract to join Joe Gibbs' team next season, team sources confirmed yesterday, though the announcement isn't expected for a few weeks. JJ, whose real name is Christopher Beltram Hernandez Yeley, has Tony Stewart as a mentor and now as a teammate. But Yeley may have a long way to go before making it to the Winston/Nextel Cup tour. Jimmy Makar, general manager for Gibbs, says that the new team is still in a formative stage. "We're trying to develop a program to develop a young driver," Makar says. "We've got some sponsorship irons in the fire, a few small things we're working on, but nothing major yet. We're looking at doing some Busch races and some ARCA races next year. We'll really just take it as it comes. There's nothing saying we have to run X-amount of races in any one division. We'll start testing and see how he develops, and add races as he develops." Who will run the team? "We've got six or seven guys on a list to talk to," Makar says. "We've talked to a few already, and we'll talk to more in the next few weeks, and decide which way to go."(Winston Salem Journal)(11-17-2003) UPDATE: Open wheel standout JJ Yeley said Tuesday he has signed a two-year contract with the powerful Joe Gibbs Racing team, whose drivers have won two of the past four NASCAR Winston Cup championships. "A lot of different teams were interested, but out of all of the programs, I think this is the best one for a long-term situation," said Yeley, a Phoenix native now living near Indianapolis. "They're very well respected, and they have everything it takes to get me to the next level." No one from the Gibbs team could be reached for comment, but Yeley said a formal announcement is expected today. Yeley recently turned his attention toward NASCAR after being unable to land a full-time Indy Racing League ride, and he immediately landed on the Gibbs' radar screen in part because Tony Stewart owns or co-owns two of the U.S. Auto Club cars Yeley drives. Stewart won the 2002 NASCAR title for Gibbs, and teammate Bobby Labonte was the 2000 champion. In time, perhaps as early as the 2005 season, Yeley hopes to reach the top NASCAR series, which will become the Nextel Cup in 2004. Until then, Yeley will divide next season between the NASCAR Busch Series and the ARCA circuit. "There's also a chance I could do a couple of Cup races," said Yeley, who is testing today and Thursday at Kentucky Speedway.(Arizona Republic)(11-19-2003) UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) signed United States Auto Club (USAC) standout J.J Yeley to a multi-year contract.
Beginning with the 2004 racing season, Yeley will run an A-B-C schedule, consisting of seven to eight ARCA races, 10-12 NASCAR Busch Series races and two to three NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races. MBNA, the world's largest independent credit card issuer and longtime JGR supporter, will back Yeley's effort as an associate sponsor. A primary sponsor has yet to be secured. "J.J. Yeley is a very talented racer who everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing is excited to have," said team owner Joe Gibbs. "He has accomplished a lot in a very short period of time in many different racing disciplines. His track record in USAC mirrors Tony Stewart's before he came to NASCAR, and Tony's time spent driving stock cars for JGR has worked out very well for him and for us. We're hoping the same is true with J.J."
A native of Phoenix, the 27-year-old Yeley comes to JGR with an impressive list of credentials that could become even more impressive in the coming days. Yeley is on track to match Stewart's record of earning USAC's Triple Crown - winning the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships in a single season. Yeley has already wrapped up the Sprint and Silver Crown titles, and with only two races remaining - Nov. 22 at Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park and Nov. 27 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway - he leads the Midget standings by 121 points over nearest pursuer Tracy Hines.
"This has already been a great year for me," said Yeley, who in 2002 won the Silver Crown championship and finished second in the Sprint and Midget standings. "There's still some work for me to do in USAC, but having the opportunity to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing is something any driver would want. It's a good home, with Tony Stewart and Mike Bliss - guys who came up through the USAC ranks before me - already there. It's a great challenge and there's a lot to learn, but I'm ready for it."
"J.J. is the number one candidate from the USAC series to move up," said Stewart, winner of the Triple Crown in 1995. "What he can do on dirt tracks is awesome, and all year he's gotten better and better with what he's been able to do on pavement. It's just a matter of time before he gets the hang of stock cars. He's shown his adaptability since he came to USAC in 1997, and his versatility will be an asset in NASCAR."
Yeley has earned a total of 24 wins this year in USAC, easily surpassing the mark of 19 set by A.J. Foyt in 1961 and tied in 1988 by Sleepy Tripp and in 2000 by Jay Drake. Fourteen of Yeley's wins have come in Sprint Cars, where Stewart is the owner, while four other wins have come in the Silver Crown car, which Stewart co-owns with Bob East. En route to amassing such a large win total, Yeley became the first driver in USAC history to win on pavement and dirt in all three national series in a single season.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/site)(11-20-2003)
Chip Ganassi Racing Scores Triple Crown in 2003 Rookie Title: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates saw three of its drivers crowned Rookie of the Year in their respective racing divisions for the 2003 season.
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #42 Havoline Dodge, was named the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year.
David Stremme's Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Busch Series is quite impressive. Stremme competed in only 18 of the 34 races on the Busch Series schedule and compiled three top-five and seven top-10 finishes during the 18-race span.
Chip Ganassi Racing's latest addition to its driver development program is Reed Sorenson. The 17-year-old became the youngest driver
in American Speed Association (ASA) history to earn Rookie of the Year honors. During his 2003 season on the ASA circuit, Sorenson racked up seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 17 starts.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-20-2003)
Kenseth sets Modern-era record: Newly crowned NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth was a showcase for consistency throughout his championship-winning season and that characteristic earned him an impressive series’ modern-era record in addition to the prestige and financial rewards that accompany the title. Kenseth spent 33 consecutive race weeks ranked No. 1 in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship race, which established a modern-era record and paces this month’s NASCAR Top 10 list.
The previous record was 30 consecutive weeks, established by seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champ Dale Earnhardt during his first title-winning run in 1980. Kenseth tied Earnhardt’s mark following Atlanta on Oct. 26 and earned the record outright the following week (Nov. 2) at Phoenix. Kenseth’s streak began March 9 following a fourth-place finish at Atlanta that vaulted him past Michael Waltrip for the No. 1 ranking through four races of the season. The performance at Atlanta allowed Kenseth to improve one position from his previous ranking of No. 2 and open a 49-point advantage over No. 2 Tony Stewart. The rise to No. 1 also marked the first time in his career that he was the top-ranked driver at any stage of the season.
The closest any of his pursuers came to threatening his No. 1 position during the streak occurred when Dale Earnhardt Jr. narrowed the gap to 20 points following Richmond, the 11th of 36 championship-points races. However, the following race at Charlotte was pivotal as Kenseth’s runner-up finish – coupled with a 41st-place finish by Earnhardt Jr. – increased the margin between the two to 160 points. Kenseth held a comfortable margin the remainder of the way and his largest lead of the season was 436 points over No. 2 Kevin Harvick following Dover on Sept. 21, race 28 of 36. He closed the season with a 90-point spread over series runner-up Jimmie Johnson.
Here’s a glance at the NASCAR Top 10 for most consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the championship: 1. Matt Kenseth, 33 weeks: Kenseth opened the 2003 season 19th in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship hunt following a 20th-place finish in the Daytona 500. A third-place effort at Rockingham moved him to sixth and a victory in Las Vegas improved him to second. A fourth-place performance at Atlanta allowed him to supplant Michael Waltrip at No. 1, marking the first time in his career that he held the No. 1 ranking. Kenseth tied the record of 30 weeks in a row that was held by Dale Earnhardt since 1980 following Atlanta on Oct. 26 and earned the record outright the following week (Nov. 2) at Phoenix. 2. Dale Earnhardt, 30 weeks: Earnhardt’s streak in 1980 was nearly wire-to-wire, the exception being the season-opening race at Riverside International Raceway. He finished second at Riverside in January for the No. 2 ranking in the championship, but a fourth-place effort in the ensuing Daytona 500 moved him into first, 39 points ahead of Terry Labonte. He held the No. 1 ranking for 30 weeks in a row and concluded the reign with a NASCAR Winston Cup championship. He closed the run in the season-ending race at Ontario Motor Speedway, taking the crown by 19 points over Cale Yarborough. 3. Richard Petty, 28 weeks: Petty’s reign in 1975 began after posting a win at the Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway – the third event of a 30-race season – that vaulted him from fourth in the championship to first. The win gave him a 46-point advantage over Benny Parsons at that juncture of the season and he dominated throughout the 28-week streak. At the conclusion of the final race at Ontario Motor Speedway, he had captured the championship by 722 points over runner-up Dave Marcis. 4. Earnhardt, 27 weeks: Earnhardt, like Petty’s 28-race week streak, got the run rolling with a victory at the Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, the third race of the 29-event season in 1987. The victory moved Earnhardt from second to first in the championship standings, and gave him a 20-point lead over Bill Elliott. He held the No. 1 ranking the remainder of the way and it culminated with a 489-point advantage over Elliott for the NASCAR Winston Cup championship. 5. Dale Jarrett, 26 weeks: Jarrett’s streak in his 1999 championship-winning season began with a victory at Richmond International Raceway. The win in the 11th race of the 34-event season moved him from second to first and gave him a 63-point lead over Jeff Burton. The streak was highlighted by his championship – a 201-point spread over Bobby Labonte – but it did not conclude at the close of the season. He opened the 2000 season with a victory in the Daytona 500 and held the No. 1 ranking in the championship for the first two races of the season. Despite a seventh-place finish at Las Vegas, Jarrett relinquished the No. 1 position to Bobby Labonte by just four points. Jarrett’s streak is one of only two among the NASCAR Top 10 list that was extended into the following season.
6. (tie) Bobby Labonte, 25 weeks: Labonte’s 25 consecutive race weeks at No. 1 in 2000 resulted in his first NASCAR Winston Cup championship. The run began following a runner-up finish at California Speedway, the 10th event of the 34-race season. The performance at California improved his championship standing from No. 2 to No. 1 as he built a 20-point lead over Mark Martin. Labonte closed out the streak at the season finale at Atlanta, capping it with a 265-point advantage over Dale Earnhardt and the title. Sterling Marlin, 25 weeks: Marlin’s impressive 25-week run at No. 1 in 2002 did not result in a NASCAR Winston Cup championship, one of only two on the NASCAR Top 10 list that did not result in a championship. Marlin moved from fifth to first in the championship following a runner-up finish at Rockingham and led Ward Burton by 18 points through two races of the season. Marlin had the No. 1 ranking wrestled away from him following New Hampshire – the 27th race of the 36-event season – as he fell six points behind new No. 1 Mark Martin. Two races later, Marlin was injured during an accident at Kansas and it doused any title hopes. He missed the remainder of the season and finished 18th in the championship. 8. (tie) Earnhardt, 21 weeks (three times): Earnhardt held the No. 1 position for 21 consecutive weeks in 1986, ’91 and ’93, all of which resulted in NASCAR Winston Cup titles. The first of the three streaks began at Talladega – race nine of 29 – when he finished second in the race. The effort moved him from second to first in the championship, 109 points ahead of Darrell Waltrip. He closed out the season at No. 1, earning the title by a 288-point margin over Waltrip.The ’91 streak also began in the ninth race of the season – at Talladega – and extended through the close of the 29-race season at Atlanta. A third-place finish at Talladega moved him up one position to No. 1, four points ahead of Ricky Rudd. He ended the season with a 195-point advantage over Rudd in the title battle. The second 21-week streak began at Sears Point – race 10 of the 30-race season – when a sixth-place effort moved him from second to first in the championship. He closed out the season by claiming the crown by 80 points over Rusty Wallace. Bobby Allison, 21 weeks: Allison’s 21-week stretch at No. 1 in 1983 resulted in the lone NASCAR Winston Cup championship of his outstanding career. A victory at Dover in the 10th race of the 30-event season improved his position from No. 2 to No. 1 as he grabbed a 41-point advantage over Harry Gant. The run extended through the season finale at Riverside, where he claimed the championship by 47 points over Darrell Waltrip. 9. Bobby Allison, 20 weeks: Allison’s second streak in 1981 did not result in a championship, joining Sterling Marlin’s run as the only two that did not lead to a series crown. He moved into the No. 1 position from No. 2 following a fourth-place finish at Atlanta, the fifth race of the season. Allison held the No. 1 ranking through Richmond, but lost it the following race at Dover – the 25th race of the season – despite a third-place performance. He fell two points behind Darrell Waltrip, who went on to become the series champion as he edged Allison by 53 points. 10. Jeff Gordon, 19 weeks: Gordon joins Dale Jarrett among this NASCAR Top 10 group as the only drivers to have their consecutive runs extend over two seasons. Gordon earned the No. 1 ranking following his win at Sears Point, race 16 of 33 in the 1998 season. The streak was highlighted by the NASCAR Winston Cup championship – rolling to the title by a 364-point margin over Mark Martin – and continued briefly into the 1999 season. He began the season at No. 1 as a result of his triumph in the Daytona 500, but relinquished the ranking the following week at Rockingham. He finished 39th and fell to No. 11, ending his streak.(NASCAR PR)(11-20-2003)
#30 Driver? hearing the #30 AOL RCR Chevy may be driven in 2004 by Johnny Sauter? Not sure how this would effect his Busch ride in the #27 Brewco ride...if it happens.(11-19-2003)
Beam leaves RCR for Wells: Crew Chief Mike Beam has left Richard Childress Racing and the #30 AOL Chevy team to become the team manager for car owner Cal Wells’ operation.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-19-2003)
Biffle to run all Cup AND Busch races in 2004? New Crew Chief? UPDATE 2: #16-Greg Biffle is considering running the full NASCAR Busch series schedule in 2004 in Roush Racing's #60 Fords - the same team with which he won the 2002 series championship. In an interview Thursday, Biffle said at first he would run "a lot of races" next season. Then later, he added running the whole season was "a definite possibility." Biffle also said he expected Brad Parrott to be his crew chief next season [for the Busch team].(ThatsRacin.com)(11-14-2003) UPDATE: Jack Roush intends to enter driver Greg Biffle in both Winston Cup and Busch Series championship races next season, with full sponsorships for both programs, Roush said Friday. Like Kevin Harvick in 2001 with Richard Childress, Biffle would run full seasons in both series, Roush said. Grainger, the industrial supply company, will continue to sponsor the Cup effort, with the sponsor for the Busch car not declared. Also, Roush said, the company will continue with the two Craftsman Truck teams for Jon Wood and Carl Edwards and will have a second Busch car, which would be run by up to four different drivers [The Pennzoil sponsorship]. The total effort for Roush Racing would be the five Cup teams, two in Busch and two in Trucks. Biffle, 2000 champion in Trucks, won the Busch championship in 2002 and was graduated to Cup this year, running second to Jamie McMurray in rookie points and winning the summer race at Daytona. Since mid-year, he has run part-time in Busch with Ed Evans's #7 team. The second Busch team is interesting. Roush said he already has backing to run three of his Cup drivers part-time, those being Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth, in about 20 races. Sponsorship may also be available to run one of the Truck jockeys in the remaining races, bringing the team up to full-year status. Roush also says the means may be available to do a third Truck team with a driver to be named [Terry Cook?].(Speed Channel)(11-16-2003) UPDATE 2: Along with the full 2004 Nextel Cup schedule, Greg Biffle will compete in all but one Busch Series race next season. Biffle will miss Milwaukee because he can’t physically be in two places at once with the cup circuit running the same day at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Biffle competed in 14 Busch Series races in 2003 finishing 35th in points with two victories.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-19-2003)
Dale Jr's Pit Crew To Collect $200,000 Bonus; Sterling Marlin's Crew Takes Homestead Victory:
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr's pit crew made a late-season charge to capture the 2003 McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. For winning the championship, Earnhardt's pit crew will collect a $200,000 bonus. The check presentation will take place Dec. 5 in New York during the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria. With five McDonald's/POWERade race victories that paid $20,000 each, Earnhardt's pit crew earned a total of $300,000 in the season-long championship. Earnhardt's crew edged Michael Waltrip's pit crew to claim the inaugural championship that recognized and honored the unsung heroes in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Earnhardt's team collected 1,243 points while Waltrip's team totaled 1,230. The two DEI crews waged an impressive battle with both teams entering last week's season finale in Homestead, Fla. tied in points.
"At the first of the year when we found out about the McDonald's/POWERade program, everybody got pumped up and had something to shoot for," said Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for Earnhardt's team. "We never dreamed that it was going to come down to a battle with our own teammate. Both teams put a lot effort into this and it was sure nice of McDonald's and POWERade to recognize their efforts. We are proud to be the first champions of the program."
Earnhardt's over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff Clark (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Jay Guarneri (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Bill Snyder (catch can). Assisting Eury with the crew chief duties is the team's car chief Tony Eury Jr. Walt Smith is the pit crew coach at DEI.
In Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sterling Marlin's pit crew won the McDonald's/POWERade championship. Marlin's No. 40 Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road - 220.757 seconds. Bill Elliott's Dodge was second at 229.941and Jamie McMurray's Dodge was third at 246.539. Marlin's over-the-wall pit crew consists of: Steven Wolfe (front tire changer), Trent Davis (front tire carrier), Mike Atwell (rear tire changer), Tim Shore (rear tire carrier), Greg Pasi (jackman), Jerry Schweitz (gasman) and Rick Reling (catch can). The crew chief is Lee McCall and the team trainer is Al Shuford. For the final points standings, who won each weekm top ten at Homestead, see my Pit Crew News page.(DMF Communications PR)(11-19-2003)
KKK wants a boycott of NASCAR: how weird is this? - Ku Klux Klan members were apparently busy distributing a newsletter and fliers as some local residents found them attached to their mailboxes on Monday, Local 4 reported. The newsletter called "The Flame," along with a flier, was attached by rubber bands to mailboxes in Ypsilanti and Pittsfield Township. The materials reportedly called for the boycott of McDonalds, NASCAR and Coca-Cola for what the KKK says are the companies' tendency for discriminating against whites by hiring blacks and Hispanics. Residents said the timing of the fliers was perfect because Monday was trash day, Local 4 reported.(ClickOnDetroit.com)(11-19-2003)
National Guard to the #16? it appears that the Army National Guard will be going to the #16 Roush Racing Ford and driver Greg Biffle, being the primary associate for several races with the option to be a primary for a few select races. Supposedly Grainger will still be on the car but will spilt it's primary sponsorship with National Guard. See much more about the 'Guard rumor' past news on my #16 Team News and Links page. Also hearing USPS and Subway [Sandwiches - Jarred] could be part of the sponsorhip package.(11-18-2003)
Nextel names two NASCAR personnel: Nextel Communications appointed communications and marketing directors for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, a 10-year title sponsorship announced in June.
Jill Gregory joins Nextel as director of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series marketing. She will be responsible for all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series marketing activities, building a team, promoting the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series brand and developing and maintaining relationships with NASCAR, teams, drivers, promoters and fans. Prior to joining Nextel, Gregory was vice president and general manager for GMR Marketing, where she managed all sports, event and hospitality activities for Visa USA and other clients. Her sports property management experience includes NFL, NASCAR, Visa Triple Crown, Broadway, Disney and other entertainment events. Gregory also has extensive motor sports management experience from her years managing all sponsorship marketing programs for Texaco Inc. She has a bachelor's degree from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Mike Mooney joins Nextel as director of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series corporate communications. He will be responsible for creating a team and managing media relations, community relations and special events for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Mooney has 10 years of experience in motor sport public relations and has worked on accounts with CITGO, NASCAR, NHRA, PGA Tour, ATP Tour and CART. Prior to joining Nextel, Mooney was principal for Cox Marketing Group where he was responsible for strategy, execution and measurement for clients' sports public relations programs. He has a bachelor's degree from Elon University, Elon, N.C. Both Gregory and Mooney will be based in Charlotte, NC.(Business Wire)(11-18-2003)
Tracy looking at NASCAR....if: CART driver Paul Tracy might switch from open-wheel machines to stock cars. If CART should fold next year, Tracy would snap up a Cup ride if one were offered him. "It's something I'm interested in," said Tracy, 34. "I'm under contract with Forsythe Racing for another year, and my focus is on defending my CART title, but I'd also like to keep my racing options open." Tracy, a Canadian, was attending his first NASCAR race. Although he has never been in a Busch or Winston Cup car, he has an open invitation from Richard Childress Racing to test whenever he wants. Tracy didn't discount the possibility. "The door is open for me to try out the car," said Tracy, who drove for Roger Penske for a while in the '90s. "Richard told me I might not like the feel of a big stock car after driving open wheel, but I'm welcome to try anytime." If his CART ride were to disappear in the next year or two, Tracy said he probably would go to NASCAR. "I might do some sports car racing," he said. "I'd like to try Le Mans or the Daytona 24 Hours, but NASCAR is probably where I'd head."(Detroit Free Press)(11-18-2003)
Elliott Sadler an Outstanding Young Virginian: Last Saturday (Nov 15th) Emporia, VA native Elliott Sadler was named by
the Virginia Jaycees has one of the 2003 Outstanding Young Virginians(OYV) for his work on behalf of Autism at thier annual OYV dinner. Salder accepted this award via a pretaped video from Homestead Florida. He was nominated for this honor by the West End Jaycees. The Jaycees are a community service organization for young people 21-39. For more information on the Virginia Jaycees go to www.va-jaycees.org and the US Jaycees go to www.usjaycees.org.(11-18-2003)
Motorsports Marketing Forum: Street & Smith's Sports Group is proud to present the 4th Annual Motorsports Marketing Forum, Dec. 3-4, 2003, in New York City. The program has been developed for corporate sponsors and their sports marketing, advertising and public relations agencies, as well, as team, track and NASCAR executives. Open-dialogue panels and specialty sessions will examine The Growth & Changing Landscape of NASCAR; Leveraging Sponsorship Assets & Amortizing Your NASCAR Budget; Translating Fan Passion into Brand Loyalty; Strategic Differences in Driver, Team, Track and NASCAR Sponsorships; NASCAR's Popularity as Seen Through TV's Success; The Impact of Schedule Realignment; The New NASCAR Image; and the Impact of Rising Costs & Greater Competition. For more information or to register, visit www.SportsBusinessJournal.com/conferences, call (800) 647-7600.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-18-2003)
Bodine and Childress? Todd Bodine, who says he's looking for a ride, had a good run, finishing 11th, and he may apply for the job with Richard Childress [#30 AOL gig].(Winston Salem Journal)(11-18-2003)
Both Hmiel's to Petty Enterprises? or Green? or Benson? UPDATE 2: A combination deal might land Steve Hmiel, technical director for Dale Earnhardt Inc., and his son Shane Hmiel, a Busch Series driver, at Petty Enterprises in 2004. Steve worked for the Pettys early in his Winston Cup career. Shane was supposed to drive the #43 Dodge in the Pepsi 400 in July at Daytona but failed to qualify. Jeff Green has run well recently in the #43 and also is a candidate to drive it. Johnny Benson, who will be released from the #10, might be in the mix because of his previous relationship with General Mills, the primary sponsor for the 43 car. "We're still looking, we're still evaluating, and we're still working in that direction whether it's Benson, Jeff Gordon, the guy sitting in the third row of the grandstands or Jeff Green," says Kyle Petty, the team's general manager. Petty says Christian Fittipaldi will drive the team's #44 if a sponsor is secured for next season.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(10-20-2003) UPDATE: Kyle Petty wants to put Shane Hmiel in a Petty Enterprises car as soon as possible. When that would be, he doesn't know. Hmiel's father, Steve, said he is optimistic Shane will have the suspension lifted by the time NASCAR testing begins at Daytona in January so Shane can sign with a team for next season.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read via BGNRacing.com)(11-13-2003) UPDATE 2: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said the sanctioning body has made no decision "when or if" Busch Series competitor Shane Hmiel will be reinstated. Hmiel was suspended indefinitely in September for a violation of NASCAR's substance-abuse policy. He was eighth in series points at the time. In recent weeks, there has been a lot of speculation that car owners in different series were trying to hire Hmiel to drive for their teams. Hunter said Hmiel had been following the procedures and plans set forth by NASCAR president Mike Helton for his reinstatement.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-18-2003)
Race Car Drivers as Athletes: It's a subject that's been debated for years. Are race car drivers really athletes? While athletes are traditionally thought of as running, jumping or swinging their way through competition, race car drivers compete in a different way. Drivers are endurance athletes who must deal with the most extreme conditions imaginable -- 150 degree heat with several layers of clothing, high decibel noise and noxious fumes, while driving at speeds near 200 miles per hour. Many top race teams find that the key to winning on the track is keeping its team members in shape off the track. Along side the cars at a race shop, you're likely to find a complete gym and workout facility. That way, team members can keep their bodies in shape as well as practice pit maneuvers. Racing and winning at the highest levels of the sport require more than just a fast car. They require a driver and crew that is dedicated to all around fitness.(Newstream/GM PR - need to register to view)(11-28-2003) JAYSKI POLL after 10373 votes, it was pretty convincing, 95.4% said YES; 4.6% said NO.(12-17-2003)
Army Close to Re-newing with the #01: Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports this week that the U.S. Army is close to renewing its sponsorship with MB2 Motorsports for the team's #01 Nextel Cup entry. Columnist Terry Lefton says the Army spent more than $16 million on its NASCAR sponsorship this year but says it generated 79 billion media impressions and 50,000 leads on possible Army enlistments. "That equates to $20 million in advertising we didn't have to spend, so we're pretty happy," Col Thomas Nickerson, director of Strategic Outreach of the U.S. Army Accessions Command, told the weekly publication. Joe Nemechek is scheduled to continue to drive while Jerry Nadeau continues to recuperate from his May accident at Richmond International Raceway.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-17-2003)
Six Drivers who won in 2002 did not win a race in 2003, the drivers: #0-Ward Burton [who had won at least one race the last three years], #40-Sterling Marlin [2 year streak], #21-Ricky Rudd [2 year streak], #6-Mark Martin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #10-Johnny Benson.(11-17-2003)
So how did? Matt Kenseth do a burnout in a car that had a blown motor [lap 28 engine blew] at Homestead? simple, the team pulled out his backup car in order to do the celebratory laps.(Palm Beach Post)(11-17-2003)
Champ stuff: so when #17-Matt Kenseth won the 2003 Winston Cup Championship, he became the 15th different driver [in 33 years] to win the 'Winston Cup' Championship and 26th different driver in 54 years to win the championsip in the top NASCAR series, know before 1971 as the Grand National Series. The Winston Cup Winners:
Dale Earnhardt, 7 [80,86,87,90,91,93,94]
Richard Petty, 5 [2 before Winston - 71,72,74,75,79]
Jeff Gordon, 4 [95,97,98,01]
Cale Yarborough, 3 [76,77,78]
Darrell Waltrip, 3 [81,82,85]
Terry Labonte, 2 [84,96]
Benny Parsons 1973
Bobby Allison 1983
Bill Elliott 1988
Rusty Wallace 1989
Alan Kulwicki 1992
Dale Jarett 1999
Bobby Labonte 2000
Tony Stewart 2002
Matt Kenseth 2003
Lead-change report: Out of 21 total lead changes, 11 occurred at speed (eliminating those that occurred due to yellow flags, pit stops and mechanical failures). The percentage of passes at speed to total passes was .523. The highest percentage (.818, 9-11) was the season’s first race at Bristol. The lowest percentage was the New Hampshire race (.050, 1-20) on Sept. 14. The season percentage was .387 (242-626).(Gaston Gazette)(11-17-2003)
Yeley signed with Gibbs: JJ Yeley, the 26-year-old USAC national sprint-car champ and Silver Crown champ, has signed a contract to join Joe Gibbs' team next season, team sources confirmed yesterday, though the announcement isn't expected for a few weeks. JJ, whose real name is Christopher Beltram Hernandez Yeley, has Tony Stewart as a mentor and now as a teammate. But Yeley may have a long way to go before making it to the Winston/Nextel Cup tour. Jimmy Makar, general manager for Gibbs, says that the new team is still in a formative stage. "We're trying to develop a program to develop a young driver," Makar says. "We've got some sponsorship irons in the fire, a few small things we're working on, but nothing major yet. We're looking at doing some Busch races and some ARCA races next year. We'll really just take it as it comes. There's nothing saying we have to run X-amount of races in any one division. We'll start testing and see how he develops, and add races as he develops." Who will run the team? "We've got six or seven guys on a list to talk to," Makar says. "We've talked to a few already, and we'll talk to more in the next few weeks, and decide which way to go."(Winston Salem Journal)(11-17-2003)
Stuff: The final Winston Cup season covered 36 races at 23 tracks in 19 states. The total laps run totaled 10,668 and in all, the distance raced was 13,932.532 miles.(Naples Daily News)(11-17-2003)
Andretti staying at DEI? John Andretti will remain in the #1 DEI Chevrolet in 2004. Crew chief Tony Gibson says Andretti's contributions have helped the team tremendously. "He's driven so many different styles of racecars that he's learned a lot about chassis and shocks," Gibson says. "He's very car-smart."(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-17-2003)
Schrader #30? #49? Ken Schrader says he plans to return to the No. 49, but there's speculation that he and Johnny Benson are the two finalists for the #30 ride at Richard Childress Racing.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-17-2003)