DEC 8-14, 2003
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- New #77 Crew Chief? UPDATE: hear Steven Lane is close to being named new crew chief at the #77 Ford [to be Dodge], once the Kodak sponsorship goes into place. He was with Petty Enterprises until a few weeks ago, but worked for Penske prior to that as a car chief.(12-1-2003)
BUT: also hearing that Shane Wilson, Gaughan Truck Series crew chief will follow gim over and be the crew chief of the #77 team when announced.(12-11-2003)
UPDATE: Shane Wilson, who has served as Brendan Gaughan's crew chief in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series the past two seasons, will assume the same role with Gaughan when he moves into the Nextel Cup Series in 2004, ThatsRacin.com has learned.
Sources confirmed Friday that Wilson had accepted the crew chief role for the still-to-be-announced Penske Racing/Jasper Motorsports team that will be formed from Jasper's current #77 team. A formal announcement outlining the details about the new team, including the car number, the sponsor, driver and the move to Dodge should come within the next week [Dec 18th?], sources said. Sources have confirmed the team's driver will be Gaughan, who led the Truck series with six wins this season. He will become the sixth member of the 2004 Cup rookie class, joining Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, Scott Wimmer, Scott Riggs and Johnny Sauter. Wilson, a native of Vermont, has worked in the NASCAR All-Pro series and was a former employee at Hendrick Motorsports, where he worked with driver Jack Sprague in the Truck series. Wilson has served as general manager and crew chief for Gaughan's Truck team, which is owned by Gaughan's father, Michael Gaughan. Wilson and Brendan Gaughan's departure leaves a clouded future for the #62 Dodge team.(ThatsRacin.com), see past news and rumors on this at my #77 Team News and Links page, supposedly the announcement will be Dec 18th.(12-13-2003)
AND still hearing the car number will change to #72, to follow along with Penske's other car #'s, #2 and #12.
UPDATE 2: Orleans Racing, which has fielded the #62 Dodge for Truck series driver Brendan Gaughan the past two seasons, will return in 2004 and in a much-expanded fashion. Sources have confirmed Gaughan and his Truck series crew chief, Shane Wilson, are moving to the Nextel Cup Series next season with the yet-to-be-announced Penske Racing/Jasper Motorsports team. However, Gaughan said Saturday whatever his future may entail, it would not affect his current team, which is owned by his father, Michael Gaughan, and based in Las Vegas. Regarding his own future, Gaughan would only say he had not signed any contract to drive in Cup, but he said the Truck team was well-prepared for the possibility of him not driving the #62. In addition to at least one full-time Truck team next season, Orleans Racing plans to field an entry for driver Scott Lynch in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West series, formerly known as the Winston West series. Lynch won the series title this season as a rookie, handing Dodge its first championship in the division since 1976. Lynch may also run some Truck races in 2004. Gaughan said announcements regarding the Truck team, including the #62's sponsor for next season, were expected soon.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-14-2003)
- Todd Bodine Update: With two months to go before the start of the Nextel Cup season, Todd Bodine is again without a ride in NASCAR's top division. The BelCar Racing team he drove for in 2003 closed up this week after it lost sponsorship from the Army National Guard at the conclusion of the season. The Guard, along with BelCar associate sponsor Subway restaurants, announced Wednesday that they will move from BelCar's #54 car to the #16 Roush Racing Ford driven by Greg Biffle. Sam Belnavis, the only racial minority owner in NASCAR, will join Roush Racing as a partner and as Roush's director of diversity programs. "We really got our act together towards the end of the year," the youngest of the three Bodine brothers said Wednesday from his home in Davidson, N.C. "We ran a lot better than our finishes. It's just a shame that we're not going to be able to continue it." Bodine's uncertainty about where or what he'll be driving is a familiar situation for him at this time of year. "It's pretty much the same as last year, except that I did have a Busch (Series) ride," Bodine said. "Everything is way up in the air right now." BelCar Racing was formed late last year by Belnavis and Travis Carter after Carter lost his sponsorship with Discover Card. Now, Bodine and Carter hope to team up next year with the #26 car if they can get the sponsorship. "I've had some preliminary (sponsorship) conversations," said Bodine, who met with representatives of two companies earlier this week. "It takes three or four meetings just to get some good interest from major corporations. I think that we are going to get invitations back." Bodine has driven for Carter in the Cup series the past three seasons. He finished 31st in points this year, with one top-10 finish. Bodine said that returning to Carter Racing Enterprises is "pretty much my only option" for next year. "Three months ago, if I would have pursued it, I could have had another job, but I chose not to," Bodine said. He has joined a growing list of drivers without rides. It includes Johnny Benson, Jimmy Spencer, John Andretti, Steve Park, Hut Stricklin and Dave Blaney. Finding sponsorship could be difficult, though. Even some high-profile teams are finding it rough going. Just this week, Dale Earnhardt Inc. closed the book on its #1 car [down to a part time schedule - not closed]. A dozen other Nextel Cup teams are still looking for a primary sponsor for the 2004 season. "The problem is that it's so late that it really makes it hard to find a good sponsor," Bodine said. "I've got a lot of connections in the New England area and I've got Travis' marketing people doing the work." As for a possible return to the Busch Series, where Bodine has had some success, he said he doesn't have any leads.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-13-2003)
- more Villeneuve and a new hair color: Jacques Villeneuve says it's unlikely he'll drive again in Formula One, but he hasn't written off a return to the world's top racing series. The Iberville, Que., native also admitted Friday to being intrigued by NASCAR. Villeneuve, sporting newly dyed red hair, found himself without a drive when the British American Racing team he helped found in 1999 opted not to renew his contract at the end of the 2003 season. Villeneuve was at Mont-Tremblant for the 24-hour charity ski-a-thon that he and Pollock have organized for the past three years. They hope to raise at least $376,000 to help children stricken with cancer.(see more at The Globe and Mail) see past news on my Drivers Looking page.(12-13-2003)
- Changes in the Truck Lineup? Hearing Speed Channel may make some changes to their Truck Series broadcast team for 2004, both in the booth and on pit road.(12-12-2003)
- Brick Cars have arrived: The #11 The Brick Car / Brett Bodine diecast have arrived. They will be shipping out this coming week. There are still some available at www.brettbodine.com. What is the 'Brick car all about'? see my #11 Team News and Links page for the past news around August. Also: no word on Bodine's 2004 plans or what happened to the sponsor but know the team and Bodine are still looking for one and an image of the diecast.(12-12-2003)
- Testing at Las Vegas: Some of the biggest names in NASCAR have signed up to test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Jan. 26-29, 2004 in preparation for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event and Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race. Seven of the eight active series champions are among the 26 drivers who are scheduled to participate in NASCAR Preseason Thunder-Las Vegas. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon, current champion Matt Kenseth as well as Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott are among the drivers who will be preparing for the March 7 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. Kenseth, who also is the defending champion of the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, will test his Busch car in preparation for the March 6 Sam’s Town 300 as well. Other NASCAR drivers scheduled to test include Ward Burton, Ryan Newman, Sterling Marlin, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Jimmie Johnson, rookie Brian Vickers, Las Vegas Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Ricky Rudd, Ricky Craven and Jeremy Mayfield. NASCAR Busch Series drivers Jason Leffler, J.J. Yeley, Mike Bliss, David Reutimann and Ashton Lewis Jr. also are scheduled to participate. Teams will be allowed to test for two days. Tickets for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and Sam’s Town 300 are on sale by calling 1-800-644-4444 or online at www.lvms.com.(LVMS PR)(12-12-2003)
- New Rusty Crew Chief? hearing Larry Carter, current crew chief of the #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy and driver Tony Raines, is under consideration for the #2 Miller Lite/Penske Racing crew chief gig with driver Rusty Wallace.(12-12-2003)
- Pruett to run for Ganassi: The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series says Chip Ganassi Racing will field an entry in the endurance series next year for former Winston Cup driver Scott Pruett. Pruett and Max Papis are scheduled to drive a Lexus-powered Riley MK XI Daytona prototype in the 12-race series that kicks off Jan. 31 with the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Pruett ran in the 2000 Winston Cup Series for Cal Wells' PPI Racing and has made road-course starts for Ganassi in recent years. He finished second at Watkins Glen this season for Ganassi and also won his third Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am championship this year.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-12-2003)
- Born on Date scheme: Been told that #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a Budweiser Born on Date special paint scheme for the 2004 Budweiser Shoot Out. Budweiser is running this car to promote a company freshness campaign. Budweiser will offer the sale and sampling of Budweiser products to fans age 21 and over. These are Budweiser beers that will be brewed that morning / same day. Atcually will run one at the Bud Shootout and one in the Daytona 500.(12-12-2003)
- No 2004 Indy 500 for Stewart: Asked recently if he might consider a return to Indy next year to drive in the Indianapolis 500 should the opportunity arise, Tony Steart [#20 Home Depot Chevy] had a two-word response: "No chance." Stewart has made five Indy starts, the last in 2001 when he finished sixth. His name popped up several times last May, but he said then he wouldn't attempt another double of the Indy 500 in the afternoon and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 that night at Charlotte, NC. The Columbus, Ind., native was courted last summer by Chip Ganassi before re-signing with Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart drove for Ganassi in the 2001 Indy 500 but said the NASCAR and Indy Racing League team owner didn't dangle Indy as a carrot in their discussions. Stewart said the decision to restrict his visits to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to August is his alone and not a stipulation of his contract with team owner Joe Gibbs. Staying away in May doesn't mean the race isn't still high on his priority list.(Indianapolis Star)(12-12-2003)
- Nextel Plans: Nextel plans $25M in upgrades to cell phone service at tracks. Nextel marketer Michael Robichaud had a fear that a branding dream could become a nightmare. Call volume around big events can overwhelm wireless phone services. And as Nextel replaces Winston next year as NASCAR's title sponsor in what might be the biggest U.S. sponsorship ever, Robichaud imagined trackside fans, amidst Nextel signs, trying to get their cell phones to work. "I can see the cover of sports sections showing that," he says. "And we really don't need that picture." So Nextel, paying more than $700 million over 10 years to title-sponsor a series that drew about 6.7 million fans last year, will spend about $25 million on antennas and switching gear so fans can make calls from tracks next year. Fans, that is, who are Nextel subscribers. And what if racetracks let other phone services make upgrades? Says Robichaud: "We would be, uh, disappointed."(USA Today)(12-12-2003)
- Some 'Nice' Non NASCAR news: Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series team owner Sam Schmidt [and former IRL driver] invited a fully recovered quadriplegic to take part in a two-day test session this week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Pat Rummerfield, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1974 but has since recovered, tested Schmidt's IPS car in hopes of landing a ride next season with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Schmidt, a former IRL race winner, was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a testing accident in January 2000. "It's the first time that a quadriplegic has ever been in (an IPS racecar)," Rummerfield said. "Sam Schmidt and I are attempting to raise money for spinal cord research utilizing racing as a vehicle. This is a great way to heighten awareness for spinal cord research and to raise some funds. It took me a little while to get comfortable in the car and to figure it out. Once we accomplished that, the speeds came up."
AND Alex Zanardi, the former Formula One and CART driver who lost his legs in a CART race in Germany in 2001, told an Italian media outlet that he plans to race in the European Touring Car Championship next season. "It is 99-percent sure that in 2004 I will drive in the Touring Car Championship with BMW Italia using a vehicle of the Ravaglia team," Zanardi told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It hasn't been easy because there wasn't a plan for this and it was practically born after my return at Monza. It has been done in a short space of time and a third car has been found for me." Zanardi, the 1997 and 1998 CART champion, competed in the final ETCC race last season at Monza in Italy, finishing seventh in a specially adapted vehicle. Zanardi also told Gazzetta dello Sport that he turned down an offer to race in the Indianapolis 500. "I really think that my career at that level is over," Zanardi said of a return to open-wheel racing.(Las Vegas Sun)(12-12-2003)
- Smirnoff Ice back with Kenseth? hearing that Smirnoff Ice will return to sponsor 2003 Winston Cup champ, Matt Kenseth, somehow in 2004. There had been rumors that Smirnoff Ice/Triple Black would move to the #29 team and Kevin Harvick.[see #29 Team News and Links page for that old rumor].(12-11-2003)
- Arnold Motorsports and Cope: being told that the #79 Arnold Motorsports team, will switch to the #50 and Derrike Cope will drive the car full time and the sponsor Cope announced last year for his #37 Quest Motorsports team, PHM - Paramount Hospitality Management, could be part of the package. More info on the team at
www.arnold-motorsports.com [but no mention of this, confirmed it with the team].(12-11-2003)
- Fox likes the news points system idea? While NBC and TNT would obviously benefit if NASCAR decides to determine its Nextel Cup champion through a 10-race "postseason" format, Fox Broadcasting chairman and chief executive officer David Hill is warming to the idea as well. "When I first heard about it I wasn't sure," Hill said Wednesday. "But after thinking about it long and hard, now I am very much for it."(See full story at ThatsRacin.com), see more on the proposed system on my NASCAR News page.(12-11-2003)
- Crawford going over seas: Truck Series Driver Rick Crawford Seeks a Helping Hand From Community For American Troops as he will Travel To Middle East To Visit With Troops Later This Month. He'll be traveling with several other NASCAR personalities and representatives from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and Speedway Children's Charities. The trip, which will leave Dec. 29, is scheduled to include stops in Iraq, Pakistan, Qatar and Kuwait. In an attempt to raise solider morale during the holiday season, Crawford is requesting that people in Charlotte and the surrounding communities donate one of two items that the troops have requested international phone cards or disposable cameras. "Our service men and women are halfway across the world with limited access to family and friends," said Crawford. "Some have been on patrol for months, receiving phone cards and disposable cameras helps our troops convey the message of what they're actually going through abroad." Circle Bar Racing is working with local businesses including the Concord area Sears store, Alabama Grill at Concord Mills and Lowe's Motor Speedway to coordinate drop box locations for these desired goods. More info on my Racing Charities page.(12-11-2003)
- National Guard to the #16? Grainger Out? UPDATE 4 : 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)
UPDATE: been told that Grainger will not sponsor Greg Biffle or the #16 car in 2004.(11-26-2003)
UPDATE 2: there will be an announcement concerning Greg Biffle and Roush Racing on Wednesday, Dec 10th about the 2004 season and the #16 team.(12-2-2003)
UPDATE 3: A sponsorship deal for the No. 16 Roush Racing Ford and Greg Biffle is expected to be announced soon, with Subway and National Guard splitting the duties.(FoxSports/Sporting News)
AND hearing that Jackson Hewitt Tax Service will be a primary sponsorship for one race and an associate sponsor early in the year.(12-8-2003)
UPDATE 4 sponsorhip - lots of info here:: The Army National Guard announces today it will be the primary advertiser on the Roush Racing #16 National Guard/Subway Ford Taurus Team and for rising star Greg Biffle in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, with Subway Restaurants as co-primary sponsor. Travelodge hotels and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, both Cendant Corporation brands, will be associate sponsors.
The coalition of sponsors will put forth a focused and ambitious marketing effort behind the sponsorship with local and nationwide advertising, promotions and merchandise programs. The National Guard will advertise in the primary sponsorship position on the #16 Ford
Taurus throughout the 2004 season, except during select races where Subway, Travelodge and Jackson Hewitt will be featured in the primary locations. In addition, the National Guard will also unveil two special paint schemes during the season.
The Army National Guard (ARNG), a component of The Army, will focus efforts to increase awareness of the Army National Guard and the recruitment of National Guard members. The National Guard will be featured in Subway, Jackson Hewitt and Travelodge Hotel advertising
Subway Restaurants continues its support of NASCAR by its co-primary sponsorship of Greg Biffle and the #16 Roush Racing Ford Taurus.
Subway local and nationwide marketing efforts and promotions will support the sponsorship with direct consumer programs and television
ads. The Subway chain will also hold primary sponsorship positioning on the car for select races during the 2004 season.
Travelodge Hotels and Jackson Hewitt Tax Services will further support the sponsorship with customized marketing initiatives that will
feature special promotions for the NASCAR fan. National programs will be put in place and the NASCAR fan will be able to easily support the series by participating in promotions at each brand's locations.
For more information on the National Guard, visit their website at www.arng.army.mil.
For more information on Subway Restaurants, please visit www.subway.com.
Reservations and further information are available by visiting www.travelodge.com or calling the toll-free Travelodge number, (800) 578-7878, or the Thriftlodge number, (800) 535-9055.
To contact a tax preparer in your area, call 1-800-234-1040 or visit our website at www.jackson Hewitt.com.(see full PR and an image of the car at the Roush Racing site [no need to send me these pics] and see some images of the National Guard Ford at RacingOne), hearing Jackson Hewitt Tax Service will be the primary sponsor at Daytona in Feb. SEE IMAGES on my #16 Paint Scheme page(12-10-2003)
- Only 14 races for the #99? Jeff Burton's unsponsored No. 99 is committed to running at least 14 races in the Nextel Cup series in 2004, but Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said Wednesday there is a chance it might only be 14.(see full story at NASCAR.com)(12-10-2003)
- #54 Team...dormant; Belnavis to Roush: BelCar Racing, the only full-time Cup team in NASCAR with minority ownership, is now "dormant," according to a team co-owner, Sam Belnavis. BelCar fielded the #54 Fords this season with driver Todd Bodine. Belnavis was the majority shareholder and veteran car owner Travis Carter was the other partner. The team operated from a shop Carter owned in Statesville, NC. BelCar lost sponsor National Guard at the conclusion of the 2003 season, but when the Guard was introduced at a Wednesday news conference as a new sponsor for Roush Racing's #16 Fords driven by Greg Biffle, Belnavis was also on hand. Roush Racing President Geoff Smith welcomed Belnavis to Roush, introducing him as the organization's new director of diversity programs.
"Travis has established a new relationship, as you know, with Torquespeed. This is not a surprise to him," Belnavis said. "I am now a partner in this organization, but I will be developing programs to develop the diversity aspect of Roush Racing. I knew the direction the National Guard was taking, but I needed a platform for my career but also a platform that could substantiate and support a true diversity program." Carter could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but a spokesperson said he was continuing to work to secure sponsorships for his own team, Travis Carter Enterprises, and Torquespeed, a joint venture between Carter and investors from the United Kingdom. "Travis and I are going to remain good friends," Belnavis said. "This is a small sport when it comes to people. We're family and we didn't have a squabble." Belnavis has been involved in motorsports for more than 20 years as an executive with the Miller Brewing Co. The Charlotte, N.C., resident brought Miller into racing signing then-Winston Cup champion Bobby Allison to run the #22 Buick. Diversity has become an issue in NASCAR, with several initiatives planned to create opportunities for women, Hispanics and African Americans in the sport. Belnavis and then-partner Tinsley Hughes partnered with Hendrick Motorsports in a diversity initative in 2002 that never got off the ground. "Diversity is going to be an endless pursuit," NASCAR chairman Brian France said last week in New York. "We want everybody in this country, every man and woman, to be a NASCAR fan. If we can put initiatives forward to help make us more attractive to more people, that's important." Belnavis said he hopes to work on identifying possible driver candidates and build awareness of job opportunities in NASCAR.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-10-2003)
- Geoffrey Bodine to Iraq: Geoffrey Bodine has announced plans to visit the US Troops serving in Iraq during this holiday season. He will be leaving for Bhagdad on December 29th and will return on January 8th. Bodine toured US Army installations in Afghanistan, and other troop locations, in 2002 with Jerry Nadeau and a team of racing celebrities. "It's a very dangerous place to visit," commented Bodine, when he announced his plans, "but I feel fortunate to be given the honor of bringing the message to our brave men and women serving in the military over there, that we appreciate the sacrifices they are making to ensure our safety and security."(more info in the future at the Geoffrey Bodine Site)(12-10-2003)
- Smokey Yunick's Family To Sell "Best Damn Garage In Town": The property that once held Smokey’s Best Damn Garage in Town was put on the market today. The two-and-a-half year process of selling the racing parts, tools and equipment that Smokey accumulated during his 50+ years on the property, has finally come to an end. The next step in the process of carrying out Smokey’s final wishes is selling the property.
When Smokey set up his plan, he made two things very clear.
1) He didn’t want his shop turned into some [expletive deleted] shrine. He knew what he had done and he didn’t want his family burdened with having to run and maintain a museum. He saw how much work his friend Don Garlits had to put in to keep his museum in shape.
2) He wanted all the parts and equipment to be sold to racers who would put them to use, rather than have them sit around in a museum and collect dust. The garage sales and parts sales that have occurred at the shop during the past 30 months have created a legion of race fans that have a piece of history that they pass on to their families.
Smokey spent 50 years building his shop and improving the land it was on. He knew how valuable waterfront property in Daytona Beach was, which was why he bought and maintained the surface and submerged land rights for the property. The family enlisted the help of Smokey’s trusted financial advisor to sell the property. The area of riverfront in Daytona Beach is currently undergoing very active revitalization efforts and the shop property will be a large portion of this renovated area.
This three-acre property still holds a mythical place in the hearts of race fans. The upcoming 2004 Speed Weeks will be the last time that legions of loyal Smokey fans will be able to come by and have their picture taken with the sign out front. It will be the last time they will be able to drive by and think about all that went inside the fence and behind the walls and painted over windows. A landmark in racing, automotive and American history will be going by the wayside in the name of progress – Smokey would be proud. For more on Smokey, his books available and other info, see www.smokeyyunick.com and some books on my Racing Bookstore page.
AND who won the engine? The 1967 Daytona 500 Big Block Chevy was won by Steve "Yogi" Behr from Speedway, Indiana. He bought his 6 tickets at the PRI show in Indianapolis last week and was completely surprised when he stopped back by the ARP booth and we told him he had won. Linda Vaughn "The First Lady of Motorsports" stopped by the booth to help Trish Yunick Brown, Smokey's daughter, draw the winning ticket in the ARP booth at PRI. The engine raffle raised over $7,000 for the Foundation to use to give grants and scholarships to individuals who have innovative ideas that are in keeping with Smokey's outside the box innovation style. Thanks also go to Automotive Racing Products (ARP) and Performance Racing Industry (PRI) for signing on as inaugural sponsors of the Foundation last year and for their continual promotion and monetary help. They will be announcing the winners of the first grant/scholarship in the spring of 2004 and we are still accepting applications from people with interesting ideas in keeping with Smokey's outside-the-box innovation style. For more information on the winner and for information about applying for a grant or scholarship: www.SmokeyYunick.com and then click on the "Foundation" link.(12-10-2003)
- Drive for Diversity Program Seeks Experienced Crew Members - Application Deadline Extended: Access Marketing & Communications, a member of Omnicom's The Radiate Group, is continuing to accept resumes through Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003, from experienced minority crew members to participate in the "Drive for Diversity" stock car driver and crew development program. Recruitment for qualified drivers is closed for 2004. Access Marketing & Communications launched "Drive for Diversity" as a long-term solution aimed at developing a steady pipeline of well-trained and supported minority crew members and drivers. For 2004, "Drive for Diversity" selected crew members will compete nationally on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams. Driver participants will compete in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series on tracks located in the Southeastern United States.
Experienced crewmembers can submit resumes, videotapes, race results, references and other supporting materials to: "Drive for Diversity," Access Marketing & Communications, 201 S. Tryon St., Ste. 130, PMB 254, Charlotte, NC 28202. All applicant materials must be dated no later than Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003, and will be reviewed by a panel of industry officials to determine qualifiers for the 2004 "Drive for Diversity" program scouting combine. The special try-out event for drivers and crew members will be held Monday, Jan. 5, 2004, at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina. The final selection of participants will be formally announced in late January 2004. Please note that applicant resumes, videotapes and supporting materials will not be returned.(Yahoo Finance)(12-10-2003)
- New website about collectibles The website, www.thediecasttruth.com, was created to help the diecast community stay well informed of current conditions in the retail market of NASCAR collectibles. They intend to educate those who are new to collectibles retailing and the pitfalls that come with it. Also, to bring awareness to those already dedicated to a retail storefront or retail website. For more info, see the site: www.thediecasttruth.com, also have a dealer survey on the site. Also see my Collectible Links page for news and many links.(12-10-2003)
- Earnhardt Display at the National Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum has recently placed on display a 400-piece Dale Earnhardt memorabilia collection, donated to the museum by Terry Neal Thomas of Glasgow. Thomas donated a total of 1,100 pieces of Earnhardt memorabilia, which will be rotated throughout the year to feature all the pieces. The collection showcases diecasts, race memorabilia, apparel items and various other pieces of Earnhardt signature collectibles that have been part of Thomas’ collection for many years. The extensive collection is on display in the museum’s Skydome. Guests visiting the museum will also see Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racecar driver suit on display in the Race and Performance area, and a newly added Gibson Corvette guitar display featuring three unique guitars designed with the 50th Anniversary, the Stingray and Zora Arkus-Duntov in mind. Tours are self-guided and families receive a special $20 admission price. General admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4.50 for children ages 6-16. AAA and military discounts are also offered.(Bowling Green Daily News), more info and even some live cams at the museum's site: www.corvettemuseum.com, for other museums and hall of fame news and links, see my Hall of Fame page.(12-10-2003)
- Hand Signals like the NFL? Less Provisionals? FoxSports Larry McReynolds reports that when a car is held on pit road, the team, the fans and the media all want to know why immediately. There was just no clear-cut way of doing it though. For four or five of the major rule infractions, NASCAR will come up with hand signals, just like a referee in football. It's neat because the crew chief, the fans who can see that pit box and the media will know right away.
AND NASCAR is looking at changing the provisional system, and while these changes aren't completely set in stone, it is safe to say there won't be seven provisional positions for next year's races. It has reached a point where provisionals need to be scaled back so there probably will be three to five provisionals per race. You've got to protect the top guys in points because with one round of qualifying, you do stand the chance of someone losing an engine or wrecking. Next year, the fastest 38 or 40 cars will get in the field with three to five on provisionals. In the past, if you were in the top 25 in points, you weren't charged a provisional. Now if you use it, you lose it -- no matter where you are. People who are usually up in the points can run out of provisionals.(See full story at FoxSports and see current provisonal rules on my ProvisionalLand Page and another story with nascar quotes from the Sports Network:
NASCAR studies points and provisional changes)(12-10-2003)
- Yellow Flag for starter.....Get Well: been told that NASCAR Nextel Cup Starter Jimmy Howell will undergo two surgeries on December 12 in Winston Salem, NC. The surgery will be performed by Dr. David Martin at Wake Forest Universtiy Baptist Hospital. Howell will have surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus and will also have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.(12-10-2003)
- Thomas Built Bus Provides Miles of Smiles for Victory Junction AND: The future campers of the Victory Junction Gang Camp will ride in style, thanks to Thomas Built Buses! The company has generously donated a 14-passenger bus, complete with its own special “paint scheme” and a powered wheel chair lift. Thomas Built CEO John O’Leary pointed out, “The Victory Junction Gang Camp is going to be a magical place for special children to go and just enjoy being kids. The Pettys and everyone involved with the camp have done a remarkable job, and we are proud to provide a safe, reliable vehicle manufactured by the dedicated employees at Thomas Built Buses."
The special design for the bus was the vision of Kevin Jeannette of Gunnar Racing in Florida. Kevin's son, Gunnar Jeannette, raced with Kyle Petty and Paul Newman in a camp-themed car at the The Bullyhill 250 at Watkins Glen in August 2003. The decals and decal application were donated by John McKenzie and his team at Motorsports Designs. Thomas Built Buses, headquartered in High Point, NC is a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC and is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with a 34% share of the school bus market. Freightliner LLC is a company of DaimlerChrysler.
AND Interstate Bakeries Corporation’s Merita Bread sold bread to make “bread” for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. A portion of proceeds from every loaf of Merita Old-Fashioned Bread sold in participating Food Lion, Harris Teeter and Lowe’s Foods stores this fall was designated to benefit Victory Junction. At a presentation at the Victory Junction Gang Camp today, Curtis Miller, Regional Vice President- Interstate Brands Southeast Division, presented a check for $58,835 to the camp’s founders Richard Petty and Kyle Petty. Interstate Bakeries Corporation, through its operating subsidiaries, the Interstate Brands Companies, is the nation’s largest wholesale baking company of fresh bread and cake, with 58 bread and cake bakeries in strategic markets from coast-to-coast. The Company, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo, bakes and distributes products sold under well know brand names like Merita bread, Wonder bread, Hostess cake, and Dolly Madison cake. For more information about the company, visit the corporate web site www.interstatebakeriescorp.com.(Victory Junction Gang PR's)(12-10-2003)
- Here ya go...... Daytona International Speedway To Host NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest.
Bands, pit stop demonstrations and inquisitive fan forums with your favorite drivers are just some of the exciting features fans will experience at the all new 2004 NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at historic Daytona International Speedway [this takes place of the old Winston Preview that was held in Winston Salem, NC].
Coinciding with January's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series testing sessions at the "World Center of Racing," officials at the Speedway announced dates for the unique NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest.
The 5-10 p.m. events will be held on the following days:
Jan. 7 &14: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Fan Fest
Jan. 10: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Fan Fest
Jan. 17 & 20: NASCAR Busch Fan Fest
Scattered along the frontstretch outside the gates of legendary DIS, the scheduled fan festivals will feature show cars, bands, sponsor
displays, race team haulers and other exhibits. The high-energy event will also include fan forums, engine building and pit stop
demonstrations, silent auctions and food and fun all set in the shadow of one of motorsports most storied venues.
On each Fan Fest day, fan forums with drivers and NASCAR officials will be moderated by MRN, FOX or NBC celebrity announcers.
While all displays and entertainment outside is free to the public, tickets to enter the NEXTEL Cup events are $10 and $5 for the NASCAR
Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck events. Only fans purchasing tickets to the Cup, Busch and Truck Fan Fest events will receive gift bags that will include: driver's autographed pictures, DAYTONA USA admission vouchers, NASCAR Magazine, posters and other fan goodies.
Fans can also experience the high-speed excitement of all testing sessions free.
NASCAR Preseason Thunder annual testing sessions at Daytona International Speedway are as follows:
Jan. 6-8: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (odd owner's points)
Jan. 10-12: NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Jan. 13-15:NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (even owner's points)
Jan. 17-18: NASCAR Busch Series (odd owner's points)
Jan. 20-21: NASCAR Busch Series (even owner's points)
Proceeds from the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest will benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp, NASCAR Wives Auxiliary, Speediatrics and Brenners Children's Hospital.(Daytona International Speedway PR)(12-9-2003)
- Dale Jr. to star in Wrangler campaign: Brandweek reports that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be featured next summer in an ad campaign for Wrangler, one of his late father Dale's early primary sponsors, today's Sports Business Daily says. The driver will be featured in the ad campaign launching Wrangler Jeans Co.'s denim-driven line targeting young adults ages 18-32, Brandweek says. "Earnhardt Jr. is our target consumer," says Craig Errington, Wrangler's director of advertising, public relations and special events. "He wears jeans every day and will add the energy of NASCAR racing to the brand." Wrangler's goal is to sell $150 million of the products in the next three years.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-9-2003)
- Arnold Palmer and UPS at Atlanta UPDATE: Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, whose popularity transcends the sport of golf, will enter his 50th consecutive Masters tournament in Augusta, GA in April 2004. To commemorate this historic event, Dale Jarrett, an avid golfer and the driver of the #88 UPS Ford Taurus, will drive a special golf-themed race car in the March 14, Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The special UPS/Arnold Palmer paint scheme will be debuted to the public at 10:00am/et on Tuesday, December 9, at www.racing.ups.com. Action Performance will offer a complete line of UPS/Arnold Palmer merchandise exclusively for UPSers, including golf bags, die-cast replicas and other racing merchandise. See image of the car on my 2004 Paint Schemes page.(12-8-2003)
UPDATE: Dale Jarrett will pay tribute to golfing legend Arnold Palmer with a special paint scheme in the March 14 Golden Corral 500 Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jarrett's No. 88 Ford from Robert Yates Racing will feature a special green-and-white paint scheme for the race. "He is someone I have looked up to and respected my entire life," Jarrett, who is well known in NASCAR circles for his golfing prowess, says of Palmer. The special tribute is being planned to coincide with Palmer's 50th appearance in the prestigious Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, an event he has won four times. Pictures of the special paint scheme were unveiled today at www.Racing.UPS.com, along with pictures of the special helmet and firesuit Jarrett will wear during the Atlanta race.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-9-2003)
- Ganassi Testing at Nashville:
Ganassi Racing is conducting a two-day testing session at the Nashville Superspeedway on December 9-10. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver, #40-Sterling Marlin, and NASCAR Busch Series driver, #1-David Stremme are in
the Music City to test out a few new cars for the upcoming 2004 racing season.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(12-9-2003)
- Changes at Morgan-McClure: A Morgan-McClure Motorsports Holiday. All through the No. 4 shop, wrenches are clanging and sheet metal is bent. The new Chevrolet Monte Carlos sit glistening, money well spent. Tim Brewer and the guys are working hard with sights set on 2004. The engine dyno is humming with engines tweaked to find a "little more". Road crew guys are spending extra time with their kin. For when 2004 arrives, all they will focus on is a win. Changes are in store for the Nextel Cup Series entry, No. 4 car.
New paint wrappings all aglow, new bodies too and a brand new announcement is not too far. So sit back and relax, enjoy the season and do not pout. For in 2004, Morgan-McClure will give race fans something to talk about.(MMM PR)(12-9-2003)
- Canines for kids: Usually when you think of NASCAR racing you think about horse power not Dog Power, but just recently America’s Most Wanted Motorsports has teamed up with “Canines For Kids, Inc. A non-profit organization designed to train bloodhounds for the purposes of the recovery of missing children and Alzheimer’s patients to help in exposure and overall awareness. Their organization’s platform is to not only to offer their services for recovery, but to train and donate bloodhounds to Law Enforcement agencies nationwide and they did just that recently in Hawaii. They took Annie (which is the only scent-discriminating bloodhound in Hawaii) to the island and on her second day in service she found a missing Alzheimer’s patient and brought them home safe. For more information visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(12-8-2003)
- More #77 news: Sources have confirmed that Dave Blaney has a binding contract with the #77 Jasper Engines Team to run the #77 in all the 2004 Nextel Cup events. Blaney has a great relationship with the team and has not been told that he will not be in the car next season.(12-8-2003)
- Villeneuve To Reignite Career In America; NASCAR?: Embattled F1 ace Jacques Villeneuve might reignite his racing career in the USA. The French-Canadian, world champion of 1997, ruled out competing in the oval-based Indy Racing League series because too many racers get hurt. 'It's not for me,' he told Autosport. 'The only way I can race is to the limit and taking risks, but it's too dangerous to do that in the IRL.' Villeneuve says he 'knows' he will get hurt in that series. But he added: 'I might look at NASCAR, actually. That would be a different challenge and fun.' Villeneuve won the Champ Car and Indy 500 titles in the mid-Nineties. But he won't even try to get back into Formula One if his renewed career resembles the past few years at BAR-Honda. 'Craig [Pollock, his manager] would like to see me back, at any cost, but I can only drive if I'm going to be happy. I would never do the BAR thing again.'(Home of Formula One) past news on this on my Drivers Looking page.(12-8-2003)
- Sawyer and Earles to be inducted in VA HOF: On Saturday, December 20th, Paul Sawyer and the late Clay Earles will be inducted into Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame, joining last years inductees, the late Wendell Scott and Ray Hendrick. The induction ceremony will be conducted in conjunction the 2003 awards banquet for Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway at the World of Sports in South Boston, VA. Legendary motorsports media personality, Chris Economaki, founder of National Speed Sport News, has agreed to be a part of the festivities. Earles and Sawyer were the visionaries that lead to the development and success of Virginia’s two premier NASCAR facilities, Martinsville Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. Selected Media General Newspapers will be publishing a special section commemorating the accomplishments of the Inductees the week of December 15th. For more information on the Awards Banquet and Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame, call the Speedway at 1-877-440-1540 or log on to www.southbostonspeedway.com.(12-8-2003)
- Petty and Earnhardt Bank Notes: The Naples Bank Note Company was founded by a successful security paper executive who realized that existing bank note companies lacked focus, new product innovation, and creative genius, he set in motion a mission to develop a company that delivers the desired products for collectors and the potential of "giving something back" to charitable and non-profit organizations. Learn more about the man behind The Naples Bank Note Company Click here. "The Mission of the company is to help charities raise funds more successfully by using Banknote Art". We partner with charities and institutions to utilize banknote design techniques and old world craftsmanship engravings in order to create a new and innovative art form. We call this art form - Banknotables. Banknotables can be produced as an art piece, to be displayed on your wall; or as a note, similar to a banknote. Banknotables are always "currency - like" in design and commemorate "Notable" personalities, events or organizations. Recently notes have been done for Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. More info at
see the Dec 1-7, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Nov 24-30, 2003 Archived News Page
see the Nov 17-23, 2003 Archived News Page