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DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  The #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet of Danica Patrick goes through inspection during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

April 22 – Today in Jayski’s NASCAR history

April 22, 2001

  • Stewart at the Indy 500? UPDATE 2:CART and Cup team owner Chip Ganassi, apparently uncomfortable with his rookie tandem of Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, has asked CART veterans Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy to take their place and drive for him in next month’s 85th Indy 500. Tracy wanted to go but was told no by his CART sponsor, KOOL, while Vasser is game but must get the blessing of his car owner, Pat Patrick. And Tony Stewart might even figure in this equation. Stewart, whose contract with Joe Gibbs used to have a provision that allowed him to compete in the Indianapolis 500, hasn’t driven at Indy since 1999. That May he finished ninth, then flew to Charlotte for his Winston Cup duties. Afterward, he was so physically exhausted he vowed never to attempt that doubleheader again. However, recently he told some IRL officials he wanted to run Indy again if he could find a good team. Ganassi, competing in his rookie year of NASCAR, was in Talladega on Friday and expected to pursue the ’97 IRL champion. Stewart didn’t return phone calls Thursday or Friday and neither did Ganassi, who has one remaining test day at Indy next week. At this time, there is no confirmation that Ganassi has approached Stewart about driving for him at Indianapolis(ESPN/Robin Miller)(4-21-2001)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart said he’ll run in the Indy 500 if he can get a good ride, either with either Chip Ganassi or Roger Penske. But Stewart said he’s made no plans(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart says there is no truth to reports that he is planning to drive in the Indianapolis 500. "I’ve always said that I want to go back and run Indy, but there’s no way I could do anything now anyway, and I’ve already told everybody I wasn’t going to go to Indy this year," he said, adding. "I do want to go back, I just don’t know when it’s going to be." While he denied the report, Stewart did enjoy it. "It’s good that my name is getting thrown out up there and that people haven’t forgotten me," he said(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-22-2001)
  • NASCAR Invetigation: According to an insider, NASCAR is putting together the structure of its four-month investigation into the crash that killed seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt and what can be done to prevent future fatalities. Much of the scientific research is being done by the three manufacturers that participate in the Winston Cup Series: General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler. One of the manufacturers is concentrating on front-chassis rigidity, another is working on new protective measures in the driver compartment, and the third is concentrating on the field of side impacts.(Gaston Gazette)(4-22-2001)
  • Hamilton wins the Talladega 500: #55-Bobby Hamilton was able to pass #20-Tony Stewart on the last lap to win the Talladega 500. It was Hamiton’s 4th career Winston Cup win and his fist in just over three years when he last won at Martinsville on April 20, 1998, 101 races ago. The win was the first ever for Andy Petree Racing(APR) and puts Hamilton into the 2001 The Winston and in position for the 2002 Winners Circle Program. It was the first win for car number 55 since Phil Parsons won using it at Talladega on May 1, 1988 and the #55’s 12 overall win in Winston Cup(see my Winners by Car Numbers page)
    #88-Dale Jarrett holds onto the point lead by 148 points over #24-Jeff Gordon. #97-Kurt Busch got his best career finish with a 3rd, #6-Mark Martin got his first top five of 2001 and #33-Joe Nemechek got his first top 10 of 2001. There were 27 different leaders in the race which Fox reported as the most ever in any Winston Cup race and ever at Talladega (the old record was 26 at Talladega on July 27, 1986). The race was run caution free, the first time since Michigan in June 1999.
    See Unofficial Results at NASCAR.com along with Unofficial Points Standings and a full story at That’s Racin’: Hamilton wins a caution-free Talladega 500(4-22-2001)
  • The Yellow Line: Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, during the pre-race drivers meeting, sternly made his point to the 43 competitors and crew chiefs assembled in the room. He let them know where the sanctioning body stood on reckless driving during the 500-mile event. "If we (NASCAR) feel a move below, or move coming from below the yellow line was unnecessary – you can look for a black flag," he said authoritatively. "Be prepared, and we’ll see you at the trailer after the race and let you know how much of your argument we’ll listen to." Helton was referring to the yellow line on the low side of the racing surface that separates it from the apron. In prior races on this 2.66-mile high-banked oval, drivers have been known to make aggressive moves in that area to gain positions(NASCAR.com). Who got black flagged? #19-Casey Atwood, #66-Todd Bodine, #31-Mike Skinner(4-22-2001)
  • NBC/ESPN work out deal? ABC-ESPN executives have been working on an arrangement with NBC that would allow ESPN reporters access to the Winston Cup garage during the second half of the NASCAR season, in exchange for ESPN’s promotion of Sunday races on NBC. NASCAR has barred ESPN from the stock-car garage, in order to allow Fox and its affiliates a chance to launch new Winston Cup programs. However, NBC has no such cable outlet, so it would be more amenable to the promotional arrangement that ESPN has offered, an arrangement ESPN also offered Fox.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-22-2001)
  • Mayfield Tried Different Device: Jeremy Mayfield tried out a new restraint system this weekend. The device, manufactured by Simpson, works as a decelerator in a crash. Unlike some restraint systems, the decelerator works to absorb force by moving slightly with the body. "When the car does come to a dead stop pretty fast, if you stop the head immediately, your brain keeps going," Mayfield said. "This slows down and almost tears a little bit before it stops. So as your head is moving, [the device] starts tearing at the rest depending on what the G-forces are." Three quick releases on the system allow the driver to quickly exit the car following a crash(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-22-2001)
  • Milestone: When Mike McLaughlin drove his unsponsored Pontiac under the checkered flag to win the Subway 300, Tim Shutt became the first black crew chief to win a major stock car race. He said afterwards that he doesn’t feel much like the record setter he is. "I don’t know if I want to say I’m a pioneer yet, but I guess I’ve done something," he said. "This is the first race I’ve won since 1993. It’s the first time Mike has won in a while, so it feels pretty good." Shutt said his long-time friend and former roommate Tony Stewart was the first one to greet him in Victory Lane. "He took off my sunglasses to see if I was crying," Shutt said. Was he? "Yes, but they were tears of joy."(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(4-22-2001)
  • Denton out of the #77/Harmon in/Denton to a new team UPDATE: Kelly Denton has rejoined hometown Bristol, Va., BGN owner Ed Whitaker for the April 28 Auto Club 300 at California Speedway. The move ended Denton’s future with Tony Hall’s PRW Racing, which has already installed Alabama’s Mike Harmon in the seat of the #77 Pegasus/Automotive Yes/Race Ready Ford for this weekend’s Subway 300 at Talladega. Denton apparently also took his General Creations backing to Whitaker’s #7 Chevy(NASCAR.com Buzz), well it can’t be #7 that is Randy LaJoie, maybe #07?(4-19-2001)
    UPDATE: Kelly Denton announced today the forming of Team Bristol Motorsports. The press confrence, held at Bristol Motorspeedway, described an alliance between Bristol, TN.based educational toy maker, General Creation,.Whitaker Racing and Denton. The new race team will enter the Auto Club 300 at California Speedway on April 28 and compete in the remainder of the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series schedule. The three year deal.names Bristol native, Kelly Denton as the driver of the General Creation #54 Chevy powered by Roush engines. Denton said, "I want to thank General Creation, Steve Johnson and Ed Whitaker, we have been very busy the past month putting this agreement together and after looking at several options.it became obvious that.our best choice was to run this deal right here in Bristol." Denton added, "that by partnering with.Whitaker Racing we can start with a solid foundation. "The program will promote General Creation’s educational toy product line and will begin with, Baby Bear, the only interactive plush toy that actually teaches children to read. The company manufactures a complete line of early learning aids that teach children reading, writing and math skills through interactive encouragement(TBM PR)(4-22-2001)

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