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CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 25: Dale Earnhardt Jr. gives a statement announcing his retirement from NASCAR after the 2017 season at the Hendrick Motorsports Team Center on April 25, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) | Getty Images

April 25 – Today in Jayski’s NASCAR history

April 25, 2001

  • No More Winston in ‘Winston Cup’? R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., stands accused of violating the 1998 multi-billion dollar tobacco settlement with state governments by advertising year-round at race tracks. If the signage is struck down, it could cause RJR to re-evaluate its financial support of racing, which industry sources believe approaches $40 million a year. See full story at the CNN/SI site: RJR accused of violating tobacco settlement, to much info to cut down or post here AND also at the CNN/SI site: What’s in a name? – Future of ‘Winston’ Cup remains uncertain some highlights: If by some long-shot, R. J. Reynolds decides to withdraw its NASCAR sponsorship after the season, who’ll fill the Winston Cup void? You might expect several corporate giants – like soft-drink producers, for starters – to eagerly line up and hand over tens of millions, industry sources say. It’s also a fair bet NASCAR would ignore the big-money guys tied to edgier products, such as major beer companies Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing.(4-25-2001)
  • Radio on the Internet: NASCAR.com now has quite a few radio shows available via the internet at their site. From PRN – Performance Racing Network: Garage Pass, Fast Talk, hosted by Benny Parsons(boy do I miss him on TV), The Pit Reporters(which I even did once). From MRN – Motor Racing Network: NASCAR Today and NASCAR Live. Listen to them at NASCAR.com Broadcasts, available in Real Audio(4-25-2001)
  • Lepage To Sign Up? UPDATE 2 not after California: Kevin Lepage is expected to sign a contract soon to drive for #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports the rest of the season. Lepage joined the team after Robby Gordon ‘s departure after Darlington last month(Roanoke Times)(4-22-2001)
    UPDATE: Kevin Lepage has been offered the full-time driver position with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and its #4 Chevy. Lepage, 38, is expected to sign a three-year contract with owner Larry McClure. A formal announcement of Lepage’s hiring is planned for next weekend at California, sources said. Lepage has filled in on a temporary basis since the team and it’s original driver, Robby Gordon, split after five races. Lepage has 100 career Winston Cup starts. His best finish was fifth in September 1999 at Darlington. He also has one pole, November 1999 at Atlanta(That’s Racin’)(4-23-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that that Morgan-McClure Motorsports will NOT have an official announcement at California this weekend regarding the signing of Kevin Lepage due to the team testing and a tight schedule to get to California. Lepage will be doing double duty, trying to compete in the BGN race and the Winston Cup race. A contract, however, should be signed and announced during the Richmond race weekend(4-25-2001)
  • #36 and Snickers: To promote its newest candy brand, Snickers Cruncher, M&M/MARS, Inc. has a special paint scheme this weekend at California Speedway. The "M" Characters are taking a one-week break while the #36 Pontiac with driver Ken Schrader, displays the chocolate and caramel colors on the Snickers Cruncher wrapper.(MRN Radio Site), also see an image of the scheme on my Paint Schemes Gallery(4-25-2001)
  • Compton Goes to School: #92-Stacy Compton had an appointment at Sears Point Raceway for Tuesday evening with driving instructor Bill Cooper. Compton made some laps in a Dodge Viper street car, therefore not burning one of his allotted seven tests allowed by NASCAR(NASCAR.com Buzz)(4-25-2001)
  • The Mummy Returns? hearing that #26 Jimmy Spencer will drive a Mummy Returns (the sequel to The Mummy) / Kmart Ford at California to promote the release of the movie. The car will supposedly feature characters from the movie, most notably Duane Johnson better known to WWF Fans as the ROCK, (he’ll be playing the "Scorpion King") and be be black and gold(4-25-2001)
  • Kranefuss Buys Into BGN Team: Brad Akins has formed a partnership with Michael Kranefuss on the #98 Starter/Hot Tamales BGN team. Kranefuss will also bring his former general manager from the #12 Winston Cup team Marty Gaunt and his son Dan Kranefuss to work with him. Kranefuss, a former worldwide leader of Ford Motor Company racing programs and Winston Cup team owner(#84-Shawna Robinson), is excited about this opportunity. "Brad has built a great program that now needs more time and experience than he has to give to it. I’ll be jumping into a good team operation and this will allow me to return on a day to day basis to what I have been doing for many years," said Michael Kranefuss. Long time Akins Motorsports driver Elton Sawyer is also pleased. "Michael Kranefuss has done just about everything you can do in motorsports with great success. The #98 team has been in the Top Five range the past three years and I think Michael can help take us to the championship level. Brad has always wanted to give this team everything we need to win a championship, but he can not be here every day to stay on top of things, and Michael can. I think this will be the final piece in the puzzle to get us there."(Akins Mororsports PR)(4-25-2001)
  • Sears Point Completes More Work – REPOST – UPDATE Testing this week: Construction crews have completed work on the modified Chute and NASCAR Winston Cup drivers will get their first opportunity on the re-configured segment during a two-day test session, April 24-25. The new Chute, which connects Turns 4 and 7 on the road course, will be used for the first time in competition at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup event, June 21-24. Drivers confirmed for the NASCAR test are: #2-Rusty Wallace, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Terry Labonte, #29-Kevin Harvick, #17-Matt Kenseth, #31-Mike Skinner, #55-Bobby Hamilton, #01-Jason Leffler and #87-Ron Fellows. The entire segment will span 1,170 feet, nearly 300 feet more than the original Chute (890 feet). Construction crews have also broken ground on 40 permanent garages that will be ready for the Dodge/Save Mart 350. In the past, teams have worked on their cars under the hot sun, but that will no longer be the case. Each garage will be 12 feet wide and 25 feet deep, giving race teams ample room to work on their cars. Sears Point Raceway will build additional garages for the 2002 season to handle the entire qualifying field. The original 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course will still be used for all road-racing events at Sears Point Raceway that are not NASCAR-sanctioned(Sears Point PR)(4-7/23-2001)
    UPDATE: #2-Rusty Wallace was the fastest driver during a two-day test session at Sears Point Raceway as track officials opened up the modified Chute for the first time. Wallace, a two-time winner at Sears Point Raceway in 1990 and 1996, turned the 10-turn, 2-mile road course in 1 minute, 17.31 seconds(93.132mph) to record the fastest lap over the two-day session. He was followed by #29-Kevin Harvick (1:17.70 – 92.664mph) and #87-Ron Fellows (1:18.10 – 92.190mph). The modified Chute, which connects Turns 4 and 7 on the road course for all NASCAR-sanctioned events, will be used for the first time in competition at the Dodge/Save Mart 350, June 21-24. Other drivers who competed in the two-day test were #5-Terry Labonte, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #01-Jason Leffler, #17-Matt Kenseth, #31-Mike Skinner and #55-Bobby Hamilton. The Chute was originally constructed in 1998 with the intention of giving fans better visibility of the road course. The original move also shortened the course – from 2.52 to 1.95 miles – and provided fans with 40 additional laps, meaning more opportunities to see the stars. The third objective was to provide better competition. The first two objectives were met, but the third didn’t work, which is why officials are now correcting it, with the aid of drivers. The modified Chute features the following elements: A 300-foot straightaway from Turn 4 to what will become the new Turn This segment will feature straight-line braking before entering Turn 4a; A sharp 70-degree right-hand turn from Turn 4a into the Chute. There will also be 150 feet of runoff room available outside Turn 4a; Once out of Turn 4a, drivers will navigate an 870-foot pure straightaway, which will feature speeds in excess of 110 mph. This will be one of the fastest segments of the track; Turn 7 will boast a 90-degree right-hand turn placed 100 feet beyond the current Turn 7 apex. The turn will feature 120 feet of runoff. The modification will increase the length of the road course from 1.95 to 1.99 miles. The number of turns remains the same (10). Other top times for the two-day test session were: Hamilton (1:18.10 – 92.190mph); Labonte (1:18.20 – 92.072); Kenseth (1:18.39 – 91.849); Skinner (1:18.51 – 91.708), Earnhardt Jr. (1:19.41 – 90.669) and Leffler (1:19.45 – 90.623). The original 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course will still be used for all road-racing events at Sears Point Raceway that are not NASCAR-sanctioned(Sears Point PR)(4-25-2001)
  • #55 Sponsor News: MGE UPS SYSTEMS, the technology leader in Uninterruptible Power Supplies (backup power systems), will support the Square D Racing Team at this weekend’s NAPA AUTO PARTS 500. The #55 Square D Chevy will display the MGE logo on the decklid(trunk) of the car during the race for the race held on Sunday, April 29th at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. MGE UPS SYSTEMS’ logo will be featured on the decklid of the Square D car during the race. MGE’s Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) back up 90 percent of the Fortune 500, including most of the world’s largest Web Hosting and Internet Services companies.(Business Wire)(4-25-2001)
  • Testing News: #20-Tont Stewart and #93-Dave Blaney completes a two-day Goodyear tire test today at Michigan and #10-Johnny Benson participated in a two-day Goodyear tire test Monday and Tuesday at Pocono(Roanoke Times), no speeds reported. Commenst by Benson: The #10 Valvoline Pontiac team feels like it received a high compliment this week when Goodyear asked the team to take part in Goodyear’s tire test on Monday and Tuesday in Pocono. In addition to gaining track time without having to use one of his seven NASCAR-allotted tests during the season, driver Johnny Benson said taking part in the test, usually limited to the better NASCAR Winston Cup teams, is a compliment to his crew. Benson said the work done by Goodyear has produced better and safer racing in the 2001 season. "Its an honor for us as well as an opportunity for us to get on the track without costing us a test. As a driver it will help me get a good balance and a good feel for Pocono as well as help Goodyear out and I think most race fans know how important Goodyear is to all of us. Goodyear has a good plan as far as what they want to bring to the track, but I think they want to know for sure what they want to do. They need somebody to test the tire and make sure there aren’t any problems. By that I mean we will run and hopefully show them the type of tire wear and tire temperatures they want to see. It’s a safety thing. They need to make sure there are no problems when every one gets to Pocono in June. We will make laps for them this week. I think we will gain small bits of knowledge. It’s not a full-blown test where you get to change springs, change shocks and anything else to make your car faster. Goodyear is looking for us to turn consistent fast laps so they can evaluate their tire. We are going to Pocono with a few less crew guys than we normally would at a regular test. This still gives me a good feel as far as the track goes and the tires go. We have to get the car to where it is balanced. So we can work some there. To get right down to it, if the car is decent we will bring it to Pocono in June. If it isn’t then we will bring another car. This week will give us a good idea of what we want when we race there."(MBV Motorsports PR)(4-25-2001)
  • Funny Man: Mike Calinoff, spotter for #17-Matt Kenseth, will be a guest performer at the Comedy Store, a club on Sunset Blvd. in LA on Thursday April 26th from 9:30-10:00pm(changed from 8:00pm). Calinoff, a former stand up comedian, will get his chance to joke about racing in the club where comedians like Robin Williams and David Letterman started out, hearing it will be shown in part on the Fox pre-race coverage(4-25-2001)
  • #66 Closes: Citing what he called an untenable business proposition in continuing to field a CTS team, Dale Phelon on Tuesday morning told his employees he was closing his truck shop here. Phelon, a multi-million-dollar business operator who has competed in the truck series since 1997, has offered his crew positions working on his fleet of vintage race cars, including Ford Mustangs and Cobras and a Chevrolet Corvette. Phelon formerly drove his own cars in the SCCA Trans-Am Tour before starting his truck team. Driver Rick Carelli gave Phelon his first victory as a truck owner last September at Richmond International Raceway. The victory was particularly significant for Carelli after he suffered life-threatening injuries the previous season at Memphis Motorsports Park. Phelon told the team he would keep the Richmond race winning truck, a Ford, and one other road race-equipped F-150. Crew chief John Monsam said the team had as many as 15 trucks in its shop, including two brand-new Hopkins Ford chassis, five complete Ford trucks and another unraced Chevrolet chassis. Between the 2000 and 2001 seasons, Phelon switched his program from Ford to Chevrolet. The team has the new Chevy chassis, two complete Chevrolet trucks and three Chevrolet engines, including one that was never raced. The remainder of the team’s inventory consists of Ford products. Monsam said he would travel to California Speedway this weekend to assist Carelli with a NASCAR Winston West car fielded by RE/MAX principal Davy Liniger. Carelli and Monsam collaborated for a fourth-place finish in a recent RE/MAX Challenge Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. The crew chief, who has won races in the truck series with Carelli and Ron Hornaday, in the NASCAR Busch Series with Ricky Craven and in ARCA with Joe Bessey, also was Jerry Nadeau’s crew chief when he made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut with Richard Jackson Motorsports. He said he was most concerned about finding jobs for his employees who wanted to continue in NASCAR racing. Monsam said in addition to pursuing his own future options in California, his truck chief, Mitch Jarrett, and mechanic/tire changers, Flip Estrada and Jason Meeks, were anxious to find new positions with NASCAR teams(NASCAR.com)(4-25-2001)
  • #72 News UPDATE: Hearing that road racer David Murry is speaking with MacDonald Motorsports about filling the seat in the #72 truck, which was left vacant by Randy MacDonald after a crash at Daytona in February. It may be a race-to-race deal or for the rest of the season. Jimmy Hensley was the most recent driver to substitute for MacDonald, at Martinsville, two weeks ago. Reports are that MacDonald underwent neck surgery in Florida yesterday to repair lingering injuries suffered in the crash. Murry is presently competing in the American Le Mans Series with a Porsche race team. An Atlanta resident, Murry has ARCA and Winston Cup experience, the latter coming at Watkins Glen in 1999 when he qualified 31st, ran as high as eighth, before finishing 36th after an oil line problem.(4-18-2001)
    UPDATE: MacDonald Motorsports is still looking for a driver with sponsorship backing to drive the #72 at Gateway International Raceway. Contact Doc MacDonald, see my Team Address/Pgone page for number at (336) 476-0118(Keldan Media Group PR)
    AND Randy MacDonald is resting comfortably at Miami University Hospital after undergoing surgery last week to repair three herniated discs in his neck, which he suffered in a crash at the season-opening Daytona 250..(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-25-2001)
  • #73 News: The #73 Tagsby team and driver Jason Small have had an amicable parting of ways. Tagsby Racing is interviewing experienced drivers for the St. Louis race.(Daytona Beach News Journal), #73-Tagsby Racing Truck Team and driver Jason Small have had an amicable parting of the ways. Tagsby Racing is currently interviewing any experienced drivers for the Gateway race, May 6. .If interested call Joey Sonntag, see my CTS Team Address/Phone page for numbers(4-25-2001)
  • #23/Richardson part: Loni Richardson and Team 23 have parted ways and Loni will Run Gateway International in the Intensitee Race Wear #0 or quite possibly another truck(4-25-2001)
  • #03 Driver: Team EJP Racing owners Peter and Steve Prescott announced the signing of Tom Carey Jr. to pilot the #03 truck for at least eight races this season(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-25-2001)

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