- Fox Crew to Wander: This Friday [May 10th] afternoon, the FOX cameras and commentators are headed north from New Hampshire International Speedway on route 106 and west on US 4 to the twin quarter-mile ovals in Canaan, NH. Its opening night at the Canaan dirt track, and promoter Chuck Elms expects full fields of 358 modifieds, late models, and fast four cylinders. But the FOX cameras are drawn to Canaan by the fan favorite coupe-bodied modifieds that race weekly there and at Canaan’s sister Saturday-night track, Vermont’s Bear Ridge Speedway. "The Bear Ridge and Canaan coupes are the last link to racing’s golden rra in New England," enthused NASCAR on FOX lead announcer Mike Joy. "When those coupes are running on dirt, beneath the glow of the 300 watt bulbs suspended over the track, the viewer is transported back in time 30, maybe 40 years. Its a great sight to behold."
"Chuck Elms has put his heart and soul into these two tracks, and where lesser promoters have had little success, he has done a great job," Fox’s Dick Berggren said. "We’re all really excited about going up there, helmet in hand, this Friday." Elms has arranged a match race among the FOX commentators, including Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and Matt Yocum. Joy’s business, New England Racing Fuel and Berggren’s magazine, Speedway Illustrated, will sponsor the event. Berggren has a mantel full of trophies from his dirt track victories, while none of the others have ever raced on dirt. So you might see a Busch series driver or two in the pit area to add some needed coaching. The "highlights" or otherwise, will be shown on the FX telecast of the New England 200 Busch Series race on Saturday.(5-6-2002)
- Gibbs to Chevy (again)? UPDATE 2 Pontiac testing at AMS: [Joe] Gibbs [Racing] has decided to switch from Pontiacs back to Chevrolets for the 2003 season, according to Chevrolet sources. The move comes after 18 months of intransigence by NASCAR officials for rules relief requested by Pontiac teams. That would put Stewart and teammate Bobby Labonte back in Monte Carlos, which would be a serious blow to General Motors’ Pontiac division, perhaps serious enough for the division to leave this branch of the sport and take it’s $35 million racing budget somewhere else.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-4-2002)
UPDATE: hearing an announcement could come as soon as Charlotte/Lowes during The Winson/Coca Cola 600 weeks.(5-5-2002)
UPDATE 2 but…. Officials from Joe Gibbs Racing said they’ll test the new 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix Winston Cup race car at Atlanta Motor Speedway on May 20. The car will be driven at speed on the track and then taken by NASCAR officials to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta for further tests. Gibbs’ team is leading the development of the new Pontiac body, but if the new car doesn’t turn out to be as competitive as they hope, the team is preparing to switch to the Chevrolet Monte Carlo before the start of the 2003 season.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(5-5-2002)
UPDATE 3: NASCAR and Pontiac Racing will conduct a developmental test for the 2003 Pontiac Thursday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The test will be closed to both the public and the media.(AMS PR)(5-7-2002)
- Gordon’s Streak Jeff Gordon’s streak of races without a victory climbed to career high 19 when he finished seventh at Richmond.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-7-2002)
- Sad News UPDATE 2: Race Fan Passes Away At Campsite Near Track: At 3:30pm (est) on Sunday, a young woman in her twenties was found by 7 friends in a camper that was located at a campsite facility near the Richmond Int’l Raceway. Emergency personnel were called to the scene, and upon arrival the woman was found to have expired. The 7 friends were taken to the Memorial Regional Medical Center where two were released, three are anticipated to be released tonight, and the two remaining are being kept overnight for observation. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the initial diagnosis, but the cause of death will be finalized upon further investigation. At this the time the case is being ruled suspicious.(Catchfence)
UPDATE: Shortly after the race ended, at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, officials discovered an apparently accidental death occurred in one of the satellite parking and camping areas used for races. Fans from such areas are shuttled to the track via buses. A woman, not yet publicly identified as of dusk Sunday, was found dead in a motorcoach, apparently as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Seven others were found "sick and dizzy," in the words of local police spokesman Tom Shumate, and transported to a nearby hospital.(Gaston Gazette)(5-6-2002)
UPDATE 2: A 20-year-old Stafford County woman was found dead in a camper and seven others were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after the NASCAR Pontiac 400 at Richmond International Raceway, police said Monday. Kelly Turco was found dead about 3:30 p.m. Sunday by two friends who returned from the race to the camper in a satellite parking lot. Others in the camper were complaining of feeling dizzy and lightheaded. Her cause of death will be determined after an autopsy being done Monday, said Henrico County police Sgt. Thomas Shumate. Two people were hospitalized overnight and the rest were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and released, Shumate said. All were from northern Virginia, he said.(Daily Press/AP)(5-7-2002)
- Rudd Fastest in Lowes Testing: #28-Ricky Rudd and BGN driver #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. topped the unofficial speed charts Monday as testing shifted into high gear at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Rudd was fastest among 17 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers preparing for the May 26 Coca-Cola 600 while Hamilton led the speed parade among the 22 BGN teams preparing for the May 25 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300. Stacy Compton’s test ended shortly after sunset when he lost control of the #14 Pontiac and slammed the outside. Compton was uninjured, but the A.J. Foyt team had only one car on hand for the Winston Cup test. Testing for both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series continues Tuesday. NASCAR Winston Cup Series Speeds:
#28-Ricky Rudd, 179.223 mph
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 178.571
#6-Mark Martin, 178.159
#7-Casey Atwood, 177.924
#55-Bobby Hamilton, 177.223
#77-Dave Blaney, 176.817
#9-Bill Elliott, 176.471
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 176.355
#31-Robby Gordon, 176.298
#90-Rick Mast, 175.781
- NASCAR Plans New Safety Test Center: The Charlotte Business Journal says NASCAR plans to open an expanded safety research and testing operation in Concord, N.C., next January with a staff of 20 technicians and administrative personnel. Sources told reporter Ken Elkins that the NASCAR Research and Development Center will cost up to $8 million. Employment could eventually double to 40 as the sanctioning body develops ways to make the sport safer and refines its race car of the future, Kevin Triplett, NASCAR managing director of business operations, told the paper. A Conover, N.C.-based NASCAR R&D center that opened in January 2001 will remain in operation, but the bulk of its work will shift to the Concord center.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-7-2002)
- #28 Crew Honored: NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week is the #28 Havoline Crew for consistent fast pit stops all year but bad string of luck. The #28 Havoline Crew is one of the best crews at the track each Sunday.(NAPCM PR)(5-7-2002)
- Roush Letter: a letter from Jack Roush:
Dear Friends, Fellow Competitors, Employees and Fans:
This letter is to express my heart-felt thanks for all of the cards, flowers and especially the prayers I have received since my accident on April 19. Your generous outpouring of support has made a huge impact on the success and speed of my recovery. I wish there were a way to thank each of you personally.
I have come to realize that I am not only blessed to have survived this accident, but I am equally blessed to have so many people who care so much about my family and me. You will never know how much that means to me.
I am anxious to get back to work, and look forward to seeing each and everyone of you again as soon as possible. Thank you again for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers through my perilous time. Sincerely, Jack Roush.
See more on yje accident at my Roush Aircraft Accident page.(5-7-2002)
- Amick Staying at #26 UPDATE 3 Nope – Hornaday In: Reports were circulating at Nashville that #26 Dr Pepper team owner Dave Carroll was going to replace Amick with Winston Cup regular Mike Skinner. And while Carroll said it was true that tentative plans are being made for Skinner to run a second car as early as Richmond, he completely dismissed speculation that Amick would be fired. "That’s really not true," said Carroll, who did not attend the Nashville event. "Reports like that get started when we’re running the way we are. We’re concerned about our performance right now, but we’re also doing what we can to get that corrected." Like Carroll, Amick denied that he would be leaving. "I’m not planning on going anywhere," Amick said. "You know how big Randy’s (LaJoie) mouth is. Randy’s a good friend of mine, but he’s already told me I was getting fired. If it’s up to Randy, I might get fired. But I don’t know anything of it. Nobody’s said anything to me. As far as I know, everything’s cool. Everything’s fine."(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(4-18-2002)
UPDATE: sources say Elton Sawyer could be in the #26 Dr Pepper car soon.(4-20-2002)
UPDATE 2: According to one source, however, Amick could remain employed by the team, but give way in a few races to another, more experienced, driver. Carroll has talked to Winston Cup regular Mike Skinner about driving a second car, but the owner again wouldn’t say if Skinner played into his plans for Amick. Still, Carroll did admit changes are probably on the way. If speculation around the garage is to be believed, he might act before the May 3 event at Richmond. Another possibility mentioned by the rumor mill is that Elton Sawyer would replace Amick, at least on a temporary basis. Carroll has talked to the Virginia native, but not in more than a month. (Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(4-25-2002)
UPDATE 2: Ron Hornaday will take over the #26 Dr Pepper Chevrolet for the remainder of the Busch Series season, replacing Lyndon Amick, who has been released by Carroll Racing.(NASCAR.com)(5-7-2002)
- Hamilton Fastest in Lowes Testing: #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. topped the unofficial speed charts Monday as testing shifted into high gear at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hamilton led the speed parade among the 22 BGN teams preparing for the May 25 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300. Former Indy Car driver Roberto Guerrero was involved in the only incident during Busch Series testing. The Medellin, Colombia, native lost control in turn four and backed his #09 Chevry into the wall. He walked away uninjured. Testing for both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series continues Tuesday.
NASCAR Busch Series speeds:
#25-Bobby Hamilton Jr., 173.633mph
#24-Jack Sprague, 173.410
#99-Jeff Burton, 173.244
#12-Kerry Earnhardt, 173.021
#99-Michael Waltrip, 172.855
#5-Ricky Hendrick, 172.689