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PAST NEWS APRIL 1997




      (4-30-97)

    • BGN News: Matt Kenseth to Replace Tim Bender in the #17 Kraft Singles Chevy starting immediately. I hear he signed a two year deal with the Robby Reisner team. No idea what Bender might do(4-30-97)


      (4-29-97)

    • LVMPD followed up on the man that called into America’s most Wanted
      and realized no new leads. Also I hear Chris Trickle’s condition has worsened. Doctors say there is fluid leaking into his brain. He is scheduled to undergo surgery tomorrow
      4-30-97 to alleviate the condition.(4-29-97)
    • Have heard that Geoff Bodine may be trying to sell his team and go back to just being a driver??(4-29-97)


      (4-28-97)

    • I hear Firestone is threatening legal action against the NASCAR/ Goodyear pact. Supposedly Bruton Smith is said to have told Firestone they would be welcome at his tracks.(4-28-97)
    • I also hear General Motors is said to be backing the idea of Dr. J’s minority owned team(4-28-97)
    • I hear Nike may be the sponsor on the Dale/Teresa Earnhardt owned #14 Chevy in 1998(4-28-97)
    • Jimmy Spencer plans to be back with Travis Carter next season, and says that rumors of changes elsewhere may help his team, especially if rivals lose their focus.(per a JournalNow article)(4-28-97)
    • Five minutes into the broadcast of America’s Most Wanted, a person
      claiming to be the man that flagged down the CAT bus the night Chris Trickle was shot called in and spoke to AMW’s producers and Las Vegas Metro Police Department. After a few minutes, Metro determined that this was in fact the long sought witness. Metro is saying that the reason he did not come forward sooner was that there was a warrant out for him. This is the first lead LVMPD has had.(thanks Cliff & Lily for the news)(4-28-97)


      (4-27-97)

    • Willy T Ribbs says he is ready to try Winston Cup again, but has nothing going with the Dr. J news(4-27-97)
    • Per the Richmond Times-Dispatch NASCAR took a close look at a few little things yesterday. It seized and X-rayed the intake manifold and cylinder heads off the pole-winning car of John Andretti, and it examined suspension parts on Ken Schrader’s car. Nothing was wrong with the #98 parts, the #33 parts were damaged by something Schrader hit on the track during qualifying(4-27-97)
    • I hear Penske South will make a decision on the second team within the next week or so. Kenny Irwin remains the rumor if the second team is started but Rumors of a second team may flicker out. A team representative said that, based on gut feeling, the companion team was less than likely. The ingredients needed are not available, he said.(4-27-97)
    • Rumors have it that Tony Stewart has signed on to be in the second Joe Gibbs Pontiac with Shell as a sponsor. Rumors have it that Tony Stewart has signed on to be in the second Joe Gibbs Pontiac with Shell as a sponsor. The official announcement concerning the second team will be made Tuesday, April 29th(4-27-97)


      (4-25-97)

    • More special paint schemes for The Winston on May 17th. Mike Waltrip’s #21 Citgo will run a dalmatian dog paint scheme, white with black dots in support of Walt Disney’s “101 Dalmatians.” Sterling Marlin to run special paint scheme with Kodak(that he will keep as the regular paint scheme), Jeremy Mayfield in the Kmart Kid’s Against Drugs special paint for both the Winston Select and the Coca Cola 600(4-30-97). I also hear that Texaco at a convention at Opryland in Nashville, TN, unveiled the car Ernie Irvan will drive in the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte, 5/25/97 for the 10 year anniversary of Robert Yates Racing – I hear the car looks like Davey Allison’s car did in 1987 with the white, black and gold paint scheme. Jeff Gordon in the Jurrasic Park/Lost World car, Earnhardt in the orange Wheaties #3(4-25-97)
    • Goodyear has signed a three year deal with NASCAR Winston Cup to be the exclusive tire supplier for the Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and NASCAR Craftsman Truck series. That should put to bed any rumor that Firestone will return anytime soon. Also per the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Goodyear officials say they foresee no supply problems as a result a strike by the United Steelworkers (the union also represents rubber workers). The strike, which began at midnight Saturday(4-19-97), affect the company’s Akron, Ohio, plant, where all racing tires are made(4-25-97). Bill France has said that Firestone/Bridgestone have never approached NASCAR, formally or informally, about getting involved in the series again(Firestone was involved in the 60’s and 70’s). Also there may be some type of a ‘merchandising event’ that may include a NASCAR passenger tire(4-26-97)
    • US District Judge William Osteen ruled in Greensboro, NC, on Friday that the FDA can regulate tobacco as a drug. But he said it cannot regulate cigarette advertising, meaning that tobacco company sponsorship of stock car racing can continue.(4-25-97)
    • The JournalNow also reports that Kenny Irwin, Jr. is the Ford choice to be the 2nd Penske driver in 1998(4-21-97) Hmmm….crew chief Robin Pemberton is quoted in the Birmingham PostHerald as saying, “Multiply and conquer? I don’t but that at all, many teams try to justify their deals by pointing to the extra test dates they get. But I don’t know if all the potential headaches and negative stuff that comes along with multiple teams make the testing an advantage.(4-25-97)
    • Per NASCAR Fansite: Jimmy Spencer and Smoking Joe’s to part ways in 1998. Inside NASCAR sources say that Spencer and Smoking joes will part ways in 1998. There is also a good possibility that Spencer will not drive for Travis Carter next year as well. The pressure on the Smoking Joe’s image is said to be the problem with Camel in NASCAR. They are expected to bow to
      the pressure.(4-25-97)
    • As for Brett Bodine’s money woes, my sources with Catalyst Communications and Frontier (who put the Close Call deal together) can’t find any information either way(4-25-97)


      (4-22-97)

    • From the USA Today Sports: Julius “Dr. J” Erving is partnering with former NFL running back Joe Washington and two North Carolina executives to form the Washington Erving Group, which will form NASCAR teams for 1998. They have already talked with Ford and Pontiac and are trying to capitalize on the marketing and merchandising potential and the opportunity to bring racial and gender diversity to a rapidly growing sport. They plan to start with an established driver and groom minority drivers for a possible multicar team(4-22-97)


      (4-19-97)

    • Randy MacDonald attempted to make the Martinsville race in the #79 Trix Chevy Racing entry but failed.(4-19-97)
    • The #77 and Bobby Hillin Jr were awarded the final provisional starting position. Although Hillin is not eligible for a provisional based on this year’s point standings, NASCAR rules allows for the completion of the field based on the previous year’s owner points. None of the five drivers not making the field were eligible for provisional starts from either year’s owner points.(4-19-97)


      (4-18-97)

    • Jeff Purvis debuted his new team at the BGN Nashville race on 4-19-97. The team is based in Nashville, TN is owned by Larry Lockamy will be in a Chevrolet sponsored by Opryland and Georgia Boot Company and will be #28. Plans are to run 9 undecided BGN race and possibly a few Winston Cup races, no idea what number they would be in WC. Dennis Adcock, formerly of the WC #95 will be the crew chief(4-18-97)
    • Forget the rumor about Mayfield leaving the #37, I hear that will not happen(4-18-97)
    • I hear Penske South will start a second team in 1998 with Al Unser, Jr in a limited run?(4-18-97)
    • How could I have rumors without Tony Stewart involved? Here is another one: Joe Gibbs supposedly has bought out Tony Stewarts contract and plans to run him in a second Gibbs team in 1998(4-18-97). NEW NEWS: Shell, Labonte’s major associate sponsor, is behind the push. But Gibbs would confirm little more. As for Stewart, who is said to have a contract for NASCAR racing with Harry Ranier, Gibbs says, “The only thing I can say is it’s nothing we’ve gotten done, Shell and ourselves have been looking for a while. But we’re not going to do anything unless we get the right situation and the right driver(4-21-97)
    • I hear Morgan-McClure may start a second team, are close to sponsorship and rumors include Ted Musgrave here(I hear he is on the hot-seat at Roush)?(4-18-97)


      (4-17-97)

    • Hear that Coke will be coming aboard the #88 as an associate sponsor very soon?(4-17-97)
    • I hear Delco-Remy America will leave the hood of the #1 Pontiac after the Coca-Cola 600 and the team is desperately searching for sponsorship(4-17-97)
    • Other rumors have QVC rethinking their auto racing sponsorship and they may leave after 1997; Brett Bodine isn’t getting the $$ from Close Call he was hoping for and is having money troubles; Rick Mast possibly getting released from the #75(we heard this before); any more DNQ for the #91 and Spam may take their $$ elsewhere(4-17-97)
    • I hear the #77 team is looking at ways to buy out Bobby Hillin and get another driver as they feel the engines are strong enough to warrant better qualifying runs and better race results(4-17-97)


      (4-16-97)

    • I hear Cale Yarborough is looking for a new sponsor. Supposedly RCA told him just before the Texas race that they will not be sponsoring a car in 1998(4-16-97)
    • Per NASCAR Online: The word around the pits is that Todd Bodine will likely move up in 1998 to Winston Cup. No idea which team, but probably with his present BGN team(4-16-97)
    • I hear there is a new Tri-Oval/Road Course in Albuquerque, New Mexico and that they will get 2 BGN races in 1998?(4-16-97)


      (4-15-97)

    • In light of increasing Federal pressure to ban Tobacco advertising look for Jimmy Spencers car to drop Smoking Joe graphics and go to plain “Winston” like Johnson/ Scelzi dragster has already to show RJR is willing to be
      reasonable. Plain red scheme with white ribbon and Winston logo. If not before
      year is out , by next year almost certainly. I also hear Jimmy Spencer will not last the year(4-15-97), see above story
    • RPM2Nite reports that Joe Gibbs may field a second team with three possible scenarios: 1) Full Time WC with an established driver; 2) Full Time BGN with limited WC starts; 3) Part time BGN and WC team(4-15-97)


      (4-14-97)

    • As rumored before, Jeff Green and Diamond Ridge plan on moving to Winston Cup from BGN in 1998. That is one reason it is taking a while to achieve sponsorship as they want a sponsor that will carry over to the Cup team in 1998(4-14-97)
    • Geoff Bodine was fined $10,000 by NASCAR. For his on the track incidents with Jimmy Spencer and for his comments after the final incident. After the final altercation with Spencer, Geoff Bodine was told by NASCAR to park the car(4-14-97)
    • The Food City 500 at Bristol this past weekend tied a record for the most cautions in a WC series event with the yellow flag coming out 20 times, tying the
      mark at Bristol in 1989. The starting field at Bristol used to be set at 36 cars, but a change in the NASCAR rules, which allows up to 43 cars in the field for any race, allowed the maximum to start this year’s event. The caution flag flew for 132 laps(4-14-97)
    • More from the NASCAR Fansite Newsletter: Daytona and Talladega changes forthcoming, expect there to be some changes on the Superspeedways. Rumor is that there will be spoiler and restrictor plate changes for all teams. The goal is to try to put the racing more in the hands of the driver. Rumors include up to a 1″ restrictor plate and spoilers from 3 to 3 3/4″.(4-14-97)
    • I hear BGNN driver Richard Messier will race WC at NHIS, Pocono and Watkins Glen this year. Supposedly will drive the Verres Racing #67 Winston Cup car, with maybe a full time schedule for Winston Cup racing in 1998(4-14-97)


      (4-10-97)

    • Eight Drivers tested at Martinsville on Wednesday 4-9-97. #’s 21,23,31,40,41,42,96 and Randy MacDonald!(#35 or #79?) I hear Waltrip was the fastest, but I haven’t seen any speeds posted(4-10-97)


      (4-9-97)

    • NASCAR will have an open test session for the Winston Cup teams at the new California International Speedway, May 5-7, 1997, immediately after the Sears Point Race 5-4-97. Don’t think you’ll hear many complaints about this track(4-9-97)
    • Sorry folks I was Wrong! Tammy Jo Kirk has not quit Geoff Bodines truck team! Seems there was confusion over the #07 and #7 switch. sorry about that!(4-9-97)


      (4-8-97)

    • Per RPM2Nite: Yesterday, 4-8-97, NASCAR had a joint test with Bobby Labontes #18 InterState Pontiac, Mark Martins #6 and Ted Musgrave’s #16 Fords, and Sterling Marlin’s #4 Chevy at Daytona with restrictor plates(the rumor that restrictor plates would not be on the cars was wrong), looking for ways to slow down the cars aerodynamically. They tried many things including low drag combined with low down force and high drag combined with high down force but NASCAR would rather stay with what rules they have than do something that hasn’t been researched(4-8-97). Labonte and Marlin also tested on 4-9-97. Areas tested included the front air dam, rear spoiler(4″ and 8″), and spoiling the air on the roof and A-pillars(4-16-97)
    • This story from the “National Speed Sport News”, 4-2-97 edition: International Speedway Corp(ISC-Daytona etc), Penske Motorsports, NASCAR and basically all entities that include all the tracks that host WC races are being sued filed by Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes & LeRach LLP of San Diego, a recognized leader in class-action lawsuits. The suit alleges price-fixing of souvenirs and other merchandise.(4-8-97)
    • Per RPM2Nite: Dr. Jerry Punch was making a joke about the fact the teams had to face Darlington , Texas, and Bristol three races in a row, and that the bodymen should quit or ask for a big raise next year. Then he added, ” I’m joking, next year the schedule is going to be changed”. The only change I have heard about is the possibility of Richmonds date moved to later in the spring and becoming a night race. I guess that could depend on what happens the Rockingham sale and Las Vegas should get a date(4-8-97)
    • Rumor has it that Bruton Smith is supposedly looking at Mosport Park in Canada?(4-8-97)
    • I hear as for Al Unser, Jr running at the brickyard 400, Penske has said it will only happen if he has a “twenty point lead” in the CART championship run. Considering Unser has finished 27th in both CART races so far, let’s just say
      that is VERY unlikely, we’ll see.(4-8-97)


      (4-7-97)

    • DJ Tucker news: DJ Tucker is a character on the FOX movie/pilot named Steel Chariots filming in the Charlotte area. BGN #78 Team owner Dan Browder’s brother, Ben Browder plays DJ Tucker in the movie. They will be filming for the next few weeks. The Ranier/Walsh team is providing some support for the filming of the movie. Thanks Dan for the info. That is why the name DJ Tucker was on the #20 car at Texas instead of the Greg Sacks name(4-7-97)


      (4-6-97)

    • I’m not in Texas so I don’t know but it has been reported to me that the weather was fine, but yet they cancelled qualifying anyway so the drivers could concentrate on practicing?(4-5-97). But I hear the track was seeping water and they worked the morning to fix it(4-6-97)
    • What happened to Bruton Smith’s big announcement? I hear he was set to announce the Winston Select would be moved to Texas in 1998 but the drivers got wind of the news and voiced their displeasure with having to be away from home and family for another week instead of being home most of May(4-5-97) Unless the opening of the Speedway Club was the big news(4-6-97)
    • I have heard from the folks at Beckett and the following was nothing but an April Fools Joke they printed: Anyone hear a rumor that Michael Jordan was going to start a WC team or was it another one of those crazy April Fools Jokes??? When has he ever shown an interest in Auto Racing?(4-5-97). More info: In the current issue of Beckett Racing Price Guide, it says that Jordan plans to become the owner of a race team(which series?). The sponsorship will reportedly come from Jordan’s endorsements: Gatorade, Hanes, McDonald’s, Nike, and Warner Bros.(to compete with Cartoon Network). He also plans to release another half-animated movie tentatively titled, “Traffic Jam.” It also says that his car will be able to change paint jobs during a race, much like a revolving billboard. Is this a joke?? This rumor deserves TWO smiley faces(4-6-97)


      (4-5-97)

    • The rain caused NASCAR to cancel qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday morning, so the first 35 in OWNERS points made the InterState Batteries 500 with the remaining 8 (the field will be 43) determined by postmark of their entries. The following teams made the show on that basis and are the 36th-43rd starters: 71,36,97,20,42,77,91 and 78. Missing the show included: 02,19,27,29,46,66(HB Bailey),74(Randy LaJoie),95 and 96. In practice the #29 was 5th fastest and the #95 was 6th fastest, yet they went home(4-5-97)


      (4-4-97)

    • Randy LaJoie attempted to make the TMS Winston Cup race in the #74 FINA Chevy serviced by his BGN crew. LaJoie crashed the car in practice and since he has no owner points and qualifying was rained out he missed the show(4-4-97)


      (4-2-97)

    • Saw a rumor on the Speednet Forum (another newsgroup basically) that Bruton Smith, Roger Penske and Bob Bahre are forming a rival league to NASCAR Winston Cup. Just look at the names involved and you know it’s gotta be an April Fools joke one day late(4-2-97)