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April 2001 News Archives


 

  • (4-30-2001)
  • Dyno Testing: NASCAR put eight cars on the chassis dyno to measure rear-wheel horsepower. The cars checked were those of #2-Rusty Wallace, #24-Jeff Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #40-Sterling Marlin, #28-Ricky Rudd, #9-Bill Elliott, #55-Bobby Hamilton and #33-Joe Nemechek(That’s Racin’). What is Chassis Dyno Testing? See my Racing FAQ page for the explanation(4-30-2001)
  • TV Ratings Update: While Sunday’s NAPA 500 at the California Speedway marked the start of the second-quarter of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season, first-quarter television ratings averaged a 6.8 and are up 39% compared season-to-date with last season. The week-by-week household share is averaging a 17, a 31% increase, compared to the same time last season. Television ratings numbers are based on information and numbers provided by Nielsen Media Research. The schedule has included an unprecedented nine consecutive broadcast network appearances on first-year rightsholder FOX Sports, comparatively last year’s schedule included five events on two different broadcast networks and four on cable among two different rightsholders. Each race in the first quarter of the season gained significant year-to-year ratings and significantly more household reach with each event having been on broadcast network television. FOX Sports’ NASCAR Winston Cup Series coverage is the only broadcast sports package that is enjoying year-to-year growth. Through Talladega, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series total viewer comparison in millions is 191.7 (2001) vs. 103.9 (2000), an 85% increase in viewership season-to-date. See the full story and race by race ratings and 2001 vs 2000 comparisions at NASCAR Ratings Up 39% After Reaching Quarter Point of Schedule(4-30-2001)
  • Waltrip’s Seat Breaks: When #15-Michael Waltrip hit the Turn 2 wall on lap 154 of Sunday’s NAPA 500 at California Speedway, the inside of his car was dismantled. According to a team spokesperson, the bottom of the driver’s seat was cracked. The buckle on the right side head net, which is a safety device that prevents the head from hitting a roll bar or other parts inside the car and is made of the same material as the window net, was broken and not affixed. Also, the head rest on the right side was opened up towards the passenger’s side window and the ignition box, which is bolted to the car, fell off. The team spokesperson said NASCAR took pictures of the inside of the car for further evaluation(NASCAR.com Buzz)(4-30-2001)
  • Waltrip OK: #15-Michael Waltrip also hit hard after a flat tire on Lap 153. Waltrip was examined at the infield facility and released(SpeedVision)(4-30-2001)
  • Hills Bros Stays with #90, Lpoez Hired UPDATE Lopez Short Term? Junie Donlavey denied Internet reports that sponsor Hills Brothers would be leaving his Richmond-based team. Donlavey said he had been in contact with the CEO of the parent company of Hills Brothers. “He assured me they would be with us all year long,” Donlavey said. “We have a good relationship with Hills Brothers.” Philippe Lopez, former crew chief for A.J. Foyt’s team, has joined Donlavey’s team as a consultant to crew chief Bobby King on a race-to-race basis. Driver Hut Stricklin had failed to qualify for three of the past four races before securing the 30th spot yesterday for tomorrow’s NAPA 500 at California Speedway. “We’re right on the edge of good vs. bad,” Donlavey said. “We need that tip to push us to the good side.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-28-2001)
    UPDATE: Hills Bros had been rumored on the way to the #27 of Kenny Wallace, although Donlavey has firmly denied the rumors. Wallace, meanwhile, has said his team may or may not be at Richmond next week, with hints that the end may be near for the unsponsored group. One key to the improved work by the Donlavey #90 team was consulting work by Phillipe Lopez, who recently walked out of the crew chief’s job for A.J. Foyt’s #14. Lopez says he has another job offer in the works, with only money details remaining to be finalized(SpeedVision)(4-30-2001)

(4-29-2001)

  • Kenseth to RCR? it was reported on ESPN2’s RPM 2Day on Sunday that #17 DeWalt driver, Matt Kenseth could be headed to Richard Childress Racing in 2002. Didn’t say which car, the #30 AOL Chevy or the #31 Lowes Chevy if Skinner leaves(4-29-2001)
  • Wallace Wins the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway. #2-Rusty Wallace won the race at California, his 54th career win (ties Lee Petty for 7th all time – my mistake, Gordon has 53, not 54) and his first of 2001. The win was Wallace’s first in 21 races, Bristol in Aug 2000. Wallace is the 8th different winner in 2001. It is the 16th straight year Wallace has won a cup race (see the current list on my Richmond Race Info page). The win by Wallace allows Ford to close the Manufacturers Championship to 2 points behind Chevy, each has 5 wins each. Winston Cup Points Leader #88-Dale Jarrett(finished 24th) maintains a lead of 66 points over #24-Jeff Gordon(finished 2nd). #77-Robert Pressley had his first top ten of 2001 and best finish since a 5th last June at Michigan. #90-Hut Stricklin had a nice run, finishing 12th, his best since a 9th at Michigan in August of 1999. See NASCAR.com for the Results and Drivers Standings and from the AP/That’s Racin’: NAPA 500 Results(4-29-2001)
  • Not NASCAR but shocking – CART race at Texas called off: The Firehawk 600 was cancelled Sunday after CART drivers and officials decided it wasn’t safe to race at Texas Motor Speedway, leaving prospects for a rescheduled race unclear. CART spokesman Mike Zizzo said officials were meeting with car owners, drivers and a doctor. There was no immediate word on prospects for holding the race, but transporters for the Champ Cars were seen loading up at the track.(ESPN)(4-29-2001)
  • NASCAR Cafe News: Rumors that a NASCAR Cafe might replace MacArthur Center’s now-extinct Rainforest Cafe appear to be off track. Virginia Beach or Hampton are more likely locations than the downtown Norfolk mall, said the man who leads NASCAR Cafe, one of the latest concepts in the “eatertainment” industry. Headquartered in Knoxville, NASCAR Cafe has outlets in Myrtle Beach; Orlando, Fla.; Las Vegas; and Sevierville, Tenn., in the Smoky Mountains. The 25,000-square-foot cafes feature full restaurants offering dishes like Winston Cup Wings, Talladega Tenders and Collision Chicken. Racing decor, videos, arcade-style games and rides, and a retail shop with racewear and collectibles complete the concept. (full story at the Virginian-Pilot), the NASCAR Cafe in Nashville, recentlt shut down(4-29-2001)
  • Blood Drive: Compelled to do something for his favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt, Andy Kinworthy organized a blood drive to honor the NASCAR legend known as “Intimidator.” The drive, with two Florida Blood Services buse Kinworthy said. “I’m planning on this taking place every year on his birthday.” Kinworthy said today’s memorial includes celebrations at times significant to Earnhardt’s life: 3:07 p.m. and 7:03 p.m. for the driver’s car number and seven championships, and 4:29 p.m. to recognize the month and day the driver was born in Kannapolis, N.C.(St Petersburg Times)(4-29-2001)

    (4-28-2001)

  • Raceday Cancelled UPDATE: the Speedway Illustrated site is reporting that as of this morning that TNN’s long-running motorsports magazine Raceday has been cancelled. The show scheduled for this Sunday will be their last broadcast. So far, there has been no word how this change in programming will affect the ASA or the World of Outlaws, whose events TNN currently broadcasts. It has been noticed that there has been no TNN on-air promotion of these racing broadcasts this year, as they commonly did in the past. The future of the Raceday staff is unknown at this writing(Speedway Illustrated)(4-27-2001)
    UPDATE: TNN/Viacom spokesperson David Schwarz says Raceday was cancelled “because the ratings steadily declined over the last six months, and in fact, for the past two years.” Schwarz also took a slight jab at NASCAR and Fox by saying that “not being allowed to carry NASCAR highlights” hurt the show, and he further pointed out, “TNN had exclusive rights to carry NASCAR, but we permitted other networks to carry our highlights.” Additionally, Schwarz said, “‘Raceday’ was the lead in to a popular WWF show, but it just wasn’t holding its own.” When asked about TNN’s commitment to its other motorsports programming, ASA, IHRA, and World of Outlaws, Schwarz said there are no plans to stop or minimize coverage of those series. Producer Mark Smith differs with Viacom’s assessment, stating that ratings have not declined. In fact, he says, they have been fairly consistent over the past three years, including the best ever 1.8 rating this year the week after Dale Earnhardt passed away. Smith also says, “I think this is the best staff of people we have ever had on Raceday during the 4 years I have produced it,” and that there may be other opportunities for the team(MotorsportsTV), well that frees up my Sunday mornings since my local FSN affiliate doesn’t show NASCAR Tech and NASCAR This Morning(4-28-2001) – THANKS Guys, nice final show!
  • Didn’t Hear This but – the false Labonte rumor UPDATE the response: NASCAR.com is reporting – All rumors that NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte was injured Friday in a crash — be it plane or on the track — are completely untrue. An ABC affiliate out of Nashville, TN(WKRN-2), incorrectly reported Friday morning that Labonte was injured in a plane crash Friday morning en route to California Speedway AND False rumo Winston Cup Series practice started at 1:30pm/et, well after the story broke. False rumors also swirled throughout the East Coast that Labonte was hurt in a crash during practice. Oddly enough, Cup practice started at 1:30pm/et, well after the story broke. (NASCAR.com), see it’s not always the Internet sites(4-27-2001)
    UPDATE: Rumors of an accident involving 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, Bobby Labonte, are completely false. Earlier today, reports of Labonte being involved in some sort of accident were being spread nationwide and being talked about in the garage area of the California Speedway where the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will be running the NAPA Auto Parts 500 this Sunday. In addition, the initial reports of these rumors, which were reported to the team through the track and other sources, were erroneously attributed to WKRN-Nashville. Unfortunately, before all of the facts could be verified and sifted through, WKRN was falsely attributed to something they had nothing to do with. “This is really bad, and strange, that’s for sure,” said Labonte. “It’s hard to believe a lot of stuff you read or might see on TV. It’s bad because of my family being back home, even though I just talked to them about 30 minutes before that. When there’s a rumor like that out there, and now it’s just so spread out it just becomes a big catastrophe and probably like a death threat, I guess you might say. So it’s pretty bad. When you listen to something next time you’ll wonder, is that true or not? I’m not sure. It makes you think you’ve really got to be on top of the game, everybody needs to be, to make sure they’ve got the right information before they say anything. When asked if he knew how it got started, Labonte responded, “No, I have no idea. We didn’t even have any close calls this morning (in practice) or last night getting here, so I have no idea.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/Site)(4-28-2001)
  • Hut and Hills Bros to the #75? Lopez to the #90 UPDATE 2 Hills Bros STAYING: Anonymous sources indicate that Hut Stricklin and Hills Bros Coffee may be moving to the #75 Galaxy Motorsports team. The Galaxy Motorsports front office says “I can’t comment on anything at this time.” Racin.net has heard rumbles from the garage and from Hills Bros racing site(only on the unreliable message boards) that the #75 Galaxy Motorsports might be trying to lure Hills Bros sponsorship along with driver Hut Stricklin. Sources say Junie, who’s old fashioned, has a hand shake agreement with Hills Bros & driver Hut Stricklin. This old fashioned agreement brought up speculation that Hills Bros might move to Kenny Wallace and the #27 ride after the #90 team failed to make Martinsville(which was squashed by Hills Bros) but, now that the team missed Talladega with Yates Motors the Hills Bros site stated Hut Stricklin will drive for Hills Bros and will be in Atlanta in a Hills Bros Ford and the end of this year…they failed to mention if that Ford would have #90 on it(pure speculation). Also rumor has it now that Hut & Hills Bros might unite with #75 Galaxy Motorsports and hire Phillipe’ Lopez as crew chief after being released(he left wasn’t released) from the #14 AJ Foyt team(Racin.net), so far none of my sources have heard this and seems to be quite a few holes, but we’ll see(4-25-2001)
    UPDATE: Hills Bros Coffee Racing team owner Junie Donlavey has hired Felipe Lopez as a consultant for his #90 Cup team that fields Fords for veteran driver Hut Stricklin. “I think Felipe is an excellent addition to the Hills Bros Coffee Racing team,” Donlavey said. “He has experience with Hut and they communicate well with each other.” Lopez was released earlier in the season by Foyt Racing and was previously employed by Dale Earnhardt Inc. to work as crew chief with driver Steve Park. “I’m excited to work with (crew chief) Bobby King and Hut,” Lopez said. “I’m here to help them get back on track and to help Bobby continue the excellent job that he’s been doing. I feel they have the pieces laid to make this a competitive team. I’m here to help them get to that point.” Lopez worked alongside of Stricklin in 1996 and two races in 1997. The duo combined for Stricklin’s career-best, second-place finish at Darlington in 1996. “I’m happy to see us get Felipe,” Stricklin said. “He has a lot of experience that can help this young team gel together as we progress through the season. He’s a good friend and understands Bobby and myself very well.” Lopez’s first race with the Hills Bros Coffee Racing team will be this weekend at California Speedway in Fontana, CA(Keystone Marketing PR)(4-26-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Junie Donlavey denied Internet reports that sponsor Hills Brothers would be leaving his Richmond-based team. Donlavey said he had been in contact with the CEO of the parent company of Hills Brothers. “He assured me they would be with us all year long,” Donlavey said. “We have a good relationship with Hills Brothers.” Philippe Lopez, former crew chief for A.J. Foyt’s team, has joined Donlavey’s team as a consultant to crew chief Bobby King on a race-to-race basis. Driver Hut Stricklin had failed to qualify for three of the past four races before securing the 30th spot yesterday for tomorrow’s NAPA 500 at California Speedway. “We’re right on the edge of good vs. bad,” Donlavey said. “We need that tip to push us to the good side.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-28-2001)
  • Busch/Bud Changes? Anheuser-Busch(Budweisers/Busch) officials may be considering a shakeup in their sponsorship of the Busch tour, according to NASCAR sources. The St. Louis-based company has been a long-time sponsor of NASCAR’s number two division(Winston Salem Journal)(4-28-2001)
  • Standard Springs? NASCAR officials are considering adding spring limits, such as used at Daytona and Talladega, across the board at all tracks, which has crew chiefs up in arms(Winston Salem Journal)(4-28-2001)
  • Simpson Restraint UPDATE: Simpson Performance Products has developed a head restraint system that is quickly catching on in NASCAR’s Winston Cup and Busch Series divisions. The Simpson Decelerator, a concept originally developed by NASA and common among mountain climbers, restrains the head and neck and also features a tear-away strap that slows the acceleration of the head during violent impacts. Like the HANS device and other head and neck restraint systems, it is designed to reduce the violent whipping motion of the head that causes basilar skull fractures, injuries that killed Dale Earnhardt, Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin. Several Winston Cup and Busch Series drivers tried the system at Talladega April 20-22. Among them were Ron Hornaday, Joe Nemechek, Jeremy Mayfield, Kenny Wallace, Buckshot Jones, Jeff Green and Jay Sauter. Others who have the system and plan to try it include Mike Skinner, Ward Burton, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Unlike the HANS device, the Decelerator features no bulky collar that limits head motion and vision. It also features two quick release points that make it easier to climb out of the car in the event of an accident. Unlike the Hutchins device, which wraps around the driver’s chest, waist and crotch and connects to the seat belts, the Simpson system features straps that mount to the roll bars behind the driver’s seat and runs through the same route as the shoulder belts. Those straps connect to the decelerator strap, two pieces of webbing that is folded and sewn together and connects to a mount on the front of the driver’s helmet. Upon impact, the stitching in the decelerator straps tear apart, slowing the acceleration and forward motion of the driver’s head. The sewn straps must be replaced after a crash. The Simpson system has been tested by noted biomechanical engineer Dr. John Melvin and proved to be nearly as effective as the HANS device, Malone said. The system costs about $200, plus the replacement straps, compared to about $1,200 for the HANS device.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(4-26-2001)
    UPDATE: “Are you going to wear the HANS device?” With safety at the forefront of recent headlines, Kenny (Wallace) has been asked this question almost as many times as people have asked “When you gonna get a sponsor?” Kenny experimented with the HANS device during recent practice sessions at both Nashville and Talladega but wasn’t yet comfortable with the device. “We’ve got to make some adjustments to the HANS to get it to fit in with my seat, and do some more testing before I’m comfortable with it.” Kenny stated after a run in Talladega. For now, Kenny has put his trust in a new restraint system developed by Simpson Performance Products. See full story and image at the Kenny Wallace Racing Site(4-28-2001)
  • Driver to Attempt the Coca Cola 600: Jeff Fultz will attempt to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte next month. Fultz, 30, said Thursday he has landed a one-race deal with car owners Gene DeHart and Mike Clark for the Coca-Cola 600, May 27 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. DeHart’s father, Gary, is crew chief for Winston Cup driver Terry Labonte. “I’ve been waiting for this all my life,” said Fultz, “NASCAR approved me this week, so we’ll give it a good shot.” Fultz is a star on the NASCAR Gatorade All-Pro regional circuit, having finished second in the 2000 points race. He stands third this year. Fultz lives in Mooresville, N.C., where he works as a fabricator in the race shop of Winston Cup driver Robert Pressley. He will drive a Ford Taurus and get some help from Pressley’s main sponsor, Jasper Engines. But his main support will come from two other sponsors, whom he did not name(Cincinnati Enquirer)(4-28-2001)
  • Autopsy Photos: Brevard County(FL) authorities investigating the death of a woman whose body washed ashore got a court order Friday so they could use an autopsy photo to help identify the body. Otherwise, they feared they would run afoul of the Earnhardt Family Protection Act, which was intended to shield such photos from public view. Investigators said the hassle cost them hours they could have used to track down the identity of the victim whose body was found near Melbourne Beach on Thursday morning. The new law, hastily passed by the Legislature after the Feb. 18 death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, bars medical examiners from distributing autopsy photos without a judge’s permission(full story at the Orlando Sentinel). For past news and stoires on this, see my Dale Earnhardt Tribute Site – Reactions page(4-28-2001)
  • No #4 – First time since 1988: Kevin Lepage’s #4 Kodak Chevy, owned by Morgan-McClure Motorsports, missed the Cup race at California, the first time that team has failed to qualify for a race in 408 races – since Rick Wilson missed the field at Richmond in February of 1988. Robby Gordon began the season as the team’s driver but was replaced by Lepage after five races. The team was expected to make Lepage its permanent driver this week, but that announcement had been put off until at least next week before Friday’s disappointment. “The results of this weekend will not affect the signing of Kevin Lepage as our driver, from our standpoint,” McClure said. “The contract is not signed yet, but we are close to signing a deal(That’s Racin’)(4-28-2001)
  • No Yellow Line Rule at California: Winston Cup series director Gary Nelson said Friday the use of black-flag penalties last weekend at Talladega for racing below the yellow line would likely be used only at the series’ stops at Talladega and Daytona(That’s Racin’)(4-28-2001)
  • Another Wood UPDATE: Jon Wood starts second today in his second Winston West race. His father is Eddie Wood, one of the co-owners of the Wood Brothers #21 Winston Cup team. Jon Wood, 19, is competing in selected Winston West and truck series races this year to gain experience. Roush Racing has announced that Wood will drive for one of the organization’s truck teams provided sponsorship is found. Wood finished 11th in his Winston West debut at Phoenix in February. He plans to compete at Winston West events this year at Kansas Speedway and Las Vegas. He also plans to compete in the truck series races at Richmond and South Boston Speedway(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE: Jon Wood led quite a few laps and finished 2nd(4-28-2001)


    (4-27-2001)

  • New #45 Scheme: Sprint, Kyle Petty and Kyle’s father, Richard “The King” Petty, today unveiled a special paint scheme for Kyle’s #45 Sprint Dodge revealing the 2001 Sprint/Kyle Petty Charity Ride logo during a special ceremony at the California Speedway. Petty will drive the Sprint/Kyle Petty Charity Ride car at the Winston Cup race June 24 at Sears Point Raceway. With the 2001 Sprint/Kyle Petty Charity Ride already at capacity, Sprint also announced that they have created a variety of promotions and customer events that create opportunities for more riders to participate. Sprint’s local telephone division is also awarding one lucky customer a spot on the Charity Ride through a sweepstakes being conducted at the Sprint Stores in select markets. Besides the sweepstakes, customers who sign up for Sprint SolutionsSM while at the stores will receive a miniature die-cast Sprint 45 Dodge car with their purchase. The special paint scheme features the colors of the 2001 Sprint/Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. The Starbright Foundation, one of the benefactors of the charity ride, is also featured on the c-post of the car.(Three Wide Marketing PR), for more info on the Charity Ride, see my Racing Charities page(4-27-2001)
  • Martinsville Track Worker Update Story: see full story at Catchefence – Safety, Something Randy Hall Wants All To Be Aware by Mark Stiles(4-27-2001)
  • Bodine to Return UPDATE: Geoffrey Bodine hopes to begin a comeback next month at Lowes Motor Speedway. The 51-year-old Bodine plans to drive a second car for the team run by brother Brett in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He hopes that will lead to a full-time ride with Brett or someone else(ESPN/APAND Geoffrey Bodine said he’s going to be testing at Charlotte in two weeks with hopes of making the field for the 600, if he can get a sponsor. And he says he’s still trying to make a deal for Darwin Oordt’s idle operation in Mooresville, the old Butch Mock shop. Bodine in January feared his driving career was over, because of lingering effects of last year’s near-fatal crash at Daytona. But now he says that was simply an issue of side effects from medication(Winston Salem Journal)(4-22-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the car will be #91 and is awaiting NASCAR’s approval on the sponsorship package – hearing the sponsor could be Smirnoff (liquior) which could be interesting as NASCAR squashed a supposed deal between Crown Royal and Eel River Racing a month or so ago, or it could be their new malt beverage called Smirnoff Ice(4-24-2001)
    see a story on NASCAR and Liquior sponsorships at NASCAR.com NASCAR’s prohibition means no liquor license by Marty Smith(4-27-2001)
  • Talladega and TV: Once again, FOX Sports’ Winston Cup telecast topped the week’s national television sports ratings with a final 6.4 national rating for the Talladega 500 Sunday. The show carved out a 17 share with 6.541m households tuned in. The Knicks/Raptors NBA playoff game running opposite the race on NBC pulled a 3.2 final national rating. To date, the nine Winston Cup races on FOX Sports this year have averaged a stunning 6.8 with a 17 share. That’s compared to the 4.9/13 combined broadcast/cable average for the same nine races(SpeedVision)(4-27-2001)
  • Wide World of Sports and Petty: Seven-time Winston Cup champion Richard Petty will be among the athletes, and the only stock car driver, featured in ABC’s Wide World of Sports 40th Anniversary show. The show will be broadcast nationally at 4:00pm/et Sunday, April 27th (yep, right during the Cup race). Petty was interviewed a couple of weeks ago as a staple of the well-known sports show, which broadcast events such as the Southern 500 from Darlington. “I’m just glad they are using me in the `thrill of victory’ part, instead of the `agony of defeat,’ ” Petty said. “For a long time, they were all we had if we were going to be on television,” he said. “For a long time, if you were going to watch sports on television, that’s pretty much all there was. Just about anybody who has been around for any length of time knows the show.”(That’s Racin’)(4-27-2001)

    (4-26-2001)

  • Petty’s Honored: Kyle and Pattie Petty are this year’s recipients of the Racing Angels Award. The award is presented annually at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction banquet by Linda Vaughn and sponsor Prolong Super Lubricants. Previous winners of the award are Bill France and the late T. Wayne Robertson. The induction ceremony is slated to be telecast on Speedvision on April 29.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(4-26-2001)
  • #100 for Park: #1-Steve Park will start his 100th Winston Cup race this weekend at California Speedway(Pennzoil PR)(4-26-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel: hearing that Penske South Racing has an intermediate #02 Ford at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(4-27-2001)
  • Harvick to go for it: A spokesperson for Watkins Glen International said Wednesday that Kevin Harvick, who drives Richard Childress’s cars (#2 AC Delco in BGN and #29 GM Goodwrench in Cup) will fly from Daytona to New York on Friday night, July 6, after Winston Cup qualifying for the Pepsi 400 to qualify his BGN car at Watkins Glen on Saturday morning, July 7. After his BGN qualifying run, he will fly back to Daytona, run the Pepsi 400. Then he’ll fly back up to Watkins Glen to run the BGN race on Sunday, July 8.(NASCAR.com Buzz). Harvick is going for both the BGN and Cup drivers title, somthing that has never happened in the history of NASCAR(4-26-2001)
  • Sad News: Michele Alboreto, a one-time Formula One star, was killed when the Audi he was test driving crashed in eastern Germany, the carmaker said Wednesday. The 44-year-old Italian was behind the wheel of a new A8 car when it spun out of control and turned over on a straight section of the Lausitzring circuit, in what Audi’s sporting chief Wolfgang Ullrich called an “incomprehensible tragedy.” See more of the AP story at FoxSports(4-26-2001)

    (4-25-2001)

  • 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)

    (4-24-2001)

  • Re-released Earnhardt Book: Two months of testimonials and moving tributes have done little to remove the sting of that heartless day in February when Dale Earnhardt died on the final lap of the Daytona 500. However, in a recently re-released book entitled Dale Earnhardt: Rear View Mirror, only a small portion is devoted to the legendary driver’s tragic death. Most of the book, which features dozen of newspaper stories and more than 160 photographs from the archives of the Charlotte Observer, focuses on Earnhardt prior to last February’s crash. Rear View Mirror is a good book for fans seeking to learn more about what made Earnhardt tick. Full story at the Arizona Republic: Earnhardt looms in Rear View Mirror. Another recent book, Trading Paint : Dale Earnhardt Vs. Jeff Gordon Classic Photos from a Classic Rivalry was just released also, along with a few other Earnhardt books. More info on these and many other NASCAR Themed books can be found on my Racing Bookstore page, including a way to order them (proceeds to charity)(4-24-2001)
  • #01 Special Scheme: hearing that Jason Leffler will be running a Special Olympics logo in June on the #01 Cingular Dodge. Cingular is a Special Olympics sponsor and it is part of this years promo(4-24-2001)
  • Waltrip Paint at Daytona: many readers saw on For Race Fans Only (QVC) the other night that Michael Waltrip unveiled a paint scheme for the July Daytona Race. It has the NAPA Slogan “We Keep America Running” on the hood. Also had red/white stripes on it to give it an american flag feel(4-21-2001)
    IMAGE: see an image of the car on my Paint Sceme Gallery(also added the #51 Subway, the #24 Jeff Gordon Foundation car and others)(4-24-2001)
  • Mayfield to be Honored: Last year’s NAPA AUTO PARTS 500 champion Jeremy Mayfield will join past champions Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin in the California Speedway Walk of Fame at Gate 12 on Friday, April 27th at 9:30 a.m. Mayfield will have a plaque permanently installed in the ground along with his footprints and autograph.(California Speedway PR)(4-24-2001)
  • Pole but No Wins: did ya know? No pole winner has gone on to win the race in which he won the pole this season(4-24-2001)
  • Oakwood Homes Gone UPDATE: Advertising and marketing have become cost-cutting targets, and NASCAR is feeling the pinch. Team Owner Andy Petree said hard economic times for Oakwood Homes are the reason the mobile home manufacturer is not renewing its sponsorship of his #33 Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek. Petree is looking for a primary sponsor for the 2002 season, but said he would welcome a new company this year as a joint sponsor. Petree is also searching for an associate sponsor on his #55 car, which is sponsored by Square D and driven by Bobby Hamilton.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE: Because of the current state of the manufactured housing industry, Oakwood Homes will not be a primary sponsor on Joe Nemechek.s #33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet beginning next season. That means Petree is seeking sponsorship. “We would like to be able to continue our association with Andy Petree Racing, Inc. and know Andy would like for us to stay,” said Mike Taylor, Senior Vice President, Oakwood Homes Corporation. “The fact of the matter is we are not in a position to continue our sponsorship of the #33 car after this season. We told Andy that because of ongoing cost reduction initiatives at Oakwood Homes, because of the deep downturn in the manufactured home industry, we are simply not able to exercise our option to extend, for a third year, our primary sponsorship,” Taylor said. “This has been a tremendous association for us and one we have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. Outside forces, things that have nothing to do with the race car, are dictating this.” Petree, who also owns the #55 Square D Chevrolet of driver Bobby Hamilton, said he understood Oakwood’s situation and also regrets Oakwood Homes will not be able to continue sponsorship of the #33 car after the 2001 season.(Williams Company PR)(4-24-2001)
  • : CNN/Sports Illustrated has introduced two weekly programs with “NASCAR Plus” and “Sports Illustrated – Cover to Cover,” according to an announcement made Monday. “NASCAR Plus” debuted Monday evening. “Sports Illustrated – Cover to Cover” debuts May 3. “NASCAR Plus” will offer viewers thirty minutes of NASCAR news and features, plus in-depth analysis and reporting from Turner Sports analyst Benny Parsons and reporter Marty Snider. The show is hosted by CNN/SI’s Johnny Phelps. Check local listings for details.(That’s Racin’), see more on the CNN/SI Television page(4-24-2001)
  • Fox to buy SpeedVision? MotorsportsTV.com is reporting that Fox Cable Networks is in serious negotiations to acquire the 66% of Speedvision that it does not already own. To get the deal done, Fox is talking to Cox Communications, AT&T, Comcast, and minority investors. Reportedly, the deal would include both Speedvision and the Outdoor Life Network. See full stories(2 of them) at MotorsportsTV.com(4-24-2001)
  • Martin Wears HANS: quoted in the past as saying he wouldn’t wear the HANS or similar device, #6-Mark Martin donned a Hans safety device for the race at Talladega(Anniston Star)(4-24-2001)

    (4-23-2001)

  • Testing at Talladega on Monday UPDATE 4: Officials are making plans for a Monday test at Talladega Superspeedway that could impact future events at stock car racing’s biggest speedways. Several Winston Cup teams are expected to participate in test runs with the goal of studying alternatives to the current rules package used at Talladega and Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. “We’re talking about it, and right now we don’t know at what level it will be,” said Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s director of operations, Wednesday.(more at the Greenville News)(4-19-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will hold a major rules test here Monday, with hopes to find new aero rules for the July 400 at Daytona. But only one team will apparently be able to provide a car and driver, because these teams have to be loaded and on the road to California on Monday night for next weekend’s Napa 500. The test will involve what is described as “a bigger car,” with a larger “greenhouse” and wider front fenders. NASCAR has also scheduled a second test here for May 6 and 7, with all Winston Cup teams invited. That session will be open to the media, as part of a surprising new NASCAR public-relations campaign to repair the sanctioning body’s image, bruised by negative reaction to the secrecy in handling the Dale Earnhardt investigation(Winston Salem Journal)(4-21-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing and Hendrick Motorsports each will participate in a NASCAR test Monday at Talladega Superspeedway. Another test with more teams is likely in early May as NASCAR officials search for aerodynamic solutions so the cars are not bunched so close during races at Talladega and Daytona. Drivers have complained about the rules for the restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega since the Daytona 500. They say the aerodynamic rule changes made last year have tightened the pack and led to the 19-car crash at Daytona where Tony Stewart ‘s car flipped down the backstretch(Roanoke Times)(4-22-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Only Chip Ganassi Racing will test today at Talladega Superspeedway as NASCAR examines possible aerodynamic changes for Talladega and Daytona. Hendrick Motorsports planned to test but had to withdraw. Sterling Marlin will drive in the test. Although it will be only one car, NASCAR director of operations Kevin Triplett said the test would be helpful in showing series officials what might work(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE 4: The following are comments from Gary Nelson, NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director, regarding Monday’s test by NASCAR at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Sterling Marlin, driver of the #40 Coors Light Dodge, participated in the test. Several ideas were experimented with that included various width and height changes to the rear spoiler and front fenders. The concentrated effort was on the green-house area in which a steeper-higher angled windshield and higher and wider green-house were used. The green-house is the area above the door-tops, cowl and deck-lid and contains the roof and all of the windows. “What we did today was a continuation of a test we conducted last year and actually several tests we’ve conducted over the last couple of years, where we tried a wider green-house area. Many well-respected teams offered a few suggestions to try and (Chip) Ganassi’s team and Sterling (Marlin) did a great job in preparing the parts and components needed to conduct the test. “We ran about 50 laps with speeds ranging from 182 to 187 mph. The test was conducted without the use of the current aero-package that the teams used in last fall’s race at Talladega and both restrictor-plate races this season (Daytona 500 and Talladega 500). “As we move along, the theory behind putting a wider and taller green-house area on the cars, should have given us another step in our ideas of enhancing the safety of the cars, while keeping the level of competition on the same playing field. However, the results we received were not promising. While the test did not provide us with any immediate answers, we will still study what we learned and possibly regroup to organize another test to continue to build on the theory of a bigger, less aerodynamic green-house.”(NASCAR PR)(4-23-2001)
  • Said to run the #77 at the Road Courses: Jasper Motorsports President Doug Bawel and Driver Robert Pressley announced today that long time road racer Boris Said will take over the driving duties of the #77 Ford for the two NASCAR Winston Cup road course events run this season. Said’s first appearance for the Jasper team will be in June at Sears Point Raceway. He will also pilot the car during the event at Watkins Glen International in August ( NOT September as the PR had). “Boris is a road course specialist,” said Pressley. “We need to do what’s best for this Jasper team. That has always been our goal. When we needed a strong leader a couple of years ago, we went out and got (Crew Chief) Ryan Pemberton, because that’s what we needed to do to make this team strong. It’s my turn now to do what’s best. I have every confidence that Boris’s experience will make this worthwhile. And, I promise I’ll be cheering on the team, because they are there every week rooting for me.” Said, who competes full time in the SCCA Trans Am Series as well as the Speedvision World Challenge Series and the American LeMans Series, has seen the twists and turns of both Sears Point and Watkins Glen before. In 1998, he qualified fifth in Winston Cup regular Jimmy Spencer’s car before relieving him during the race and finishing 20th. At Sears Point in 1999, Said posted the fastest time in practice but experienced engine failure in both qualifying sessions and was thus unable to make the field. He also encountered bad luck during last year’s event when suspension problems put him out of the race on lap 26 of the 112-lap event.(Jasper Racing PR)(4-23-2001)
  • #55 – a Former Show Car: Chances are you may have seen the Chevrolet Hamilton drove to victory at Talladega here Sunday at a K-Mart or Chevron station not long ago. “We took it to the 1999 Daytona 500,” car owner Andy Petree said. “It had a bad body on it and we really just had a lot of bad luck with things. We made a show car out of it and it was on our show car circuit for the entire year. We resurrected it from the show car department when they changed the rules back. And now, it’s back on the track.”(Times Daily)(4-23-2001)
  • #92 Car: The Dodge that Stacy Compton qualified on the Pole in Talladega was the same car that he qualified on the outside pole at Daytona. This car was fabricated by Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. which offers fans the opportunity to see how these cars and others are fabricated via LIVE WEB CAMS at www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(4-23-2001)

(4-22-2001)

  • 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)

    (4-21-2001)

  • Labonte Wins IROC Race: Bobby Labonte, driving the white True Value IROC Pontiac Firebird, won his second True Value IROC Talladega race by .2097 seconds in the second round of the 25th True Value IROC series at Talladega Superspeedway. Veteran open wheel drivers Kenny Brack, of CART and Buddy Lazier of the IRL made the transition from open wheel to stock car racing look easy. Brack, driving the yellow Pontiac Firebird started in eighth position and finished second. In only his second True Value IROC start Lazier, driving the medium blue Firebird started and finished third. Picking up five True Value IROC bonus points for leading the most laps, NASCAR Busch Series driver Jeff Green led the most laps during the second half of the race. With only three laps remaining, however, Green lost the lead after a restart. The only incident occurred on lap 37 and involved Cheever, Jr., Lazier, and Jarrett. Cheever, Jr.’s car picked up a push coming off turn four and made contact with Lazier, collecting Jarrett. With his second win at Talladega, Labonte joined True Value IROC champions Al Unser Jr. and Dale Earnhardt as a multiple winner in the series at Talladega. ESPN: Will televise the Talladega True Value IROC race Saturday, May 26 at 5:00/et. Next Race: True Value IROC XXIV will resume Saturday, June 9, 2001 at Michigan(IROC PR)(4-21-2001)
  • Three RCR Teams in 2002: Richard Childress Racing will run three Winston Cup teams next season, regardless of what has been heard about sponsor Lowe’s and driver Mike Skinner. First of all, both have contracts through 2002, Childress representatives said Friday. Second, Lowe’s, which threatened to pull out of the game last September after a very odd sequence of events, has demonstrated renewed enthusiasm, posting its lumber products brand in primary positions on the #31 car. The driver situation remains unclear for 2002, despite the contracts, with many “speculating” that Skinner will be given other work in the RCR organzation. That may or may not be. Regardless, Childress will have the #31 next season, it appears now, and Skinner very well could remain as driver(in part from SpeedVision)(4-21-2001)
  • Robinson Sponsor for California and three other races: Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership and MK Racing have announced their partnership for the # 84 Aaron.s Dream Machine Taurus for four NASCAR Winston Cup races this season with driver Shawna Robinson when she attempts to make the Apr. 29 California 500 at Fontana, CA., when she becomes the first female in nearly 12 years to start a NASCAR Winston Cup race. With the Dream Machine debuting at California, Robinson will run five additional races three (Michigan, Indianapolis and Atlanta) under the Aaron’s banner to become the first female to run more than a handful of races in over 20 years. Robinson is not new to the Aaron’s Dream Team. She ran the #99 Aaron.s Dream Machine (Michael Waltrip Racing) in the BGN Series in Texas, Nashville and this weekend at Talladega. She also ran the #8 Dream Machine (MK Racing) in the ARCA/REMAX Series race in Nashville where she finished third(Williams Company PR)(4-21-2001)

    (4-20-2001)

  • Kentucky Testing: NASCAR Winston Cup Driver Mike Wallace completed a two-day test of his #7 Nation’s Rent Ford on April 17th at the1.5-mile tri-oval at Kentucky Speedway. Winston Cup Driver Matt Kenseth completed a one-day test of his Roush Racing #17 DeWalt Tools Ford on April 16. Wallace’s Ultra Motorsports team experimented with new shock and spring combinations and raced to an unofficial fastest lap of 172.52 mph. “We’re able to try some combinations here that we wouldn’t normally try during regular Winston Cup testing,” Wallace said. “We’ll also gain some knowledge about this track and be able to compare our notes with our Ultra Sports Craftsman Truck Series Team to help it speed its learning curve.”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(4-20-2001)
  • Subway to the #51: it was mentioned during the Fox TV coverage of the Talladega BGN race that the Subway sponsorship that was going to be on the #27 Eel River Racing Pontiac with driver Kenny Wallace will now run on the #51 Phoenix Racing Ford and driver Jeff Purvis since Kenny Wallace failed to make the race(4-21-2001)
  • Inspection Tough/Parts Taken: NASCAR officials confiscated several parts at Talladega on Friday . Unapproved fuel cell racks were taken from the cars of Ricky Rudd, Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The entire front windshield had to be removed from Hamilton’s car because it “failed to fit the NASCAR template.” Magnets were found on the Dodge of Casey Atwood and all 20 lug nuts from Steve Park’s Chevrolet were confiscated. The lug nuts had indentations on the sides(That’s Racin‘)(4-21-2001)

    (4-20-2001)

  • True Value Man of the Year: Mark Martin’s countless hours of preparation, planning meetings and fundraising to fulfill his dream of building a quarter-midget track to give local kids a place to race, received the first quarter nomination for the NASCAR True Value Man of the Year Award. True Value, the Official Hardware Store of NASCAR, is once again sponsoring the NASCAR True Value Man of the Year. The award is designed to honor a driver not only for their accomplishments on the track but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. The inspiration for this project was Martin’s eight-year-old son Matt, who began racing a quarter-midget last year near Orlando, Fla. Martin saw the need to have a track closer to home for many of the local kids. Martin worked on this summer-long project in 2000 and watched as his dream became a reality with the grand opening of the track in February earlier this year. With support from fellow NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Skinner, just to name a few, Martin unveiled the New Smyrna (Fla.) Quarter Midget Racetrack. The track, located in the infield of New Smyrna Speedway, is a standard 1/20th-mile oval and operates on Wednesday evenings. It is sanctioned by the Quarter Midget Association and a local club. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR True Value Man of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season has been divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts. An elite group of panelists will select one of the four quarterly finalists to name the NASCAR True Value Man of the Year. This award will be presented at the NASCAR Winston Cup Series banquet in New York City, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his choice.(NASCAR PR)(4-20-2001)
  • Jarrett 1st Quarter Driver of the Year: Dale Jarrett, driver of the #88 UPS Ford Taurus, won first-quarter Driver of the Year balloting honors this week, as he was selected by a national panel of motorsports media and viewers of ESPN for the honor. Jarrett easily outdistanced the Indy Racing League’s Sam Hornish, Jr., piling up 13 first-place votes and 141 points to the latter’s two first-place nods and 85 points. Jarrett won three of the final four Winston Cup races of the first quarter, while Hornish won two IRL events. Both drivers are leading their series. Points are awarded on a 9-6-4-3-2-1 basis in voting for six drivers by the panel and ESPN viewers. Third-place went to Winston Cup driver Kevin Harvick, a popular winner of the Atlanta race as he drove for the late Dale Earnhardt. Harvick had the other two first-place votes and 71 points. The CART/FedEx series Cristiano da Matta finished fourth with 38 points, while Winston Cup’s Jeff Gordon and the Craftsman Truck series Ted Musgrave would up tied for fifth and rounded out the top six with 15 points each. Gordon is a three-time Driver of the Year. Meanwhile, NASCAR/Winston Cup’s Bobby Labonte, 2000’s Driver of the Year, will be formally presented his trophy, diamond ring and a custom Indian Motorcycle Thursday, April 19, during black tie induction ceremonies at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, AL. Twenty three different drivers received support in the Driver of the Year first-quarter voting. Three more quarterly ballots will be taken and then a final secret ballot at the end of the season will determine the 2001 winner.(DOTY PR)(4-20-2001)
  • Alabama NASCAR License Plates UPDATE: On Wednesday, the Alabama Legislature’s License Plate Oversight Committee approved a plan to decorate vehicle tags with the names, numbers and racing colors of some of the top stock car drivers. Committee Chairman Gerald Dial, D-Lineville, said the order forms should be available in county tag offices in about a month. Dial said motorists who want the tags will have to pay a $50 fee with the order form. Once the state pre-sells 1,000 tags for all racing drivers combined, the state Department of Corrections will begin production, and the tags will be mailed to the motorists who placed orders. West Virginia and New York already have license plates with racing drivers, and South Carolina and Indiana are considering them. The Alabama tags will feature drivers who have signed licensing agreements with Race Plates Marketing, which got the program started in West Virginia. Bob Brant, president of Race Plates Marketing, said agreements have been reached with Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Skinner, Steve Park, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Jerry Nadeua, Terry Labonte, and Michael Waltrip. Discussions are going on with other drivers. Out of the $50 cost of the tax, $3.50 will go to the state and county governments to cover various expenses, and $5 will go to the Penny Trust Fund, which supports children’s programs. Of the remaining $41.50, the licensing organization will get 23 percent, the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega 45 percent, and the state Department of Corrections 32 percent.(Alabama Live/AP)(4-5-2001)
    UPDATE: As part of their Class of 2001 Inductees press conference Thursday, International Motorsports Hall of Fame officials also announced the kickoff of a new line of racing specialty plates Alabama race fans can buy for their cars. The Alabama license plates will be available for the usual $50 up charge fee for vanity plates and the proceeds will split between the Motor Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama Department of Corrections that makes the plates. Also, there will be a special collector’s edition “Alabama Gang” plate produced by an outside company that will be available through the IMSHoF for a $30 fee. The tags go on sale today at 10:30am(Anniston Star) and more info at www.raceplates.net(4-20-2001)


    (4-19-2001)

  • Hall of Fame UPDATE: Ten men with ties to NASCAR have been nominated to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega: Cotton Owens, Ray Fox, Glen Wood, Maurice Petty, Jack Ingram, the late Red Byron, Tim Richmond, Neil Bonnett, Alan Kulwicki, and Ray Hendrick(Daily Press)(8-9-2000)
    UPDATE: The New Inductees for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Class of 2001 were announced Wednesday, October 25, 2000 in Birmingham. The choice was very tough: choose from a list of 23 potential candidates, great men who have taken their place in the hearts and minds of motorsports fans around the world. Here are the four men who will form the Class of 2001…Neil Bonnett; Jimmy Bryan; Mike Hailwood; and Fred Offenhauser(Hall of Fame Site)(10-26-2000)
    Hall of Fame UPDATE: The International Motorsports Hall of Fame, located on the grounds of Talladega Superspeedway, will induct four new members tomorrow night with a ceremony that will be televised by Speedvision. Neil Bonnett heads the class. Bonnett made his mark in NASCAR as both a driver and a television color commentator before he was killed in a practice-lap crash in 1994. He will be inducted along with Indy 500 winner Jimmy Bryan, noted Indy Car engine builder Fred Offenhauser and nine-time motorcycle world champion Mike Hailwood. Dale Earnhardt, who spent many of his off-track days hunting and fishing with his close buddy Bonnett, will be posthumously honored with the Governor’s Award by Gov. Don Sigelman of Alabama. Defending Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte, the organization’s 2000 driver of the year, will also be honored(Philadelphia Inquirer)(4-18-2001)
    UPDATE: Neil Bonnett was one of four people inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday, joining motorcycle and Formula One racer Mike Hailwood, sprint car champion and Indy 500 winner Jimmy Bryan and engine builder Fred Offenhauser. All four were honored posthumously. Bonnett was a member of the famed Alabama Gang along with Bobby and Donnie Allison and Red Farmer(That’s Racin’)(4-19-2001)
  • Yates to Dodge? Third Team? unlikely UPDATE 2 – NO: Might car owner Robert Yates be considering a switch from Ford to Dodge next season? That’s the buzz in Detroit, although it’s unlikely that Ford Motor Company would let Yates, its biggest NASCAR star, get away. And after his third win of the season yesterday, why would Yates even think about leaving Ford, the company he has called home for so many years? “Money,” says one man familiar with Detroit’s inner secrets. “After all, Robert gave up (Ford’s) Quality Care for UPS.” Although few key figures in the Winston Cup garage expect Yates to make a move to leave Ford, the Dodge report is another twist on how tense things may be in Detroit, where for the first time in 25 years, all three of the Big Three are playing NASCAR again. Not since the mid-1970s have General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all been in this game, and it’s not quite clear how the balance of power might be shifting. And Yates said that Ford officials asked him to start a third Winston Cup team this season, with an unnamed driver, but he declined in order to focus on his current teams, with drivers Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd. And Yates said he has no plans to start a third team next season either, despite reports that Ford executives have approached him again. See full story at the Winston Salem Journal(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE: been told by RYR sources that this is totally untrue and they are NOT considering a switch from Ford to Dodge or any other manufacturer. Yates is signed with Ford thru 2004(4-11-2001)
    UPDATE 2: #28 and #88 Ream Owner Robert Yates dismissed a rumor that had him considering a switch to the Dodge Intrepid R/T camp. “There’s nothing to it,” said Yates,. “I would think if they came to us, which they haven’t, but if they did come to us, that would really say they screwed up, and the teams they did choose would be awfully upset. They didn’t come to us.” Yates’ contract with Ford runs through the 2004 Winston Cup season. “I’m not looking,” Yates said. “If you asked anybody in the grandstand what should Robert Yates be running, I think all of them would tell you Ford.”(Star Telegram)(4-19-2001)
  • Belt Broke in BGN Race UPDATE Simpson Reacts and : A torn left lap belt was discovered in a car that wrecked in Saturday’s BGN race in Nashville, prompting NASCAR officials to advise Winston Cup and Grand National teams of that fact heading into this weekend’s races at Talladega. Mike Harmon, a driver from Alabama, broke a shoulder blade in Saturday’s crash. He said the belt suffered a three-quarter inch tear but did not come apart. “It did its job,” Harmon said. “If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be talking to you. It definitely saved my life.” Two months ago today, seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt was killed in a wreck on the final lap of the Daytona 500. NASCAR officials announced five days later that the left lap belt in his No. 3 Chevrolet was found “separated” after that crash. Harmon said the belts in his car were manufactured by Simpson Performance Products and dated March 2000 on the label. Earnhardt’s car also had belts manufactured by the company owned by Bill Simpson. Earnhardt’s belts were dated November 2000. Simpson could not be reached for comment Tuesday. He said last week that he felt exonerated when Dr. Barry Myers, a biomedical expert from Duke University, wrote in a report on his review of Earnhardt’s autopsy that the separated belt was not a factor in Earnhardt’s death(That’s Racin’)
    UPDATE: Bill Simpson reacted with anger and frustration Wednesday to reports of a problem with a seat belt manufactured by his company in the BGN race on Saturday at Nashville Speedway. “NASCAR has exaggerated what happened,” Simpson said of the left lap belt in a Pontiac driven by Mike Harmon. Simpson said members of Harmon’s crew told him the driver’s belt had a quarter-inch nick on the underside and some fraying of the fabric on the edges, not a three-quarter inch tear as Harmon told The Observer on Tuesday. “Now, whenever there is a crash, my people are going to have to be there to inspect the belts,” Simpson said. “I sent out a memo this morning instructing our representatives at the track to go immediately to a car after a crash and view the belts. We haven’t done that, but it looks like we’re going to have to.”(That’s Racin’)(4-18-2001)
    UPDATE 2: see a story at the Tennessean: Torn seat belt in Nashville is raising more questions than answers by David Climer(4-19-2001)
  • #12 Special Paint UPDATE image: The #12 Mobil 1 Taurus driven by Jeremy Mayfield, will carry a special Sony paint scheme this week, featuring Sony’s WEGA brand logo. The award-winning line of FD Trinitron (R) WEGA televisions have been the leader in flat-screen televisions, offering consumers outstanding picture quality with uncompromising clarity and stability. Sony, which joined Penske Racing LLC as an associate sponsor at the beginning of this season, will be incorporating special promotions at select races this season.(Williams Company)(4-18-2001)
    UPDATE: see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery pages(4-19-2001)
  • Paint for Rudd: Look for Ricky Rudd’s #28 Texaco/Havoline Ford to have a special “Need for Speed” paint scheme for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. That slogan will grace the hood while initial mock-ups emphasize red swirls on the tail of the primarily black Taurus(NASCAR.com Buzz)(4-19-2001)
  • Winn Dixie on the #32: Winn-Dixie has joined the PPI Motorsports Tide team as an associate sponsor for the Talladega 500 this weekend. The Winn-Dixie logo will appear on the rear “TV” panel of the #32 Tide Ford driven by Ricky Craven, as well as on Craven’s driver’s suit and helmet(PPI Motorsports Site)(4-19-2001)
  • Waltrip Endorses the HANS: Darrell Waltrip said yesterday NASCAR should mandate its drivers use a specific safety device known as the HANS. Waltrip joined several hundred Dale Earnhardt fans at a tribute to the fallen driver at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. Earnhardt died Feb. 18 in a crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500. He was the fourth NASCAR driver killed in 12 months. Many, including Waltrip, say the HANS – short for Head and Neck Support – could have prevented those deaths. “That thing gives you a 60 percent better chance of surviving a wreck like that,” said Waltrip, now a Fox television analyst. “If [NASCAR] won’t make it mandatory, they ought to at least send out a bulletin that says, ‘We highly recommend the HANS device.’ And they should highly recommend it to the point where if a driver doesn’t want to follow the recommendation, maybe his car has a little problem getting through inspection.”(AP/Philadelphia Daily News)(4-19-2001)
  • Soft Wall News: Safari Associates Inc. of Amsterdam will conduct a live demonstration of its new “soft wall” technology at the Indianapolis Raceway Park. The wall is constructed of molecuthane, a patented, energy-absorbing material originally developed for the military. It is designed to reduce impact G-force by as much as 70 percent. The crash demonstration is planned for early July (2001) using NASCAR Craftsman-type trucks(Captital Districl Business Review – thanks Catchfence for the heads up)(4-19-2001)
  • Winston Looks Like it’s Staying…in Charlotte: It appears unlikely The Winston all-star race will be moved from Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., to Nashville Superspeedway, or anywhere else, anytime soon. The special event is sponsored by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and RJR spokesman Denny Darnell yesterday said the company is happy at the Charlotte-area track which has hosted The Winston for 15 of its 16 runnings(Tennessean)(4-19-2001)
  • More Join in Photo hunt: Six news organizations around Florida asked a Broward County judge to include them in two newspapers’ challenge of a new state law banning the viewing of autopsy photos without permission. The Tampa Tribune, its TV affiliate, WFLA-TV, The Gainesville Sun, The Ledger of Lakeland, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Ocala Star-Banner want to join a lawsuit filed by the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that questions the constitutionality of the new law, said Gregg D. Thomas, attorney for the new parties. (That’s Racin’/AP)(4-19-2001)
  • #31 Car Chief Recovering: Kevin Gabard, front-tire carrier and car chief of the #31 Lowe’s Chevy, is recovering after knee surgery Monday to correct an injury sustained during the Virginia 500 at Martinsville. Dr. Gary Poehling of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center replaced the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in Gabard’s left knee during outpatient surgery Monday morning in Winston-Salem, N.C. Gabard has undergone surgery for a torn meniscus in the same knee seven times since 1991. His most recent surgery took place in November 1999. “We assessed Kevin’s injuries and found he had a complete ACL tear,” said Dr. John Birkedal, professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Wake Forest University, who assisted Dr. Poehling in the procedure. “We completely replaced the ACL in his left knee but found there was no damage to the meniscus other than what he’d had from past injuries. Everything went very well.” Gabard, 35, was injured during a late-race pit stop April 8 at Martinsville Speedway when a loose tire from another team rolled into the Lowe’s pit and struck Gabard in the left knee as he stepped off of pit wall. Sean Irvan, a mechanic on the #31 team, will assume Gabard’s front-tire carrier duties while he recovers from surgery. Irvan also substituted for Gabard in several races following his Nov. 1999 surgery. Dr. Birkedal said that Gabard will wear a knee brace for two weeks, at which time he will begin physical therapy for light strengthening and range of motion in his knee. Dr. Birkedal anticipates a recovery time of four to six months before Gabard is able to return to full activity(RCR PR)(4-19-2001)
  • Test Drive as a Sponsor: Square D, the primary sponsor for #55-Bobby Hamilton is offering a sponsorship “test drive” to corporate America. The car’s two rear quarter panels and TV panel (rear bumper) are now available to potential sponsors. The price is $100,000 for a one-race sponsorship, or $400,000 for a five-race deal. The company participating in the program also will receive hospitality passes, pit/garage VIP credentials, and photo opportunities with Hamilton(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read online)(4-19-2001)
  • #2 Owner In Hospital: The co-owner of Rusty Wallace’s team, Don Miller, underwent back surgery on April 14 in Charleston, S.C., and remains a patient there. “The good word is that Don came through just fine, and the situation wasn’t as serious as they thought it would be,” said Penske Racing South general manager John Erickson, “but, any surgery on the spinal column is serious enough stuff, so Don will be spending at least the next week in Charleston before he can come home.”(Gaston Gazette)(4-19-2001)
  • Martin Honor: Mark Martin has been nominated for the Jasper Pro Driver of the Year award to be presented June 9 at the Florida Sports Awards in Jacksonville, Fla. Martin won the award for his category last year. Others nominated in his category this year are Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt. A judging committee comprised of members of the Florida Sports Writers and Sportscasters Association ranked athletes in 13 professional categories on a scale of one through three. The three professional athletes with the highest points total in each category comprise the final nominees. The Jaspers honor the top professional athletes, coaches and teams in Florida. Proceeds from the Florida Sports Awards benefit the Otis F. Smith Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides programs and services to underprivileged children throughout North Florida(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read online)(4-19-2001)
  • NASCAR Themed Enterprise goes under: The Chain of NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedways(there were 12 of them) are going to close on Wed. April 25th. Many regular driver’s of the speedways were emailed on Thursday and the announcement is now up on their website: www.smsonline.com – “We are disappointed to inform that will be permanently closing all of the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway Racing Centers at the end of business on Wed. April 25th.(4-19-2001)
  • Darby Moving Up? Busch Series Director John Darby may be on the move after the season, but nobody in NASCAR will confirm his new duties. Speculation in recent months has been that Darby would replace Gary Nelson as Winston Cup director, with Nelson moving into a new role, possibly at NASCAR’s new research and development center in Hickory, N.C. NASCAR President Mike Helton said, however, that the recent rumors were false, but wouldn’t elaborate on Darby’s status(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read online)(4-19-2001)

    (4-18-2001)

  • Talladega Chassis Rumors UPDATE: Rumor has it that several teams will come to Talladega with varying alterations that may or may not be consistent with NASCAR’s rules. The team member said those with altered cars “include assurances the owners and sponsors are prepared to fight for their approval in the inspection line should questions be raised by NASCAR.” and according to the same team member, at least three new chassis featuring softer, more crushable front ends will be run at Talladega. The teams that will run them developed the chassis(more at NASCAR.com Buzz and Stock Car Reporter)(4-14-2001)
    UPDATE: While some are hemming and hawing about the possibility of some teams bringing a “soft chassis” to Talladega this weekend that may not conform to NASCAR rules and regulations, Michael Waltrip took the issue head-on during today’s news conference. “I’ve heard nothing about that,” Waltrip said. “That’s something that somebody dreamed up somewhere. There’s no validity to any rumor that would have anything at all to do with that.”(NASCAR.com Buzz) and a followup story at: Stock Car Reporter – Michael, Michael…(4-18-2001)
  • Subway to the #27? UPDATE 2: Word last weekend was that sandwich company Subway was planning to sponsor a Winston Cup car in the upcoming Talladega 500. Kenny Wallace’s Eel River Racing team has no sponsor, so it could very well be him. Plus, Subway is the title sponsor of Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race, so it could happen.(NASCAR.com Buzz)
    UPDATE: an the Kenny Wallace Racing site is reporting Subway as the teams new sponsor for the weekend(4-17-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Kenny Wallace’s #27 Pontiac will carry sponsorship from Subway in the Talladega 500. Crew chief/team manager Barry Dodson said the deal was for only one race but was hopeful the arrangement could be extended(Gaston Gazette)(4-18-2001)
  • Roush Buys an Airline: Team Owner Jack Roush struck a deal with an Indiana billionaire who was looking to unload his charter service, acquiring his fleet of three 727 jets and retaining three veteran pilots. The sale price is said to be a bargain — estimated to be in the $5 million to $6 million range –but the operating cost won’t be cheap, unless the boss can find a way to make a buck off Air Roush. Plans call for only one of the jets to transport Roush Racing’s four Winston Cup and one Busch team. Another is being offered to charter other Cup race teams. The third might also be made available for charter or even sold. The planes were built as luxury charters for professional sports teams and corporate junkets, thus seat only 50.(CNN/SI)(4-18-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel: The #12 Penske Racing team had two cars in the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA on Tuesday, a Talladega car and an intermediate car(Lowes/Vegas)(4-18-2001)
  • Stewart in IROC: IROC confirmed that Tony Stewart will compete in the three remaining IROC races, including Saturday’s event at Talladega. In the season’s first race at Daytona, Stewart substituted for Gil de Ferran, last season’s champion of CART. de Ferran had injured his foot in testing and was unable to compete. Since de Ferran has been unable to test or practice with the IROC cars — he is currently competing in both CART and Indy Racing League events — he has withdrawn for the remainder of the IROC season. All points and victories Stewart gains this season will be credited to himself and not de Ferran. Stewart finished ninth in the series opener at Daytona and in his first season in the series in 2000, he was third in points(That’s Racin’)(4-18-2001)

    (4-17-2001)

  • Get Well: Judy Bisci, wife of Las Vegas Motor Speedway public relations director John Bisci, went to the doctor a few weeks ago for problems with her throat (had a biopsy performed on a “mass” on her thyroid) and the Doctor said results are “leaning toward cancer,” and decided to operate, which is set for Apr. 25th(Speedway Scene Print), get well Judy(4-17-2001)
  • Brooks and Dunn Return: The #40 Coors Light Dodge has gone country for this weekend’s race at Talladega. Driven by Sterling Marlin, the Coors Light Dodge will feature a paint scheme touting the country music duo Brooks & Dunn’s upcoming Neon Circus & Wild West Show tour. A known country music lover, Marlin hopes to give the duo’s tour a little more exposure by parking his Coors Light Dodge in Victory Lane on Sunday afternoon. Marlin is also scheduled to run the special Brooks & Dunn paint scheme at the Winston and Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte and the inaugural race at the Kansas Speedway(Ganassi PR)(4-17-2001)
  • Rain/Wind Derails Michigan Test: After grabbing what little track time was available on Wednesday, April 11, for the first day of a two-day test at Michigan International Speedway, the Ray Evernham Motorsports Dodge team had hoped for an improvement in the rainy weather for the second day. Though the rain subsided, whipping winds greeted the team for Thursday, April 12, and forced them to re-think their testing efforts. Driver Casey Atwood got about two and a half hours of track time on Wednesday when rain ruled the day. His top speeds were clocked at over 202 mph on the straightaways. On Thursday, Atwood was hindered as a vicious wind made stepping on the pedal a bit dangerous. Evernham said his top speed the second day was 196 mph, “but that was with a 45 mile-an-hour cross wind.” Still, the test proved successful in logging miles on the car and getting Atwood more experience on the 2-mile oval where he’s started just two BGN races.(MIS Site)(4-17-2001)
  • Hover Motorsports/Morgan Shepherd News: Stan Hover Motorsports – Team #80 has just completed sponsorships for the (2) upcoming races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Winston Open and Coca-Cola 600 next month. Hayes Jewelers of Lexington, NC and Aramark Uniform Service will be sponsors on the #80 Ford Taurus. Cup Veteran Morgan Shepherd will be driving. Stan Hover Motorsports are very excited about the sponsorships. The #80 team plans are to compete in (16) Cup Races this year. Stan Hover Motorsports shop is based in Salisbury, North Carolina.(DCM Racing/Stan Hover Motorsports PR)(4-17-2001)
  • More BGN NHIS News: Kenny Wallace has joined fellow Cup drivers Steve Park and Kevin Harvick on the entry list for the CVS/pharmacy 200 Presented by Bayer NASCAR Busch Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway on May 12(off weekend in Cup)(NHIS PR)(4-17-2001)
  • Testing at RIR: hearing that #92-Stacy Compton and BGN drivers: #27-Jamie McMurry, #20-Mike Mclaughin and #7-Randy Lajoie are testing this week through Wednesday(4-17-2001)
  • TV Ratings: FOX had a 5.4 final national rating for its coverage of the Martinsville Winston Cup race was up 46% from 2000. That’s huge for a race that never has scored big in the ratings department. However, for the first time this year, the audience came in under six million households – 5.519 million to be exact. Year to date, FOX Sports has averaged a 6.8 national rating and a 17 share for its coverage of Winston Cup. See full story and ratings at SpeedVision: TV – Final National Ratings from April 6-8(4-17-2001)
  • New #01 Crew Chief: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Team Manager Andy Graves announced today that Matt Chambers will replace Kevin Cram as crew chief of the #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T. Chambers will assume the crew chief role immediately, and will be at the team’s test tomorrow at Richmond. According to Graves, Cram’s departure from Chip Ganassi Racing was a mutual decision. He believes Chambers, who previously worked as crew chief for driver Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Winston Cup and Craftsman Truck Series, will be a solid addition to the team. “Chip Ganassi Racing is continuing to build and learn and we believe Matt’s broad experience will be an asset to our organization,” Graves said. #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge driver Jason Leffler currently sits fifth in Rookie of the Year points standings(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(4-17-2001)
  • IROC Testing: The True Value IROC team concluded their first day of testing Monday at Talladega Superspeedway in preparation for round two of the 2001, 25th anniversary season. Veteran test drivers Dave Marcis, Dick Trickle, Jim Sauter and Andy Hillenburg were on hand to put the Pontiac Firebirds through initial test runs. Dave Marcis said, “We worked a bit today with the roof pieces, the NASCAR air deflector. What we have on the IROC cars is the equivalent to what we have on the Winston Cup cars and we all agree that the cars are extremely comfortable. They draft really well, so if you fall behind you can draft back up again.” Dick Trickle said, “The cars are driving like baby buggies and we’ll have to remind the drivers they’re still in race cars going 180 MPH. Andy Hillenburg said, “To give you an example of how much fun it is to drive these cars, Jay Signore told us to go out and just run a few laps, well, we ran an entire race and didn’t come in until Dave (Marcis) ran out of gas.” IROC President, Jay Signore said, “Talladega is one of our favorite tracks. We’ve had some great races here over the years and always look forward to the next one. For our 25th anniversary we are paying tribute to all of our past champions. We have four dedicated test cars, and at each of the four races we have those four cars lettered with the names of past champions. We have 16 champions total, so it works out perfectly. For Talladega we have the 1975 champion Bobby Unser, 1984 champion Cale Yarborough, 1989 champion Terry Labonte and 1993 champion Davey Allison.” He continued, At Daytona, IROC paid tribute to 1974 champion Mark Donohue, 1979 champion Mario Andretti, 1980 champion Bobby Allison and the 2000 reigning champion Dale Earnhardt. In tribute to Dale Earnhardt, IROC will run eleven cars for the remainder of the season. Jay Signore said, “Dale Earnhardt was a great champion and we feel it is a fitting tribute to run one man shy.” The True Value IROC Talladega race takes place this Saturday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m., following the NASCAR Busch series race. More info on my 2001 IROC page.(IROC PR)(4-17-2001)
  • Petty’s Crew Chiefs to Embark on Year-Long Trek Across America: A recent survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians revealed that a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer and will last up to 50 percent longer. Findings such as these, along with the concern that people have gotten out of the habit of taking care of their cars, have prompted NASCAR-legend Richard Petty and his crew chiefs to share with people their best practices for engine maintenance: the `All 3 Every 3′ program, which recommends Americans practice proper engine maintenance by simply following these easy steps every 3,000 miles: (1) Change Your Oil (2) Clean Your Fuel Injectors (3) Check Your Belts, Hoses and Fluids. Richard Petty has enlisted the help of his Petty Enterprises’ crew chiefs – Greg Steadman, Bryant Frazier, Chris Hussey, and Howard Comstock – in order to educate Americans about the importance of automobile maintenance. From March through November, Petty’s crew chiefs will travel across America to introduce the `All 3 Every 3′ program. Tour stops with the crew chiefs will include a brief talk about the maintenance steps involved with the `All 3 Every 3′ program, a car care question and answer session and then actual “under the hood” demonstrations and tips. Launching in Greensboro, N.C., the `All 3 Every 3′ tour is scheduled to hold car maintenance events in Bristol, Tenn.; Roanoke, Va.; St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Nashville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Atlanta, Ga.(Petty PR)(4-17-2001)
  • Sad News: Des Moines, Iowa race driver Mark Wilson, 30, was killed Saturday night when his sprint car crashed during practice at Knoxville Raceway. Wilson was on the third lap of warm-ups just after the track opened when his car veered suddenly to the right and into the fence in the fourth turn. Wilson was pronounced dead at Knoxville Area Community Hospital of head injuries. Witnesses said it appeared as if something broke on the car, causing it to hit the fence and flip. An investigation by K & K Insurance, which insures the track, will be held to determine the cause of the accident. Track officials are holding Wilson’s car until investigators arrive later this week.(Des Moines Register and see a SpeedVision story: Tragedy in Knoxville by Jeff Olson) thoughts out to family and friends(4-17-2001)

    (4-16-2001)

  • Alabama Photo Law: Spurred by the Dale Earnhardt autopsy photo controversy in Florida, Alabama legislators have begun the process of making such photos off limits to the public in this state as well. Earlier this month, Rep. Steve Hurst (D-Talladega) introduced House Bill 722 as a measure to make “autopsy records, photographs and video recordings exempt from public record law.” And last week Gerald Dial (D-Lineville) introduced a similar bill in the Senate that would make the unauthorized release of autopsy photos a felony carrying a two- to five-year prison term and up to a $5,000 fine. If passed by the end of this legislative session May 21, the law would allow access to autopsy photos by court order only.(Anniston Star)(4-16-2001)

(4-15-2001)
Happy Easter – no news


(4-14-2001)

  • Seat Belt Cut? on Friday’s RPM 2Night(ESPN2) and the ESPN Site, it is being reported that – Bill Simpson claims a fan has come forward with video showing Earnhardt being cut from his seat belt. Simpson, founder and chairman of Simpson Performance Products, which made the seat belt Earnhardt was wearing during his deadly crash at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, told ESPN radio’s Jack Arute that a fan sent him the video of the crash. According to Simpson, he believes the video shows that an EMT cut the seat belt. “Since this whole thing has surfaced and since NASCAR did their press conference, there’s a spectator that has come foward with videotape and it clearly shows an EMT getting into the car with a knife – and that’s what it looked like to me – like it had been cut,” said Simpson. “I have a copy of it now and it’s out being enhanced at the moment.” After Dale Earnhardt died at Daytona, NASCAR reported that a broken seat belt was discovered in Earnhardt’s car. But, earlier this week, an independent doctor who viewed autopsy photos made the claim that a broken seat belt did not cause Earnhardt’s death. More at the ESPN site(4-14-2001)
  • Schrader wins ARCA race at Nashville: Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader captured the ARCA RE/MAX Series PFG Lester 150, the inaugural race at Nashville Superspeedway. Schrader, who recently drove in his 500th career Winston Cup race, took the lead for good with less than 15 laps to go and held on to beat Frank Kimmel and Shawna Robinson in the 113-lap race. Officials with Dover Downs Entertainment, which operates the track, did not release an attendance figure for yesterday’s race. But media covering the race estimated the crowd at around 20,000.(Tennessean)(4-14-2001)
  • TV News: Fox Again Pre-Empting NASCAR for Actress with Silicone Implants; #1 TV Market in the U.S. Won’t Get Talladega Busch Race First it was FX deciding to pre-empt live NASCAR qualifying for Tori Spelling and “Beverly Hills 90210.” Now, fans in New York are going to be treated to Pamela Anderson and “V.I.P” instead of the Busch race in Talladega. On Saturday, April 21, WNYW in New York will broadcast the Yankees game live instead of the Busch race. However, the local Fox braintrust then decided to not even show the Busch race on tape delay after the Yankees game, despite a three-hour window. Instead, viewers will get a rerun of the “X Files” and syndicated shows “Sheena” and “V.I.P.” (more info at MotorsportsTV) AND Boston Fans Stuck with Delays; Getting No Sympathy One of the hottest TV topics right now is the delays that Fox is giving NASCAR fans in Boston on WFXT. See the full story at MotorsportsTV.com: Boston Fans Stuck with Delays; Getting No Sympathy; and from the Boston Herald: Lee, `Gerbil’ at odds by Jim Baker; and see a RacingOne column: Second-Class Fans by Richard Huff(4-14-2001)

    (4-13-2001)

  • Marcis to the BGN? UPDATE: Rumor has it that #71-Dave Marcis is considering moving to the BGN Series.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(3-1-2001)
    UPDATE: Dave Marcis said team manager, Dwayne Leik will be back in a race car soon (he attempted the Daytona 500 in the #72 Chevy owned by Marcis), running a limited Busch Series schedule in two cars Marcis purchased from APR(Andy Petree Racing). Marcis plans on going to The Winston Open at Charlotte next month. He also hopes to make upcoming races at Chicago, Indianapolis, Dover and the season-ending race at Atlanta as well as Talladega next week(Hendersonville Times News)(4-13-2001)
  • Herzog in Cup: Herzog Motorsports, operated by Bill Herzog and sons Randy and Stan, has progressed from winning off-road championships in California and Nevada deserts and Colorado mountain trails to contending for a Busch Grand National victory. Their Busch driver, Jimmie Johnson, has four top-10 finishes and ranks fifth in the points standings going into Saturday’s Pepsi 300(at Nashville). The Herzogs plan to run a two-car Busch team and five to eight Winston Cup races in 2002 and field a full Winston Cup effort in 2003. The Herzogs’ future Busch and Winston Cup plans hit a speed bump this week when they released Toby Porter because of personal differences. Porter had posted third- and 10th-place finishes in three American Speed Association races. Billy Parker filled in for Porter during last week’s ASA race in South Boston and finished seventh. Porter’s departure comes at a critical time because Johnson’s association with the team ends after this season. Under the terms of his contract with Herzog, which expires at the end of 2001, Johnson was allowed to negotiate a new deal with Rick Hendrick, who signed him to a multiyear deal to become Jeff Gordon’s teammate, beginning in 2002(an run some Cup races in 2001 in the #48 Chevy). The Herzogs had planned to move Porter into Johnson’s ride next year, so now they’ll be trying out some drivers during the next few months. For their crew chief, the Herzogs this year hired respected Tony Liberati, who had experience with Winston Cup teams owned by Jack Roush and Hendrick(Kansas City Star)(4-13-2001)
  • New Cup team/driver UPDATE: ARCA driver, Brian Conz recently came to an agreement with new to NASCAR Field & Stream Watches® Racing and other soon to be announced associate sponsors. Plans are being made for the #78 Field & Stream Watches® Chevy to make their Winston Cup debut at Talladega Superspeedway on April 22, 2001. Conz plans on running five Cup events, Talladega 4/22, Daytona 7/7, Michigan 8/19, Talladega 10/21 and one event that the sponsor hasn’t decided on yet(Brian Conz Site)(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE: The team has postponed their debut until Daytona in July. Also: Other divisions of Field & Stream have signed on and the official title is now Field & Stream Lifestyles Racing. Conz has been in Mooresville/Charlotte area recently purchasing new equipment and all of the team’s equipment is purchased or ordered now, but won’t be ready in time for Talladega(next week Apr 22nd). New team Cup schedule: Daytona, 7/7, Chicagoland 7/15. Brickyard 400 8/5, Michigan 8/19, Talladega 10/21 and Homestead-Miami 11/11. Plans for the 2002 season are being worked on now. Conz has talked to several people regarding the crew chief position but has not decided on anyone yet. The team has found a shop in Mooresville plans are to move into it sometime this season. The team plans on doing quite a bit of testing and running some ARCA races between now and Daytona to get ready for the Pepsi 400(Brian Conz Site)(4-13-2001)
  • Two Rivals.com Sites dissed: TachZone and Stooges Racing, linked here for over a year now will be dropped by a dying Rivals.com, see the stories at TachZone: Belly Up: The Loss of a Sponsor and Stooges Racing: Stooge’s Racing Moves, Stooges says his site will live on TachZone will not and will be missed. Both Stooge, Ryan(TachZone) and their staffs have been supporters of NASCAR and I wish them the best(4-13-2001)
  • Earnhardt Autopsy Photos – continued: A University of Florida student newspaper Thursday filed a new request to see the Dale Earnhardt autopsy photos. The new cross-claim filed by the Independent Florida Alligator against the Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office addresses developments in the case that weren’t present when the original request was filed last month. A Deland-based Web site also is seeking access to the autopsy photos. The new cross-claim challenges the constitutionality of a state law passed late last month restricting access to autopsy photos and argues that it can’t be applied retroactively to the Earnhardt autopsy photos(CNN/SI/AP)(4-13-2001)
  • Evernham Hires Pit Crew Coach: Ray Evernham now the owner of Evernham Motorsports, a first-year Dodge team for drivers for #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Casey Atwood has a new pit crew coach – Terra Flynn, a former classmate at Raritan High School in Hazlet, N.J., who recently completed a distinguished career as a Navy Seal. “When I was putting this deal together, I knew I needed someone to train and motivate our team,” Evernham said. “I thought he would be really good if I could teach him the racing side.” As the title implies, a pit crew coach recruits and trains the pit crew. Flynn has shared those duties with the more experienced Ed Watkins, who doubles as the jackman on the Atwood’s #19 car.(Dallas Morning News)(4-12-2001)
    AND also see a story about this from a few weeks ago at Winners Magazine: High School Reunion – Ray Evernham’s New Pit Coach – Lessons From The Navy SEALS by Claire B. Lang(great shot of Ray Evernham)(4-13-2001)
  • Gordon and AJ Foyt at Indy: A.J. Foyt has entered a car for Robby Gordon in next month’s Indianapolis 500. Gordon finished fourth in the 1999 edition and sixth last year, driving for Team Menard(ESPN)(4-13-2001)
  • Weekend Off: After eight straight races, Winston Cup teams get their first weekend off for Easter. Vacation plans for some of the drivers: Bill Elliott is hiding eggs with his 5-year old son; Ward Burton is camping with his children; John Andretti is celebrating the 80th birthday of his grandmother in Moorestown, Pa.; Stacy Compton is playing four days of golf in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Jeff Burton is flying his family to the Bahamas; Mark Martin is watching his son race and being a “couch potato.”(Atlanta Journal Constitution) and Jayski is just gonna relax(4-13-2001)
  • Another Racing Oriented Restuarant Closed? Yep – UPDATE: hearing that Race Rock Restaurant in Las Vegas has closed its doors, at least temporarily. The Pettys, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Mario and Michael Andretti, John Force and Don Prudhomme are among the owners of the restaurant. The restaurant was full of memorabilia from various race teams. It was the site of numerous NASCAR related press conferences, and a favorite hangout of race teams and fans during NASCAR events in Las Vegas. There is a possibility it may re-open in February. This has no effect on the Race Rock Restaurant in Orlando.(4-10-2001)
    UPDATE: The multimillion-dollar Race Rock restaurant became downtown Las Vegas’ perhaps most expensive empty storefront Monday after managers said that delays at the unbuilt Neonopolis entertainment complex across the street had cut too deeply into their business. Race Rock’s closing means taxpayers must continue to wait for the downtown casino-funded Fremont Street Experience to repay more than $5.6 million in public funds spent to obtain the land that the restaurant was built on, city officials said. Slightly more than $8,000 has been returned, officials said. Tourists walking by the motorsports-themed Race Rock on Monday saw a locksmith barring the entrance. A sign taped to the door read, “If circumstances allow it, we expect to reopen our Supercharged Restaurant when Neonopolis reopens in our block of Fremont Street early next year. However, we cannot continue to sustain the significant operating losses we’ve been experiencing until that happens.”(Las Vegas Review Journal)(4-13-2001)


    (4-12-2001)

  • More Seat Belt News: The physician who said a faulty seat belt might have been responsible for Dale Earnhardt’s death at the Daytona 500 admits that he was quick in blaming the restraint system. “I was trying to answer the questions the media and the public had to the best of my ability and I think I speculated more than I should have,” Dr. Steve Bohannon told The News-Journal of Daytona Beach on Wednesday. “Sometimes you should just say it’s too early to speculate.” Bohannon, the director of emergency medical services at Daytona International Speedway, withdrew his assumption after a court-appointed medical expert said restraint failure didn’t play a role in Earnhardt’s death Feb. 18.(That’s Racin’/AP)(4-12-2001)
  • Hills Bros to the #27? UPDATE um…NO: Rumor had it Friday that Hills Bros. Coffee, primary sponsor of Junie Donlavey’s #90 Ford, was contemplating a full-time move to the #27 Eel River Pontiac. Hills Bros. sponsored the #27 at Las Vegas(NASCAR Buzz)(4-6-2001)
    UPDATE: A spokesman for Hills Bros. Coffee said April 8 that rumors the firm would withdraw its Winston Cup sponsorship from Donlavey Racing and move it to Eel River Racing were untrue(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(4-12-2001)
  • Where is Mike Bliss? Mike Bliss was at Martinsville Speedway April 6, but he had neither a driver’s suit nor a helmet in hand. Bliss began last year with A.J. Foyt Racing, then moved to Eel River Racing. His rookie year in Winston Cup left something to be desired and several top teams in CTS inquired about him driving for them last fall. Instead, Bliss had other ideas, ones that never quite panned out. “I wanted to run Busch this year, (and) I picked the wrong year to want to go (there),” he said. “I probably should have ran a truck. There are some things happening in Busch. I don’t even know on the Cup side. I can probably say I don’t really care over there anymore. I’m mainly focused on the Busch Series.” With the season nearly two months old, Bliss never dreamed he’d still be on the sidelines. “I thought something would have come up by now,” he said. “But the way that everything’s going, everybody wants younger people in their cars. It’s kind of the younger-than-25 thing now. They don’t want experience. When I was 25, I couldn’t get a job.” Bliss had a ride for the BGN season opener at Daytona with Emerald Performance Group(#19) and he thought it was going to be a 20-race deal. Instead, it was for one race only as the team went on the inactive list while it searched for a sponsor(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(4-12-2001)
  • Mark Martin’s Speedway has an accident UPDATE 3: James Neaves, president of the New Smyrna Quarter Midget Racing Association, is in critical but stable condition with head injuries in the intensive care unit at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, a hospital spokeswoman said. The 35-year-old Spruce Creek Fly-In resident was injured during a caution lap when a slow moving car driven by a 6-year-old Deltona boy hit him from behind. The impact at the ankles threw Neaves in the air and he landed on his head, a Sheriff’s Office report said. Robert Hart, owner of New Smyrna Speedway where the midget track is located, said it was an unfortunate incident. There was no ambulance on site nor an emergency medical technician on duty during the races. The Little New Smyrna Speedway — geared toward children between the ages of 5 and 15 — officially opened during Speed Weeks in February. Founder and Winston Cup driver Mark Martin, Neaves and Dye worked nearly a year to get the track operational for area kids to learn about competitive racing at a young age. Benny Ertel, spokesman for Martin, said the NASCAR driver was upset about the news and rushed to the hospital to be with Neaves’ family late Sunday night when he returned from the race at Texas Motor Speedway. Martin was unavailable for comment Monday.(see full story at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE: have heard that James Neaves is doing better, nothing official
    UPDATE 2: The youth auto racing official injured at New Smyrna Speedway Sunday has been upgraded to serious condition, a Halifax Medical Center spokeswoman said Thursday. James Neaves, 35, was thrown into the air after being struck from behind by a 6-year-old Deltona boy during a caution lap. The impact from the car, which weighs about 235 pounds, threw Neaves onto the asphalt track, causing severe head injuries. Neaves is president of the newly formed New Smyrna Quarter Midget Racing Association, which built a track in the infield of the speedway. He had just finished fixing a section of the low wooden wall following an accident during the practice session when he was struck. He was transported by helicopter to the hospital’s intensive care unit where he had remained in critical condition until Thursday morning(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-6-2001)
    UPDATE 3: good news on Jim Neaves – he is sitting up and having limited conversation and things are actually going quite well. The track was back racing last night(4-12-2001)


    (4-11-2001)

  • President Bush meets with the Earnahrdts: To a round of cheers, President Bush arrived on Air Force One at the North Carolina Air National Guard terminal near Charlotte/Douglas International Airport about 10:15 Wednesday morning, the first president to visit Charlotte in five years. Bush stepped off the presidential jet alone, and met briefly with the family of late NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt. He kissed and embraced Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, and shook the hands of Dale Jr., Kerry and daughters Kelley and Taylor. The Earnhardts were given a tour of Air Force One after Bush spent 13 minutes shaking hands and signing autographs for about 100 Air National Guard personnel and their families. The Earnhardt family spent about 50 minutes touring Air Force One. At one point, family members were seen inside the plane’s cockpit, sitting in the pilot’s seat. As they emerged, the family posed for pictures with crew members and Air National Guard members(That’s Racin’)(4-11-2001)
  • Yates to Dodge? Third Team? unlikely UPDATE no: Might car owner Robert Yates be considering a switch from Ford to Dodge next season? That’s the buzz in Detroit, although it’s unlikely that Ford Motor Company would let Yates, its biggest NASCAR star, get away. And after his third win of the season yesterday, why would Yates even think about leaving Ford, the company he has called home for so many years? “Money,” says one man familiar with Detroit’s inner secrets. “After all, Robert gave up (Ford’s) Quality Care for UPS.” Although few key figures in the Winston Cup garage expect Yates to make a move to leave Ford, the Dodge report is another twist on how tense things may be in Detroit, where for the first time in 25 years, all three of the Big Three are playing NASCAR again. Not since the mid-1970s have General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all been in this game, and it’s not quite clear how the balance of power might be shifting. And Yates said that Ford officials asked him to start a third Winston Cup team this season, with an unnamed driver, but he declined in order to focus on his current teams, with drivers Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd. And Yates said he has no plans to start a third team next season either, despite reports that Ford executives have approached him again. See full story at the Winston Salem Journal(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE: been told by RYR sources that this is totally untrue and they are NOT considering a switch from Ford to Dodge or any other manufacturer(4-11-2001)
  • Harvick to test ‘Dega UPDATE: #29-Kevin Harvick will test at Talladega next Tuesday and Wednesday. The April 22nd 500 will be his first (Cup) restrictor plate race for car owner Richard Childress and crew chief Kevin Hamlin(Winston Salem Journal)(4-7/10-2001)
    UPDATE: Close to a dozen teams continued testing at Talladega Superspeedway on Wednesday for the upcoming NASCAR Winston Cup Series Talladega 500, on April 22. On Tuesday at Talladega, 17 NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Series teams turned 900 laps – nearly 2,400 miles – on Alabama’s 2.66-mile tri-oval testing for “Track Attack Weekend.” Testing were #1-Steve Park, #29-Kevin Harvick, #40-Sterling Marlin, #4-Kevin Lepage, #71-Dave Marcis and #22-Tom Hubert, who was substituting for Ward Burton. “Track Attack Weekend” begins on April 19 with John Deere Qualifying Day for the Busch Series 300 and IROC practice. Advance Auto Parts Qualifying Day for the Talladega 500 is set for April 20. Fans can purchase a commemorative Jeff Gordon Pole Day ticket for $10 good for Friday’s activities. On Saturday, April 21, fans can watch the NASCAR Winston Cup Series extended Happy Hour, the True Value IROC XXV and the NASCAR Busch Series 300. The Talladega 500 is Sunday, April 21. Tower seats remain for both days. (tix info at the Talladega Site). No speeds reported.(4-11-2001)
  • Penalty Rescinded: On April 11, 2001, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Petty Enterprises. The appeal pertained to a $20,000 penalty issued by NASCAR to Greg Steadman, crew chief of the #43 car following the March 25, 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition to other matters arising from the appeal hearing, the commission considered the issue of non-conformance to rules specifications at the conclusion of a race based on a claim of racing conditions or racing contact. In most cases, a claim of racing conditions or racing contact is not sufficient to reduce or rescind a penalty in the eyes of the Commission. The Commission notes that non-conformance to specifications at the conclusion of a race may occur by design so as to gain an advantage. The Commission recognizes and reaffirms that, per Section 8-7 of the Rule Book, NASCAR Officials have the flexibility to exercise discretion in matters pertaining to racing conditions or racing contact and to evaluate each claim on a case-by-case basis. The commission feels strongly that, unless it can be determined that the non-conformance was directly attributable to racing conditions and to no other plausible explanation, a penalty would have been correct. However, during the appeal hearing the Appellant made a persuasive argument that the only plausible explanation for the height variance at the conclusion of the race was the cracked chassis welds resulting from the conditions of the race. It is extremely unlikely that a cracked chassis would have occurred by design. Further testimony indicated that the resulting height variance did not provide a significant competitive advantage over other competitors. Therefore, it is a unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission that the penalty is hereby rescinded(NASCAR PR)(4-11-2001)
  • Tire Carrier Hurt UPDATE: Kevin Garband, 35, of Winston-Salem was injured during a late-race pit stop when a loose tire from Bill Elliott’s #9 Dodge rolled into the pit stall of driver Mike Skinner. Garband is the front-tire carrier on Skinner’s pit crew. Garband had just jumped off the pit wall and was running around the left side of the car when the tire clipped his left knee and sent to the ground. Garband has had surgery in the past on the knee for a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He was treated and released from the infield care center and will see his personal physician Monday for further evaluation(That’s Racin’)(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE: Kevin Gabard, front-tire carrier and car chief for the #31 Lowe’s Chevy, will undergo surgery on Monday, April 16, to replace the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee and repair a torn meniscus. Gabard was injured during a late-race pit stop Sunday at Martinsville Speedway when a loose tire from another team rolled into the Lowe’s pit and clipped Gabard’s left knee. Gabard has undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the same knee seven times since 1991, most recently in November 1999.(RCR PR)(4-11-2001)
  • Dillon Out UPDATE Skinner In: Mike Dillon has stepped down as the driver of the #21 Rockwell Chevy co-owned by father-in-law Richard Childress in an attempt to improve the team’s performance, and not because of injuries he sustained in a multicar wreck March 24 at Bristol. Mike Skinner, who drives Childress’ #31 Winston Cup Chevy, was behind the wheel of the #21 car at Texas, where he qualified fifth and finished ninth. Despite initial word out of the Childress camp that Skinner was simply filling in, the move is all but permanent. There’s a possibility that Dillon may drive “a race or two” later this season, but that’s it. Dillon’s focus seems to have almost completely shifted from driving to a new, as-yet unspecified role within the Childress organization. A search would begin for a driver to run the races Skinner couldn’t. Skinner will most likely drive most, if not all, of the remaining races run in conjunction with the Winston Cup tour. With an eye toward 2002, the team might opt for a young, unproven talent in stand-alone events, much the same as it did with Kevin Harvick last year(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to view online)(4-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup driver Mike Skinner will drive the Richard Childress Racing/Brant Motorsports #21 BGN car this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway and the balance of this year’s races that coincide with Winston Cup events. Skinner, the full-time driver of the RCR #31 Lowes Chevys in the Winston Cup series, replaces Mike Dillon as driver for the #21 team. Dillon, recovered from injuries sustained in a March 24 crash at Bristol and another during testing at Nashville a couple of weeks before, will remain with RCR in an as-yet undetermined role. Subbing for an injured Dillon March 24 at Texas Motor Speedway, Skinner qualified fifth and finished ninth, both season bests for the team. A driver for the races that conflict with the Winston Cup schedule is being sought(That’s Racin’)(4-11-2001)
  • Martinsville TV and Golf: Nielsen Media Research suffered a meltdown this weekend and all of the rating’s reports for the weekend have been delayed, some of the overnights until late Tuesday. What we know so far is that FOX Sports finally came back to earth with a 4.5 overnight rating and an 11 share for NASCAR’s Virginia 500 at Martinsville Sunday. The Tiger Woods phenomenon had to have impacted viewership later in the afternoon, his unprecendented and successful quest for a fourth consecutive major, drew a 13 overnight rating with a 28 share for CBS’ coverage of The Masters(SpeedVision)(4-11-2001)
  • Earnhardt Crash Info UPDATE 3 – Ford to Join: NASCAR remains tight-lipped about the progress of its investigation of the Daytona 500 crash which killed legend Dale Earnhardt. NASCAR officials say the matter is complex, and that definite answers may be a couple months off(SpeedVision)(4-8-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials are expected to release an update on the Dale Earnhardt crash this week, possibly today(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    UPDATE 2: In a Monday afternoon teleconference, NASCAR officials announced their investigation of the Feb. 18 Daytona 500 crash that took Dale Earnhardt’s life included a reconstruction of the accident and would likely last until August. See the full text of the statement at That’s Racin’: Text of NASCAR update on Earnhardt crash investigation(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE 3: At least one automobile manufacturer, Ford, apparently will participate in the “comprehensive accident-reconstruction review” proposed by NASCAR in its “safety update” Monday.(SpeedVision)(4-11-2001)
  • Roush Says Team OK: Jack Roush insists his NASCAR empire is not in a slump. That, despite only two combined top-5 finishes and six top-10s in 32 starts this year among Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch. Until this year, Roush has always had championship-caliber teams. Martin has been top-10 in 12 of his 13 full seasons, nine of them within the top five. Burton has been top-5 in four of his five seasons with Roush. Never has the organization struggled like this. But Roush dismisses most of it as bad luck. “How can an owner prepare for some of what’s happened to us?” he said over the weekend. “We’ve had a hard year because we’ve been involved in wrecks and had structural failures and broken parts that we’ve never broken before. Jeff had a tire problem at Bristol that wasn’t his fault, and when he ran into Mark, we lost two cars right there. Over the winter we prepared our engineering effort, our aero program, our chassis program and our motor program better than ever. But we couldn’t have prepared for the chain of events that have occurred one after the other. We understand some of the parts failures, so I’ve taken steps to see they don’t happen again. If you’re talking about points, yes, we’re struggling. But we’ve had some very good runs this year.”(Daily Press)(4-11-2001)
  • Stewart Gives: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received through donations to pay for my Bristol fine. And while I still feel what I did on pit lane wasn’t right, it is nice to know you have fans that are with you through thick and thin. As part of my appreciation, I’ve decided to match the money that has so kindly come in to both the Gibbs shop and my offices in Indianapolis and send it all to the Make A Wish Foundation. It’s nice to see a positive come of a negative in this situation. The people at Make A Wish make a difference and hopefully with this they can make an even bigger difference. Enjoy the Easter weekend!” – Tony Stewart (Tony Stewart Site)(4-11-2001)
  • Sadler Testing at Michigan: Elliott Sadler and #21 Wood Brothers Racing team are testing at Michigan International Speedway this week. Tuesday got off to a late start due to weather. It rained in the morning and, even with the help of a jet dryer, it took close to three hours to dry the track due to temperatures in the 40s and an overcast sky. Despite the conditions, Sadler and his crew felt they made progress at a track, where the team has produced less than stellar results the past two years.(Campbell/Ford PR)(4-11-2001)
  • Sad News: Former Grand National driver J.T. Putney, who loved to go fast — on the ground or in the air — passed away Wednesday in Gainesville, FL. Actively competing from 1964-1967, the Arden, NC, native entered 125 races and garnered 16 top-fives and 49 top-10s. He finished a career best of second twice in his career. Julian Taylor Putney is survived by his wife, Joyce.(NASCAR.com)(4-11-2001)

    (4-10-2001)

  • Seat Belt News UPDATE 2: No one was more astonished than Bill Simpson when NASCAR officials suggested at a news conference in February that a faulty seat belt made by his company might have been responsible for the death of racing icon Dale Earnhardt. Horrified, the longtime maker of racing safety equipment polled his factory workers and suppliers about the nylon belts and quality control. He sent six sets of lap belts, made from the same batch as those in Earnhardt’s car, to an independent testing laboratory. The verdict: They should not have sheared when Earnhardt’s car crashed on the last lap of February’s Daytona 500. Seven weeks after the accident, however, Simpson knows little more about the belt in Earnhardt’s mangled Chevrolet than what he learned during that news conference. See full story at the Orlando Sentinel: NASCAR’s lips sealed on seat-belt analysis, some great images and explanations at the site(4-9-2001)
    UPDATE: Seat-belt failure did not cause the head injuries that killed NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt during February’s Daytona 500, a court-appointed medical expert who studied the racer’s autopsy photos reported Monday. Dr. Barry Myers, a Duke University expert in crash injuries, said Earnhardt died when his head whipped violently forward in the moments after his #3 Chevy struck a concrete wall at 150 mph. Rejecting NASCAR’s theory of the crash, Myers said that, even assuming what he termed “a worst-case scenario,” Earnhardt’s head probably would have suffered the same damage even if his lap belt had not torn on impact. See full story at the Orlando Sentinel: Expert: Seat belt no factor in Earnhardt death
    UPDATE 2 – NASCAR Statement: “We have said before and re-iterated Monday we’re conducting our own detailed review with a team of experts ranging from occupant safety-restraint analysis, and crash analysis to medical and biomechanical specialists,” said NASCAR president Mike Helton. “This latest report will not change that. “Contrary to several reports in the media, this report is not an opposing theory to anything NASCAR has presented. Since the Daytona 500, NASCAR has made clear that we will not suggest or speculate on the circumstances surrounding Dale Earnhardt’s accident until our study is complete. No one from NASCAR has ever suggested what may have happened in this accident other than to say in our preliminary investigation we found issues of concern involving the occupant restraint system. “As referenced in the report compiled by Dr. Barry Myers, better understanding can be achieved through biomechanical, sled and crash testing, which is consistent with the process we announced Monday. “We respect the varied theories from the medical field and welcome their input as to what likely could have occurred and we remain committed to a thorough, comprehensive review.”(NASCAR PR) and That’s Racin’ has a bunch of columns up about this
    AND Bill Simpson, president of Simpson Race Products, says he plans to consult with his legal team before commenting on the report on Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash at Daytona, released today by the Orlando Sentinel(SpeedVision)(4-10-2001)
  • Another Allison UPDATE 3 Injured but ok: Robbie Allison, son of Davey and Liz Allison, is slated to make his racing debut March 30 in the Bandolero division at Twin Fountains Raceway Park in Shelbyville, Tenn. Robbie was just a few weeks shy of his second birthday when father Davey died July 13, 1993.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to see online)(3-29-2001)
    UPDATE: been told that Allison will be driving in a new car developed by Pro Chassis called “Jr Racing League” not a Bandolero(3-30-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Robbie Allison, 9-year-old son of late NASCAR star Davey Allison, was injured in a crash last night while practicing for what would have been his racing debut. Allison was taken by ambulance from Twin Fountain Speedway to Bedford County Hospital after complaining of dizziness following the crash. He was treated for a sprained neck and released. ”He’s OK, just a little sore,” said Robbie’s mother, Liz, who was watching at trackside with husband Ryan Hackett and other family members. ”It scared him a little when they put a neck brace on him. He said, ‘Mom, did my daddy ever go through something like this?’ ”(Tennessean)(4-7-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Robbie suffered a strained neck, and his parents — mother Liz and stepfather Ryan Hackett — sustained badly jangled nerves. ”It scared him — and us — more than anything,” Liz said afterward. ”As soon as things calmed down a little, he asked, ‘Mom, when can I race again?’ ” Not for a while. ”The experience has made me re-evaluate the situation,” Liz said. ”We will continue to let Robbie practice, but we’ll wait awhile before he ventures into the competitive part. I know how badly he wants to get on the track, but I’ve got to make decisions that I feel are best for him.”(Tennessean)(4-10-2001)
  • Dodge to ARCA: Officials with the Automobile Racing Club of America(ARCA) series announced Monday the new Dodge Intrepid body style, used in the Winston Cup series this season, will be eligible for use in ARCA competition effective April 20. The first series event in which the Dodge Intrepid is eligible to compete is at Winchester Speedway in Indiana on April 22. (That’s Racin’)(4-10-2001)
  • Four Roush CTS Teams in 2002: Roush Racing on Monday announced its plans to field up to four teams in 2002 in the CTS. Roush currently fields two teams, with drivers Chuck Hossfeld and Nathan Haseleu. Roush plans to add teams for 18-year-old Jon Wood, son of Wood Brothers Racing owner Eddie Wood, and Tim Woods, a 24-year-old African American driver from California. None of the teams currently has sponsorship in place for the 2002 season. (That’s Racin’)(4-10-2001)

    (4-9-2001)

  • Seat Safety News: The cocoon-like racing seat being developed by PPI Racing went through a series of crash tests last week, and team officials said they saw “extremely positive results.” Team officials plan to share their results with NASCAR officials soon. Jeff Burton and Dr. John Melvin, a Michigan-based biomedical engineer, also are involved with the project. The next step is to have a driver run test laps while using the seat to check its practical applications. Any changes needed there and based on the original crash testing will be made for a second prototype seat, which will undergo more testing(Roanoke Times)(4-9-2001)
  • Earnhardt NOT to replaced in IROC UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt’s entry will not be filled in the remaining three International Race of Champions (IROC) events this season. Earnhardt, a four-time IROC series champion – including the past two seasons – died in the Daytona 500 in February. According to sources, IROC officials will issue a news release this week explaining their decision not to use a replacement driver in Earnhardt’s car the remainder of the season. Earnhardt had 11 wins in 58 starts in the IROC series, with his last victory coming in the 2000 season opener at Daytona. He was series champion the past two seasons. In addition, Tony Stewart is expected to continue to fill in for Gil de Ferran, last season’s champion of CART. Stewart substituted for de Ferran in the season opener because de Ferran had injured his foot in a CART test session weeks earlier. Since de Ferran has not had any practice or test sessions in the IROC cars, he is not expected to compete this season(That’s Racin’)(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: True Value IROC officials announced they will run an 11-car field for the remaining three races of the 2001 True Value IROC schedule. In tribute to four-time True Value IROC champion Dale Earnhardt, the 12th car will remained parked. Series President Jay Signore said, “Dale’s career in the series is one to be revered. He accepted a record 17 invitations to represent his sport and went on to capture the title four times. The decision to start only 11 cars in honor of Dale is a first for us, but one we believe is well deserved. With the support of all the competitors and Dale’s family, we will keep the 12th car parked as a tribute to honor and remember Dale as the champion’s champion.” An 11-time winner in the True Value IROC series, Earnhardt won back-to-back championships in 1999 and 2000 adding to his previous triumphs in 1990 and 1995. He most recently added to his legend during the season opener in February at Daytona International Speedway. While battling for the lead, Earnhardt’s Pontiac Firebird was sent into the infield grass where he never missed a beat. He returned to the track at full speed and finished the event in seventh place. Eventual winner of the race, Dale Jarrett cited the incident as, “proof that Dale Earnhardt was one of the best race car drivers in the world.” Race one from Daytona will be rebroadcast on ESPN2 Saturday, April 14, at 8:00pm/et. The True Value IROC series will continue with race-two at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 21.(IROC PR)(4-9-2001)
  • Photo Privacy Issues takes step backwards UPDATE: A judge allowed a student newspaper to challenge the sealing of the Dale Earnhardt autopsy photos and test the constitutionality of a new law that restricts access to such images. Circuit Judge Joseph Will said Thursday he wants to try to answer the many legal questions that remain on whether the public has the right to view autopsy photos. The NASCAR legend’s widow, Teresa Earnhardt, protested the decision. Allowing the challenge negates a compromise reached with the Orlando Sentinel to permanently seal the autopsy photos after an independent medical expert had viewed them and written a report, her lawyers argued. “Is she basically back to square one with her privacy rights?” Earnhardt attorney Judson Graves asked the judge. The judge responded, “Yes, I think so.”(AP/ESPN)(4-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt’s widow appealed again to keep her husband’s autopsy photos private, fearing they will wind up on the Internet for everyone to see. “I want to let the NASCAR community and the people of Florida know just how much pain this ordeal is causing my family,” Teresa Earnhardt said in a statement released at Martinsville Speedway, site of Sunday’s race. (see full story on That’s Racin’/AP: Earnhardt’s widow seeks help in autopsy photo fight and Teresa’s comments at: `We just want it to end,’ Teresa Earnhardt says )(4-9-2001)
  • Sader Bros Returns: The #95-Sadler Brothers race team is excited to have Steadman Marlin on board. Steadman is the son of former Sadler driver and two time Daytona 500 winner, Sterling Marlin. The team is planning to run the upcoming ARCA and BGN races at the new Nashville Superspeedway April 13 and 14.(Sadler Bros Site)(4-9-2001)
  • #43 Scheme UPDATE: not sure when but hearing the #43 Cheerios car and driver John Andretti will run a ‘Helping Hands’ scheme sometime this season(4-6-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing this could be a ‘Hamburger Helper’ scheme(4-9-2001)
  • Lepage and #4 Close to deal? Due to his performance in the #4 Kodak Chevy, Kevin Lepage may well get himself a full-time gig with Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Rumor has it serious negotiations between Lepage and team owner Larry McClure are underway(NASCAR.com Buzz)(4-9-2001)
  • Black Boxes?: A General Motors representative said Sunday that NASCAR will mandate data record systems “black boxes” in the cars by the end of the season. The “black boxes,” record data on the crash upon impact(NASCAR.com Buzz)
    AND: Expect an upgrade for GPS boxes in Winston Cup cars before the end of the season, according to General Motors. Once NASCAR gives teams the green light to install more sophisticated black boxes, it will enable them to gather accurate g-force data and arrive at a better understanding of what happens to a car on impact in a crash. NASCAR and the race teams would be able to use the information to aid the development of new safety measures.(Sporting News)(4-9-2001)
  • What were those Ribbons? been asked, didn’t know, here ya go – NASCAR on FOX’s crew wasn’t making a flashy fashion statement with those brightly-colored ribbons last week at Texas Motor Speedway. The team was showing its support for autism awareness. The jigsaw-puzzle design represents the puzzling nature of autism, but the bright colors is meant as a sign of hope for finding a cure. Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects the development of the brain. It often makes communication and the ability to interact with others incredibly difficult and, in some cases, nearly impossible. The disorder affects one in 500 people. Wearing the ribbon has become a tradition at FOX Sports. NFL on FOX broadcasters began sporting the colorful emblem in 1999, and Major League Baseball on FOX broadcasters followed suit last year, showing support for FOX Sports director Artie Kempner, who has a son with the disorder and serves as the president of the Autism Society of Delaware. The NASCAR on FOX crew plans to wear the ribbons throughout April, which is National Autism Awareness Month. For more information on autism, contact the Autism Society of America at 1-800-328-8476 or www.autism-society.org. (Fox Sports)(4-8-2001)

(4-8-2001)

  • Pruett Wins: Scott Pruett took the overall checkered flag at the 25th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race from a field of celebrity and professional drivers — just edging out last year’s winner Josh Brolin. Toyota dealer Tom Rudnai barely won the celebrity category over Olympic Gold medalist swimmer Dara Torres — the best-ever female finisher in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race and the pole position winner. As part of the event, Toyota raised over $200,000 for “Racing for Kids,” a national fund-raising program to benefit children’s hospitals in Long Beach, Los Angeles and Orange counties through its involvement with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The 10-lap race, held on the 1.99-mile Champ Car track, features a field of 17 drivers and will be broadcast in its entirety on ESPN, Saturday, April 28 at 3:00pm/et.(Business Wire/SpeedVision)(4-8-2001)
  • Nadeau, Stewart and Blaney hit the dirt at Lowes UPDATE: Jerry Nadeau plans to drive a new DIRT modified owned and prepared by Hendrick Motorsports employees and veteran DIRT mechanics Charlie Langenstein and Ray “Rizzo” Schepler in the April 7 Eckerd 100 Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Eckerd 100 is scheduled to be Nadeau’s inaugural race in a big-block DIRT modified and his first dirt-track appearance in nearly a decade. The Eckerd 100 is slated to be the first of three to five races Nadeau runs this season in the #2L R&C Motorsports Ventures DIRT modified. Tony Stewart is slated to drive the #20 GE Sealants & Adhesives-Extreme Silicone Tech/TEO entry owned by long-time DIRT Motorsports supporter Brian Goewey while Dave Blaney, a veteran of the DIRT Modified ranks whose father still campaigns a similar car in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, is entered in a #74 TEO machine also owned by Goewey. The Eckerd 100 will be run in conjunction with the April 5-8 Food Lion AutoFair, one of the nation’s largest car shows and automotive swap meets. More info at the LMS Site(4-5-2001)
    UPDATE: 10,846 fans cheered during the inaugural Eckerd 100 Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series event Saturday night at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Steve “The Hurricane” Paine of Waterloo, N.Y., and Brett “The Jet” Hearn of Sussex, N.J., shared the victory podium as the New York-based DIRT Motorsports organization brought its unique brand of modified stock car racing to the Carolinas for the first time. Both Paine and Hearn took home $5,000 for their victories. Paine started fifth in the first 50-lap event and took the lead on lap 20 en route to his second straight Super DIRT Series feature victory of the season. Hearn finished second in the first race with Billy Decker third, Alan Johnson fourth and Pat Ward fifth. Nadeau finished 31st in the 1st feature, Stewart finished 14th in the 1st and 13th in the 2nd feature and Blaney finished 35th in the 1st and 23rd in the 2nd feature(LMS Site) and see a story and pictures at Speed Illustrated(4-8-2001)
  • Another Driver Death: The latest NASCAR driver to die of a basilar skull fracture was eulogized here with about 60 people present. He was no Dale Earnhardt. Just an obscure rookie driver who died the same way as the NASCAR legend. Michael Roberts was a 50-year-old single parent who left behind a heartbroken daughter, Taylor — two years younger than Earnhardt’s 12-year-old daughter, Taylor. Roberts, who was memorialized Friday, died March 24 at I-44 Speedway near Lebanon, Mo. He was driving 80 mph on the 3/8-mile track — 100 mph slower than Earnhardt was when he hit a concrete wall on the last lap of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. Roberts was the fifth NASCAR driver in 11 months to die of injuries caused by violent head movement and the fourth to die of basilar skull fracture.(see full story at the Orlando Sentinel)(4-8-2001)

    (4-7-2001)

  • New Team: #13-Hermie Sadler failed to qualify for the Virginia 500 in his driving debut for the Virginia Lottery-sponsored team yesterday. Sadler owns the team and is housing the Winston Cup cars in Lyndon Amick’s Busch Grand National shop. Amick’s team is helping to work on and pit Sadler’s car. Sadler bought a couple of Chevrolets from the now-defunct Larry Hedrick team and is building some cars of his own. Tony Lambert, Mark Martin’s former Grand National crew chief, is working as crew chief..(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    AND All revved up for it’s first-ever NASCAR Winston Cup Promotion, the Virginia Lottery is pleased to announce that Virginia native veteran driver Hermie Sadler will be behind the wheel of the new Lotto Virginia car for four Winston Cup Series races in Virginia this year. “Racing for the Virginia Lottery will give me a chance to promote the good work the Lottery doesin supporting education and will also giv me a chance to have Lady Luck on my side during the races,” said Sadler. “Thirteen is the lucky number for the Virginia Lottery this year,” said Penelope Kyle, executive director of the Virginia Lottery. “That’s the number of the Lotto Virginia race car and the Virginia Lottery is celebrating our 13th lucky year of giving people a chance to have fun while trying to win prizes and giving the Lottery the opportunity to support education.”(Sadler Fan Club Site)(4-7-2001)
  • Park to run NHIS: Steve Park, who drives the #1 Pennzoil Chevy in the Cup series, will enter the CVS/pharmacy 200 Presented by Bayer BGN race on May 12 at New Hampshire International Speedway. It is an off weekend for Winston Cup(NHIS PR)(4-7-2001)

    (4-6-2001)

  • Hills Bros to the #27? Rumor had it Friday that Hills Bros. Coffee, primary sponsor of Junie Donlavey’s #90 Ford, was contemplating a full-time move to the #27 Eel River Pontiac. Hills Bros. sponsored the #27 at Las Vegas(NASCAR Buzz)(4-6-2001)
  • Interesting UPDATE: In the past four Winston Cup seasons, the top 10 in points after seven races has provided a good indication of which drivers will be in the top 10 at season’s end – 33 of 40 drivers in the final top 10s were there seven races into the season: see the chart at That’s Racin’: Signs of things to come?
    UPDATE: and an addition to the story: Others in early season points peril by David Poole(4-6-2001)
  • Harvick Scheme: #29-Kevin Harvick will run an AOL/Goodwrench painr scheme at the Winston. See a diecast image on my Paint Scheme Gallery(4-6-2001)
  • #75 News: Darwin Oordt, owner of the #75 Ford which has not raced in 2001 says, ”Right now we’re at a standstill,” in reference to his search for a sponsor for his idle #75 Winston Cup car. For the first time, Oordt admitted he may not make it in NASCAR’s big league. ”We’re looking at all of our options,” he said. ”Butch Mock [from whom Oordt bought the team two years ago] may get back in it. Oordt said recently printed reports that he might team up with driver Geoffrey Bodine were inaccurate. ”Geoffrey and I talked, as I’ve talked with a lot of people, but that’s all there was to it,” he said. Oordt hoped to put together a deal to get his car back on track by the third race at Las Vegas, but that also failed to develop. His aim now is to find a sponsor for the second half of the season and return to the circuit at the July Daytona Pepsi 400. So far, nothing has turned up.(in part from the Tennessean)(4-6-2001)
  • Lepage in thru Talladega: Kevin Lepage has been granted another week as driver of the #4 Kodak Chevy for McClure-McClure Motorsports and will stay in the car at least through the April 22 race at Talladega. Lepage was notified of owner Larry McClure’s decision this week(That’s Racin’)(4-6-2001)
  • Dyno’s UPDATE – some numbers: The top six cars in Sunday’s race were tested on a chassis dynamometer after the race by NASCAR. The dyno measures horsepower to the rear wheels. The cars tested were the Dale Jarrett(#88) and Kurt Busch(#97) Fords, the Steve Park(#1) and Jeff Gordon(#24) Chevys, Johnny Benson’s (#10) Pontiac and Dave Blaney’s (#93) Dodge(That’s Racin‘)(4-1-2001)
    UPDATE – some numbers: According to results from NASCAR’s chassis dyno tests after Sunday’s Harrah’s 500 at Texas, Robert Yates had by far the most powerful engine. Yates’ edge(the #88 was tested) over the two Chevrolets tested, #1-Steve Park’s and #24-Jeff Gordon’s, wasn’t that significant, less than 10 horsepower. But Yates’ edge over the two Jack Roush engines tested, in #97-Kurt Busch’s third-place car, and #6-Mark Martin’s eighth-place car, was considerable. According to NASCAR sources, Dale Jarrett had a peak horsepower advantage of 38 horsepower over Busch and 52 horsepower over Martin. And the Dodge engine from #93-Dave Blaney’s car, though pulling more horsepower than either Roush motor, wasn’t as strong as either Chevrolet motor or Yates’ motor(Winston Salem Journal)(4-6-2001)
  • Mark Martin’s Speedway has an accident UPDATE 2: James Neaves, president of the New Smyrna Quarter Midget Racing Association, is in critical but stable condition with head injuries in the intensive care unit at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, a hospital spokeswoman said. The 35-year-old Spruce Creek Fly-In resident was injured during a caution lap when a slow moving car driven by a 6-year-old Deltona boy hit him from behind. The impact at the ankles threw Neaves in the air and he landed on his head, a Sheriff’s Office report said. Robert Hart, owner of New Smyrna Speedway where the midget track is located, said it was an unfortunate incident. There was no ambulance on site nor an emergency medical technician on duty during the races. The Little New Smyrna Speedway — geared toward children between the ages of 5 and 15 — officially opened during Speed Weeks in February. Founder and Winston Cup driver Mark Martin, Neaves and Dye worked nearly a year to get the track operational for area kids to learn about competitive racing at a young age. Benny Ertel, spokesman for Martin, said the NASCAR driver was upset about the news and rushed to the hospital to be with Neaves’ family late Sunday night when he returned from the race at Texas Motor Speedway. Martin was unavailable for comment Monday.(see full story at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE: have heard that James Neaves is doing better, nothing official
    UPDATE 2: The youth auto racing official injured at New Smyrna Speedway Sunday has been upgraded to serious condition, a Halifax Medical Center spokeswoman said Thursday. James Neaves, 35, was thrown into the air after being struck from behind by a 6-year-old Deltona boy during a caution lap. The impact from the car, which weighs about 235 pounds, threw Neaves onto the asphalt track, causing severe head injuries. Neaves is president of the newly formed New Smyrna Quarter Midget Racing Association, which built a track in the infield of the speedway. He had just finished fixing a section of the low wooden wall following an accident during the practice session when he was struck. He was transported by helicopter to the hospital’s intensive care unit where he had remained in critical condition until Thursday morning(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-6-2001)
  • Earnhardt Honor at Talladega: The late Dale Earnhardt will be honored with the Governor’s Award for 2001 by the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The award will be presented to members of the Earnhardt family as part of the induction ceremony on April 19 in Talladega. Past recipients of the award include Bill France, Jr., Tony George, Robert Penske and T. Wayne Robertson. The award is presented to ”an individual or group that has made significant contributions to the growth of motorsports.” Earnhardt, who died in a crash in the February Daytona 500, won his 76th and final race at Talladega Superspeedway last October. He is Talladega’s all-time winner, with 10 victories in Winston Cup, one in Busch and three in IROC. Earnhardt’s long-time friend, Neil Bonnett, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with Jimmy Bryan, Mike Hailwood and Fred Offenhauser.(Tennessean)(4-6-2001)
  • #14 Tests: Ron Hornaday and the #14 Conseco Pontiac tested at Greensville-Pickens Speedway on Wednesday in preparation for Martinsville this weekend(Garagepass)(4-6-2001)

    (4-5-2001)

  • #8 Special Paint? UPDATE 3: hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr will have a special Ducks Unlimited paint scheme at the Winston with an announcement at Talladega in April. Also hear Earnhardt Jr will also run a All-Star Baseball scheme sometime in the summer, possibly at the Pepsi 400 in July(3-8-2001)
    UPDATE: sorry folks, been ‘asked’ by Action Performance to remove the image and will honor that request, do not email asking for me to send the image, I won’t, sorry. The car is white, with red lettering, the All-Star or baseball was blacked out. Will be announced at Texas on March 31st (3-16-2001)
    UPDATE 2: the Ducks Unlimited car will be run at Charlotte in October, the Baseball scheme at The Winston and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE 3: been told by Action that the Duck Unlimited scheme has been canceled for 2001(4-5-2001)
  • DW Statue: Kentucky Motor Speedway and Tide will dedicate a life-size bronze statue of Darrell Waltrip and walkway at the track’s Fan Center June 16, prior to its inaugural Busch Series event. The statue depicts Waltrip after he won the 1989 Daytona 500. Set on a 4-foot solid granite base, the statue weighs more than 8,000 pounds. Surrounding the statue will be the Darrell Waltrip Memorial Walkway, a park-like setting linking the Fan Center to the monument. Country music entertainer Brad Paisley will also stage a pre-race concert(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to view online)(4-5-2001)
  • No Split Advertising: Because of advertisers’ concerns that it distracted viewers, NBC may not carry continuous coverage during commercial breaks of NASCAR races as it did during two events last season, network spokesman Mike McCarley told Bloomberg News. The network, which begins its coverage of NASCAR in July, had planned to set aside 25 percent of the screen to advertisers who agreed(St Petersburg Times)(4-5-2001)
  • Good for him: Amazon.com and another Web company have pulled advertisements from the DeLand-based(Florida) Web site that posted autopsy photographs of two dead NASCAR drivers. The companies said they wanted nothing to do with the Web site, which has been virtually inaccessible all week. Operator Michael Uribe said Wednesday that visitors overloaded the site trying to see pictures of Rodney Orr and Neil Bonnett, who died at the Daytona International Speedway in 1994. Uribe continues to seek access to recent autopsy photos of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt, although he refuses to say whether he would post those pictures online. A judge in Volusia County has scheduled a hearing today on whether Uribe and the University of Florida’s student newspaper can argue for an opportunity to see the images(Orlando Sentinel)(4-5-2001)
  • No HANS for Burton: Jeff Burton is wearing the Hutcherson Device (note: thought it was the Hutchens device), an alternative to the HANS (head and neck safety) Device that is supposed to prevent the neck-whipping action that may have caused Dale Earnhardt’s death. “The reason I like it is because in a rearward impact, there is absolutely zero problem with the device causing some sort of issue that we don’t know about,” Burton said. “When I look at the HANS Device, with the parameters that we have to work in, the HANS is crammed into the car, crammed up against the driver’s head and crammed against the seat.” The HANS Device was designed for open-wheel racing and has been adapted for stock cars, although not to a universally acceptable degree. Some drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., are not wearing any head-and-neck restraint system. Burton concedes that the Hutcherson Device is not as effective in a head-on impact as the HANS, but he says that at a 30-degree impact, it works just as well.(Dallas Morning News)(4-5-2001)
  • Testing UPDATE: hearing quite a few Winston Cup teams are testing at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in SC this week. It is similar to Martinsville. Hear #8-Dale Earnahrdt Jr, #11-Brett Bodine and #14-Ron Hornaday are among the drivers testing. #40-Sterling Marlin will test there on Wednesday. Also hear a few CTS teams are testing there this week as well(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the following teams tested at Greenville Pickens on Wednesday – #01-Jason Leffler; #7-Mike Wallace; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.; #15-Michael Waltrip; #26-Jimmy Spencer; #33-Joe Nemechek; #40-Sterling Marlin; #55-Bobby Hamilton; and #92-Stacy Compton(4-5-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel: hearing that the #11 Ralphs Supermarkets/RedCell Batteries Ford of Brett Bodine is testing at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(4-5-2001)
  • Robinson and Burton test California: #99-Jeff Burton tested at California Speedway Monday and Tuesday of this week in preparation for the NAPA 500 on April 29 in Fontana, Calif. They not only became familiarized with the track, but they learned a number of things that will be helpful at other NASCAR tracks. “This was probably the most effective test we’ve ever had,” Burton said. “We went there with some goals, and we achieved all of them while we were there. We used this test for many things, one being to learn more about the tire. I am happy with the results we got, and I feel more comfortable with the tire.” Burton spent the first day of the test working on his qualifying setup, while the second day of the test was spent specifically on his race setup. The team tested its Atlanta car that competed in the Cracker Barrel 500 last month along with the Atlanta car that raced last season. #84-Shawna Robinson was the only other driver to participate in the two-day test with Burton at California Speedway.(Roush Racing)
    AND Some quotes from Shawna Robinson regarding her test at California Speedway and her desire to be the first woman in 12 years to compete in a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. Robinson tested at the speedway in preparation for the upcoming NAPA AUTO PARTS 500. (On how her test is going): “The car is getting better and better, but not where it needs to be. We are making progress; small gains, but gains nonetheless. Every time I think I have the track figured out, we change something in the car and the comfort level goes down. One run could be fine and the next could be completely different. Basically, we’ve been concentrating on short runs and not focusing on time right now. This is my first experience with a Cup car, and my first time at this track. I have a pretty good comfort level at Michigan and this place is similar, but this place is really fast. Getting into the corners is very important here. We are going to stay tomorrow and do some more work. We need it. We need every minute of track time we can get.” and (On her desire to compete in the Winston Cup Series): “My goal is to drive full-time next season. That is what it takes to be successful. I would not be at this level if I didn’t think I deserved to be. My time is now. I have a lot of experience, but things have to be done right. That is why we are testing – to get a good feel for the car and get the team working together and on the same page. I feel I’m in my place when I’m in a race car. It is what I’m supposed to be doing.”(California Speedway PR)(4-5-2001)
  • Alabama NASCAR License Plates: On Wednesday, the Alabama Legislature’s License Plate Oversight Committee approved a plan to decorate vehicle tags with the names, numbers and racing colors of some of the top stock car drivers. Committee Chairman Gerald Dial, D-Lineville, said the order forms should be available in county tag offices in about a month. Dial said motorists who want the tags will have to pay a $50 fee with the order form. Once the state pre-sells 1,000 tags for all racing drivers combined, the state Department of Corrections will begin production, and the tags will be mailed to the motorists who placed orders. West Virginia and New York already have license plates with racing drivers, and South Carolina and Indiana are considering them. The Alabama tags will feature drivers who have signed licensing agreements with Race Plates Marketing, which got the program started in West Virginia. Bob Brant, president of Race Plates Marketing, said agreements have been reached with Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Skinner, Steve Park, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Jerry Nadeua, Terry Labonte, and Michael Waltrip. Discussions are going on with other drivers. Out of the $50 cost of the tax, $3.50 will go to the state and county governments to cover various expenses, and $5 will go to the Penny Trust Fund, which supports children’s programs. Of the remaining $41.50, the licensing organization will get 23 percent, the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega 45 percent, and the state Department of Corrections 32 percent.(Alabama Live/AP)(4-5-2001)
  • RCR Doctor: Dr. Jay Golding has worked with Richard Childress Racing since the fall of 1999 and his role continues to evolve. In addition to seeing team members and their families at his practice in Lexington, N.C., he tries to provide some continuity at the track as well. When RCR BGN driver Mike Dillon was involved in a wreck at Bristol, Dr. Golding was there to help when he reached the infield medical center. Golding was able to order the tests he felt Dillon should undergo, allowing him to get in and out of the hospital correctly. And while accidents would seem to be the biggest reason to have a team physician, owner Richard Childress says Golding is invaluable for a number of reasons. “It’s good to have someone in an organization like ours who can help you with everything from the flu shots to whatever,” Childress said. “He’s been a tremendous help. He’s been in Daytona with us (when Dale Earnhardt was killed) and I think he helped us all (deal with that). And he can head off a lot of stuff that would cause (crew members) to be out of work.” NASCAR does not have a physician that travels the circuit, preferring that local physicians work with the hospitals in that area. Golding says everyone he’s encountered has been receptive to his presence and he sees pros and cons to NASCAR having its own doctor.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to view online)(4-5-2001)
  • Gordon’s Glasses: FosterGrant, the nations top manufacturer of popularly priced sunglasses, announced today that it has signed a multi-year endorsement and licensing agreement with 3-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon. As part of the deal, Jeff Gordon will be featured in the latest series of the company’s famous “Who’s That Behind Those FosterGrants?” ad campaign, scheduled to break in spring of 2002. FosterGrant will also create a special line of FosterGrant sunglasses to be endorsed by Gordon, as well as a collection of sunglasses featuring Gordon’s #24 and the famous Dupont #24 car colors(Foster Grant Site)(4-5-2001)
  • goracing news: Action announced it has re-established its online interactive merchandising presence by entering into an agreement with QVC in which QVC will assume the day-to-day operations and related promotion of the GoRacing.com Web site as an online motorsports retail store that will market Action Performance die cast and apparel racing merchandise. QVC will also integrate GoRacing.com with its weekly prime-time racing collectibles show. Under terms of a 10-year agreement, QVC will rebrand its “For Race Fans Only” show to “For Race Fans Only-as Sponsored by GoRacing.com,” which will promote the GoRacing.com Web site as a 24/7 merchandiser of Action Performance products, as well as other products featured on the show. The rebranding is expected to occur by July 30, 2001. The Web site is expected to be operational no later than Oct. 1, 2001.(Business Wire)(4-5-2001)

    (4-4-2001)

  • #7 Crew Chief change? UPDATE: hearing Tim Brewer and the #7 Ultra Motorsports team have parted ways and that Jim Long could be the new crew chief
    UPDATE: Veteran crew chief Jim Long has been named as the new crew chief for the NationsRent, Ultra Motorsports Racing Team. The team fields the #7 Ford Taurus for driver Mike Wallace. The personnel change is effective immediately. In making the announcement, team owner Jim Smith said: “We needed to make a change with our Winston Cup program at Ultra Motorsports, and we needed it to be an immediate change. It was a mutual decision between our former crew chief, Tim Brewer and myself. This NationsRent, Ultra Motorsports team was not running anywhere near its’ potential. As a team we set some weekly and monthly goals at the beginning of the season, however we have not been attaining our objectives. This decision was a very difficult one for me to make. I’ve known and have been close friends with Tim Brewer for close to 30-years. I will still remain as best of friends with Tim.” Jim Long has functioned in the role of crew chief for five years. Most recently, he was with the Darwin Ordt owned, #75 Ford racing team. Prior to that he spent two years with Bessey Motorsports. Long was also with the defunct Stavola Brothers racing organization. He has two Winston Cup wins to his credit with driver Ricky Rudd.(Ultra Motorsports PR)(4-4-2001)
  • Change at the #14? UPDATE: hearing that crew chief Philippe Lopez and the #14 AJ Foyt Racing team have parted ways?(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE: Phillipe Lopez, crew chief the past year for A.J. Foyt’s #14, has left the team, and Fred Graves will handle the duties until a permanent replacement is named. Foyt hired Ron Hornaday as driver in December, and Graves, father of Ganassi/SABCO team manager Andy Graves, drafted aboard with Hornaday. Graves and Hornaday had worked together successfully on Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s championship CTS program. Foyt team manager Tommy LaMance said Wednesday that Lopez had quit Monday afternoon, and he said long-term plans were not yet clear. Lopez’s plans are not known(SpeedVision)(4-4-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel stuff: hearing the #9 and #19 Dodge teams are testing at the Lockheed wind tunnel in Maretta, GA today and that the #96 McDonald’s Ford was at the wind tunnel in Ottawa, Canada on Monday or Tuesday(4-4-2001)
  • Pemberton Back: #2 Crew chief Robin Pemberton was at the shop Monday after missing his first race last weekend since joining Rusty Wallace ‘s team at the end of the 1994 season. Pemberton skipped the race at Texas because of fatigue. He plans to be at Martinsville this weekend(Roanoke Times)(4-4-2001)
  • DW to race in England: Darrell Waltrip has agreed to drive in an exhibition race this summer in England. He’ll be driving the vintage 1985 #11 Budweiser Chevrolet in which he won the third of his three Winston Cup championships. Waltrip will race during the July 6-8 Goodwood Festival of Speed on a road course on an estate outside of London.(Tennessean)(4-4-2001)
  • Sad News UPDATE 2: On lap 34 of the 40-lap Late Model season opener at Rockford Speedway, (Rockford, IL) Al Papini was involved in a one-car crash. Reports say Papini’s car suddenly turned left, went through the infield area and impacted the outside wall between turns one and two, vaulting out of the speedway. Rescue crews extricated Papini and he was airlifted to Rockford Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival from severe chest injuries.(Speedway Illustrated). Thoughts are with Papini’s family and friends(4-2-2001)
    Services for Al Papini III, 41, of Machesney Park, IL will be held Friday, April 6 in Saint Bridget Catholic Church, 600 Clifford Avenue in Loves Park, IL. The Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11am. with Monsignor John Mitchell officiating. Visitation will be held Thursday, April 5 from 4 to 78 p.m. in Delehanty Funeral home Ltd., 401 River Lane, Loves Park and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 6, in the church. A celebration of Al’s life will be held at the Forest Hills Lodge, adjacent to Rockford Speedway, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Al Papini Memorial at any Rockford area NorthWest Bank or mail to PO Box 1060, Rockford, Illinois 61105-1060(4-3-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Late-Model driver Al Papini III died from a heart attack before hitting the wall Sunday at Rockford Speedway, according to a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday(Rockford Register)(4-4-2001)
  • Eagle One: Johnny Benson is flying the black-and-white colors of Eagle One car care products three times in April. The usual blue-and-white #10 Valvoline Pontiac first took on the different look last Sunday in Texas, and that will continue in this Sunday’s (April 8) race at Martinsville, and again April 29 in the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway(Valvoline PR)(4-4-2001)

    (4-3-2001)

  • Flagman ok: hearing that NASCAR Winston Cup Chief Starter Jimmy Howell was absent from the flagstand on Sunday at Texas as he spent Friday and Saturday in the hospital having test run. BGN Chief Starter Matt Abernathy took Howell’s place on Sunday. Howell plans to be back in the stand Sunday at Martinsville. Howell and Rodney Wise rotate week to week, so it was Wise’s turn to flag on Sunday(4-3-2001)
  • Spiderman? hearing the #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Casey Atwood Dodge’s will run a Spiderman (the movie) paint scheme at Charlotte, not sure if it’s in May or Oct(4-3-2001)
  • BBBSA and Benson: Johnny Benson’s performance in the #10 Valvoline Pontiac, combined with contributions from Valvoline and NASCAR fans, has brought the current total raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters since 1999 to $556,845. Valvoline is donating $5,000 for every Winston Cup race Benson wins, $2,500 for each pole, $1,000 for a top-10 finish, $500 for a top-20 result and $20 per lap Benson leads in this “Caring Hands” program. Valvoline will donate $1 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters if Benson is able to win both the Winston Cup pole and race on the same weekend(Valvoline PR)(4-3-2001)
  • The Winston to Move? UPDATE 2: It is possible, but not likely, that The Winston will move to another track after this year’s May 19 running of Winston Cup’s all-star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Rick Sanders, president of Sports Marketing Enterprises, the marketing arm of series sponsor R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., said Saturday that discussions are under way about the future of the event. The Winston has been held at the Charlotte track 15 times in the 16-year history of the event. It was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986, the second year of its existence. Sanders said that Winston would prefer having The Winston continue to stand alone on its own racing weekend, rather than be included as part of activities during a regular points event. Another option that is being considered for The Winston, Sanders confirmed, is naming the trophy that goes to the winner of the event the Dale Earnhardt Trophy.(That’s Racin’)(3-31-2001)
    UPDATE: There is speculation out of North Carolina that The Winston all-star race could move after this year and that it might wind up at Texas Motor Speedway. A contract with Charlotte’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway runs out after this year. Sponsor R.J. Reynolds can keep the race in Charlotte, where it has been a major success, or make a change. Options include some kind of rotation system or taking it to another track(Dallas Morning News)(4-1-2001)
    UPDATE 2: heard from some readers that Eddie Gossage of Texas Motor Speedway said on local (Texas) radio NewsTalk 820 (WBAP) out of Dallas that the Winston would not be moving to Texas Motor Speedway despite the rumors and that Bruton Smith was not buying Darlington Raceway(4-3-2001)


    (4-2-2001)

  • Sad News: Cathy Bodine, Geoffrey Bodine ex-wife, passed away in Florida on Sunday(ESPN2’s RPM 2Night). Thoughts go out to family and friends(more at www.geoffbodinefanclub.com)(4-2-2001)
  • Marlin’s Crewmen OK: Two members of Sterling Marlin’s crew sustained sprained ankles but escaped serious injury when they were hit by Rusty Wallace’s car in the pits on the 266th lap. Darren Wolfe, the right front tire carrier, was treated for a sprained left ankle but returned to the pits for the end of the race. Rick Reling, the right front tire changer, also was cut on the right calf. He also continued to work in the pits(That’s Racin’/AP)(4-2-2001)
  • Lepage in the #4 at Martinsville: Larry McClure, who owns the #4 Kodak Chevy, informed interim driver Kevin Lepage over the headsets on the cool-down lap that he had earned himself another week in the seat. Lepage finished an impressive 11th Sunday. He finished 15th at Bristol last week(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(4-2-2001)
  • Quite an Impact: Last season’s Texas 500 was ranked the sixth-biggest professional sports event in the country, based on economic impact in the local market, generating $165 million. The top 10, according to the business survey by Street and Smith were: the Indy 500 ($336 million), the Daytona 500 ($240 million), the Brickyard 400 ($219), the Super Bowl ($215 million), the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis ($170 million), the Texas 500 ($165 million), the August Bristol 500 ($119 million), the March Bristol 500 ($80 million), the Kentucky Derby ($60 million), and the Winston 500 at Talladega ($42 million).(Winston Salem Journal)(4-2-2001)
  • Dale Jr’s Monday: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will spend Monday with representatives from Remington Arms and the U.S. Secret Service, as he takes target practice with Remington’s custom sniper rifles. Remington, an associate sponsor of the #8 team, produces many of the weapons used by law enforcement officers all across the country, and the sniper range allows officers and secret service agents to hone their skills(fingerprint.inc/Bud PR)(4-2-2001)
  • Earnhardt Honored: Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Eddie Gossage was joined by Denton County Judge Scott Armey, Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr and Texas Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff to announce a special tribute to the late Dale Earnhardt. A new interchange being built at the northeast corner of the speedway and Interstate 35-W will be named Dale Earnhardt Way. The announcement, which was well received by the fans, also included an unveiling of a highway exit sign which will be erected along I-35W. A special No. 3 flag was then raised above victory lane.(TMS Site)(4-2-2001)

(4-1-2001)

  • RIR Testing: #28-Ricky Rudd and #88-Dale Jarrett are testing at Richmond International Raceway on Tuesday and Wednesday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-1-2001)
  • Geoffrey Bodine in the #75 car? UPDATE: Driver Geoffrey Bodine says he’s ready to go racing again if he can get a ride in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Bodine is working on a deal that could put him behind the wheel of the dormant #75 Galaxy Motorsports team for the second half of the Winston Cup season. The #75 team released driver Wally Dallenbach after failing to land a sponsor for this season. But Bodine says that owner Darwin Oordt is negotiating with a potential investor. Bodine also is interested in broadasting and has interviewed with NBC and TBS(Elmira Star Gazette/Speedway Scene). Also hearing from another source that the #75 Team has closed up shop, but have not confirmed that(4-1-2001)
    UPDATE: Geoffrey Bodine and an “investment partner” are in the process of deciding whether to acquire an existing NASCAR Winston Cup operation or to start from scratch by assembling a team and a fleet of rolling stock. Last week they toured Galaxy Motorsports; but after that visit, talk is they are more seriously considering building their own team since the most critical element of a team is its personnel and Galaxy currently is down to about three employees in the shop. One of the most pressing considerations right now is sponsorship, but the plan would be to align Geoffrey’s new operation with brother Brett’s Brett Bodine Racing team to cooperate on sharing test information and other technology transfer without having the administrative tangles of a true multi-car operation(NASCAR.com Buzz)(4-1-2001)
  • Green in the #30 AOL car: Richard Childress announced the races Jeff Green will be running in the #30 (AOL) Winston Cup car this season. Green will attempt to make his (2001 Cup) debut at California Speedway on April 29. He also will run the races at Dover (June 3), Chicago (July 15), Indianapolis (Aug. 5), Bristol (Aug. 25), Richmond (Sept. 8) and Lowe’s (Oct. 7).(Richmond Times DispatchAND Richard Childress Racing Saturday named 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion Jeff Green as the driver for the #30 America Online NASCAR Winston Cup team for a limited schedule this season. Childress said plans for the 2002 season and beyond will be forthcoming(NASCAR.com)(4-1-2001)
  • #97 Sponsor? UPDATE 7 Sunday Announcement? heard nothing: rumor floating around that Newell-Rubbermaid may be a sponsor for the #97 Roush Racing team and driver Kurt Busch. But sources with the team say they have not heard that at all(3-5-2001)
    UPDATE: actually hear the sponsor will be Sanford with their Sharpie Marker Line being featured, Sanford is owned by…..Newell Rubbermaid. An announcement could come in Texas in a few weeks, if that is the sponsor. Sharpie will also be the title sponsor of the race at Bristol in August, the Sharpie® 500(3-6-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing, which fields four Winston Cup, two BGN and two CTS teams, has had several high-profile sponsors and two dot-com companies leave or reduce their participation because of economic reasons. Despite losing companies like Northern Light, Exide and John Deere, Roush has been able to find new sources of cash, company president Geoff Smith said. Smith said he expects to add sponsors for rookie Kurt Busch’s #97 Winston Cup car and for one of the two trucks. Gain detergent recently agreed to back Jeff Burton’s Busch car(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE 3: the weeks Speedway Scene mentions Pizza Hut as a possible sponsor for either the #97 or one of the Roush CTS teams(3-10-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith expects to announce a sponsor for Kurt Busch’s Winston Cup team and the truck team of Chuck Hossfeld at Bristol. He would neither confirm nor deny that the sponsor would be Sanford, the company that manufactures Sharpies. Earlier this year it was announced that Sharpie would sponsor the August Bristol race(Winston Cup Scene need to be a subscriber to read online)(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE 5: hearing the announcement will probably be at Texas and not Bristol that Sharpie®/Sanford/Newell Rubbermaid will be Kurt Bucsh’s sponsor. Hearing the car will be primarily black with a white hood having “Sharpie” in black letters with a blue Sharpie pen underneath it on the hood. The lower left side of the car is blue … the lower right side of the car is red (almost like somebody’s been scribbling on it with a … Sharpie) or an all black with a red “Rubbermaid” logo. Sharpie is on the quarter panels and Paper*Mate is on the deck lid(3-22-2001)
    UPDATE 6: Roush Racing’s sponsorship announcement set for Sunday at Texas will include programs for both the #97 Ford Taurus driven by Kurt Busch as well as one of Roush’s two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series programs, which have run sponsorless for rookie drivers Nathan Haseleu and Chuck Hossfeld this season(NASCAR.com Buzz)(3-30-2001)
    UPDATE 7: There was a morning news conference at which team owner Jack Roush announced that beginning with next weekend’s race at Martinsville, Kurt Busch’s #97 Fords will be sponsored by the Newell-Rubbermaid organization through the Sharpie brand of permanent markers and Rubbermaid home products. The company will also sponsor Chuck Hossfeld’s #50 team in the Truck series(That’s Racin‘)(4-1-2001)
  • AMS Not Happy UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway executives are not happy with Fox officials for changing the on-air name of the Cracker Barrel 500 three weeks ago. Fox declined to mention Cracker Barrel as the race sponsor, instead calling it a Winston Cup race ‘presented by UPS.'(Winston Salem Journal)(3-31-2001)
    UPDATE: The Winston-Salem Journal reports that “Atlanta Motor Speedway executives are not happy with Fox officials for changing the on-air name of the Cracker Barrel 500 three weeks ago. Fox declined to mention Cracker Barrel as the race sponsor, instead calling it a Winston Cup race ‘presented by UPS.’ ” Sorry, folks, but this is inaccurate. Fox did indeed mention Cracker Barrel by name as required by contract. Lap 35 – 36:42 into broadcast: Mike Joy – “Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500”, Lap 188 – 2:08:42 into broadcast: Mike Joy – “Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores 500”, Lap 305 – 3:34:54 into broadcast: Mike Joy – “Cracker Barrel 500”, There may have been one more, but the tape was reviewed quickly by MotorsportsTV. Actually, Fox’s primary use of the UPS tie-in was “NASCAR on Fox presented by UPS,” never attributing race title sponsorship to UPS. This is very common on TV sports now. That’s a far cry from title sponsorship. The key point though is that Fox did mention Cracker Barrel as they were required to in Atlanta(MotorsportsTV)(4-1-2001)
  • Boycott Unlikely, but…: A comment made by reigning Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte last weekend at Bristol has mushroomed into reports that drivers are considering a boycott of the April 22 race at Talladega. Labonte said last week that he had heard talk that some sponsors had told their drivers they would support them if they didn’t want to go to Talladega because NASCAR plans to use the same rules there that were used there last fall and at Daytona in February. There is virtually no chance any such boycott could materialize, of course. Late last year, before a return trip to New Hampshire International Speedway where Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin had died earlier in the season, drivers floated the same kind of suggestions to put pressure on NASCAR to change the rules(see full story at That’s Racin’)(4-1-2001)
  • Pemberton may sit out UPDATE no Texas: Robin Pemberton, crew chief for Rusty Wallace’s #2 Miller Lite Ford, was not with the team Friday at Texas. Pemberton was, instead, back home in the Charlotte area undergoing medical tests to seek the cause for the fatigue he has been feeling in recent weeks. “I was really feeling pretty normal as far as being run down and stressed out – just like about 400 other friends of mine feel like every day,” Pemberton said. “But my doctor didn’t like the way I was looking and he told me to come in for some tests.” Pemberton had a heart stress test before last week’s race at Bristol and then had a heart catheterization. Those tests did not reveal any blockages. On Friday, he was having his carotid artery checked. Pemberton wouldn’t rule out coming to the race on Sunday. If he doesn’t, team general manager John Erickson said that Jeffrey Thousand would likely be on top of the team’s pit box on Sunday communicating with the driver(That’s Racin’)(3-31-2001)
    UPDATE: Rusty Wallace’s crew chief, Robin Pemberton, opted not to fly to Texas yesterday. Pemberton has been undergoing a series of medical tests, but he had considered joining the team in time for today’s race. Now he is taking the weekend off and planning to be back with Wallace next weekend at Martinsville(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-1-2001)
  • Family OK: A family of six is recovering after inhaling fumes from an motorhome heater that appears to have kicked out some carbon monoxide gas at the Texas Motor Speedway. The family was in the motorhome which was parked in the infield. Three ambulances took them away from the Speedway for treatment. Doctors say they are going to be OK.(AP/ESPN)(4-1-2001)