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April 2003 News Archives


 

  • (4-30-2003)

  • NASCAR to go Unleaded in 2004: Rumor has it that NASCAR’s new fuel supplier in 2004 will want the cars to run unleaded fuel. “Several years ago there was the possibility of NASCAR having to switch to unleaded fuel. At the time, there was some concern that lead in fuel lubricates. There was concern that valve guides or valve stems and maybe possibly valve seats would wear out quickly. Most teams that tried it had figured out a way around it if that was going to be the case. There were a couple of teams that struggled and NASCAR decided not to use the unleaded fuel. Supposedly, the unleaded fuel would pull more horsepower because it’s got oxygen in it, so it’s not a horsepower issue, it’s more of a longevity issue. You just convert to different materials on places like your valve seats or valve guides and things like that. (AutoRacing1.com – need subscription to read)(4-30-2003)
  • R.J. Reynolds [Winston] to sell? After British American Tobacco PLC reported higher quarterly international cigarette sales volume on flat profits, some European analysts were speculating yesterday that the world’s second-largest tobacco company might be thinking about making a bid for struggling competitor R.J. Reynolds. Some analysts said BAT should seize on that opportunity to buy struggling RJR to bolster its size and competitive leverage in the U.S. market. Spokesman Prideaux said BAT won’t rule out any possible acquisition, as long as it makes financial and strategic sense. He wouldn’t comment on the specific issue of RJR.(Courier-Journal)(4-30-2003)
  • Bobby Labonte’s Pit Crew Scores Second Straight Win: The pit crew of Bobby Labonte’s #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy made it two-in-a-row by winning the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in Fontana. Labonte’s car, which finished second in the 500-mile California race, spent 216 seconds on pit road, edging the cars of race winner Kurt Busch (218 seconds) and John Andretti (220 seconds). With the back-to-back wins, the Joe Gibbs Racing Interstate Batteries crew has earned $40,000 ($20,000 for each pit crew win) and has moved into seventh place in the overall pit crew point standings. The season champion of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade will receive a $200,000 bonus. See my Pit Crew Info Page for race rundown, standing and past news, along with the Pit Crew Chart.(4-30-2002)

  • Drivers Killed: Eric Poret, 40, was killed Saturday night in a stock-car accident at Westbank Speedway near New Orleans, the Times-Picayune reported. Poret was driving a 1986 Chevy Monte Carlo when on the ninth of 12 laps, his car began to tip over, then was hit by another car. His death was at least the 303rd in U.S. auto racing since 1990, according to a Charlotte Observer study.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND Two weeks after suffering critical injuries during a low-speed, prerace event, Possum Bourne, New Zealand’s only professional rally driver, died Wednesday without regaining consciousness. He was 47. Bourne raced thousands of miles at breakneck speeds on rally courses around the world. In more than 20 years of racing he won the Asia-Pacific title three times. He was the reigning Australian Rally champion, having won the title a record seven times.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-30-2003)
  • Testing at Lowe’s Today – UPDATE 3 Speeds: Open testing dates have been confirmed for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series and the ARCA RE/MAX Series in preparation for The Winston on May 17, the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 and the other stock car events scheduled next month at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Cup dates are:
    Tuesday, April 29: 5:00 to 10:00pm/et.
    Wednesday, April 30: On-Track: 12:00noon to 10:00pm/et.(Lowe’s Motor Speedway PR)(4-14-2003)
    UPDATE/CORRECTION: Gate 5A at the front of Lowe’s Motor Speedway will be open free of charge during all of the open testing sessions.(4-15-2003)
    UPDATE 2: 13 drivers are expected to test, don’t have a full list, but #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #6-Mark Martin, #88-Dale Jarrett, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #43-John Andretti, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #30-Jeff Green and #01-Jerry Nadeau are expected to test.(4-29-2003)
    SPEEDS: #4-Mike Skinner topped the unofficial speed chart Tuesday evening as a dozen NASCAR Winston Cup teams took to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in preparation for the May 17 running of The Winston and the May 25 Coca-Cola 600. Speeds were well off the record lap of 186.464mph posted by Johnson during last year’s CTC Pole Night qualifying as teams focused primarily on race set-ups and long runs. The five-hour practice session was run without incident. The only caution flag was waved when safety personnel responded to a small fire in the garage area. NASCAR Winston Cup testing for the Coca-Cola 600 continues Wednesday. Drivers will be on the track from 12:00noon to 10:00pm/et and the main grandstand will be open to the public with free admission. The speeds:
    #4-Mike Skinner, 180.832mph
    #6-Mark Martin, 180.252
    #30-Jeff Green, 180.216
    #88-Dale Jarrett, 180.156
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 180.138
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 179.330
    #54-Todd Bodine, 178.306
    #01-Jerry Nadeau, 177.971
    #19-Jerry Mayfield, 177.608
    #43-John Andretti, 177.410
    #11-Brett Bodine, 175.046
    #74-Tony Raines, 174.177.(LMS PR)(4-30-2003)


    (4-29-2003)

  • Congrats: to Rea and Jimmy White on the birth of their son. Zane Marshall White was born at 3:45pm on April the 29th. He weighed in at 7lbs 12oz and was 20″ long. Rea’s an Associate Editor at Winston Cup Scene and Jimmy works for Camp and Associates and handles PR for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year programs.(4-29-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt Day: North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has proclaimed April 29, 2003 as Dale Earnhardt Day in North Carolina to honor the former NASCAR driver and Kannapolis native.(NBC 17)(4-29-2003)
    UPDATE: Taking the lead of North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, several states have proclaimed April 29th “Dale Earnhardt Day”, honoring the birthday of the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion who lost his life of the final turn of the 2001 Daytona 500. In addition to North Carolina, four other states passed proclaimations in the past several days. South Carolina, Florida, Texas and Virginia have all joined in honoring the man who rose to worldwide acclaim from humble beginnings.(DEI PR) also the state of Alabama has done the same.(4-29-2003)
  • Buck Baker to be inducted: NASCAR great, Buck Baker will be honored as eight athletes are inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame on May 29 in Columbia, SC. The inductees are NBA star Xavier McDaniel; NFL players Kevin Long, J.R. Wilburn and Perry Tuttle; Clemson basketball star Randy Mahaffey; Clemson track athlete Tina Krebs; NASCAR great Buck Baker; and Marion duPont Scott, who is credited with saving the Carolina Cup from extinction in the 1970s and South Carolina track coach Curtis Frye will be given a special achievement award.(Charleston Post and Courier)(4-29-2003)
  • Dale Jr in Rolling Stone: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is among a distinguished list of guest commentators in a special edition of Rolling Stone Magazine available now. The May 15, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone marks the 35th anniversary of the magazine, and includes a series of essays about a variety of American icons. Dale Jr. offers his personal insights about why the Corvette is a true American classic. He joins a list of special commentaries by Jay Leno, Cameron Crowe, Bob Costas and a host of other experts on topics as diverse as the American Flag, Elvis Presley, the Fender Stratocaster and uh… Homer Simpson.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch NASCAR Publicity)(4-29-2003)
  • Andrews Proud: #99 crew chief Paul Andrews was showing some pride from across the country Sunday evening after his son, Busch North Series rookie Tim Andrews, scored a fourth-place finish in that NASCAR Touring division’s opener, the Freedom 150 at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(4-29-2003)
  • Celebrate Dale Earnhardt’s Birthday at Dale Earnhardt – Tuesday, April 29th Dale Earnhardt Incorporated will continue the tradition that its co-founder seven time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt started 51 years ago. On April 29th, DEI will celebrate at the company headquarters in Mooresville, NC, the birth day of NASCAR’s American hero, Dale Earnhardt. The party starts at 8:00 am with live remote on WKKT 96.9 Kat Country and continues until 9:00 pm with the Tim Clark Band closing the day’s event along with many activities throughout the day honoring this special celebration. For only the second time since building the premier racing facility, race fans will be allowed behind the walls of the exclusive building, as Teresa Earnhardt shares some of Dale’s private possession including a display of the legends Classic Car Collection. During last years inaugural Dale Earnhardt Day some 12,000 fans toured the property as many of the seven time champions race cars were on display in the interior showroom. This year a new display featuring the Music interest and keep sakes that Dale and Teresa collected over the years from the many friends in the music industry can be seen in the public showroom including guitars, albums, stage outfits, and autographed sheet music, along with special cars in the interior showroom can be seen throughout the day.
    Other activities during the day will include:
    o Special appearance by Dale Jr. and Steve Park live on stage with FOX’s Totally NASCAR at 2:00 pm
    o Kerry Earnhardt at 8:30 am on Kat Kountry
    o Free one year subscriptions to DaleEarnhardtInc.com’s DEInsider will be given away every hour by registering at the DaleEarnhardtInc.com display. Join the DEInsider at DEI during the day and receive a copy of the book from Dale Jr’s first season racing in NASCAR. (1999)
    o Complimentary 4 x 6 photos taken with the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert Chevrolet that Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove to Victory earlier this month at Talladega Superspeedway.
    o Special Appearance by Teresa Earnhardt
    o Dale Earnhardt Foundation Raffle for an exclusive Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert Guitar, Concert Tickets and Die Cast Cars.
    o Sign the message board to our adopted Troop- 2nd Marine Division /2nd Tank Battalion from Camp Lejeune, NC.
    o Watch Dale Earnhardt’s past championship videos, along with many commercial and music videos featuring Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver’s and team members.
    o Food and drinks will be available through Domino’s Pizza and Poppa’s Hot Dog’s.
    Free shuttle service will begin at 9:00 am from the Wingate Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites and Fairfield Inn located in Mooresville, NC off of Interstate 77 at exit 36. Come join us at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and be a part of the celebration of our American hero. For further information on the days activities go to www.DaleEarnhardtInc.com.(PR) and past info on my Dale Earnhardt Tribute.(4-29-2003)
  • New Rigs for Petty’s: Freightliner Trucks has presented five spanking-new Freightliner Coronado heavy-duty trucks to Petty Enterprises. Three of the Coronado trucks are assigned to Petty Enterprises race teams, hauling Dodge Intrepid R/T racecars and equipment to NASCAR’s Winston Cup races nationwide. The other two will see duty at various tracks around the country where Petty crews conduct tests on their cars and equipment. According to Mark Lampert, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Freightliner Trucks, the trucks are being furnished as part of a sponsorship agreement with Petty Enterprises. Each Coronado is accessorized and custom-painted with the distinctive graphics of the individual sponsors of Kyle Petty’s #45 Georgia Pacific Dodge, John Andretti’s #43 General Mills Dodge and Christian Fittapaldi’s #44 Dodge. Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Ore. Freightliner Trucks produces and markets Class 5-8 trucks and is a company of DaimlerChrysler.(Truckinginfo.com)(4-29-2003)
  • The Winston Open Fast Facts:
    Location: Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
    Date: Saturday, May 17, 2003, Time: 7:30 p.m. (EDT)
    Eligibility: All NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams that competed in a NASCAR Winston Cup Series event in 2002 or 2003, and are not already eligible for The Winston, may compete in The Winston Open.
    Length: The Winston Open will consist of 30 laps, 45 miles, and will be run in two segments-20 laps and 10 laps. The top-14 finishers in the first 20-lap segment will advance to the final segment. There will be a five-minute break following the first segment during which teams may change tires and make chassis adjustments without losing track position. All restarts in both segments will be double-file and only green-flag laps in the final segment will count.
    Purse: $870,000 (event record); Winner’s share: $47,200 plus a starting spot in The Winston
    2002 Winner: Jeremy Mayfield, #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge
    Qualifying: The better of two qualifying laps will determine a driver’s official qualifying speed for The Winston Open. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday, May 16, at 6:05pm/et
    2002 Pole Sitter: Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, 29.454 seconds, 183.337mph
    Radio/Television: Motor Racing Network (MRN) will broadcast The Winston Open live to its affiliate radio stations beginning at 7:00pm/et. Cable station FX will televise the race live with coverage set to begin with a pre-race show at 7:00pm/et.
    Tickets: Tickets for Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s May 17 events, which include The Winston, The Winston Open, the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 100 and Miller Time Live Rock ‘n’ Racing featuring the Goo Goo Dolls, start at just $21 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR) and see my 2003 The Winston page. (4-29-2003)


    (4-28-2003)

  • GM-Pontiac Rep will Leave Current Post: Al Larsen, General Motors-Pontiac representative, will take a new job starting in two weeks, with Michael Andretti’s IRL Indy Car team. Larsen will work his last NASCAR race this weekend at Richmond. A replacement for Larsen isn’t known at this time.(Insider Racing News)(4-28-2003)
  • Early TV Ratings for California: Fox is going to need a boost from small markets if its ratings for Sunday’s broadcast of the Auto Club 500 Winston Cup race at California Speedway are going to match last year’s figures. Today’s Sports Business Daily says Nielsen Media Research’s overnight figures from the nation’s largest markets show the race drew a 4.9 rating and an 11 share. While the ratings trail only Sunday’s NBA playoff game between the Lakers and Timberwolves (5.3/12) among weekend telecasts of sporting events, they fall well short of the 5.9/13 that Fox drew in 2002 for the California race.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-28-2003)
  • Grissom to England: Former NASCAR Busch Series Champion and Winston Cup veteran Steve Grissom has signed to drive the #48 Deuce Racing Unity Project’ Chevy in the opening round of the 2003 ASCAR Championship at the Rockingham Motor Speedway [in England]. Grissom is the third American driver to take the wheel of Deuce’s Unity Project’ car after former Truck Series driver Randy Tolsma and Brandon Whitt. Grissom, who more recently has served as a test and substitute driver for Petty Enterprises, will drive the #48 Chevy during the opening round of the 2003 season, which gets underway on May 11th at the 1.5-mile Rockingham Motor Speedway near Corby.(Crash.net)(4-28-2003)
  • Goodyear Looking to save $$? Saving money is apparently the goal behind Goodyear’s proposed plans to bring its entire race-tire distribution program in-house. Five different distribution companies handle Goodyear’s Winston Cup distribution operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-28-2003)
  • Reality Show back on? UPDATE: Word in the garage is that the FX cable network will begin filming for its NASCAR reality series — which will feature Kevin Harvick and Kenny Wallace — next week. Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray were originally considered for the series, which has been planned for some time.(NASCAR.com’s Buzz), see past news on the reality show on my TV/Media News page.(4-27-2003)
    UPDATE: The FX cable network will spend this coming week with drivers Kevin Harvick and Kenny Wallace filming a pilot for a proposed reality-based TV show, NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday. The network will follow the drivers and their teams as they prepare for next weekend’s Winston Cup race at Richmond. The show was originally to be based on drivers Rusty Wallace, Jamie McMurray and Harvick, but contract issues could not be resolved. No decision has been made on the likelihood of the series coming to fruition. A final decision by all parties will come after filming of the pilot is completed.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-28-2003)
  • More on the #88 Crew Chief Situation UPDATE: Talking about the potential crew chief situation for Dale Jarrett’s #88 UPS Ford and Doug Yates, the new Robert Yates Racing General Manager, starts to pull his cards closer to his vest. No response comes when names of current #38 Car Chief Shawn Parker and Jimmy Makar are mentioned “We’ll see what comes available as far as crew chiefs,” said Yates after several names were thrown at him. “You know, right now, this time of year, it’s kind of tough because everyone’s under contract; and we respect that, just like we want our guys to respect their contracts. We’re just kind of sitting back. We want to make sure when we do make a move that it’s a long-term situation.”(Ford RacingAND see more past news on my #88 Team News and Links page.(4-27-2003)
    UPDATE: Yates Racing GM Doug Yates says a new crew chief has not been selected for Dale Jarrett despite speculation that Shawn Parker, the car chief for teammate Elliott Sadler, would get the job. Several names outside RYR have been mentioned, including Joe Gibbs Racing team manager Jimmy Makar, who is Jarrett’s brother-in-law. However, Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for Tony Stewart in Gibbs’ #20 car, says he doesn’t think Makar will go anywhere. For those on the Todd Parrott watch, one Yates insider says he doesn’t expect Parrott, the former team manager, to return.(Sporting News)(4-28-2003)
  • Andretti, Petty Set Donation At California: John Andretti and the #43 Dodge team did more than run a race for themselves and their fans Sunday at the two-mile California Speedway. By completing all 250 laps in Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup event, 10,750 new books will now be donated by First Book and Cheerios to children in the greater Los Angeles area. Through the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program, 43 books were donated for every lap Andretti completed Sunday to children participating in Boys and Girls Club of Fontana, Sivaland Head Start and The Agape House, also both in Fontana, and in LA’s BEST, an after-school program serving children in the city of Los Angeles. The goal of the donation was to drive home Cheerios’ commitment to childhood literacy.(Williams Company PR)(4-28-2003)

 


(4-27-2003)

 

  • Busch wins the Auto Club 500 at California. #97-Kurt Busch won at California Speedway, the first multiple winner of 2003. #18-Bobby Labonte ended up 2nd, fighting #2-Rusty Wallace, who ended up 3rd. #17-Matt Kenseth ended up 9th and holds on to the points lead. #43-John Andretti had his first top 10 of 2003 and first in 29 races [Sonoma 2002, his last top 5 was 65 races ago in Bristol, Mar 2001]. See my California Race Info Page for my race rundown, lap leaders, cautions and notes.
    Race Re-Air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, April 30, 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, May 1st, at 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Results Jayski’s – California Results Page and at:
    ThatsRacin.comSporting News/APMotorsportsOneNASCAR.com.(4-27-2003)
  • Billy Ray Cyrus Pays Tribute to Earnhardt UPDATE: Billy Ray Cyrus will pay tribute to the late race car driver Dale Earnhardt in an upcoming episode of “Doc.” He said Earnhardt, who was killed in a last-lap crash at the Daytona 500 two years ago, was king in his house. Cyrus said his stepfather was such a fan of the Intimidator that he requested in his will to be buried in his Dale Earnhardt T-shirt, something the family honored. The Earnhardt tribute episode, which Cyrus called “emotional” to make, will air in May. He hopes a lot of people who loved Earnhardt tune into the show because it was “an honest effort at paying tribute to the man.” “Doc” is on PAX.(Yahoo/AP)(2-28-2003)
    UPDATE: the show, titled “the checkered flag” airs tonight, April 27th at 8:00pm/et/pt [re-air 9:00pm on May 7th], on PAX, the description: Clint helps stock-car racer Scotty Redfield stay physically healthy to compete, but wonders if he can help him regain his spirit to drive. Everyone worries that Dr. Crane will veto expanding the clinic into the vacant offices next door – but when he decides he loves the idea, it’s time to worry even more.” More info at the PAX site.(4-27-2003)
  • Tragic News – Crash at auto track kills spectators: Two sprint cars crashed during an auto race Saturday night at Perris Auto Speedway, sending one hurtling into the stands and the other into the track’s infield, where two bystanders were struck and killed, authorities said. The driver of the car that flipped into the stands suffered minor injuries, said Jeff Delahunty, a spokesman for the Riverside County Fire Department. The two people killed in the infield were identified as Paul Bagley, 74, of Hesperia, and his wife, Helen, 72. “`It is just a terrible accident,” said Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Gutierrez. The Perris Auto Speedway, which features dirt track racing, is about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.(Guardian Unlimited/AP and Press Enterprise/AP)(4-27-2003)
  • NASCAR, Flash in the Pan? who is this guy? David D’Alessandro, the chairman and CEO of John Hancock life insurance, isn’t one of the corporate leaders who has jumped aboard the NASCAR bandwagon. In a conversation with the Boston Globe about his company’s choices for sponsorship money, D’Alessandro said NASCAR wasn’t in his final three. “It’s a growing sport, but I think it’s a flash in the pan,” he said. “It’s a pure consumer product. It has 1,000 sponsorship symbols, so there’s no distinction. The fatter your driver is, the more symbols he can have on his jumpsuit.” D’Alessandro isn’t high on golf, tennis, pro football or pro basketball, either. His top three? The Olympics, major league baseball and the Boston Marathon.(Press Enterprise)(4-27-2003)
  • Two businesses report scam: Two local businesses have been taken in by a fraudulent offer of an advertising opportunity at the Brickyard 400. The perpetrators appear to be working in Lawrence and Monroe counties [Indiana], according to Lawrence County Sgt. Lonnie Johnson. Johnson said a marketing and promotions company from Bloomington is offering business names placed on a #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions race car for the NASCAR Brickyard 400. The two businesses signed contracts and paid money to the company. However, Jasper Engines and Transmissions denied any such promotion. Anyone with information about the scam should call the Lawrence County Police Department at 812-275-3316.(Hooiser Times)(4-27-2003)
  • Supercuts on the #74: looks like the #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy with Tony Raines driving has Supercuts as the sponsor on the car at California Speedway. #83-Kerry Earnhardt was to drive the #83 Supercuts Chevy, but failed to make the race. See an inage of the #74 car on my Paint Schemes Gallery,(4-27-2003)
  • Medical Liasons: NASCAR, which focused much of its attention on the mechanized end of stock-car racing, now has keen interest in the human part of the equation. While the sanctioning body has always had a team of officials to measure car bodies and engine specs, it now has a medical liaison for each of its three major touring series. The original primary function of this medical staff, all registered nurses, was to transport records from event to event as Winston Cup, the Busch Series and Truck Series skipped around the country. The three nurses — Robin Morrisey (Cup), Denese Meeks (Busch) and Lance Davin (trucks) — were hired in February, 2002, and integrated into NASCAR’s regular at-track staff. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s managing director of business operations, oversees the program. Because of confidentiality concerns, the nurses are not allowed to speak to media.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-27-2003)
  • Biffle Injured: #16-Greg Biffle is driving with a cast on his left arm after he sprained his wrist Tuesday when he slipped and fell out of his motorhome on Tuesday. “It doesn’t hinder me to drive or anything,” he said. “I’ll be good by Richmond [next week].”(Roanoke Times)(4-27-2003)
  • Portenga beats Schrader; Herta debuts: Steve Portenga passed Winston Cup veteran Ken Schrader with eight of 100 laps remaining at California Speedway and held on for his first Winston West series victory. Portenga won by 2.429 seconds over Schrader to win Saturday’s Pontiac Grand Prix 200. Kevin Richards was third. Portenga remains the only driver in the series with three top-five finishes in as many starts this season.(ThatsRacin.com) Former CART driver Brian Herta drove in the race, his first stock car race, starting 16th and finishing 5th.(4-27-2003)
  • More on McDonald’s as the Title Sponsor for the Cup Series: McDonald’s has confirmed a Bloomberg Report that they’ve seen a presentation by NASCAR to sponsor its elite national touring series, but a deal that could consume 20-30% of the fast food chain’s total advertising and marketing budget hasn’t gone very far up the corporate ladder. McDonald’s has been downsizing its racing programs for some years and just turned in the first-ever quarterly loss for the restaurant company. One source close to the McDonald’s A&M program says a potential $40 million annual payment to NASCAR for title rights and similar payment to the television partners is likely not in the cards. The representative added, “But I’m not sure who has that kind of money to invest in a single program — NASCAR or not.” McDonald’s would need the support of its national franchisees to write the estimated $80 million annual investment to NASCAR. However, many franchises stores are closing with others downsizing.(Ford Racing)(4-27-2003)
  • New McDonald’s/NASCAR Commercial: McDonald’s will launch its newly-created NASCAR advertising campaign during Sunday’s FOX telecast of the Auto Club 500 Winston Cup race. The new series of commercials is an enhancement to the inaugural McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. Tony Stewart and Kyle Petty are featured in three different versions of the 30-second commercials, produced by DDB Chicago, McDonald’s national advertising agency. Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet and the reigning NASCAR Winston Cup champion, has firsthand knowledge of the similarities between a NASCAR crew and a McDonald’s restaurant crew. As a teenager, Stewart worked as a McDonald’s crew person [as did Jayski].(PR)(4-27-2003)
  • Odd Andretti Comment: John Andretti flipped idly through a newspaper, not really wanting to talk about his cousin Michael’s decision to appoint Robby Gordon as substitute driver in Andretti Green’s #27 cars for this year’s Indianapolis 500. Andretti, son of Aldo Andretti (Mario’s twin brother) and cousin of team owner/driver Michael Andretti, who will retire from driving after the 400, expressed off-the-record bitterness toward his cousin’s choice. “I’ll be there that Wednesday, and I’ll qualify the car, because [Gordon] will be in the hospital by then,” John Andretti said. See the full story at Speed Channel: John Andretti Puzzled by Gordon Decision(4-27-2003)

    (4-26-2003)

  • #1 Rumors abound UPDATE Park not happy with rumors; contract thru end of 2003: hearing that Steve Park could be replaced as the driver of the #1 Pennzoil Chevy before the races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, sources have Jason Keller as the possible replacement driver. Keller is slated to driver the #81 DEI car at Checiagoland in July.
    AND The LTN HOUR radio show reports that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Roush Racing Ford will drive the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004. However, last reports I have are that he is signed with Roush thru 2006.(4-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Steve Park’s comments after winning the pole at California on Friday: “Hopefully, this will quiet some critics a little bit,” said Park, whose lap bumped Bill Elliott’s Dodge to the outside of Row 1 for the Winston Cup season’s 10th race. “We’re fixing to start winning races.” Park, who now has three poles to go along with two career Cup victories, turned defiant as he said he remains confident that he can get the job done with his team. “All the hogwash I have to read that the press puts out there, I have broad shoulders,” said Park, whose best 2003 finish has been a 10th at Las Vegas. “Dish it out because I can take it all. When I am in victory lane winning races, everybody who’s had bad things to say about this race team is going to bite their tongues. I don’t race to finish 20th, I race to win. If I don’t have the confidence in my team to win, then I need to go somewhere else. But I do have confidence in (crew chief) Tony Gibson, all of the new people we’ve hired, our engine shop, the whole team that we have, that we can do stuff like this. We can win poles and win races and we’re not going to stop this year until we do that. That will quiet all of the critics that we have.” Ty Norris, executive vice president for motorsports at DEI, said he and Park sat down about three weeks ago to discuss the team’s slow start in 2003. “I said, ‘You’re reading a lot of things, but let’s focus about what happens inside these walls,'” Norris said. “‘Let’s come together as a group, believe in each other, pull for each other and help each other. When that happens, no matter what anybody says outside these walls, we’re not going to concern ourselves with it.'”(ThatsRacin.com)
    On top of that, the team’s Pennzoil sponsorship is up in the air. Ty Norris, who runs DEI for owner Teresa Earnhardt, says last month’s negotiations with sponsor Pennzoil in Texas were more of a learning experience than anything, because Shell’s buyout of the company has resulted in a major corporate shakeup, and only one of the men involved in the original sponsorship negotiations with the late Dale Earnhardt is still around. How the company’s new executives might view stock car racing as a marketing machine is unclear.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-26-2003)
    AND also hearing that Park recently made a new TV commercial for Food Lion featuring him and six other NASCAR drivers. Park is also featured on boxes of Milk-bone with his dog.(4-26-2003)
  • Title Sponsor for Cup Series: Negotiations are under way with several companies as possible successors to Winston as title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series. Names regularly mentioned in recent speculation include McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch and VISA. That speculation has been growing since January, when R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. said it had given NASCAR permission to look for a new sponsor for the Winston Cup Series. Brian France, senior vice president of NASCAR and the grandson of the founder of the sanctioning body, confirmed Thursday to a group of Associated Press sports editors at a meeting in New York that the sanctioning body was in negotiations with several companies. France declined to identify them.(ESPN/AP)(4-26-2003)
  • 2nd California Race? On Labor Day 2004? A second Winston Cup tour 500-mile race in California is all but a certainty for next season, according a 2004 Winston Cup tour schedule currently under consideration. According to NASCAR sources, this second California 500 could be run on Labor Day weekend. That would mean that NASCAR’s annual Labor Day Southern 500, a fixture on the stock-car tour since 1950, could become history, or could be moved to the current March spot in the schedule when a 400-miler is at Darlington.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-26-2003)
  • Parker to be Jarrett’s new crew chief? Makar NOT leaving Gibbs: Shawn Parker could become Dale Jarrett’s new crew chief, according to sources close to the Robert Yates team. And crew chief Greg Zipadelli says that there is nothing to the rumors that his own boss, General Manager Jimmy Makar, might move on to join the Yates team to work with Jarrett. Parker is a chassis specialist for the Elliott Sadler-Raymond Fox half of the Yates team. Parker was once a key member of the Jack Roush operation before moving on.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-26-2003)
  • Pocono’s France award goes to Jack Roush: Winston Cup car owner Jack Roush [#’s 6,16,17,97,99] has been named the recipient of the 2003 Bill France Award of Excellence, presented annually by Pocono Raceway. The award, first presented in 1977, is named for the late NASCAR founder and is presented to a person, company or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport. The award is a sculpted and highly polished piece of anthracite mined in Pennsylvania and will be presented in a ceremony on June 7 at the speedway.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-26-2003)
  • Charity Ride: Several organizations from the NASCAR world have joined forces to create a new charity motorcycle ride during Myrtle Beach Bike Week, benefiting the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The “Ride to Victory” will travel from Charlotte, NC to Myrtle Beach, SC, on Thursday, May 15, and will feature NASCAR veteran Kyle Petty, radio commentator Robert D. Raiford and other NASCAR celebrities in the one-day ride. John Boy and Billy’s “The Big Show,” syndicated in more than 100 markets nationwide, will promote the charity event, which will begin at the Harley-Davidson Buell of Charlotte, stop at Darlington Raceway for lunch, fuel and some hot laps, and terminate at the NASCAR SpeedPark and NASCAR Cafe in Myrtle Beach, SC, for a parking lot concert party. For more info, see my Racing Charities page.(4-26-2003)
  • Saturday AM practice #18-Bobby Labonte was the fastest at 184.091mph, followed by #32-Ricky Craven at 132.978 and #12-Ryan Newman at 182.936. Pole sitter #1-Steve Park was 36th with a speed of 178.811. Slowest were #37-Derrike Cope at 176.138 and #14-Larry Foyt at 177.506.
    See speeds at ThatsRacin.com(4-26-2003)
  • Ramblings – California: Steve Park did something Friday he hadn’t done in a loooong time….take a Bud Pole Award. Park becomes the 8th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout. Tony Stewart (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the pole at Atlanta last October….but, that field was set by points. The last time he qualified this high on time was at Watkins Glen last August when he started 3rd. Jack Sprague (12th) has his career-best starting spot for Sunday’s event. His previous best was last race at Martinsville when he started 14th [Actually he started 12th in Atlanta Nov 1996 so this ties his career best].
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 8 Top-10 starts in a row. Bill Elliott has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Rusty Wallace has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(4-26-2003)


    (4-25-2003)

  • Steve Park wins the pole at California: #1-Steve Park wins the pole for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway with a speed of 186.838, his 3rd pole of his career and first since Homestead in Nov 2000. Nice to see with all the rumors floating around. #9-Bill Elliott was the first to go out in qualifying and held the pole until Park went out 37th, Elliott hangs on to the outside pole, 2nd. #20-Tony Stewart starts 3rd, his best starting spot of 2003. Missing the race are #66-Hideo Fukuyama and #83-Kerry Earnhardt. See Jayski’s California Qualifying Page for the results, lineup links, who takes provisionals and who missed the race, along with notes and other jayski oddities.(4-25-2003)
  • Some California Qualifying Notes: #29-Kevin Harvick had a very slow 1st lap and pulled off the track after the first lap, when he exited the car, Harvick said the car was so loose he couldn’t drive it. #22-Ward Burton went out and pulled the car back in with an engine problem, a left engine head head gasket, NASCAR went out and inspected the track.(4-25-2003)
  • The Big Mac [a jayski fave] Cup? McDonald’s is negotiating with NASCAR for naming rights to the Winston Cup Series, according to a Bloomberg News report. McDonald’s has always been among the companies considered as possible replacements for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco as the series’ title sponsor, a deal said to be worth between $40 million and $60 million. “Are we interested? Sure,” John Lewicki, head of sports marketing for McDonald’s, told Bloomberg. “If it makes sense for us, we’ll absolutely look at it.” NASCAR vice president for communications Jim Hunter said Friday the sanctioning body is having discussions with several companies about title sponsorship of its top series, but would not comment on any specific companies involved.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-25-2003)
  • Robby Gordon to run Indy? UPDATE: hearing there will be an announcement soon regarding #31-Robby Gordon’s attempt to run the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on May 25th, no word on the team or sponsor…yet.(4-25-2003)
    UPDATE: Indianapolis 500 veteran Robby Gordon will replace Dario Franchitti in the #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola/Budweiser Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Andretti Green Racing during the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500. Gordon, who has eight career Indianapolis 500 starts, will run both the ‘500’ and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, marking the fourth time in his career he has attempted to run both events in one day. Last season Gordon successfully completed “the Memorial Day double,” finishing eighth in the Indianapolis 500 and 16th in the 600-mile Winston Cup event held annually at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to attempt one of the ultimate racing challenges again this year and hopefully win both races,” said Gordon. “I’ve run the Indy 500 eight times and been competitive and run near the front each year. I certainly haven’t given up on the goal of winning both races and hope 2003 will be my year to do it. Running in an Andretti Green prepared-car will no doubt give me a good shot at having one win down and one to go when I head to Charlotte that afternoon.” Gordon, who drives the #31 Cingular Wireless entry for Richard Childress Racing, is currently in 14th place in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup point standings and finished sixth at the season-opening Daytona 500. He won the 2001 season-ending Winston Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. “I want to thank Richard, all of the guys on the Cingular Wireless team, and everyone at RCR for letting me chase one of my dreams,” said Gordon. Gordon owns five top-10 finishes in his eight Indianapolis 500 starts, one of which was a fourth place run in 1999 when he ran out of fuel while leading with less than two laps to go. Gordon’s entry is part of a four-car Indianapolis 500 effort by Andretti Green Racing which is owned by Michael Andretti, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. Andretti is seeking to qualify for his 14th Indy 500 and make the final start of his racing career behind the wheel of the #7 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Tony Kanaan, who is nursing a broken left arm sustained in a crash during the Indy Japan, plans to qualify the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Rookie Dan Wheldon, who passed rookie orientation last week in the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, is looking to become the first British driver since Nigel Mansell to start the Indy 500. “Having Robby in our car for the month of May gives us a great shot to win the Indy 500, although we expect all four of our cars to compete for the win,” said Michael Andretti. “It’s just peace of mind for us, knowing we’ve added another veteran in our lineup who knows his way around the Speedway and knows how to prepare for the biggest race of the year.”
    Indy 500 Career Summary
    Starts – 8
    Total Laps – 1,367
    Best Start – 3rd (2001)
    Best Finish – 4th (1999)
    Top 5 – 3
    Top 10 – 5
    Races Led – 5
    Laps Led – 53
    Winnings $1,615,283(RCR PR)(4-25-2003)
  • Gordon’s near miss: Jeff Gordon’s victory in the Virginia 500 would have been a lot harder to pull off if NASCAR officials hadn’t been gracious. They called for Gordon’s crew chief, Robbie Loomis, twice at the start of the drivers’ meeting before Loomis finally materialized, barking “Here” as he stormed into the meeting and took a seat. The rest of the drivers and crew chiefs joined in a chorus of “Oooooooh” and laughed at the near miss. NASCAR could have sent Gordon to the back of the field if Loomis had been late for the mandatory meeting. “I was getting a little nervous,” Gordon said. “Usually it’s the other way around — he’s looking for me, going `Where’s Jeff?’ — and I show up just in the nick of time. He was just getting me back.”(Mercury News)(4-25-2003)
  • Earnhardt Car Cruise Saturday: Organizers say they are expecting thousands to show up Saturday for Kannapolis’ [NC] ‘Remembering Dale Cool Car Cruise and Show.’ The celebration falls on the birthday of Kannapolis native and racing legend Dale Earnhardt. The show opens at 8:00am at Cannon Village with entertainment beginning at 10:00am. More than 200 cars, trucks and motorcycles will be on display from all across the region, said Patti Rader of the Kannapolis Business Council. The business council is promoting the event to raise money for the Dale Earnhardt Tribute site.(Independent Tribune)(4-25-2003)
  • Rudd, Elliott to be honored: On Sunday, Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott will be presented with personalized belt buckles commemorating their first Winston Cup victory 20 years ago at Riverside International Raceway. California Speedway executive Les Richter was general manager at RIR at the time before joining NASCAR.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(4-25-2003)
  • More on a potential tire war: dding another tire maker to the Winston Cup garage, a development that may be in NASCAR’s future, could be a nightmare for teams, although it would certainly add unexpected elements to each race. At the height of the last NASCAR tire war, with Hoosier eight years ago, Goodyear was custom-designing tires for each track in the Winston Cup series. That meant that teams had to keep up with more than 50 tire designs, an expensive prospect for team owners and a major headache for crew chiefs. And tire designs frequently changed even for the same track from race to race. But during the past two years, Goodyear has trimmed the number of tire codes to just 18, mixed and matched for the 23 tracks. However Goodyear has cut back on its NASCAR testing during the past six months, which some Winston Cup teams are questioning.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-25-2003)
  • Rock n’ Roll at Richmond in Sept: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. featuring the band Staind; #33 [Truck]-Tony Stewart featuring the band Diamond Rio; #15 or #99 Busch -Michael Waltrip featuring the band Hootie & The Blow Fish; will run at Richmond in Sept. Supposedly the “Chevy Rocks” program is said to be similar to the Looney Tunes program ran at Richmond the last couple of years in that it will include many Chevy teams from Cup and maybe some Busch and Truck Series.(4-25-2003)
  • Robby Gordon scheme: #31-Robby Gordon will run a special Cingular FDNY paint scheme in August at Watkins Glen.(4-25-2003)
  • Elliott Scheme at the Brickyard: 2002 Brickyard 400 winner, #9-Bill Elliott will run a speical 10th Running of the Brickyard scheme at Indianapolis in August. See my Paint Schemes Gallery – Car #’s 0-23 for the image.(4-25-2003)
  • Charity Auction News: NASCAR.com will partner with The Hendrick Marrow Program to host a charity auction featuring NASCAR memorabilia. For five days, beginning April 24, participants will be able to bid on eBay for NASCAR memorabilia such as an autographed Jeff Gordon Race-Run Bumper, an autographed Jimmie Johnson Race-Run Hood and an autographed Lithograph from seven-time Winston Cup Champion, Dale Earnhardt. For the full list and links, see my Racing Charities page.(4-25-2003)
  • Bass off to Chicago: Sharpie, the world’s most popular family of permanent markers made by Sanford, is proud to welcome Sam Bass, the first officially licensed artist of NASCAR, as its guest on May 2 from 10:00am to 12:00noon (Booth No. 1808) at the National Art Materials Trade Association (NAMTA) annual convention held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago May 1 – May 3. Bass will be showcasing his works and autographing fine art posters of his latest creation, a piece depicting one of NASCAR’s “young guns” – Sharpie sponsored driver, Kurt Busch (#97 Ford). For more than 20 years, Bass has been immortalizing the legends of NASCAR with his realistic illustrations using Sharpie markers and his watercolor originals. From the late Dale Earnhardt to Jeff Gordon to Kurt Busch, Bass has captured the personalities that catapulted NASCAR into the fastest growing spectator sport in the United States.(Sam Bass PR), see full PR on my Collectibles Links and News page.(4-25-2003)
  • Looney Tunes for Gordon and others at Phoenix: Jeff Gordon will take time from racing today to go Hollywood. At Warner Bros. Studios, the “Looney Tunes – Back in Action” movie will be formally introduced to the entertainment media at a press conference that will include an appearance by Gordon and the unveiling of the DuPont #24 Fire & Flames show car decked out with Looney Tunes images. Last year Gordon and the #24 car filmed a cameo scene in the movie, playing opposite animated Looney Tunes characters Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and others. The picture will debut nationally for holiday audiences in November. To promote the release of this new WB show, with the Looney Tunes gang, the graphic design of the DuPont Fire & Flames #24 Monte Carlo and Jeff’s Fire & Flames uniform will carry images of Looney Tunes characters during the Sunday, November 2 Winston Cup race at Phoenix. In addition, a DuPont Motorsports Network Sponsor brand, Zodiaq quartz surfaces, appears on the #24 car TV panel for this special theme race at Phoenix.(DuPont Site – thanks to many readers for the heads up)(4-24-2003)
    UPDATE: In the Looney Tunes: Back In Action NASCAR Winston Cup race, #24-Jeff Gordon will team up with Yosemite Sam on his Looney Tunes-branded Chevrolet, along with driver #25-Joe Nemechek who will feature graphics of Bugs Bunny on his #25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet. Kerry Earnhardt will join forces once again with Yosemite Sam in the NASCAR Busch Series race where he will drive his #12 Supercuts Chevrolet, and for the first time ever, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck event will be even more animated when Kevin Harvick hooks up with his favorite Looney Tunes teammate, the Tasmanian Devil on his #6 Chevrolet truck.(Action PR), see an image of Gordon’s car on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes Gallery – Cars #’s 24-99.(4-25-2003)
  • Some Politics – Jesse Jackson and NASCAR UPDATE: getting more questions on this [since is was mentioned last Thursday night on the Fox News O’Reilly Factor show], have something that was posted back on April 3rd, see my Past NASCAR News/Rumors page.
    AND MORE NLPC vs. NASCAR: The National League and Policy Center pushed its protest of NASCAR’s contributions to Jesse Jackson to television last week. Peter Flaherty, president of the NLPC, contends Jackson abuses his nonprofit privileges and that NASCAR has made $250,000 in donations in the last two years to his organizations to create the guise of diversity. “Our message to NASCAR is you don’t take short cuts to diversity by paying off Jesse Jackson,” Flaherty told The O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly. “This whole thing started in 1999, when Jesse Jackson complained to NASCAR that they had no black drivers at the Winston Cup level, which is the major league of stock car racing.” Flaherty said IRS records show NASCAR is Jackson’s top contributor among professional sport organizations. “I think what (NASCAR) is trying to do is insulate themselves from charges of racism,” Flaherty said. “I think it is an insult to the NASCAR fan.” O’Reilly, who said if Jackson is “shaking down” NASCAR it’s an insult to “every American,” asked NASCAR to participate in the show, but the racing organization declined.(Augusta Chronicle)(4-24-2003)
    UPDATE see NASCAR’s response and an excellent column at NASCAR.com: A reluctant foray into political writing by Marty Smith; and NASCAR statement on Rainbow/PUSH Conference.(4-25-2003)


    (4-24-2003)

  • Fellows fastest in 2nd day of testing at Infineon Raceway: Infineon Raceway says #81-Ron Fellows, a road-racing veteran running a limited Winston Cup schedule with Dale Earnhardt Inc. this year, posted the fastest stock-car lap ever at the Sonoma, Calif., road course to lead six Winston Cup drivers testing Wednesday. Fellows, who will compete for DEI at Infineon and Watkins Glen, lapped the 10-turn, 2-mile circuit at 1:16.24 (94.439mph). #20-Tony Stewart holds the official track record of 1:16.64 (93.946), set in 2002. “The equipment and resources I have at DEI are incredible, and it showed in this test,” said Fellows, who has twice won at the track in the American Le Mans Series driving a Corvette. #6-Mark Martin was second-fastest Wednesday at 1:16.47 (94.155) followed by his Roush Racing teammate #17-Matt Kenseth at 1:17.19 (93.276). Chip Ganassi Racing’s #42-Jamie McMurray at 1:17.24 (93.216) and #41-Casey Mears at 1:17.47 (92.939) were fourth and fifth, and Haas/CNC Racing’s #0-Jack Sprague rounded out the test at 1:18.04 (92.260).(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-24-2003)
  • Fukuyama Plans California Run: Hideo Fukuyama says he will attempt to qualify Travis Carter’s #66 Ford for Sunday’s Auto Club 500 Winston Cup race at California Speedway. The Japanese driver, who made his 2003 debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, made his most recent run in an ARCA event but tested at California Speedway on April 15-16. “The test results weren’t too bad, but I didn’t run near as fast as the course record, so I’m still concerned over whether I can qualify at the California Speedway,” Fukuyama says.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-24-2003)
  • So…what is up with that #20 impounded car? Meanwhile, NASCAR Winston Cup series director John Darby updated Autoweek on the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet, impounded by NASCAR on March 28 at Texas Motor Speedway after a template irregularity was found during the initial inspection process. The Joe Gibbs Racing, Tony Stewart car remains at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. “We’re close to finishing up our [assessment] process on the car,” Darby said. “After that we’ll make a determination on what to do further.”(Autoweek)(4-24-2003)
  • Spys at Daytona USA?After Michael Waltrip won his second Daytona 500 in February, his #15 NAPA Chevy was rolled into Daytona USA for public display — or easy pickings? There are whispers out there that several Winston Cup teams, bound and determined find the strength of DEI’s restrictor-plate fleet, sent people to photograph and measure Waltrip’s sitting duck car. “It’s a great story to say people are going to Daytona to look at our car,” Waltrip said Wednesday while doing a media tour in California. Daytona officials said no one carrying a tape measure has entered Daytona USA after paying the $16 adult admission price. Nobody has taken measurements of the car and nobody better try it in the future. “There’s no way they can get close to the car,” Speedway spokesman David Talley said. “We don’t allow anybody to get close to the car or touch it. They can come take pictures if they want, but they can’t take out a tape measure and get up to the car, touch it or measure it.” Daytona USA has at least one employee near the car at all times and security makes regular sweeps through the building. Talley said if somebody was caught messing with Waltrip’s car, they’d get the bum’s rush. “We’d call security and escort them out of the building,” Talley said. NASCAR heard the same story about spies doing detailed measurements of Waltrip’s car and immediately called the Speedway about it.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-24-2003)
  • Cope gets a sponsor for California UPDATE: Great Barrier Reef announces today their sponsorship of Derrike Cope a Winston Cup driver scheduled to race in the Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway April 27, 2003. Cope is a former Daytona 500 winner and a television analyst for Fox Sports News’ “NASCAR This Morning”. “Getting involved in the fastest growing sport in the United States fulfills a marketing objective of increasing our brand awareness”, stated Mike Hardy, Chief Operating Officer for Great Barrier Reef. “We believe that the demographics of NASCAR coincide closely with the demographics of our target customer base. We will use this relationship with Derrike to bring the excitement of NASCAR to our subscribers and the value of our service to an even wider population.” Hardy also stated “We at Great Barrier Reef are pleased to enter into this venture with Derrike Cope. We feel he represents the same values in which we strongly believe:. Hard work, value for you money and quality performance.” Great Barrier Reef, Inc. (GBR) provides Internet access services to subscribers across the United States. They offer unlimited Internet access for $9.95 per month, or just $110 per year. GBR is a 56k dialup service. GBR has grown rapidly to serve most major cities in the US. Dedicated to providing quality service to our customers, they offer FREE 24-hour support, unlimited access, V.92 high-speed dial-up connections, multiple email accounts, UseNet news feed and up to 10 MB of personal web space. For further information please visit the GBR website at www.gbronline.com.(Williams Company PR)(4-22-2003)
    IMAGES added to the Paint Schemes Gallery.(4-23-2003)
    UPDATE: The United States Coast Guard is pleased to be associated with Derrike Cope and Quest Motor Racing for a select schedule of NASCAR events. The recruitment initiative possibilities that evolve from a NASCAR relationship are a valuable promotion. NASCAR has a tremendous following. The Coast Guard wants to present its’ message to the many millions of loyal fans. Many people are not aware that the U.S Coast Guard was over in.the Mid-East.during recent hostilities as well as keeping the waterways safe here too. They will.appear.on the #37 Winston Cup car along with Great Barrier Reef Online.”(4-24-2003)
  • Mario Andretti survives wild wreck: Racing Legend and former Indy 500 and Daytona 500 winner Mario Andretti ran well Wednesday at Indianapolis until crashing hard just before the session ended. Sweeping through the first turn with the throttle wide open, Andretti found the short chute littered with debris from Kenny Brack’s car, which had just pounded the outside wall. Andretti’s car ran over a piece of Brack’s car and launched the 1969 Indy 500 winner into the air like Evel Knievel. His car soared some 20-to-25 feet in the air [check out the video clip – quite wild], nearly cleared the spectator fence and somersaulted four times before slamming back down to earth — thankfully — rightside up. Andretti hopped out and, incredibly, only suffered a scrape on his chin. Brack also escaped injury.(see full story and video at ESPN)(4-24-2003)
  • SunTrust Bank to Partner with MB2 Motorsports SunTrust Bank, Mid-Atlantic has partnered with the MB2 Motorsports NASCAR Winston Cup team for the May 3 PontiacExcitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway. One of the nation’s largest and strongest financial holding companies, SunTrust Bank will be featured as an associate sponsor on the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac driven by Jerry Nadeau for the action-packed night race at the 0.75-mile track.(MB2/MBV Motorsports PR)(4-24-2003)
  • Teen driver needs liver transplant: Four days after doctors at the Ohio State University Medical Center performed life-saving emergency surgery on teenaged racing sensation Kyle Jones to stem bleeding caused by cirrhosis of the liver, Jones isn’t thinking about the fact he nearly died last week. He wants to get back in a race car and do everything he had planned for 2003, a year that promised to add a couple of highlights to his already impressive racing resume. Despite the fact that cirrhosis of the liver kills 25,000 people in the United States every year, it isn’t Jones’ liver, per se, that’s putting his career on hold. It’s the swelling of the spleen, which is the gateway for blood into the liver, that is keeping him in the pits. “My spleen is so enlarged that (the doctors) said if I get hit, it would probably explode,” Jones said. “Otherwise, I could drive.” He could die, too, if his spleen ruptured. The doctors politely refused to remove the organ, which people can live without, just to get Kyle back on the track. But the mere fact he asked provides sharp insight to how Kyle is dealing with his ordeal. Everything was finally coming together for Jones’ racing career in 2003. Six years of driving everything from Quarter Midgets to E-mods to Late Models, and winning at every level, had landed him the opportunity he’d been hoping for: A ride on the bigger circuits that lead to NASCAR. Jeff Miller and the J-VEE-M Racing Team in Columbus were giving him that opportunity. Miller and Kyle had five-race schedules planned for the American Speed Association (ASA) circuit and the CRA/Sunoco Super Series as well as a three-race schedule on the Main Event Racing Series circuit. The doctors haven’t given the Joneses a timetable for how soon Kyle will need to undergo the liver transplant. He is on the list to receive a new liver, but doesn’t know where on the list he is. So for now, he’s on hold as doctors keep an eye on the progression of the disease and determine what treatments he will need. The shunt will remain in his liver until the transplant is done. Kyle’s road back to the track could be a long one and will most definitely be a hard one — physically, mentally and financially. Kyle’s aunt and cousin have set up the Kyle Jones Medical Fund with National City Bank, where people can donate money to help the family with medical costs that will total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Donations can be made at any of the Springfield-area National City Bank locations. (See full story at the The Springfield News Sun)(4-24-2003)
  • Sadler colors at California: #38-Elliott Sadler will sport the Pedigee Brand colors this weekend at California Speedway. He will visit a plant that produces Pedigree Dog Food in Vernon, CA before heading to the track.(M&M’s Motorsports)(4-24-2003)
  • Some California Speedway facts: Jeff Gordon Holds Many California Speedway Records: Four-time Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon holds numerous California Speedway records, including the best averaging finishing position, 5.8, in the six previous Winston Cup races here. He holds that distinction despite his worst finish in last year’s event, 16th. It also marked the first time Gordon had not completed every mile of the 500-mile event. He holds the record with 2,998 miles completed. Other records for Gordon, who has won this event twice (1997 and 1999), include most laps led, 331, and most money won here, $737,745. Gordon was also the youngest winner here at 25-years-old when he won the Inaugural race in 1997.
    Miles/Races: Michael Waltrip has logged more miles than any other driver around California Speedway’s two-mile oval. Waltrip has competed in 13 races in six years at the speedway, including Winston Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck. He has completed 4,600 miles, 2,792 in Winston Cup, 1,496 in the Busch Series and 312 in the Truck Series. Ken Schrader has competed in 13 races here as well. Schrader has run all six Cup races, along with five Winston West races and two Craftsman Truck Series events here.
    A NASCAR Sweep: Kevin Harvick, Mike Wallace and Ron Hornaday are the only drivers to compete in at least one of every NASCAR-sanctioned event at California Speedway. The trio has competed in Winston Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck and Winston West at one time or another over the previous six years.(California Speedway PR)(4-24-2003)


    (4-23-2003)

  • Sad News – Get Well: Austin Cameron will not compete as the driver of the #16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet in Saturday’s Pontiac Wide Track Grand Prix 200 NASCAR Winston West Series event at California Speedway. Cameron was diagnosed earlier this week with lymphoblastic lymphoma cancer. Final results late yesterday determined that Cameron should not drive in the race this weekend. He is beginning treatment today at Grossmont Cancer Center. For fans who wish to send cards or express their support to Austin, the team asks that those be sent to the team shop at: 3630 Cincinnati Ave., Suite B, Rocklin, CA 95765.(Racing West)(4-23-2003)
  • Boy Stars With Johnson: Flashing an infectious smile, Lamott Ebron is clearly enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. That boyish grin, after all, helped land the Simon Gratz High sophomore a spot opposite Winston Cup driver Jimmie Johnson on national television in February. The duo teamed up in A Walk in Your Shoes, an educational series matching two people from different backgrounds learning about each other’s environment. The show, which was shot during a NASCAR weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last season, was part of “The N” teen block on Noggin – Nickelodeon’s sister cable network. Earlier this month, when Johnson came to town to promote a race in Dover, Del., the two greeted each other as if they were longtime friends. “Jimmie is my favorite driver because, week after week, he performs at a consistently high level,” Ebron said. “He’s very competitive and I like his style of driving, although sometimes he gets himself in trouble by being a little too greedy on the track – just like me.” Chuckling at the comparison, Johnson called Ebron “a great kid” and gushed about the time they spent together at the track. His motor sports education shifted into high gear last year when Ebron enrolled in the Urban Youth Racing School, which has its headquarters on Parkside Avenue near Fairmount Park. The nonprofit organization provides inner-city youths – ages 8 through 18 – a chance to race go-carts and learn about career opportunities in motor sports and the automotive industry. Founded in 1998, the program has provided free instruction to more than 500 students. According to executive director Anthony Martin, the school is about to expand, with new schools set for Indianapolis; Charlottesville, Va.; Phoenix; and Kansas City, Kan. The Urban Youth Racing School held its annual awards banquet last night at Dave and Buster’s on Columbus Boulevard. The festivities were to include a screening of Ebron’s television debut.(Philadelphia Inqurier)(4-23-2003)
  • Stewart thinks NASCAR should have safety crew: Defending champion Tony Stewart wonders why NASCAR doesn’t have a traveling safety team. While NASCAR has made changes to improve safety, it has not created a safety team that goes from race to race. Both the Indy Racing League and CART have a trained team of safety workers to respond to each accident. NASCAR has a medical liaison at the track while relying on local firefighters and emergency workers to go to the accident scenes. “I’ve tried to get NASCAR to get their own safety crew,” Stewart said. “When I ran in the IRL … you always felt comfortable knowing that if you were in an accident you knew who the people were who were coming to get you out of the car. You knew they were trained properly. Having the medical liaison there each week is a step in the right direction. At times it’s frustrating that we haven’t gone any farther than that, but at the same time I kind of applaud NASCAR for at least using their heads. They don’t do things very fast a lot of times but when they do get something done it’s been well thought out, and I think they’re looking at that now. I’m praying for the day I show up at the race track and we see a bunch of guys in uniform that are the same guys we see the week before in the previous race and the week before that.”(Roanoke Times)(4-23-2003)
  • Mark Martin Posts Top Time in First Day of Testing at Infineon Raceway: #6-Mark Martin posted the top time Tuesday during the first day of a NASCAR Winston Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Martin, one of six Winston Cup drivers testing the 10-turn, 2-mile road course in preparation for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 (June 19-22), ran 92.903mph, followed by #81?-Ron Fellows at 92.474 and #17-Matt Kenseth at 92.367. #20-Tony Stewart owns the track qualifying record of 93.946mph. Other testers included rookies #42-Jamie McMurray (91.954), #41-Casey Mears (91.603) and #0-Jack Sprague (91.082). The two-day session will conclude on Wednesday.(Infineon Raceway)(4-23-2003)
  • Special #12 Paint Scheme: This weekend’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway marks the first of five (5) 2003 races that Ryan Newman’s #12 Penske Racing South-ALLTEL Dodge Intrepid will feature the familiar Mobil 1 color scheme. Newman first ran these colors in last year’s California race where he won the pole in record fashion. In last year’s five races carrying Mobil 1 colors, Newman won three poles (two track qualifying records) and the points-paying race last September at New Hampshire. He also had two other top-five finishes. Newman will carry the Mobil 1 colors this season at California, Chicago, Pocono (July), New Hampshire (September) and Atlanta (October).(Tom Roberts PR)(4-23-2003)
  • One Andretti to run, one to test and maybe qualify for the Indy 500, another to get a ride? Michael Andretti still hasn’t announced who will replace Dario Franchitti next month at the Indianapolis 500. But he has a backup replacement plan for his other injured driver. He’s bringing in the old man. Mario Andretti, arguably the most versatile racer of all time, will step out of the past and into Tony Kanaan’s 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda for testing Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kanaan, who suffered a broken left arm earlier this month in Japan, might not be able to practice May 4 or later qualify for the Indy 500. Dr. Terry Trammell did say Tuesday that Kanaan should be well enough to run the race May 25. The Andrettis already have agreed to Mario qualifying the car for Kanaan if Kanaan is unable to. It is unlikely — even if Mario qualifies and the 28-year-old Brazilian can’t run the race — that Mario would run at Indy. Mario won the 1969 Indy 500 but has not competed at the Speedway since 1994, the year he retired from championship car racing after a 30-year career. But Andretti did compete at LeMans until 2000 and said he doesn’t believe he would be in over his head for the qualifying run. The oldest driver to qualify at Indy is A.J. Foyt, who was 57 in his 1992 finale. “Yeah, dad and I predict that A.J. will be in a car by Thursday,” Michael Andretti said, laughing. “I’m afraid poor Anthony (Foyt IV) will be out of his ride.” It’s a role reversal that amazes John Andretti, a full-time NASCAR driver who is hoping to assume Franchitti’s Indy ride. Robby Gordon also is a strong possibility to replace Franchitti, suffered a broken back in a motorcycle accident and will be out until July. “Nothing my uncle does surprises me, but to think that he’s going to be driving for Michael is pretty neat,” he said. “I’d love to join them because it’s Michael’s last race and he’s got a great team. Heck, I’d even drive for nothing.” Michael Andretti already has announced that the Indy 500 will be his final race before focusing solely on ownership.(ESPN)(4-23-2003)
  • Only Eight Left: With a quarter of the 2003 season now complete, Terry Labonte is one of only eight drivers who have been running at the finish of all nine races thus far; the others being Ricky Craven, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Robby Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kenny Wallace and Michael Waltrip.(Hendrick Motorsports PR) see my DNF page for stats.(4-23-2003)
  • Rudd Testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway says Ricky Rudd was scheduled to test Wood Brothers Racing’s #21 Ford today. Testing is not open to the public, but the track says spectators may watch from the visitor center in turn three.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-23-2003)
  • NASCAR Testing Device: NASCAR is testing a device designed to reduce or eliminate dangerous carbon monoxide fumes being inhaled by drivers. Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of competition, called it a “catalyst system,” and said Tuesday that it was used two weeks ago in Martinsville, Virginia, by Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart during practice and the race. Stewart was sickened by carbon monoxide fumes during a race last fall at Martinsville Speedway, and the Joe Gibbs Racing team volunteered to be the first to test the new system. “We have a system we have been developing in our laboratory and thought it was time to try it at the track,” Nelson said. Stewart was supposed to try the device only in practice, but chose to use it in the race as well. “I felt better than I probably had after any of the Martinsville races I remember,” Stewart said. “I still did have a headache after the race was over, which is typical of a Martinsville race, but not nearly as severe as it was in the past.” Stewart said he told Nelson he would like to try the device again in the fall race at Martinsville “to be certain it wasn’t just a good day. But I’m somewhat encouraged the filter did its job.” Nelson, who heads up NASCAR’s new research and development facility in Concord, North Carolina, said the device that Stewart described as a filter “is a catalyst that sits on the floor in the car next to the driver. The system sends (clean) air to the driver’s helmet.” Nelson said the new system runs on “the same theory” as catalytic converters used in street cars to diminish pollutants in the exhaust, “but this is a low-temperature catalyst.” NASCAR has been working since last fall on systems to filter the air a driver breathes during a race, a project that drew increased focus after Rick Mast announced in January he was retiring because years of exposure to toxic fumes had given him acute and chronic carbon monoxide poisoning.(more at Charlotte Observer)(4-23-2003)
  • Tennessee Looking at NASCAR License Plates: In an unlikely marriage of interests, a Nashville state senator wants the legislature to create a NASCAR-themed specialty license plate that would benefit the financially strapped Tennessee State Museum. Proceeds, under Sen. Douglas Henry’s plan, would be shared between the Bristol Motor Speedway Children’s Charity and the Nashville museum. The museum is looking for funds after losing $225,800 to budget cuts, including $92,100 that it said it needed to buy artifacts to preserve the state’s history. The union with NASCAR is not that unnatural, according to museum Executive Director Lois Riggins-Ezzell, who hatched the idea. The museum helped build the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame at the Gaylord Entertainment Center and owns the sports collection there, she said. Jeff Byrd, president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway, said he is working with NASCAR to work out a licensing agreement. If NASCAR requires a licensing fee, the plate probably would replace ”NASCAR” with ”Race Fan” and a checkered flag or something similar, Byrd said. If NASCAR agrees to drop its licensing fee, Byrd would like to design several plates featuring top NASCAR drivers.(Tennessean)(4-23-2003)
  • Fuller to test for Gibbs: Busch Series veteran driver, Jeff Fuller, is scheduled to test the Winston Cup Chevrolets of Joe Gibbs Racing {#18 and #20] at the General Motors proving grounds April 25-27.(Jeff Fuller site)(4-23-2003)
  • NASCAR on FOX Wins Wins Sports Emmy; No Major Awards for NASCAR TV UPDATE: Both NASCAR on NBC/TNT and Totally NASCAR were among the finalists for the prestigious Sports Emmy Awards, but neither came out a winner on Monday night. NBA on NBC beat out NASCAR on NBC/TNT in the live series category. ESPN’s Baseball Tonight bested Totally NASCAR for the top daily studio show. However, NASCAR on FOX won in either the Outstanding Editing or Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound category. Excerpts from the ceremony will air this Sunday on Fox Sports Net’s The Best Damn Sports Show Period.(MotorsportsTV)(4-22-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR on FOX won for best live event audio.(4-23-2003)


    (4-22-2003)

  • Andretti and the #43 helping childhood literacy: John Andretti and the #43 Dodge, which normally carries the Cheerios and Betty Crocker colors, will have something different for Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup race at the two-mile California Speedway. The team will be driving home Cheerios commitment to childhood literacy, with the #43 Dodge carrying that message on the car for the only event in the Los Angeles area. For each of the 250 scheduled laps Andretti competes in the race, Cheerios and First Book, a national children’s literacy organization, will donate 43 books per lap to children in need in the Fontana, Calif., and Los Angeles area. “As a father myself, I know the importance of reading and the critical role it plays in children wanting to learn,” said Andretti. He and his wife Nancy have three children, two in elementary school. “Having their own book makes a big difference in a child wanting to read. This program is incredible and I am behind it 100 percent,” he added. “We’re going for the maximum.” As many as 10,750 books would be donated by First Book and Cheerios if Andretti completes all 500 miles of the race. The books are slated to go to children participating in Boys and Girls Club of Fontana, Sivaland Head Start and The Agape House, also both in Fontana, and in LA’s Best, an after-school program in Los Angeles. To kick off the weekend, Cheerios and California Speedway will host 400-500 children from the Fontana Unified School District Friday morning at the speedway. After being served breakfast, the children will be read to by Andretti, will receive a book of their own from Cheerios, and then have the opportunity to watch practice and qualifying. Just as Cheerios helps fuel kids for the day, reading gives them the power to succeed in life. With that in mind, Cheerios is making a significant commitment to childhood literacy through the Spoonfuls of Stories program. Andretti and Petty Enterprises are partnering in this effort for one race by encouraging children to read more, and by reaching out to help others. More info at www.cheerios.com/familyfun/spoonfuls.asp and www.firstbook.org.(Williams Company)(4-22-2003)
  • Ramblings – Off Week: [Note: this is not from Jayski, see link at end of this blurb for questions/etc]. We’ll start with everybody’s hero, Mr. Lead Lap. After an off-year last season, ol’ LL is getting back in form. He’s had two Top-10’s already this season (he had only three all of last year and none at this point), and has improved by 89 markers in the standings. He’s currently 10th in the rundown and has been in the Top-10 the last 5 weeks. Last year at this time he resided in 14th place, and never got any higher than 12th in the points. He’s improved his average finish from 17.9 thru the first nine races last season to 14.6 this year.
    When you compare this year’s points vs last year after nine events, we see considerable changes. Sterling Marlin had a 109 point margin over Matt Kenseth last year, whereas it’s Matt on top of Jr. by 51 markers this season. The best improvement goes to Kevin Harvick. At this point last year he was in 29th spot (of course he’d been parked for one event) while this year he’s 6th. In the opposite direction, Bill Elliott has digressed 17 spots (from 12th last year to 29th this season). One thing that’s really fallen off is the number of drivers. Last year at this point we had 54 drivers who’d scored points….this season that number is only 48.(StockCarFans.com Newsletter)(4-22-2003)
  • #92 Busch team in Cup? Team Close to a Sponsor?: The owners of St. Joseph-based Herzog Jackson Motorsports say talks with potential sponsors are going well. So well, in fact, that they will take their Busch team to the race this week at California Speedway. Randy Herzog, co-owner of the team, said some consideration was given to skipping Saturday’s race at California Speedway in an effort to save money. But, he said Monday, talks with sponsors are progressing to the point where “we felt it was in the best interest of the team to go.” The team’s driver, Todd Bodine, currently leads the Busch series in points. He has won one race and leads second-place driver Ron Hornaday by 78 points. And Bodine and the team have done all that with a car lacking a primary sponsor. Herzog would not say who his team is negotiating with nor when a deal might be struck. He did say that several levels of sponsorship are being discussed. One of those levels could involve some participation in the Winston Cup series.(Kansas City Star)(4-22-2003)
  • New Jersey [Jayski’s current homebase] driver to debut with Earnhardt team in Busch race at RIR: Martin Truex, Jr. is hoping to take advantage of an opportunity he describes as “once in a lifetime.” He will pilot Dale Earnhardt Jr’s #8 Chevy for Chance 2 Motorsports, a team owned by Earnhardt Jr and his stepmother, Teresa. Truex Jr.’s first race with the team will be the Hardee’s 250 “under the lights” on Friday, May 2 at Richmond International Raceway. How Earnhardt Jr. picked Truex Jr. to drive for him is remarkable. “You know, we didn’t really have a handful of guys to pick from, so we just kind of sat down and talked about it,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Richie Gilmore, our engine builder at DEI, mentioned Martin as a guy we should look at. I met him down here for the first time last year. He’s a pretty quiet, soft-spoken kind of guy but he has obvious talent and he seems like a good guy to work with. He’s been to the shop and our guys pitted his car at Nashville last week so he has gotten familiar with them.” The team got to know each other even better this past week when Earnhardt Jr. and Truex Jr. were at Richmond International Raceway on April 15 for a test session. “This is our first official test together and it went really good,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “This is the same car we that we ran here last year that we led all those laps with,” Earnhardt Jr. said of the FUNAI 250 race he dominated at Richmond International Raceway last September. “The car seems to be just as fast. I ran a couple of laps this morning and Martin matched my laps all day, so we are pretty excited,” Earnhardt Jr. said. Despite having more experience in a NASCAR Busch North Series car that uses a more forgiving bias-ply tire as opposed to the radial tires used in the NASCAR Busch Series, Truex Jr. is confident he will do well. “I feel really comfortable in the car,” Truex Jr. said. “The biggest thing I have to learn is the tires. I have a little bit of experience running on these tires, so I’m probably one step ahead if I hadn’t run any Busch races with my own stuff. But I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to coming back for the race.” Earnhardt Jr. plans to run Truex Jr. in as many as seven races this season, but says Truex’s future with the team is up to his new protégé. “We are giving him an opportunity to step into some good equipment and I feel like the combination of him and the car are going to be great when we come back to Richmond to race. I’m concerned about the difference in the radial tire, but watching him today proves to me that he can do the job. It takes a driver a while to build up to the difference in the tires and you have to take it easy. He’s done that and to me that is a sign that he’s using his head.” Truex Jr., who won six poles in the NASCAR Busch North Series last season and competed in four NASCAR Busch Series events in 2002, knows that this is his big chance. “My father (former NASCAR Busch North champion Martin Truex, Sr.) has fielded cars for me since I was 11. It’s a chance of a lifetime and a lot of guys like me dream about it every day. This is real fortunate for me to have this opportunity and I’m going to try make the best of it.”(RIR PR)(4-22-2003)
  • New NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway: A new NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway (NSMS) attraction at the NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains opened this past weekend, signaling the first time that NSMS’s proprietary simulated racing experience has expanded out of the company’s own mall-based Racing Centers. It was recently announced a revenue sharing agreement between NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway and Burroughs & Chapin Company of Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the installation of 10 proprietary simulators at the NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains and the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park’s Ocean Front Arcade. Perfect Line, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMTS, owns and operates the unique NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway mall-based racing centers. NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains, located in Sevierville, Tenn., is one of two exclusively licensed NASCAR SpeedParks that provide an interactive fan attraction that puts the fan in the driver’s seat. A third NASCAR SpeedPark is planned to open this summer at Concord Mills in Concord, N.C. Six simulators like those in use at the 12 locations of NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway opened this past weekend at the NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains. Four simulators will open soon at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park’s Ocean Front Arcade. For more information visit www.SMSonline.com.(PR)(4-22-2003)
  • Teams Test at Memphis to prep for RIR: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. tested DEI’s short track program with a two-day test that opened Monday at Memphis Motorsports Park. The session on the .750-mile oval was closed to the public. Memphis is very similar to the Winston Cup Series’ next short track, the .750-mile Richmond International Raceway, site of the May 3 Pontiac Excitement 400. Other Winston Cup teams are scheduled to be at Memphis, Penske Racing, which anticipates testing its Dodges and Robert Yates Racing, which may bring both Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler; as well as a couple more possible attendees.(NASCAR.com)(4-22-2003)

    (4-21-2003)

  • Hillman’s Dad in ths hospital: Rudolph (Rudy) Hillman, father of #11 Crew Chief Mike Hillman Sr. is in Millard Filmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo NY, battling lung cancer. He is also the grandfather of Mike Hillman Jr., front tire changer and crew member of the #16 car.(4-21-2003)
  • Indy 500 rumors UPDATE 3 Stewart to do the Double? – Denied: Dario Franchitti will miss the Indianapolis 500 and perhaps all three of the Indy Racing League’s races in June, his team confirmed Friday. Franchitti suffered a lumbar fracture of his back when he crashed on his motorcycle April 4. Dr. Terry Trammell said the fracture does not require surgery but does require bracing for approximately three months. AGR officials do not expect to name a replacement until next week, but team co-owner Kim Green admitted Friday he wants to know the availability of Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon. Stewart, the Winston Cup champion, previously said he was not interested in competing in the 500 this year.(Indianapolis Star), since this is Michael Andretti’s team and his cousin John is looking for an Indy 500 ride……..(4-19-2003)
    UPDATE – Stewart to replace Franchitti: ESPN.com has learned that defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart will replace Dario Franchitti on Andretti’s team for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500. Stewart, who will run alongside rookie Dan Wheldon, Andretti and Tony Kanaan (if he’s healthy enough), will start testing one of the Andretti-Green Dallara/Hondas this Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The versatile 32-year-old native of Columbus, Ind., had previously said despite his passion for Indy, he wouldn’t jeopardize his Winston Cup effort by running Indy and Charlotte on the same day — like he did in 1999 and 2001. Racing USAC midgets in Modesto, Calif. on Saturday night, he could not be reached for comment. But, evidently, the opportunity to drive one of the factory Hondas for one of the best teams was too good to pass up. The NASCAR schedule is very accomodating to Stewart. There is no Cup race the first weekend of qualifying at Indy (May 10-11) so he’ll be able to come right from his stock car show at Richmond, Va., on May 4 and practice that entire first week leading up to time trials. NASCAR runs The Winston on May 17 at Charlotte, N.C., as a prelude to the annual Coca Cola 600 on the evening of May 25.(EPSN)(4-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart might change his mind and participate in next month’s Indianapolis 500. But he has not decided yet, he told The Star on Sunday. “When I’m ready to say something, we’ll send out a press release,” he said. However, Stewart denied weekend reports that he will join Andretti Green Racing for this week’s test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the upcoming race. He said he has not spoken with anyone from Michael Andretti’s team, which needs a replacement for injured Dario Franchitti (fractured back). “(The Internet) was the first I’d heard about (the possibility),” Stewart said. A team source said late Sunday that no driver decision has been made and won’t be before Tuesday.(Indianapolis Star)
    AND Mentioned as possible replacements for Franchitti are Winston Cup drivers Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon, both of whom have experience doing double duty — racing in the Indy 500 on the Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, then flying to suburban Charlotte to drive in the Cup race that night. A report on espn.com said that Stewart has agreed to fill in for Franchitti, but a spokesman for Stewart dismissed the report as a rumor and said that Stewart is expected to honor a preseason pledge not to race at Indianapolis this year. Stewart grew up in Indiana dreaming about winning the Indy 500, but he said in January that he wouldn’t try it this year because it might distract him from defending his 2002 Winston Cup championship. Stewart already has scheduled personal appearances during times he would have had to be in Indianapolis if he were to race in the Indy 500. Gordon wants to do both races but hasn’t been able to secure sponsorship money. Andretti’s cousin John, another Cup driver who has done double duty, also has expressed interest in doing both races.(USA Today)(4-21-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Reigning Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart said Monday he will not enter the 2003 Indianapolis 500, disputing a report on ESPN.com claiming he would take the place of injured driver Dario Franchitti. “It’s flattering to know that my name still comes up this time of year as someone teams want to have in their car at Indy,” Stewart said in a statement. “But as I’ve said from the beginning of the season, I am not going to compete in the Indianapolis 500, and my reasons are still the same.” At preseason Winston Cup testing in Daytona Beach, Fla., Stewart said he was going to focus on his Joe Gibbs Racing team this season. He reiterated that stance Monday. “There are 200 employees at Joe Gibbs Racing, making all sorts of sacrifices to provide me with everything I need to go out and win races. And when you go back and forth between Indy and Charlotte, it puts a strain on the entire team,” he said. “As much as my heart wants to do it, I can’t justify putting my personal ambitions ahead of the sacrifices made by my race team.”(ThatsRacin.com)(4-21-2003)
  • #1 Rumors abound: hearing that Steve Park could be replaced as the driver of the #1 Pennzoil Chevy before the races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, sources have Jason Keller as the possible replacement driver. Keller is slated to driver the #81 DEI car at Checiagoland in July.
    AND The LTN HOUR radio show reports that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Roush Racing Ford will drive the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004. However, last reports I have are that he is signed with Roush thru 2006.(4-21-2003)
  • Makar to the #88? still hearing rumors that Jimmy Makar, former crew chief of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy and current team manager for Gibbs is trying to work out a deal so he can crew chief the #88 Robert Yates Racing team and driver Dale Jarrett.(4-21-2003)
  • T3 Announcement: #42-Jamie McMurray and representatives from Havoline and Action Performance will hold a press conference on Saturday, April 26 at 9:30am/pt in the California Speedway media center to unveil McMurray’s “T3: Rise of the Machines” car that will run July 5th in Daytona.(Jamie McMurray Site), see my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes page for an image.(4-21-2003)
  • Lepage hopes to run at Charlotte/Lowe’s: Kevin Lepage hopes to run the races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May (The Winston Open and Coca-Cola 600) with his own team, Matrix Motorsports, and hopes to find a sponsor to support the team.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required) for info on the team, see kevinlepageinc.com.(4-21-2003)
  • Schrader wins: NASCAR Winston Cup regular Ken Schrader raced Saturday night at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., and won the late-model feature. He finished half of the straightaway ahead of Mark Oller of Highland, Ill.(Kansas City Star)(4-21-2003)
  • Update on NASCAR’s Carbon Monoxide Study: NASCAR has been studying the effects of carbon monoxide on drivers through the course of a race weekend, and the results from Martinsville Speedway, where Tony Stewart had a severe reaction last fall, were integral to the findings. Gary Nelson, who oversees NASCAR’s technical center, says the data received through breathalyzer testing at Martinsville weren’t “alarming” but added the reports weren’t conclusive. Nelson cites two ways to decrease a driver’s chances of suffering harmful effects: strengthening the crush panels that protect the driver from exhaust fumes and improving a driver’s conditioning, which decreases susceptibility to the gas. Because contact between cars damages the crush panels, their strength is particularly important at a short track such as Martinsville. Nelson says several teams have installed scrubber systems that the teams and NASCAR have worked on to remove or lessen the amount of carbon monoxide ingested by competitors under race conditions.(Sporting News)(4-21-2003)

 


(4-20-2003)

 

  • Wanna be a photographer? check out this story of one of the top NASCAR photogaphers – The silhouette of a Marine Corps sniper on the front of his sweatshirt said it all. But for those who may miss the point, read the tagline: “If you run, you’ll only die tired.” The toughest journalist in NASCAR? That’s not an easy question. But the toughest photo-journalist? That’s simple. It’s George Tiedemann, who has been covering racing for Sports Illustrated for years. You’d recognize him with no trouble. He’s the weird guy hauling around a huge ladder, for better shots. But because he’s the guy with a U.S. Marine Corps sweatshirt, T-shirt or rain jacket, depending on the weather. He has an amazing collection of USMC headgear, to go with an almost fanatical dedication to the four years of his life spent in that branch of the service. After 20 years on the Winston Cup tour, Tiedemann said his hardest job is “trying to stay fresh. Tony Stewart is the most celebrated temperamental driver to shoot, as a hapless photographer for the Indianapolis Star ruefully learned last summer at the Brickyard. But Tiedemann said that Stewart is no problem because he talks to Stewart and lets him know what’s going on and what’s coming up. And he tries to take Stewart’s feelings into consideration. However, there are some drivers who do present problems.. “Out of all the people I’ve dealt with, in all the different sports I’ve shot for SI since 1976, the two most difficult people I’ve ever, ever had to deal with are Larry Bird and Bill Elliott,” Tiedemann said. “It’s a lack of understanding of what we’re trying to do out here”
    . Victory lane may seem an easy shot, but too many Winston Cup drivers, particularly the new kids, don’t seem to know how to play to the camera. But some drivers, such as Jeff Gordon, almost seem to have gone to post-graduate school to learn how to do just the right thing at just the right moment for photo history. “There are some drivers who do know what we’re trying to do for them,” Tiedemann said. But when NASCAR officials three years ago decided to demote Bill Broderick, the veteran victory-lane boss who had the post-race routine down pat, well, Tiedemann said, things simply haven’t gone that well inside the circle since. “The thing I loved about Bill Broderick – and I think Bill Broderick leaving this sport was a loss to this sport – was he would tell the drivers (while the winner was still in the car unbuckling) which way The Associated Press was, and invariably when the driver got out he would look toward the AP photographer, raise his arms in the air or show some emotion. And that way the wires could get those pictures out quickly and not have to mess around in victory lane. See full story at the Winston Salem Journal: Shoot Fast and Stand Tall: ‘SI’ photographer Tiedemann is still a Marine at heart many years after his stint in Vietman. George was the one who came and took one of the first Jayski photograph for the book Stock-Car Racing Lives
    by Richard Sowers
    , where there is a chapter about Jayski. George is quite intering and very professional.(4-20-2003)
  • Kenny Wallace to run a Card’s car UPDATE 2: Kenny Wallace will run a Michael Waltrip owned/loaned #99 St Louis Cardinals Chevy in the Busch Series race, none mentioned, but it makes sense that is would be at Gateway Int’l Raceway near St Louis. See an image of the car on my Busch Series Paint Schemes Gallery.
    UPDATE: hearing the Kenny Wallace Cardinals car is in collaboration with Bill Davis Racing.(3-26-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Kenny Wallace will return to his hometown track, Gateway International Raceway, to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series event on May 10, 2003. Wallace, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, will sport the colors of hometown baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, on his car. The entry will be collaboration between Bill Davis Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. “I am really grateful to Bill Davis who made this whole deal possible,” said Wallace. “This is my dream and he has helped me fulfill it. Bill has an excellent Busch Series program in place and he is providing me an awesome opportunity. I’m also grateful to my good friend, Michael Waltrip, who is providing me all his crew and equipment for the race weekend. They do a great job over the wall for Michael during the Busch races, so I’m confident in their ability as well.”(Kenny Wallace site)(4-20-2003)
  • Driver of the Year – 1st Quarter goes to Tracy: With three victories in three races, CART’s Paul Tracy was the top vote-getter in the first-quarter balloting for Driver of the Year. Tracy collected nine first-place votes and 112 total points from the 18-member panel of auto-racing writers and broadcasters. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second in the balloting with 79 points, which is presented by the Speed Channel. Earnhardt, who has one Winston Cup victory, two Busch series victories and is second in Winston Cup points, collected three first-place votes. Matt Kenseth, who currently leads the Winston Cup points race, was third. Twenty-three drivers collected points, including funny-car driver Tony Pedregon, NASCAR’s Kurt Busch and Steve Kinser of the World of Outlaws, who were fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The panel holds quarterly votes and then a season-ending vote, the winner of which is awarded Driver of the Year status. Previous winners in the award’s 37-year-old history include Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, A.J. Foyt and last year’s winner, Cristiano da Matta.(Kansas City Star)(4-20-2003)
  • Rally Race: The Great Race, the longest-running cross-country vintage rally in the country, will finish July 5 at Daytona International Speedway. As many as 120 vintage automobiles — they must be at least 45 years old — are scheduled to take part in this event, which will encompass more than 4,000 miles in 16 days. The rally starts June 20 at Michigan International Speedway and will finish at DIS with a ceremony on the grid immediately prior to the Pepsi 400. Winston Cup team owner Jack Roush plans to enter one of his vintage cars in the event.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-20-2003)
  • Labonte Motoring for a Cause UPDATE: Friday afternoon, the second Roam for a Home Ride stopped at the Ronald McDonald House in the Medical Center and there was Terry Labonte, astride his #5-branded Harley-Davidson, leading the way for 100 other riders. Riders who had paid $500 for the chance to make the three-day circuit from Corpus Christi to Austin, then through the Hill Country and into San Antonio, before returning to Corpus Christi this afternoon. Labonte and his wife, Kim, recently had begun discussing which charity to help when a friend, Randy Hicks, called from Corpus Christi. Hicks had spent time in the Houston Ronald McDonald House while his girlfriend’s son underwent open heart surgery. Hicks was looking for a way to help raise funds for the Corpus Christi Ronald McDonald House and Labonte was quick to say yes.(San Antonia Express)(4-19-2003)
    UPDATE: In town [Corpis Christi, TX] this weekend for the Second Annual Terry Labonte/Ronald McDonald House “Roam for a Home” benefit, Labonte said the results of the second season working with crew chief Jim Long is giving the Kellogg’s Chevrolet team optimism. “We should’ve had about five (top 10s),” Labonte said. “We’ve been running in the top 10 the last four weeks in a row. We’ve only had one finish in the top 10 but they all should have been there.” Long agreed. “We’ve had good cars for the last three weeks in a row and got caught up in other people’s wrecks,” Long told NASCAR.com after the Aaron’s 499. “We know we’ve got good cars and we keep working hard. Everybody back at the shop – everybody – is working hard.” Thus, this could be a pivotal year in Labonte’s career. Since winning his second points title in 1996, Labonte has experienced a steady decline in the point standings, dropping from sixth in 1997 to 24th last season. That could go a long way toward stemming discussion of his retirement, talk of which draws a wry smile from the 46-year-old Labonte. “I’ll give you the same answer I give them: I’ve got a plan as to what I’m going to do,” Labonte said, “but I’m not going to tell you.”(Caller-Times)(4-20-2003)
  • Barrett Keeping Busy During Off Weekend: Stanton Barrett will take a much deserved weekend off as driver of the #60 OdoBan Ford this weekend, as the Busch Series has an off-weekend due to the Easter Holiday. Barrett will be traveling to New York City to briefly step back into his 15-year career as a Hollywood stuntman by working on the Spider-Man movie sequel, called The Amazing Spiderman. The movie is due to be released July 2, 2004. Barrett, who posted a season’s best sixth-place finish last weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, will do some stunt doubling for James Franco. Franco will play the role of Harry Osborn, the son of the villainous Green Goblin from the first Spider-Man movie. Barrett will be back on track next weekend when the NASCAR Busch Series comes to Barrett’s home track, California Speedway.(Roush Racing PR)(4-20-2003)
  • Stewart 13th Friday UPDATE Wins on Saturday: Tony Stewart finished 13th in the 100-lap USAC National/Western CRA Midget main event that was slowed by 14 caution flags and won by J.J. Yeley of Phoenix. The race, which featured 36 drivers, was the opening event of the Fred Gerhardt Open-Wheel Classic at Madera Speedway on Friday night, which drew a crowd of about 3,500. Stewart was in no mood to talk about his less-than-stellar finish after the race, but prior to the event spoke about why he came to Madera.(Modesto Bee)(4-19-2003)
    UPDATE: Despite being unfamiliar with the one-third mile asphalt Madera Speedway track, Tony Stewart won both the 50-lap United States Auto Club Sprints and the 50-lap SRL Supermodified. “I’m one of the last true racers,” Stewart said while addressing the near-capacity Madera Speedway crowd that came to watch him race in both events. In a thrilling Supermodified outcome, Stewart survived an early wreck — 17 cars started the race, and only six finished — and passed teammate Lonnie Adamson on the final lap out of turn 4 for the victory. Stewart’s victory in the USAC wasn’t as dramatic, but it showed his dominance. He controlled the lead for the final 30 laps. But what many fans came for — Stewart’s colorful personality — he didn’t show. Instead, he limited interaction with all fans and media as two burly bodyguards protected his pit area so he could concentrate solely on driving. As with many of Stewart’s races, hundreds of fans came to support the Winston Cup champ, while others attended to boo him.(Fresno Bee(4-20-2003)


    (4-18-2003)

  • Nine different winners in the first 9 races of 2003: So far in the 2003 Cup season, 9 different drivers have won the 9 races run. The drivers are: Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Ricky Craven, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. The current ‘modern-era’ [1972-present] is 10 drivers in 10 races, done in 2000. The 10 drivers who won the first 10 races in 2000: Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Ward Burton, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Jeremy Mayfield. That record is for the start of a season. A different driver won 13 races in a row back in 1961 [not to start the season]. The “modern-era” record is 11 different winners in a row in 1985 [not to start the season].(4-18-2003)
  • Remember this? Gordon and Montoya to Swap Cars at Indy: Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced April 17 that four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and Formula One superstar Juan Pablo Montoya will participate in speed demonstration laps in their cars on Wednesday, June 11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon and Montoya will trade places at the Speedway when they take turns driving laps around the 2.606-mile road course in Gordon’s #24 DuPont Chevy and Montoya’s BMW WilliamsF1 BMW FW25 car. This will be the first time that Gordon and Montoya will be behind the wheel of a Formula One car and NASCAR Winston Cup car, respectively. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff is excited to play host to such an event,” said Joie Chitwood, senior V.P. of IMS Business Affairs. “Jeff and Juan are race car drivers who love to drive cars — fast. So it’s going to be fun to watch them experiment in different cars on the road course.” The demonstration laps will be Gordon’s first laps on the IMS road course. “There are a lot of things to coordinate to make this happen,” said Gordon. “I¹m just excited about this opportunity. It’s something I’ve dreamed of, just getting behind the wheel of an F1 car and seeing what it was like. I don’t plan on going F1 racing, but I would love to just get that experience.” Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, will attempt to become the first driver in Speedway history to win on both the famed 2.5-mile oval and road course when he competes in the fourth United States Grand Prix on Sept. 28. He is in his third season with BMW WilliamsF1 and has one career win, 10 career poles and is sixth in the 2003 FIA Driver¹s Championship. “The experience will be very interesting, and driving a big, heavy NASCAR car will certainly be different,” said Montoya. “I don’t think Jeff should be concerned that I will take away his job, but I will enjoy the opportunity of driving his Chevrolet and letting him take my BMW WilliamsF1 Team car for a drive on Indy’s road course.” In addition to the demonstration laps, Montoya and Gordon will participate in a media luncheon and press conference. Fans will have free access to IMS’ South Terrace grandstands for viewing. Tickets for the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the United States Grand Prix can be purchased online at www.imstix.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area.(IMS PR)(4-18-2003)
  • Max Papis Tests with Evernham: Sports car and open-wheel racer Max Papis tested the #91 Dodge Intrepid research and development NASCAR Winston Cup car for Evernham Motorsports today at Kentucky Speedway. “It was a very good experience being in a Winston Cup car. It is different than anything I have driven in the past,” said Italian Max Papis. “The car is a lot lighter than I thought and has a different feeling with the downforce. I enjoyed every lap.” “Mad Max” did about 82 laps around the 1.5-mile tri-oval Kentucky Speedway. His quickest time was 31.1 seconds [173.633mph], with the fastest of the day being a 30.6 [176.471mph], just five-tenths of a second off of Bill Elliott’s time. Of course, it was just a test and Max spent most of the day getting a feel for the Dodge and getting acquainted with Winston Cup oval racing. Papis not only had to familiarize himself with the car and the circuit, but he also had to test on a circuit with some seasoned pros like Elliott, Jimmy Spencer, Ricky Craven and Johnny Benson. There were eight to ten NASCAR Winston Cup cars testing at Kentucky. Sammy Johns, Test Team and Research & Development Coordinator oversaw Papis’ test for Evernham Motorsports. Ray Evernham chose Max Papis to do the NASCAR Winston Cup test for him as part of his test team and driver development program, based on Papis’s driving credentials. Papis met Evernham last year in Bristol, right after he had done a test for Travis Carter at Lakeland [FL]. Adding NASCAR Winston Cup to his racing portfolio is a desired goal of Papis’.(Max Papis Site story is dated March 16th but testing was yesterday)(4-18-2003)
  • NASCAR License Plates for NC? North Caroina lawmakers in the Charlotte area’s unofficial NASCAR delegation are pushing the state to authorize official stock car license plates, printed with the car numbers, logos and signatures of drivers. “I think it would be a big seller,” said Kay Hatcher, supervisor of the special license unit at the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles. Rep. Wayne Goodwin, D-Richmond, has proposed the tags in past years and now has nearly every area lawmaker signed on. Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, is behind a similar bill in the Senate. North Carolina has more than 100 special license plates, but some lawmakers question this one, since NASCAR would be the first for-profit company to make money off N.C. plates. The National Football League and National Hockey League waive fees for Panthers and Hurricanes plates. Race Plate Marketing of West Virginia prints the backgrounds for official plates in at least five other states, including South Carolina [and Alabama, New York, Virginia and West Virginia]. It has royalty arrangements through NASCAR with different drivers. The N.C. Correctional Institution for Women would stamp the numbers. The proposal doesn’t spell out how much NASCAR or the printing company would get. Lawmakers have recommended charging $30 for the plates on top of regular license fees, matching the highest of any N.C. plate. Sales of South Carolina’s NASCAR plates, which cost $70, haven’t kept up with those for other special plates, officials with the Department of Public Safety said.(Charlotte Observer)(4-18-2003)
  • Inductees Anounced For 2003 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame: West coast stock car drivers: Bob Ross, Frank Phillips, Eddie Pagan, Rodger Ward, Dan Gurney, Rajo Jack, Erick Erickson, Sonny Easley, and Dick Bown join LA Times motorsports writer Shav Glick, early motorsports pioneer Margo Burke, and Bob Beadle, Promoter of Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Washington and Car Owner for Winston West Champion Roy Smith, in being inductees into the 2003 West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame. This years ceremonies return to the Four Points Sheraton in Monrovia, California on July 25, 2003. For more information contact the Hall Of Fame at 435-635-2257 or online at info@stockcarreunion.com or visit the website www.stockcarreunion.com.(West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame)(4-18-2003)
  • Johnson to be inducted: Jimmie Johnson will be enshrined in California Speedway’s Walk of Fame at 10:00am/pt on Friday April, 25th. The ceremony, which will take place at Gate 12, is open to the public.(California Speedway PR)(4-18-2003)
  • NASCAR Drivers Head to Infineon Raceway for Two-Day Test Session, April 22-23: #17-Matt Kenseth will highlight a group of five drivers scheduled to participate in a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway, April 22-23. Kenseth will be joined by #6-Mark Martin, #42-Jamie McMurray, #0-Jack Sprague and #41-Casey Mears. Kenseth, who has tested at Infineon Raceway the last two years, has an average finish of 30th on the 12-turn, 2-mile road course in three Winston Cup starts. He will look to improve that average finish in his pursuit of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup championship. This session is open to the public and drivers are generally on track from 9:00am -5:00pm.(Infineon Raceway PR)(4-18-2003)
  • Sad News: Herring Burl Bailey, known in racing circles for nearly 30 years as H.B. Bailey, passed away early this morning at Methodist Hospital [TX] from heart failure. A popular competitor in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, 1964-90, Bailey was one of the top independent drivers of the time, and a leader among the group. On the track, he was a three-time member of the Darlington Record Club at the famed Darlington Raceway. In the Grand American division in 1972, Bailey won the Daytona pole and finished second in the national championship standings. “Our sport was built by people like H.B. Bailey,” said Richard Petty, who raced alongside him for years. “We all did things the same way in those days – we drove ourselves to the race track, we worked hard when we got there, we raced hard and then we drove home. H.B. was a racer through and through, and the sport is better off because he was a part of it. We will miss him.” Bailey, 66, is survived by his wife of 21 years, Michelle; four sons, Dennis Burl, Kirk, John Travis and Joe Dan; and two daughters, Kittie and Sarah Lynn. Joe Dan Bailey, who is with the NASCAR Technical Institute, is the only child currently involved in motorsports. Funeral arrangements were pending Thursday afternoon.(Williams Company PR)(4-17-2003)
    ALSO see a nice column at H.B. Bailey – 1936-2003Speed Channel:.(4-18-2003)
    AND Information regarding arrangements for H.B. Bailey is as follows:
    Visitation 6-8 p.m., Monday, April 21, at Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Sugarland, TX
    Memorial Service 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 22, at Sugar Creek Baptist Church
    A private burial service for family members will be held Tuesday morning, April 22.
  • Ten Team, Two-Day Test Cut Short at Kentucky: Persistent showers washed out a second day of Kentucky Speedway testing for 10 Cup Pontiac and Dodge teams hoping to fine tune their race machines during a rare break in the 2003 schedule. Among the racecars scheduled to see action on the speedway’s 1.5-mile tri-oval today were #32-Ricky Craven, #7-Jimmy Spencer, #4-Mike Skinner, #45-Kyle Petty, the #10-Johnny Benson and #9-Bill Elliott. Kentucky Speedway opens its 2003 season May 9-10 with ARCA RE/MAX Series ‘Channel 5-205’ and The Louisville Courier Pole Night featuring a NASCAR Winston Cup Series autograph session with Craven, Larry Foyt, Sterling Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield, Jamie McMurray and Spencer. Country star Tammy Cochran will perform prior to ‘The Channel 5-205.’ Both season and single-event tickets for 2003 Kentucky Speedway race events are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by phone at 1-888-652-RACE (single-event ) or 859-578-2300 (season) or online at www.kentuckyspeedway.com or www.Tickets.com.(Kentucky Speedway)(4-18-2003)

    (4-17-2003)

  • Second Annual Dale Earnhardt Day is Tuesday, April 29th: Teresa Earnhardt is hosting the second annual Dale Earnhardt Day to take place at the headquarters of their company, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. The day-long event from 8:00am – 9:00pm is in conjunction with Dale’s birthday as a celebration of his life and racing accomplishments. Last year, more than 12,000 fans attended the inaugural Dale Earnhardt Day and this year looks to be even bigger. For the second time ever, fans will be allowed behind the walls of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to view race cars and cars from Dale’s Classic Car Collection in the Interior Showroom. Some of these have never been seen by the public and are being put on display for this special occasion. Also, there will be a musical display in conjunction with the upcoming Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert at Daytona International Speedway on June 28th. There will be albums, autographed guitars and photos from Dale’s personal collection in the Retail Showroom. See what types of music Dale enjoyed and some of the stars he and Teresa met, too. Fans that make their way to our headquarters will get the chance to win two DEInsider subscriptions for www.daleearnhardtinc.com per hour. Fans will be able to purchase tickets to the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert on the grounds during the day. And, there will be exclusive Dale Earnhardt Day merchandise available, as well. There will be giveaways from our various sponsors and photos with the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert car that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drove to victory in the Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. A percentage of all Retail Store sales will go the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Throughout the day, Totally NASCAR will be taping the day’s events to use on their show later that night. The Tim Clark Band from South Carolina will perform from 7:00 – 9:00pm/et. The local Mooresville community is readily embracing Dale Earnhardt Day this year with three hotels offering special room rates and a shuttle service to and from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. for fans staying at the hotels and those who just want to attend the event. All hotels are located at the Mooresville Exit 36 off I-77 located near our headquarters. Fairfield Inn by Marriott, 704-663-6100
    Wingate Inn, 704-664-4900 (nice place, Jayski stayed there in Dec)
    Hampton Inn & Suites, 704-660-7700
    During the morning, there will be a live, on-site radio broadcast by local country station WKKT 96.9 FM, The Kat. In addition to information about Dale Earnhardt Day; fans traveling to our headquarters will get traffic updates throughout the day from the station, as well. Also, some other Charlotte area radio stations will be taking part in the festive day with live broadcasts and appearances by their on-air personalities.
    The following stations will be broadcasting live from our corporate headquarters:
    5 – 9 a.m.: WKKT 96.9 (The Kat) – Paul Schadt & Sarah
    10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: WWMG Magic 96.1 – Chuck Boozer
    3 – 7 p.m.: WEND 106. 5(The END) – Kristen & Jack will be doing the Budweiser Lounge show
    The following will be making on-air personality and station appearances:
    10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: WRFX 99.7 (The Fox) Wilson from the “Fox at Night”
    10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: WFMX 106.7 FM (DEI PR)(4-17-2003)
  • Bye-Bye Taurus in 2006-2007? UPDATE but will be back in 2004: Ford Motor Co. plans to phase out its midsize Taurus by 2006 or 2007, and three vehicles under development will replace it, according to people involved in the plans. Two of them will go on sale next year: the Five Hundred, a large, Audi-like sedan, and the Freestyle, a combination sport-utility vehicle and station wagon that shares a similar European styling and will replace the Taurus wagon. This week at the media preview of the New York International Automobile Show, Ford executives will release the first pictures of the Futura, a midsize car aimed at the perennial champions of the car market, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. The Futura is to be introduced in 2005 and will offer a hybrid version that supplements its gasoline engine with electric power.(Star Tribune). NOTE: ‘If’ this happens, no idea what Ford would use in NASCAR and not looking to guess, have seen images of the Five Hundred, as sposted on my Ford News and Links Page.(4-16-2003)
    UPDATE: A Taurus badged race car will be utilized in NASCAR competition in the 2004 season, according to Greg Specht, manager, North American Racing Operations Ford Racing Technology. “I can say for the record that we’ll be racing a Taurus in ’04,” said Specht regarding the future of the Taurus. “The Taurus is changing, the production car – the showroom car, is changing in 2004. And our race car is being changed to reflect those differences. According to NASCAR rules, any car a manufacturer wants to use in competition must be submitted for approval to the Daytona Beach, Fla. sanctioning body no later than July 1 the year prior to its desired rollout. That means that if Ford wants to run a redesigned Ford Taurus in 2004, it must be in NASCAR’s hands by July 1, 2003. Asked if the Taurus might be replaced with another make after 2004, Specht replied, “I can say for sure that we’re going to race a Taurus in ’04.” (Ford Racing)(4-17-2003)
  • Not A Happy Camper – NASCAR fan faces prison time for flooding Fox with angry e-mails UPDATE: A man, angered that Fox Entertainment preempted NASCAR racing for Red Sox baseball, sent more than 530,000 e-mail messages to WFXT, disabling the Fox Entertainment website for several hours, according to the US attorney’s office. Michael Melo was charged in Boston yesterday with damaging a protected computer, a misdemeanor. Prosecutors say Melo wrote a computer program that automatically sent electronic messages to WFXT repeatedly between April and May 2001. Fox, fearing a denial of service attack, responded by shutting down its website for several hours, authorities said.(Boston Globe)(4-16-2003)
    UPDATE: A NASCAR fan faces up to a year in prison for flooding Fox Entertainment with more than a half-million e-mails because he was angry the network aired a Boston Red Sox game instead of an auto race. Michael Melo of Billerica [MA] has agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge of damage to a protected computer system, his attorney said Wednesday. The action forced the network to shut down part of its Web site. Melo designed a program that repeatedly sent the same six e-mails to Fox Entertainment Group Inc. in Los Angeles over a few days in late April and early May 2001. The messages were sent through the company’s Boston-area affiliate, according to the federal complaint. ”He was just very upset that the Red Sox would pre-empt NASCAR, so he decided to send these messages to express his views,” said Melo’s lawyer, Andrew Good. Fox received more than 530,000 e-mails from Melo. Fearing a hacker was attacking its computer system, the company shut down a portion of its Web site, costing Fox $36,000, according to federal prosecutors. Also, by taking a portion of its Web site down, Fox Entertainment was unable to communicate via computer with WFXT-TV 25 in suburban Boston for several hours, and left the local affiliate unable to receive viewer e-mail, prosecutors said. The federal complaint did not specify the exact content of the e-mails. The charge carries a maximum of one year in prison. Melo, who works in the computer industry and has no prior criminal record, will ask for probation, Good said. No date has been set for his plea hearing and sentencing.(Boston Globe/AP)(4-17-2003)
  • Martinsville TV Ratings: Martinsville Ratings Gets Impressive Small Market Bump for 5.3 Final Number. The viewers in the smaller markets turned out in a big way to give NASCAR on FOX from Martinsville a big boost. Nielsen Media Research reports that the final numbers were a 5.3 rating and 14 share, up from a 4.6 rating and 10 share in the overnights. The race was the second-highest rated sporting event of the weekend, finishing behind the 8.3 rating turned in by The Masters on Sunday. The golf tournament from Augusta declined from a 9.3 overnight rating. The NASCAR numbers represent 5,631,000 households and almost 8 million viewers. Last year’s race was on FX, so a direct comparison can’t be made. It finished with a 4.5 cable rating (within the April 2002 FX universe) and 3.4 million households. The 2001 race on FOX finished with a 5.4 rating and 15 share, slightly ahead of this year’s numbers.(MotorsportsTV)(4-17-2003)
  • Yates job is news to Pemberton: Robin Pemberton just chuckles when asked about him name being in the rumor mill as a possible player in the #88 car reorganization process. His reason is very simple — he has not been approached by Robert Yates about the job. “Yeah, I saw that,” said Pemberton regarding Internet reports that he was on the Yates reorganization short list. “But no one’s called me about a job. That includes Yates. I’m just doing my job here and see the rumors and kind of have to laugh about them.” Pemberton has been busy with numerous projects since coming on-board with Ford in February and says that his job as Ford’s director of field operations is quite unlike any other he’s had before. “I’m kind of like a doctor,” said Pemberton. “Stopping here and there, helping as I can. I offer what advice and suggestions I can and move on to the next shop.” (Ford Racing)(4-17-2003)
  • Kenseth Leads Vote: The more than 42,000 fans who participated in first-quarter voting for Driver of the Year on the Speed Channel Web site tabbed Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth as their choice over Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip. But the 18-member media panel that voted via teleconference Wednesday leaned toward CART points leader Paul Tracy and Winston Cup star Dale Earnhardt Jr. [not sure how as he was not one of the nominee’s] The initial quarterly winner of 2003 will be announced during Speed News on Speed Channel at 6:00pm Saturday.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(4-17-2003)
  • Long to attempt the Winston Open: Glenn Racing will team up with Carl Long to run the Winston Open at the Lowes Motor Speedway on May 17th. They will be entering a Dodge and borrowing the #26 from Travis Carter.(Glenn Racing Site)
    AND Thee Dixon, owner of Mansion Motorsports, plans to enter a truck for Carl Long to drive in the Hardee’s 200 Truck Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May. Norman Negre will be the crew chief. The team is working on acquiring sponsorship for the race.(Carl Long Racing site)(4-17-2003)
  • Speedway Children’s Charities use racing stars to raise money: Many kids love auto racing, and it seems racers like kids, too — and show it through Speedway Children’s Charities. John Bisci, public-relations manager for the charities and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said the charities were created in 1984 by O. Bruton Smith, founder of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which has six tracks around the country, including the one in Las Vegas. “He decided to start a charity that benefited children,” Bisci said. All money raised in Southern Nevada stays there; Bisci said that last year, the charities made grants totaling $228,000 to 31 local groups, including St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Nevada, Candlelighters for Childhood Cancer of Southern Nevada and Amerindian Inc. The money comes from several fund-raising events. The recent charity golf tournament, for example, netted $13,500. But the charities’ biggest money-maker is the annual driver auction. The most recent one, held Feb. 28, brought in $145,720. Bisci noted the auction coincided with the Winston Cup Series and Busch Series races. All of the Winston Cup Series drivers and the top 20 drivers from the Busch Series were auctioned at Sam’s Town Live, he said. Those who can’t attend the meet-and-greet — for which fans pay $35 just to see their heroes — are auctioned, although Bisci said they normally bring in more money if they’re there. Fans bid for the chance to ride around the track with the driver during introductions before the race. And the bids are big. Bisci said the top bid was $7,000 for Rusty Wallace last year; this year, the top bid was $6,400 for Tony Stewart. “Somebody paid $6,400 to go a mile and a half in a convertible with Tony Stewart,” he said with a touch of wonder. Drivers sometimes sweeten the pot, he added. For example, Brett Bodine put his winning bidder’s name on his car, and a Busch Series driver made his bidder part of his pit crew. A big event being planned for fall, Bisci said, is a fund-raising flight aboard an 80-seat jet, provided through the cooperation of Boeing. Bisci said children including Make-a-Wish kids will be able to ride on the flight — which may go over the Grand Canyon — with local businesses bidding to sponsor their seats. The local arm of the charities has an elected board, with Keith DeRiso currently serving as chairman and Lesley Albers as director. Volunteers always are needed to assist with events, Bisci said. For more information, call Bisci at 632-8231. To make a donation, mail a check to Speedway Children’s Charities, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. North, Las Vegas NV 89115; attention Lesley Albers.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(4-17-2003)

    (4-16-2003)

  • The WINSTON 2003 – news and rules announced: The winner of NASCAR’s all-star race, The Winston, will enjoy a million-dollar payday in 2003. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and its Winston brand today announced the purse increase and revisions to the format for the 2003 edition of The Winston. Like last year, it’ll be “Survival of the Fastest” as drivers will be eliminated from the grid following both the first and second segments, leaving just the 14 fastest drivers to compete for the million-dollar winner’s share of a $3.5 million purse in the final 20-lap dash around Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Also new in 2003, the “Survival of the Fastest” format will apply to The Winston Open. Only one winner from the Winston Open will advance to The Winston. The No Bull Sprint has been eliminated. As in years past, The Winston Open will be 30 laps, but this year, those laps will be divided into two segments of 20 and 10 laps, respectively.. After the first 20-lap segment, the top-14 cars will advance to the final 10-lap segment. There will be a caution period between segments during which teams may pit, but will lose track position. The Winston Open is composed of drivers and teams who participated in a NASCAR Winston Cup event during the current or previous season and are not otherwise eligible for The Winston.
    The Winston Open and The Winston will be held on Saturday, May 17th.
    The Winston Open Qualifying: Qualifying session will consist of two laps for each team with the quickest lap determining that team’s qualifying position.
    The Winston Qualifying: Qualifying procedures for The Winston continue to focus on team performance. Each team will complete three laps around Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a mandatory four-tire pit stop during the qualifying attempt. Drivers will have to obey the pit-road speed limit entering pit road, but there is no speed limit exiting pit road. The green flag and checkered flag must be taken on the track. The total elapsed time of the pit stop and laps will determine the pole position for The Winston. The winning team will earn $50,000.
    The Winston Open: This 30-lap event is for all NASCAR Winston Cup teams that are not already eligible for The Winston. In the first segment, all laps count including caution laps. The race will be divided into two segments of 20 and 10 laps, respectively.. After the first 20 laps, there will be a caution period. The top-14 cars will advance to the final 10-lap segment with the winner of the race advancing into The Winston. For the second segment of The Winston Open, only green-flag laps count. If a late-race caution occurs, every attempt will be made to ensure a green-flag finish.
    The Winston: This race will be 90 laps [135 miles] and run in three segments of 40, 30 and 20 laps. The field will be inverted for the final segment as determined by fan voting.
    Segment No. 1: The first segment will be 40 laps. (At the present, the field for The Winston would be 23 cars — 18 race winner from 2002, one race winner from 2003, two NASCAR Winston Cup champions not otherwise exempt, one car owner (#38) not otherwise exempt and the Winston Open winner). Teams must make a mandatory green-flag, four-tire pit stop at some point during this segment, and each team must complete the final lap on the racetrack. All laps count including caution laps. If there is a late-segment caution, every attempt will be made to ensure a green-flag finish. The top-20 finishers from the first segment will advance to the second segment. The winner of the first segment will earn $50,000.
    There will be a 10-minute break following the first segment.
    Teams may change tires and make chassis adjustments.
    Segment No. 2: The second segment will be 30 laps. Only the top-20 finishers in the first segment advance to the second segment. The first-segment finish will determine the double-file starting order for the second segment. There are no pit-stop requirements, but teams may pit if they wish. All laps count including caution laps. If a late-segment caution occurs, every attempt will be made to ensure a green-flag finish. Only the top-14 finishers in the second segment will advance to the final segment. The winner of the second segment will earn $50,000.
    There will be a 10-minute break following the second segment.
    Teams may change tires and make chassis adjustments.
    The field will be inverted as determined by fan voting.
    Segment No. 3: The final segment will be 20 laps. The top-14 finishers in the second segment will compete in the third and final segment with the field inverted as determined by voting by the fans. The start of the final segment will be double file. Only green flag laps count. The winner of the final segment will earn $1 million. Total Purse: $3,500,000.(Lowe’s Motor Speedway PR) and see the full story and who is eligible for the Winston and Winston Open on my The Winston 2003 page(4-16-2003)
  • Congrats: Michael & Lisa Davis (Mike of Hendrick Motorsports & Lisa of Team Rensi Motorsports) had a healthy baby boy Apr. 14 2003 – Nicholas Eugene Davis 9lbs 4 oz (4-16-2003)
  • Some Rookie Notes: #42-Jamie McMurray and #16-Greg Biffle are tied for the lead in the Raybestos Rookie Standing entering the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Both drivers have 89 points, nine more than third place Casey Mears. They are the only drivers to claim Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in more than one race this season. Biffle and McMurray have each been the top qualifying rookie in four races entering the Auto Club 500.
    Biffle ranks 22nd in Winston Cup points, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He and McMurray are the only members of this year’s class to score a top-five finish. Each has one top-five entering the California event. McMurray has two top-10 finishes, more than any other Raybestos Rookie.
    Five different rookies have earned Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors this season: Biffle (4), McMurray (2), Jack Sprague (1), Casey Mears (1), and Tony Raines (1).
    McMurray is the only Raybestos Rookie to start all nine 2003 Winston Cup races without using a provisional. Mears, Jack Sprague, and Tony Raines are the other first-year drivers that have qualified for all nine races entering the Auto Club 500.
    The Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway is the only race this season where all six Raybestos Rookies qualified for the race AND all six were running at the finish of the race.
    A Raybestos Rookie Contender has won at least one race in each of the last four seasons dating back to Tony Stewart’s win at Richmond in September, 1999. The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is held by Stewart, who won three races in 1999.
    A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one pole position in each of the past seven consecutive seasons, dating back to 1996. The record for most poles in a rookie season is held by Ryan Newman, who won six in 2002.
    (Camp and Assoc PR), see my Rookie of the Year page for standings, breakdowns and how the ROTY is calculated.(4-16-2003)
  • NASCAR and the Soap Box Derby: The All-American Soap Box Derby, recently named a NASCAR Youth Initiative, is the premier youth and family oriented racing program in the United States involving boys and girls (ages 8-17) from across the U.S. and overseas with the goal of advancing to the All-American Soap Box Derby, held annually at Derby Downs in Akron. The Derby season, which runs March through July, is comprised of 150 local races, with more than 400 local race winners advancing to Akron.(see more at NASCAR.com or allamericansoapboxderby.com.(4-16-2003)
  • English Woman Tests a NASCAR car: Camberley (UK) race car driver Claire Tobin impressed onlookers in her debut in a Late Model NASCAR at Hickory Motor Speedway, NC last week. The 28 year old is the latest Brit to drive the Charlie Sigmon Racing Chevy, following in the footsteps of GT driver Tony Littlejohn and the team’s regular pilot Rob Croydon. Having completed close to 100 laps and having previously only raced go-karts, Tobin remained unphased by the car’s size and power, and driving on an oval circuit. Team Principal Charlie Sigmon added: “Claire showed much natural ability and talent. She listened and did what she was told. I believe she is the first English female NASCAR driver, and I would like to be the first US team to run her in Late Model Stock. She will return to North Carolina for another test in the near future, then we’ll see if we can organize a race. Tobin is herself looking forward to returning: “NASCAR is what racing is all about to me. To drive on the oval was a fantastic experience, and nothing in Europe comes close. Going to the home of NASCAR and joining a real NASCAR team with depth of experience and tradition means so much, and I cannot wait to get back in the Charlie Sigmon Chevy”(Crash.net)(4-16-2003)
  • Richmond Testing Tuesday: Testing for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Pontiac Excitement 400 and Hardee’s 250 NASCAR Busch Series race May 2-3 began at Richmond International Raceway today. Stacy Compton, driver of the #59 Kingsford Busch Series Chevy, led practice with a speed of 122.471. The fastest lap time for the other drivers as reported by the teams include:
    #81-Martin Truex, Jr. Busch, 122.338
    #26-Kevin Grubb, Busch, 122.283
    #2-Ron Hornaday, Busch, 121.896
    #19-Chad Blount, Busch, 121.567
    #97-Kurt Busch, Cup, 121.076
    #37-Derrike Cope, Cup, 121.038
    Testing will continue Wednesday and Thursday with more drivers scheduled to test. NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers #21-Ricky Rudd, #40-Sterling Marlin, #77-Dave Blaney and #14-Larry Foyt are expected along with the drivers that tested Tuesday.(RIR PR)(4-16-2003)
  • Kentucky Testing Set: #10-Johnny Benson, #32-Ricky Craven, #9-Bill Elliot, #74-Tony Raines and #7-Jimmy Spencer are scheduled to test their Winston Cup cars at Kentucky Speedway Wednesday and Thursday, the track says. Ford Racing had the facility booked for Tuesday, but no testers are specified. #87-Kyle Busch and #?-Paul Menard are scheduled to test Busch Series cars Wednesday and Thursday. While testing is not open to the public, the track says fans may watch from the visitor center in turn three.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-16-2003)

    (4-15-2003)

  • Tiebreaker Gives Bobby Labonte’s Pit Crew First Place Prize in Martinsville: The crews of #18-Bobby Labonte and #38-Elliott Sadler tied for the top honors in the Virginia 500 among participating teams in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by Powerade, but Labonte’s squad took the $20,000 prize by virtue of a tiebreaker.. Each car spent 292 seconds on pit road, but Labonte’s Joe Gibbs Racing crew was named the winner by virtue of having a higher finishing position in the race. Labonte finished second, while Sadler was fifth in Robert Yates Racing’s No. 38 Ford. In the race for the year’s $200,000 top prize, Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #15 team for Michael Waltrip’s Chevrolet leads the #8 squad of teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. by a margin of 325 points to 317.(PR), see full press release and standings on my Pit Crew page.(4-15-2003)
  • TRAC announcement UPDATE: TRAC – Team Racing Auto Circuit is expected to make a major announcement today. See more at their site www.traczone.com or my TRAC page.(4-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Team Sports Entertainment, Inc. through its wholly owned subsidiary, Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC), announced that it has reached a multi-year agreement with ESPN to be the exclusive network for all TRAC races beginning in May of 2004. The two companies have been in negotiations for over a year on the deal, and TRAC National Spokesman and stock car racing legend, Cale Yarborough, stated, “ESPN made stock car racing what it is today. They are the perfect partner for us. I’ve been waiting a long time for this.” The specific schedule is expected to be released in the near future, and the circuit’s inaugural race is expected to be in mid May of 2004 culminating in a season ending championship event in mid August. The thirteen event package will air live on ESPN or ESPN2 primarily on Saturday afternoons and evenings. Plans are for the races to be conducted in a two hour window. In addition, TRAC President and Chief Operating Officer, Terry Hanson, announced that Raycom Sports has been retained to sell and market all of TRAC’s in-house and league-wide sponsorships including the television advertising package. With these new television contracts in hand, Moag & Company, one of the nation’s leading sports and media investment banking firms, will initiate the sale of area team operating rights.(TRAC PR)(4-15-2003)
  • Testing at Lowe’s UPDATE: Open testing dates have been confirmed for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series and the ARCA RE/MAX Series in preparation for The Winston on May 17, the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 and the other stock car events scheduled next month at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Cup dates are:
    Tuesday, April 29: 5:00 to 10:00pm/et.
    Wednesday, April 30: On-Track: 12:00noon to 10:00pm/et.(Lowe’s Motor Speedway PR)(4-14-2003)
    UPDATE/CORRECTION: Gate 5A at the front of Lowe’s Motor Speedway will be open free of charge during all of the open testing sessions.(4-15-2003)
  • Inglebright to attempt Sonoma again: Jim Inglebright, who is currently leading the Winston West points standings, plans to attempt the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA in June. Inglebright also runs a few part time Truck Series race after running a few years full time in the series. Inglebright started 34th and finished 32nd in last years race.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(4-15-2003)
  • IRS Seize Hass Records: Internal Revenue Service agents seized financial records from Oxnard-based [Calif] Haas Automation Inc. Thursday morning after the agency obtained a search warrant in federal court, officials said. Gary Tang, spokesman for the IRS criminal division, said the warrants were sealed and he could not disclose what they were searching for, why they were searching for it or how many agents were involved in the search. The agents arrived at Haas around 8 a.m., according to some employees on a break outside the company’s 800,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Haas General Manager Dennis Dupois said the search warrants were generic in nature and he had no idea what the IRS was looking for. The company remained open for business despite the search. Haas Automation has been in Oxnard for six years and is the 28th-largest employer in the county, with 735 workers, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara Economic Outlook 2003 report. The company’s president is Gene F. Haas, a machinist who developed small motors with Kurt Zierhut. Haas is a maker of computer-controlled machine tools for manufacturers throughout the world. Haas also has been involved with motor sport racing since 1995, forming partnerships with PacWest Racing Group, All American Racers and Hendrick Motorsports. Haas joined the NASCAR Winston Cup series in 2002 as a sponsor and owner with the creation of Haas CNC Racing team and has sponsored drivers Jack Sprague and Ricky Hendrick.(Ventura County Star), no idea how this will effect the #0 NetZero/Hass CNC Racing team.(4-15-2003)
  • Roush Drivers Featured on Collectibles Tins: Racing fans nationwide now have the opportunity to collect four limited edition tins designed by motorsports master artist Sam Bass featuring four of Roush Racing’s drivers: Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin and Jeff Burton. Through June, each limited edition tin is free with the purchase of three-packs of Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese Dishes and Velveeta Shells & Cheese. “The tins are truly a collectors item for race fans nationwide,” said Bass. “I’m expecting them to fly off store shelves because they are truly a unique keepsake. I’m betting they won’t last in stores long!” A perfect gift for racing fans or motorsports memorabilia collectors, each of the four tins is a reproduction of a watercolor original that artfully depicts a Roush driver from the 2003 lineup, his number, two views of his car, and signature, as seen through Bass’ unique perspective. Bass’ renditions of Roush Racing drivers, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Burton showcase their determination to the sport, and their own colorful personalities. The competitive spirit they represent is evident in these intricately detailed illustrations. “It’s a great honor to be selected for these limited edition tins that feature me and my Roush Racing teammates,” said Jeff Burton, a Roush driver since 1996. “Known among race fans and drivers as the first officially licensed artist of this sport, Bass’ participation in this program is an incredible opportunity to collect his racing memorabilia.” Furthermore, Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese and Velveeta Shells & Cheese will donate $5,000 to Duke (University) Children’s Hospital in Durham, NC, a cause that Burton and his wife have supported for years. The tin and three-pack, which retail for $4.99 each and can be found on special display or in the Macaroni & Cheese section of your favorite grocery store, make Bass’ hot collectible illustrations available to a wider fan base, a goal shared by both Bass and Kraft. Noted John Kelly of Kraft Foods: “Considering Sam Bass is a recognizable leader in the field of graphic design and that Macaroni and Cheese is everyone’s favorite, who wouldn’t want to collect these one of a kind tins?” For more information on the Sam Bass Collectible tins, visit www.kraftfoods.com or www.sambass.com.(4-15-2003)
  • Toyota Stuff – Ganassi and Davis? UPDATE: Things have been pretty quiet on the Toyota front lately, but work on the Japanese company’s new NASCAR Tundra racer is well under way. The two NASCAR teams expected to play a big role in Toyota’s truck venture next season are the ones owned by Chip Ganassi and Bill Davis, although neither is willing to confirm anything. Davis’ suspected Toyota truck operation, according to team sources, is being run at a secret shop that is being called Area 54, a take-off on the U.S. government’s top-secret flight base, Area 51. Where might that shop be? According to sources, it’s probably at Davis’ old Busch shop in Thomasville, NC.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
    UPDATE: AutoRacing1.com say to look for Carl Haas, not Ganassi Racing, to lead the Toyota NASCAR effort when it happens. Seems Ganassi may be too linked to the Dodge program right now.(AutoRacing1.com – need subscription to read)(4-15-2003)
  • Sponsorships Up: Roush needs 4? Pennzoil looking? UPDATE: Car owners working the sponsorship marketplace are starting to put offers on the table, and the next few weeks will likely be filled with rumors of possible driver and team changes, rumors based on some contract negotiating points. Jack Roush needs to lock up sponsors for four of his five teams, and DEI’s sponsorship deal with Pennzoil is up for renewal. The Pennzoil contract may be the hottest one at the moment, and it’s not at all clear if the company will remain with DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
    UPDATE: my records show that only the #99 is unknown, the #6 is thru 2005, the #16 and #17 are at least thru 2004 and the #97 us supposedly thru 2006.(4-15-2003)
  • Tragic News: El Cajon Speedway promoter Steve Brucker, whose family has owned the track for more than 40 years, was fatally shot yesterday on his doorstep, authorities said. Sheriff’s investigators said they had few leads to the gunman and didn’t know a motive for the killing. Brucker, 51, dialed 911 himself about 2:25pm and told a dispatcher that he’d been shot in the chest when he answered a knock on his door. Deputies found him inside the house on Medill Avenue just east of the El Cajon city limits near Interstate 8. Paramedics took him to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was declared dead about 4:00pm, said sheriff’s Lt. Terry Wisniewski of the homicide unit. Authorities said the shooter was a white man in his 30s, with salt-and-pepper hair, wearing a baseball cap and dark clothes. He was accompanied by a second white man, described only as in his late 20s. They reportedly left in an older-model black Ford Bronco. Brucker leaves a wife and two children, Wisniewski said. Brucker was president of Cajon Plaza, the family owned company that has operated Cajon Speedway next to Gillespie Field airport since 1960. He and his brother, Kevin, ran the business for father Earle Brucker. The speedway started as a course for motorcycles, then auto races were added and the track was paved and expanded to its current 3/8-mile length. The 32-day racing season draws an average race day crowd of 3,000. Rumors that the speedway would soon close down have circulated for years. Steve Brucker was quoted in The San Diego Union-Tribune last year as saying that the family would keep running the track “unless someone shows up with a large pickup filled with money.” Brucker said the family holds a lease option on the land good through 2010, but county officials have said they believe the lease expires in 2005.(San Diego Union-Tribune)(4-15-2003)

    (4-14-2003)

  • TV Ratings for Martinsville – FORE: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Virginia 500 Winston Cup race from Martinsville Speedway drew an overnight Nielsen rating of 4.6 and a 10 share, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The weekend’s highest ratings went to CBS, which posted a 9.3/19 for Sunday’s coverage of the final round of the Masters golf tournament and a 6.2/14 for Saturday’s round, although those figures were down 6 and 11 percent respectively. The 2002 race was aired on Fox’s FX cable station, where it drew a 4.5/11, according to Sports Business Daily figures.(Winston Cup Daily Newsletter)(4-14-2003)
  • $100 Million into R&D: NASCAR says it plans to invest $100 million over the next decade in its new Concord research and development center — welcome news for a sour local economy. “Having the NASCAR research and development facility here is like having a Johns Hopkins or Mayo Clinic. That’s the kind of impact it’ll have,” said John Cox, chief executive officer of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. Chief among the problems the local economy has experienced lately are the financial hard times hitting several major companies, including Kannapolis textile giant Pillowtex Corp., which is for sale, and Corning Inc., which mothballed its Midland optical fiber plant this year. Cox said the $100 million investment will ripple through the local economy many times over, from the jobs NASCAR adds, to the homes its employees buy, to the spending by people working for or coming to the center. The NASCAR complex on West Winds Boulevard (off Derita Road across from Concord Regional Airport) houses the racing organization’s research and development work, as well as accident investigators, racing series directors and other NASCAR workers. The 61,000-square-foot facility opened in December. The research work focuses on short- and long-term projects ranging from testing surfaces of race track walls to designing safer cars. NASCAR owns 16 acres across from the regional airport, where it has a hangar. Its corporate headquarters is in Florida. NASCAR itself is continuing to expand, and Nelson sees growth at the Concord center mirroring growth in the sport. NASCAR had offices in the Catawba County town of Conover for about two years before it moved to the larger Concord site. The initial investment in the Concord project was $8 million, according to the Cabarrus Economic Development Corp.(Charlotte Observer)(4-14-2003)
  • Only Two races to go to get in The Winston: there are only two points races left for some drivers to get into the 2003 The Winston, a few drivers not in the race yet who have won in the past few years: #99-Jeff Burton; #43-John Andretti; #19-Jeremy Mayfield; #01-Jerry Nadeau; #25-Joe Nemechek; #1-Steve Park; #45-Kyle Petty; #49-Ken Schrader and #7-Jimmy Spencer. If these drivers do not win at California or Richmond, they will need to win the Winston Open to get in the race. 2-Rusty Wallace and #5-Terry Labonte are in automatically for being past Winston Cup champs.(4-14-2003)
  • Lap Leaders: no new lap leaders for the year at Martinsville. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr [who finished 3rd] led the most laps with 195, just edging out #24-Jeff Gordon. Gordon led at halfway and garnered the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award and the bonus since he won, a cool $35,000 bonus for winning after leading at halfway. The driver with the most laps led in 2003 is #24-Gordon with 604 over #8-Earnhardt Jr at 497, however, Earnhardt Jr has the most miles led with 605.7 while Gordon is 2nd with 572.7. Earnhrdt Jr leads Gordon in 2003 Bonus Points, 50-40. Chevy has led 1628 of the 2909 laps run in 2003 [56%] followed by Ford at 717, Pontiac has only led 15 laps in 2003. Eight drivers have made ALL the races so far in 2003 an NOT led a lap yet: #01-Jerry Nadeau; #9-Jack Sprague; #4-Mike Skinner; #10-Johnny Benson; #23-Kenny Wallace; #42-Jamie McMurray; #49-Ken Schrader; #74-Tony Raines. See my Lap/Miles Bonus Leaders page for the full rundown.(4-14-2003)
  • Gordon Fact: Twelve of Jeff Gordon ‘s 62 victories have come on short tracks.(Roanoke Times)(4-14-2002)
  • Stewart wins….a winged sprint car race: Reigning Cup champ #20-Tony Stewart realized a personal accomplishment Friday night. Stewart passed Jake Peters of Sioux Falls, S.D., on a 14th-lap re-start and won his first winged sprint-car feature in the Winged Outlaw Warrior-sanctioned event at Sedalia’s State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, MO. The race in front of an estimated crowd of 7,500 served as a support-class event as a part of a World of Outlaws sprint-car program. Outlaw driver Danny Lasoski of Higginsville, Mo., supplied a car for Stewart to drive. “This is great, and it was a lot of fun,” Stewart said. “We decided to take part in the race at the last minute, and everything worked out well for us.” Stewart began his night by running second to Larry Ball Jr. of Knoxville, Iowa, in the last of four heat races. In the feature, Peters led by as much as a straightaway by lap eight, but Stewart closed within three car lengths when Eric Jobe of Kansas City flipped in the fourth turn on lap 13, causing a caution period that set the stage for Stewart’s pass on the restart.(Kansas City Star)(4-14-2003)
  • Wilburn staying at the #2 UPDATE 2 Parrott to the #2? Denied: #2-Rusty Wallace/Penske Racing crew chief, Billy Wilburn, said there are no truth to the rumors [not here!] that he is leaving the team or being released.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(4-10-2003)
    UPDATE: the rumor floating around is that once Todd Parrott gets out of his ‘lifetime’ contract with Robert Yates, he could be headed to the #2 Penske team.(4-10-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Penske Racing president Walt Czarnecki says the rumors that Todd Parrott would take over as crew chief for Rusty Wallace were “nonsense.” That was comforting to crew chief Bill Wilburn, who who “went right to Rusty” when talk of a change began circulating. “I know we haven’t run well lately,” Wilburn says. “But if we won a race, no one would be talking.” Parrott was placed on indefinite leave by Robert Yates Racing, and sources in the garage say Parrott has been told he has 30 days to find another job.(Sporting News)(4-14-2003)
  • Sponsorships Up: Roush needs 4? Pennzoil looking? Car owners working the sponsorship marketplace are starting to put offers on the table, and the next few weeks will likely be filled with rumors of possible driver and team changes, rumors based on some contract negotiating points. Jack Roush needs to lock up sponsors for four of his five teams, and DEI’s sponsorship deal with Pennzoil is up for renewal. The Pennzoil contract may be the hottest one at the moment, and it’s not at all clear if the company will remain with DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
  • Toyota Stuff – Ganassi and Davis? Things have been pretty quiet on the Toyota front lately, but work on the Japanese company’s new NASCAR Tundra racer is well under way. The two NASCAR teams expected to play a big role in Toyota’s truck venture next season are the ones owned by Chip Ganassi and Bill Davis, although neither is willing to confirm anything. Davis’ suspected Toyota truck operation, according to team sources, is being run at a secret shop that is being called Area 54, a take-off on the U.S. government’s top-secret flight base, Area 51. Where might that shop be? According to sources, it’s probably at Davis’ old Busch shop in Thomasville, NC.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
  • Roush Comments on the Restrictor Plate Racing: Jack Roush might have a new lease on life, and the accompanying attitude that a near death experience brings, but Roush has no love in his heart for the racing venues known as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
    Roush can rattle-off reason after reason why restrictor plate racing should become a thing of the past, including:
    • Four races of the year cost the same as a whole program
    • He’s tired of hauling wrecked cars home from such tracks
    • He dislikes requiring his drivers endure the experience.
    But, Roush sums-up the entire exercise — taxing. Add the new no call from NASCAR angle from last week’s Talladega race, where Roush had a vested interest in the winner, and he just shakes his head. “Five teams is probably a fifteen million dollar proposition,” Roush said regarding the investment that is made to prepare Mark Martin’s, Jeff Burton’s, Matt Kenseth’s, Kurt Busch’s and Greg Biffle’s cars for probable destruction on a plate track.(See full story at Ford Racing)(4-14-2003)
  • Helton defends Talladega ‘no-call’: NASCAR president Mike Helton insisted once again Sunday that the no-call on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s controversial pass below the yellow line on Lap 185 of the Aaron’s 499 was the right call. “It was clear to us last weekend that when the 8 car (Earnhardt Jr.) went below the yellow line he didn’t do it to advance a position,” Helton said in a taped interview with Fox Sports anchor Mike Joy. “He did it primarily to avoid an accident.” Helton also said that Earnhardt Jr. had already made the pass before going below the yellow line. “He already had the position,” Helton said. “(Winston Cup Series director) John Darby explained it inside the garage area to some folks earlier today. If you had a start-finish line at that point before he went below the yellow line, who would the winner be? Everybody agreed it would be the 8 car. If the 8 car was the leader, how can he gain a position?” Appearing on the Fox Sports prerace show, Helton acknowledged the controversy that has raged all week. “The thing that we hope everybody will remember is that…we have areas where judgment calls have to be made,” Helton said. “It’s just like in baseball with balls and strikes or whether he’s out or safe…those type of judgment calls exist in our sport, too. We’re the sanctioning body and we’re the ones who have to make them.”(ThatsRacin.com)(4-14-2003)
  • Wrong tires? Ricky Craven’s crew apparently got the left-side tires on the right and the right sides on the left on the last stop.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
  • No Gas For Herman: #23-Kenny Wallace finished 12th Sunday but had to work his way back from two laps down to do that. Wallace lost the ground when he made a green-flag pit stop before the rest of the field came in under yellow. Wallace was forced into the stop because, on an earlier stop, he didn’t get a full load of fuel in his Dodge. “The track only had three gas pumps open,” said Wallace, whose team was lined up at the gas pumps to get its fuel cans filled.. “When I pitted we couldn’t put gas in our car because we didn’t have gas. So I had to pit again. We easily had a top-five car. I came from the back three times and I was two laps down and made them up. What are you going to do?”(ThatsRacin.com)(4-14-2003)
  • Rumblings – Martinsville: Jeff Gordon’s win was his 4th at Martinsville, the 62nd of his career (he’s 7th on the all-time win list), the 110th for Hendrick Motorsports, and he’s the first driver to win from the pole this season (Kurt Busch won the 2002 finale at Homestead from the top-spot). We’ve now had 9 different winners in the first nine races….and Gordon’s take of the $4.0+M in posted awards was a cool $219,143 (that’s more than Dale got last week at that “big track”, tho the posted awards were greater).
    Jeff Burton (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Homestead last November.
    Ken Schrader (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Darlington in September of 2001
    STREAKIN….Dale Earnhardt Jr has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races. Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week (in a very quiet shaft this week) is Bobby Labonte (+37). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-35), followed by Jamie McMurray (-28). This is the second week in a row that Newman has headlined the downer category. The best move forward in the points goes to Kenny Wallace (28th to 23rd), while Ryan Newman fell the most spots (11th to 20th). Newman was 8th in the points when we left Texas…it sure has been all downhill since his victory there (might have something to do with being the Big Dropper back-to-back).(StockCarFans.Com WinstonCup Newsletter)(4-14-2003)

 


(4-13-2003)

 

  • Jeff Gordon wins at Martinsville: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway, his first of 2003 and 62nd of his career [he is 7th All Time]. It was Gordon’s first win in 15 races, his last being at Kansas in Spet 2002. Gordon as now won at least one race a season for ten years in a row. There has now been 9 different winners in the first 9 races. #18-Bobby Labonte, who started 39th using a provisional finshed a close 2nd. The race ended under yellow as #17-Kenseth spun and created a lot of smoke and #97-Busch got hit by someone and turned around and got stuck on a corner. #38-Sadler and #20-Stewart had a ‘spirited’ fight for 5th, with Sadler finishing 5th and Stewart getting a cut left rear tire and aa bit ticked off, banging into Sadler a few times on the track during the final yellow. #49-Schrader gets his first top 10 in 55 races and the first ever for BAM Racing. Highest finishing Rookie of the Year candidate was #16-Greg Biffle at 18th. The highest finishing Pontiac of the five in the race? 27th by #32-Ricky Craven.
    See my Virginia 500 Race Info page for my race rundown, cautions, notes, etc
    Race Re-air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, Apr 16th, 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, Apr 17th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Results Links at: Jayski 2003 Winston Cup Race Results page
    ThatsRacin.comNASCAR.com Motorsports One.(4-13-2003)
  • Hut on TV: From beekeeping and wine-making to scrapbooking and woodworking, more and more celebrities are devoting their downtime to hobbies and do-it-yourself projects that are often quirky and always personally rewarding. DIY-Do It Yourself Network will showcase known personalities and their personal passions in Celebrity Hobbies, an intriguing new 13-part series that launched on April 4. Hosted by Tracy Griffith (half-sister of actress Melanie Griffith), Celebrity Hobbies will air weekly on Friday nights. The series will feature more than two dozen actors, musicians, athletes and authors at home or in the field, in their studios and workshops, as they demonstrate first-hand for viewers their particular penchants, ranging from the artistically fulfilling and functional to the relaxing and downright offbeat. Each episode will focus on two celebrities, who give step-by-step instructions on a project, as well as guest experts who give advice on the array of topics featured every week. Like with any DIY program, the network’s website, DIYnet.com, will provide step-by step project instructions and related resources to each of the episode’s topics. The one-hour special, to precede the series premiere, offers a fast-paced preview of many of the personalities featured in the program, including the NFL’s Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders who love to scrapbook; Atlanta Braves’ catcher Javy Lopez who collects and operates radio control airplanes; actor James Avery who collects African-American memorabilia; and rock guitarist Steve Vai who’s in to beekeeping.
    AND Hut Stricklin (NASCAR driver): When he’s not behind the wheel revving the engine, Hut restores classic cars and offers some tricks of the trade [scheduled to air on April 25th at 8:30pm/et, re-air dates can be found on their website]. Mario Andretti (race car driver): Mario demonstrates the much slower-paced world of fine winemaking at his own Napa Valley vineyard. DIY, one of four cable television networks operated by Scripps Networks, focuses on the do-it-yourself enthusiast, providing in-depth demonstrations and tips for categories such as arts and crafts; automotive and boating; cooking and entertaining; decorating and design; gardening and landscaping; household and cleaning; home building; home improvement; recreation and hobbies; and tools and products. DIY is distributed to 13 million U.S. households and is on pace to reach 20 million by the end of 2003. The network’s companion website, DIYnet.com, mirrors the weekly on-air programming schedule, featuring easy-to-use, step-by-step instructions for more than 9,000 projects, including a detailed online guide to resources, materials and related projects. DIYnet.com users can search the site for any project shown on-air, engage in community bulletin boards and submit do-it-yourself questions to the expert DIY staff.(4-13-2003)
  • Newman Hurting: #12-Ryan Newman said the only lasting effect he had from the harrowing 27-car crash on Lap 4 of last week’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega was a sore on his foot. “When I hit the wall, my left foot got caught under the pedal,” Newman said. “I told everybody in the shop that I looked like I ‘Barney Fifed’ myself. It looked like I shot myself right in the top center of my foot. There’s a little dot right there that looks like a bullet went right through. It’s all swollen up, but it only hurts when I take my shoe off or put it on.”(ThatsRacin.com)(4-13-2003)
  • Wood Brother’s New Engineer: In another sign of the increasing impact of technology and physics on NASCAR, #21 Wood Brothers Racing welcomed its first full-time engineer this weekend. Jackie Mohrfeld, a 24-year-old mechanical engineering graduate of Purdue University, will help the Stuart, VA -based team by crunching numbers and running computer simulations on race weekends for the remainder of the season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-13-2003)
  • Indy 500 Looks Doubtful for Andretti: A new set of Indy Racing League rules probably will prevent John Andretti from competing in the Indianapolis 500 next month. The driver of the #43 Cheerios Dodge for Petty Enterprises wanted to race against his cousin Michael, who will be driving in his final Indy 500. “Right now, the IRL basically is in a state of transition in that they’ve got new engine programs, chassis and a lot of new teams, too,” said Andretti, the first driver to race the 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day in 1994. “The biggest issue is, is there going to be enough equipment? . . . It doesn’t look strong [for attempting the race], but the possibility is still there.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-13-2003)

    (4-12-2003)

  • Jarrett Speaks, Wants Support: Dale Jarrett said Friday’s he’s looking for a crew chief who “supports and believes in me as a driver” after his Robert Yates Racing team’s decision to dismiss Brad Parrott from that role this week. Parrott’s older brother, Todd, who was the crew chief on the #88 Fords when Jarrett won the 1999 Winston Cup title, was also placed on “indefinite leave” this week. Based on comments from Jarrett and team general manager Doug Yates Friday, however, it seems all but definite that Todd Parrott won’t be back. “I think some confidence was lost in the misrepresentation of some things,” Jarrett said. “As a driver you’re out there busting your tail week in and week out. Even in years where you win seven races…or the championship that might not be enough – you get that little hint. You hear things. …To be quite honest, I’ve been a little disappointed in some things I’ve heard. So that’s kind of separated us a little bit more.” Jarrett finished 10th in the Daytona 500 and then won the season’s second race at Rockingham, but has no top-10 finishes since. He pointed to a test the team had at Texas as the point at which he began to feel things weren’t working with him and Brad Parrott. “I was just not pleased with what I saw there,” Jarrett said. “Then just a few things have happened during some races that kind of threw up a red flag.” Parrott was hired Thursday by Roush Racing to be the car chief for Jeff Burton’s #99 Fords. He was Burton’s Busch Series crew chief last season for a team that won five races in 14 starts. “I never once had the opportunity to put a Brad Parrott set-up under the race car,” Parrott said of the 88 team. “It was always what this team had or what that team had.” Garth Finley and Richard Buck will share duties leading Jarrett’s No. 88 team for the Virginia 500 this weekend. Robin Pemberton’s name has been mentioned as a possible long-term replacement for Parrott, but Yates said Friday no decisions have been made. “Right now there’s a vacancy sign up and we’re just going to explore our options,” said Yates, son of team owner Robert Yates. “We’re just going to see who’s out there.”(ThatsRacin.com)(4-12-2003)
  • Pemberton to Yates? UPDATE Makar? Robert and Doug Yates have been silent since putting Brad and Todd Parrott on the sideline this week, but the two car owners said they will talk about their team shakeup today and their plans for the future of Dale Jarrett’s half of their two-car team. Robin Pemberton is the subject of speculation for a possible to move to the Yateses’ team. Pemberton worked about 10 years with Rusty Wallace and Roger Penske, after a long run with Jack Roush. Last season Pemberton worked with Kyle Petty at Petty Enterprises, but he left at the start of the season to take a role with Ford Motor Company as the field director.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-11-2003)
    UPDATE Makar? One name that came to the surface quickly was Jimmy Makar. Makar would be an interesting choice since he and Dale Jarrett have raced and won together when Jarrett was with Joe Gibbs, prior to his joining the Yates organization. Makar couldn’t be found at Martinsville and the Yates camp is holding their cards close to the vest, so no discussions took place regarding the viability of that rumor.(from Ford Racing)(4-12-2003)
  • Another tire war coming? Firestone engineers have begun testing NASCAR-type stock-car tires for what could be a planned move into this branch of the sport, according to NASCAR sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-12-2003)
  • NASCAR gets letter from Congress about Ephedra UPDATE NASCAR will NOT ban it: According to wire reports Congress is asking major league sport leagues for information regarding their knowledge and position regarding the over-the-counter drug, ephedra. The now-legal substance is under review by Congress following Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Steve Bechler’s death in February. According to a report there was a link between Bechler’s death from heat stroke and the dietary supplement. The congressional letter, which was sent to Major League Baseball the prior week, was followed this week with similar letters to National Football League, National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer and NASCAR. The letter was penned by House Energy and Commerce chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.), along with Reps. Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and James Greenwood (R-Pa.).(Ford Racing)(4-12-2003)
    UPDATE: For now, NASCAR will not join other major sports leagues in banning use of the controversial stimulant ephedra among its competitors. In a printed bulletin handed out to teams in each of NASCAR’s top three series Saturday, NASCAR advised competitors to “seek guidance from their individual physician prior to taking and supplement product labeled as containing ephedra/ephedrine.” The bulletin cited a recent government-released study that concluded supplements may increase the incidence of side effects such as heart palpitations. “NASCAR will continue to monitor reports regarding health related concerns for ephedra/ephedrine and will advise NASCAR participants as additional information becomes available,” it said.(USA Today some good related links there too)(4-12-2003)
  • A.J. Foyt Speaks Out: A.J. Foyt, a team owner in both the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series and NASCAR Winston Cup [#14 Harrah’s Dodge which is sitting out this week at Martinsville], had harsh words for NASCAR on Saturday for its recent inconsistency in its rules. Foyt’s comments stem from the yellow flag decision at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago, to last week’s race-winning pass where Dale Earnhardt Jr. clearly went below the yellow out of bounds like to pass race leader Matt Kenseth. “More people are waking up to NASCAR, but they are afraid to speak out,” Foyt said. “I have nothing to lose, either way. The yellow flag thing is a bad deal and one of these days, someone will get killed over it. I don’t care what you write about. I call a spade a spade, good or bad. That’s how I feel about plate racing. What has happened the last three weeks, it’s something different every week. I think the world of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and I think the world of Tony Stewart, but whoever that judge was should be thrown out of the organization or should be the judge of a bathroom whether boys or girls go in. If he looks at the yellow line thing and says it was right, then he was wrong.” Foyt was also steamed that NASCAR disqualified his son’s [Larry Foyt, driver of the #14] qualification attempt last week at Talladega for a rules violation for being too low. Subsequently, Foyt did not make the 43-car starting lineup. “After what NASCAR did to me at Talladega last week, we didn’t see any point in going up to Martinsville and tearing something up,” Foyt said. “The deal they did to us at Talladega was a big (bleep)-off deal, so (bleep) them. I’m like Dale Earnhardt was when he was alive, those (bleeping) plate races (stink). NASCAR is so crooked. Whoever you are, I don’t care what you say, if you can’t see that, then you are blind. Why should you take out that many cars if you are racing?” Foyt believes it’s time NASCAR recognize that restrictor-plate racing has only made the events at Daytona and Talladega more dangerous, rather than allow teams to race above 200 miles per hour and let the cars spread out more naturally rather than bunch them together. “All it is any more, restrictor-plate cars is a glorified IROC race, that’s all it is,” Foyt said. “If you are going to go racing, then go racing. But if you want an IROC race, then just call it an IROC race. I’ve never been for plate racing, I never will be. It’s just like racing back to the yellow, I’m glad to see Jeff Gordon speak out against that. Racing shouldn’t be who is a complete idiot on the yellow flag. It’s a different ball game than it used to be. It’s not getting any better, it’s getting worse.” Between yellow flags, yellow lines and other NASCAR inconsistencies, Foyt admits he is losing interest in what is currently the most popular form of racing in the United States.(FoxSports/SportsTicker)(4-12-2003)
  • Parrott Speaks: Brad Parrott, car chief of the #99 Citgo Taurus, held a brief Q&A session in the Martinsville Speedway Infield Media Center before NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying to discuss his departure from Robert Yates Racing and re-hiring at Roush Racing. (a few choice tidbits, see link in parens for more).
    “First of all, I’d like to say that there’s not a better person in this garage area than Dale Jarrett. He’s a great person, individual and race car driver. I worked from February 1st to Tuesday and had one day off. I worked to make Dale Jarrett the best race car driver in the garage area and I’m sorry I couldn’t make that happen. I’m here this weekend and I’m racing with Jeff Burton for the next three years for sure. I’ve got a contract now and I’m happy about it. I know Jeff Burton is gonna go out and win a lot of races and I’m gonna help Paul Andrews. I’m gonna be the car chief on the 99 Citgo team and we’re gonna go win races and go have fun.”
    WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE? “I was told there were too many opinions and that comes from going in the truck at Texas. I stayed out by the car and worked on the car at Texas a little bit and went in the truck and there were four guys in the truck telling Dale what the race car needed, so I turned around and walked back out.”
    HAVE YOU TALKED TO TODD? “Todd is taking a month off and he’ll evaluate his situation when it comes time, but you’ll have to talk to him about what his plans are.”
    DID YOU TALK TO YOUR DAD [Buddy] AND WHAT DID HE SAY? “Yeah, I heard from dad. He remembers the time back in 1978 that he walked into the DiGard shop and took care of business. He asked me if I took care of business and I said, ‘no’ because times have changed.”(Ford Racing)(4-12-2003)
  • Wheel Tethers UPDATE: Mark Harrah, one of the owners of Dave Blaney’s team and an engineer, said that NASCAR should change the way it has teams attach the wheel tethers to keep them from flying off the cars in a wreck. A wheel off Ryan Newman’s car flew over the wall at Talladega and hit a car in the parking lot.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-12-2003)
    UPDATE: In response to a wheel and tire that went sailing over the wall at Talladega last weekend, NASCAR issued a technical bulletin Saturday revising its policy on tethering wheels in the Winston Cup series. Under the revised guidelines, distributed to teams Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, two fiber cables must be used on each front spindle of the car on all tracks 1¼ miles or more in length, excluding the two road courses. In addition, steel cables will no longer be permitted. The new guidelines go into effect April 23. Last weekend, Ryan Newman lost the left-front wheel of his #12 Dodge during a 27-car accident on Lap 4. The entire wheel assembly sailed over the Turn 2 wall and landed in a parking lot. It was later recovered by NASCAR officials.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-12-2003)
  • Final Talladega TV Ratings: Final Nielsen figures for Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 Winston Cup race from Talladega Superspeedway show the race drew a 6.2 rating and 15 share, according to MotorsportsTV.com. The figures show a solid jump from the 5.7/12 overnight figures but still left the race well short of last year’s 7.0/16. Nonetheless, the race didn’t drop nearly as much as they did for CBS’s broadcast of the NCAA basketball tournament’s semifinal games, which fell from 11.3 last year to 7.9 and 9.4 to 6.3, MotorsportsTV.com says. The major cause for the drops in the sports ratings continues to be the war with Iraq, the Web site and industry observers say.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-12-2003)
  • Atwood News: Casey Atwood always wished he had time to do more fishing. Now he wishes he had less time. ”That’s about all I’ve been doing, fishing at Percy Priest Lake,” Atwood said yesterday as he caught up with some of his racing buddies in the Nashville Superspeedway infield. ”I’m ready to do something else.” Atwood, 21, is out of racing for the first time since his mid-teens. The Nashvillian lost his Winston Cup ride with Evernham Motorsports at the end of last season and has yet to find a new ride. ”I’m still looking,” he said. ”I’m confident something will come up, but it’s still early in the season and no jobs have been opening up.” Atwood, who competed two seasons in Winston Cup, said he would actually prefer returning to the second-tier Busch Series where he set records for the youngest pole winner and youngest race winner. ”In Winston Cup there are a few dominant teams and if you aren’t with one of them you’re going to struggle,” he said. ”I’d like to go back and run Busch, at least for awhile.” Atwood said settlement of the final year of his three-year contract with Evernham is still in negotiation. ”Meanwhile I’m free to look for another job,” he said. ”If something comes open, I’m going to take it.”(Tennessean)(4-12-2003)
  • New RCR Museum to Open in Mid-May: What was once the race shop where six championships were earned is now being transformed into a museum honoring one of NASCAR’s most storied racing operations. Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) original race shop and museum at the RCR complex, with the construction of a connecting building between the two, is now a single-structure museum showcasing five decades of auto racing history. Nearly 50 race cars driven by Dale Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick, Mike Skinner, Richard Childress and others will be on display along with an incredible array of trophies, banners, photographs and other memorabilia.. Also near completion in the 47,000-square-foot building is a gift shop in the area that was the original race shop’s administrative offices. The new RCR Museum & Gift Shop is scheduled to open to the public May 16, 2003.
    The original shop area will be dedicated to the famed No. 3 teams with Earnhardt that earned NASCAR Winston Cup championships in 1986-87, 1990-91, and 1993-94. Nearly 20 of the world-famous black paint-schemed No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlos, including the 1998 Daytona 500 and 2000 Winston 500 (at Talladega [Ala.] Superspeedway) winners, will be on display. Video screens and memorabilia throughout the building will showcase the highlights and amazing history of the No. 3 team during its 16 seasons within those walls.
    “With all the history made within those walls, it wouldn’t be right to just lease the building out to another company or to put another race team in it,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing Enterprises, Inc. “I had mixed emotions on how to do it. I wanted to do something the Earnhardt family would be proud of, every employee that ever worked at RCR would be proud of, and the race fans would be proud to come and see. To me, it’s going to be one of the most incredible stock car racing museums in the country because of the history that was made there over the years. I want the race fans to feel they are a part of that history because they were the ones that made it possible. When they leave, I want them to walk away with a smile on their face knowing that they had just been on an incredible tour.”
    The area that was the original RCR Museum and Gift Shop will have a variety of cars on display. Vehicles representing RCR’s championships in the NASCAR Winston Cup, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR SuperTruck Series (RCR is the only organization to have championships in all three), its current lineup of Winston Cup and Busch Series teams, cars for each of the No. 3 team’s special paint schemes for The Winston from 1995 through 2000 and a number of other race cars significant to RCR’s history will be showcased.
    “There’s a lot of history that I’ve kept over the years from all of the RCR race teams that I’m looking forward to sharing with race fans,” Childress said of the area that was the original museum. “Those cars, the ones driven by Kevin Harvick, Mike Skinner, Robby Gordon, and many others, including some that I drove, are also a big part of RCR’s success through the years.”
    The newly constructed center part of the building will be dedicated to Childress’ devotion to wildlife and outdoor conservation. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the North Carolina Wildlife Habitat Foundation, the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited, all actively involved in the conservation of the nation’s wildlife and natural resources, will be showcased in this area along with many of the animal trophies Childress has collected over the years.
    RCR moved into the building, located in this small town 10 minutes south of Winston-Salem off Highway 52, in June 1986. The entire operation at that time was under one roof in the 33,000 square-foot building. The No. 3 team earned its first victory working out of the new shop in October 1986 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (now Lowe’s Motor Speedway). They went on that year to capture RCR’s first, and Earnhardt’s second, NASCAR Winston Cup championship. During the time the No. 3 team occupied the building, from mid-1986 through the first race of 2001, it earned 58 victories, 16 pole positions and more than $38 million in race winnings. The three-car Winston Cup program and the administrative staff moved into a state-of-the-art 86,000 square-foot building in the same 35-acre complex in early May 2002. RCR, which also has a two-car NASCAR Busch Series program, now consists of more than 260 employees working in 12 buildings with approximately 300,000 square-feet of shop space.(RCR PR)(4-12-2003)
  • Fuel Problems? Sources at Talladega Superspeedway told teamfordracing.com that the fuel Unocal has provided since the announcement that they were leaving the sport might have some consistency problems. This, according to a leading engine builder in the sport, is leading to some interesting finds during post-race engine tear down. “We’ve even questioned here lately with Unocal moving out how the fuel … We’ve seen some funny things on our parts after the race and for some of us fuel quality is changing on us,” said the engine builder. “So yeah, it’s a big issue and we’ve been talking about it quite a bit.” Fuel is a vital part of the Winston Cup engine builder equation as the additive packages are what help hold a motor together during a race. Fuel chemistry changes can lead to premature part failure. NASCAR hasn’t let the teams know what will be pumping in 2003, which is making the engine builders nervous. Variances with the chemistry and consistency of blend will be needed soon as it can take six to nine months to match the engine package to the fuel package. One big question that’s not been answered is whether the fuel will be of a leaded blend, or no-lead. There is concern that if the sanctioning body goes the no-lead route that engine failure could rise dramatically due to leads lubricity qualities, or the capacity for reducing friction. Unocal, along with NASCAR and the teams, tried a no-lead blend several years ago in the Busch Grand National Series. Those experiments ended after the exhaust valves beat the seats out of the head. Unocal, to help solve the problem, suggested that the teams move to titanium vales. That suggestion angered the involved engine builders as they’d been using titanium for several years, and were surprised that Unocal engineers seemingly didn’t know what was in a motor for which they were blending fuel.(Ford Racing), see my NASCAR-Sponsors page for more info on the Unocal deal.(4-12-2003)

    (4-11-2003)

  • Elliott does some dirt trackin’: On Saturday night the fans and drivers at Seven Flags Speedway, a dirt track in Douglasville, GA got quite a surprise. Bill Elliott dropped in unexpectedly to run the Late Model feature. Joe Armistead Jr., who qualified before Elliott, started on the pole with Elliott alongside. When the green flag dropped, Armistead bolted into the lead. The lead duo ran bumper-to-bumper in the early laps, but Armistead never relinquished the lead and led all 30 laps to get the victory. “It was one of the most memorable races I’ve ever run,” Armistead said. “I’ve always been a big Bill Elliott fan, so it was really cool to get to race with him.” But because Elliott didn’t tell anyone ahead of time that he planned to race at Seven Flags, only the few hundred in attendance knew he’d been there. Elliott also raced his dirt car at Talladega Short Track on Friday night, but spun on the start and was unable to work his way back to the front.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-11-2003)
  • #20 Impounded Car Chopped? and returned? UPDATE, nope and nope: An unconfirmed rumor has it that the 20 car was, indeed, returned though in a slightly modified form: Sliced in half at the B-pillar, the front section delivered to the Gibbs team garage. How would that be for a message sent and delivered? (in part from Autoweek)(4-8-2003)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Greg Zipadelli is still waiting to see if or when NASCAR will return the Home Depot Chevrolet NASCAR confiscated prior to practice two weeks ago at Texas. Zipadelli told PRN’s “Garagepass” car owner Joe Gibbs visited NASCAR’s Research and Development center in Mooresville on Wednesday and that car is still in the condition as when they took it. Zipadelli says the team has already built a new car replacing the one taken at Texas and that they’re “over it” and are moving on.(PRN’s Garage Pass)(4-11-2003)
  • Park Rumors Denied UPDATE: Rumors about Steve Park’s job security in DEI’s #1 Pennzoil Chevy were circulating even before the Cup race at Texas. But Ty Norris, vice president of motorsports at DEI isn’t ready for talk of change, saying the team needs to do better and that DEI is going to keep trying to do better. Norris said Park has been real dedicated, coming by the shop and talking to the crew. The communication is open and positive. Norris had no comment when it was mentioned that Shane Hmiel’s [#48 in the Busch Series] name has been tossed around as a possible replacement for Park.(paraphrased from the Winston Cup Scene – subscription required to read online)(4-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Driver Steve Park just shrugs his shoulders at the rumors over him being replaced in the Pennzoil Chevy by Busch Series regular Shane Hmiel. Park admits the performance of the team is not where they would like it to be and that’s what produces the rumors. Park said, “The Inquirer and all the trash newspapers that are out there sell, so I guess bad news sells better than good news.” Maybe we’ll do a story on how much money Steve Park donates to charity and all the work he does away from the racetrack to raise money for different charities ‘you never see anything like that’ all you see is that Steve Park is out of the Pennzoil car and so we’re fixin’ to prove them all wrong.” Since Shane’s father Steve is DEI’s Technical Director Park says it makes for a great story, but he’s staying in the racecar.(PRN’s Garage Pass)(4-11-2003)
  • Garrow on TV: PRN radio anchor Mark Garrow will anchor this weekend’s Busch Series qualifying on Speed Channel and Saturday’s race from Nashville on FX.(4-11-2003)
  • Stewart to run Busch race at Michigan with special scheme – UPDATE 5: the Tony Stewart #8 Busch Series program has been changed from Kid Rock to 3 Doors Down. This special program will be racing in Michigan on August 16th. Dale Earnhardt Jr.(car owner) and Stewart both filmed footage to appear in a new rock music video with 3 Doors Down which is due out this summer.(3-27-2003)
    IMAGE see an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery, the Busch page.(4-11-2003)
  • Helton on Fox Sunday: This week NASCAR President Mike Helton comes by the “Hollywood Hotel” to address several issues in the sport including process and procedure in determining those types of penalties. Coverage begins live Sunday, April 13 at 12:30pm/et from inside the NASCAR on FOX traveling prerace studio now situated within the friendly confines of the Martinsville Speedway infield. The 30-minute countdown to Sunday’s dropping of the green flag is hosted by Chris Myers, analyst Jeff Hammond and special guest Darrell Waltrip.(Fox Sports)(4-11-2003)

    (4-10-2003)

  • Wilburn staying at the #2 UPDATE: #2-Rusty Wallace/Penske Racing crew chief, Billy Wilburn, said there are no truth to the rumors [not here!] that he is leaving the team or being released.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(4-10-2003)
    UPDATE: the rumor floating around is that once Todd Parrott gets out of his ‘lifetime’ contract with Robert Yates, he could be headed to the #2 Penske team.(4-10-2003)
  • Realtree and the #29? UPDATE 2: hearing Realtree, who sponsored Dave Marcis for years on the #71 car, will be on Kevin Harvick’s #29 GM Goodwrench as the primary or co-primary at an upcoming race.
    UPDATE: This special paint will run August 23rd at Bristol under the lights OR rumor has it may run in the Busch Series.(3-14-2003)
    UPDATE 2: now have an image of the scheme, see my Paint Scheme Gallery for the image.(4-10-2003)
  • Brad Parott back to Roush? UPDATE: hearing former #88 Crew Chief, Brad Parrott will be the new car chief for #99-Jeff Burton.(4-10-2003)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing announced today that they have re-hired Brad Parrott and assigned him to join the #99 CITGO team, reporting to crew chief Paul Andrews. “We are excited to bring Brad (Parrott) back to Roush Racing,” said Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 CITGO Ford. “Our Busch Series team had a lot of success last year and Brad was a big contributor to that success so we think he can come in and help the #99 team this year.” Parrott was crew chief for Burton and the #9 Busch Series team in 2002 making the trip to victory lane five times in only 14 races. Crew chief Paul Andrews is excited to have this kind of experience in his stable. “I think this is a really good thing,” said Andrews. “We will be able to utilize Brad’s (Parrott) knowledge and expertise to help advance the #99 team. We are fortunate to have so many talented people working on the CITGO team, and Brad will help make us even stronger.”(Roush Racing site)(4-10-2003)
  • Bill Elliott’s Pit Crew Wins Again: The pit crew for #9-Bill Elliott captured the $20,000 prize in McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by Powerade for the fastest pit work among participating teams in last Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The #9 spent a total of 310 seconds in the pits. #40-Sterling Marlin’s crew was second with 328 seconds. #74-Tony Raines crew was third with 488 seconds. For the standing and full press release, see my Pit Crew News and Links page.(4-10-2003)
  • Petree and Menard to do ABC and T schedule UPDATE: it was announced on XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) that Paul Menard will drive a ABCT schedule for 18 races for Andy Petree Racing [APR] in 2003. A=ARCA, B=Busch Series, C=Cup and T=Trucks. The team will be sponsored by Turtle Wax and Manard. First scheduled race is the Salem ARCA race on April 27th and goes thru to the Phoenix Cup race in November. Menard is currently in college and after he finishes up, he will move to North Carolina. Menard will spot for Petree at Martinsville, who will run the Truck Series race there.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio Subscription Required), see more info about Paul Menard at Teammenard.net and more about APR at www.andypetreeracing.com.(4-9-2003)
    UPDATE: Andy Petree has made a commitment to build the future of his racing team by developing young talent, likewise Paul Menard, 22, the son of Eau Claire home-improvement businessman and Indy-car owner John Menard, has made a commitment to learning this year, both on and off the track. Menard who is pursuing a degree in business at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, will tackle an 18-event racing schedule driving a Turtle Wax“sponsored Chevrolet for APR that will include races in the Truck Series, Busch Series, Winston Cup Series and ARCA. Over the past three seasons, Paul Menard has been working his way up the NASCAR ladder, competing in the ReMax Challenge Series fulltime, while also running selected events in the Southwest Tour Series. At the close of 2002, Menard won the November Phoenix Southwest Tour event at Phoenix with a late race pass of Ken Schrader, something that caught the intrigue of NASCAR veteran, Andy Petree. “To be honest, I didn’t even see the race; I was driving like crazy to get to the track to see as much as I could because I promised Kenny (Schrader) I would watch it,” said Petree, owner of Andy Petree Racing. “I got there a few minutes too late and called Kenny as I was crossing the bridge to find out what happened. He said he got beat by some kid and finished second. I said, “What kid?” He said, “Paul Menard“ the kid just chased me down, got underneath me on the last lap and won it. He did a great job.” Paul Menard’s Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet will be sponsored by Turtle Wax and will likely carry the #33 across all series he will compete in this year. The first event will be the ARCA race in Salem, IN April 27. The complete schedule is listed on my #33 Team News and Links page. See full Press release at the Team Menard site.(Co-Pilott PR)(4-10-2003)
  • Racing and Wrestling Event and Hermie to Announce Sponsorship plans UPDATE: Racing and wrestling pair up once again for an evening of incredible sports entertainment this Wednesday night on NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action wrestling on iNDEMAND and DirecTV pay-per-view at 8:00pm/et. Fox Sport’s Jeff Hammond will serve as a guest color analyst for an innovative X-Division 6 Man Match. The X Division is an extreme class of wrestling with high-flying, acrobatic maneuvers and is available only on TNA. Hammond will join “The Professor” Mike Tenay and Don West ringside to call the action on what will surely be a “match of the year” candidate. In addition to his analyst duties, Hammond will be broadcasting his segment for Totally NASCAR on Fox Sports Net from the TNA Asylum Wednesday night. Hermie Sadler will be back at the TNA Asylum to talk about TNA’s sponsorship of his car this past weekend at the Aaron’s 499 in Talladega, and will be announcing TNA’s sponsorship plans for the #02 car for several additional Winston Cup races. No stranger to wrestling, Sadler defeated Ron “The Truth” Killings in his only in-ring appearance last September. NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling is the first-ever weekly pay-per-view wrestling series that airs every Wednesday at 8:00pm/et on iNDEMAND and DirecTV. With its unique blend of traditional wrestling and the high-flying cutting edge moves of the X-Division, it is the definitive alternative for the wrestling enthusiast.(Trifecta Entertainment PR)(4-8-2003)
    UPDATE: “We’re announcing a five-race sponsorship program in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling,” Hermie Sadler said on Totally NASCAR. “The first race is going to be the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. We’re tying John Boy & Billy and all those on in. It’s a great promotion, and we’re looking forward to getting it started.”(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(4-10-2003
  • Jeff Burton and Dan Ackroyd Team Up for “Auto Care Month”: The month of April is “Auto Care Month” and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and American Lung Association are launching a massive public awareness campaign on behalf of cleaner air and more efficiently running cars. They are teaming up with Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 CITGO Ford, and actor/comedian Dan Ackroyd to produce a public service campaign titled, “The Little Light with a Big Message.” “I’m honored to be a part of the campaign,” said Burton. “Hopefully it will bring awareness and educate people about a topic most of us ignore.” The campaign centers around the “check engine” light in the dashboard of cars and trucks. Research has shown that most people ignore the light when it comes on. This could shorten engine life, increase harmful emissions and reduce gas mileage. “This is a small but important thing.” Burton continued, “If people would take the time to have their engines checked when the light came on, it would save them time, money and headaches down the road.” Burton and Ackroyd have taped a :30 second TV spot and radio spots that will begin airing April 12 and run through July 12. The TV and radio campaign will be distributed to all TV/radio networks and cable outlets and will be run during NASCAR race broadcasts.(Roush Racing)(4-10-2003)
  • Chartwell Investments invests in RCR: Chartwell Investments II LLC announced today that it has made an equity investment in RCR Enterprises, LLC, the elite NASCAR racing team founded and majority-owned by Richard Childress. “We are pleased to partner with Chartwell Investments,” said Richard Childress, President and CEO of RCR. “I’ve had investors in RCR since the late 1990’s and I am confident that Chartwell’s people and capital will help us to continue to build one of NASCAR’s top organizations. I’ve made a long-term commitment to Chartwell and there will be no changes in how RCR is run.”
    “NASCAR is the fastest-growing major sport with over 75 million fans nationwide and we are enthusiastic about partnering with Richard Childress, a legendary figure in the NASCAR racing world,” said Todd R. Berman, President and Founder of Chartwell Investments. “We hope our participation will give Richard even more time to focus on winning races and supporting the company’s sponsors.”(PRN Newswire)(4-3-2003)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup car owner Richard Childress confirmed Wednesday he has sold partial equity in his Richard Childress Racing company to Chartwell Investments, a private New York City-based equity firm. “We have had an investor in RCR since I expanded with (Mike) Skinner in the No. 31 (in 1996), but on a limited basis. This is more extensive,” Childress said. “Nothing will look different. I still have control of the company, I own the majority of the company and I’m still the CEO.” Chartwell’s investment was not disclosed, but Childress said he holds more than a 50 percent interest in RCR. The addition of Chartwell, Childress said, strengthens his organization. “We aren’t a little corporation any more,” he said. “They can help RCR Enterprises go to another level in this sport. There are a lot of ways you can grow your business in this sport without adding race teams. I’ve made a long-term commitment to Chartwell, to my employees and to the sport.”(ThatsRacin.com)(4-10-2003)


    (4-9-2003)

  • Parrotts Out at RYR? UPDATE 3 It’s Official: hearing some rumors that Todd and Brad Parrott have left Robert Yates Racing, still checking into it.
    UPDATE: hearing Brad was released and Todd is on some sort of leave from the team.(4-8-2003)
    UPDATE 2: have confirmed that Brad is no longer with RYR and Todd has taken a “leave of absense”. The #88 team will use current members of the RYR organization for Martinsville this weekend. Expect an official PR later this morning.(4-9-2003)
    UPDATE 2 the Press Release: Robert Yates Racing announced changes to the management structure of the #88 UPS team. Effective immediately, Brad Parrott has been released from crew chief duties on the #88 team. Additionally, Competition Director Todd Parrott has taken an indefinite leave of absence from Robert Yates Racing. General Manager Doug Yates hopes the change will give the team the opportunity to take a step back, regroup and get the race program on target for the remainder of 2003. The 2003 season got off to a strong start for Dale Jarrett and the #88 Robert Yates Racing team with a 10th-place finish at Daytona, and a win at Rockingham. Jarrett was second in the points following the win at Rockingham in February, but currently sits 12th. Daytona and Rockingham are the #88 team’s only top-10 finishes in 2003. The #88 team will be under the temporary leadership of Garth Finley and Richard Buck this weekend at Martinsville. Yates believes this change in personnel is necessary to get the #88 team back to championship form. “We are in the business of winning races and championships,” Yates said. “For the last several races, this team hasn’t performed to the level that we know it is capable of performing. We said at the beginning of 2003 we would do whatever it took to get the #88 team and Dale Jarrett back to championship contending form. This wasn’t an easy decision but it was a necessary one, and we hopefully will be able to get the #88 team back to victory lane and back to where they are the team everyone looks to beat.” Doug Yates and Dale Jarrett will be available for questions in the infield media center at Martinsville Speedway this Friday, April 11th at 10:30am/et.(Elevation Motorsports/RYR PR) and see articles at ThatsRacin.com and Ford Racing(4-9-2003)
  • #14 Withdraws from Martinsville to regroup: In an effort to catch up on building up resources and test for upcoming events, the #14 Foyt/Harrah’s Racing team has withdrawn its entry for this weekend’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Martinsville Speedway. “It was a very tough decision to not go to Martinsville this weekend, but we think it’s the best choice for us right now,” said Larry Foyt, driver of the #14 Foyt/Harrah’s Racing Dodge. “We got such a slow start at the beginning of the year and this will give us a chance to catch up, build up our resources and actually test, something we haven’t been able to do since the season started.” The team plans on doing a two-day test next week at Richmond International Raceway.(Performance PR Plus PR)(4-9-2003)
  • Tryson fined: NASCAR officials announced Wednesday that Pat Tryson, crew chief for the #21 Wood Brothers Ford, has been fined $10,000 for rule violations on April 5 during practice for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The #21, driven by Ricky Rudd, was in violation of Section 12-4-A in the NASCAR Winston Cup rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-W (improperly attached weight). As the #21 was preparing to go onto the race track, the improperly attached weight fell off the car. On Saturday afternoon, a 35-lb. lead block, scuffed and deformed on one end and tagged with the #21, sat on the inside counter of the Winston Cup office trailer with several other confiscated parts, including two sheared driveshafts.(NASCAR.com)(4-9-2003)
  • At least 300 have died on tracks since 1990: The death toll for U.S. auto racing has climbed to at least 300 since 1990, after recent accidents killed two drag racers. During the past two weeks, businessmen Don Rhyne and Phil Burghard died in separate crashes after their dragsters sped out of control. In a 2001 investigation, The Observer found that more than 260 people, including 29 spectators, died in U.S. auto racing from 1990 through 2001. Since then, 40 more drivers have died, including 28 in 2002. Another drag racer, Larry Winter, remains unconscious and in critical condition after suffering head injuries when his car hit a wall March 31. It happened at Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson, Ariz., where Rhyne crashed four days earlier. There was also a scare in Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup race at Talladega, Ala. A tire from Ryan Newman’s car flew over the fence between Turns 1 and 2, struck a parked car and landed in an area where there were no grandstands. No one was injured. Series officials are investigating why a tether failed to keep the tire from flying over the fence.(full story at the Charlotte Observer)(4-9-2003)
  • Special Champ Programs on Speed: Before qualifying coverage of the Cup race at Martinsville on Friday, April 11th [3:00pm/et] on Speed Channel, a three hour block of NASCAR Past Champions will air, starting at 12:00noon/et:
    12:00 pm Dale Earnhardt – Part 1
    12:30 pm Dale Earnhardt – Part 2
    1:00 pm Jeff Gordon
    1:30 pm Darrell Waltrip
    2:00 pm Richard Petty – Part 1
    2:30 pm Richard Petty – Part 2.(Speed Channel)(4-9-2003)
  • #31 Tire Changer Back: Jason Fowler, the rear tire carrier for Robby Gordon’s team, nearly sliced off his finger while making repairs to the #31 car in Bristol. After sitting out a week, Totally NASCAR checked on his progress in Talladega. “Actually the finger is doing really well,” Fowler said. “I can really bend it. I’ve got more movement in it. I really don’t have much feeling in the side right now but I’ve got more feeling in the bottom. In pit practice this week, I could bend it just fine.” Fowler will be back in action Sunday at Martinsville(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(4-9-2003)
  • Rusty’s son to race Late Models: Stephen Wallace, the 15-year-old son of Rusty and Patti, will be getting his feet wet in late model competition later on in the year. Driving a Robert Hamke-built chassis (Dodge sheet metal of course)and powered by a Maurice Petty engine, Stephen will be testing at various short tracks until he turns 16 (on 8/18) and then will enter selected late model events. A scheduled test on Monday of this week at Hickory Speedway fell victim to rain.(Tom Roberts PR)(4-9-2003)
  • Johnson to throw out first pitch at Phillies game: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to throw out the ‘first pitch’ tomorrow night at the Philadelphia Phillies (Jayski’s team) / Atlanta Braves to coincide with his Winner Circle appearance in Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 9th.(4-9-2003)
  • Gordon Testing at Nashville: #31-Robby Gordon is scheduled to test at Nashville Superspeedway on April 15 and 16.(RCR PR)(4-9-2003)
  • Adopt a Sailor: The Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary [WCRWA] is joining with the Adopt-a-Sailor program to bring much needed care packages to the men and women of our armed forces.. The WCRWA offices,. located at 5700 Concord Parkway South, Concord, NC. (on the corner of Hwy 29 and Morehead Rd., across from Lowe’s Motorspeedway) will serve as a donation drop of location for the Adopt-a-Sailor program. For more info, see my Racing Charities page.(4-9-2003)
  • Local NC driver remains critical: Melvin “Puddin'” Swisher, who was injured in a crash at Caraway Speedway {many Cup teams test there] on March 29, is still in intensive care and listed in critical condition at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. But son Curtis Swisher said that his father is improving slowly each day. “His left wrist is broken, he has some broken ribs, and there are some head injuries,” Curtis Swisher said. “He had some facial fractures, but they’re healing.” Curtis Swisher said that his father is heavily sedated to restrict his movement while he heals. Curtis Swisher said that doctors “aren’t saying a whole lot” about the prognosis of the head injuries but said that the family remains hopeful that his father will recover and that they are encouraged by the positive signs they see. “He is improving,” Curtis Swisher said. “It will just take time, and we’ll have to wait and see. It is pretty slow going. But, considering what happened, he’s still doing good.” Melvin Swisher, 66, of Kernersville, was competing in a race for the Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams series at Caraway. He lost control of his car in the fourth turn and crashed into the end of a concrete wall at a pit-road opening. Swisher, who has been racing since 1959, has been a regular competitor at Bowman Gray Stadium, where he ranks No. 16 on the all-time victory list for feature races with 24 wins.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-9-2003)

    (4-8-2003)

  • DW to test Wednesday: The weather in the Carolinas has postponed and moved Darrell Waltrip’s truck test from Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC on Tuesday to Hickory Speedway [NC] on Wednesday.(Fox Sports)(4-8-2003)
  • Furr replaces Conner: Tony Furr will serve as crew chief for Winston Cup Rookie of the Year candidate Jack Sprague, beginning at this weekend at Martinsville. Furr replaces Dennis Connor at Haas CNC Racing. Connor has worked with Sprague for the last eight seasons. Together they won three championships in the Craftsman Truck Series, in 1997, 1999 and 2001. In 2002 Sprague and Connor moved to the Busch Series for Hendrick Motorsports, their Truck Series employer. Near the end of the 2002 season, team owner Gene Haas announced plans to field a Winston Cup team for Sprague that would be closely allied with Rick Hendrick’s operation. Furr most recently worked in a management role with Morgan-McClure Motorsports [#4 Kodak Pontiac](NASCAR.com)(4-8-2003)
  • Testing at Kentucky UPDATE: Four Winston Cup teams and a Busch Series squad are scheduled to test at the track this week at Kentucky Speedway. #77-Dave Blaney was to test today, while #42-Jamie McMurray and #74-Tony Raines are expected to test Wednesday and Thursday. Hank Parker Jr. is also scheduled to test a Winston Cup car for Evernham Motorsports on Wednesday and Thursday, while Brewco Motorsports [#27/#37] is listed as testing a Busch entry on the same days, but no driver is named. While testing is not open to the public, the track says fans may watch from the visitor center in turn three.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)
    UPDATE: Joey Clanton will be in the #27 Brewco Motorsports Pontiac, no listing of Raines in the 2nd Alert sent out by Kentucky Speedway.(4-8-2003)
  • Mikey gets a TV gig and DW miked: Michael Waltrip will join Rick Allen, Dorsey Schroeder and Barry Dodson in the booth for this weekend’s Craftsman Truck Series event in Martinsville. Waltrip has a vested interest in the race, as older brother Darrell – a three-time Winston Cup champion – will be racing a DEI-powered truck owned by Michael and crewed by Michael’s NASCAR Busch Series crew. SPEED Channel will bring race fans a unique view to DW’s return, as the truck will be equipped with in-car cameras and the racing legend will be wired for sound for the entire race. In addition, fellow FOX broadcasters Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond also will be a part of the SPEED broadcast, with McReynolds acting as Waltrip’s spotter and Hammond observing from the pits.(Speed Channel PR) see more about DW’s truck deal on my Truck Series site (have a image of the the truck there) or Retired Cup drivers page.(4-8-2003)
  • #20 Impounded Car Chopped? and returned? An unconfirmed rumor has it that the 20 car was, indeed, returned though in a slightly modified form: Sliced in half at the B-pillar, the front section delivered to the Gibbs team garage. How would that be for a message sent and delivered? (in part from Autoweek), see the complete news progresssion on the #20 Chevy being confisgated at Texas on my #20 Team News and Links page.(4-8-2003)
  • #49 Testing: hearing the #49 BAM Racing Dodge and Kenny Schrader are testing today, weather permitting, at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC.(4-8-2003)
    UPDATE: the testing was rained out.(4-8-2003)
  • Simpson vs NASCAR goes on Sept 15th: Racing safety pioneer Bill Simpson said his defamation claim against NASCAR isn’t about what sanctioning body officials said following the death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500. It’s what NASCAR didn’t say. In a deposition taken Feb. 27, Simpson said NASCAR’s refusal to say that Earnhardt’s seat belt was installed incorrectly is what defamed him. NASCAR, filing for a summary judgment last week in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, said Simpson’s admission that NASCAR never said anything false should compel a ruling in its favor without the $8.5 million claim going to trial as scheduled Sept. 15. NASCAR also contends that it never mentioned Simpson by name and never said anything with malice. In the Simpson deposition, NASCAR attorney Robert Johnstone questioned him on a list of 22 statements provided by Horn as evidence that NASCAR defamed Simpson or invaded Simpson’s privacy.(Daytona Beach New Journal), see past news on the lawsuit on my Lawsuits Page.(4-8-2003)
  • Qualifying On Speed: Beginning with the Virginia 500 from Martinsville Speedway, SPEED Channel will be the exclusive home for NASCAR Winston Cup Series qualifying for the remainder of the FOX portion of the broadcast season [thru Sonoma in June). The FOX NASCAR team of Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will handle the on-air responsibilities. During the second half of the season, which begins July 5 with the Pepsi 400 from Daytona [On NBC], SPEED Channel also expects to carry a majority of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series qualifying events, tentatively scheduled to handle 15 of the 19 qualifying sessions. In addition, SPEED Channel continues to be the exclusive home of NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for the remainder of the season.(SPEED Channel PR)(4-8-2003)
  • Bodine to double dip, Nashville and Martinsville: Busch Series points leader Todd Bodine [#54-Ford in Cup, #92-Chevy in Busch] will race in Nashville this Saturday and Martinsville on Sunday. Mike McLaughlin will practice and qualify the #92 Busch Series car in Nashville while Bodine is in Martinsville for Cup qualifying/practice.(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR), Hermie Sadler will do the same but Dennis Setzer will practice and qualify the #02 Cup car while Sadler qualifies the #54 Busch car.(4-8-2003)
  • Andretti helps out: On March 26, NASCAR driver John Andretti made a special appearance at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee and delighted the children there undergoing treatment for pediatric cancer and other life-threatening childhood diseases. The appearance included a $30,000 check presentation to Target House. Andretti raised the money by meeting a challenge – for each lap completed in the EA Sports 500 in Talladega, Ala., on October 6, 2002, General Mills pledged to donate money to Target House. Andretti not only completed the race, but also placed in the top 20.(Ruder Finn Arts & Communications Counselors)(4-8-2003)

    (4-7-2003)

  • How did Johnson end up ahead of Wallace? been asked this quite a bit today, after #48-Jimmie Johnson got together with #23-Kenny Wallace towards the end of the race, Johnson spun and lost the lead draft and Wallace continued on, BUT Wallace ran out of fuel a few hundred feet after the incident with Johnson and finished 17th, Johnson finished 15th.(Speed Channel’s Inside Winston Cup – Kenny Wallace, also the #77 crew chief, Bootie Barker is the hot seat guest this week)(4-7-2003)
  • Talladega Early TV Ratings Down: Nielsen says Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 Winston Cup race from Talladega Superspeedway drew an overnight 5.7 rating and a 12 share, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The figures were well off the final numbers for 2002 Talladega race, which was run two weeks later and drew a 7.0/16, but all sports programming appears to be continuing to feel the impact of the war with Iraq. The Daily reports that the two NCAA basketball tournament semifinal games were off 30 percent and 25 percent.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter), past ratings on my 2003 TV Ratings page.(4-7-2003)
  • Testing at Richmond UPDATE Postponed: The first NASCAR testing of the season at Richmond International Raceway starts next week, as NASCAR Busch Series drivers #2-Ron Hornaday, #21?/43?-Johnny Sauter and #00-Troy Cline are scheduled to test on Tuesday, April 8 and Wednesday, April 9. Scheduled to test NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars April 15-16 are #21-Ricky Rudd and #97-Kurt Busch along with #31-Dave Blaney, #18-Coy Gibbs, #59-Stacey Compton, #32-Lyndon Amick, #8-Martin Truex Jr., and #19-Chad Blount who will test NASCAR Busch Series cars. #40-Sterling Marlin [Cup] and #01-Jason Rudd -Busch] will test on April 16-17 only. More drivers are expected to test on April 22-23 and other drivers may be added to the two other sessions. Fans are invited to watch testing each day. The gates will be open from 9:00am to 5:00pm/et each day. The Pontiac Excitement 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race on Saturday, May 3 is sold out, but tickets still remain for the Hardee’s 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday, May 3.(RIR PR)(4-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Richmond International Raceway says Busch Series tests planned for Tuesday and Wednesday have been postponed because of expected bad weather. The track says Ron Hornaday, one of three drivers expected this week, has rescheduled his test to next week. The track says Ricky Rudd and Kurt Busch are scheduled to test their Winston Cup cars April 15 and 16, along with Busch Series drivers Dave Blaney, Coy Gibbs, Stacey Compton, Lyndon Amick, Martin Truex Jr., Chad Blount and Hornaday. Sterling Marlin and Jason Rudd will test on April 16 and 17, and more drivers are expected April 22-23. The track says gates will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of testing for fans who want to watch and says updated lists of drivers will be posted at www.rir.com.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-7-2003)
  • The Earnhardt Jr Pass: Illegal or Not: blurbs from a few sites:
    Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pass below the out-of-bounds line with four laps to go at Talladega might have drawn a penalty some other day. After all, judgment calls differ from week to week. But on this day, it was the “safe” call. Had a black flag prevented Junior from winning his fourth consecutive Winston Cup race at Talladega, there might have been a riot. Junior has fans everywhere but none more vocal than at Talladega. Give him credit — he started at the rear, overcame a damaged front end and didn’t have teammate Michael Waltrip for drafting help at the end. Junior’s car was solid, but his driving talent won the race. Thirty-eighth in points after two races, he now stands second just six races later.(Sporting News)

    Kevin Harvick’s crew chief, Todd Berrier, did. He went to the NASCAR hauler and reviewed the tape with NASCAR officials. “I guarantee if Kevin was an inch below the yellow line they would park him,” Berrier said before looking at the replay. “The rule is you can’t go below the yellow line period. It’s that simple.” Berrier was somewhat mollified after seeing the tape, saying the move was “probably too close to call” and that “I think the right decision was probably made.” Kenseth had no opinion on the yellow-line pass Earnhardt Jr. made, but wondered why Harvick chose to go with the eventual winner in the final push. “He was pushing me really good and we had a run on the outside of the 8,” Kenseth said. “He (Harvick) kind of faked right like he was going to go with me and then he went behind the 8. …Everybody makes his own decisions. I couldn’t win without somebody pushing me … but if you line up behind the 8 it’s hard to beat him.”(ThatsRacin.com)

    Crossing the yellow line considered out of bounds by NASCAR, Earnhardt outdueled Matt Kenseth in the Aaron’s 499 with a pivotal move that triggered another controversy in NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series. “It’s unfortunate that that’s going to get all the publicity and not the four in a row,” Earnhardt said. Replays indicated Earnhardt and Kenseth appeared to be side by side as Earnhardt’s car moved well below the line in Turn 3, but Earnhardt claimed he already had cleared Kenseth’s Ford. “I ran [below the line] to keep from running into him,” Earnhardt said. “By that time, I was already past him.” Johnson, who led a race-high 65 laps, begged to differ. “He was clearly below the yellow line,” Johnson said. “I didn’t think it was a legal pass.” Runner-up Kevin Harvick and third-place finisher Elliott Sadler both claimed not to have seen the pass. But when asked if he would have been penalized for making the same move, Harvick offered a guarded response. “That’s a good question,” Harvick said. “I’ll plead the fifth on that one.” Others were less diplomatic. “It looks like they gave it to the ‘8’ car,” pole-sitter Jeremy Mayfield said. “He can do what he wants to do.” In the prerace drivers meeting, race director David Hoots said NASCAR would black-flag cars that improved their position by crossing the yellow line that circles the bottom of the 2.66-mile track. Steve Park was black-flagged for passing Joe Nemechek below the line midway through yesterday’s race, but NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Earnhardt wasn’t penalized because his pass didn’t improve his position.(Richmond Times Dispatch)

    Jim Hunter, NASCAR vp/communications, offered this explanation: “This was a judgment call, very obviously,” he said. “In our opinion, there is no question he went below the yellow line. Where the judgemnt call comes into effect [was that he] did not go below the yellow line to improve his position. He had already passed the 17 car when he went below the yellow line. We based our opinion on reviews of the tapes both in the tower at the time and after the race.” Many saw the matter differently, with NASCAR having used the black flag earlier in the race, without apparent review or reservation, against Earnhardt teammate Steve Park. The rule also has been invoked in similar cases in the past, notably with Tony Stewart at Daytona in 2001. NASCAR’s non-ruling, and yet another victory by Junior at the big track, did nothing to diminish suspicions that NASCAR somehow favors Earnhardt Jr., suspicions Hunter flatly denied.(Speed Channel)

    from a GM Press Release – GM Racing notes – Post-race, Talladega: EARNHARDT, JR. (Would You Like To See The Yellow Line Removed?) …..”Another thing – I’ll be reading on Jayski (jayski.com) all these articles and for any of you suns of guns that are wanting to talk (expletive) about me – you know where you can go.”(SpeedwayMedia.com)

    AND from ThatsRacin.com: Earnhardt Jr. talks about ‘The Pass’

    See my Article/Story/Columns Links page for a Plethora of columns/article on the matter.(4-7-2003)

  • Seeking speed, General Mills turns to NASCAR: When General Mills wanted to cut the time it takes to make a product changeover at a Betty Crocker plant, it turned to NASCAR for help. The food company sent a team to work with a Winston Cup pit crew “because nobody can change over a car faster than these guys can,” said Randy Darcy, senior vice president of General Mills’ supply chain operations. After studying the NASCAR crew, General Mills cut to 12 minutes — from as long as 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours — the time it takes to switch production lines from one Betty Crocker meal to another. One thing the mechanics learned from working with the NASCAR pit crew was to videotape each of the changeovers, then critique everything that happened.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-7-2003)
  • Four Straight nice, Seven is the record: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win was his fourth straight at Talladega, breaking a tie with Buddy Baker for consecutive wins at the track, but it is not the first time a driver has gone four-fer at one track. Bill Elliott was the last driver to do it, winning four straight at Michigan International Speedway in 1985-86. The all-time record is seven straight, co-held by Richard Petty (Richmond, 1970-73) and Darrell Waltrip (Bristol, 1981-84).(The State)(4-7-2003)
  • Skinner and Kenseth – No DNF’s at ‘Dega: #4-Mike Skinner and #17-Matt Kenseth are the only active drivers with at least three starts at Talladega who have not posted at least one DNF. Skinner has been running at the end of all 12 of his Winston Cup starts at Talladega, even though he was involved in Sunday’s big wreck. Kenseth had done that for seven races.(Alabama Live)(4-7-2003)
  • The Flying Tire: Winston Cup officials recovered the tire from Ryan Newman’s car and planned to study why a tether failed to keep it from bouncing out of Talladega Superspeedway in Sunday’s race. Newman’s left front wheel cleared the catch fence off turn 2 where there weren’t any grandstands. The tire hit a parked car. No one was injured, a track spokesperson said. Goodyear lists a left front tire as weighing 24.3 pounds. Newman’s tire was heavier because part of the steel front spindle remained attached. NASCAR requires teams to tether the front spindles to the car to prevent a wheel from coming off. The rule book states that teams must use steel fiber cables or Vectran fiber cables to tether the wheel.(Roanoke Times)(4-7-2003)
  • Traction Control to be watched at Martinsville: NASCAR will employ “special help” to monitor teams for traction control this weekend at Martinsville, where spinning the tires coming off the corners is a big concern.(Sporting News)(4-7-2003)
  • Wind Tunnel Plans Canceled: NASCAR canceled plans to take cars to the wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing after watching Sunday’s race. “After that race, I reconvinced myself that the cars are evenly matched,” said Winston Cup director John Darby. “A Dodge led, a Ford led, a Chevrolet led, and I think Ricky Craven in a Pontiac might even have led a lap. And at the end of the race, all four makes were running up front.” Wind tunnel testing is done to make sure all makes are aerodynamically equal, something NASCAR is trying to make certain of this year through common templates. But Darby had been reluctant so far this season to test the cars to make sure his process was working. He said Sunday he had since reconsidered and was all set to take the cars to the wind tunnel following the race. Instead, the big white haulers that normally transport the cars sat idle on pit road with Darby convinced the test was not needed.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(4-7-2003)
  • Busch vs Stewart: Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart met after the race to discuss their incident. Busch and Greg Biffle got together and sent Busch into Stewart’s car on lap 90. Stewart banged the wall and had to go to the garage for repairs. He returned to finish 25th. Busch placed 19th. “He ended up on my outside when Biffle pinched me up against him,” Busch said of Stewart. “It was like I ended up running into him purposely; it was just an accident.” Stewart was unavailable for comment after the race.(Roanoke TimesAND as seen on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Victory Lane, Busch squirted Stewart as the two walked away from each other after Stewart confronted Busch about the incident that put Tony in the wall. Stewart basically did not react or notice.
    AND Busch’s comments on the accident: Teammates Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch banged Fords late in the race and each fell out of contention after running with the leaders. Biffle, who finished 22nd, seemed to race up the track in front of Busch. That caused Busch, who finished 19th, to plow into defending Cup champ Tony Stewart. Stewart, who was already struggling, finished 25th. And though Stewart had words with Busch after the race, Busch said it wasn’t his fault. “We were on the lead lap and my deal was I had a 10-mph run on my teammate, and he pulled out in front of me,” Busch said. “That’s fine. But we ended up running out of racetrack and we wrecked. I had a pretty good run and didn’t expect him to come up like that.” Biffle said he thought Busch would take another line, one higher up than the one Biffle steered into. “Anybody can get a run on somebody and pass them on a restart, but I thought we had established the inside lane,” he said. “I wished he would have gotten on the brakes a little and not had that happen.”(News and Observer)(4-7-2003)
  • Talladega Sweep: Dale Earnhardt Jr became the first driver to sweep both major [NASCAR] events on a single NASCAR weekend since Burton won Busch Series and Winston Cup events at Phoenix International Raceway in November 2000. Earnhardt also won the Aaron’s 312, a Busch Series race, on Saturday.(Gaston GazetteAND By winning the Busch race and the Winston Cup race at Daytona over the weekend, Earnhardt became the fourth driver to accomplish the feat at Talladega. The others were Ernie Irvan in 1992, Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1993 and Mark Martin in 1997.(Alabama Live)(4-7-2003)
  • Snake Oil? Word in the garage: Some teams are using oxygenated oil additives that can boost an engine’s horsepower by five to 15. Winston Cup Series director John Darby says the “snake oil” has been reported for a while, and his officials have taken random samples at Daytona and Talladega to try to determine what is out there. NASCAR always has taken a stringent stand against using additives in gasoline and might take a similar approach with oil. One owner whose team used oil additives last year says there is an increased risk of engine failure. Additives put a strain on the engine’s rings because the oxygen reduces the oil’s ability to lubricate.(Sporting News)(4-7-2003)
  • Petty still hurtin’ but makes it thru: Kyle Petty finished a season-high 11th despite racing with two cracked ribs. It wasn’t easy. “My ribs hurt so bad and my back hurt so bad that I just rode around for the first 170 laps,” Petty said as he walked in the garage but kept his left arm still. “I told them to tell me when there were 15 laps to go and we’ll race.”(Roanoke Times)(4-7-2003)
  • 2004 Taurus News: Ford’s new Taurus for 2004 has made it to the wind tunnel. The current model has been in competition for four years and needs a face-lift, but Ford engineers aren’t optimistic that gains will be made now that common templates are being used. The car body must be submitted to NASCAR by July 1 and the components by September 1.(Sporting News)(4-7-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt Tribute Car Captures Best of Show Award: Inspired by the work ethic of his favorite NASCAR driver, Larry Cheffer claimed overall Best of Show honors for his 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo during the Food Lion AutoFair Awards Ceremony Sunday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Kankakee, Ill., body shop owner began restoring the jet-black car five years ago and put more than 3,500 hours into what became a labor of love. “I wanted to quit working on the car so many times, but I thought about Dale Earnhardt and his never give up, do whatever it takes attitude,” stated Cheffer. “I started rebuilding the car as a tribute to him, and then after his death, it became a memorial. My wife and I didn’t celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary because we were trying to get the car finished for this trip to Charlotte. It’s the first time I’ve ever shown the car and I’m just overwhelmed at the response to it.” Cheffer returns to Illinois with two additional pieces of hardware including the Lion Cup (Best Paint, as chosen by Food Lion representative Mark Miller) and a Best of Show trophy from the Southern Rods and Classics Club.(LMS PR)(4-7-2003)
  • Rumblings – Talladega: About the only thing different about today’s Talladega Winston Cup event was we had the “Big One” early on (lap 4 to be precise)….but it still got wild (as usual) at the end. Dale Earnhardt Jr got his four-peat today (no one else has graced Victory Lane since Bobby Hamilton won her in April of 2001), but it was not without a struggle. Engine change (to the back), damage in the “Big One” (sheet metal flapping in the breeze), a controversial pass late under Matt Kenseth …..just another typical Talladega race.
    Now, while I [Henry] feel the pass was legal, I’ve gotta question NASCAR’s call. It appears (as usual) that the only thing consistent in NASCAR is their inconsistency. Last week (in the BGN race at Texas) they said that Brian Vickers had to be penalized because he was “in the act of passing” when, in NASCAR’s opinion, he jumped the start. Today, when Little E had two tires under the yellow “out of bounds” line, NASCAR said he was “in the act of passing”. So, which is it?
    Jr is now tied with Kyle Petty for 50th on the all-time win list (with 8), and DEI has won 8 of the last 10 plate races.
    16 different leaders today….that’s the most since we were here in April of 2001 when we had 26.
    #29-Kevin Harvick (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Chicagoland last July.
    #38-Elliott Sadler (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Darlington in March of 2002.
    #5-Terry Labonte (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon Raceway last June.
    #22-Ward Burton (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Martinsville last October.
    #45-Kyle Petty (11th) had his best finish since he was 10th here last April.
    #43-John Andretti (14th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Phoenix last November.
    #74-Tony Raines (16th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 24th twice….the last of which was at Atlanta last month.
    STREAKIN…..Matt Kenseth has 7 Top-10’s in a row. Dale Earnhardt Jr has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races. Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Tony Raines (+27), followed by John Andretti (+26), and Terry Labonte (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-31), followed by Casey Mears (-30), and Johnny Benson (-24). With that 27 car melee that started as far up as it did you would have expected more activity in this category, eh?(NOTE: this is Official Starting positions, not if a driver falls to the rear of the field for an engine/driver/car change)
    Terry Labonte led one lap today…it’s the first time he’s led since he was on the point twice for 11 laps at Martinsville Speedway in April of ’02. Ward Burton led three times for 5 laps today….it’s the first time he’s led since he was up front at Atlanta las October for 4 laps. 32 different drivers have now led (not too shabby when you consider we’ve only had 48 different drivers compete this season).(Henry Dubret from StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(4-7-2003)

 


(4-6-2003)

 

  • Dale Jr wins his 4th straight race at Talladega: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr fought back from an engine change, being involved in the BIG Wreck on lap 4, and a controversal pass below the yellow line towards the end of the race [NASCAR ruled it a clean pass] and won his 4th straight race at Talladega Superspeedway, breaking the record he held with Buddy Baker(3). #29-Kevin Harvick was able to grab 2nd place. It was the 9th straight win at the track by a Chevy. Earnhardt Jr is the 8th different winner in 8 races in 2003. #74-Tony Raines had his bets career finish and was the highest finishing Rookie of the Year candidate. The 27 car ‘Big Wreck’ on lap 4 was the largest in track history. The 43 lead changes [16 drivers] are the most since the 2001 Daytona 500, which had 49 lead changes. See my Aaron’s 499 Race Info page for the top 10, lap leaders, cautions, race run down and notes.
    Race Re-air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, Apr 9th, 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, Apr 10th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Results Links at: Jayski’s 2003 Race Results – Talladega/Aaron’s 499 ResultsJayski 2003 Winston Cup Race Results pageThatsRacin.comNASCAR.com Motorsports OneJayski – Driver/Owners Points after Talladega.(4-6-2003)
  • No Penalty on the #20 team UPDATE: In a surprise announcement, John Darby, NASCAR Competition Director, said on Saturday morning that no penalties will be assessed to Joe Gibb’s Racing or crew chief Greg Zipadelli for infractions on the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet, confiscated at Texas last weekend. Also, no penalties will be given on the two cars of David Green and Larry Foyt, disqualified after Winston Cup qualifying on Friday. Darby said missing the race was penalty enough.(Insider Racing News)
    AND NASCAR will issue no points penalties or suspensions to defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart’s team after impounding the team’s primary car before qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway a week ago. “Our conclusion is that any further penalty to (crew chief) Greg Zipadelli or the team itself will not happen,” Winston Cup series director John Darby said Saturday morning. Darby said that while the violation on Stewart’s car was severe, the violation was with the car’s body and that, in most cases, NASCAR allows teams to fix problems with cars’ bodies. The difference in this case, Darby said, was that the violation was such that it could not be fixed at the track by adding or sanding away body material to conform. He said NASCAR elected to impound the car to take it out of competition for the weekend at Texas, then took it back to its research and development center in Concord, NC, to inspect the car further and learn more about what caused the violation. Darby said the impounded #20 Chevrolet never made it onto the track for competition. While points have been deducted from at least two teams for infractions that never made it on the track, Darby said those penalties were assessed for equipment designed to thwart measuring devices used to enforce special rules for restrictor-plate races or to circumvent rules in place at those tracks to even competition. When asked if he thought the violation on the #20 Chevrolet at Texas was motivated by a desire to confound the rules, Darby said his opinion on the matter would be subjective. “Is it a rock solid, black and white, infraction that was done for purely a competitive gain?” Darby said. “I can’t say that. I also can’t say it was an accident. So we step aside from that and just say that it is what it is.”(ThatsRacin.com). NO mention if the team will get the car back.(4-5-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR’s Jim Hunter was interviewed by FSN’s NASCAR This Morning’s Winston Kelley and said that NASCAR still reserves the right to penalize Joe Gibbs Racing, but it is unlikely they will be. NASCAR still has not decided if the team will get the car back and that would be quite a large penalty if they do not get it back.(Fox Sports Net NASCAR This Morning)
    BUT NASCAR yesterday announced that it will not return the #20 Chevrolet of Tony Stewart, impounded before last week’s race at Texas. A NASCAR spokesman said further tests will be conducted on the car, but no ”additional” penalty will be assessed for Joe Gibbs Racing. The penalty, the spokesman said, will be the loss of the entire race car, valued in excess of $100,000.(Tennessean)(4-6-2003)
  • M&M’s Announcment UPDATE: M&M’s” Racing will make an announcement in the Talladega infield media center at 2:00pm on Friday April 4th.(4-3-2003)
    UPDATE: Hundreds of thousands of families live each day with Autism, including some in the NASCAR Winston Cup garage area. Elliott Sadler, driver of the #38 M&M’s Ford, knows full well the affects Autism has on a family. Sadler’s niece and brother Hermie’s daughter, Halie Dru, was diagnosed with the disability in 2001. Halie has inspired her Uncle Elliott to support Autism research, and this year he’s come up with a creative and fun way to raise some much needed funds.
    M&M’s Hoops For Hope with Elliott Sadler is a charitable basketball game set for May 15, 2003 at Halton Arena on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The game will pair NASCAR drivers and other local celebrities with members of the motorsports media pool in a one-hour shootout. Sadler, the all-time leading scorer for his high school basketball team in hometown Emporia, VA, will certainly practice his jump shot in preparation.
    “M&M’s knew my interests when we signed up together. When the idea of a charity basketball game to benefit the Autism Society of America came up I immediately jumped on board,” explained Elliott Sadler. “Autism is something that hits really close to home for me because my niece, Halie is autistic. I’ve seen her progress from a social and developmental standpoint in the time she’s been attending the Faison School for Autism in Richmond. That encourages me and my family to help her and others with this complex developmental disability. This basketball game will give NASCAR stars a chance to help others and April is National Autism Awareness Month so this is a great time to announce our intentions.”
    All proceeds from M&M’s Hoops for Hope with Elliott Sadler will go the Autism Society of America to fund research and the search for a cure. Artie Kempner, Coordinating Director of NASCAR on FOX, is on the ASA board and will take part in the event.
    “This is a tremendous event for the autism community in that it will not only raise money, but more importantly, raise awareness and better educate people about autism,” said Kempner. “As the parent of a son with autism, I see the challenges that this disorder presents on a daily basis. I am so impressed with “M&Ms”, Elliott and the NASCAR family in their commitment to help fund research efforts to find a cause, and eventually a cure for autism.” “M&M’s” was happy to support their driver’s charitable initiative and has signed on to underwrite the cost of the event.
    ”We are happy to take part in such an exciting event for a great cause,” said Scott Hudler of Masterfoods USA. “We knew of Elliott’s charitable interests and wanted to take help him raise money for his cause. The game is going to be very exciting and I think we should get a tremendous response.”
    Drivers scheduled to appear in addition to Elliott Sadler include Hermie Sadler, Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Tony Raines, Jamie McMurray and Dale Jarrett. Tickets will go on sale April 7th, 2003 at UNCC Halton Arena box office by calling 1-866-MYTICKET to charge over the phone. Doors will open at 5:30pm with an autograph session with Elliott and Hermie Sadler. The session will be limited to the first 250 people in line who receive wrist bands. The basketball game will start at 7:00pm along with a halftime “Shoot for Loot” show. For more details please go to www.mmsmotorsports.com or www.SadlerFanClub.com, or call 704.595.0118.(4-6-2003)
  • To the Back – Little E and Green, plus B Labonte and Skinner: #30-Jeff Green lost an engine during happy hour and will have to go to the rear of the field before the green flag for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega on Sunday. Green was to start 30th.(4-5-2003)
    UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr’s team didn’t like some things they saw in the engine after Happy Hour practice and have changed the engine, so Dale jr will have to fall to the rear of the field before the green flag, he was to start 13th.(Fox Sports Net’s NASCAR This Morning)
    UPDATE 2: add #4-Mike Skinner and #18-Bobby Labonte, who’s teams also changed engines and have to fall to the rear of the field.(Fox Pre-Race coverage)(4-6-2003)


    (4-5-2003)

  • Not Real: NASCAR’s venture into the world of reality-based TV has apparently come to a premature end. Cable network FX has been unable to come to terms with Winston Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray and their teams to ensure their participation in a reality-based show, ThatsRacin.com has learned. All three drivers rejected the initial contract from the show’s production company, with Wallace pulling out of the show entirely last week. FX could not secure the participation of another driver and was unable to clear contractual issues with Harvick and McMurray and their teams, sources said. The show was tentatively scheduled to air for at least seven weeks beginning on FX in June on Friday nights. Taping was originally scheduled to start at Texas, but didn’t because of the contract problems. FX had hoped to use the programming to maintain a NASCAR presence while rivals NBC and TNT broadcast the second half of the Winston Cup season.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-5-2003)
  • Parts Confiscated: NASCAR inspectors confiscated several parts in pre-qualifying inspections Friday and placed them on display in the hauler. Among the items taken: unapproved springs from the cars of Jerry Nadeau and Ken Schrader; a false in-car camera mount from the car of Todd Bodine’s; and improperly mounted oil coolers on driver Sterling Marlin’s car.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-5-2003)
  • Penske Engine in the #19? UPDATE: Hearing that the #19 Dodge that Jeremy Mayfield won the pole with at Talladega had a Penske engine in it, not one from Evernham Motorsports.(4-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Give some credit to Penske-Jasper horsepower for Jeremy Mayfield’s pole-winning run Friday. Dodge car owners Roger Penske and Ray Evernham have teamed up to improve their efforts at Daytona and Talladega. Evernham gets engine help for Mayfield and Bill Elliott, and Penske gets aerodynamic assistance for Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace. The cooperation worked in qualifying, when Penske’s engines helped Mayfield take the pole for Sunday’s race while Elliott qualified fifth. Newman was eighth for Penske, but Wallace was 31st. “We both struggled in qualifying at Daytona so we teamed up to work on our restrictor plate program,” Evernham said. “We don’t have a name for it, just a group of people from both shops who built engines for this race.” Like Penske, Evernham builds his own engines. But as a third-year program, his motors lag behind and have been a weakness in the operation – Elliott blew his engine while leading the race at Texas last weekend. “Our motor program is good for a a three-year program,” Evernham said. “But we need access to better technology and Roger has access to the experience and technology we need.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(4-5-2003)
  • Jarrett and Sadler to the final four: Robert Yates Racing teammates Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler plan to fly to New Orleans following Winston Cup practice Saturday to attend the semifinal games in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. Texas coach Rick Barnes is the drivers’ ticket connection.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-5-2003)
  • Inspection Slow at Talladega: The big news of the day, besides Jeremy Mayfield winning the pole for Sunday’s Talladega 500, was the pre-practice inspection process. The NASCAR men laid-out several teams during the seemingly endless process, but the aggressiveness of the sanctioning body might have backfired. The lengthy process of car inspection resulted in several cars missing most of the morning practice session. At the half-hour mark only 30 cars had posted times, 39 at the hour mark with the full compliment of 46 joining by the end of the session. Things were so tense www.teamfordracing.com saw one crew chief waving his finger in the face of NASCAR inspectors. Many of the cars were run at Daytona International Speedway and weren’t touched between the time they arrived back in the shops following that race and when they were loaded for this event. Therefore plenty of bodywork was required. Some of the cars just needed a dab of Bondo here or there, while others needed some pretty serious reconstruction to get through the NASCAR hoops. One car that needed considerable work was Jeff Burton’s. Work was required to the A pillars as well as the C pillars of the #99 Ford. But the majority of the work needed to legalize the car dealt with the rear decklid.(Ford Racing)(4-5-2003)
  • Final Texas TV Ratings: Today’s Sports Business Daily says that final Nielsen figures for Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 Winston Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway fell 10 percent from last year. This year’s race had a 6.3 rating and 14 share, down from 7.0/10. But all sports events continued to show the impact that the war with Iraq is having. The Daily says CBS’s coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament is down 22 percent from last year and noted that NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s final round of the PGA Players’ Championship was down 23 percent. Overall, the Daily says Fox’s NASCAR coverage is up 3 percent this year, with an average of 6.3/15, compared to a 6.1/15 in 2002.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-5-2003)
  • Visa Offers Cardholders the Ultimate NASCAR Experience: Visa, proud sponsor of NASCAR, announced today the Visa Ultimate NASCAR Experience promotion, which offers cardholders a chance to get an inside look at the non-stop, high-octane action of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing. When cardholders use their Visa card to make a purchase between April 6 and November 30, 2003, they are automatically entered to win a weekend living the Ultimate NASCAR Experience. Each winner (and three of their guests) will receive VIP treatment at one of the most exciting stops along the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, including Sonoma, Chicago, Atlanta, Bristol, Richmond, Dover, Charlotte and Daytona. Comprehensive prize packages include round-trip air travel to a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, plush trackside accommodations aboard the Visa luxury motor coach, and an official team uniform to wear on race day. Additionally, the winners will receive special access at the race, which includes a behind-the-scenes look at life inside the garage and along pit row, an invitation to attend the official pre-race driver’s meeting, and a “hot lap” ride in an official pace car with a NASCAR superstar – Rusty Wallace or Kurt Busch.. Fourteen winners will be selected throughout the promotional period.
    Visa is supporting the Ultimate NASCAR Experience promotion with a multi-million dollar integrated marketing campaign, including a national television commercial starring NASCAR veteran Rusty Wallace, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid, and the hottest young driver in the Winston Cup Series, Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid Ford Taurus. Wallace and Busch are also featured in print advertising, scheduled to run in Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine, as well as online and radio ads. The more cardholders use their Visa cards, the more times they are entered to win. Winners will be randomly selected, and no purchase or obligation is necessary to enter or win. For additional information, including consumer sweepstakes official rules, visit www.visa.com/NASCAR.(Visa USA/Golin/Harris International PR)(4-5-2003)


    (4-4-2003)

  • Little E leads the Vote: More than 230,000 votes have been cast in the 2003 National Motorsports Press Association’s Most Popular Driver award and Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds an early lead. Earnhardt Jr., who was edged out by Bill Elliott [who removed his name from this years voting] in last year’s voting, holds an advantage over second-place Jeff Gordon and third-place Tony Stewart, the 2002 Winston Cup champion. Online voting began for the award in mid-February at www.mostpopulardriver.com and concludes on Nov. 17. Additional voting guidelines are available on the voting Web site. The rest of the top 10 in voting: Steve Park, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Ricky Rudd and Dale Jarrett. The award is administered by the NMPA and sponsored by Grands! Biscuits. It’s the only fan-based award in major league motorsports. The award is given to the leading vote getter during the Winston Cup series award festivities in New York in December.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-4-2003)
  • NASCAR examining Tony Stewart’s car UPDATE Gibbs not getting the car back?: Impounding the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet of Tony Stewart last weekend at TMS was a first for NASCAR, but officials have good reasons for wanting to take a closer look at the car. The slant of the rear window was three-quarters of an inch off allowable measurements, but the car fit all the templates. That put quite a scare into NASCAR inspectors, who couldn’t believe the window could be that far out of line and still fit the new templates. It took an X-measurement with a tape measure across the window (a new measurement this season) to prove the violation. NASCAR officials want to determine if another template is needed. They also want to make sure teams haven’t found other ways to get around the 32 template measurements. Raymond Fox, crew chief for the No. 38 M&Ms Ford of Elliott Sadler, said NASCAR’s action got everyone’s attention. “It opens up your eyes,” Fox said. “You go back to the shop and say, ‘OK, this is what happened last week. Let’s not let it happen to us.’ “(Dallas Morning News – may need to register to view), for past news see my #20 Team News and Links page, NO NEWS on any actions by NASCAR….yet.(4-3-2003)
    UPDATE: Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, said on Friday that the Joe Gibb’s #20 car, confiscated at Texas last week, is being measured at the R&D shop by lasers and no determination has been made what will be done with the car or what penalties might be imposed. “I can say that the car probably won’t be returned to the team, at least not in it’s current configuration,” said Hunter, “We’ll more than likely take it to the wind tunnel to see if it has an aerodynamic advantage.”(Insider Racing News) and on an interview with Claire B. Lang of (XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required), Hunter said not to expect any penalties/decisions to be handed down before the race at Talladega, especially if it goes to the wind tunnel. It could be weeks before anything is announced.
    AND “There really is no timeline on the process on the 20 car.” That from NASCAR’s Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter who said here at Talladega Tony Stewart’s Home Depot Chevrolet which was confiscated at Texas is undergoing computer testing to simulate the exact measurements of the car at NASCAR’s Research and Developement Center in Mooresville, North Carolina…and it may be taken to a wind tunnel for further scrutiny. As for any penalties against the team Hunter says “there are all sorts of options”, however he doesn’t know if a decision will be made within several weeks or a month. NASCAR also must determine when and if the car will be returned to the team. Hunter said one possiblity is that it could be “sectioned” and the legal pieces given back to Joe Gibbs Racing. However, he says there is no rush because the car doesn’t have to be anywhere.(PRN’s Garage Pass – will be aired later today)(4-4-2003)
  • Some DW news UPDATE: The Martinsville race on April 12 will be the first of two Craftsman Truck Series appearances by Fox TV analyst Darrell Waltrip as a driver. Broadcast partner Larry McReynolds will be Waltrip’s spotter, and Jeff Hammond, who turned the wrenches during part of Waltrip’s Cup career, will be the crew chief. … Fox’s frequent assertion that Hammond was Waltrip’s crew chief for three championships is incorrect, by the way. In 1981, Tim Brewer was Waltrip’s crew chief. In 1982, the duties were shared among Brewer, Hammond and Mike Hill. Hammond was the crew chief for Waltrip’s third title in 1985. You can look it up, as they say.(Gaston Gazette)
    UPDATE: Tim Brewer was no longer with the team in 1982 and Jeff Hammond was the crew chief. Also on the truck, Hammond is NOT the Crew Chief, Bobby Kennedy is the Crew Chief, Hammond is the “Interperator”.(4-4-2003)
  • 2003 International Motorsports Hall of Fame class inducted: The International Motorsports Hall of Fame inducted its 2003 class Thursday night a class with a background as varied as racing itself. Mel Kenyon races and builds United States Auto Club midgets. Ray Fox built stock cars and served as a NASCAR inspector. Briggs Cunningham built and drove sports cars that competed with the best in the world. A.J. Watson built cars that won the Indianapolis 500, and Emerson Fittipaldi raced to the top of the Formula One and Indy car worlds. Kenyon told his audience he was especially glad he was being inducted by Winston Cup driver Ryan Newman, who won a United States Auto Club midget series rookie championship while driving for Kenyon in 1995. Fox, who was introduced by Hueytown’s Bobby Allison, has rubbed shoulders with many fabled NASCAR names such as Fireball Roberts and Buddy Baker. Asked which driver was the best to work with over the years, he replied: “David Pearson and Junior Johnson were good. Junior could tell what was wrong with a car.” Briggs Cunningham III represented his father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Watson and Fittipaldi were not present at Thursday’s induction ceremony. Fittipaldi, in Brazil for the Brazilian Grand Prix, was represented by his daughter, Tatiana. Christian Fittipaldi, Emerson’s nephew, inducted his uncle.(Alabama Live)(4-4-2003)
  • 16 Gallon Fuel Cells? Word at Texas was that NASCAR is considering moving towards the 16-gallon fuel cells for all events, but the tracks a mile in length [Dover, Lodudon, Rockingham?]. The idea is to get the cars on pit road more often, and to give the crew people who go over the wall more chances to shine each weekend. That move would seem to play into the hands of Matt Kenseth’s #17 crew due to their frequent fast-as-lightning work on the DeWalt Ford when it comes to pit road [the crew is not a parcipating team in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship].(Ford Racing)(4-4-2003)
  • Dale Jr to run Concert car at Talladega in Busch race: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will drive a #8 Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert Chevrolet car in the Busch Series Aaron’s 312 at the Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 5. The one-time appearance of this specially designed car will highlight the inaugural Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert, sponsored by longtime partner Kraft and its Nabisco Biscuit Division, to be held June 28th at Daytona International Speedway. In addition to its sponsorship of the concert, Kraft and its Nabisco brands made a $500,000 donation to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Dale Jr. and Teresa Earnhardt unveiled the car at the NASCAR media day in February during which the concert’s first performing artists were announced. They included Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney and Sheryl Crow. Since then, the Goo Goo Dolls and Hootie and the Blowfish have joined the all-star lineup. Tickets are on sale through www.daleearnhardtinc.com and www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. Proceeds from concert ticket sales will benefit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, established by Teresa Earnhardt to support the causes Dale championed during his lifetime, including programs for children, education and wildlife preservation.(DEI PR / DIS PR) see an image of the real car and a diecast on my Busch Series Paint Scheme Gallery.(4-4-2003)
  • Park Rumors Denied: Rumors about Steve Park’s job security in DEI’s #1 Pennzoil Chevy were circulating even before the Cup race at Texas. But Ty Norris, vice president of motorsports at DEI isn’t ready for talk of change, saying the team needs to do better and that DEI is going to keep trying to do better. Norris said Park has been real dedicated, coming by the shop and talking to the crew. The communication is open and positive. Norris had no comment when it was mentioned that Shane Hmiel’s [#48 in the Busch Series] name has been tossed around as a possible replacement for Park.(paraphrased from the Winston Cup Scene – subscription required to read online)(4-4-2003)
  • Pepsi and a Billion: Michael Davies’ Diplomatic Productions and The WB are near a deal for a two-hour live special in which the grand prize is $1 billion, according to a report in today’s Daily Variety. Pepsi will be partnered in the program, for which contestants are selected through the purchase of a few specially marked Pepsi products. Plans call for Pepsi to promote the program throughout the summer and up to the special’s September airdate. Details are still being worked out for the contest, in which contestants will face off in a game of nerve and “chicken,” the report said. Mr. Davies was responsible for bringing ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” to the United States.(TV Week), looks like one of the promotions will be at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona, see the car Jeff Gordon will drive there on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(4-4-2003)

    (4-3-2003)

  • All 61: Seven drivers have competed in all 61 restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega: Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Rusty Wallace and Michael Waltrip.(4-3-2003)
  • Chartwell Investments invests in RCR: Chartwell Investments II LLC announced today that it has made an equity investment in RCR Enterprises, LLC, the elite NASCAR racing team founded and majority-owned by Richard Childress. “We are pleased to partner with Chartwell Investments,” said Richard Childress, President and CEO of RCR. “I’ve had investors in RCR since the late 1990’s and I am confident that Chartwell’s people and capital will help us to continue to build one of NASCAR’s top organizations. I’ve made a long-term commitment to Chartwell and there will be no changes in how RCR is run.”
    “NASCAR is the fastest-growing major sport with over 75 million fans nationwide and we are enthusiastic about partnering with Richard Childress, a legendary figure in the NASCAR racing world,” said Todd R. Berman, President and Founder of Chartwell Investments. “We hope our participation will give Richard even more time to focus on winning races and supporting the company’s sponsors.”(PRN Newswire)(4-3-2003)
  • Hank Hill and DW in a commercial: Autolite and Fox Licensing & Merchandising are teaming up to bring the world’s most famous propane salesman – Hank – and his zany companions from the hit animated series King of the Hill (Sundays, 8:30-9:00pm/et on FOX – and a Jayski Fave) to the airwaves in a unique advertising campaign promoting Autolite Double Platinum Spark Plugs. Two brand new television ads will creatively focus on the hit Fox television show, one of which will feature a special guest appearance by retired NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip. The ads are part of an all-new multimillion-dollar campaign from the Honeywell Consumer Products Group’s Autolite unit. Both 30-second spots – created by ad agency McCann-Erickson Detroit – will utilize the King of the Hill characters Cotton, Bobby, Hank, Luanne and the rest of the gang to showcase Autolite as the Official Spark Plug of NASCAR among its core do-it-yourself audience. Featuring Autolite Double Platinum Spark Plugs and the tagline, “Autolite: It’s Time to Change Your Plugs,” the ads will appear during two prime-time selling windows throughout the year on select pre- and post- NASCAR programs on Fox as well as on additional lifestyle/outdoor cable networks, including Speed Channel, Fox Sports Net, FX, Sci-Fi, Comedy Central, CMT, TNN and OLN.
    The spots are expected to kick off on April 6 on Fox to coincide with the NASCAR race, The Aaron’s 499 from Talladega Superspeedway. Retired champion driver Darrell Waltrip appears in a spot tagged “NASCAR,” where Cotton, Bobby and Hank are walking in the pit area before a big race, only to discover that the mechanic working on a car they pass by is Waltrip. A three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Waltrip is a fan favorite, winning the Most Popular Driver Award in 1989 and 1990. He has garnered 84 Winston Cup wins; including the 1989 Daytona 500. “This has been a great experience. It’s very exciting seeing my alter ego as a cartoon character in Autolite’s new campaign,” said Waltrip. “I am a firm believer in the brand’s products because they are designed for people like me, who appreciate their vehicles and are interested in higher performance.” The second spot, tagged “Texan,” borrows nicely from reality television, where Bobby wanders around with a video camera in an attempt to make his own show called ‘Who Wants to Marry a Texan.’ (PR)(4-3-2003)
  • Geoffrey Bodine finds a Gig…in TV: Geoffrey Bodine has accepted the “color analyst” position on SPEED Channel for their coverage of the Winston West race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on April 12th. The race will be shown tape delayed on SPEED April 19th. This assignment means that Bodine will not be driving the Thompson Motorsports #36 Ford in the Craftsman Truck race at Martinsville Spedway on April 12th. He is still working out a deal with Al Thompson to drive at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Charlotte on May 16th.(Geoffrey Bodine Fan Club)
    AND This isn’t new territory for Bodine, who has appeared as a television analyst before, most recently for the International Race of Champions events in 2001. “It’s something he’s willing to pursue,” Lisa Cox, his publicist, said Wednesday. “He’s trying to do more television.” Cox said there’s a possibility Speed will use him on more Winston West race telecasts. Bodine, who turns 54 on April 18, isn’t willing to hang up his driving gloves just yet. Cox said he’s looking for other opportunities to get back behind the wheel of a race car. Bodine was originally scheduled to drive in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race for Thompson Motorsports at Martinsville, Va., on April 12. He agreed to give up the seat to driver James Stevenson, who brought some money to the unsponsored team. Meanwhile, Bodine has a busy schedule of non-racing events coming up. He’ll participate in the Dodge Celebrity Invitational golf tournament, presented by former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon. The pro-am event at the Miromar Lakes Beach and Golf Club in Estero, Fla., begins today. On May 9 and 10, Bodine hosts his annual fishing tournament in Pompano Beach, Fla., to benefit the U.S. bobsled team. Bodine helped initiate the research and development of the Bo-Dyn Bobsleds the team uses. On May 14, he holds his 12th annual Geoffrey Bodine Celebrity Golf Tournament, benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation, at Birkdale Golf Club in Huntersville, N.C.(Star Gazette – short term link)(4-3-2003)
  • Board OKs public funding for Ganassi expansion: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which fields three NASCAR Winston Cup [#’s 40, 41, 42] teams out of Mooresville, N.C., received an economic incentive grant Tuesday to expand in town at an abandoned factory. Iredell County commissioners awarded the group $47,000 to $122,200 over three years for a $2.5 million investment in the county. The grant would help the race group buy and retrofit the former Matshushita Compressor Corp. of America building. The move would allow Chip Ganassi Racing to add another race team and create 65 to 75 jobs.(Charlotte Observer)(4-3-2003)
  • Wallace Paying Tribute To Fallen American Hero: When Rusty Wallace sports his United Association hat during Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 pre-race activities at Talladega Superspeedway, he will be paying a special personal tribute to a fallen hero. He will be wearing the hat to honor Marine Reserve Sgt. Bradley Korthaus, who died on March 24 while participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Korthaus, 28, of Davenport, Iowa, was a UA member out of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 25 in Rock Island, Ill. “Brad lost his life in the line of duty and he is an American hero,” said Wallace. “His story is certainly an inspiration. He pursued his lifetime dream of becoming a U.S. Marine and joined the military right out of school.”(Tom Roberts PR)(4-3-2003)
  • Kulwicki Honored: Ten years after fate took away our reigning Winston Cup champion, Alan Kulwicki, the fans still remember with a passion that is addictive! A full house at the Greenfield Wisconsin Hooter’s Restaurant sure reminds us that as the time goes by the pain of loss might weaken, but thankfully the memories of his greatness grow! Even the folks that just stumbled across the festivities during their regular Hooter’s run got in the spirit! The evening started with one of Dennis Mielcarek’s AK videos, the interview Benny Parson did with Alan after his Championship. The second of Dennis Mielcarek’s memorable videotapes was a tribute to AK done by the local media in Milwaukee. Such great scenes of Alan doing things “His Way.” When Garth Brooks “The Dance” played along with the scenes of AK and his family it was a moving moment. A caravan of cars and trucks left for the cemetery for the candle light vigil. Many of the vehicles had “AK 7” all over them.(Full story at Frontstretch)(4-3-2003)
  • #1 Team has a Nickname: Steve Park, driver of the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet, is without a posse no longer. NASCAR fans can now add “One Mo’ Posse” to cheer for at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Said Park, “Dale Jr. has his Dirty Mo Posse and Michael [Waltrip] has the Sherill’s Ford Posse. Now there is “One Mo'” at DEI.”(Steve Park site)(4-3-2003)
  • Capps Tests IROC – ‘Like Day’s of Thunger’: NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps made a little oval-racing history this week, testing an IROC Firebird at Talladega Superspeedway, where the second round of the 2003 International Race of Champions Series will be run on Saturday. Capps, who has raced on ovals in sprint cars, worked with IROC test driver and driving school teacher Andy Hillenburg on Tuesday and quickly got up to speed. “I’m in the car and the radios are hooked up together and Hillenburg and I are having a conversation at 180 mph about how he wants me to pull up closer to him,” Capps said. “I said, ‘Andy, are you sure about this?’ I’d only been out there about 10 laps. We were going wide-open and he had me following him all over the place. We ran down around the apron for a few laps and then he said we were going to explore other parts of the race track and, before you know it, he had me running 180, about a foot away from the wall. If that doesn’t get your heart pumped, I don’t know what will.” Capps went out for one more session, but this time in a four-car draft with IRL driver Felipe Giaffone, World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski, and IROC test driver Dick Trickle. Capps was last in line, drafting with Trickle, when suddenly Trickle shot up to the wall between turns one and two and passed Giaffone and Lasoski. “I started to go with him and then remembered, ‘I’m not that good yet.’ It was exactly like in ‘Days of Thunder,’ ” Capps said. “He did an excellent job,” Trickle said. “We had him up front, behind us, three-wide and he had great car control the entire time. Very impressive.” Capps, who would love to get a chance to really race in the all-star series, said, “The drag racing community has been going wild since this got out about me testing an IROC car. I’ve gotten more interview requests about this than I do when I win a race.” Currently, IROC includes driving stars from NASCAR, the IRL and the World of Outlaws.(ThatsRacin.com/AP/IROC PR)(4-3-2003)
  • Teen Safety 500 to Birmingham: Georgia-Pacific Corp. brings its Teen Safety 500 program to two Birmingham-area high schools on Thursday, April 3.. Mountain Brook High School and Vestavia Hills High School have been selected to participate in this innovative program that extends Georgia-Pacific’s involvement with NASCAR to spread the message of safe driving among teen-agers. NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will be on hand to present the Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program to students. The program will include Petty, local dignitaries and Georgia-Pacific representatives speaking to students about the importance of safety behind the wheel. After the assembly, students will have the opportunity to view an actual NASCAR car outside the school and receive autographs from Petty. The Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program is in its third year. To date, students have logged more than 1 million safe miles through the program. Birmingham is the first of six stops the Teen Safety 500 will make during the 2003 NASCAR season. Student drivers at the two schools will sign a safe-driving pledge to remain violation-free with no crashes during a three-week period. Once registered at Georgia-Pacific’s Web site, students will have the opportunity to win prizes for themselves and their school. Both schools will receive a cash contribution from Georgia-Pacific for their participation. The school with the highest ratio of students completing three weeks of safe driving will win an additional contribution. Georgia-Pacific will provide participating students with a variety of prizes for those who log safe miles, including product coupons from Chick-fil-A, racing merchandise and entertainment and dining packages. One student will be chosen from the winning school for the grand prize – a $200 gift card from Best Buy. Petty will be joined by John O’Donnell, president, North American Commercial Business, Georgia-Pacific; Sgt. William Rogers, Birmingham district public information/safety education officer; Dicky Barlow, principal, Mountain Brook High School; and Ann Jones, principal, Vestavia Hills High School. Visit Georgia-Pacific’s racing Web site at www.gp.com/racing for more information about the Teen Safety 500 program.(Williams Company PR)(4-3-2003)
  • Some Politics: Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today sent the following letter to William C. France, CEO of NASCAR: Because American troops are currently engaged in combat in Iraq, we ask that NASCAR cease and desist from further support for Jesse Jackson and/or his nonprofit organizations. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, you have stated that NASCAR fans are “the kind of people who go to war and win wars for America.” Branches of the Armed Services and the National Guard maintain important NASCAR sponsorships. Race teams have demonstrated their support for the troops in a variety of ways. NASCAR’s support for our troops is undercut by your support for Jackson, which includes substantial monetary contributions, at a time when Jackson is leading anti-war protests, even in foreign countries. Disturbingly, Jackson has employed extreme and provocative anti-American rhetoric. NASCAR was a “Platinum” sponsor of the 2002 Rainbow/PUSH and Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference, reportedly paying $100,000 for the distinction. NASCAR’s relationship with Jackson is detailed in a new report I authored and published by the Capital Research Center. See Organizational Trends, April 2003. (http://www.capitalresearch.org/news/news.asp?ID=111) Jackson spoke at the January 18, Washington, DC anti-war rally organized by A.N.S.W.E.R., an alleged Marxist front group. At a March protest in London, Jackson reportedly stated, “Today is not about Saddam Hussein. Today is about Bush and Blair and the massacre they plan for Iraq.” On March 18, Jackson told a rally that the United States would be guilty of “war crimes” if it attacked Iraq. After the military operation began, Jackson on March 27 proposed a “truce.” Toyota has ended support for Jackson’s groups in apparent response to my request that it do so, after a wave of negative media coverage last year. A DaimlerChysler executive touched off a firestorm of criticism in January for remarks critical of Jackson’s critics that he made at Jesse Jackson’s Wall Street Conference. DaimlerChysler has formally apologized to me. NLPC is a nonpartisan foundation that supports ethics and accountability in public life. In 2001, the group filed a still-pending Complaint with the Internal Revenue Service alleging that Jesse Jackson’s largest nonprofit group violated of its tax status. (Catchefence via a National Legal and Policy Center PR)(4-3-2003)

    (4-2-2003)

  • Talladega Rules: The aerodynamic rules package that was used for the Daytona 500 remains in place for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, the season’s second restrictor-plate race. Those rules (for 2003 model cars): rear spoilers must by 6¼ inches tall and 57 inches wide; rear spoiler angles must be minimum of 55 degrees and maximum of 65 degrees; restrictor plate openings must be 7/8 inch. There is one slight modification: rear spoilers must have a minimum thickness of 3/16 inch. Also, the approximate 13.5-gallon fuel cell will again be used.(NASCAR PR)(4-2-2003)
  • Darrell Waltrip Shares Martinsville Speedway Experience and Wednesday Testing: FOX broadcaster Darrell Waltrip [DW]was back in the infield and behind the wheel at Martinsville Speedway Tuesday. Waltrip, a 11-time Martinsville Speedway winner, made the trip to prep for the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville, and it wasn’t his on-camera work he was honing. For the second straight year Waltrip will be attempting to make the Advance Auto Parts 250, which will be held the day before the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. Last year Waltrip qualified 17th for the event and wound up 34th after losing an engine. Waltrip wasn’t in a Craftsman Truck Series truck Wednesday; there’s no testing in that series. Through an odd arrangement, Waltrip was in a Busch Grand National car owned by Winston Cup team owner Andy Petree. Petree also dabbles in the truck series as a driver. He, too was looking for Martinsville seat time, so he brought a Busch car to Martinsville and on Wednesday shared driving duties with Waltrip. Waltrip’s first run was quickly short-circuited Wednesday. Two laps into it, the engine exploded and he was sidelined for a couple hours while a new power plant was installed. Kyle Petty asked Waltrip to take a laps in his Winston Cup car to get a little extra input. By 1:00pm he was back in Petree’s car, logging valuable laps in preparation for the Advance Auto Parts 250. “This is a lot of fun, but it’s also great for my other job. Just walking back into the garage like this helps me know what they are doing, if they are doing the same things they were doing when I was racing. It helps me know if things have changed.” And getting behind the wheel is even more valuable to Waltrip and his job with FOX. “How can I talk about the track if I’ve not been on it. How can I talk about what’s been done to the track if I’ve not been on it,” said Waltrip. But as important as these forays into the truck series may be to Waltrip’s current fulltime job, he likes to be thought of as a driver first. “The guys told me today it was like a flashback, seeing me in the Tide uniform,” said Waltrip, who will be sponsored by Tide, his longtime Winston Cup sponsor, in the Advance Auto Parts 250. “Days like to day give me an opportunity to come back and I want to come back in here as a driver first as long as I can.”
    There were also eight Winston Cup teams on hand Wednesday closing out the two-day test session. Rookie #41-Casey Mears posted the best time of the day, 92.597mph.
    #0-Jack Sprague 92.461
    #32-Ricky Craven 92.101
    #25-Joe Nemechek 91.967
    #74-Tony Raines 91.567
    #45-David Hyder 91.258
    #16-Greg Biffle 91.346
    #1-Steve Park 89.659. All times were provided by teams.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(4-2-2003)
  • Rusty Testing by his ‘Lonesome’? UPDATE: hearing #2-Rusty Wallace tested at Lonesome Pine Speedway in VA on Tuesday.
    UPDATE: Rusty Wallace and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge team took to Lonesome Pine Raceway Tuesday in preparation for the upcoming Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Wallace used the 3/8 mile NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series track as a platform to test and tune the #2 Dodge he will pilot in the April 13th Winston Cup race. The crew tested numerous shocks and different setups to find a winning combination to use at Martinsville. Wallace, who has not won the spring race at Martinsville since 1996, looks to combine yesterdays test session with past notes and tests to find victory lane once again. Overall, the team says the test was very beneficial.(Lonesome Pine Raceway PR) Lonesome Pine Raceway, in Coeburn, VA, kicks off its weekly racing season with the Reno’s Roadhouse 260 on Saturday, April 19th. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Racing will begin at 7 p.m. The evening schedule includes the Morgan-McClure Late Model Stock Cars, Honda of Prestonsburg Limiteds, Grand Stock, Vic’s Decorating Modified 4’s, Community Trust Bank Pure Stock 4’s and Legends. The evening will conclude with a fireworks show.(4-2-2003)
  • DW testing too UPDATE: Three-time Winston Cup champ Darrell Waltrip will be testing at Martinsville Wednesday in an Andy Petree Winston Cup car to prepare for his run in the Truck Series at Martinsville.
    UPDATE: Waltrip tested in a Petree Busch Series car and the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge at Martinsville today.(FSN’s Totally NASCAR Show see a picture at Allwaltrip.com)(4-2-2003)
  • Robby Gordon’s Pit Crew Finishes First in Texas: The crew of Robby Gordon’s #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy was the Round 7 winner of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade during Sunday’s (March 30) NASCAR Winston Cup race – Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Gordon’s team, owned by Richard Childress Racing, was declared the winner and the recipient of the $20,000 first prize money for spending the least amount of time (202 seconds) on pit road. Coming in second was another Richard Childress Racing entry – the #30 crew of Jeff Green’s AOL Chevy. Green’s car had a total time of 234 seconds on pit road. The win lifted Gordon’s team into third place in the season point standings for the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. During each 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points event, the participating team whose car spends the least amount of aggregate time off the race track will be named the weekly winner provided the team’s driver takes the green flag at the beginning of the event and the checkered flag at the conclusion of the event. A timing line at the entrance and exit of pit road triggers the car’s transponder and records the total time spent off the race track. The team that records the most standing points during the season will receive a $200,000 bonus at the end of the year. The point distribution per race is: 43 points for first place, descending in increments of one. In order to obtain points at each race, a team must take the opening green flag and the closing checkered flag. The McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade is the largest monetary contingency program in NASCAR history and the first to reward pit crews for performance at each race.
    Top 10 Pit Crews For Participating Teams At Texas:
    1. Robby Gordon, 202 seconds
    2. Jeff Green, 234
    3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.,. 238
    4. John Andretti, 251
    5. Jamie McMurray, 262
    6. Jerry Nadeau, 270
    7. Michael Waltrip, 309
    8. Todd Bodine, 342
    9. Jack Sprague, 372
    10. Kurt Busch, 379
    (DMF Communications PR)(4-2-2003)
  • Sadler to Pull Double Duty: The #02 GoTeamVa.com Winston Cup car normally driven by Hermie Sadler will be practiced and qualified at Martinsville by Dennis Setzer while Sadler competes in the Busch Series race in Nashville, TN on April 12 the team announced today. Sadler, who qualified in the top 10 for last fall’s Martinsville Winston Cup race, knows his car is in good hands. “Dennis Setzer is one of the best race car drivers around. I am honored that he can step in and help us out. His record speaks for itself.” GoTeamVa.com is the Motorsports Club website for Go Team Virginia, a program that includes The University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. The site hosts a fantasy racing league for its members and also gives them chances to win pit passes, race tickets and other special promotions. For more information, visit www.goteamva.com.(The Patterson Group)(4-2-2002)
  • Car Chief tests for Petty: David Hyder has been Kyle Petty’s car chief for a couple of years. Tuesday morning, though, Hyder moved from outside the car to inside the car. Petty’s team was set to test at Martinsville Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday, but the driver of the Georgia Pacific Dodge is still nursing sore ribs from a hard crash at Bristol International Raceway two weeks ago. When Petty went looking for a sub for testing, he never left his shop. He just asked Hyder to change uniforms for a couple of days to help the team to prepare for the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 13. “Kyle asked me Saturday night at Texas if I would do this for him. It makes me feel really good they had the confidence in me and would ask me to do this,” said Hyder. It’s not like Petty threw a raw rookie into his Dodge, though. Although Hyder isn’t a household name to race fans from coast-to-coast, Late Model Stock fans throughout Virginia and the Carolinas are familiar with him. The 35-year-old Hyder won 103 Late Model races in that area during the early and mid 1990s. And Martinsville Speedway was the site of his most important Late Model Stock win, the 1997 Miller 300. He set a track Late Model qualifying record for that race, a record that still stands, and won the race. He took home a record payout of $27,500 that day, another Martinsville Late Model mark that still stands. Hyder said his Martinsville experience certainly came into play when Petty was looking for a testing substitute. “I’ve run a lot of laps here and I think Kyle knew that,” said Hyder, who stepped out of fulltime Late Model racing three years ago to pursue a more stable career. “I think he knew I’d run enough laps here that I could give them some good data. I know this isn’t a simple race track by no means.” Hyder was solid in testing all day Tuesday as the team worked on short runs. He said his best time was 20.70 seconds (91.478mph) around the .526-mile oval. Hyder and the Petty team weren’t looking for pole-winning times Tuesday, though. They had a new car at the track, and Hyder spent most of the day shaking it down. “Tomorrow we’ll build on what we learned today and we learned a lot of things today,” said Hyder. “We only ran a hundred or so laps today and they were all short runs. We just wanted to get laps on the car. It’s a brand new car. “We’ve still got a ways to go. We made some gains late today. I think we’ll be right there with everyone else. We’ll talk about everything we learned tonight and we’ll come back and apply it all tomorrow.” Hyder will be back as car chief this week when Petty returns behind the wheel at Talledega, but he admits it would be nice to return to driving full time one of these days. “I’ve always told Kyle I’d like to drive again. But Kyle has been great to me and it would take a really, really good deal to go back to driving,” said Hyder. “I like to drive cars, but I’m perfectly satisfied with what I’m doing with this team.” Hyder said right now, his goal is simple. “Nothing would suit me better than for us to take what we learn up here this week and come back and help KP run better here next week. That’s our goal and that’s what I want us to do,” said Hyder. Hyder said he felt comfortable with his return to driving on Tuesday, but there was one point in the day when he did get a bit edgy. “I came out of the hauler after lunch and both of them … Kyle and Richard (Petty) were standing there. That showed me they had confidence in me, both of them coming up here. “But anytime you walk out of the truck and see the King standing there …I mean he’s won 200 Winston Cup races. I didn’t know whether to get in the car or go back up in the truck. Testing will resume at Martinsville at 9 a.m. on Wednesday with the same group of teams. Testing is open to the public at no charge.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(4-2-2003)
  • Petty to skip Talladega? denied: The black box data recorder in Kyle Petty’s car registered an incredible 80-Gs in his Bristol crash last week. No wonder he has two broken ribs. Petty’s car hit on the driver’s side, and it was very close to being a flush hit – the most dangerous type. Petty may also sit out this week’s Talladega race. Christian Fittipaldi subbed for Petty on Sunday but crashed midway through the race. “The last 10 or 15 laps I was out there I think I was running out of brakes,” Fittipaldi said. “When I came out of turn two, Dale Jarrett was right next to me, and I guess I forgot to pump the brake pedal. When I went into three, it was way, way low, like almost on the floor of the car. But considering I hopped in at the last minute, I was having a pretty good time out there.”(Winston Salem Journal)
    BUT was sent this Tuesday: Please note Kyle Petty should be listed as the driver of the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge for the NASCAR Winston Cup event this weekend at Talladega, Ala., and is planning on.participating in practice, as well as qualifying,.and racing the car.(Williams Company PR)(4-2-2003)
  • Team Ganassi Tested: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Winston Cup drivers #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #41-Casey Mears joined IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tomas Scheckter in getting baseline assessment tests at the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The drivers had comprehensive physical fitness testing, sports performance training and other specialty consultation by UPMC’s sports medicine and sports performance team. The exams included assessment of vision and hearing, pulmonary function, cardiac stress, oxygen consumption and physiologic response to exercise. They also got blood screening and tests for balance and rotator-cuff strength. They were tested for strength, flexibility and agility.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-2-2003)
  • Aikman/Staubach sponsors? UPDATE 2: the two rumors I am hearing for the Hall of Fame Racing team with Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach is Pizza Hut [always seems to be a rumored sponsor] and/or Radio Shack will be the primary sponsor of the team, supposedly Pizza Hut has signed and that Acme Brick signed as an associate sponsor.(3-11-2003)
    UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing, the new Winston Cup team being started by Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, is talking with several Dallas-Fort Worth companies about sponsoring the team. One of those companies is Fort Worth-based RadioShack. Staubach is directly involved in the negotiations with several corporations in an attempt to cut through the red tape and go directly to the CEOs and the board of directors. “With the amount of money involved and the high-profile nature of this, we felt it was better for Roger to use his contacts and speak with the top executives,” said Hall of Fame Racing spokesman Starke Taylor. “We have a handful of companies that are genuinely interested.” Taylor and Staubach have some impressive figures to show corporate executives what their investment in Winston Cup is worth.(Dallas Morning News – need to register to read)(3-13-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Roger Staubach says he is again [again??] trying to put together a NASCAR team, with Troy Aikman. The next moves depend on attracting sponsorship. One of the companies the two are talking with is Radio Shack, the electronics firm headquartered in Fort Worth [TX].(Winston Salem Journal)(4-2-2003)
  • They’ll be back UPDATE 3: hearing that #42-Jamie McMurray in Cup and #99-Michael Waltrip in the Busch Series will run Terminator 3 movies schemes, not sure when.(2-28-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing this will be for Daytona in July.(3-1-2003)
    IMAGES got images of both cars, see my 2003 Busch and 2003 Cup pages for the images.(3-27-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Call it the summer of blockbuster action. For a third time, movie fans can enjoy another round of Terminator mayhem when Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his robotic role for T3: Rise of the Machines, debuting nationwide on July 2, 2003. However, Terminator robots will not be the only mean machines battling this summer. Action Performance, in conjunction with Warner Bros. and C-2 Pictures, will bring T3: Rise of the Machines to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2003. T3: Rise of the Machines will share top billing with NASCAR Winston Cup rookie Jamie McMurray aboard the No. 42 Havoline Dodge for the running of the Pepsi 400. As part of the program, Action Performance will produce a replica die-cast of McMurray’s No. 42 Havoline/T3 Dodge, as well as other related memorabilia featuring the T3-themed racecar design. “I’m extremely excited to have this opportunity to be associated with a movie of this caliber,” McMurray said. “I’ve seen both the first two Terminator movies and can’t wait to see the new one. This is the first time in my racing career that I’ve had an opportunity like this to run a special paint scheme, and I can’t think of a better fit than with this movie. The car design also looks pretty cool,” McMurray added. “Hopefully our Havoline Dodge will be the machine at Daytona that will rise into victory lane.” A press conference will be held April 26 at California Speedway in Fontana, Ca. to unveil the paint scheme and to talk about the promotion.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates site)(4-2-2003)


    (4-1-2003)

  • And the Race to the Yellow Flag rule UPDATE: Defending Texas champ Matt Kenseth was running in first when the caution flag was waved at the end of 168th lap. Kenseth slowed before the line to allow Roush teammate Kurt Busch to get a lap back. Ricky Rudd, who was two laps down, and second-place driver Jeff Gordon went racing by as well. After NASCAR reviewed the move, Kenseth was restored to the lead, ahead of Gordon, and both Busch and Rudd got their laps back. “There’s a gentlemen’s agreement not to pass for position, but if he chooses to let the guys have a lap back, the gentlemen’s agreement is out the door,” said Gordon, who finished third.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    AND It’s not often you see Jeff Gordon get riled up, but the four-time Winston Cup champion has had it with NASCAR’s rule of racing back to the start-finish line when a caution comes out. How that rule is enforced came into question Sunday when Gordon passed leader Matt Kenseth as they reached the line to start a caution midway through the race. Gordon, who was running second, moved ahead of Kenseth when Kenseth slowed down to let drivers Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd by him and get back on the lead lap. But Gordon moved ahead of Kenseth to keep the other two drivers a lap down. NASCAR officials ruled that Kenseth still would be the leader, Gordon would be second and Busch and Rudd would get their lap back. “Someone will have to explain that one to me,” Gordon said. “It’s frustrating. Just because the leader may want to let them have their lap back, it doesn’t mean everybody else behind him has to let them have a lap back. The next guy in line can choose. I did. I was the leader when we crossed the line.” NASCAR president Mike Helton said Gordon didn’t have the right to determine who got a lap back because Gordon wasn’t the leader when the yellow was displayed. Drivers have a gentlemen’s agreement not to pass the leader while racing back to the yellow flag. But the leader often slows down enough to let lapped cars go by him to get back on the lead lap. “There is a gentlemen’s agreement not to pass for position, but we’re talking about keeping cars down a lap,” Gordon said. “I don’t know of any gentleman’s agreement to let cars get a lap back, even if you aren’t the leader. I didn’t think there was any reason for me to let them have a lap back. We’re fighting those guys for a championship. For NASCAR to put those guys back just blows me away. I think the whole getting a lap back thing is crazy.” NASCAR is the only major racing body that has it cars race back around to the start-finish line when a caution is displayed.(Dallas Morning News – may need to register to view) AND see my Story/Columns/Article Links page for many more stories and commentary on this.(3-31-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR president Mike Helton said Tuesday the sanctioning body erred in the way it handled Jeff Gordon’s attempt to keep down cars that Matt Kenseth tried to let back on the lead lap during the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. “If we had to do that call over again, we would have done it differently,” Helton said. “We made a mistake.” Kenseth was leading the race when Elliott Sadler’s Ford spun on the backstretch on Lap 168. When the yellow flag came out, Kenseth slowed to allow Ricky Rudd and Kurt Busch to make up a lap. Gordon sped up to try to keep them a lap down, passing Kenseth before the start-finish line. That pass, Helton said, technically made Gordon the race leader. Since he got to the line before Busch and Rudd, they would have still been a lap down. The problem happened when Gordon allowed Kenseth to go back by him before the pace car picked up the leaders. Gordon said he didn’t want to violate the “gentlemen’s agreement” against racing for position back to the yellow, so he wanted to give the lead back to Kenseth. But Gordon did want to keep Busch and Rudd a lap down. “It was a scenario that we had not seen before,” Helton said. “Someone who took the lead in the race then gave it back after the start-finish line.” But since Gordon ceded the lead back to Kenseth, Helton said, NASCAR ruled Busch and Rudd did make up a lap. “For a long time we’ve told the drivers…that when a yellow comes out, slow down and let the leaders be the one to keep the lapped cars down,” Helton said. “What happens between the leaders is their prerogative. What we did Sunday was interject NASCAR into that prerogative that we leave to the drivers, and we shouldn’t have done that.” Helton said that since the race continued there’s no way to go back and change anything about Sunday’s race now. He also said NASCAR does not plan to change its rules about racing back to the flag, partly because the technology does not yet exist to ensure NASCAR could accurately record the correct positions of all cars at the time a caution comes out to freeze the running order at that point.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-1-2003)
  • Martinsville Testing UPDATE 2 Speeds on Tuesday: Nine drivers are scheduled to test at Martinsville Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday [March 31, April 1] in preparation for the April13 Virginia 500. Scheduled to test are #25-Joe Nemechek, #16-Greg Biffle, #1-Steve Park, #32-Ricky Craven, #45-Kyle Petty [may cancle or have Andretti/Fittipaldi test if he is still sore], #41-Casey Mears, #0-Jack Sprague, #4-Mike Skinner and #74-Tony Raines.(Roanoke Times)(3-30-2003)
    UPDATE: Cup team testing at Martinsville and some note – testing this morning at Martinsville Speedway are #41-Casey Mears, #1-Steve Park, #15-Michael Waltrip, #32-Ricky Craven, #16-Greg Biffle, #0-Jack Sprague, #74-Tony Raines and #25-Joe Nemechek. In addition to those Winston Cup regulars, Andy Petree is here testing a Busch car. He plans on attempting to qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and is using the Busch car to get some track time in the absence of truck testing. Darrell Waltrip will probably get some seat time in Petree’s car on Wednesday for the same reason.
    Kyle Petty’s #45 team is here, but obviously Kyle is still hurting. In a surprise, but explainable move David Hyder is driving the car today and possibly tomorrow. David who? Hyder is a Late Model driver who has enjoyed great success in this region and especially at Martinsville Speedway. He’s also a member of Petty’s crew. He holds the track qualifying record for Late Models at 90.227 mph (1997 Miller 300). He also won that race. His winnings that day, $27,500, is still at Late Model record here.(Martinsville Speedway PR)
    TEST SPEEDS TUESDAY: Testing is over at Martinsville Speedway for the day. Following is a list of drivers and times. Please note that David Hyder was subbing for Kyle Petty. Andy Petree was in a Busch car, getting in seat time for the Advance Auto Parts 250 (Truck Race). Also, earlier today it was noted that #15-Michael Waltrip would be testing, it was a understandable mistake as Mears’ team bought one of Waltrip’s car haulers from DEI and have not repainted it. The speeds:
    #74-Tony Raines, 93.281mph (20.30 sec)
    #25-Joe Nemechek, 92.371 (20.50)
    #16-Greg Biffle, 92.371 (20.50)
    #1-Steve Park, 92.281 (20.52)
    #0-Jack Sprague, 92.191 (20.54)
    #32-Ricky Craven, 91.700 (20.65)
    #41-Casey Mears, 91.922 (20.60)
    #45-David Hyder, 91.478 (20.70)
    Andy Petree, 91.170 (20.77)
    Winston Cup qualifying record is 95.371mph (19.855 seconds), set by #20-Tony Stewart in the fall of 2000.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(4-1-2003)
  • News on the #20 Impounding = NOTHING – NOTE: nothing new on the #20 Home Depot Chevy impounding [see new below], when I hear anything it’ll be posted, NASCAR usually announces Cup penalties on Tues/Wed following the race.(3-31-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR still has not announced any further penalties against Tony Stewart’s team at Joe Gibbs Racing after its primary #20 Chevrolet was impounded at Texas for failing its initial inspection because it did not fit the templates. The apparently unprecedented move to seize the car did get the attention of other crew chiefs in the garage. “As soon as I heard what happened to them I called back to the shop and told them that was a prime example of what can happen if you’re not right,” said Raymond Fox III, crew chief for Elliott Sadler’s Ford. “The 20 car is a good team. It opens up your eyes to make you go back to the shop and say, ‘OK, this is what happened last week. Let’s try not to let it happen to us.'”(ThatsRacin.com), see past news on my #20 Team News and Links page.(4-1-2003)
  • Final Bristol TV Ratings: Final Nielsen figures show that small markets boosted the ratings considerably for Fox’s airing of the March 23 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but the numbers were still down 11.3 percent from last year. Today’s Sports Business Daily says the final figures show the race earned a 5.5 rating and 13 share. While that was up from the 5.1/11 overnight figures, it was still well short of the 6.2/16 the race drew in 2002, when sports events weren’t competing with war news for viewers’ attention.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter – free)(4-1-2003)
  • The 2003 Driver of the Year Award will be determined by a blue ribbon panel of eighteen motorsports writers, journalists and announcers plus one cumulative fan vote hosted on Speedtv.com. That means that the fans can help decide the winner of the award by casting their vote for the driver they feel most desrves recognition for each quarter of the 2003 season. The award encompasses all racing platforms including NASCAR Champ Car, IRL, NHRA, SCCA, World of Outlaws and Sports Cars. The award vote is based on a 25-point system. Each panelist will select a top-six from the list of nominees and based on those picks points are awarded to the drivers as follows: 9 points for first, 6 for second, 4 for third, 3 for fourth, 2 for fifth and 1 for sixth. The top six vote-getters from the Speedtv.com online voting will also be included on a single final ballot along with the top six overall from the 16 media panel members. The quarterly winner will then be determined based on the results of this final ballot to be voted on by the Expert Media Panel. Finally, at the end of the year the Expert Media Panel will vote on the Quarterly winners to determine the 2003 Driver of the Year. Drivers’ achievements are evaluated using the following criteria: Track Performance – Wins, top five finishes, top ten finishes and pole qualifying; Sportsmanship – Conduct and professionalism; Humanitarianism – Participation in and willingness to support philanthropic causes; Fan Recognition – Popularity among motorsports enthusiasts.
    First Quarter Nominee’s: Paul Tracy, Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Danny Lasoski, Kurt Busch, Brandon Bernstein and Tony Kanaan. Fan voting will take place online from Saturday, March 29, until Wednesday, April 16 at 12:00noon/et. More at Speed Channel site.(4-1-2003)
  • SAFER Test: NASCAR officials have scheduled another test for the SAFER barrier this month and don’t expect to have a short-track version of the impact-absorbing wall perfected in time for the May 3 race at Richmond International Raceway.(USA Today)(4-1-2003)
  • Hermie back at Talladega UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler will make his return to the Cup Series on April 6, 2003 when he pilots the #02 Autism Awareness Pontiac sponsored by NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in the AARON’ S 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. In honor of Autism Awareness Month and the thousands of people affected daily by this disease, the car will feature the Autism “puzzle ribbon” on the hood along with 1-800-3-AUTISM, the phone number for the Autism Society of America. Sadler, whose daughter Halie Dru was diagnosed with Autism in February 2001, carried the ribbon in the Spring Bristol race last year and was amazed at the response. “The number of people we reached through this exposure was unbelievable. It was just the tool we needed-the Autism Society of America received literally thousands of phone calls following the race. This is the perfect way for us to kick off Autism Awareness month for 2003,” stated Sadler. NWA-TNA Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett is pleased to participate in this event. “Hermie has been such a huge supporter of NWA-TNA, and it is a pleasure to return the favor. I’m looking forward to the race and helping increase the awareness of Autism.” Also participating in the promotion are FOX Sports, FX, www.goteamva.com, and Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated. Fox Sports is providing an in-car camera to help promote awareness for autism and Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated is providing engines and technical support to Sadler’s team for this event. “I am honored and grateful to everyone who is involved with this program,” Sadler said. “We not only have the chance to run a great race; we have the chance to make a difference for kids and families all over the world affected by autism.” NWA-TNA Total Nonstop Action Wrestling is the first-ever weekly Pay-Per-View wrestling series that airs every Wednesday at 8:00pm/et on iN DEMAND and DIRECT-TV. With its unique blend of traditional wrestling and the high-flying cutting edge moves of the X-Division, it is the definitive alternative for the wrestling enthusiast. For more information on NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, go to www.nwatna.com.(PR)(3-26-2003)
    UPDATE: Look for Hermie Sadler to drive a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car at Talladega. DEI is donating the car to promote autism awareness. Sadler’s daughter, Halie Dru, was diagnosed with autism in February 2001.(Sporting News)(3-31-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler suffered a fractured bone in his right foot and bruised ligaments in his ankle from the crash. Sadler still plans to enter both the Busch Series and Winston Cup races this weekend.(Sadler Fanclub Site)(4-1-2003)
  • Andretti and Gordon may miss the Indy 500: John Andretti and Robby Gordon announced several weeks ago their intention to compete in this year’s Indianapolis 500. But both are being reminded of the significant gap between planning and doing. It takes money to bridge that gap, and neither is having luck finding it. The two Winston Cup regulars said this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway that time is quickly running out on hopes of pulling double duty May 25, racing in both the Indy 500 in the day and the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, N.C., that night. It is particularly disappointing for Andretti, an Indianapolis native who wanted to return to the 500 in what cousin Michael Andretti has said will be his last race. John Andretti was counting on General Mills, his Winston Cup sponsor, to fund his Indy program, but the company now is telling him that given the economy and world situation, it is inclined to wait a year. He hasn’t given up and even has talked to one potential sponsor about a package deal for himself and another open-wheeler turned stock car driver, Petty Enterprises teammate Christian Fittipaldi. One thing he won’t do is ask his cousin, in his first year as an Indy Racing League team owner, for help. Michael already has plans to run four cars at Indy. “He’s got his hands full,” John Andretti said of his cousin. “I don’t want to be the guy he comes up to afterward and says, ‘I lost because of you,’ because he split up one of his pit crews to help me out.” Complicating matters for Gordon and Andretti is the IRL has all new cars this season with few extras available. But Gordon said all he has to do is turn on CNN to see the real problem. “It’s hard to find money when there’s a war going on,” Gordon said. “I don’t have a deal and I don’t see one opening up.”(Indianapolis Star)(4-1-2003)
  • NASCAR Wheel of Fortune: Wheel of Fortune, America’s #1 rated syndicated television series, and NASCAR have teamed up for a second consecutive year for Wheel of Fortune’s “NASCAR Week,” scheduled to air nationwide April 7-11. NASCAR fans have been selected as contestants to compete on a NASCAR-themed Wheel of Fortune set, featuring 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart’s #20 Home Depot car (wonder if it is the car from Texas? just joking). Official NASCAR licensees are providing apparel for the studio audience to wear during the taping. In addition, race fans and Wheel Watchers alike can expect some of NASCAR’s top 10 drivers, including Jeff Gordon and Ricky Craven and other fan favorites to appear in taped segments throughout Wheel of Fortune’s “NASCAR Week”. (NASCAR PR) (4-1-2003)
  • Model racing car project stolen: Middleburgh [Albany, NY area] teacher Scott Gray said, “I’m just devastated. It’s just all this work is gone, just sad.” Gray is devastated that someone would steal the model NASCAR race car his engineering students at Middleburgh Central School had built from scratch. The students not only put the car together, they also raised the money for its parts. Gray said, “I was hoping to use this as a tool in the classroom and now that it’s gone, I don’t have that tool to use. So whoever was that took it, I’m sure their intentions were to steal it directly from me, they’re really not stealing that car from me. They’re really stealing the education of the 15 students that I have in my class.” Senior Tom Loucks said, “We learned a lot from it, like the mechanical advantages of cars, and stuff that we won’t learn anywhere else in life, like design and stuff like that.” Senior DareRick Krufchinski said, “I’ve been working on it since September, a lot of hours, a lot of after school days at least twice a week until 8, 9 at night.” The model car was taken out of Sears parking lot in Rotterdam. Scott Gray went there with the model car in the back of his pickup, went inside for about five minutes and when he came out, the model car was gone. Lieutenant Bill Manikas of the Rotterdam Police Department said, “To be perfectly frank, we’re working really hard on it, as we do with every crime. We have very few leads to go on, but the detectives are out looking right now.” Gray said, “Our biggest thing is that we really hope to get the car back because it’s not so much the money that was spent on it, it was the time and we can’t make back that time.” Gray said he won’t press charges if the car is returned, but if the thief is caught, then he will.(Capital News 9)(4-1-2003)