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August 2002 News Archives


 

  • (8-31-2002)

  • France undergoes Hip surgery: Bill France Jr. had surgery Saturday morning to repair the broken right hip he suffered in a fall earlier this week. France fell Tuesday night and broke his hip. As doctors evaluated that injury, they determined that France needed heart bypass surgery and performed that operation Wednesday night. Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications, said Saturday that France’s surgery on Saturday was successful. “Bill is resting comfortably and his doctors are extremely pleased with the results of both surgeries,” Hunter said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2002)
  • Body Rule Change Coming UPDATE: Winston Cup series director John Darby said Saturday that a new rule is coming to standardize the body location of cars racing in the series, possibly within a week. There is now no restriction on how far forward or backward the body on a Cup car can be located. Teams vary that position from track to track to help balance the car. In general terms, bodies are moved forward on superspeedways to keep air off the rear spoilers and reduce drag, and moved backward on shorter tracks. Darby said NASCAR will require the same measurement for all cars raced on all tracks, with a tolerance of a half- or three-quarters of a inch on either side. The challenge, Darby said, is to set a measurement that will keep teams in the series from having to cut off and rehang sheet metal on most of the cars in their fleets.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-18-2002)
    UPDATE: While no bulletin has been issued, yet, NASCAR has all but issued the paperwork to make the body locations standard for the 2003 season. The prospect has been looming during the past several weeks, but issuance of the rule has been slowed, somewhat, by team politicking. In the final analysis NASCAR will call for the car bodies to sit at a 60-inch measurement, plus or minus three-quarters-of-an-inch as measured from the center of the roof at the windshield seem to the center of the rear axle housing. Generally the ruling is being hailed in the garage as a plus, but it does represent a lot of work for several car owners. Robert Yates, just today, learned from his crew chiefs – Michael McSwain and Todd Parrott – that about 40 of the Yates’ 42-car fleet will need to be re-skinned to meet the new NASCAR specification. NASCAR, while tightening down body mounting locations, will also take a bite out of the team’s creativity in outlawing twisted roofs and hoods. Changes here will prohibit the teams from getting too wild with the bows and bends on the roofs of these cars. There was talk that NASCAR would issue the greenhouses, the area above the doorsills, for the cars complete with A, B and C pillars along with a roof stamping, but that apparently has been taken off the table. The critical measurements of the greenhouse, however, will be captured in the new NASCAR 2003 templates and will make all windshield rakes and measurements standard across all brands. Dodge and Ford are supposed to be currently running the same windshield rakes this year, but something with the templates allowed the Dodge to lay their windshield back slightly more than the Ford teams. This reduced angle is helpful to the Dodge cause as it helps reduce drag.(Ford Racing)(8-31-2002)
  • Sprague in a Pontiac? UPDATE 2: The new Haas CNC Racing Chevy Cup team, owned by Gene Haas, was announced a few months ago as the #60 Haas Automation Chevrolet with Jack Sprague driving full time in 2003. Hendrick Motorsports will supply cars, engines and technical support. Well looks like they may be running a Pontiac in 2003 and are leaning that way. Hendrick would still support the team.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read – now in pdf format)(8-22-2002)
    UPDATE: Pontiac’s next announcement of a team for 2003 is expected to have ties to Hendrick Motorsports. Rick Hendrick says the Winston Cup deal being put together for driver Jack Sprague with Gene Haas and Joe Custer likely will put Sprague, one of Hendrick’s Busch Series drivers, in a Grand Prix. Haas Automation has been an associate sponsor on all of Hendrick Motorsports’ entries, and the relationship goes back eight years. Hendrick believes NASCAR has accomplished its goal of establishing common template cars and thinks both new GM models will be equally competitive. The Haas team will get cars, engines and technical support from Hendrick and from Pontiac team MBV (Johnny Benson), which was instrumental in developing the 2003 Grand Prix.(Sporting News)(8-26-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The Haas Automation/Hendrick Motorsports Winston Cup operation planning to debut full time next season with driver Jack Sprague appears likely to be the next team to join the Pontiac team in 2003. “I think it looks pretty favorable that they will be running the Pontiac. I’m not 100 percent, but they are awful close,” said Rick Hendrick, whose Hendrick Motorsports operation will supply engines, chassis and other technical assistance to the team. “They will be doing their own cars and we will be doing some chassis for them. The Pontiac and Chevrolet are basically going to be the same car with the only difference in the grille area. It won’t be any big deal.” The team still hopes to run at least three races this season, with its sights set on the fall events at Charlotte, Atlanta and Homestead.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2002)
  • Testing next week at Daytona UPDATE: Next week, NASCAR officials hope to run a second round of testing of proposed new rules at Daytona.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-30-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials are considering another test to work on the aerodynamic rules for restrictor-plate races at Talladega and Daytona, where cars tend to travel in packs, increasing the chance of multicar accidents. “I talked to (Winston Cup series director) John Darby a little bit after they went to Daytona a few weeks ago. The last thing they were working on and started to see a little progress on, I guess they didn’t get to run because it rained, so they’re getting ready to go back pretty soon,” said Frank Stoddard, crew chief for Jeff Burton’s #99 Fords. “They’re going to go to either Talladega or Daytona again and try to simulate what they wanted to do the first time and didn’t get to finish.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2002)
  • a Petree Announcement UPDATE 2 No merger or buyout: ……Andy Petree took time out to talk a little bit about what everyone’s been talking about in the racing world for the past few months — his rumored deal with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for a two-car team next season. His answer to the obvious question was the same. “I really don’t have anything to say on that right now. We don’t have an announcement yet,” Petree said. He did, however, reveal later in the day that he would make an announcement Friday morning at Darlington, S.C., concerning his plans for next season. Petree was out of town Monday, but APR executive vice president/general manager Steve Barkdoll said the main reason for the announcement was to just let everyone know what’s going on. “We just felt like it was time to tell everyone APR’s plans for next year, and that’s all it’s going to be,” Barkdoll said.(Hendersonville Times News)(8-28-2002)
    UPDATE: Andy Petree Racing will remain a major factor in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, just won’t be carrying silver and blue colors, and no large stars will be on the cars in 2003.. The long-discussed arrangement between Andy Petree, the top chassis and mechanical mind among NASCAR Winston Cup owners, and the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys will not be completed. “We’re moving forward and we’re doing everything we can to finish this year on a strong note, and to have a great 2003,” said Petree, the only owner in the sport to have won two NASCAR Winston Cup championships in a “hands-on” capacity. “We do need additional sponsorship but that’s an area we’ve been working on throughout this process. We are in discussions with Schneider Electric/Square D regarding the future – they are a great partner of ours – but we know we still need additional sponsorship support. This is a tremendous marketing opportunity for a corporation at a price I know is unmatched in this sport,” Petree said. “Andy Petree Racing has a lot to offer a sponsor, and we feel somebody will step up and take advantage of this,” he said. “This is a chance for a company to partner with our program, to do so at a price that is incredibly reasonable and to receive a tremendous boost in their sales and awareness. Keep in mind that we also have a strong and on-going relationship with General Motors, and they have been tremendous supporters of ours through all of this,” he added. “With friends like that behind you, great things have to be ahead for you.” Petree said the ending of the Dallas Cowboys discussions should not be a factor in bringing in sponsorship. “We worked hard to put something together but we both knew we had to do something soon. They let me know they just couldn’t get everything done in time for 2003. They made the decision to end the discussions for 2003. I needed to make the announcement today so we can continue working on sponsorship for Andy Petree Racing.. “The Cowboys are great people and I believe they were serious about putting something together,” he added. “The fact of the matter is we are here to win races, plain and simple. And we’re going to continue to do that.”(Williams Company)(8-30-2002)
    UPDATE 2 – sponsor and driver could stay; to Pontiac? ….although Petree said there is a remote chance Hamilton could stay. Hamilton may now be the front-runner for Chip Ganassi’s Havoline team. “We’ve got Schneider Electric, which has supported us quite a bit over the years and has been a great supporter of ours. We’re trying to extend that with them, but we need some more help. We needed to get the word out that we’re not doing this Cowboys thing so that it doesn’t lock us out of some opportunities that are out there right now.”(Speed Channel)
    AND Petree still hopes to have a two-car team next season. He now plans to continue his association with Schneider Electric and Square D, the primary sponsors of the #55 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton, who is not returning to the team in 2003. Petree said he now plans to continue his relationship with General Motors. The team was expected to switch to Ford next year if the Cowboys deal had been completed. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has a relationship with Ford as a corporate sponsor of the NFL team. Petree said it’s possible his team will switch to Pontiac next season, but all those discussions were pending the outcome of the Cowboys’ plans.(Dallas Morning News)(8-31-2002)
  • Musgrave back in a Cup car: Sirius Satellite Radio has joined forces with long time partner, Kenwood USA Corporation, to field a second Cup team. The #07 Kenwood/Sirius Dodge, driven by CTS driver Ted Musgrave, will compete for the second time this season at the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, site of one of his two NCTS victories this season. Joining current Sirius Racing teammate Casey Atwood, driver of the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge, Musgrave will take the #07 Kenwood/Sirius team, with its innovative chrome paint scheme, to five of the country’s most popular NASCAR Winston Cup races this season. Earlier this month, Musgrave debuted the #07 Kenwood/Sirius Dodge at Indy, where he finished 21st in the Brickyard 400. Musgrave , driver of the #1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram, currently sits third in the CTS points standings, just 61 points out of first place(Golin Harris PR)(8-31-2002)
  • Shepherd at Darlington: Morgan Shepherd will run the Southern 500 at Darlington this weekend with assistance from Phil Bonafield’s CTS #86 Red Line Oil Chevy team. Bonafield is providing Shepherd with use of his hauler and crew members will be helping this weekend. Catchfence.com. Motorsportsweb.com and rwjm.com (Racing with Jesus Ministries) continue associate sponsorship, however additional sponsorship is needed. Shepherd and team plan to head to Richmond next weekend and hopefully pull double duty in both the CTS and Cup events.(STB Marketing Group PR)(8-31-2002)
  • Corvette Auction’s nets $170k for charity: Terry Michaelis bid $170,000 to become the proud new owner of the “most perfect 1953 Corvette ever built” at the Mecum Auction at Corvettes at Carlisle. The bidding began at $120,000 but Michaelis waited until after $150,000 to even show interest in the car, finally winning the bid at $170,000. Michaelis of Napoleon, Ohio, owns more than 200 Corvettes, but he says his new ’53 will be the centerpiece of his collection. He owns ProTeam Corvette Sales in his hometown and displays his collection there. Chip Miller, co-owner of Carlisle Productions, promoters of Corvettes at Carlisle, teamed up with Al Wiseman, co-owner of Classic Car Restoration and Service Center (CCRSC), Tarpon Springs, Fla., to restore the 1953 Corvette. The decided to have it ready in time for Corvette’s 50th anniversary, and therefore named the project the Restoration Celebration. Only 300 Corvettes were made in 1953, and just more than 200 have survived to the 21st century. The ’53 Restoration Celebration Corvette was restored to “better-than-perfect” condition. Chip and Al decided to sell the car and give all the money to Victory Junction Gang, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses, founded by NASCAR’s Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie in honor of their late son Adam. Kyle’s father NASCAR legend Richard Petty was on the auction block to get bidders motivated. Corvettes at Carlisle (www.carsatcarlisle.com) is one of the largest all-Corvette shows in the world, with attendance exceeding 60,000 Corvette enthusiasts each year. This year’s event took place Aug. 23-25, and next year’s Corvettes at Carlisle will be Aug. 22-24, 2003.(8-31-2002)
  • TRAC Retains Sports Investment Banker UPDATE: Team Sports Entertainment through its wholly owned subsidiary, Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC) announced that it has engaged Baltimore-based investment banker, Moag & Company to head up efforts to sell a limited number of operational rights to TRAC teams. Moag & Company is one of the nation’s leading sports, media and entertainment investment banking firms. TRAC has engaged Moag & Company as their sole and exclusive agent for sale of the local operating rights for the ten-city racing league. The company will identify potential ownership groups, advise TRAC concerning those investors and will assist in the negotiations on the sale of operating rights for each city. Moag & Company has been involved in major transactions involving the sale of the Baltimore Ravens, the private placement of equity in Montreal-based Field Turf, the sale of Minor League Baseball and Arena Football League teams and the sale of National Hockey League and Major League Baseball franchises to name a few.(TRAC PR)
    UPDATE: The Team Racing Auto Circuit this week received at $2.5 million funding commitment from a shareholder group led by South Carolina-based Godley Morris Group, bolstering its financial footing as it considers whether to delay its inaugural season from 2003 until 2004.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2002)


    (8-30-2002)

  • Penske, Jesel and Dodge? Members of Roger Penske’s Winston Cup team have been spending time in the garage area of Ray Evernham’s team, fueling the continuing speculation that Penske will switch from Ford to Dodge next season. Evernham is one of the top Dodge operations. Dodge officials reportedly have offered Penske $20 million to make the move.(Dallas Morning News)
    AND in this weeks Winston Cup Scene (need sub and adobe to read) it reports that #36/66 BGN team owner Wayne Jesel is hoping to get factory support from Dodge and an alliance with a Winston Cup program. Penske Racing is considering switching from Fords to Dodges and speculation is that Jesel would form an alliance with the organization throught Penske official Dan Luginbuhl. Jesel admits he has had discussions with Penske about an alliance, but has also contacted Evernham Motorsports and Ganassi Racing.(8-30-2002)
  • Wallace released from DEI and… Kenny Wallace has been released from his DEI contract in 2002. Wallace was hired to first drive the #1 car for Steve Park, and be on stand-by for the rest of 2002 in case there was another need for him in any of the DEI cars. DEI decided that since it was obvious that their drivers were no longer in need of substitutes and that they were paying a full driver salary to someone that was sitting at home on Sundays watching the race on TV, that the contract could be ended, and see a full press release of the Wallace/Petree/ATT deal at Kenny Wallace Racing site.(8-30-2002)
  • Goodwin may field a woman driver in 2003 UPDATE 2 Renshaw signs/Grubb to Cup: Plans are being made for Rick Goodwin [owner of the #54 Toys-R-Us Chevy) to field a full-time BGN entry for a female driver, and the top candidates appear to be Deborah Renshaw and Tina Gordon. Goodwin also plans to run driver Kevin Grubb full-time in Winston Cup in 2003 with current sponsor Toys-R-Us.(Winston Cup Scene via BGNRacing.com)(8-22-2002)
    UPDATE: Deborah Renshaw, who gained national attention thanks to a plot against her by male drivers at Fairgrounds Speedway, is being considered for a full-time ride in the BGN. Rick Goodwin, owner of [#54] Team Bristol Motorsports in Bristol, Va., met with Renshaw and her parents in his suite at Bristol Motor Speedway yesterday. Goodwin’s current driver is Kevin Grubb. But Goodwin wants to put Grubb in a full-time Winston Cup ride based in Charlotte next season and hire a new driver for his BGN car. Goodwin said the 24-year-old Renshaw’s racing experience is relatively limited, but her poise and personality heightens her value in a marketing-driven sport. Goodwin said Renshaw is one of ”a number” of candidates he’s looking at and plans to announce his selection within 30-45 days.(Tennessean)(8-24-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Nashville’s Deborah Renshaw has signed to drive in the NASCAR Busch Series next season, and will immediately begin testing in preparation for the huge career move. The 25-year-old Renshaw was chosen by Bristol, Va.-based team owner Rick Goodwin to drive his #54 Busch Series car next season. She’ll replace the car’s current driver, Kevin Grubb, who will move up to Winston Cup.(Tennessean)(8-30-2002)
  • No more RPM 2 Night after this year? UPDATE: hearing that ESPN2’s RPM2night’s weekday show [6:30pm/et with John Kernan] is gone at the end of the year, but the weekend show will continue.(boooooooooo) make comments at ESPN.(8-29-2002)
    UPDATE: Word came Thursday that the weekday edition of RPM 2Night will complete its run by the end of the year. MotorsportsTV.com contacted some of the key players at the show and, understandably, they didn’t want to say anything at this time. However, on Friday morning MotorsportsTV.com spoke with ESPN spokesman Mike Humes, who was able to shed more light on the decision. Humes said that RPM is being dropped in favor of “a fan-driven, general interest signature series,” temporarily named Drive Time, which will debut in February. The show will “allow fans to express opinions on a variety of sports issues” and may be simulcast on ESPN Radio, said Humes. ESPN has previously announced a broad strategy to develop more original series. The wildly successful Pardon The Interruption is evidence of that, as is the quickly jettisoned Mohr Sports. “We will focus our motorsports efforts on our two Sunday RPM shows,” he said. “Race fans will still be served through other ESPN platforms,” said Humes. He also added that ESPN will “continue to be aggressive in news gathering” for auto racing fans. “Without having NASCAR, we didn’t feel the need to have a daily show any more,” he said. Humes added that “low ratings were a factor as well.”(MotorsportsTV)(8-30-2002)


    (8-29-2002)

  • Testing nest week at Daytona: Next week, NASCAR officials hope to run a second round of testing of proposed new rules at Daytona.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-30-2002)
  • BH Motorsports to Announce Plans for 2002-2003 UPDATE: BH Motorsports, who recently formed a strategic alliance with Hendrick Motorsports, will announce their 2002-2003 plans at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., on Thursday, Aug. 29th. The announcement will be regarding a planned minority driver development program and the team’s acquisition of a primary advertiser, along with driver and crew chief introductions. The BH Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo will be unveiled(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(8-27-2002)
    UPDATE #54 Chevy, Hornaday to drive: BH Motorsports, who recently formed a strategic alliance with Hendrick Motorsports in an effort to establish a competitive African-American-owned NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, today announced the National Guard as their primary advertiser during a media luncheon at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. The #54 National Guard Chevy, named in recognition of the National Guard presence in 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia, will run a limited schedule in 2002, with aspirations for a full Winston Cup season in 2003. “We were fortunate to find BH Motorsports,” said Lt. Gen. Roger C. Schultz, director of the Army National Guard. “The National Guard has a formidable diversity program, of which we are very proud, and the efforts of NASCAR, BH Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports are very consistent with the goals and objectives of that program. NASCAR fans have a great reputation for being loyal and dedicated, some of the values that are very important to us. When you go to a NASCAR race, just look around — you see American flags everywhere. These fans love their sport and they love their country. These are the people that we’re trying to reach,” Schultz added. “We’re honored to field the #54 Chevy with the National Guard as our partner,” said Sam Belnavis, COO of BH Motorsports. “They, along with Hendrick Motorsports, are helping us lay the groundwork for a successful future in Winston Cup racing.” Ron Hornaday has been named driver of the #54 for three Winston Cup dates this season, with veteran crew chief Doug Richert also joining the team. BH Motorsports’ 2002 schedule includes the events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 13, Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 27 and North Carolina Speedway on Nov. 3. Also announced were plans for the BH Motorsports-National Guard Driver Development Program for Minorities, which will allow drivers with diverse backgrounds the opportunity to compete on other racing circuits, including the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Hendrick Motorsports will continue to provide BH Motorsports with assistance in all phases of its racing operation, including marketing support, car and race-setup development, personnel recruitment and training, and corporate networking, in preparation for fielding the #54. Led by Belnavis and CEO Tinsley Hughes, who have a combined 35 years of motor sports experience, BH Motorsports will operate out of its new facility, located at the Mooresville Motorsports Center in Mooresville, N.C., effective immediately.(BH Motorsports PR)(8-29-2002)
  • Ward $5,000 lighter in the Wallet: NASCAR today fined Ward Burton $5,000 for throwing his shoe heat shields at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car during last Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR said Burton was penalized for “actions detrimental to stock car racing.”(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-29-2002)
  • Ganassi Third Team UPDATE 3: Car owner [#40, #41] Ganassi said he’s committed to fielding a third Dodge Intrepid next season alongside the two Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer currently drive, but would not confirm that Texaco-Havoline will be the sponsor. Texaco-Havoline was expected to go with Rudd to Ganassi, along with the #28, and the company has confirmed it will be in NASCAR next season. But Ganassi needs a driver for the car, which could switch to #42 to stay in succession with his other teams, and he said he’d prefer to hire someone already in stock car racing. Jerry Nadeau has said he’d love to drive for Ganassi, even offering to forfeit his pay should he not meet expectations, and John Andretti also is an option if he decides to leave Petty Enterprises. A remote option would be Jason Leffler, who was a rookie for Ganassi last season but was let go at the end of the year and now drives in NASCAR’s truck series.(CNNSI/AP)(8-25-2002)
    UPDATE: been told that the team is not considering Leffler and Leffler is not considering the team.
    UPDATE 2: The sponsorship deal for next year is done between Chip Ganassi Racing and ChevronTexaco. But there has been no official word on a pilot for the expected third Ganassi team. Word is that Ganassi may make the plans for driver, sponsor and car number known at Richmond International Raceway in two weeks.(NASCAR.com)(8-26-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Chevron/Havoline has completed a deal to sponsor a third car at Chip Ganassi Racing next year. No word on the driver.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-29-2002)
  • Ford Racing News: Ford Racing Technology has leased Kentucky Speedway every Tuesday in the month of September. This is specifically to help the Ford Blue teams as they prepare for the championship point runs. One of the first teams signed-up to attend the Ford-sponsored tests was the Wood Brothers Racing, who intend to take their 2003 driver, Ricky Rudd, to begin the acclamation process between team and driver. The combo hits the track Sept. 10.(Ford Racing)(8-29-2002)
  • France undergoes surgery: International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announced today that its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, William C. France, has undergone bypass surgery. The procedure is not expected to prevent him from continuing his roles as Chairman and CEO of ISC. The bypass procedure was performed Wednesday evening. France was admitted to a hospital after a fall Tuesday night that resulted in a broken hip. After initial tests resulting from the fall were performed, doctors recommended the bypass procedure. “I have spoken with my brother and he is alert and in good spirits. The doctors say to expect a full recovery,” said James C. France, President and Chief Operating Officer of ISC. “With regards to the company, we have a strong management team in place and expect on-going operations to continue to run efficiently.”(ISC PR)(8-29-2002)
  • Petree and Wallace back together..Kenny…at Talladega UPDATE: hearing that Kenny Wallace and Andy Petree Racing will be reunited at Talladega Superspeedway for the EA SPORTS 500 on October 6th.  The sponsor will be 1-800-CALLATT.  Kenny will drive the same #33 Chevy that featured Carrot Top in Daytona – driven by his brother Mike in the Pepsi 400. Also hearing that on Monday, Wallace, APR & ATT will announce their search for a crew chief – in a most unique manner.(8-24-2002)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace will make a one-time return to the racing stable of Andy Petree Racing (APR) for the October running of the EA SPORTS 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, and take one lucky NASCAR fan along for the ride. 1 800 CALLATT for Collect Calls will roll out a national promotion in support of the APR/Wallace reunion – a unique sweepstakes that places one fan atop the pit box as Honorary Crew Chief for the #33 CALLATT Racing Team as the culmination of four days of motorsports immersion. During the promotional period (August 26th to September 22nd, except for September 11th), NASCAR fans completing a collect call using 1 800 CALLATT will have the chance to be entered into the 1 800 CALLATT for Collect Calls Fall 2002 NASCAR Sweepstakes to claim the seat next to team owner Andy Petree on the first weekend in October (see my Racing Contest page for more info and what the winner will get). Mike Wallace drove the 1 800 CALLATT entry to a 13th-place qualifying effort in Daytona for Andy Petree Racing, advancing to the top-10 in the Pepsi 400 before Steve Park sent him spinning through the tri-oval at Daytona International Speedway. Wallace has since taken the reigns for AJ Foyt’s team, which left CALLATT and Andy Petree looking for a wheelman for their Superspeedway encore at Talladega. “1 800 CALLATT is excited to be sponsoring Kenny Wallace and #33 Chevrolet of Andy Petree Racing in Talladega for the EA SPORTS 500,” said Carol Eversen, General Manager, 1 800 CALLATT for Collect Calls. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to show our continued support for NASCAR by running the car and for NASCAR fans by giving them this once-in-a-lifetime chance to win a very special weekend, where they will be totally immersed in the sport. When we ran the car in the Pepsi 400 in Daytona earlier this year, we were able to witness the tremendous passion that NASCAR fans have for their sport, as well as their affection for the Wallace brothers. With Mike unavailable, it was only natural that we keep our driver choice ‘in the family’ for Talladega. We are thrilled to have Kenny behind the wheel to drive both our car and our national promotion.” For team owner Andy Petree, the highly visible partnership and national promotion is another opportunity for a team under his guidance to excel on a Superspeedway, something APR teams have done consistently over the past few seasons. “This continues to be an exciting opportunity for APR,” Petree said. “To be reunited with a driver like Kenny Wallace, with whom we had such an enjoyable relationship, in combination with such a unique national promotion from a NASCAR-savvy brand like 1 800 CALLATT on a Superspeedway – well, we’re certainly playing to our strengths. The last time Kenny drove at Talladega, he was SO close to his first Winston Cup win,” Petree recalled. “We’re anxious to put him a position to erase that ‘almost’ from the record.”(ignition, Inc)(8-29-2002)
  • Hall of Fame Stuff: On Saturday, August 31, in an annual ceremony held during Darlington Raceway’s Mountain Dew Southern 500 weekend, motorsports pioneer and former NASCAR official Ed Otto will be one of four people inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame. Other inductees include Dale Inman, Leonard Wood and Bud Moore. It is appropriate to recall Otto’s accomplishments this month. Sunday, August 7 marked 45 years to the day since Otto promoted the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race held at Watkins Glen International. Watkins Glen was not the start of Otto’s career as a race promoter. Otto began promoting auto racing events as early as 1927, and continued for half a century. He is credited with promoting more than 1,100 auto racing events, including 25 NASCAR Winston Cup events between 1949 and 1965. Otto was present when Bill France, Sr. convened with auto racing promoters and leaders from around the country on that historic day in December 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach to help form what is now NASCAR. Born in Newark, NJ in 1903, Otto became NASCAR’s first vice president in 1952. He was a great spokesman for NASCAR not just in the Northeast, but also in the West and Midwest where he helped gain a footing for stock car racing. He is credited with promoting the race in which Lee Petty scored his first victory in Pittsburgh, PA in 1949. He also promoted the race in Toronto, Canada in 1958, where Richard Petty made his first NASCAR Winston Cup start. Otto also was known as an early safety advocate, and an ethical promoter who never let a driver go home empty-handed. Otto will be inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame by Hal Hamrick.(Darlington Raceway PR)
    AND The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame will honor two of racing’s elite at its Sixth Annual Induction Ceremony, October 9, 2002 at the Mooresville, (NC) Citizens Center. Cale Yarborough, one of the most celebrated NASCAR drivers and owners, will be honored as the Hall of Fame’s newest inductee. The late Smokey Yunick, car owner and crew chief will receive the coveted Snap-On Golden Wrench Award for his outstanding contributions to the sport. Cale Yarborough is one of NASCAR’s most successful drivers. He was known for his aggressive, never give up driving style. Teamed with legendary car owner Junior Johnson, Yarborough recorded three back-to-back National Championships (1976-1978) and 28 race wins. Yarborough went on to create a successful career as a Winston Cup car owner, with drivers John Andretti and Jeremy Mayfield. Yarborough closed his racing career with a staggering total of 83 race wins, four Daytona 500 victories and three Winston Cup Championships. The late Smokey Yunick was a car owner, crew chief, engine builder, mechanic, and above all an innovator. He did not limit his racing innovation to stock car racing. Many of his most revolutionary machines were debuted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his quest to win the Indy 500. Yunick’s ability to look into the future of automotive development and design was recognized by the big three automakers in Detroit where he was contracted to develop programs ranging from auto racing to emission controls. Yunick succumbed to Leukemia in 2001 and left a motorsports legacy that will be revisited constantly by those that wish to excel in the sport of auto racing. Located in Mooresville, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame celebrates the rich heritage of motorsports and its cultural contributions to society. It opened its doors to race fans in 1994 and now welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually. More than 38,000 fans visited during Charlotte’s Speedweeks in May 2002. A non-profit museum, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is dedicated to all types of racing – from drag racing to NASCAR. It houses more than 35 cars as well as numerous displays and showcases. Past inductees into the museum’s Hall of Fame include Tim Flock, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Bill france, SR., Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett. For more information about the museum and the sixth annual induction ceremony, log on to its web site at www.ncarhof.com.(Tom Roberts PR), also see more news on my Hall of Fames page.(8-29-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week (Bristol) #14 CONSECO Crew Hard work and great stops all night took the #14 Conseco Crew from a 33 place starting position to a top 10 finish. Congratulations #14 Crew on being selected this week’s NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week sponsored by Toxabsorb, 21st century “spill Magnet”, Pit Road Competitive Edge and the Official Spill Response Agent of the National Association Of Pit Crew Members. Visit www.toxabsorb.com for all Toxabsorb household and pit road uses. This was your week #14 Crew!! Check out the latest Mechanix Wear “Pit Crew Of The Year” standings and finalist available ONLY at the National Association Of Pit Crew Members website (www.napcm.com).(8-29-2002)

    (8-28-2002)

  • Petty Enterprises to two cars in 2003? The Buzz has learned that Petty Enterprises may be making a sponsor switch between the #44 and #45 Dodge teams. Sprint has already announced they would not be returning to the #45 of Kyle Petty after this year. With current sponsor Georgia Pacific still signed on with Petty, the team may move the sponsor from the #44, currently being driven by Jerry Nadeau, to the #45 for the 2003 season. With Christian Fittipaldi coming aboard next year in Busch and ARCA competition, Petty Enterprises may not put a driver in the #44 at all and utilize the shop space and resources for Fittipaldi. An announcement is expected to be made in Richmond next week if a sponsor switch is going to be made.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(8-28-2002)
  • Ganassi third team drivers? John Andretti and Jerry Nadeau are believed to be the leading candidates to drive a third Dodge Intrepid for Winston Cup team owner Chip Ganassi next season. Ganassi had hoped to sign Ricky Rudd, who last week announced he would drive for the Wood Brothers beginning in 2003.(Las Vegas Sun)(8-28-2002)
  • Sadler spends time with Jarrett at RIR: Elliott Sadler never made a lap during a NASCAR test session at Richmond on Wednesday, but Sadler spent the day soakingup information from Dale Jarrett, his teammate next year at Robert Yates Racing, and Michael “Fatback” McSwain, his future crew chief. McSwain normally heads up the #28 driven by Ricky Rudd but called the shots yesterday on Jarrett’s No. 88 Ford while Jarrett’s crew chief, Todd Parrott, remained at the team’s North Carolina shop. Sadler will test at Kentucky Speedway with his new team before the end of the season. Jarrett, turned laps yesterday with Michael Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and several others. Also, Ernie Irvan, who retired in 1999, returned to the 0.75-mile oval where he won two Winston Cup races. Irvan provided pointers to Michael Vergers, a Holland native who is trying to break into the BGN [with Irvan’s old team MB2].(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-28-2002)
  • Bristol TV Ratings UPDATE: The ratings on TNT for the Sharpie 500 from Bristol turned in a stellar 4.8 rating, up 17 percent from last year’s 4.1.(MotorsportsTV.com)(8-27-2002)
    UPDATE: TNT followed up last week’s all-time network high 5.3 (4,497,000) national cable rating for NASCAR’s Pepsi 400 Winston Cup race in Brooklyn, MI with a 4.8 rating in primetime for Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 in Bristol, TN. The 4.8 (4,137,000) represents a 17% increase over last year’s rating (4.1), and is the highest rated night race in Bristol Motor Speedway history. The Pepsi 400 and Sharpie 500 rank #1 and #2, respectively, among basic cable programs for the month of August. Through four Winston Cup races in 2002, TNT is averaging a 4.9 rating for Winston Cup, up 23% from last year’s 4.0 after four races. The Busch Series also is showing strong growth in 2002. Friday night’s Busch race scored a 1.9 national cable rating, up 36% from the 1.4 it garnered a year ago. Overall, TNT’s four second-half Busch Series races in 2002 have averaged a 1.6 national cable rating, up 14% from last year’s 1.4. TNT also aired Busch Series racing prior to the Daytona 500 in February, with the EAS/GNC Live Well 300, which garnered a network Busch Series high 2.7 rating. Last year’s Daytona 500 Busch Series race registered a 3.2 on Fox Network.(Turner PR)(8-28-2002)
  • Stewart and Harvick set to races trucks ar RIR: Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick will join the mix of the most competitive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season in history when they drive in the Virginia is for Lovers 200 race on Thursday, September 5 at Richmond International Raceway. Also expected to drive in the race are Bobby Hamilton, Stacey Compton and Ken Schrader. Heading into the Virginia is for Lovers 200, eight drivers are within 133 points of leader Mike Bliss. Rounding out the top eight are Terry Cook, Musgrave, Rick Crawford, Robert Pressley, Jason Leffler, David Starr and Setzer, who won the pole at Richmond International Raceway last year. Bliss and Cook lead the series with four wins each this season. For the second straight year at Richmond, Harvick will field his own truck, while Stewart will drive for Andy Petree. All seats for the Virginia is for Lovers 200 are only $30. Renewable, reserved tickets to the FUNAI 250 are only $40 and general admission tickets are only $35. Tickets to the FUNAI 250 include practice and qualifying for Saturday’s Monte Carlo 400 With The Looney Tunes- The Rematch!, which is sold out. In addition, kids 12 and under are free in the general admission sections on Thursday and Friday when accompanied by a paying adult and military personnel receive $5 off general admission tickets both nights.(Richmond International Raceway PR)(8-28-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award: At last Saturday’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, tempers flared, cautions were abundant and emotions ran hot. In the end, few cars were able to escape the race without any damage.. The #99 CITGO Ford of Jeff Burton’s was no exception. But the team overcame some mid-race bad luck to finish in the top-15, helping earn team crew chief Frank Stoddard this week’s “IRWIN Rough to the Finish” award. Starting from the 36th position, Burton methodically made his way through traffic all night, climbing as high as 5th after a fast pit stop during a caution flag on lap 292. When the field came to the restart, the #19 and #88 got tangled up in front of Burton. Burton had nowhere to go, and ran into the #88 causing severe damage to the nose of the car. The #99 CITGO Ford would come in for a series of green flag pit stops to assess and fix the damage, eventually going a lap down on lap 355. But Burton persisted, and was able to regain his lap later in the race and climb to 13th position, where he would finish the night. “The #99 CITGO team did a great job in the pits this past weekend,” said Stoddard. “We were really running strong before the accident. Unfortunately, we won’t know how well we could have done tonight. But this team really came through under some difficult circumstances and allowed Jeff to post a top-15 finish.. My hat’s off to all those guys in the pits – they deserve all the credit.”
    Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Irwin, makers of professional power tool accessories like Marathon Plus saw blades and Speedbor flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund in the racing team’s name.. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund.. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338. In addition to the crew chief award, Irwin is also sponsoring the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons“, throughout the upcoming year.(Golin Harris PR)(8-28-2002)


    (8-27-2002)

  • Hut out….Kenny in NOW? UPDATE 2 Official: hearing Kenny Wallace may take over the #23 Bill Davis Racing / Hills Bros Dodge ride from current driver Hut Stricklin as soon as this week at Darlington, with the exception of Talladega (where he will drive the #33 1-800-CALLATT Chevy and Martinesville due to his BGN team). Supposedly Scott Wimmer will drive the #23 at Talladega and it is unknown who will drive it at Martinsville. Assuming Hills Bros will stay with the #23 for the rest of the year.(8-27-2002)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace’s plans to join Bill Davis Racing [BDR] in 2003 apparently have taken on an accelerated schedule. Wallace, scheduled Tuesday night on ESPN’s show RPM2Night to announce his plans to join BDR with sponsor Stacker2 in 2003, will replace current BDR driver Hut Stricklin in the No. 23 Dodge this weekend at Darlington, SC, ThatsRacin.com has learned. The driver change was confirmed Tuesday when an updated entry list, provided by NASCAR, showed Wallace in the #23 Dodge at Darlington. A BDR spokesperson would not comment on the driver change, only to say more information would be available later in the week. Wallace is expected to compete in the #23 for the remainder of the 2002 season, except for the October race at Talladega, where he was already scheduled to drive for car owner Andy Petree; and Martinsville, which presents a conflict with Wallace’s current BGN schedule. Stricklin has struggled this season, his first with BDR. In 22 starts – he failed to qualify for one race and road racer Tom Hubert filled in for another – Stricklin is 33rd in points with no top-10 finishes. His best finish was 11th at Talladega in April. His best start was 21st at Rockingham. Wallace has made 10 Winston Cup starts this season for a variety of teams. His best finish was 10th at Rockingham while driving as a substitute for Steve Park’s #1 Dale Earnhardt Inc.-owned Chevrolet.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-27-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Effective immediately, Kenny Wallace will take over the driving duties for the #23 Hills Bros. Coffee Dodge for the remainder of the season.. After a lengthy discussion, car owner, Bill Davis, and driver, Hut Stricklin, have agreed to take this opportunity to maximize efforts for all parties involved for the 2003 NASCAR season. “I am very grateful to Bill Davis Racing and Hills Brothers Coffee, and I consider this as a chance to allow the team to get things in place and get a head start on next year,” said Stricklin. “It will also allow me to explore my options for the future. Hills Brothers Coffee is a great sponsor and I will continue involvement with the company for the remainder of the year.”
    “All of us at Bill Davis Racing respect Hut and his family, “said car owner, Bill Davis.. “He is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet in this sport and I think a lot of him.. We announced earlier this week that Kenny will be driving the #23 Stacker 2 Dodge beginning in 2003, and we see this as a opportunity to get a head start on next season and work toward building the team chemistry and consistency that is essential to run up front in the Winston Cup Series.”(Bill Davis Racing PR)(8-27-2002)
  • Kenny Wallace announcment Tuesday – OFFICIAL Wallace and Stacker2 to the #23: per the Kenny Wallace Racing site: “The Announcement” will be held Tuesday at 6:30pm/et on ESPN2’s RPM2NIGHT, and at 6:40 on KennyWallaceRacing.com, also on FSN’s Totally NASCAR on Tuesday Night 6:00pm/local and Speed Channel at 6:30pm/et. Wallace’s 2003 plans.(8-26-2002)
    Some past rumors…..Kenny Wallace to the #23? UPDATE: Kenny Wallace is expected to drive Bill Davis’ #23 Dodge, with Stacker 2 as the primary sponsor, in 2003. Davis says that if Hills Brothers, the current sponsor on the #23, re-signs during the next two weeks for next season, he might field a third team. Hut Stricklin currently drives the #23.(Sporting News)
    UPDATE: Wallace was on ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night and said he has a deal is basically done and to look for announcement just after the Brickyard 400, but he wouldn’t comment on the specifics.(7-22-2002) for more, see my #23 Team or #98 Team pages.(8-27-2002)
    UPDATE 2 – Kenny Wallace and Stacker 2 Sign Multi-Year Deal With Bill Davis Racing: NVE Pharmaceuticals and Bill Davis Racing have inked a multi-year deal with Kenny Wallace and Stacker 2. Wallace will drive the #23 NASCAR Winston Cup Dodge beginning in 2003 and will carry Stacker 2, “The World’s Strongest Fat Burner’ as its primary sponsor. Wallace, a veteran driver in both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series ranks, is thrilled about the opportunity of returning full-time to NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition for Bill Davis Racing. “This is a dream come true for me,” said Wallace. “I’m so lucky to have a sponsor that’s so supportive and their involvement in NASCAR. Competing on the Winston Cup level is no easy task, as the competition is so close these days. You have to be with a team that can win races, and Bill Davis Racing has proven that. I feel very fortunate that I’ll have the opportunity to be part of an organization with such great history. Bill’s a racer and he knows what it takes to win. He’s committed to giving his teams everything they need to run up front and that’s where I plan to take the Stacker 2 Dodge – to the front! ”
    Davis, felt Wallace and Stacker 2 were a perfect addition to Bill Davis Racing.
    “I’m very excited about Kenny and Stacker 2 coming aboard,” said Davis. “Stacker 2 is extremely committed to their involvement in NASCAR. They do a lot of creative things to compliment their involvement as a sponsor. The ads are humorous and who could be a better spokesperson for Stacker 2 than Kenny? I’ve known Kenny since he was a kid and we’re great friends. He comes from a strong racing family and while his personality is fun and light-hearted, his will to win is very serious. I watched what he was capable of while subbing for Steve Park in the #1 DEI car. He did an amazing job and we feel it’s just the beginning of what he can do behind the wheel of a race car. We’re committed to provide them with the necessary tools needed to be successful on the Winston Cup level.”
    NVE Pharmaceuticals is also excited about the move to a full-time NASCAR Winston Cup team.
    “We have had such success with our NASCAR sponsorship that we are ready to take it to a new level,” said Karen Finocchio, Vice President of Marketing for NVE Pharmaceuticals. “Moving to the Winston Cup Series was the next step in our marketing program and we are 100 percent committed to Kenny. We know Kenny has the talent to compete at the Winston Cup level, so we were looking for an outfit that could provide him with the resources to be competitive. Once we met with Bill, we were immediately impressed with his organization. He runs a first-class racing operation and we knew we had found a home for us and Kenny.”
    NVE Pharmaceuticals is the only manufacturer of The World’s Strongest Fat Burners, Diet Products and Herbal Energizers. Look for the release of the Stacker 2 High Protein Liquid Lunch drink and the new high protein, low carbohydrate meal replacement bar. See their site at www.nveusa.com or www.stacker2.com.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(8-27-2002)
  • BH Motorsports to Announce Plans for 2002-2003: BH Motorsports, who recently formed a strategic alliance with Hendrick Motorsports, will announce their 2002-2003 plans at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., on Thursday, Aug. 29th. The announcement will be regarding a planned minority driver development program and the team’s acquisition of a primary advertiser, along with driver and crew chief introductions. The BH Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo will be unveiled(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(8-27-2002)
  • Jeff Burton to help out MDA at Darlington: #99-Jeff Burton will run a special paint scheme for this weekend’s Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington to help raise money to find a cure for muscular dystrophy. It’s the second year that Burton and his car’s sponsor, CITGO, have teamed up in the benefit. Burton’s car will have a red, white and blue paint scheme for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Burton will wear a specially designed helmet and firesuit that will be auctioned off later to help raise money for MDA.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-27-2002)
  • Loomis sends note: Robbie Loomis, who left Petty Enterprises to become Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, tried to smooth things over with his former employer by sending a note to [Kyle] Petty’s pit. Loomis was relieved to get a reply. “I love the Pettys to death, and they didn’t understand why we weren’t giving them the lap back,” Loomis said. “I’d go over there and mow their grass if they called me to help make up for it. They sent a note back saying they understood he was trying to protect his lead.”(St Petersburg Times)(8-27-2002)
  • Trickle to test for Evernham at Talladega: Dick Trickle will be testing for the Evernham Motorsports teams again in Talladega. They have scheduled a test for Tuesday and Wednesday, September 10th & 11th. Trickle tested for the Evernham teams in March before the April race in a third car #91. NASCAR rules stated that if a new car number was tested, that car must also attempt to qualify for the race. Trickle attempted to qualify for the Talladega race with the Evernham Motorsports R & D car, but their speed was off the pace. They will not have to attempt to make the race in Talladega in October.(Dick Trickle Fanclub Newsletter)(8-27-2002)
  • TRAC Lands Financing: Team Sports Entertainment Inc., the parent company of the Team Racing Auto Circuit series, said today that it has received a $2.5 million funding commitment from a shareholder group led by Godley Morris Group LLC. TRAC hopes to launch next year with a league that will consist of 10, three-car teams located in major U.S. cities with motorsports venues in their area. The Charlotte Business Journal reported last week that the startup venture has encountered a number of problems and was reporting debts of $1.8 million and telling the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had less than $20,000 in cash on hand.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-27-2002)

    (8-26-2002)

  • #24 in, #97 out: with #24-Jeff Gordon’s win, it puts the #24 team in the Winner’s Circle program for 2003 and knocks the #97-Kurt Busch team out. 15 drivers have won so far in 2002, the top ten get in, first by wins, then the tiebreaker is OWNERS points. See the Winner’s Circle page for standings.(8-26-2002)
  • Ganassi Third Team UPDATE 2: Car owner [#40, #41] Ganassi said he’s committed to fielding a third Dodge Intrepid next season alongside the two Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer currently drive, but would not confirm that Texaco-Havoline will be the sponsor. Texaco-Havoline was expected to go with Rudd to Ganassi, along with the #28, and the company has confirmed it will be in NASCAR next season. But Ganassi needs a driver for the car, which could switch to #42 to stay in succession with his other teams, and he said he’d prefer to hire someone already in stock car racing. Jerry Nadeau has said he’d love to drive for Ganassi, even offering to forfeit his pay should he not meet expectations, and John Andretti also is an option if he decides to leave Petty Enterprises. A remote option would be Jason Leffler, who was a rookie for Ganassi last season but was let go at the end of the year and now drives in NASCAR’s truck series.(CNNSI/AP)(8-25-2002)
    UPDATE: been told that the team is not considering Leffler and Leffler is not considering the team.
    UPDATE 2: The sponsorship deal for next year is done between Chip Ganassi Racing and ChevronTexaco. But there has been no official word on a pilot for the expected third Ganassi team. Word is that Ganassi may make the plans for driver, sponsor and car number known at Richmond International Raceway in two weeks.(NASCAR.com)(8-26-2002)
  • Spears Movie at Indy? as reported a few months ago, singer-actress Britney Spears plans make a NASCAR themed movie and will play the daughter of a successful NASCAR team owner who uses her savvy and experience in the family business to help a driver regain his will to return to racing. She’ll do it with the sanction of NASCAR. And if it works out, with the cooperation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Brickyard 400. Fred Nation, IMS vice president, said: “We’d be pleased to be considered, especially if NASCAR would like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to be one of the venues. . . . We will look for a way to cooperate with that.” There are several racing film projects in the talking stages, he said, “but one never knows until they happen. Right now there are at least a couple based around the Indy 500, things that are being talked about, and we would hope something would come to fruition.” Ann Carli, who is producing Spears’ movie, said she hopes to be at next year’s Brickyard 400. “We’re in the development stages still. Until we have the final script, we’re not going to lock locations.”(Indianapolis Star), see past news on the movie at my TV/Media page (see around June 18th there).(8-26-2002)
  • Petree and Schrader to run ARCA race: Ken Schrader was the first to file an entry for the Sept. 2 Federated Auto Parts 100 on the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds dirt-mile ARCA race. Schrader, a nine-time ARCA series winner, hand-delivered his entry to ARCA officials at Pocono Raceway. Joining Schrader in the race is Winston Cup team owner Andy Petree, who also entered last season and finished ninth. Petree has entered the #15 Chevy and has also entered the #55 Chevt, with a driver to be announced.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-26-2002)
  • Sprague in a Pontiac? UPDATE: The new Haas CNC Racing Chevy Cup team, owned by Gene Haas, was announced a few months ago as the #60 Haas Automation Chevrolet with Jack Sprague driving full time in 2003. Hendrick Motorsports will supply cars, engines and technical support. Well looks like they may be running a Pontiac in 2003 and are leaning that way. Hendrick would still support the team.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read – now in pdf format)(8-22-2002)
    UPDATE: Pontiac’s next announcement of a team for 2003 is expected to have ties to Hendrick Motorsports. Rick Hendrick says the Winston Cup deal being put together for driver Jack Sprague with Gene Haas and Joe Custer likely will put Sprague, one of Hendrick’s Busch Series drivers, in a Grand Prix. Haas Automation has been an associate sponsor on all of Hendrick Motorsports’ entries, and the relationship goes back eight years. Hendrick believes NASCAR has accomplished its goal of establishing common template cars and thinks both new GM models will be equally competitive. The Haas team will get cars, engines and technical support from Hendrick and from Pontiac team MBV (Johnny Benson), which was instrumental in developing the 2003 Grand Prix.(Sporting News)(8-26-2002)
  • #25 Driver – short list – no names: Team Owner Rick Hendrick says there is a short list of candidates for the #25 ride next season. Joe Nemechek has been driving the car since the Coca-Cola 600 in May. Though Hendrick says he knows “Joe can drive a car and is great with the sponsors,” his hard luck since joining the team is unsettling.(Sporting News)(8-26-2002)
  • The Golden Benny: this weeks ‘Golden Benny’ presented to a crew or driver at each NBC/TNT race by NACCAR Legend Benny Parsons went to #9-Bill Elliott and his team for Elliott performance at Michigan when his transmission kept popping out of gear when he let off the gas, Elliott kept going and finished 22nd, putting the tranny in gear and taking it out of gear a few times a lap.(8-26-2002)

 


(8-25-2002)

 

  • More Daytona Testing soon: Series officials are planning another Daytona test session because rain shortened the one earlier this month. The test session could lead to changes in the size of the rear spoilers and restrictor plates. New templates for next season will alter the shape of the roof, changing the aerodynamics, and series officials appear set at making a rule on the car’s body location. John Darby, Winston Cup series director, says dates are being examined for another Daytona test. Darby says it’s unlikely the test would lead to changes at Talladega in October. The changes might be used at next year’s Daytona 500 but probably would debut at next spring’s Talladega race.(Roanoke Times)(8-25-2002)
  • Richmond testing this week: Richmond International Raceway will play host to three days of testing this week for next weekend’s race. #02-Hermie Sadler, #4-Mike Skinner and #41-Jimmy Spencer will be testing Winston Cup cars at the 0.75-mile oval tomorrow. They will be joined by BGN drivers #12-Kerry Earnhardt, #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr., #38-Mark Green, #92-Todd Bodine, #6-Damon Lusk and Martin Truex. Winston Cup teammates #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #15-Michael Waltrip are expected to test at RIR on Tuesday and Wednesday. Earnhardt will be tuning up for the BGN race. The grandstands will be open from 9:00am to 5:00pm each day, and admission is free.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-25-2002)
  • Air Dam Rules back for Darlington: NASCAR notified Chevy and Pontiac teams it was re-instituting the front air dam rule it used at Michigan for next weekend’s race at Darlington. Chevys will be allowed to extend their front air dams out by one inch, while Pontiac teams will be allowed a half-inch extension. NASCAR will again evaluate the performance of the teams following next Sunday’s Southern 500 to decide whether to use the rule at the Sept. 7 race at Richmond.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-25-2002)
  • TV Coverage Highlights: Notes from TNT’s coverage of the Sharpie 500 – Driver’s gone wild: #1 Elliott Sadler pointing at his head signaling for Joe Nemechek to think when he drives, then punching the ambulance on his way off the track. Nemechek knocked Sadler out of the race. #2 Hut Stricklin clapping and giving a mock thumps up as Jeremy Mayfield goes by. Mayfield bumped Strickland out of the race. #3 Jimmie Johnson giving a middle finger wave to Robby Gordon as he passed by. Gordon bumped Johnson out of the race. Dallenbach on why Johnson wouldn’t immediately leave the track: “He is waiting to wave to his favorite driver right now (R. Gordon).” #4 Ward Burton throwing his heel pads at Dale Earnhardt Jr., who knocked him out of the race. Burton on the incident: “I wish I would have had something I could’ve shot through the window.” Best Feature: TNT’s feature on former NFL coach Joe Gibbs, owner of Tony Stewart’s car and Bobby Labonte’s car. The piece described the great respect the teams have for Gibbs as leader, while relaying their lack of confidence in Gibbs’s car knowledge. “We don’t even give him a radio so that he can talk … we give him money to go to the concession stand to buy a hot dog,” said Stewart. Best Video: Points leader Sterling Marlin’s tire jack getting caught under his car, while exiting pit road and going 20 spots up into Ricky Craven’s pit as he left.. Marlin was penalized for the equipment problem. With friends like these:(Turner PR)(8-25-2002)
  • Petree-Jones announcement at Darlington? Andy Petree, in discussion for most of the year to partner with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, said he should know his plans for 2003 by next week. “I’ll have something to talk about at Darlington next week if all goes as planned,” he said. Jones is expected to buy a portion of Petree’s team and the duo has reportedly been shopping for drivers. Bobby Hamilton currently drives for Petree, but both parties have said they are splitting at the end of the season. Petree admitted he tried to get Rudd, but never really had a chance even though he “felt like I had a lot to offer.”(CNNSI/AP)(8-25-2002)
  • Penalty Likely for Ward: #22-Ward Burton and his crew chief, Tommy Baldwin, were called to the NASCAR hauler following Saturday night’s Sharpie 500, where Burton was admonished for his on track demonstration following his wreck Lap 404. Burton was hit by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wrecked in Turn 3. Once he got out of his #22 Dodge, Burton waited on the track for Earnhardt Jr. to come around and threw his heel shields at Earnhardt Jr.’s # 8 Chevrolet. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s managing director of business operations, said a penalty would likely be forthcoming this week regarding Burton’s behavior. “Junior just didn’t take his time,” Burton said. “We’d been giving and taking out there all day. I’ve got some really good words for him that I can’t say.” Earnhardt Jr. said the wreck wasn’t intentional. “I don’t really keep it no secret when I wreck somebody. I don’t do it that often. Hopefully for sure Ward knows that that wasn’t intentional,” Earnhardt Jr. said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-25-2002)
  • MB2 Close to a sponsor for 2003? Jay Frye, general manager at MB2, said the team is in negotiations with about four companies for sponsorship and he expected the #36 to be on the track next season. Frye said the team would retain Schrader if it can get a sponsor for the car. Current sponsor M&M’s is leaving to go to Robert Yates Racing [#38-Elliott Sadler].(CNNSI/AP)(8-25-2002)
  • More Penske to Dodge stuff UPDATE: Adding fuel to the intense speculation that Roger Penske may be moving from Ford to Dodge next season is the word now, unofficially, that Dodge’s Ray Evernham may be supplementing his own in-house engine operation by signing up for a Penske engine leasing program with Penske’s engine man Larry Wallace. According to one unconfirmed report Dodge has offered Penske a $20 million-a-year deal to switch.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2002)
    UPDATE: The latest on the Dodge engine front: Larry Wallace, one of NASCAR’s top engine builders, may be taking over command of the engine program for Ray Evernham’s three teams, according to Detroit sources. Wallace has been the Ford engine builder for years for Rusty Wallace (no relation), but his contract with the Roger Penske team is reported to be up at the end of this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-25-2002)


    (8-24-2002)

  • Gordon ends ‘the streak’ at Bristol: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Sharpie 500 at Bristol with a bump and run on #2-Rusty Wallace with a few laps to go. It is Gordon’s first 2002 win, his first since Kansas last September, his first win in 31 races, his 59th career win, and Gordon has now won at least on race in each of the last nine seasons. Wallace ended up 2nd, blamed #25-Nemechek for slowing him up (Nemechek is also Gordon’s teammate). See my rundown and notes on the race on my Bristol Race Info Page.
    Race Results: at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(8-24-2002)


    The possible ignition setup as displayed by NASCAR at Pocono in July
    Image by Jim Garrahan of Up Close and Personal Stock Car Photos

  • Visible Electronics: NASCAR is writing a new rule mandating a new, more visible ignition box system that will go into effect at Daytona next season, to make sure nothing is connected to the ignition system that isn’t supposed to be – like traction control.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2002)
  • 2003 Chevy Approved: The all-new 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo race car has been given the green light by NASCAR. Officials with Chevrolet and GM Racing received the final approval this week. For the past six months, key representatives from GM Racing have been working diligently with NASCAR and Chevrolet Winston Cup drivers, team owners, and engineers to develop, build, and submit a brand new Monte Carlo for Winston Cup competition. Hendrick Motorsports (HMS), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI), Richard Childress Racing (RCR), and Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) pooled their talents to design the new race car, which will make its official debut at Daytona Speedweeks in February 2003. With valuable input from Joe Gibbs Racing, which was one of the teams leading an earlier 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix submission, GM Racing engineers were able to streamline their entire course of action and accomplish the task in a relatively short period of time. Each team played a significant role in the development of the new Monte Carlo. RCR built the downforce car, DEI built the superspeedway car, and HMS built the final submission car. GM Racing concentrated on the challenge of building a car that not only conforms to the new aerodynamic platform established by NASCAR, but that also retains the styling characteristics of the street Monte Carlo.(GM PR)(8-24-2002)
  • Petree and Wallace back together..Kenny…at Talladega UPDATE: hearing that Kenny Wallace and Andy Petree Racing will be reunited at Talladega Superspeedway for the EA SPORTS 500 on October 6th.  The sponsor will be 1-800-CALLATT.  Kenny will drive the same #33 Chevy that featured Carrot Top in Daytona – driven by his brother Mike in the Pepsi 400. Also hearing that on Monday, Wallace, APR & ATT will announce their search for a crew chief – in a most unique manner.(8-24-2002)
  • Legends race to raise money for Museum: Many NASCAR Racing “Legends” will race Sept. 28 to raise money for the planned Racing Museum of the South. Three-time Winston Cup champion David Pearson, his son and two-time Busch Series champion Larry Pearson and legendary car owner Bud Moore will take part in the race on the old dirt track at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds. Other drivers scheduled to compete are Cotton Owens and Dick Brooks. The planned museum will be in the old Beaumont Mill building in downtown Spartanburg. SC.(The State)(8-24-2002)
  • Andretti’s Plans? Now that Ricky Rudd has signed his deal, the focus in the Winston Cup garage turns to car owner Chip Ganassi, who is looking for a new driver for his planned third team. Ganassi says he’s looking for youth, noting that Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer are both well into their 40s. One obvious man to keep an eye on is Jason Leffler, who drove for Ganassi last year as a rookie before being pushed back to the Truck series, where he has been a hot driver this season. Another man is John Andretti, who drives for Kyle Petty but who has expressed a strong desire to add the Indy 500 to his schedule, something Ganassi can easily do. Andretti reportedly met with Ganassi this week. Andretti was pressed hard here yesterday by the media but he offered no clues as to what he might do.(Winston Salem Journal)AND Now that Ricky Rudd and Elliott Sadler have shored up their 2003 plans, the focus turns to John Andretti and whether or not he’ll be back with Petty Enterprises. Andretti has been in the #43 Dodge since 1998, but his contract is up at the end of the season. Kyle Petty, who runs the organization, has said they want Andretti back, but no deal has been reached and Andretti said he has spoken to other car owners about opportunities. “I don’t play games and I don’t run from motorhome to motorhome looking for a deal,” Andretti said. “If somebody wants to talk to me, they can call me on the phone.” But Andretti sounded as if he’s leaning toward sticking with Petty, even though it’s possible higher-profile teams like Chip Ganassi Racing could be wooing him. One sticking point in the negotiations is Andretti’s desire to run in the Indianapolis 500, which he did in 1994, but Petty refused to let him do this season. Andretti said he’s not giving up on his bid to run in the race.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(8-24-2002)
  • Grubb to Cup in 2003? Renshaw to BGN? Deborah Renshaw, who gained national attention thanks to a plot against her by male drivers at Fairgrounds Speedway, is being considered for a full-time ride in the BGN. Rick Goodwin, owner of [#54] Team Bristol Motorsports in Bristol, Va., met with Renshaw and her parents in his suite at Bristol Motor Speedway yesterday. Goodwin’s current driver is Kevin Grubb. But Goodwin wants to put Grubb in a full-time Winston Cup ride based in Charlotte next season and hire a new driver for his BGN car. Goodwin said the 24-year-old Renshaw’s racing experience is relatively limited, but her poise and personality heightens her value in a marketing-driven sport. Goodwin said Renshaw is one of ”a number” of candidates he’s looking at and plans to announce his selection within 30-45 days.(Tennessean)(8-24-2002)
  • More Penske to Dodge stuff: Adding fuel to the intense speculation that Roger Penske may be moving from Ford to Dodge next season is the word now, unofficially, that Dodge’s Ray Evernham may be supplementing his own in-house engine operation by signing up for a Penske engine leasing program with Penske’s engine man Larry Wallace. According to one unconfirmed report Dodge has offered Penske a $20 million-a-year deal to switch.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2002)
  • Jones-Petree? Maybe Not? Questions continue to swirl around the Jerry Jones-Andy Petree operation. Little has been heard from this side of the garage in several weeks. Petree is doing a delicate balancing act, with Jones looking at a Ford operation and Petree a long-time GM man. According to GM sources, there is now the possibility that the Petree team could field Pontiacs next season instead of Fords. If it is Fords, though, one possible driver pick could be BGN driver Scott Riggs. Another possible pick: Ken Schrader, depending on what happens with his current [#36 MB2] team, which is looking for a sponsor.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2002)
  • Hammond Injured: Jeff Hammond, former Winston Cup crew chief and current analyst for Fox and Speed Channel television, is in a cast this weekend after breaking his right arm while steer wrestling in preparation for a Southern Rodeo Association event. Hammond says the healing process will take six to eight weeks. “Then we’ll get to do it all over again,” Hammond said. “As soon as they give me clearance, I’ll be back on a horse. Just have to do everything one-handed, that’s all.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-24-2002)
  • TRAC still on track: The Team Racing Auto Circuit may not be ready to get on the track next year as planned, but the stock-car racing series’ new president said Friday he believes TRAC is “on the way to the right direction.” Terry Hanson said TRAC will emerge from what he admitted was a severe cash-flow situation that led to Indianapolis-based Riley & Scott halting production on the race cars it is building for TRAC after the racing series fell behind on payments. Hanson said the series is talking with a potential television partner about whether the series should start next year, as originally planned, or wait until 2004.(ThatsRacin.com), see more on my TRAC page.(8-24-2002)
  • If Park wins, a fan wins $1 million: If #1-Steve Park wins the Sharpie 500 the finalist in the “You Could Win $1,000,000” by Sharpie, Daniel Ferneyhough of Woodstock, Ontario [Canada] will win $1 million.(8-24-2002) – nope, Park fell behind early and was never a factor in the race.(8-24-2002)
  • To the Back – Sadler and Skinner: #21-Elliott Sadler’s team changed an engine after Friday’s first practice, so Sadler will go to the rear of the field before the green flag on Saturday night. Sadler also crashed on his qualifying lap, no word on if he will go to a backup, the nose got pushed in against the inside wall.(8-23-2002)
    UPDATE: it was reported on Fox Sports Net’s NASCAR This Morning that the #4-Mike Skinner team changed engines and will have to go to the back of the field, joining Sadler. Skinner starts 42nd, Sadler 43rd (goes by who qualified best)(8-24-2002)


    (8-23-2002)

  • Morgan-McClure announcement at Bristol? UPDATE 2 It’s Official to Pontiac: hearing that the #4 Morgan McClure to Pontiac announcment could come at Bristol the weekend of August 23-24th.(8-15-2002)
    UPDATE: Word on the street has Morgan-McClure Motorsports leaving the Chevy stable and switching to the 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix. If Morgan-McClure makes the move, it would be the second team captured by Pontiac. On Saturday, PPI Racing announced it was leaving Ford and that Ricky Craven would drive a #32 Pontiac beginning with next year. The announcement might be made during activities at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(8-20-2002)
    UPDATE 2: a press conference has been scheduled for 10:30am Friday morning at BMS. While the move is still not definite, Morgan-McClure is expected to leave the Chevrolet camp and move to the Pontiac Grand Prix for next season.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-22-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Pontiac Racing announced Friday that Morgan-McClure Motorsports has been added to its racing stable, beginning with the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. Morgan-McClure currently campaigns the #4 Kodak Chevy with driver Mike Skinner.(GM PR) AND Team owner Larry McClure said the association with Pontiac will provide many resources. “More engineering. More money. More technical advice and experience. They are willing to provide us with whatever we need to help us to be more competitive,” McClure said. McClure also said he continues to explore the idea of fielding a second race team in the future, dependent on sponsorship dollars.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-23-2002)
  • Happy Hour practice is over at Bristol for the Sharpie 500. #12-Ryan Newman was the fastest at 121.520, followed by #9-Bill Elliott at 120.763 and #30-Jeff Green at 120.038. Slowest were #90-Lance Hooper at 117.050, #49-Derrike Cope at 117.150 and #15-Michael Waltrip at 117.552. For speed see ThatsRacin.com.(8-23-2002)
  • Some Bristol Stats: The top-five drivers in the Winston Cup points race have a mathematical chance of leaving Bristol as the points leader. However, should Mark Martin win the Sharpie 500, Sterling Marlin can maintain his lead by finishing seventh or better regardless of lap leader bonus points for either. Forty-seven of 83 Cup races at Bristol have been won from the first four starting positions (57 percent). Only 13 races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-23-2002)
  • Havoline/Chevron/Texaco…out? BUT they say they will remain: hearing that ChevronTexaco wants out of its motorsports sponsorships, that it inherirted when it bought Texaco.
    BUT as I was posting the above, I saw this on ThatsRacin.com: ChevronTexaco, which has sponsored Ricky Rudd’s #28 Ford since 2000 [and since 1987 as Texaco], plans to remain in Winston Cup racing next season with another team, a company spokesperson said. Earlier this week, Rudd announced he was joining Wood Brothers Racing next season and Robert Yates Racing, Rudd’s home this season, announced the hiring of Elliott Sadler, but with another sponsor, leaving the ChevronTexaco sponsorship in limbo. ChevronTexaco has been rumored as a sponsor for a third team at Chip Ganassi Racing, but it will likely be up to two weeks before the company finalizes its plans.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-23-2002)
  • More Pontiac Switches? Bob Kraut, marketing director for Pontiac Grand Prix, said Friday there would be additional announcements forthcoming regarding more teams changing to Pontiac next season. Pontiac lost two flagship teams when Joe Gibbs Racing announced earlier this season it was moving to Chevrolet next year. With the addition of #4-Morgan-McClure and driver Mike Skinner, at least five teams are likely to be in the Pontiac camp next season, including #32-PPI (and maybe a 2nd team), #10-MBV and #36-MB2 Motorsports and #14-A.J. Foyt Racing.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-23-2002)
  • Stewart works for Peanuts™: Action Performance announced a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing, The Home Depot and United Media that will bring the Peanuts™ characters from the strip created by Charles M. Schulz back to the racetrack. This time, the Peanuts™ gang will be on the lookout for the harbinger of Halloween-The Great Pumpkin, and NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart will be leading the way. The Peanuts™ characters will be featured twice at the track as part of this year’s Great Pumpkin event. Initially, Stewart will pilot the black #20 The Home Depot/In Search of the Great Pumpkin Pontiac during the August night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Stewart’s final Peanuts™-themed car also will be unveiled in August and ultimately will race during the October event in Atlanta.(Action Performance Companies PR), see my Paint Scheme Gallery for images of each scheme.(8-23-2002)
  • Buckshot Announcement UPDATE 3 sponsor fell thru?: from the Buckshot racing site: “Look for Buckshot [Jones] to make a big announcement by the end of June”(6-11-2002)
    UPDATE: more from the Buckshot Jones site – The family is growing! Jina, Buckshot, and Kolton are going to have a new addition to the family. Jina is expecting a baby due to arrive in January, 2003. Look for Buckshot to make an announcement about his future racing plans in the near future.
    AND Buckshot Jones said this week that he’ll be able to find a new Winston Cup ride in about two weeks. Released earlier this year from his job as driver of Petty Enterprises’ #44 Dodge, Jones has been talking with several race teams and potential sponsors about a ride for next season. “We don’t have any definite deals, but I have spent at least two days every week meeting with race teams,” Jones said. And to make sure that he hits the tracks in high gear in 2003, Jones plans to enter some races before the end of this season. “We plan to run either the Busch or Winston Cup race at Atlanta in the fall and maybe more,” he said. Since splitting with the Pettys in April, Jones has worked on his family farm in Monticello and vacationed in Florida.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)
    Ganassi involved? hearing this could be a Chip Ganassi Racing third team or could end up taking the sponsorship to #92 Melling Racing.(6-21-2002)
    UPDATE 2: being told now that Ganassi Racing is not considering Jones to drive a car or start a new team.(6-22-2002)
    UPDATE 3: a few weeks old but in the Aug 9th Speedway Scene it is reported in the ‘Snowballs’ section that Jones was out shopping himself with Charter Cable systems as a driver/sponsor package. Was believed to be headed to Bill Davis Racing, but financial problems for the sponsor seemed to have put a halt on that possibility.(8-23-2002)
  • TRAC News – news hires and production of cars stopped?: Veteran South Carolina business executive, Charlie Bradshaw, has been named as Chief Executive Officer for Team Sports Entertainment, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary TRAC. Bradshaw, who has been a member of the Team Sports Entertainment, Inc. Board of Directors since July 2001, brings over 40 years of business management experience to Team Sports Entertainment, Inc. Bradshaw currently serves as President of Bradshaw Investments, Inc., a family holding company. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Sonoco Products, Linville Resorts Inc., Textile Hall Corporation, and Spartanburg Regional Medical Center Foundation. In another management change, long-time Sports executive Terry Hanson has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of TRAC. Pritchett has left the company to pursue other business interests. Hanson has been serving as Executive Vice President at TRAC and has held top executive positions with Turner Broadcasting, The PGA Tour and Raycom Sports in his 30-year sports career. Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC) is a newly formed national motor sports league [for more info and past news, see my TRAC page].(TRAC PR)
    AND ….as of August 14, 2002, the Company had approximately $1.8 million in accounts payable and less than $20,000 in cash. Of the $1.8 million in accouunts payable, $1.5 million relates to the production of the TRAC racing cars. In the event TRAC’s inaugural season is 2004, the car production payments would be resheduled. The Company has been seeking to raise additional cash,as debt or equity, to fund its operations, but to date has been unsuccessful. As a result of non-payment by the Company, Riley & Scott has stopped production of TRAC’s racing cars. The Company will continue to seek to raise cash to continue its operations and complete its business plan, but there can be no assurances it will be able to do so. If the Company is unable to raise the required cash in the next few weeks, it may be forced to terminate its operations. Even if the Company is successful in raising the required funds, it may be forced to delay its races until the 2004 season.(Yahoo Biz)(8-23-2002)


    (8-22-2002)

  • Gordon wins the pole for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol: #24-Jeff Gordon won the pole at Bristol with a speed of 124.034mph, his 3rd Bud Pole of 2002 and 42nd of his career. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr is on the outside pole with a speed of 123.937mph. See my Sharpie 500 Race Info page for the speeds and provisonals and misses(8-22-2002)
  • Five Different Winners: The last five short-track races have been won by a different driver: Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Kurt Busch, Ricky Craven and Ricky Rudd. Dating back to last season, Stewart has won three of the last nine short-track races.(Roanoke Times)(8-22-2002)
  • Mast UPDATES: been asked, didn’t know, Lee Spencer answered some email at the Sporting News on what is up with Cup driver Rick Mast: ” Q: What’s going on with Rick Mast? I heard he was having health problems and that doctors were running tests on him. Could you please bring me up to date? A: Mast had been suffering from severe headaches and over several months lost an extreme amount of weight. He says he felt “deathly ill” after his last race in May at Richmond. With NASCAR’s help, Mast saw specialists at the Mayo Clinic, but they were unable to give him “definitive answers.” Although doctors found no signs of cancer, they did not rule out the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.(Sporting News)
    AND #90 Team Owner Junie Donlavey confirmed to XM/NASCAR Radio’s Chris McClain in an interview on Tuesday that Rick Mast is suffering from Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
    AND II: ESPN2’s RPM2Night host, John Kernan recorded an interview today for RPM Now on ESPN radio this weekend and plans to run a portion of it on RPM2Night tonight (6:30pm/et on ESPN2). Mast says the doctors have still not determined what is wrong with him and says carbon monoxide is a possiblity, but it has not been confirmed. Mast is also going out to Colorado in a couple of weeks for some more extensive tests.(8-22-2002)
  • Sprague in a Pontiac? The new Haas CNC Racing Chevy Cup team, owned by Gene Haas, was announced a few months ago as the #60 Haas Automation Chevrolet with Jack Sprague driving full time in 2003. Hendrick Motorsports will supply cars, engines and technical support. Well looks like they may be running a Pontiac in 2003 and are leaning that way. Hendrick would still support the team.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read – now in pdf format)(8-22-2002)
  • Cope in the #49 Again: Derrike Cope will drive the #49 BAM Racing Dodge at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend with support from MNR Productions. MNR provided the race car design to Billy Ray Cyrus to promote his hit PAX TV program Doc. Cyrus stars as Clint Cassidy, a country doctor from Montana whose love for a woman has forced him to practice medicine in New York City. The series airs Sundays at 8:00pm and again at 9:00pm on PAX TV. “We’re very glad to be taking our team to Bristol, especially after having such a great weekend in Michigan,” said Elizabeth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. “Derrike and the guys did a wonderful job at Michigan. We stayed on the lead lap and would have had a solid finish,” she said. Cope ran as high as fourth in the race and appeared to be headed to as much as a top-10 finish before some untimely cautions. BAM Racing had prepared a car for Bristol but debated adding the race to its modified schedule for the season. The team had been formed with the plan of running a limited NASCAR Winston Cup schedule in order to build a strong foundation for the future. “The opportunity to work with Derrike again was one we all wanted,” Morgenthau said. “The Michigan race was a large step forward for us. It was a real morale booster for everyone on the team. We had the chance to see our car in the top five for part of the race, and we saw great work on everyone’s part to keep us among the lead lap cars all day long. Maybe we can carry some of that momentum over to Bristol,” she continued. “Obviously, those are two very different race tracks requiring two very different styles of driver and car. But our people are experienced, talented and eager to race”(Williams Company)(8-21-2002)
    IMAGE: see my Paint Scheme Gallery for an image of the car.(8-22-2002)
  • Kenny Wallace wins: Winston Cup/BGN driver (and Stacker2 celeb) Kenny Wallace used a chrome horn to pass Benny Gordon for the lead and held on with old tires to win the Hills Brothers All Pro series Charter/Hardee’s 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway Tuesday. Wallace had been glued to Gordon’s back bumper for about 50 laps before tapping Gordon’s rear bumper on lap 230 heading out of turn four toward the flag stand. That got Gordon loose, giving Wallace an opportunity to get beside him on the front stretch and complete the pass heading into turn one.(see full story at the Kingsport News-Times)(8-22-2002)
  • Shepherd to attempt Bristol: Morgan Shepherd and the #89 Racing With Jesus Ford will head to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for the running of the Sharpie 500. Shepherd’s fans, who have been extremely supportive, will be thrilled to see this logo from his #21 Craftsman Truck appear on the hood of his Winston Cup car for this event. It will be the first time this logo will appear in Winston Cup. Shepherd will attempt to qualify his unsponsored #89 Cup car at a track where he holds the record of four wins in the BGN. Morgan welcomes Loren Lanter and a crew member from Loren’s Late Model team who will be assisting with crew duties this weekend. Additionally, Todd Bradburry. from the Pro Truck Series Division, out of Concord, NC., will come on board this weekend as a first time crew member. Ted Jackson will return with Morgan, as well. Morgan wishes to thank these crew members for their assistance. Motorsportsweb.com, Racing With Jesus Ministries and Catchfence.com continue to be proud associate sponsors for Shepherd Racing and look forward to continued affiliation. Negotiations will begin soon for primary sponsorship for the 2003 season.(STB Marketing Group PR)(8-22-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award: Everyone knew that last Sunday’s Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway would come down to pit strategy and a tremendous effort on the track. Proving that true, Dale Jarrett drove the #88 UPS Racing Ford to a win after a spin on lap 12 sent him to the back of the pack. But it was crew chief Todd Parrott’s sound pit strategy on the final pit stop of the day that helped secure Jarrett’s second win of the season and his second IRWIN “Rough to the Finish” Award of the season. On lap 12, Jarrett passed Jeremy Mayfield and suddenly got loose through the end of turn four, sending him spinning through the infield grass. After a quick pit stop to repair the damages to the left front fender, Jarrett started at the back of the lead lap, but consistently moved up through of the field as the day went on. By the halfway point of the race, Jarrett had climbed inside the top-10, where he remained for most of the second half. When the final pit stop came around and it was time to make a strategy decision, Parrott decided that four tires were the way to go when most teams were taking two. The move placed Jarrett in 17th position, but he quickly moved up, taking the lead from Jeff Burton for good with four laps remaining. “It was an incredible day, both on the track and in the pits,” said Parrott.. “Who would have thought we’d be in Victory Lane after spinning out like we did?. Dale did a tremendous job charging up through the field, and the guys in the pits never let up for a second. This award is a credit to this entire team’s efforts and proves that if you stay focused under pressure, you can come out victorious.”
    Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Irwin, makers of professional power tool accessories like Marathon Plus saw blades and Speedbor flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund in the racing team’s name.. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund.. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338. In addition to the crew chief award, Irwin is also sponsoring the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons“, throughout the upcoming year.(Golin Harris PR)(8-22-2002)
  • “M&M’s” Night Of Stars Raises $112,000 For Victory Junction Gang Camp: Ken Schrader’s dirt track was a hotbed of activity and charity at the recent “M&M’s”® Night Of Stars. I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., was the site of the first-ever “M&M’s”® Night Of Stars. The event was organized by Schrader and “M&M’s”® to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp, which was established by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son Adam. When the checkered flag fell on the event and all the money was tabulated, $112,000 was raised for the camp through ticket and T-shirt sales and donations. Schrader along with the help of drivers Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Bill Elliott, Steve Park, Johnny Benson and Mike Wallace attracted more than 9,000 fans to the 3/8-mile dirt track in southern Missouri. Fans lined up for hours in advance in the sweltering Midwest heat to catch a glimpse of the drivers. After a two-hour autograph session, the drivers lined up for a 10-lap match race on the dirt. Benson served as the flag man for the event. Flash bulbs popped and fans cheered as some of the biggest names in the Winston Cup garage battled it out. Elliott, who grew up racing on dirt tracks, nosed out Schrader for the win. Park, Petty, Earnhardt, Jr. and Wallace rounded out the running order.(IMG Motorsports-Charlotte PR)(8-22-2002)

    (8-21-2002)

  • Some Rudd Transcript Notes on his new ride:
    Q: Is There Any Chance You And Elliott Could Swap Rides Before The End Of The Year, If You Fall Out Of The Championship Race? A: “Wow, that’s a good one. I don’t know, I guess I’ve got to look at that. That’s something to think about, I guess. I would like to go out there and do some testing and get ready for next year. I’d like to work on that now, but I’m not really sure what our agreements will let us do and not do, even if I don’t drive the cars, believe me, the conversations will be going on.”
    Q: How Much Did Motorcraft Step Up And Did Ford Kick In A Little Extra? A: “Let me just say from where I’m coming from, and I’m not gonna get into details, but all the car owners I talked with, we never got into, ’I want this.’ I just wanted fair compensation. I didn’t ask for Winston Cup championship driver’s salary. I didn’t ask for top-three driver salary or even probably top-five. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cheap and I want all I can get, but I’m not sure exactly what went on with Eddie and the sponsorship requirements.”
    Q: Is This A Three-Year Commitment For You To Drive The Car? A: “I don’t know how much these guys want to talk about the nuts and bolts about the contract, but it’s a three-year contract and I guess you’re asking if there are any escape routes, is it gonna be a one-year or a half-a-year. I’m committed to the Wood Brothers and I guess I’m gonna leave it at that. I’m committed to three years I hope. I guess if they’ve got to kick me out of the seat, I’m not doing my job, I’ll be there for three years. If I’m not doing the job and I’m holding this team back, I’ll be the first to step aside.”
    Q: How Close Were You To Signing With Someone Else Like Chip Ganassi? A: “Chip and I had talked — not only Chip, but I talked to many different teams. With Chip Ganassi, that’s a fine operation. Chip’s a winner. He’s been a winner in every sport he’s been in and he’s winning in Winston Cup. He’s obviously leading the Winston Cup championship right now, so that’s a very strong effort that he puts on a race track week in and week out. Chip and I simply couldn’t come to final terms, and believe me we tried. There was a couple of weeks of negotiations that went on and, contrary to what you might believe, it wasn’t over money and it wasn’t because I gave Chip a right hook in his office one day. Just to lay that to rest, Chip and I — for your information — have never met in his office. We’ve never had a harsh word. We just simply could not agree on terms. There were several toss ups there and you go back and you’ve got to align yourself with the right team, but you’ve got to go with the team that you feel comfortable with. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that Chip Ganassi is not a great person or a great race team, it’s simply that we couldn’t come to terms. Again, it wasn’t over money. There were other teams I could have signed with. If I was just looking for the money, there were some other teams out there that had some tremendous incentives and bonus checks out there, if I wanted to join with them. Again, this is not to belittle this team. All along, I said, ’Pay me market value for my driver services — a top 10 driver,’ and we never had an issue with any of these teams over money and, again, this is gonna be the end of this. I’ll be glad to talk to you tomorrow about any of this other stuff, but, right now, this is about the Wood Brothers and the effort they put on out there week in and week out. I’m proud to be a part of it. I’ll get into some of those other things a little later, but, I’m not gonna get into a negative mudslinging contest back and forth with somebody. I’m just gonna simply stick to this statement, but, again, I’m not sure where these stories develop. I have no idea. Again, the one with Ganassi and him and I having harsh words in his office — it never happened. I never met the man in his office. I’ve been to his race shop one time three weeks ago and that’s the end of the story.”(Ford Racing)(8-21-2002)
  • Simpson back with a new company: Safety guru and innovator, Bill Simpson, has formed a new company, Impact Racing, that will focus mainly on the NHRA with helmets and restraints. Simpson had a one-year non-compete clause in his contract with Simpson Racing Products, a company he started and bears his name. Simpson still owns 25% of the company. Simpson said no changes in the lawsuit against NASCAR and there has been no attempt to settle.(ESPN2’s RPM2Night show), past news on my Safety Page.ALSO see columns today about Simpson at: St Petersburg Times – Bill Simpson is glad to be backand from the Indianapolis Star – Simpson refuses to back down in battle with NASCAR.(8-21-2002)
  • #36 at Bristol – It’s Purple: NASCAR fans voted and rallied for their favorite new color of “M&M’s” Chocolate Candies, then waited for the results. This weekend, the wait is over. Kenny Schrader will finally climb behind the wheel of the purple #36 “M&M’s”® Pontiac at Bristol Motor Speedway for the race under the lights. Schrader will also be sporting a purple uniform to complete his new look for the weekend. “The people have spoken, and they said they wanted to see me in a purple car, so I guess that’s just what they’ll get this weekend in Bristol. The car’s going to look quite sporty under the lights,” Schrader said. “To be honest with you, I’m pretty darned relieved that they didn’t choose pink.” {Jayski’s vote] The purple paint scheme is in honor of “M&M’s”® first-ever Global Color Vote, which ran from March until May of this year. More than 10 million voters in 200 countries selected which color – purple, pink or aqua – would join the famous candy mix as part of the vote. While candy lovers around the globe were choosing which color they wanted to add to the “M&M’s”® mix, NASCAR fans were debating which color car they wanted to see Schrader drive around a high-banked, short track. Although pink was a heavy favorite in the Winston Cup garage area, purple took the top spot when all the voting was finalized and tabulated. Purple received 41 percent of the vote, aqua garnered 38 percent and pink rounded it out with 19 percent. The remaining two percent of the vote went to various write-in colors. See an image of the scheme on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(8-21-2002)
  • Nadeau motorsports’ ‘best man,’ at least for a day: With as many as 15 couples ready to “tie the knot” Saturday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway, Georgia-Pacific Dodge driver Jerry Nadeau just couldn’t let that pass. The Danbury, Ct., native and his sponsor, Georgia-Pacific, will play a major role in the weddings. Nadeau is serving as honorary best man for each couple, while Georgia-Pacific is supplying the first wedding gifts through a gift package. The weddings begin at 11:00am/et Saturday. Speedway officials did set some prerequisites. All participants must fulfill all license requirements and meet with Sullivan County’s Deputy Clerk Sue Jones, who will officiate over all proceedings. They must all have tickets to Saturday’s Sharpie 500 as well. “The folks at Georgia-Pacific and I just wanted to do something that might make the day even more special for these couples,” Nadeau said. “Obviously, this is something they are going to remember the rest of their lives. It might end up being something I remember the rest of my life too. I’m looking forward to it.”(Williams Company PR)(8-21-2002)
  • Sharpie Finalists: Sharpie announced the 10 semifinalists for the grand prize in its “You Could Win $1,000,000” program, one of whom will race to possibly a big pay day at the Sharpie 500 in Bristol, Tennessee on August 24. The semifinalists were chosen randomly from the more than 245,000 entries in a national sweepstakes program. Participants include: Joan Adams of Rock Hill, South Carolina; Barbara Cox of Reynolds, Georgia; Daniel Ferneyhough of Woodstock, Ontario; John Handforth of Kent, Washington; Robert Kerns of Linesville, Pennsylvania; Terrence McCauley of Overland, Missouri; Dennis Morton of Newtown, Pennsylvania; Mona Neal of Huntsville, Alabama; Yvette Schneider of Forest Hills, New York and Kerry Williams of Indianapolis. See more on my Racing Contest page.(Sharpie PR)(8-21-2002)
  • Darlington Testing Speeds Wednesday: The following teams reported these test times at Darlington Raceway on Wedneday, August 21. No qualifying runs were made. As on Tuesday, all runs were made in race trim.
    #97-Kurt Busch, 166.135 mph (Cup)
    #07-Ted Musgrave, 164.084 mph (Cup)
    #17-Matt Kenseth, 163.050 mph (Cup)
    #5-Terry Labonte, 161.232 mph (Cup)
    #91-Stanton Barrett, 158.888mph (BGN)
    (Darlington Raceway PR), see Tuesday’s speeds on my Testing Page.(8-21-2002)
  • Ned Jarrett Update: been asked about NASCAR Legend Ned Jarrett, also former broadcaster and dather of curretn Cup driver #88-Dale Jarrett [DJ], so here ya go: Last night during Raybestos Fast Talk with Benny Parsons, Ned Jarrett called in to let the fans know how his health was doing. Ned said that he has had 4 Heart Cauterizations, 2 Angio-plasties and stints put in with each angio plastey. He had two vessels that were blocked. One was 95% blocked and the other 85% blocked. A little after that he had a blood clot. He went into the hospital and they put him on IV’s with blood thinner and he felt better with in a few hours. In fact, he was playing golf three days later. Jarrett does have 1 artery that goes from his heart to his arm that has a “kink” in it and some blockage but they are treating that with medication. He goes to the cardiac rehab 3 days a week and still continues to do his regular exercises. Doug Rice asked him about being anxious watching DJ on Sunday.. He said. that the doctors gave him some medication for anxiety.. Towards the end of Sunday’s race he wished he had taken one earlier. He watches every lap and listens to every word that they do.(Performance Racing Network)(8-21-2002)

    (8-20-2002)

  • FINALLY – Rudd to Announce Deal Today? Wood Brothers to make announcement UPDATE, IT’s OFFICIAL Rudd’s 2003 Plans: hearing there will be a news conference this afternoon at 5:00pm/et at the University Hilton (Charlotte) to announce Ricky Rudd’s plans for next year. And that it does NOT involve Dodge or Chip Ganassi (by the way, heard Rudd was asking for over $3million and 50% of purse from Ganassi). Look for a full report on ESPN2’s rpm2night at 6:30pm/et. AND just got this – Eddie and Len Wood of Wood Brothers Racing and Motorcraft have called a press conference to announce driver and sponsorship signings today at 5:00.(PR) ALSO FOX Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR will have a full report at 6:00 local, 6:30pm/et on Speed Channel and NBC6.com will have coverage online and local TV.(8-20-2002)
    UPDATE – RUDD’s 2003 Plans: Wood Brothers Racing took two leaps forward today. First, co-owners Eddie and Len Wood announced that they had agreed to the terms of a three-year contract with Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) and its Motorcraft Quality Parts brand, extending the sponsor’s agreement through the 2005 season. Armed with three secure years of sponsorship, the Woods then came to terms on a three-year deal with perennial top-10 driver Ricky Rudd, whose contract with Robert Yates Racing expires at the end of the 2002 season. The actual contract signings are scheduled for today in Charlotte, NC.
    “Unbelievable.. Incredible.. I don’t know what else to say. Two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have bet you a nickel on our chances to sign Ricky. We had one year of sponsorship left, and just not enough to offer him,” said Eddie Wood. “Motorcraft came down to see us last week in Stuart [VA]. They told us they wanted to extend our deal, and asked us what we thought it would take to get Ricky. We laid it out and they said, ‘Let’s go get him.'”
    “Motorcraft and the people at Ford Customer Service Division have been extremely pleased with our association with Wood Brothers Racing,” said Ann O’Neill, Executive Director FCSD.. “This team represents family, quality and a sincere concern for the product they produce and that is what Motorcraft and Ford Motor Company are all about.. The same building blocks that have given Wood Brothers Racing its competitive strength over the years can be compared to the building blocks that keep Ford and its divisions and products at the top of the automotive market.”
    This will be Rudd’s second turn carrying the Motorcraft banner. From 1985-1987, Rudd won four races and finished in the top-10 all three years while driving Motorcraft Ford Thunderbirds for Bud Moore Engineering. “It’s a little scary how quickly and easily all of this has come together,” said Rudd.. “The bottom line, I guess, is that I trust Eddie and Len Wood, and I trust the people at Motorcraft. We’re speaking the same language. Everybody in the garage who knows anything has seen how good the Wood Brothers’ equipment is,” Rudd continued… “Eddie and Len have put together a partnership with Jack Roush that is paying off. Pat Tryson (crew chief) used to work for me when I ran my own team. This is really comfortable for Linda and me, and I think we’ve got a chance to win some races.” A 28-year veteran of Winston Cup racing, Rudd made his series debut in 1975 and won the Rookie of the Year in 1977. Since then, the 45-year-old Virginian has won 23 races and finished in the top-10 in the championship standings 18 times.. He currently stands sixth. As a Wood Brothers Racing driver, Rudd will find himself in elite company. Racing greats David Pearson, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett, and Glen Wood are just a few to win races in Wood Brothers Fords. The team has raced for 52 years and has amassed 97 victories, fourth all-time in NASCAR history and the most of any Ford team.
    A primary team sponsor in NASCAR Winston Cup for the last 18 years, Ford Customer Service Division and the Motorcraft brand began headlining the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Taurus in 2001. The team collected its first victory since 1993 at the 2001 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway and has added four additional top-five finishes since then. The history of Motorcraft Quality Parts and Ford Customer Service Division in NASCAR goes back to its primary sponsorship on NASCAR owner Bud Moore’s NASCAR Winston Cup Thunderbirds from 1985-1993 and its sponsorship of races at Atlanta Motor Speedway from 1987-1993. In 1994 and 1995 the Quality Care Service arm of the Ford Customer Service Division became Moore’s sponsor, and then teamed with Ford Credit to sponsor the #88 Robert Yates Racing Thunderbirds and Tauruses driven by Dale Jarrett from 1996-2000. The Motorcraft brand of spark plugs, filters, motor oil, batteries, electrical, brake and suspension components, in addition to engines and transmissions, are available at Ford Motor Company dealerships and retail outlets throughout the country.(Campbell Company/Motorcraft PR/Ford Racing)(8-20-2002)
  • Hermie Sadler adds Bristol to Schedule: Add #02-Hermie Sadler’s name to the mix this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.. Sadler announced today that he will run the Sharpie 500 this weekend. In addition, Sadler will attempt a double duty effort with entries in the BGN and CUP races at Richmond (sept 6-7th). Sadler has extended his original schedule and also plans to race at New Hampshire next month. “We had been planning to race at Bristol all year,” stated Sadler. “We had a few sponsorship opportunities that we worked on for the race at Bristol but they didn’t pan out. We are running three of the next four races Winston Cup races and the track time at Bristol will help us a great deal. The crew has the car ready and in our last Winston Cup race we finished 18th. We feel confident we’ll have a good weekend.” At Richmond, The Virginia Lottery will sponsor Sadler’s Winston Cup car and The Bank of Southside Virginia will sponsor the BGN car. Sadler initially did not want to run more than seven Winston Cup races this season to maintain his Rookie eligibility. However, he now feels it is in his best interest to run as many races as possible. According to Sadler, “I want to show people that I can be competitive. When seats start opening up I want teams to think about me.. The best way to make that happen is to be at the track. I am excited about the next few months.” For more information on sponsorship opportunities available for the Bristol and New Hampshire Winston Cup races, please contact Brett Griffin @ (704) 992-1021.(Sadler Enterprises PR)(8-20-2002)
  • No – No Bull Five in 2003? the Speedway Scene is reporting that several sources not involved with R.J. Reynolds are saying that the No Bull 5 Program may be a thing of the past after the final 2002 event is completed (Talladega in Oct).(Speedway Scene Print Edition – Aug 9th)(8-20-2002)
  • Sadler to test for Yates: Elliott Sadler and his 2003 crew chief Michael McSwain [for the #38 M&M’s team] are planning to test together before the end of the year to provide the team a head-start on remaining a Winston Cup contender in 2003.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-20-2002)
  • Record TV Ratings for MIS: Turner Network Television (TNT) delivered a record high 5.3 rating (4,497,000 households) for its coverage of the Pepsi 400 on Sunday, August 18, from 2 – 5:20 p.m. ET.. The 5.3 rating is 26 percent higher than last year’s 4.2 rating, marking it as the highest NASCAR rating in network history. The Pepsi 400 race bests all previous NASCAR event telecasts on TNT in rating and household delivery (5.2 household rating/4,248,000 household delivery for New England 300, 7/22/01). In addition, the network aired the NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Michigan on Saturday, August 17, from 1:30 – 3:34 p.m. ET, which delivered an all time Busch Series racing network high with a 1.8 rating (1,518,000 households), which is up 20 percent from last year’s 1.5 rating. The Busch Series race was our 2nd highest rating ever behind the EAS/GNC Live Well 300 on Feb. 16, 2002.(Turner PR)(8-20-2002)
  • Closest Battle Ever: The 150 points that separate the top five drivers in the Winston Cup points standings is the closest margin between the top five in NASCAR history with 13 races remaining.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-20-2002)
  • Tim Sauter to drive the #71 at Bristol: Tim Sauter will attempt to make his Winston Cup debut this weekend at Bristol in the #71 Marcis Racing Chevy. Dave Marcis’ nephew Rob Marcis will crew chief the car. Earlier this season, Marcis fielded cars for Tim’s father Jim Sauter at the Brickyard 400 at Indy (but failed to make the race) and for Tim’s older brother Jay’s Cup debut at Texas in April.(NASCAR.com)(8-20-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week (Michigan): #88 UPS Crew. Hard work and great stops all day took the #88 UPS Crew from Spin to Win. Unchallenged performance on pit road made the #88 UPS Crew the undeniable pit road champion this week. Congratulations #88 Crew on being selected this week’s NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week sponsored by Toxabsorb, 21st Century “Spill Magnet”, Pit Road Competitive Edge and the Official Spill Response Agent of the National Association Of Pit Crew Members. Visit www.toxabsorb.com for all Toxabsorb household and pit road uses.(National Association of Pit Crew Members PR/website)(8-20-2002)
  • Richmond testing: #41-Jimmy Spencer and #26-Todd Bodine are scheduled to test at Richmond International Raceway on Tues August 20th and Wednesday Aug 21st. Fans are invited to watch testing on both days. The grandstands will be open from 9:00am to 5:00pm.(RIR PR)(8-20-2002)
  • Open Testing at Lowe’s Scheduled: Lowe’s Motor Speedway has confirmed open testing dates for the Oct. 13 UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race, the Oct. 12 “Little Trees” 300 NASCAR Busch Series event and the Oct. 10 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 150 ARCA Series season finale. NASCAR Winston Cup Series Testing is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 3 (8:00am -10:00pm) and Wednesday, Sept. 4 (8:00am – 4:00pm), ARCA on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and Busch Series on Tuesday, Oct. 1 and Wednesday, Oct. 2.(LMS PR)(8-20-2002)
  • Dodge motorsports diversity scholarship graduates: Dodge Motorsports announced that the graduating winners of the 2001-2002 Dodge Motorsports Diversity Scholarship program have each earned full-time positions with three Dodge NASCAR race teams. Two students will join Evernham Motorsports’ #9 and #19 Dodge-sponsored Cup Series teams, and a third student will join the Ultra Motorsports #2 Dodge Ram team in the Truck Series. The Dodge Motorsports Diversity Program, in its second year of operation, aims to attract, recruit and train minorities for positions within the automotive and motorsports industry.
    The three scholarship graduates – Jason Flamer, 22, from Houston, Texas; Ramon Zambrano, 21, from Arlington, Virginia; and David Whippy, 21, from Mangilao, Guam – were selected among the first recipients of full scholarships awarded by the Dodge Motorsports Diversity Program in spring of 2001.. The scholarships were awarded to minority high school seniors or graduates, and provided full-tuition and housing for the 51-week NASCAR-approved training at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Houston, Texas. The students received training in a broad range of technical disciplines including diagnostic analysis and mechanical and electrical systems. Jason Flamer graduated from the scholarship program in last June and has already begun working with the #19 Dodge Dealers team of Evernham Motorsports out of its Statesville, NC shop.. He joined the team prior to the Brickyard 400 Winston Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 4. Currently, Flamer is responsible for assembling and tearing down. Jeremy Mayfield’s #19 Dodge on a weekly basis. Ramon Zambrano graduated in August, but will report to the #9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid team for the first time on Monday. David Whippy expects to complete his coursework at UTI by October, and will begin working with the #2 Dodge truck team immediately after receiving his diploma. The Dodge Motorsports Diversity Program launched in the first quarter of 2001, providing a seat in the Bobby Hamilton-owned #8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge to African-American race car driver Willy T. Ribbs. Bill Lester acquired the seat of the #8 Dodge Ram for the 2002 season, and is in the midst of his first full-season in NASCAR Racing, ranking second in the CTS Rookie of the Year Standings. In July, Dodge announced eight more minority scholarship winners at Michigan. The 2002-2003 scholarship class will receive full tuition and board to the 57-week training session at the NASCAR Technical Institute campus in Mooresville, N.C.(Golin/Harris PR)(8-20-2002)
  • Parrott’s Comments UPDATE: got a ton of questions on what #88 UPS Crew Chief Todd Parrott was talking about when he was interviewed after Dale Jarrett won. From the Ford Racing siteYou Mentioned Something About A Family Member After The Race? “It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Anytime I win I get emotional. That’s just the type of person I am. It’s hard. To be honest, the schedule that we keep and the time that we’re away from our families is tough. Anytime you win, you think about family and that’s all I had on my mind.”(8-19-2002)
    UPDATE: and see a FoxSports column by Jeff Hammond: Parrott shows strain in Victory Lane.(8-20-2002)
  • Rudd-Ganassi back on? Dodge sources are saying that the Rudd-Ganassi deal will be done. Indeed, the latest Ganassi move in the negotiations could have been prodded by Dodge officials, who are eager to land another Winston Cup title contender. However, Ford Motor Company executives seem just as determined not to let another of their stars be snatched away, as Bill Elliott was two years ago.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-20-2002) – NOTE: won’t happen as Rudd signed with the Wood Bros #21 team.
  • NASCAR on ABC’s “World News Tonight” Tuesday: Tuesday [Aug 20th] night’s edition of ABC’s World News Tonight will feature: “The cost of sponsoring a NASCAR car has climbed from $4 million just a few years ago to as much as $20 million today. Is it worth every penny for advertisers?”(MotorsportsTV)(8-20-2002)
  • Darlington Testing UPDATE Speeds: The following drivers are scheduled to test at Darlington Raceway on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 20 and 21. BGN drivers: #98-Kasey Kahne, #91-Stanton Barrett and #21-Jeff Green. CUP drivers: #07-Ted Musgrave, #17-Matt Kenseth, #97-Kurt Busch and #5-Terry Labonte.(Darlington Raceway PR)
    UPDATE: The following teams reported these test times at Darlington Raceway on Tuesday, August 20. No qualifying runs were made; tests were made in race trim. Qualifying runs are planned for testing on Wednesday, August 21.
    #97-Kurt Busch, 165.575mph(Cup)
    #07-Ted Musgrave, 165.020mph(Cup)
    #17-Matt Kenseth, 163.375mph(Cup)
    #98-Kasey Kahne, 159.662 mph(BGN)
    (Darlington Raceway PR)(8-20-2002)


    (8-19-2002)

  • Hooper in the #90 at Bristol? UPDATE: hearing the #90 Donlavey Racing Ford will be driven at Bristol by Lance Hooper.(see a few images of the car on the Hooper site.
    UPDATE: Legendary Car Owner, Junie Donlavey, will make his return to Cup at Bristol. Donlavey will be assisting driver Lance Hooper, Roger Smith and former Winston Cup owner Richard Jackson in their efforts to make their first start of the season. Lucas Oil will serve as primary sponsor with JJ Baker Homes, Ingles Markets and Suburban Lodges of America as associate sponsors of the #90 Donlavey Racing Ford. “Richard is a good friend of mine. He approached me about helping Lance and Roger out and I thought it would be great opportunity for all those involved,” Donlavey said. Donlavey Racing is still under operation in Richmond although it is in a scaled back manner. “We will be back,” Donlavey said. ” We are actively searching for sponsorship to run some races later in the year and a full season next. I enjoy being at the track and competition that is involved in this sport.”(Keystone Marketing PR), see images of the car at my Paint Scheme Gallery.(8-19-2002)
  • Special Paint for Bristol: The #22 Caterpillar Dodge driven by Ward Burton will sport the flames/CAT deals scheme at Bristol this week. Also will have the Purple #36 M&M’s, the #20 in The Peanut’s scheme, and the #97 will have a special Sharpies scheme. See images of the cars at my Paint Scheme Gallery.(8-19-2002)
  • Dyno Testing at Michigan UPDATE: NASCAR tested nine cars on the chassis dynamometer after the race – the cars driven by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #20-Tony Stewart, #29-Kevin Harvick, #88-Dale Jarrett, #6-Mark Martin, #17-Matt Kenseth, #40-Sterling Marlin, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #22-Ward Burton.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-18-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR placed nine cars on the chassis dynamometer last Sunday after the race at Michigan. Jarrett’s Taurus led the Fords with 738 horsepower, and Stewart’s Pontiac ran a close second. Ward Burton’s Intrepid led the Dodge camp with 720 horsepower. With technical changes due for submission in September, NASCAR can take the dyno data into consideration when making its decisions.(Sporting News)(8-19-2002)
  • M&M’s Announcement Friday UPDATE 3 It’s M&M’s, Yates, Sadler and……#38: M&M’s to announce 2003 plans on Friday, August 16, 2002 at Michigan.(8-13-2002)
    REVISION: the announcment has been changed to Sunday morning, August 18th at MIS.(8-14-2002)
    UPDATE: Elliott Sadler will drive the #38 M&M’s Ford for Robert Yates Racing beginning next season, it was announced Sunday. Michael McSwain will serve as Sadler’s crew chief. The 2003 campaign is the first of a three-year sponsorship between the two organizations.(NASCAR.com)(8-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The Fords owned by Robert Yates, driven by Elliott Sadler and sponsored by M&M’s next season will carry the #38. That final piece of the puzzle fell into place Sunday morning as the deal was formally announced. “This is the biggest honor and privilege I’ve ever had,” said Sadler, 27, who will complete this season in the #21 Fords owned by the Wood Brothers. “To me, this is a career opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime deal.” Yates said giving up the #28 that has been part of his team since he bought it from Harry Ranier in 1988 “tore a few heart strings, but I got over it the first night.” The new number gives the team a new identity, he said. Yates will also field the #88 Fords for Dale Jarrett again next season. Michael McSwain, crew chief for driver Ricky Rudd on the #28 Fords now, will be Sadler’s crew chief. “I’m really pumped up about it,” McSwain said. “To get someone who’s got the energy that Elliott’s got, the intensity that he’s got and the desire he’s got is pretty exciting for me as a crew chief.” Sadler said he knows there will be pressure on him to perform for a high-profile team such as Yates’ operation. “I need to win races,” said Sadler, who has one career victory. “We need to run well each and every week. …This car has always run well, so I think the pressure on me is probably going to go through the ceiling. …I need to step in there at Daytona next year and try to run for a championship. That’s what’s on our minds, that’s the mentality we’re going to have.”(ThatsRacin.com).
    AND see the full press release at the Sadler Fanclub site.
    NOTE: Owners points of the #28 will transfer to the #38 in 2003, just like they did with Ganassi in 2002 when they changed from the #01 to the #41 and from Cingular to Target.(8-19-2002)
  • Ganassi Third Team? Spencer back: Chip Ganassi still envisions having a three-car team next season, despite rumors a potential that a deal with Texaco/Havoline as a sponsor for the third team may be in doubt. Ganassi said Sunday that Sterling Marlin and, most likely, Jimmy Spencer would drive two of those cars, but wouldn’t speculate on who might drive the third. A deal with Ricky Rudd was believed to be close a week ago. Ganassi said Rudd is “a driver who can win at any track he goes to,” but wouldn’t speak directly about whether Rudd would be part of his team next season. “There’s no deal yet,” Ganassi said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-19-2002)
  • Benny Pays Up UPDATE and the Golden Benny: Benny Parsons has had a long standing bet that if any Pit Crew can do a four tire pit stop under 13.00 seconds in competition that he would pay all seven members of the crew 100 dollars each [total $700]. Last week at Pocono Benny Parsons had to pay up. The # 55 Schneider Electric Pit Crew busted off a 12.95 second Pit Stop back in June at the Michigan International Speedway. Benny Parsons reviewed the tape and agreed that the stop was legit. The # 55 Schneider Electric Pit Crew is the first team to take the money from Benny.(National Association of Pit Crew Members PR)(8-1-2002)
    UPDATE: before the race on Sunday at Michigan, Parsons presented the crew with the $700 and the Golden Benny. Parsons also said he has $700 for one more team to do the sub 13.0 second pit stop.(8-19-2002)
  • Rudd and the Wood Bros? UPDATE 2: The Ricky Rudd saga took another twist Friday, with persistent speculation in the Winston Cup garage that he would move to the Wood Brothers’ #21 team next season. Eddie Wood, co-owner of the team, did nothing to discourage such talk, saying he’d love to have Rudd in his Ford. “We’ve said from day one that we weren’t signing anybody until Ricky Rudd had signed somewhere,” Wood explained. Earlier speculation had Rudd driving a third car for owner Chip Ganassi in 2003 with sponsorship from Chevron/Texaco. But two news conferences to announce Rudd’s plans were canceled, leaving his future in limbo. A published report in National Speed Sport News on Friday indicated that Rudd would drive for Ganassi next season. A spokesperson for Ganassi denied the report, calling it “inaccurate and incorrect” in a statement.(CNNSI/AP)(8-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Ford officials, perhaps worried about seeing Rudd win races in a Dodge the way former Ford driver Bill Elliott has done twice in the past three weeks, appear to be making a late effort to keep Rudd in a Taurus. Since the Wood Brothers team is sponsored by Ford through its Motorcraft brand, Ford could provide money to help pay for Rudd’s services in the #21 car.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Ricky Rudd still hasn’t found a home for next season, but it seems Ford is making a strong run to keep him in its camp‹preferably in the Wood Brothers car. A deal that would have aligned Chevron’s Havoline brand and the #28 with Dodge team owner Chip Ganassi was canceled last week in the 11th hour, but Ganassi says Rudd remains at the top of his list for the third team he wants to form for next season. Announcements that Elliott Sadler will drive for Robert Yates in 2003, Steve Park will stay with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Johnny Benson will be back with MBV thinned the field for Sadler’s replacement in the #21. But the Wood Brothers don’t seem worried. “When Ricky Rudd makes his decision, we won’t be far behind,” says Eddie Wood, who says Rudd would be “a perfect fit” for their team but that there are several other drivers in the mix.(Sporting News)
    AND Meanwhile, the Ricky Rudd saga continues, and yesterday’s story line was that Rudd now appears headed to the Wood brothers, with significant support from Ford Motor Company officials, worried about a defection to Dodge. However there are still hang-ups, one of them reportedly that Rudd wants a cap on the number of personal appearances he has to make. Rudd hasn’t been saying anything, but one unconfirmed report is that within the past week, he tried to jump-start negotiations with Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, after the Chip Ganassi option fell through Monday, but that Jones rebuffed Rudd’s efforts. Andy Petree says he has had calls in to Rudd but has not received any reply.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-19-2002)

 


(8-18-2002)

 

  • DJ Wins at Michigan: #88-Dale Jarrett wins the Pepsi 400 at Michigan after spinning thru the grass on lap 12 of the race and taking four tires when most took two on the 2nd to last caution. It was Jarrett’s 4th win at MIS and this race has been run on August 18th three times (1991, 1996 and 2002) and who won? Dale Jarrett. #99-Jeff Burton came a few laps short as the engine went sour and finally blew at the checkers. #20-Tony Stewart finished 2nd, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick, #99-Jeff Burton and #6-Mark Martin.
    Race Results: at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(8-18-2002)
  • No Chevy for Gibbs in 2002: Joe Gibbs Racing was considering running the 2002 [Chevy] Monte Carlo in several events this year. Driving that consideration was the Pontiac’s performance on the flatter, intermediate tracks combined with the Gibbs organization desire to stay in the point hunt as the season closed. Michigan was one of the tracks where Gibbs was thinking a Monte Carlo would be better than a Grand Prix. The team, after testing the Monte Carlo, decided that it wasn’t worth the more than a half-million dollar investment it would have taken to make the car competitive; and took Michigan off the table. With Michigan off the table the decision to scrap all plans for the 2002 Monte Carlo was an easy one for the Gibbs organization to make. The two-car Gibbs operation is readying for their wholesale swap to Chevrolet hardware for the 2003 season, but the new car has not been officially approved and templates are not officially released. That will change, however, when NASCAR approves the 2003 Monte, which will in all likelihood come as a package with the standardized body locations bulletin.(Ford Racing)(8-18-2002)
  • Body Rule Change Coming: Winston Cup series director John Darby said Saturday that a new rule is coming to standardize the body location of cars racing in the series, possibly within a week. There is now no restriction on how far forward or backward the body on a Cup car can be located. Teams vary that position from track to track to help balance the car. In general terms, bodies are moved forward on superspeedways to keep air off the rear spoilers and reduce drag, and moved backward on shorter tracks. Darby said NASCAR will require the same measurement for all cars raced on all tracks, with a tolerance of a half- or three-quarters of a inch on either side. The challenge, Darby said, is to set a measurement that will keep teams in the series from having to cut off and rehang sheet metal on most of the cars in their fleets.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-18-2002)
  • New Tire for Dover: Goodyear plans to bring a new tire to Dover International Speedway for the MBNA America 400 [actually renamed to the All American Heroes 400] on Sept. 22. That decision could leave teams scrambling with their setups. The new tire will be softer, allowing for more grip in the turns, but also will wear faster. That means lap times should slow dramatically during green-flag runs.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-18-2002)
  • Wells to Pontiac, Ford not Happy UPDATE: When Cal Wells III announces Saturday morning that he’ll trade in his Ford hardware for Pontiac hardware for his 2003 program it will come as no surprise that Ford Motor Company is displeased with Wells’ decision, but not for the reason that might come readily to mind. It’s not that Ford is upset Wells is making a move that he believes will help his team, which has not finished in the Top-10 since the June 2 race at Dover, become stronger. No, far from it, because Ford understands that everyone needs to keep their best interests in mind when planning their future. Rather the displeasure comes from the way Wells went about his separation from the company that helped him break into NASCAR racing. Until Thursday, Wells had a handshake deal with Ford Racing Technology’s North American Racing Operations Manager, Greg Specht to continue using Ford hardware for the 2003 season. Specht, who has repeatedly said that he’ll take a man at his word — and handshake — had no doubt of Wells’ intentions to honor his word. Specht’s better nature was truly tested, however, when Wells made the call on Thursday telling Specht that Wells was making the switch. “I was very disappointed when I got a phone call from Cal [Thursday] morning to inform me that while he had not signed a deal with Pontiac, he intended to sign a deal with Pontiac,” Specht said in a visible departure from his normally mild-mannered disposition. “Just back at Sears Point [Calif.] we shook hands on an agreement that I had presented to him and that I had followed up with in writing; and they had told us that they hadn’t signed that agreement because they were working on some language with their sponsor that didn’t have any impact on our deal. They just wanted to make sure there weren’t any legal terms that conflicted with our deal. I was very disappointed and now know what a handshake means to Mr. Wells and I will act appropriately in the future.” But Specht doesn’t live in a void. How could it be that he didn’t hear the rumors that Wells was making a run for Pontiac? Well, to be honest, Specht did hear the rumors, but he just didn’t believe that Wells had anything but honorable intentions and that the commitment made at Sears Point would be honored. “I heard the rumors and a couple of times I was about to get on my phone and call Cal and say, ‘I’m hearing these rumors that you’re talking to Pontiac,’ said Specht. But assurances were offered by Wells’ organization. “One of his people, his lawyer in fact, called my guy who handles my contracts and said, ‘Don’t pay attention to those rumors. We don’t have a problem with you guys. We’re just waiting to get this legal language cleared up.’” Another burr under Specht’s saddle is that when Wells began looking at Winston Cup Racing, Ford worked with him and tailored a program to help the newcomer avoid the pit falls that can consume a new car owner in this sport.(more at Ford RacingAND PPI Motorsports will use the 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix for its NASCAR Winston Cup program for driver Ricky Craven next season, team owner Cal Wells III announced Saturday morning at Michigan International Speedway.(NASCAR.com – see a nice image of the car there)(8-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Yesterday Pontiac executives said that Cal Wells would be moving from Ford to Pontiac, apparently with an engine deal with Richard Childress.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-18-2002)
  • Talladega Fuel Cell Filler: When NASCAR decided to cut the size of the fuel cells for the Talladega race in October, they decided to leave the fuel cell area the same size so that the teams wouldn’t have to make changes to that area. Problem was the extra space around a smaller fuel cell. That area, on both sides of the cell will be filled with a combination of aluminum and foam mixture. The foam block will measure approximately 17 x 9 1\4 x 9 91\4 inches. The aluminum mixed with the foam will give it strength and also keep it light in weight, said John Darby, NASCAR’s Competition Director.(Insider Racing News)(8-18-2002)
  • Said Wins: part time Cup driver Boris Said drove to his Trans-Am series-leading fourth win of the season in the Johnson Controls 100 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. He took the lead from Don Sak on the 11th of 25 laps and beat Paul Gentilozzi by 0.866 seconds.(Indianapolis Star)(8-18-2002)
  • An Fan could win $43k today: Race Fan Could Win $43,000 From Meijer at Pepsi 400 If the #43-Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driven by John Andretti finishes in the Top 5 at the Pepsi 400 at Michigan, one lucky race fan will win $43,000 from Meijer Stores. Marka Cote of South Bend, Ind., who won Meijer’s “King for a Day” sweepstakes, is sure to be on the edge of her seat for all 400 miles of the race. In addition to the chance to win $43,000, Cote won honorary co-ownership of the #43 for the race and an honorary Helping Hands pit crew membership along with race tickets, hospitality and hotel accommodations for race weekend. General Mills and its Cheerios and Betty Crocker brands have been the primary sponsors of the #43 Petty Enterprises-owned car since 2000. For more information about Cheerios Racing, visit www.cheerios.com/racing. Meijer is a family owned and operated grocery and general merchandise retailer operating 156 stores throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. Meijer can be found on the INTERNET at meijer.com.(PR)(8-18-2002)

    (8-17-2002)

  • Been asked, didn’t know, here ya go – Seven cars Dyno’d at Indy UPDATE: Seven cars, including the #9 Dodge of race winner Bill Elliott, were put on the chassis dynamometer for testing following Sunday’s race at Indy – Brickyard 400. The device measures rear wheel horsepower. The other cars were those of #20-Tony Stewart, #2-Rusty Wallace, #17-Matt Kenseth, #29-Kevin Harvick, #24-Jeff Gordon and #88-Dale Jarrett.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-5-2002)
    UPDATE: Perhaps you recall several weeks ago NASCAR administered chassis dyno testing. In those NASCAR tests the motor in #9-Bill Elliot’s car turned 685 horsepower at the rear wheels following the Indianapolis win. But all the other cars tested that day showed more than 700 hp, with #2-Rusty Wallace’s Larry Wallace (no relation)-built motor producing 740 horsepower. The others tested following the Indy event all showed power over 700 hp with #24-Jeff Gordon’s SB2 based block running 708 hp, #17-Matt Kenseth’s at 715 hp, #20-Tony Stewart’s SB2 based platform giving 733 hp, #2-Wallace’s at 740 and the monster of the lot coming from the Robert Yates camp in the form of the #88-Dale Jarrett, which turned a generous 749 horsepower. (Ford Racing)(8-17-2002)
  • Stewart to have help at the track: Tony Stewart, who qualified 24th, will have on-site anger management counseling available the rest of the season. His counselor is scheduled to arrive at Michigan International Speedway today and has cleared his schedule to travel with Stewart to the remaining 13 races. Stewart is on probation for the rest of the season from NASCAR and sponsor Home Depot for punching a free-lance photographer working for The Indianapolis Star after the Brickyard 400. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Bobby Labonte, said this latest incident has gotten Stewart’s attention. “If anything is going to change, this is the time,” Labonte said.(Indianapolis Star)(8-17-2002)
  • SAFER at Talladega – Inside walls UPDATE no? NASCAR officials are to be at Talladega Superspeedway later this month to approve installation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s impact-absorbing SAFER barrier on the track’s inside retaining walls. The system could be in place for the Oct. 6 EA Sports 500 race. Most racing crashes involve the outside wall, but a barrier on the inside wall would help protect drivers from secondary impacts. NASCAR hasn’t approved the system for Talladega’s outside walls. Dean Sicking, SAFER’s lead developer, is working to adapt the barrier, which was developed to fit Indianapolis Motor Speedway and introduced there in May, to high-banked tracks and short tracks with tight turns.(USA Today Print Edition)(8-16-2002)
    UPDATE: Ken Patterson, PR director for Talladega Superspeedway, say it’s not likely that the SAFER wall, similar to the one installed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be installed in time for the October 6 EA Sports 500 Winston Cup race. “Dr. Dean Sickling of the University of Nebraska and NASCAR were out to assess the situation about a month ago,” said Patterson, “but unless they have come up with a way to install it very quickly, It’s unlikely that it will happen by October. We have testing and other things going on. No one has said a word to us about installing the SAFER wall. I don’t know for sure about what NASCAR would have in mind and I don’t know where that story came from, but I don’t believe they would just show up one day and start working on the project, but I’ve also learned to never say never.”(Insider Racing News)(8-17-2002)
  • Pontiac Updates: Pontiac officials, stung by the loss of Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, are restocking the pantry, and at least two new Pontiac teams are expected to be announced over the next week, beginning today. Car owner Larry McClure is expected to move from Chevy to Pontiac, and car owner Cal Wells is expected to move from Ford to Pontiac. Pontiac’s A. J. Foyt is expected to return next season with Harrah’s as sponsor and maybe Larry Foyt driving. However, there is word now that Ricky Craven is not too pleased with Wells’ decision to leave Ford. If so, it is unclear if Ford officials might make a play to keep him a Ford next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-17-2002)
  • Rudd/Ganassi deal dead? UPDATE: In a startling twist, the Ricky Rudd-Chip Ganassi-Texaco now appears to be dead, according to sources on both sides. Rudd and Ganassi have been on the verge of finalizing their deal to run a third Dodge team next year under Texaco’s Havoline logo. In fact a press conference had been scheduled Tuesday to announce the deal. It was abruptly cancelled late Monday night without explanation. The surprising development came after Rudd and Ganassi had what is described as a blowup in Ganassi’s office in which Rudd was asked to leave. Exasperated Texaco officials, who have been displeased with the split between Rudd and car owner Robert Yates, were ready to pull the plug on their NASCAR sponsorships. But sources close to Ganassi said last night that he had persuaded Texaco to sponsor his planned third team, with a to-be-named driver (maybe Bobby Hamilton). Ganassi sources said that Jimmy Spencer might be back with the team in 2003, depending on how well he performs over the next four or five weeks. Rudd was displeased with Ganassi’s decision last week to push Jimmy Spencer aside at Watkins Glen in favor of road racer Scott Pruett, according to team sources. That move left Spencer without a provisional, and he failed to make the field. There is also a report that Rudd wanted a two-year contract, while Ganassi was only willing to offer one year.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: While teamfordracing.com was unable to get official confirmation from anyone involved, word in the garage is that the conversations between Chevron and Ganassi have slowed, with some industry thinkers believing that the deal, if not dead, is on heavy life support. Ganassi’s only comment, today, came in the form of a press release that admonished one of the industry’s weekly trade papers, along with the writer, for running a story that said the Chevron/Ganassi deal was completed. Ganassi, in the written release, stressed, “Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has not announced its 2003 sponsor and driver plans.” Rudd has clammed up about his plans for 2003, but did respond to questioning by saying, “I didn’t say there was no news going on, I just said I ain’t got nothing to say, yet.”(Ford Racing)(8-17-2002)


    (8-16-2002)

  • Park re-signs with DEI: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has signed Steve Park to a one-year contract extension to remain as the driver of the #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo through the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. “Steve is a talented race car driver and has continually shown his dedication and commitment to our sport, ” said team owner Teresa Earnhardt. “We look forward with anticipation and expectation that this continuity will ensure that the #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo lives up to its potential.”
    “I feel great that all we’ve put into re-signing with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Pennzoil has paid off,” said Park, Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s first Winston Cup driver. “I’m really happy that I’ll be in the #1 car for another season. Now that we have this behind us, we can concentrate on putting the #1 Pennzoil Chevy back in Victory Lane.” Park, 34, has driven for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. since 1996. The East Northport, N.Y. native, has scored three NASCAR Busch Grand National Series wins and two Winston Cup wins with the organization.(Steve Park Site and Letter from Steve Park)(8-16-2002)
  • Benson and Ince re-up with MBV: Valvoline Racing and MB2 Motorsports announced today that Johnny Benson and Crew Chief James Ince have signed multi-year contract extensions to continue at the #10 Valvoline Pontiac. Benson said the foundation already in place at the Concord, N.C. race shop was a factor in his decision to return to the #10 team. “My goal is to do well and retire from this place some day,” said Benson. “James and I have said from the start that we wanted to keep all of the crew members, team owners, and sponsors together and that is just what we have done. We know we have the foundation for a winning effort here and there is no place we’d rather work.” Benson and Ince have been with the #10 team since 2000 when they nearly won the Daytona 500 in a car fielded by Tyler Jet Motorsports. Midway through the year MB2 purchased Tyler Jet’s assets. In 2001 Valvoline became an equal partner with MB2 making it the first consumer products company to own a Winston Cup team. Jim Rocco, senior vice president at Valvoline, said continuity is an important ingredient to success in racing and one of the reasons why Valvoline wanted to continue the Benson and Ince relationship. “This is great news for our company and all of our fans. We wanted Johnny and James and I know they wanted to stay with us. We think the team they have built and the people involved in our program are the kind Valvoline wants to be associated with. We took a bold step in owning this team so we have had a strong interest in making sure we have the people in place that we wanted.” Ince, who at 31 years of age is one of the youngest crew chief in the Winston Cup garage, said this contract would not change his goals. “Our goal is to win with Valvoline Pontiac. Simple as that. I have always said if they weren’t paying us a dime, we would want to win races. I’d trade all the money in the world for a trophy.” Team General Manager Jay Frye said bringing Benson and Ince back was not a tough decision. “Keeping Johnny and James together was a priority from the moment that the year started. We wanted to have them locked in by mid-season and that’s exactly what we have done,” Frye said. “Silly season gets earlier and earlier each year so while we weren’t the first team to announce our plans we are on the scheduled we set for ourselves in the off-season.”(PR – Johnny Benson Fanclub)(8-16-2002)
  • Ground Breaking on Earnhardt Tribute, Tritt may sing at unveiling: An unveiling for the sculpture marking the Dale Earnhardt Tribute at Kannapolis’ Funderburk Park is tentatively set for Oct. 9, and there’s a possibility country music star Travis Tritt will attend and perform. A ground breaking at the site will be held this coming Wednesday at 4 p.m., and members of the Earnhardt family are expected to attend, said City Manager Mike Mahaney. The unveiling was briefly mentioned at Thursday’s Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting. Chamber CEO John Cox, who befriended Tritt more than a decade ago when both were living in suburban Atlanta, Ga., said local officials are making every effort to get the country music star to Kannapolis on Oct. 9. City officials plan to release a photo of the 9-foot tall bronze depiction of Earnhardt on Monday, but it will be somewhat vague in an effort to mount suspense, Kannapolis Public Information Officer Jennifer Woodford said.(more at the Independent Tribune)(8-16-2002)
  • Childress and the Little League World Series: Richard Childress will take a private plane from Michigan to Williamsport, Pa., for the Southwest Forsyth (N.C.) team’s first LLWS game Saturday. Childress’ 12-year-old grandson, Austin Dillon, is playing second base in the Little League World Series. Childress will be back for Sunday’s Winston Cup race; his wife, Judy, will go to Sunday’s ballgame. Austin’s father — Mike Dillon, Childress’ son-in-law — drove three years in the Busch Grand National series. He now works on the business side of Richard Childress Racing.(USA Today)(8-16-2002)
  • Biffle at MIS: BGN points leader Greg Biffle will try to make his second-career start in a NASCAR Winston Cup event by attempting to qualify for the Pepsi 400 televised on TNT from Michigan International Speedway on Sun., Aug. 18. Biffle will be driving the #16 Roush Racing, TNT-sponsored Team Caliber Ford Taurus and will be working with the same Grainger team he currently works with in the BGN. Biffle’s only other start in a NASCAR Winston Cup points race came at California Speedway on April 27, where he qualified 29th and finished 13th. On Saturday Aug. 17, TNT racing analyst Wally Dallenbach will get behind the wheel for BGN from Michigan. This will be the first of three races he will run for Tommy Baldwin Racing and sponsor “Pepsi”. Dallenbach, currently an analyst for TNT/NBC’s NASCAR coverage, drove in more than 200 races during his 10-year career on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. With Dallenbach in the car, TNT will be able to bring viewers even closer to the action as analyst Benny Parsons and play-by-play announcer Allen Bestwick talk to him throughout the race as the network airs the race at 1:30pm/et. Additional cameras will also be installed in Dallenbach’s car showing front, rear and side views, as well as, showing his feet and hand movements. This allows fans to see the footwork and movements required by drivers in order to navigate the two-mile superspeedway.(Turner PR), see images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(8-16-2002)
  • Special Scheme at Bristol for Busch: The Sharpie brand, the world’s most popular family of permanent markers and title sponsor of the Sharpie 500, unveiled a special paint scheme for Kurt Busch’s #97 Ford, defending Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) champion. The special one-time look will be featured at the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, August 24 under the lights. Busch won the Food City 500 in March at BMS, his first Winston Cup career victory, driving a special paint scheme that officially kicked off the Sharpie “You Could Win A $1,000,000” program and race to the Sharpie 500. The design features a red Sharpie permanent marker, which is one of the most popular of the more than 12 colors made by Sharpie. Sharpie chose to feature red because the color means speed. The Sharpie 500 will not only have a car carrying its name, but also play host to what could be a million dollar giveaway. Sharpie, in its second year of title sponsorship of the Bristol Night Race, will be bringing 10 individuals from its national sweepstakes that ended August 13 to BMS on August 24 for a chance at what could be $1 million. On Saturday night before the Sharpie 500, one of the 10 semifinalists will randomly draw a qualified driver from the field of 43. If that driver wins, the lucky finalist pockets $1 million; $100,000 for 2nd through 5th place; $50,000 for 6th through 10th place; and $10,000 for any finish outside of the top 10. For more details, visit www.sharpie500.com.(Sanford PR), see an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(8-16-2002)
  • Winston Back to Lowe’s in 2003? UPDATE 3: The Charlotte, N.C., area will likely know by the end of next week that it’s going to get one more chance to show how much it cares about having The Winston all-star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco officials are working out the details on an announcement of the site for the 2003 running of The Winston. The Charlotte Observer has learned that a news conference is tentatively planned for Wednesday afternoon at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, the home base for RJR.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-14-2002)
    UPDATE: During yesterday’s conference call on Speedway Motorsports’ financial results, Humpy Wheeler was asked when they would know if The Winston returns to Charlotte for 2003. Humpy’s answer: “I expect it to be in the next two to three weeks because NASCAR is finalizing the schedule right now.” Then he was asked about possibility of legal action against NASCAR if they lose The Winston. His reply: “Regarding legal action against NASCAR , we are working with them to resolve as best we can the Winston situation.”(MotorsportsTV)(8-15-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The Winston all-star race will return next year to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, officials familiar with the event confirmed today. NASCAR had considered pulling the race out of the Cabarrus County speedway, just across the county line from Mecklenburg, and sending it to another city. Instead, NASCAR will give the track another year to host the race, and look to the community to help build up the event, the sources said. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the sponsor of the NASCAR races, has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday [Aug 21st] to formally discuss the fate of the Winston. A Reynolds spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the event was returning to the Charlotte area. Officials in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties have been lobbying hard to keep The Winston. They have said they will work to raise $1.5 million and plan a month’s worth of events leading up to the race next May.(Charlotte Observer)(8-15-2002)
    AND see another story at ThatsRacin.com: NASCAR’s all-star race to return to Charlotte next year.(8-16-2002)
  • Dodge Personnel Moves: Dodge Motorsports announced promotions within its organization on Thursday. Tim Culbertson, former Program Manager Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering, has been promoted to Manager Advanced Vehicle Packaging. Ted Flack, former Manager NASCAR Engine Programs, Dodge Engineering, will take over for Culbertson. Also, John Worley, former Manager Dodge NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, is now Senior Manager PVO Performance Parts and Motorsports.(Golin/Harris PR)(8-16-2002)
  • Habitat for Humanity Dedicates Women Building a Legacy Home: Members of the Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary, along with more than 70 local women volunteers swung hammers, climbed ladders and picked up power tools to help the Hunt family build their home. Women built the home as part of Habitat for Humanity’s “Women Building a Legacy” program, which gives women the opportunity to move children out of poverty housing one family at a time. Kris and Ann Marie Hunt, along with their six children, will receive the keys to their new home at the dedication service on Sunday, August 25th. Media are invited to attend and will have opportunities to interview Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary members including Linda McReynolds, Debbie Parrott, Lisa Pemberton, Donna Lepage, Carolyn Yates and Deanna McSwain; homeowners Kris and Ann Marie Hunt, Habitat officials and volunteers. Women celebrities, state first ladies and women from all walks of life are working together to build a legacy of better housing for children whose health, growth and potential are threatened by substandard housing. Realizing they can transform children’s lives by simply ensuring that children have decent and safe places to lay their heads at night, “Women Building a Legacy,” an 18-month program of Habitat for Humanity International’s Women Build department, empowers women to address the crisis of substandard housing and adds to the more than 350 Habitat houses built by women since 1991.(8-16-2002)
  • New Hire for Hendrick: Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) general manager Jeff Turner today named Patrick Perkins as director of marketing, assuming the duties of longtime company executive Dan Lohwasser, who lost his courageous three-year battle with cancer last month. Perkins, who joined HMS in 1999 as marketing manager and transitioned to director of marketing services in October of 2000, will lead sponsorship acquisition and servicing efforts while overseeing a 15-person department responsible for public relations, merchandising and licensing. The Upland, Calif., native graduated from California Lutheran University in 1992 with a degree in communication arts, joining Phoenix International Raceway later that year as marketing manager. In 1995, he became vice president and general manager of Phoenix-based Associated Companies, a group of advertising and promotional agencies specializing in the retail automotive industry, where he stayed until coming to HMS in 1999. Perkins, 34, currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., with his wife, Mary.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(8-16-2002)

    (8-15-2002)

  • Morgan-McClure announcement at Bristol? hearing that the #4 Morgan McClure to Pontiac announcment could come at Bristol the weekend of August 23-24th.(8-15-2002)
  • It’s Up to Andretti: It’s up to John Andretti to decide whether he wants to return to Petty Enterprises next year. Andretti has been contacted by at least two other Winston Cup teams and has yet to decide what he will do next season. Kyle Petty, however, has made it clear that he wants Andretti back in the No. 43 Dodge next season.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscribtion to read)(8-15-2002)
  • Spencer back with Ganassi? or is it Hamitlon? Whispers in the garage at The Glen said [Jimmy] Spencer might have made himself an uncomfortable bed with Ganassi. When asked about the buzz, Ganassi personnel were hardly supportive of the Berwick, Pa. native. Now, word from the Charlotte-area is telling teamfordracing.com that Bobby Hamilton is scheduled to have a sit down with Chip Ganassi when the tour arrives at Booklyn, MI [MIS] this weekend. Hamilton, who is being steered by Dodge executives to drive a Dodge in Winston Cup due to his ties to that company in the truck series, might be a logical piece to the very fluid Ganassi puzzle. After all, Ganassi said of Spencer last week that if he wanted to race like a kid, he should go race with kids.(Ford Racing)(8-15-2002)
  • Donlavey back at RIR? #90 team owner Junie Donlavey is contemplating a return to Winston Cup racing later this year. Donlavey has approached Robert Pressley about driving for the team in the Sept. 7 Monte Carlo 400 at his home track, Richmond International Raceway, and the UAW-GM 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Oct. 13. Donlavey has been idle since competing with Hermie Sadler at Pocono Raceway June 9.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscribtion to read)(8-15-2002)
  • More on the Daytona tests: The speedway tests, which were performed at Daytona International on Tuesday, gave NASCAR a chance to tweak on the speedway aero package, yet again. Ten cars jumped the hoop and arrived at Daytona Beach, Fla., ready to roll. Representing the Ford effort were Dave Blaney, Geoff Bodine and Elliott Saddler. The tests, which were cut short due to rain in the area, focused mainly on the rear spoilers of the cars. The tests took logical steps and shorted both size and angle of the rear spoiler. The goals were to find a combination that made the cars looser so that the drivers would have to work the throttle to make a lap on Daytona International Speedway’ 2.5-mile high-banks. The test started with the current spoiler configuration (6-inches tall, 57-inches wide), and had the drivers running 49.40’s with their foot mashed to the floorboards. The next step of the test kicked the spoilers down to a 45-degree angle, which picked the lap times up by about .4 of a second. Driver comfort remained constant. NASCAR then whacked 4-inches off the sides of the spoilers and left the angle at 45 degrees. The drivers were, for the most part, able to keep the accelerator matted for an entire lap. The next step got the drivers working the accelerator, some, but the spoiler could be described as tiny with 4-inches cut off each side of the rear blade, and the height shortened to 4.5-inches. TFR’s source said that between the hard tires and the DIS lumpy surface the cars weren’t so much loose, but that they were out of control. A larger restrictor plate (increased from 15/16-inch from 7/8-inch) was put on a couple of cars, which of course worsened the handling problem.(Ford Racing)
    AND Ryan Pemberton calls it the “retro look,” when he describes the aerodynamics of his Daytona 500 Ford for NASCAR’s rain-shortened test at Daytona International Speedway yesterday: a shorter 4-1/2-inch rear spoiler laid back almost flat at 25 degrees.(see a HUGE column at Winston Salem Journal – lots more info on the testing there)(8-15-2002)
  • Long to run Bristol for Ware: Carl Long will team up with current Craftsman Truck Series team Ware Racing Enterprises to field the #51 Winston Cup effort in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24th, 2002. Long will attempt to qualify the #51 RevivalSoy.com Dodge Ram for team owner Rick Ware. Ware is excited seeing his team step up to the challenge of Winston Cup racing. RevivalSoy.com, a retailer of soy products which have many health benefits and are a proven alternative to HRT, has signed on with Ware Racing as a primary sponsor for Bristol and an associate sponsor throughout the rest of the 2002 season. Although primary sponsorship is only in place for Bristol – Ware Racing and Carl Long plan to enter all remaining 2002 Winston Cup races, as well as a full time schedule in 2003.(Ware Racing PR)(8-15-2002)
  • Final Watkins Glen TV Ratings: NBC’s coverage of NASCAR Winston Cup racing from Watkins Glen on Sunday boasted the highest national rating for any sports telecast for the weekend and shattered the previous Watkins Glen ratings record, despite facing stiff competition from CBS’ Buick Classic, which was won by Tiger Woods. Each of NBC’s three NASCAR Winston Cup races has won the sports ratings race for its weekend (also the Brickyard 400 on 9/4 and the Tropicana 400 on 8/14). NBC’s Watkins Glen race coverage of Tony Stewart’s emotional win (1:13 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET), earned a 5.3 rating/14 share, besting last year’s ratings record by 13 percent (4.7/13), also set by NBC, according to Nielsen Media Research. CBS’ Buick Classic on Sunday became the second-highest rated event of the weekend, earning a 5.1/13. During the 90 minutes that NBC’s NASCAR coverage went head-to-head with CBS’ Buick Classic (3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET), NBC averaged a 5.7 rating, two full ratings points higher than CBS’ 3.7 average. NBC’s race coverage peaked from 3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET with a 5.9/15. Additionally, NBC’s pre-race show, “Discover Card Countdown to Green,” (12:30 – 1:13 p.m. ET) recorded a 2.7/8, a 35 percent increase over last year’s 2.0/6 during the same time period.(NBC PR)(8-15-2002)
  • Benson Wins at Berlin: Johnny Benson returned to his home track Wednesday night and put on a great show, breaking through for his first feature win in the two years he has been a part-owner of Berlin Raceway and his first win driving the red and white #10 Berger Chevrolet Late Model car he built himself. Benson hopes to build on this victory with another one on Sunday when he competes at Michigan International Speedway, where he has a history of running strong. Benson’s Winston Cup teammate, Kenny Schrader, also competed in the Chet Mysliwiec Memorial 100 presented by Comerica, a 100-lap Coors Light Late Model race in memory of the man who founded Berlin Raceway and ran it for 50 years. Schrader, who also raced in last year’s Mysliwiec Memorial, finished third in the feature after winning one of two 50-lap qualifying races driving the #1 Randy Sweet car.(Berlin Raceway Site)(8-15-2002)
  • Testing at Bristol UPDATE: With the Sharpie 500 and Food City 250 races just days away, a collection of Winston Cup and Busch Series teams are testing at Bristol on Tuesday. Those preparing for the upcoming race week include #9-Bill Elliott, #2-Rusty Wallace, #5-Terry Labonte and #11-Brett Bodine.(BMS Site), #27-Scott Wimmer tested Monday and is also testing today.(8-13-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing #2-Rusty Wallace and his brother Kenny (testing the #27 Bill Davis Dodge) tested at Bristol Wednesday, which included some cake for Rusty’s birthday.(8-15-2002)
  • Chevy close: Chevrolet team officials expect their new car to be approved soon. Engineers working on the project say NASCAR is expected to approve the 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo on Aug. 19.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscribtion to read)(8-15-2002)

    (8-14-2002)

  • TRAC Having “Normal Start-up Challenges”: Here’s the latest news from Humpy on TRAC: “Team racing is having normal start-up challenges and we’re going to announce a television contract, but have not yet done so. I don’t know exactly what the future holds for that, though it would help us in 2003. I believe that if you look at the flatness of the economy today, you have to really have something going on to get people out today. You have to promote the heck out of it. You have to have a great product. If it’s not up to par, it’s going to be tough. We’ve done fairly well in Texas.” Also, the SMI CFO said the company has incurred no expenses to date on TRAC.(MotorsportsTV)(8-14-2002)
  • Cope in the #49 at MIS? UPDATE 2: hearing Derrike Cope will be running the #49 BAM Racing Dodge at MIS.
    UPDATE: Cope is now listed at the driver of the #49 Dodge on the NASCAR.com entry list and is being reported as driving the car on the BAM Racing site.
    UPDATE 2: Former Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope will be behind the wheel of Bam Racing’s #49 Dodge this week at Michigan Speedway’s NASCAR Winston Cup event. Car owner Elizabeth Ann Morgenthau made the announcement today, as well as announcing the renowned rock music group Poison will be on the car as a sponsor. Shawna Robinson, BAM Racing’s regular driver, is expected to return behind the wheel by the team’s next superspeedway race in Darlington. “Our long-term plans very much include Shawna Robinson. I don’t want there to be any question about that,” Morgenthau said. “This, however, gives us a chance to work with Derrike, to learn from him and to continue building our program.”(Williams Company PR)(8-14-2002)
  • Hooters/Brooks could be part owner of the #11 UPDATE: Brett Bodine is poised for a change in the direction of his NASCAR Winston Cup team. Bodine began the year without a primary sponsor and was on the verge of closing his doors before signing Hooters restaurant chain to a small but team-saving contract. He has a verbal agreement from Hooters owner Bob Brooks for sponsorship for 2003. “He’s basically told me you’ve got a deal for next year and possibly more,” Bodine said. “They’re in a process to evaluate the program and how much they want to invest in a Winston Cup sponsorship. We’d like more sponsorship,” Bodine added. “You’ve got to look at what is going to be a good investment to be competitive. We’re hoping to get them signed up for a long-term deal.” One scenario would have Hooters become a partner in the team. If that happened, Bodine said, “I wouldn’t have to ever look for a major sponsor again.” He said he hopes to have a deal in place within the month. Bodine is also trying to add to or re-sign his associate sponsors. And he knows that if everything he hopes for happens, then there will be more pressure on him and his team.(Star Gazette)(8-8-2002)
    UPDATE: Brett Bodine says he may sell part of his Winston Cup team to the Hooter’s Restaurant chain, according to a story in this week’s NASCAR Winston Cup Scene. Reporter Kenny Bruce writes that Bodine and Hooters CEO Bob Brooks have “basically agreed that we have a deal,” but details, which include the possibility of the sale of part of the team, remain to be worked out.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-14-2002)
  • MB2 to field a BGN team, Schrader free to look: MB2 Motorsports [#36 Pontiac] will run a BGN car for Dutchman Michael Vergers at MIS using Ken Schrader’s BGN operation The team has entered a #07 Pontiac for Vergers, a native of Alkmaar, Holland, in Saturday’s Cabela’s 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Sponsor M&M’s recently told MB2 that they would end a six-year relationship with the team’s Winston Cup operation at the end of this season. Meanwhile, Schrader has been given the team’s blessing to seek other employment. General manager Jay Frye stressed Wednesday that it’s not because the team doesn’t want to keep him, but because if a replacement sponsor does not materialize, they don’t want to hold him back. Frye said the fact that James Ince, the crew chief on Johnny Benson’s #10 Valvoline Pontiac in Winston Cup, is going to head Vergers’ program indicates how serious the team is about it. Frye said a combination of crewmen from the M&M’s and Valvoline teams would pit the car Saturday.(NASCAR.com)(8-14-2002)
  • Hospital Gets Gordon Foundation Gift: The Jeff Gordon Foundation has donated $100,000 to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. At the close of the First Jeff Gordon Bowling Tournament prior to the running of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Gordon presented the check to the hospital. Drivers Jimmie Johnson, Casey Atwood, Geoffrey Bodine and team owner Ray Evernham were among the celebrity bowlers participating in the event, which also featured a silent auction to raise money for the foundation.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-14-2002)
  • Sirius Bankruptcy? UPDATE denied and sponsorship safe: Satellite radio Broadcaster Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. warned Tuesday that it may have to seek bankruptcy protection if it cannot raise new funds, sending its shares spiraling down by more than a third to a record low. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sirius said it needed as much as $600 million to continue operations. It said it had hired financial advisers for help on ways to obtain new funds, including a possible debt-for equity swap that would dilute current shareholder stakes. Sirius also reported a wider second quarter net loss of $124.6 million, or $1.62 a share, compared with a net loss of $72.5 million, or $1.35 per share, last year. Sirius shares closed down 35 percent, or 72 cents, at $1.35 on Nasdaq. The company also formed a special committee of independent members of its board of directors to look at its options. That committee has, in turn, hired an investment adviser to pursue “a substantial additional investment” in its stock from affiliates of Apollo Management and the Blackstone Group. The company said in the filing that it had $295.2 million in cash as of Monday and that it needed an additional $300 million to get it through all 2003, plus $300 million beyond that “until our operations become self-sustaining.” “This in no way indicates that a bankruptcy filing for Sirius is imminent,” the company said in a statement sent to Reuters following a report of the SEC filing. “Sirius currently has approximately $300 million in cash on hand, which is enough to operate the company into the second quarter of 2003, as previously announced,” it said. The company on Tuesday said said it had 6,510 subscribers as of last Sunday and six weeks after its nationwide launch, up from 3,347 subscribers at the end of the second quarter. Sirius’ only competitor, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. , had its national launch last November and reported almost 137,000 subscribers through the end of June.(Yahoo News)
    UPDATE: Sirius Satellite Radio is in sound financial condition and has no plans to file for bankruptcy. The company’s financial condition was misrepresented by a story on Reuters. The possibility of bankruptcy was listed as a legal requirement in a recently filed 10-Q. This is a standard practice by start-up companies seeking additional funding as a possible outcome in the event they do not receive it. Sirius Satellite Radio will continue its strong commitment to racing and the #7 Sirius Dodge, as evident by their recent sponsorship of the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen.(Sirius/Golin Harris PR)(8-14-2002)
  • More on Daytona Testing this week UPDATE 2 another roof flap?: NASCAR officials are bringing in a dozen Winston Cup drivers for a Daytona test on Tuesday to try to sort out the other half of the aerodynamics problem, the tight packs that keep drivers on the edges of their seats at Daytona and Talladega. The test probably will [could] result in some new rules for the Talladega 500 in October. There probably will be narrower and shorter rear spoilers (maybe six to eight inches narrower and maybe only three inches tall) and wider noses. That will make for an unbalanced car, one that is probably loose in the corners.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND NASCAR let leak its intentions for next week’s speedway tests. The test, for which NASCAR hopes to attract 10 – 15 cars, is intended to give the sanctioning body an opportunity to try some new configurations to the speedway package. Some in the garage say they expect the starting point will be where a 1998 test left off, cars carrying raised valances and radically reduced rear blades on the order of 3 inches, or perhaps even 2.5-inches. Apparently at least one of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars and one of the Richard Childress Racing cars will be on-site for the tests.(Ford Racing)(8-11-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR’s latest round of Winston Cup aerodynamic tweaking will take place Tuesday at Daytona, where as many as 15 teams may test. NASCAR and Daytona officials confirmed that teams had been offered a second day of open testing on Wednesday not counting toward NASCAR’s limit of seven tests per season. NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter said among the configurations that NASCAR president Mike Helton, Winston Cup director John Darby and managing director of competition Gary Nelson planned to monitor were different spoiler heights. They also plan to monitor front valance ground clearances, different body locations and a continuation of the “bigger greenhouse” program designed to enlarge the car’s driver compartment. Test runs will be made with the smaller capacity fuel cells to be used at Talladega. Teams expected to attend: #55-Bobby Hamilton, #29-Kevin Harvick, #15-Michael Waltrip, #9-Bill Elliott, #22-Ward Burton, #23-Hut Stricklin, #36-Ken Schrader(the only Pontiac), #77-Dave Blaney and #09-Geoffrey Bodine. The Oldfield Grandstand outside Turn 4 will be open, as it usually is for test sessions, from 9:00am to 5:00pm.(NASCAR.com)(8-13-2002)
    UPDATE2: NASCAR has been testing a new roof-deflector system that could allow NASCAR to increase speeds at Daytona and Talladega significantly for the coming races. Drivers have said that speeds are too slow at those two tracks. NASCAR’s advances have been made in the system that deploys roof flaps to slow the race car and keep it on the ground when it gets turned around in a crash. NASCAR has been wind-tunnel testing cars with a third roof flap that springs up as an air foil to increase the take-off speed by 15 mph. Speeds at Daytona and Talladega are around 185 mph now. So the addition of the new flap, expected for next spring’s Daytona 500, could allow NASCAR to open restrictor plates and let drivers run as fast as 200 mph. NASCAR might also order teams to add a fourth air flap, on the rear deck.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND more: NASCAR tested various aerodynamic configurations of Winston Cup cars Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway with the hope of making a significant rules change for the 2003 Daytona 500. Ten teams, representing the four makes of cars that compete in Winston Cup, participated in the test session, which was cut short by a persistent line of thunderstorms that rumbled over the Speedway. Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of competition, directed the test that involved larger restrictor plates and lower rear spoiler heights. Nelson said Tuesday’s test was aimed at creating a rules package for Speed Weeks 2003 and would not be used at Talladega Superspeedway’s race in October. “Talladega has bigger turns; the turns have a bigger radius,” he said. “We’re looking at Daytona as a separate set of issues. We approached this test as a Daytona test. The knowledge we got today is for down the road.” Nelson said the proposed large greenhouse, which creates more room in the cockpit, was simulated by several teams. Tuesday’s showers scrubbed NASCAR’s plan to run the cars with the new aerodynamic configuration in a draft situation, that part of the test would be rescheduled. Testing were #22-Ward Burton, #23-Hut Stricklin, #45-Kyle Petty, #30-Jeff Green, #15-Michael Waltrip, #55-Bobby Hamilton, #77-Dave Blaney, #09-Geoffrey Bodine, #21-Elliott Sadler, and #14-Mike Wallace.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-14-2002)
  • #92 gets a Sponsor for MIS: The #92 Melling Racing team will run at Michigan this week with Stacy Compton driving and a one race deal with Regal Corporation. Supposedly the team may be close to a full time sponsor for the 2003 season.(8-14-2002)
  • Coke not bailing on Stewart: getting much email about folks hearing that Coca Cola had released Tony Stewart from the Coca Cola Racing Family but been told that there is NO truth to that rumor whatsoever.(8-14-2002)
  • But Rudd/Havoline/#28 and Sadler/M&M’s/#27: UPDATE: hearing that will be the final outcome – Ricky Rudd to Ganassi, with Chevron/Texaco/Havoline and the #28; and Elliott Sadler to Yates with M&M Mar’s.M&M’s and the #27.(8-13-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR.com’s The Buzz has learned that all the key factors are in place for the deal that would send Ricky Rudd, Havoline and the No. 28 to Chip Ganassi Racing, except for one important aspect: the driver. Confirmed reports inside the deal have revealed to the Buzz the Havoline sponsorship and the #28 were signed off on by Robert Yates Racing and into the hands of Chip Ganassi Racing almost two weeks ago. The agreement is said to be a three-year commitment between the sponsor and the Dodge-powered team. The stalling point in negotiations has been Rudd who allegedly wants a larger base salary with Ganassi than he had with RYR. If Ganassi agrees to the figure, then he would have to probably pay Sterling Marlin a larger base salary as well.(NASCAR.com)(8-14-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week: High performance pit stops on pit road by the #41 Target Crew took the #41 team from a 19th place starting position to a 6th place finish. Congratulations #41 Target Crew on being selected this weeks NAPCM “Pit Crew Of The Week” sponsored by Toxabsorb, 21st Century Spill Magnet and the “Official Spill Response Agent” of the National Association Of Pit Crew Members”. Visit www.toxabsorb.com for Toxabsorb’s performance info (on and off pit road). Check out the latest Mechanix Wear “Pit Crew of the Year” finalists and standings available only at the NAPCM website, www.napcm.com.(National Association Of Pit Crew Members PR)(8-14-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award: The road to success at Watkins Glen International was paved by road-racing specialists, like P.J. Jones, son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones. Jones drove the #14 Conseco Pontiac to a fourth-place finish in the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen Sunday afternoon, the first top-five finish for the Conseco team this year. Thanks to Jones’ efforts on the track and the great teamwork exhibited in the pits all day, team crew chief Mike Hillman takes home this week’s “IRWIN Rough to the Finish” Award. Jones, the top finisher among the road racing specialists hired by teams to replace their regular drivers for the one-off event, qualified in 14th position, which also was the team’s best start since April.. The 33-year-old California native ran in the top-10 for most of the race, but a two-tire stop with 43 laps to go gave him the top-five track position. With fuel consumption becoming an issue, the team was able to take advantage of several late cautions as a way to conserve fuel and finish the race strong.
    Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Irwin, makers of professional power tool accessories like Marathon Plus saw blades and Speedbor flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund in the racing team’s name.. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund.. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338. In addition to the crew chief award, Irwin is also sponsoring the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons“, throughout the upcoming year.(Golin Harris PR)(8-14-2002)


    (8-13-2002)

  • More Not NASCAR but: see initial reports and Updates 1-2 on my Aug 5-11th Past News page
    UPDATE 3: Priestley continues to improve at the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, Ky., following a practice accident in the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series on Aug. 11 at Kentucky Speedway. Priestley, 32, from Vancouver, British Columbia, is in UK’s intensive care unit, where his condition is serious but stable. Priestley sustained a moderate concussion as well as a fracture of his ninth thoracic vertebra. In addition to a contusion around his left eye, Priestley has lacerations on the bridge of his nose and left cheek, neck lacerations and fractures in both feet. It is expected he will require a few days to recover from the concussion before surgical repair of his orthopedic injuries. Today, Priestley will be fitted with a back brace to assess the stability of his thoracic vertebra fracture. His neurological condition will continue to be closely monitored. Priestley initially was placed on a ventilator until his condition was stabilized and his evaluation was complete. The ventilator was removed as soon as he could resume breathing on his own Sunday afternoon.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-12-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Priestley was transferred via air to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Aug. 12 to continue his recovery from serious injuries suffered in an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series practice accident Aug. 11 at Kentucky Speedway. Priestley, 32, from Vancouver, British Columbia, was transferred to Methodist “ renowned for its treatment of injured race drivers “ from the University of Kentucky Hospital intensive care unit. His condition is serious but stable.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-13-2002)
    UPDATE 5: Jason Priestley’s doctor said the actor is making remarkable improvement from head and spinal injuries sustained in a high-speed racing crash last weekend. Priestley, 32, remained in guarded but stable condition Tuesday at Methodist Hospital, known in racing circles as the best hospital for treating race car accidents. Dr. Scott Bjerke expects Priestley to remain at Methodist for 10 to 14 days, but wouldn’t comment on the specific treatment he is receiving. “He is a strong-willed young man who is doing great,” Bjerke said. “He’s surprised me so far.” Priestley is expected to have surgery on his feet Wednesday, according to friend and Kelley Racing Team general manager Jim Freudenberg, who has been at Priestley’s side along with the actor’s father, sister and girlfriend. Bjerke said Priestley has shown no signs of paralysis following his crash.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-14-2002)
  • Dale Earnhardt Earns $20 Millon for Estate: Forbes.com says Dale Earnhardt, who died in February 2001 during the running of the Daytona 500, earned $20 million for his estate between June 2001 and June 2002, making him the fourth “richest deceased celebrity.” Forbes says four financial reporters interviewed surviving family members, lawyers and estate administrators for deceased musicians, actors, authors and sports figures to help calculate pretax earnings to estates from licensing agreements and book and record sales. Topping the list were Elvis Pressley ($37 million), cartoonist Charles Shultz ($28 million) and former Beatle John Lennon ($20 million).(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-13-2002)
  • Park Announcment at MIS? UPDATE: Ty Norris, general manager at DEI, said he may have something to announce about Steve Park next week at Michigan.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-10-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing all is well with negotiations and Park and DEI are finalizing their deal and hope to have something to announce soon.(8-13-2002)
  • Chevron Luncheon? UPDATE 3 postponed/canceled Yes – the saga continiues: hearing there will be a luncheon of some sort at Lowe’s Motor Speedway next Tuesday afternoon held by ChevronTexaco (Havoline) to discuss its future in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.(8-10-2002)
    UPDATE: If you’re a Ford fan, and you don’t hear a driver named in Tuesday’s Ganassi and Havoline press conference, take a collective deep breath and keep those fingers crossed. Apparently, the powers that be who manage the Blue Oval Racing program have rounded up the cavalry and are throwing everything that they can think into a deal to keep Rudd, True Blue until his retirement years. This, like last week’s mention, is extremely preliminary, but the good fight is being fought to keep Rudd in-house and in a Ford.(Ford Racing)(8-11-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Ricky Rudd’s sponsor, ChevronTexaco, has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte and the assumption is that the driver’s future would be addressed. That, however, may not necessarily be the case. Rudd’s appearance at the gathering is not assured because his situation still remains “fluid,” sources said Sunday. There may be a possibility that ChevronTexaco would announce what Winston Cup team it will move to next season and Rudd’s future could remain unspecified. Should Rudd, rumored to become the driver for a third team at Chip Ganassi Racing next season, not have his situation resolved by Tuesday, the news conference might be canceled, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-12-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Chip Ganassi is expected to attend a press conference in Charlotte today to announce Chevron-Texaco’s Havoline brand as a new sponsor for a third Winston Cup team. And if Ricky Rudd’s attorneys have finished their examination of the contracts, he could be at the press conference also, as Ganassi’s new driver. The Rudd-Texaco-Ganassi package has been coming together not so quietly for several weeks, but the big news in the Ganassi camp could be about Jimmy Spencer. Last week, Spencer figured he would be coming back for another season with Ganassi, despite several weeks of speculation otherwise. Now, in the wake of Spencer’s Indy run-in with Kurt Busch, there is speculation again that Spencer’s ride is in jeopardy. If Ganassi does shake things up, there is increasing conjecture that the new man could be Bobby Hamilton. And there are indications that Jimmy Elledge, Hamilton’s current crew chief at Andy Petree’s, could be following him to Ganassi’s. Neither Hamilton nor Elledge has said what lies ahead after Jerry Jones buys into Petree’s team. Hamilton says he needs to run a Dodge on the Winston Cup tour because of his Dodge truck program.(Winston Salem Journal)
    BUT: am hearing this Press Conference has been postponed or canceled and will not take place Tuesday AND The Chevron Texaco/Havoline press conference scheduled for Tuesday morning at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been canceled, according to the agency which administers the brand’s NASCAR services. No reason was given for the cancellation, and no follow-up date was announced. It is widely believed that Rudd and Havoline will migrate to a Chip Ganassi-owned team, although other team entities have been mentioned through the summer. Ganassi team officials would not confirm at third team, and there is also talk that Jimmy Spencer, driver of Ganassi’s #41, could be on the hot seat. Yates, meanwhile, will announce at some time that Mars Candy will take over as sponsor of #28, with driver Elliott Sadler, currently with the Wood Brothers. Mars, now with MB2, has offered substantially more money. Yates also has been vague, not entirely closing the door on a third team in 2003. Apparently a deal is very close, but this is very complicated, and minutiae could abort a planned announcement.(SpeedChannel)
    UPDATE 4: Chevron Texaco/Havoline announced Monday evening that its scheduled press conference for Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to announce future plans in Winston Cup Racing has been cancelled. Insider speculation early in the weekend at Watkins Glen, N.Y. was that Texaco could go forward with their planned announcement this week; and likely announce a sponsorship deal with Chip Ganassi to field a third car with Ricky Rudd as driver. Saturday at The Glen brought word that high-level Ford officials wanted to make sure every opportunity, idea, and option had been explored to keep Rudd in Ford gear until his retirement. The idea was also advanced that perhaps Rudd would not attend the Chevron press conference, but that it could go on without him. Now, with this latest word form Chevron, it could signal a change in momentum for any deal that could have been coming together with Ganassi.(Ford Racing)(8-13-2002)
  • Wells Announcement? Cal Wells this week is expected to officially announce his decision to switch from Ford to Pontiac, a move that could allow him to start a second team for 2003.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-13-2002)

    (8-12-2002)

  • Watkins Glen TV Ratings: The Winston Cup numbers from Watkins Glen yielded a 4.7 overnight rating and 11 share, both numbers unchanged from last year’s overnights. The pre-race show drew a 2.5 rating and 7 share, with the race audience building every half-hour of the broadcast and peaking at 5.5 from 4:00 to 4:30. Key markets among the overnight cities include Greensboro (14.7), Charlotte (14.5), Indianapolis (10.3), Norfolk (10.0), Tampa (10.0), and Daytona (9.9). The telecast was the second highest-rated sports program for the weekend, finishing behind the Tiger Woods victory in the Buick Open, which pulled in a 5.5 rating. However, the race outdrew golf every half-hour of head-to-head competition: 3:00 – 3:30 (4.8 to 2.9), 3:30 – 4:00 (5.2 to 4.0), and 4:00 – 4:30 (5.5 to 4.9).(MotorsportsTV)(8-12-2002)
  • Kelly looking to field or get involved with a team: Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who waved the green flag for yesterday’s race, said he’s interested in becoming involved in a BGN or Winston Cup team [also mentioned ARCA on TV] in the next year. Kelly started talking with a potential sponsor this weekend. “It’s a matter of getting the right people behind it,” said Kelly, who also served as the honorary starter for the 1992 Daytona 500.(Richmond Times DisptachAND Kelly admitted he has entertained thoughts of involving himself in racing in some capacity in the future. “I met with some people (Saturday) and I will continue to meet with some people today about hopefully getting into some part of racing next year,” Kelly said. “Maybe either the Busch Series, or hopefully in the future into Winston Cup. It’s just a matter of getting the right people behind us and talk with them then. I know as well as anybody that it has to be a win-win for everybody or it doesn’t make sense,” Kelly said. “Ever since 9-11, it’s a lot harder for sponsorship, but the bottom line is making sure it’s win-win for everybody. One way or another, I’m still going to tune in every weekend to watch it and I will make my trips to tracks to watch it.” These days, aside from keeping up with the Bills and racing, Kelly keeps himself busy with Hunter’s Hope, the foundation he set up to find a cure for Krabbe’s Disease, an affliction that has stricken his five-year-old son. “We set up the Hunter’s Hope foundation so that kids all over the world do not suffer the way my son does,” Kelly said. “My son’s on oxygen 24 hours a day and he eats through a machine, but he’s the toughest little boy I’ve ever met in my life.”(The Leader)(8-12-2002)
  • #12 was NOT a showcar: Contrary to television reports, Ryan Newman said the #12 Ford he raced yesterday wasn’t a former show car. “Today we showed what we had, but there’s no show car about it,” he said. “It was built to be a race car.”(Richmond Times Disptach)(8-12-2002)
  • Spencer in or out? Speculation in the garage is that Spencer won’t be back in the No. 41 Dodge next season. Last weekend at Watkins Glen, Spencer was relegated to a third team car so road specialist Scott Pruett could drive the 41. Spencer failed to qualify, and Pruett finished sixth in the race. Spencer also didn’t make the field for the Daytona 500.(Sporting News)(8-12-2002)
  • Childress’ Grandson in the Little League World Series: Austin Dillon, Richard Childress’ oldest grandson, plays for a youth baseball team that earned a berth in the Little League World Series with a victory Saturday night in St. Petersburg, Fla. Dillon, whose father, Mike, drove in the BGN series for Childress, plays second base for the Southwest Forsyth team from Clemmons that beat a team from Bridgewater, Va., 4-2 in the Southeast Regional title game.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-12-2002)
  • Mike Wallace back in the #14: Mike Wallace will return to A.J. Foyt’s #14 Pontiac next weekend at Michigan International Speedway and likely stay for the remainder of the season, team officials said. Former NASCAR and open-wheel racing driver P.J. Jones drove the car Sunday at Watkins Glen. Following driver Stacy Compton’s departure from the team last month, Wallace drove the car at Pocono and Indianapolis.(ThatsRacin.com), it was also mentioned a few times during the broadcast that Jone’s may get a chance to run on an oval track in the 2nd Foyt Racing Pontiac, #50.(8-12-2002)

 


(8-11-2002)

 

  • Not NASCAR but Sad News: Three-time AMA national road racing champion Randy Renfrow died from head injuries suffered when he fell down a staircase. Renfrow, 46, fell on Tuesday at his parents’ home and died Friday morning. He had been recovering from serious injuries sustained in March during a racing accident at Daytona International Speedway. He began his professional road racing career in 1981 and won the AMA 250 Grand Prix championship in 1983. Renfrow won the Formula One title in 1986 and the Pro Twins Series in 1989. Renfrow was known for his ability to be competitive on any type of motorcycle. He won 17 AMA Nationals in four classes, including a 1990 AMA Superbike race at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, CA. Renfrow came back to racing after several serious injuries and always approached racing with the enthusiasm of someone new to the sport(ESPN). NOTE: This is NOT the same Randy Renfrow who run NASCAR races.(8-11-2002)
  • More Not NASCAR but: Actor Jason Priestley was seriously injured Sunday when his car crashed head-on into the wall in the final practice for an Infiniti Pro Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Priestley, former star of the “Beverly Hills 90210” television series, was taken by ambulance to the infield hospital and then by helicopter to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. The extent of his injuries was not immediately available, an Indy Racing League spokesman said. “He got sideways and he corrected and then shot off the track,” said former Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, whose son, Arie Jr., also competes in the Infiniti series. “He turned right into the wall, and his first impact was basically head-on,” Luyendyk said. “I saw it from the top of the roof. What I’m thinking is that’s really the one big hit that he took that might have hurt him.”
    UPDATE: Priestley is in serious condition at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington but was stable and responding, Indy Racing League medical director Henry Bock said. The extent of his injuries was not immediately available. Bock said Priestley was undergoing tests at the hospital, where he had been taken by helicopter from the track. A Kelley Racing crewman said Priestley sustained facial injuries.
    UPDATE 2: Priestley’s race car crashed head-on into a wall at nearly 180 mph Sunday at the Kentucky Speedway, breaking his back and leaving him in serious condition with a concussion and other injuries. Priestley was on a respirator to keep him sedated, but he was breathing on his own and was alert, Indy Racing League medical director Henry Bock said. Priestley was flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center with a spinal fracture in the middle of his back and a closed head injury, as well as a broken nose and broken bones in both feet, Bock said. “At this time, there’s no indication there’s any other injury to the head (besides a concussion),” Bock said. “His vital signs are stable. He has his eyes open, he looks around and will follow commands.” Bock said there was no sign of paralysis and that tests on Priestley would continue probably through the night. He would not speculate on how long his recovery would take.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-11-2002)
  • Smaller Tanks Official: NASCAR announced that teams will be required to use smaller fuel cells for the EA Sports 500 on Oct. 6 at Talladega Superspeedway. The new fuel cell will reduce the 22-gallon cells used in Winston Cup by about 9 gallons. NASCAR is counting on the change to increase pit stops during the 500-mile race. By spreading out the field, the move is expected to reduce the tight packs that frequently foster big wrecks at Talladega and Daytona, where restrictor plates on the carburetor are used to harness horsepower.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-10-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR confirmed Saturday that it would experiment with a smaller fuel cell in the race at Talladega Oct. 6th, in an attempt to break the full-field drafting pack seen at that track in recent races into smaller groups. Customary fuel-box size is 33in by 17in by 9.25in, enclosing a bladder and foam sponge, for a total liquid capacity of 22gal. At Talladega, the tank will be reduced to 20 by 17 by 9.75, giving a capacity of 12.5gal. Teams could go approximately 50 laps between stops at Talladega with the standard size. Under this regulation, teams can expect to go 25 to 30 laps before pitting. The idea is to force teams to pit more often in the hope of breaking the field into smaller cells. Many doubt that will happen, as all cars pit together under green in order not to lose the all-important draft — regardless of how many times they are pitted. Track position is not important at Talladega, as long as a car can stay with the draft. The fueling cans are 11gal, so the new rule still will require use of two cans. For now, the regulation is for the Talladega race only.(Speed Channel)(8-11-2002)
  • Points Deduction for off track stuff? No points were deducted from Tony Stewart following last week’s altercation with a photographer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but NASCAR president Mike Helton says that doesn’t mean points penalties can’t be used for an off-track incident. “Whether it’s on the track or in the garage area, it still could be a situation that could be points,” Helton said Saturday at Watkins Glen International. “It doesn’t have to be something we find on the car or something that happens on the race track. “If we feel it’s detrimental to the sport, we can go any way we want to the same way we can on any other deal.” NASCAR has already deducted points from Jimmie Johnson and Dale Jarrett for infractions found on their cars this season. Helton again said he believes that it’s part of NASCAR’s role to police competitors’ behavior in the garage area. “We’re in a time where we ask to be considered a professional sport and we need to act like one,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-11-2002)
  • Rudd still in the running for the Jerry Jones team? Free-agent driver Ricky Rudd says he has not shut down negotiations on a possible deal with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Rudd reiterated that he hopes to learn next week about the status of his No. 1 choice, a contract that reportedly would see him join car owner Chip Ganassi’s Dodge Intrepid stable. But Rudd, 45, said the Cup team being formed by Jones and team owner Andy Petree remains an option. “Until these deals are done, you don’t want to burn all your bridges and opportunities,” said Rudd, lame-duck driver of the #28 Havoline Ford owned by Robert Yates. “Right now, I don’t have a written contract for next year. I don’t have a verbal agreement for next year. I think we’ve got a commitment by an owner [Ganassi] and a driver that want to work things out. And it probably will, but, until that’s done, I don’t want to say ‘no’ to anything else out there.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(8-11-2002)
  • Wells – Ford? Pontiac?: Last week it was reported that [#32] Cal Wells III was in all likelihood going to be staying in the Ford camp for the 2003 season. Since that time, however, TFR confirmed the move to Pontiac was a far more likely possibility than him staying with Ford. One GM-type, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that they understood the GM deal with Wells was completed, but hadn’t seen the signed contracts. The GM source also told TFR that Richard Childress would be providing power to the effort, and displacing Robert Yates Racing as the motor supplier to the PPI organization. The announcement is slated to come next week at Michigan International Speedway.(Ford Racing)(8-11-2002)
  • Not NASCAR but quite a feat: Indy Racing League driver Sarah Fisher became the first woman to win the pole position in a major auto race Saturday when she nudged Billy Boat from the top spot in qualifying for the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Fisher ran a track-record 221.390 mph for Sunday’s race. While Fisher became the first woman to take the pole in a major series, Shawna Robinson won poles for a NASCAR Busch Series race in 1994 at Atlanta and a 2000 ARCA event in Michigan.(ThatsRacin/AP)(8-11-2002)
  • Hendrick Remembers: Hendrick Motorsports, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, 35-Terry Labonte and #25-Joe Nemechek, will all bear decals today in memory of Dan Lohwasser, who died July 31 after a long bout with cancer. Lohwasser, who served as the marketing director for owner Rick Hendrick, was 53 years old.(The Leader)(8-11-2002)
  • Interesting Rookie Fact: Only two rookies have led a lap at Watkins Glen since Winston Cup returned to the track in 1986. Ted Musgrave led one lap in 1991, and Robert Pressley led one lap in 1995.(Richmond Times Dispatch), make it three as #12-Ryan Newman led 11 laps at Watkins Glen.(8-11-2002)
  • Pretty Cool UPDATE: hearing that at Watkins Glen on Sunday, the NASCAR drivers will be escorted onto the raceway in HMMWV’s driven by New York State Army National Guardsmen. Most of the guardsmen there have performed duty at the World Trade Center, airports, nuclear plants, and on the border duty.(8-6-2002)
    UPDATE: Rather than parade the starting field around The Glen in boring, old trucks or cars during pre-race ceremonies, the drivers in today’s 90-lapper will be carried around in Hummers. Provided by the National Guard, the Winston Cuppers will be passengers with those who helped serve in relief efforts in New York City following Black Tuesday last September. Pole sitter Ricky Rudd will actually be toted around in a tank-like vehicle, with the two-time Glen winner protruding from the turret.(The Leader)(8-11-2002)


    (8-10-2002)

  • Conseco May File for Bankruptcy UPDATE: Conseco Inc., the insurance and finance company whose shares have traded below $1 for the past two weeks, will probably file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or reach a bankruptcy deal preapproved by creditors, Dow Jones Newswires said, citing analysts. “We are increasingly skeptical that it will be able to avoid seeking formal protection from its creditors,” Salomon Smith Barney analyst Colin Devine was quoted as saying. Conseco, which has a $300 million bond issue due on Oct. 15, has said it probably can’t meet all its debt obligations due by the end of next year, according to Dow. Conseco spokesman Mark Lubbers had no comment.(Star Tribune) Conseco is the primary sponsor for the #14 A.J. Foyt Racing team in the Cup series, supposedly the deal runs thru 2003, no idea how this will effect the sponsorship, but when Kmart filed, they were gone pretty fast.(8-8-2002)
    UPDATE: Conseco also [see full story about their other sports sponsorships] is the primary sponsor of a NASCAR team owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt. The company has never revealed what it is paying for its sponsorship, but it is thought to be about $5 million a year. “There’s another year left on our NASCAR sponsorship and that, too, is an important branding opportunity,” Conseco spokesman Mark Lubbers said. The team has struggled since its inception in 2000. Foyt has employed five different drivers, but none has posted a victory in 80 Winston Cup races. Mike Wallace finished last in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, crashing on the 11th lap. “We’ve got to win some races, both for Conseco and for A.J. Foyt,” Foyt told The Star last week. Team spokesperson Anne Fornoro declined to comment Friday.(Indianapolis Star)(8-10-2002)
  • New Qualifying Procedure at Sonoma in 2003? NASCAR officials are close to approving the European qualifying system for next summer’s race at Sonoma (Infineno Raceway). That’s when the track is opened to all drivers for a 30-minute period, with each man’s fastest lap in that period determining his qualifying spot.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-10-2002)
  • Skinner back in the #4 in 2003? UPDATE: Although he signed a three-year contract with Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Mike Skinner’s future in the #4 Kodak car isn’t a given. The contract is for one year with two, one-year options. “We’re in the process of talking with Mike about next season,” team owner Larry McClure said Aug. 3.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read)(8-8-2002)
    UPDATE: Mike Skinner has struggled with the rest of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, but says he made the right move when he joined the Winston Cup team. Skinner felt overshadowed at Richard Childress Racing and was let go last year after six seasons and no wins with the elite team. Morgan-McClure offered what Skinner wanted, a one-car team where Skinner is at the center of attention. It has not been a winning combination. Skinner is 30th in the series points standings, as the Eastman Kodak Company of Rochester-sponsored team has not recaptured the success it had during the mid-1990s. There are rumors that Skinner and the team could part before 2003. Skinner said, however, that if his two-year contract with an option year was up now, he would stay with the team. “It’s hard to turn something around if you don’t give it enough time to turn it around,” he said. “I don’t think we can say, ‘OK, we’ve been racing together for six months, we haven’t got a top-10 finish or won race so we need to part directions. That’s unfair to both them and me. We’re going to stick it out for awhile. If I had to make that decision right now, it would have to be an awfully sweet deal.”(Democrat and Chronicle)(8-10-2002)
  • Parker’s wife doing well: Things are looking up for Shawn Parker, car chief for the #97 Ford driven by Kurt Busch. Tops on the list is the health of his wife Tara, who underwent a heart transplant a year ago at the age of 26. She is back at the couple’s North Carolina home. “She’s pretty much back to normal,” said Parker, who is in charge of having Busch’s car ready to race. “Really, nothing is holding her back from anything.”(Democrat and Chronicle)(8-10-2002)
  • Stewart says job was in jeopardy: Tony Stewart admitted Friday that his altercation with a photographer following last Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway nearly cost him his job with Joe Gibbs Racing. “I came real close to losing my job. I really hurt the people at Home Depot (his sponsor). I’ve said it from Day 1, they’re the best sponsor you could ask for,” Stewart said. “They’ve been real supportive. Before we even knew what the outcome of this would be with my job, I talked to a bunch of them. They said they would do whatever they could to help me out.” Earlier this week, Stewart was fined $10,000 by NASCAR and placed on probation for punching Gary Mook, a free-lance photographer with the Indianapolis Star. Thursday, Stewart’s sponsor added a $50,000 fine and probation of its own. “What probably hurts the most is I let Home Depot down and all the people at Joe Gibbs Racing down who give their whole lives to doing what we do,” Stewart said. “Then to have someone like myself destroy that for everybody is a hard responsibility and hard pill to swallow.” Stewart said he thought he could control his temper, but now realizes that is not the case. “We’ll find someone who can help me do that. If it makes me less of a person or less of a man, than so be it. It’s what I have to do for myself. Aside from the race car, I have to do it for me,” he said. “I didn’t even know I had a problem until last week. I’m willing to do whatever I have to do to make myself a happy person again. It’s going to take a lot of work.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-10-2002)
  • Morgan McClure to Pontiac? UPDATE: Pontiac officials say they hope to have at least as many cars on the track in 2003 as they currently have, and expect to soon begin announcing which teams will field the new Grand Prix. Chief among those expected to join Pontiac is Morgan-McClure Motorsports, which currently fields the #4 Kodak Chevrolets for Mike Skinner. Team owner Larry McClure has met with General Motors officials on several occasions while considering the move. “We’re talking with GM about switching to Pontiac next season,” McClure said Aug. 3. “It’s a situation we feel might be beneficial to our team. There are so many Chevrolet teams right now, it would move us up a little bit in the pecking order. Sort of the big fish in a little pond, I guess.” Five teams currently field Pontiacs: #20-Tony Stewart and #18-Bobby Labonte at Joe Gibbs Racing; MBV with #10-Johnny Benson; MB2 with #36-Ken Schrader; and #14-A.J. Foyt Racing. Gibbs announced in July, however, that his teams will switch to the new Chevrolet for 2003. Pontiac has also been courting car owner Cal Wells, whose PPI Motorsports operation currently fields #32 Fords for driver Ricky Craven. But Wells says he is undecided on which brand will be in his team’s compound next season.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read)(8-8-2002)
    UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports owner Larry McClure said he was “looking at all his options” in regards to a possible change in manufacturer next season. Currently, McClure fields the #4 Chevrolets for driver Mike Skinner. Pontiac, which is debuting a new model Grand Prix and next season and will lose Joe Gibbs Racing to Chevrolet, has been searching for new teams, with McClure’s and Cal Wells’ PPI Motorsports at the top of the list. “We’ve looked at everything and we haven’t made a decision yet,” McClure said. “I don’t have anything further to tell anybody. If I change to anything, or stay, it will be a benefit. Sideways moves, I’m not interested in those.” McClure also said Skinner would be his driver next season. Last season, Skinner signed a one-year contract with two one-year options. “As far as I know, he’s staying, so you can put that one to bed,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-10-2002)
  • Rudd looks to tie record: If #28-Ricky Rudd wins at Watkins Glen today, he will tie #24-Jeff Gordon with the most road course wins Cup history with seven wins each. Gordon will have a tough time extending his wins to eight as he starts 23rd, the best any driver has started and won at The Glen in Cup race is Steve Park, who won two years ago, at 18th.(8-11-2002)
  • Cool Down Lap?: In the wake of Tony Stewart’s skirmish with a photographer last week at Indianapolis, NASCAR officials are entertaining the idea of a “cooling- off” period similar to those in other professional sports. Winston Cup director John Darby said Friday there have been no formal discussions, but “it’s an idea that might be worth considering.” Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications, said it probably won’t happen soon. “`We’ll consider anything,” he said. “`But we’ve always left that sort of thing up to the teams. … I don’t think it’s in the best interest of NASCAR to change a system that’s worked for 53 years, just because of one particular driver.” Major league baseball, football, basketball and hockey teams have cooling off periods of 10 to 15 minutes after games.(Tampa Tribune)(8-10-2002)
  • Humpy Praises NASCAR’s Safety Efforts: After watching two intense days of testing through his office window at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, President and General Manager H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler says he is impressed with NASCAR’s efforts to improve safety and on-track competition. “I applaud NASCAR in their testing for a bigger and better car,” said Wheeler after spending time in the garage area while NASCAR and Goodyear officials worked with six different teams testing tires and larger “greenhouse areas” on NASCAR Winston Cup cars. “What they are doing is exactly what their new research and development team was established to do.” Wheeler added that changing the car is a bold and difficult task for the sanctioning body. “NASCAR is tackling one of the more difficult tasks in sport. It would equate to the NFL changing the shape of the football,” Wheeler said following two days of testing this week at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. “The objective is to enhance safety while improving competition. In the past, stock car racing development has been evolutionary, but now with in-depth planning, it’s more proactive.” With Managing Director of Competition Gary Nelson on hand, NASCAR officials utilized a two-day Goodyear tire test at the track to do some testing of their own. Using 2003 versions of three car makes – Dodge, Ford and Pontiac – NASCAR gathered data on new, larger driver compartments, commonly referred to as greenhouse areas. Officials hope the greenhouse areas will improve driver safety and on-track aerodynamics. Drivers participating in NASCAR’s portion of the test included Jimmy Spencer in his Target Dodge, Todd Bodine in his Discover Ford and Johnny Benson in his Vavoline Pontiac. Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Ricky Craven conducted tire tests for Goodyear. Driver feedback was not as positive as NASCAR had hoped, but Nelson wasn’t discouraged. “We test to find solutions,” said Nelson. “What we would like to accomplish is an equally as stable car or more stable car with the bigger driver’s compartment. We’re just not there yet. We tested a bigger greenhouse car at Kansas City and we learned a lot,” said Spencer. “We thought everything was working out really well. However, when we got out on the track here with three cars running together, it was worse than we thought it would be. “Our push is actually worse with this configuration than the current aero push we have now. Plus, the cars were unstable. So is it the tire? Is it taking away too much downforce? We don’t know, but we’re not going to stop working to find out.” Wheeler said he understands the delicate balance NASCAR and the drivers are seeking. “The acute problem is coming up with a car that most of the drivers and crew guys like, but the different driving styles make that more difficult,” Wheeler commented. “While safety is the first priority, eliminating the aero push, which makes passing so difficult, is a big concern. This aero push requires resolving a lot of complexities including body profiles, springs, shocks and tires. I think NASCAR made some progress this week, and I’m sure they’ll continue pushing for solutions.”(LMS PR)(8-10-2002)

    (8-9-2002)

  • Spencer-Busch and owners meet with NASCAR: #97-Kurt Busch and #41(42)-Jimmy Spencer and their respective car owners, Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi, met with NASCAR President Mike Helton and series director John Darby Friday morning to help “clear the air” between the drivers. Busch and Spencer have been involved in several on-track incidents over the past year, including last weekend at Indianapolis when Spencer hit Busch from behind, putting Busch into the wall. Busch got out of his car and waited for Spencer to come back around and made several gestures toward Spencer. NASCAR required the drivers and car owners to meet before track activity started on Friday. “The meeting went as expected. We’re here in Watkins Glen. What happened in the past is the past,” Busch said before practice started. “Things aren’t necessarily true about certain situations that didn’t come about. We ran real well in Sears Point. Now we’re here in Watkins Glen to go race our car.” Spencer offered only a terse, “That was last week’s news,” on leaving the NASCAR hauler.(ThatsRacin.comAND “It was a real good meeting. Anytime you get people in there and hash out all your past history and the future what you have to do and what you don’t have to do — time tells. I don’t even know what the meeting was for, I don’t think I did anything wrong,” Spencer continued. “Yet, on the other side of it you have to respect NASCAR for addressing issues. I respect Mike Helton (NASCAR president) and his staff and when you get called to the trailer, you listen to what they have to say.”(NASCAR.com)(8-9-2002)
  • Nadeau to 2nd Wells team? It’s likely [Jerry] Nadeau will drive a second car being fielded out of Cal Wells’ shops.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-9-2002)
  • Morgan Shepherd Escapes Serious Injury Tuesday, August 5, Cup/CTS driver Morgan Shepherd had traveled from his Hickory, NC shop to Charlotte to buy some racing parts. While enroute back from Charlotte, on Interstate 40, a van traveling at a high rate of speed came up behind Morgan’s truck. After allowing the van to pull ahead of him Shepherd then fell in behind the van. The tires of the van ahead of him apparently picked up a large hook, similar to the hook on a towtruck and threw it in the path of Shepherd’s red truck. The hook struck the front windshield very close to the driver area of the windshield, sheared off the rearview mirror…whizzed mere inches past Shepherd’s head. The hook then crashed through the rear windshield, through the window on his bubble camper and came to rest in the bed of his pickup. It weighed in at a whomping 6 pounds. Police investigating the incident stated that Shepherd was, indeed, extremely fortunate that he was not hit by this projectile. The results, they suggested, would have been deadly. Shepherd plans to run Saturday’s CTS Federated Auto Parts 200 at Nashville Speedway.(full story and picture at Catchfence)(8-9-2002)

    (8-8-2002)

  • Home Depot Fines Stewart and puts him on Probation: The Home Depot, sponsor of NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Tony Stewart and the #20 team of Joe Gibbs Racing, has fined Stewart $50,000 and placed him on probation for the remainder of the 2002 season following an incident with a photographer upon the conclusion of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 4, 2002. The fine and probation are in addition to the $10,000 fine and probation NASCAR levied against Stewart following their own investigation. The $50,000 fine will go to the United Way of Central Indiana to be used for a variety of after school programs for children. The Home Depot made its decision after consulting the publisher’s office of The Indianapolis Star-News , the newspaper whose freelance photographer was involved in the incident. “Tony Stewart’s actions following the Brickyard 400 do not at all represent the values and beliefs of the over 290,000 associates who comprise the backbone and spirit of The Home Depot,” said Hugh Miskel, director of sales promotion for The Home Depot. “We value our relationship with the media, fans and competitors of NASCAR, and the behavior displayed following the Brickyard 400 will not be tolerated from any member of our race team now or in the future.” The Home Depot, the official home improvement warehouse of NASCAR, has been the primary sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart since 1999.(Edelman PR)(8-8-2002)
  • Melling back at MIS? Compton tests, also R Gordon and Robinson there: Mark Melling and Melling Racing might be back in business next week at Michigan International Speedway. Fueling rumors that the team is inching closer to a sponsorship deal that would allow the #92 Melling Racing Dodge to try to qualify for the Pepsi 400 next week, driver Stacy Compton tested the car Tuesday at MIS in Brooklyn. The Pepsi 400 is scheduled for Aug. 18. Compton, who drove in 126 races for Melling from 1999-2001, was released from his Winston Cup driving contract with A.J. Foyt Racing following a 30th-place finish at the New England 300 in Loudon, N.H., on July 21. He was at MIS on Tuesday as part of a BGN test with his #59 Kingsford/Johnsonville team. “We don’t know what we’re going to do right now,” Compton said about the prospects of a Winston Cup return with Melling. “We’re going to get with Mark and figure out what the plan is. We were up here with the Busch test and we just elected to bring the Cup car to see how good we would be.” Compton said that he felt comfortable back in the 92, but said that it was difficult to gauge how well the car was working on an afternoon where just two other Winston Cup drivers — #31-Robby Gordon and #49-Shawna Robinson — were on the track. Melling Racing spokesman Steve Brown said that racing at MIS next week still comes down to sponsorship dollars. “We’ve had a good test, and we’d love to be there,” Brown said. “But it’s still pending sponsorship.(Michigan Live)(8-8-2002)
  • NASCAR Helps Out: New York City Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced the donation of two driving simulators from the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). The FDNY will become the first municipal fire and emergency medical response program in the country to use full scale, motion-based vehicle simulators to train fire and ambulance chauffeurs. The simulators will be used to help train the city’s Fire and EMS personnel in apparatus operations and are expected to help improve response times, reduce accidents and resulting injuries and, ultimately, help save lives. “The driving simulators will have a major, long-term positive impact on both the emergency response system in New York City, and the people and property the Fire Department is sworn to protect,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “We are grateful to NASCAR for helping make this a reality.” The announcement was made at a press conference today in New York at the FDNY Engine 23 firehouse on West 58th Street. Dignitaries in attendance included FDNY Commissioner Scoppetta; FDNY Citywide Tour Commander, Chief Joseph Callan; NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR champion driver Jeff Gordon. The donation addresses a need stemming from the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 in which over 100 FDNY-trained chauffeurs perished.. The FDNY worked with NASCAR to identify a specific need that had gone unmet through previous monetary contributions and determined that driver training simulators would have a significant benefit to the department. “We knew that it would take time for the full breadth of the city’s needs to become known and understood after last September,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “The FDNY agreed with us, and waited to see where it made the most sense for us to step in. We hope the driving simulators will have long-lasting benefits to all New Yorkers.” The company building the driving simulators, FAAC, Inc., of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will contribute a portion of proceeds from additional simulators sold to municipalities across the country to the FDNY Fire Safety Education Fund (FSEF).(NASCAR PR)(8-8-2002)
  • Biffle Tests Cup Car at MIS: In preparation for the upcoming Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on Aug. 18, Greg Biffle and the #16 Roush Racing team headed to the two-mile track for a two-day test session. Crew chief Randy Goss and the entire Grainger squad will be making the jump to Winston Cup with Biffle in 2003, so they are working the races and test sessions this season in order to get acquainted with the new program. The team brought two cars to the test session, both of which saw track time either on Monday or Tuesday. Chassis No. JR-03, which is a new car prepared specifically for this race and JR-01, which is a car purchased from the #17 DEWALT team, were present with JR-03 getting the nod to go back next week. Both cars ran extremely well, but JR-03 worked the best on the long runs. With its wide corners and different racing grooves, MIS is historically known to have extended green flag periods and the #16 team hopes the same holds true in this year’s event. Biffle and crew worked on race trim the majority of the test session, but they switched to the qualifying setup for the final few hours. Unofficially, Biffle turned a fast lap of 184.663mph. Last year’s pole position time for the Pepsi 400 was 188.127mph posted by #32-Ricky Craven, and, earlier this season, #88-Dale Jarrett posted a time of 189.071 for the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 at MIS. “We’re fairly pleased with how the test session went,” said Biffle. “We know we’ve got a little more work to do before and when we get there next week, but we’re headed in the right direction. The car was very comfortable and it ran really well on the long run. Michigan is a driver friendly track and there usually aren’t that many cautions, so being good on the long run should be beneficial to us. We were a few tenths off of last year’s pole time, but you can’t really use that as a determining factor for whether or not we were running competitively. There are so many things that come into play like temperature and how much rubber is on the track, so it’s hard to tell. We feel good about how we ran, and Robby Gordon was there and we ran lap times comparable to his, so I think we’ll be good when we unload next week.” If Biffle qualifies for the Pepsi 400 at MIS, it will mark his second career Winston Cup start. His first start came at California Speedway on April 27, 2002, where he qualified 29th and finished 13th. Biffle also has tentative plans to run Winston Cup races this year at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Atlanta, Rockingham and Phoenix (where he supposedly will run the CTS, BGN and Cup races).(Roush Racing PR)(8-8-2002)
  • Air Dam changes for MIS: NASCAS announced a half-inch increase to the front air dam for the Pontiac Grand Prix and a 1-inch increase for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, for next weekend’s Pepsi 400 Presented by Farmer Jack at Michigan International Speedway. The leading edge of the air dam for the Pontiacs now must not extend more than 1½ inches forward of the bumper. The leading edge for the Chevrolets now must not extend more than 3½ inches forward of the bumper. Prior to this, Pontiacs™ air dams could extend 1 inch forward, while Chevrolets’ air dams could extend 2½ inches forward. These modifications will be in place for this weekend only, pending further assessment by NASCAR officials.(NASCAR PR)(8-8-2002)
  • more Petty plans for 2003: Kyle Pettysaid he’s returning to drive [in 2003]. Petty, whose team does not have a sponsor for next season, said the team should have an announcement within two months on that issue. Petty said the organization also is searching for sponsorship for Fittipaldi’s team. Petty said the team hopes John Andretti will return, and that Jerry Nadeau, the team’s other driver for the rest of the season, is unlikely to return because he has other offers.(Roanoke Times)(8-8-2002)
  • Hooters/Brooks could be part owner of the #11: Brett Bodine is poised for a change in the direction of his NASCAR Winston Cup team. Bodine began the year without a primary sponsor and was on the verge of closing his doors before signing Hooters restaurant chain to a small but team-saving contract. He has a verbal agreement from Hooters owner Bob Brooks for sponsorship for 2003. “He’s basically told me you’ve got a deal for next year and possibly more,” Bodine said. “They’re in a process to evaluate the program and how much they want to invest in a Winston Cup sponsorship. We’d like more sponsorship,” Bodine added. “You’ve got to look at what is going to be a good investment to be competitive. We’re hoping to get them signed up for a long-term deal.” One scenario would have Hooters become a partner in the team. If that happened, Bodine said, “I wouldn’t have to ever look for a major sponsor again.” He said he hopes to have a deal in place within the month. Bodine is also trying to add to or re-sign his associate sponsors. And he knows that if everything he hopes for happens, then there will be more pressure on him and his team.(Star Gazette)(8-8-2002)
  • Trouble at TRAC? UPDATE: TRAC executive resigns: William Miller, chief executive officer of the new Team Racing Auto Circuit, quit seven months before the start of the new racing league. TRAC plans to start its inaugural season with a slate of 20 races (including a tentative June date at Fairgrounds Speedway).(Tennessean)(8-7-2002)
    UPDATE: Team Sports Entertainment announces that Bill Miller is no longer the company’s Chief Executive Officer or a Director of the company’s Board. Team Sports Entertainment, Inc. Chairman, Robert J. Wussler said, “We have been anticipating that Mr. Miller will want to focus his efforts on developing a TRAC team in Atlanta. This should not affect our daily operations.”(TRAC Site)(8-8-2002)
  • Musgrave to stay in the CTS: Earlier this season Ted Musgrave agreed to run a few Winston Cup races in partnership with the Ultra Motorsports team, which also fields the car driven by Nashville’s Casey Atwood. ”Don’t call it a ‘comeback,” Musgrave joked at his July press conference in Daytona. ”I’m not coming back [to Winston Cup]. I’m going to run a race now and then, and that’s it.” After trying his hand in various other racing divisions, including some frustrating stints in Winston Cup, the veteran racer from Wisconsin says he’s found a home in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(Tennessean)(8-8-2002)
  • What? No More Burnouts? UPDATE: No more post-race burnouts. That’s apparently the word from NASCAR execs after Greg Biffle’s Busch victory burnout in St. Louis, which led a blown tire, which in turn brought Biffle’s car through the post-race inspection station too low. NASCARis telling teams that any driver who does that again and blows a tire risks having the win taken away.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-22-2002)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup Director John Darby said in the Aug. 1 issue of Scene that NASCAR is not prohibiting burnouts, but simply warning competitors not to damage their cars or its parts during a post-race celebration.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read)(8-8-2002)
  • Benson tests 2003 car at Lowe’s: the #10 Valvoline team tested the 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix at Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. James Ince On 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix Test: “So far it is hard to tell. Tuesday and Wednesday were the first days our team has had a 2003 Valvoline Pontiac on the track. Johnny was pretty happy with the car but we had the big green house on it and we really don’t have anything to compare it to. So far we are pleased but we have a lot of work ahead of us.”(Johnny Benson Fanclub)(8-8-2002)
  • Special paint for the #10 at Atlanta: #10-Johnny Benson will run a University of Kentucky scheme at Atlanta.(Johnny Benson Fanclub)(8-8-2002)
  • Junior Johnson News: Lengendary NASCAR Owner/Driver, Junior Johnson, whose imprisonment for running moonshine made him the focus of Tom Wolfe’s Last American Hero, will be the grand marshal for the 35th annual Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville, Ga., in October.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-8-2002)
  • Robinson and BAM to the BGN? Ron Hornaday failed to qualify the BAM Racing Dodge at Indy, but Tony Morgenthau, who owns the team with wife Beth, said Shawna Robinson would be back in the car at Michigan Aug. 16-18. Beyond that Robinson’s future with the team is uncertain. “We’re planning for next year and want to get off to a good start,” Morgenthau said. “We’re interested in putting fast drivers in the car. But Shawna’s our primary driver. She’s under a two-year contract and we’re going to use her.” But that might be in the Busch Series with a driver to be determined in the Cup car. “That decision hasn’t been made yet,” Morgenthau said. “There are going to be plenty of drivers available, I have a feeling, after the next month. (Right now), we’re just working on getting the car (better).”(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read)(8-8-2002)
  • #2 Crewman plans to run a BGN race: Just could be “the fastest” rear tire changer in the business.Rob Fuller, the rear tire changer on Rusty’s “two crew” team, is hoping to show his driving skills in the Friday night Grand National race at Bristol in a few weeks. “If things work out like we hope, I could be a teammate to Stacy Compton in that race,” said the 29-year-old Massachusetts native. “Tad and his guys (ST Motorsports owner Tad Geschickter) are working with me to possibly give me the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m very thankful for that.”(Tom Robets PR)(8-8-2002)
  • Dodge Motorsports diversity program awards scholarships to eight minority students: Dodge Motorsports announced recently that eight minority candidates have been chosen to receive scholarships sponsored by the Dodge Motorsports Diversity Program. The program, in its second year of operation, aims to attract, recruit and train minorities for positions within the automotive and motorsports industry. The eight winners – Jonta Adams, 24, of Charlotte, N.C.; Michael Bethea, 18, of Dillon, S.C.; Carlos Correa Jr., 18, of Saint Helena Island, S.C; Gabriel López, 19, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Kerry Sano, 22, of San Francisco, California; Juan Jose Soto Jr., 25, of Toledo, Ohio; Antonio Texidor, 25, of Manchester, Connecticut; Cesar Villanueva Jr., 22, of Morris Plains, New Jersey – were selected from hundreds of qualified applicants through an extensive screening process. The scholarship recipients will receive NASCAR-approved training at the Mooresville, N.C., campus of the new NASCAR Technical Institute. Scholarships will cover costs associated with tuition, fees, required books and supplies and housing for the 57-week, automotive/NASCAR technology program operated by the Universal Technical Institute (UTI). Students will attend 39 weeks of traditional automotive service technology training that provides coursework in engine construction, electrical, fuel and lubrication systems, drive trains, body and chassis fabrication and racing theory principles. The final 18 weeks of the program covers NASCAR-specific training, which includes an intensive NASCAR curriculum, including the sport’s history, rules and regulations, engine building and development, and chassis theory. All students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) while enrolled in the automotive technology training program. Upon successful completion of the training program, graduates will be placed in a recruitment process to join Dodge racing teams as crewmembers. To be considered for one of the scholarships, applicants must have maintained a 3.0 GPA throughout high school and either be currently enrolled as a senior or have already graduated high school. Also, it is necessary that candidates belong to a recognized U.S. ethnic/racial minority group (i.e. American Indian, Alaskan Native, African American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian, Hispanic or Latino). Finally, recipients are required to take the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) examination. All applications are processed and evaluated by an independent agency. The Dodge Motorsports Diversity Program began its second year of operation with the debut of rookie NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester in the #8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram at Daytona International Speedway in February. Lester, currently the only African-American driver in NASCAR’s top three series, is in the midst of his first full-season of competition in the CTS with Bobby Hamilton Racing.(Golin-Harris PR)(8-8-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award: Steve Park and the #1 Pennzoil team recorded their season-best finish at last weekend’s Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Despite the blazing temperatures and tough competition on the track, the Pennzoil crew kept Park in the hunt all afternoon, helping to earn crew chief Paul Andrews this week’s “Irwin Rough to the Finish” Award. Andrew’s call on the final pit stop was a big factor in the final outcome of the race. The caution came out about ten laps before the Pennzoil team was planning to pit. Andrews had planned to take only two tires, but the additional time between the pit stop and the race’s end prompted him to take four instead. Park was quickly able to make up track position with four fresh tires and bring home the team’s first top-10 of the season.
    Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Irwin, makers of professional power tool accessories like Marathon Plus saw blades and Speedbor flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund in the racing team’s name.. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund.. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338. In addition to the crew chief award, Irwin is also sponsoring the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons“, throughout the upcoming year.(Golin Harris PR)(8-8-2002)
  • Sad News: Former Indy 500 driver Jim Crawford of Scotland died Tuesday in Florida, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials said Wednesday. He was 54. The cause of death was not immediately available. Crawford retired from racing after the 1993 Indianapolis 500, and became a fishing boat captain in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area. He made eight Indy 500 starts, finishing a career-best sixth in 1988, and also competed briefly in Formula One. Survivors include wife Annie and son Geoffrey.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2002)

    (8-7-2002)

  • Home Depot May Dump Stewart? UPDATE – NO: For the second year in a row, Tony Stewart is on probation. Following an incident after the Brickyard 400 last weekend NASCAR officials fined Stewart $10,000 and placed him on probation through the end of the year. NASCAR also is requiring Stewart issue a formal apology. Stewart feels lucky to get off so easy with the sanctioning body. His concern now is that sponsor Home Depot and car owner Joe Gibbs might not be so forgiving. “I’m worried,” Stewart said. “The people at Home Depot are not happy.” The next 48 hours are crucial to his career in Winston Cup racing. Should executives at Home Depot decide Stewart is more liability than asset, the ax could fall before practice starts for the Sirius Satellite Radio at Watkins Glen on Friday. Stewart has expressed regret that the incident occurred and is taking steps to help him avoid similar outcomes in the future. For his part, Mook says the media has blown the incident out of proportion. Mook says Stewart hit him only once, not the two, three or even four times claimed by others.(full story and other notes at the Tampa Tribune)
    UPDATE: The Home Depot is concerned with Tony Stewart’s behavior, but the home improvement chain has voiced no intentions of replacing him as driver or leaving Joe Gibbs Racing, JGR president J.D. Gibbs told NASCAR.com on Wednesday. Recent reports said that Home Depot was so disgruntled with Stewart’s latest tirade — in which he shoved and attempted to kick Gary Mook, and Indianapolis Star freelance photographer, following the Brickyard 400 last Sunday — that they were contemplating the possibility of removing Stewart from the seat of the #20 Pontiac.(NASCAR.com)(8-7-2002)
  • Stewart to seek help: Tony Stewart admits he has an anger management problem. “I’m going to seek professional help,” he said Tuesday night after signing autographs before racing at the Terre Haute, IN action track. Stewart was fined $10,000 Tuesday for punching freelance photographer Gary Mook in Gasoline Alley following Sunday’s Brickyard 400. Stewart said he spoke with NASCAR officials Tuesday before arriving in Terre Haute. In addition to the fine of $10,000, NASCAR ordered Stewart to apologize to Mook. “I look forward to apologizing to Mr. Mook in person,” Steward told Eyewitness News Tuesday. “He deserves that.”(WTHR Indianapolis and see a video clip on their main page)(8-7-2002)
  • It’s Official – Fittipaldi to Petty: Petty Enterprises announced today that 31-year-old CART driver Christian Fittipaldi will drive a Petty Dodge beginning in 2003. The plans call for a combined BGN and Cup program beginning next season that will lead to a full-time Winston Cup program with the team in 2004 and 2005. The team is currently looking for a primary sponsor for the program.. Fittipaldi’s racing experience is impressive. After winning the Formula 3000 Championship in 1991, the Brazilian competed in Formula One from 1992 – 1994 and then moved to the CART Series in 1995. He has won twice in CART and now brings his diverse experience and impressive talent to Petty Enterprises and NASCAR. “I’ve been looking at NASCAR over the last several years and knew I wanted to be a part of it,” said Fittipaldi. “I’ve been part of one of the top teams in the CART series with Newman/Haas and I wanted to find a similar opportunity in NASCAR. Petty Enterprises is one of the top names in the sport. Their team is clearly on the way up and they have an impressive group of people and equipment working to take them to the top. I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”.
    “Christian will be another bright new star in our sport,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “It’s exciting for us to have landed him. He’s got tremendous experience and he’s been very successful in every series he’s raced in from Formula 3000 to F1 to CART. With our knowledge in this sport and his ability and experience as a driver, we’re confident that he can win races and contend for Championships in the near future.”. Fittipaldi currently drives the #11 Newman/Haas car in CART. He has four top-five finishes this season and is currently 9th in points. He has run a limited number of BGN races in 2001 and 2002 (for Innovative Motorsports #30). His schedule in 2003 will consist primarily of BGN and Cup races and possibly several ARCA races as well. “We tested him in our cars in Lakeland (FL) and he was very impressive,” said Petty Enterprises Vice President and General Manager Robin Pemberton. “He’s clearly an incredibly talented driver, very smart and communicates well with the team. He’s going to be exciting to watch.” Dodge is equally excited about adding Fittipaldi to their current stable of NASCAR drivers. Dodge Vice President of Motorsports and SRT Marketing Jim Julow said, “We’re always looking at building for future success and it’s rare you are able to add somebody with as much talent and experience as Christian. This is a great move for Petty Enterprises and a tremendous boost for Dodge and NASCAR.”.(Williams Company PR), for past news and rumors on this, see my #45 Team News and Links page.(8-7-2002)
  • Timberland steps up BGN sponsorship program with Brett Bodine: Leveraging the brand’s strategic partnership with Brett Bodine Racing, The Timberland Company today announced a national marketing campaign to support its Timberland PRO series of footwear and apparel for skilled craftsmen and work professionals. Launching the first week in August, the campaign revolves around Timberland’s partnership with Brett Bodine Racing, and is designed to reach the ever-important audience of NASCAR race fans.. In a unique twist on NASCAR race team marketing campaigns, Timberland’s strategy is to focus in on the pit crew members, paying tribute to the critical roles they play and reinforcing the benefits of wearing Timberland PRO series footwear on the job. Program elements include a national advertising campaign (the first-ever for the Timberland PRO series), a consumer sweepstakes, and Brett Bodine appearances with the show car at key retail outlets.. In addition, August 23rd at the Bristol Motor Speedway marks the first of six races where the Timberland PRO series will be primary sponsor of Bodine’s #11 Ford Taurus in BGN driven by nephew Josh Richeson (also to run at Richmond, Dover, Lowe’s, Atlanta and Rockingham). Some of the marketing program include an in-store consumer sweepstakes:. Timberland and select retail partners will run a series of sweepstakes, giving consumers the chance to win a trip for two (plus $500 spending money) to select NASCAR races.. Winners also receive pit passes for a first-hand glimpse at behind-the-scenes NASCAR action. In-store displays and signage will support the sweepstakes. The series kicks off at Bob’s Stores with an August 3-25, 2002 sweepstakes for the Homestead-Miami Race in November, 2002. In-store promotions are also being planned with Meijer (November), Iron Age and Academy. In support of the campaign, NASCAR veteran Brett Bodine and the Timberland PRO series show car will make special appearances at various retail locations and events throughout the U.S.. The appearances will include autographs, photos with Brett and/or the show car, and on-site radio promotions. More information about Timberland is available at the Company’s web site, www.timberland.com.(PR)(8-7-2002)
  • Spencer and Busch Together Again: #41-Jimmy Spencer and #97-Kurt Busch tested Tuesday at Lowes Motor Speedway just two days after their lastest on-track confrontation. Spencer and #26-Todd Bodine shook down cars with the so-called bigger greenhouse while #10-Johnny Benson, #32-Ricky Craven and Busch tested tires for Goodyear. Busch told PRN’s Garagepass radio show….”My body is in a state of a little bit of shock with a stiff neck and some bruises on my right side, even though I hit on my left side, a lot of things ricochet around.” During the wreck, Busch’s right arm struck the outside of the seat which was not padded. Busch says he’s real, real satisfied with the safer wall at Indy. Busch and Spencer have not spoken. “We’re going about our business today” said Busch, and “The way that he (Spencer) made some remarks on TV was that it was accidental, but if it was accidental he would have stopped by today to say sorry”. When asked about the Indy incident Spencer said “Everybody keeps saying.it’s from Bristol but there’s no truth to that at all. I’ve raced him (Busch).all year long, we raced hard at Richmond, Martinsville, a lot of places. I moved over (at Indianapolis) and let him go down the back straightaway and we drove down in the corner and I put my throttle to the car and I don’t know what happened. I did bump him and I’m sorry for it, but yet I don’t know if he lifted…..if he didn’t get on the gas that quick…..I really don’t know what happened and I sure didn’t mean to hit him but it’s a part of the sport. You go to some of these tracks….Texas, Kansas City, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta…..you do not want to get into an altercation with anybody, especially knowing that they could get hurt. I can’t believe somebody is saying that I deliberately spun him out, especially at those speeds. I just don’t drive that way.”.(PRN’s Garage Pass)(8-7-2002)
  • T. Labonte, P.J. Jones Test at VIR: With the final NASCAR Winston Cup Series’ final road-course race of the season coming up this weekend at New York’s Watkins Glen International, a pair of teams got in some last-minute testing at VIRginia International Raceway near Danville, VA. Hendrick Motorsports’ #5 Kellogg’s team with two-time series champion Terry Labonte and A.J. Foyt Racing’s #14 Conseco team with P.J. Jones spent the day circulating the 3.27-mile full circuit at VIR. While it was a normal road-course test for Labonte’s team, Jones was coming to grips with the Foyt team for the second race of a two-race deal. “It’s the first time we’ve been up here,” said crew chief Mike Hillman. “We’ve heard a lot of good things about it, and we’re trying to get P.J. and myself acclimated together a little bit for Watkins Glen. I’m really impressed with the racetrack and the facilities up here. It’s a really nice place.” It was also Jones’ first time at VIR, and he seemed to have no trouble adapting both to a new track and team. “It’s a great facility,” he said. “The track’s nice. Probably the biggest thing is that we don’t seem to be wearing out tires, which is a big factor, and we’re getting good repeatability out of the changes that we’re making because the tires aren’t falling off.” Jones was entered in a second Foyt car at last week’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but failed to qualify for the race. He’s looking forward to racing at Watkins Glen this weekend, but isn’t sure what the future holds. Over in the Labonte camp, the Jim Long-led team found their car had the wrong gearing for the long course, but had a productive day nonetheless. “It definitely helps us,” Long said. “It helps us make sure our brakes our right and our carburetors are right. You can have stumbling in the carburetor a lot on road courses, and it gives our engine man a chance to get that worked out. When we unload at Watkins Glen we can work on chassis stuff, we don’t have to worry about all those little items. While Long had tested at VIR previously with a different team, it was Labonte’s first visit. “It’s a pretty neat track,” he said. “It’s good for what we need to accomplish. We’re trying to check out our road-course car before we go to Watkins Glen and just make sure everything is okay; that there are no vibrations and the brakes work and all that stuff, you know?”(VIR PR)(8-7-2002)

    (8-6-2002)

  • Jeff Gordon/Dale Jr in NYC on Thursday – correction: Jeff Gordon make his third appearance as co-host of the “Live with Regis and Kelly” morning talk show on ABC TV — and the second time in 2002 that Gordon has filled in for Regis Philbin and co-hosted the show with Kelly Ripa, Bill Elliott is also listed as a guest on the Live with Regis site. On Thursday afternoon, Macy’s Herald Square will host a special appearance by Dale Earnhardt Jr and members of his Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Budweiser Chevrolet pit crew; as well as the “Drakkar Noir Pit Crew Challenge” between two specially trained teams from the NYPD and FDNY. Prior to the Pit Crew Challenge Earnhardt Jr. will meet and greet his fans at noon as well as sign autographs for the first 300 people to make a $67.50 Drakkar Noir purchase. Immediately following, Junior will meet with Olympic gold and silver medallist Picabo Street for a brief Q&A. (NASCAR.com)(8-6-2002)
  • Bigger Cars Test at Lowes: NASCAR’s attempts to develop Winston Cup cars with a bigger “greenhouse area” to improve driver safety and aerodynamics appears to be hitting a roadblock. NASCAR used 2003 versions of three car makes – Dodge, Ford and Pontiac – in a test Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to gather data on the new greenhouse – the area encompassing the driver compartment. Driver feedback, however, was not what NASCAR officials hoped. “When the drivers come in and say the car is not driving well with this configuration, we pay attention to that. We don’t say, ‘Deal with it,’ and go on,” said Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of competition. “We want to find solutions.” Nelson said on-track testing results were not turning out similar to wind tunnel tests done with the larger greenhouses on the cars. The teams of #41-Jimmy Spencer, #10-Johnny Benson and #26-Todd Bodine participated in Tuesday’s test. The larger greenhouse area is an increase of approximately one to three inches in the roof area and up to four inches in the length measured from the front windshield to the rear. The design would assist larger-sized taller drivers in exiting the cars because of the larger window space more freedom of moment in the driver compartment. “We tested the bigger greenhouse car at Kansas City and we learned a lot. We thought everything was working out really well. Now, we have three cars and we get on the race track and we are actually worse than we thought we were,” Spencer said. “Our push is actually worse now than the current aero push we now have. Plus, the cars were unstable. So is it the tire? Is it taking away too much downforce? We don’t know, but we’re not going to stop working.” Nelson said he would not give up on the project. “What we would like to accomplish is an equally as stable car or more stable car with the bigger driver’s compartment,” he said. “We’re just not there yet.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-6-2002)
  • Stewart Reportedly Throws Punches UPDATE 3 Fined and Probation: After exiting his car in one of the garage bays after the Brickyard 400, #20-Tony Stewart was approached by photographer, Gary Mook, who was working the race on a freel-ance basis with the Indianapolis Star. After Mook had taken some pictures, Stewart turned and threw several punches at Mook, witnesses said. Approximately 15 minutes later, Mook was seen having a prolonged discussion with Stewart’s team owner, Joe Gibbs, and crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, outside Stewart’s hauler. Mook then left the garage, waving off questions from reporters. Stewart, who started on the pole, ran up front nearly the entire race, but in the final laps he appeared slow and finished 12th. Neither Gibbs nor Zipadelli would acknowledge much about the incident. “I talked to the gentleman and I feel confident we don’t have a problem there,” Gibbs said. “We had a good discussion. That’s all I really need to say about it.” Said Zipadelli: “I have no idea. When I got to the hauler he was already gone. I have not heard anything and don’t know anything about it. I couldn’t tell you any more than that.” Winston Cup series director John Darby said he was aware of an incident between Stewart and a photographer following the race, but was unsure about its nature. He said NASCAR would be examining the issue further. “I just know little bits and pieces that we’ve heard so far. We’re looking into it now,” Darby said. “What we’re starting to hear back is it may be two guys goofing around, but I don’t know.” Zipadelli seemed at a loss to explain what happened to Stewart’s car in the final laps of Sunday’s race. “We surely had at least a fourth-place car all day. I don’t know what happened at the end, other than frustration set in,” he said. “We’ve dealt with that enough to know our circumstances and instead of coming out of here fourth and fifth, we come out of here 12th.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-4-2002)
    UPDATE: The Indianapolis Star plans to file a letter of complaint with NASCAR. That’s because driver Tony Stewart’s temper got the best of him yesterday after the Brickyard 400. Stewart hurriedly walked off after the race, and the Star’s free-lance photographer Gary Mook, was following when Stewart broke into a trot to get away. Mook ran alongside Stewart, and Stewart threw several punches, connecting to Mook’s chest and stomach. Mook told the Star Stewart came toward him and struck him in the chest to get him out of the way, and he didn’t pursue Stewart after that. He says Stewart struck him once, and the confrontation is being blown out of proportion. Spokesman Jim Hunter says NASCAR is investigating the incident.(NASCAR/AP) FSN’s Totally NASCAR showed video of a portion of the ‘punch/show.(8-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2 – Provoked? NASCAR chairman Bill France wonders whether Tony Stewart might have been provoked into hitting a photographer after a 12th-place finish in the Brickyard 400. While NASCAR continued its investigation Monday, France said he would be interested in seeing pictures or footage of the confrontation, if any exist. France did not condone Stewart’s actions but wanted to know whether the photographer might have been too aggressive in doing his job, which could have angered Stewart. “All I know is what I have heard, and I don’t know what provoked it,” France told The Associated Press. NASCAR spent Monday interviewing several reporters and photographers who witnessed the altercation, with some saying Stewart also kicked Mook, said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter. No one has come forward with photographic evidence.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(8-6-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Tony Stewart has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31 as a result of an altercation with a media member following Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac, was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book: “Actions detrimental to stock car racing.” In addition to the fine and probation, NASCAR will require Stewart to make a formal apology to the media member. The penalties were assessed after NASCAR officials conducted a thorough investigation of the incident. “It is imperative that we protect the integrity of our sport,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “This type of behavior cannot be tolerated and is in no way indicative of the manner in which our drivers, teams, tracks and sponsors interact with the media. We take pride in our accessibility and interaction with the media and we intend to protect that relationship.”(NASCAR PR)(8-6-2002)
  • Been asked so….. how can another team use the #09 that Geoffrey Bodine is running this year, as Shame Lewis is at Watkins Glen, a race Bodine will not run. Remember, NASCAR owns the numbers, not the teams and NASCAR works with teams to use a number if they wish to do so. Here is what I hear from the Geoffrey Bodine Fanclub that “The team [Shane Lewis] called Geoffrey Bodine and asked if they could use the number so they would at least have some points to fall back on if they needed it to make the field. Bodine and team owner James Finch both gave permission to Shane Lewis and his team to use the number for Watkins Glen since Bodine wouldn’t be running the race. Plus the owners points will go to Finch’s #09 team”. Two teams using the same car numbers in a season is not unheard of and is common in the BGN and CTS and in the Cup season we have the #27 being used by Kirk Shelmerdine and Scott Wimmer, when both run, Shelmerdine uses the #72.(8-6-2002)
  • Fellows – no ride at The Glen? Ron Fellows’ chance of racing in this weekend’s NASCAR road race at Watkins Glen is down to “a glimmer of hope.” Fellows yesterday morning expecting to sign to drive A.J. Foyt’s #14 Conseco Pontiac, only to find out he didn’t have the ride. “I came down here planning to get fitted for the car (yesterday) and then take part in a test day (today) at Virginia International Raceway,” said a disappointed Fellows. “But they decided to put someone else in the car instead of me.” Former open-wheel racer P.J. Jones will be in Foyt’s car. Fellows has driven a #87 Joe Nemechek entry the past three years at The Glen and was a close second to winner Jeff Gordon in 1999. However, Nemco Racing could not come up with a sponsor for this year’s race. “There’s still one more possibility,” said Fellows. “It’s a glimmer of hope. But right now it’s not looking good.”(Toronto Star)(8-6-2002)
  • Kenny Wallace to run the #87…sorta: On ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night, Kenny Wallace mentioned that the team he runs BGN and Cup with, Innovative Motorsorts [#48 Stacker2 in BGN and #98 Stacker2 in Cup), is leasing the NEMCO/Joe Nemechek road course car that Ron Fellows has driven in the past on the road courses in Cup races (as the #87 Chevy)(8-6-2002)
  • Who is Shane Lewis? Shane Lewis will appear on ESPN2’s RPM 2Night on Tuesday, August 6th. Lewis, a regular on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Grand-Am Cup circuits is scheduled to make his Cup debut this weekend, August 11th, at Watkins Glen. Lewis will be driving the #09 National Healing Corporation/ Otto Motorsports Ford Taurus prepared by Last Lap in the Sirius Satellite Radio At The Glen. The 16-time 24-hour event starter will be piloting a special tribute car at ‘The Glen.’ The two-tone blue and yellow entry is owned by Edgar Otto, Jr., of Boca Raton, Florida and honors his father, Edward Otto, Sr. Otto, Sr. will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in Darlington, South Carolina on August 31st. The elder Otto was NASCAR ’s first vice president and was heavily involved in promoting events, particularly in the northeast, for the stock car sanctioning body in the early years of the Winston Cup, then Grand National, division. Among the events that Otto promoted was the first NASCAR event at Watkins Glen International 45 years ago. Lewis will appear on the longtime auto racing news source with host John Kernan to discuss his first Winston Cup race as well as the unique honor of representing National Healing Corporation, Edward Otto, Sr.’s induction and the anniversary of that first NASCAR road race. RPM 2Night is scheduled to air at 6:30pm/et on ESPN2 with several re-airings on the cable sports giant to follow. Check your local listings to confirm times in your area. Shane Lewis is the 1998 Professional Sports Car Rising Star award winner and has multiple race wins in the IMSA Supercar and SCCA Pro series. He has driven in 16 24-hour races including two 24 Hours of Le Mans, six 24 Hours of Daytona and six 12 Hours of Sebring. In 2002, he is competing as lead driver for both the #43 Orison Marketing-Planet Earth Motorsports Corvette Z06 in the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series and the #45 American Viperacing Dodge Viper in the American Le Mans Series. For more on Shane Lewis please see www.ShaneLewis.com. To learn more about Last Lap Motorsports, please visit www.lastlap.cc.(PR)(8-6-2002)
  • Pretty Cool: hearing that at Watkins Glen on Sunday, the NASCAR drivers will be escorted onto the raceway in HMMWV’s driven by New York State Army National Guardsmen. Most of the guardsmen there have performed duty at the World Trade Center, airports, nuclear plants, and on the border duty.(8-6-2002)
  • Marcis to be honored: NASCAR legend and Wausau, WI native Dave Marcis will be honored by the Wisconsin Woodchucks today prior to the start of the team’s game against the Rochester Honkers. Mayor Linda Lawrence has proclaimed it Dave Marcis Day. City Council President Jim Rosenberg will present Marcis with the key to the city during the pre-game festivities, set for 6:30pm. A replica of the last car that Marcis raced in Wisconsin, a 1957 Chevrolet, will be on display at Athletic Park starting at 6:00pm. During Marcis’ NASCAR career, he won five Winston Cup races and earned 93 top-five finishes. The Wisconsin Woodchucks baseball team will also present a special gift to Marcis. Marcis, who retired this year after the Daytona 500, has spent five decades behind the wheel of a race car. After competing on local tracks for several years, he moved on to the Winston Cup Series in 1968 when he started in his first Daytona 500. He is second to another NASCAR legend, Richard Petty, in all-time Winston Cup Starts, with 882.(Wausau Daily Herald)(8-6-2002)
  • St James at The Glen: Lyn St. James, the second woman to ever race at the Indianapolis 500, will join the racing celebration in Watkins Glen this weekend. The former Indy 500 rookie of the year will by autographing her new autobiography “Ride of Your Life” on the village courthouse lawn from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday. At 6 p.m., St. James will be the featured speaker at the Center Conversations at the International Motor Racing Research Center on 610 South Decatur Street. It’s free to public.(Star Gazette)(8-6-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week: #77 Jasper Engines Crew. Consistently fast stops all day (15.33, 15.47, 15.53) got the #77 up front and puts them in the spotlight this week. Congratulations #77 Crew on being selected this weeks NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week sponsored by Toxabsorb, 20th Century Spill Magnet and Official Spill Response Agent of the National Association of Pit Crew Members. Visit www.toxabsorb.com for all Toxabsorb pit road uses. Check out the latest Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Standings available at www.napcm.com.(NAPCM PR)(8-6-2002)
  • WD-40 and Ward: For many people, maintaining an automobile can be a daunting task. But not for NASCAR race teams. That’s why WD-40 teamed with NASCAR Winston Cup driver Ward Burton to create the “WD-40 Stock Car Full of Uses” brochure. Designed to help make auto maintenance easier, the brochure features a simple diagram illustrating how WD-40 can be used to help with upkeep. The brochure is free to consumers and available by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to “WD-40 Stock Car Full of Uses,” P.O. Box 881515, San Diego, CA 92168-1515. Those interested in a sneak peek can visit wd40.com/racing/car_care.html to view a thumbnail sketch of the brochure. While visiting the web site, users can register for the “WD-40 Pace Car Superstar” sweepstakes through Aug. 31.(WD-40 PR)(8-6-2002)
  • Sad News UPDATE: The WNEP TV site from Wilkes-Barre, PA reports: A driver from Massachusetts was killed during the ‘Sports Car Club of America Tri-Region Nationals’ [SCCA] at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, the crash happened during a road rally race. No word on the name of the driver killed.(WNEP.com), the name of the driver killed at Pocono yesterday is Robert Goldfarb. He was the president of the COMSCC, a 44 year old New England based sports car club. He was racing his Fully caged Z06 and crashed at around 155mph
    UPDATE: COMSCC is Corvettes of Mass. Sports Car Club. The event was Pocono’s annual SCCA National championship race (not a “rally-race”). The Z06 is a current Corvette hardtop model that competes in the T1 (Touring 1) class. .Class rules require cars to be mostly stock but with a bolt-in roll cage and appropriate driver seat and safety gear. Head and neck restraints are not yet required in this type of racing.(8-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Massachusetts native Robert Goldfarb was killed Sunday during a Sports Car Club of America race at Pocono Raceway. Goldfarb, 45, was competing in the Pocono Sports Car Grand Prix when his Touring One-class Chevrolet Corvette went out of control and hit a concrete structure. The accident occurred on the second lap of the race, which began at 11:30am. The race is run on a 10-turn course that uses parts of the 2.5-mile triangular oval and parts of roads that intersect the infield. Goldfarb’s car hit a flagstand near turn six of the course, where drivers make a left into the infield after negotiating the tunnel turn portion of the larger triangle. Terry Hanushek, a Mullica Hill, N.J., native who was chief steward for the race, said Goldfarb’s car was traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour when it spun about 90 degrees and left the track sideways. The car slid through a grassy area without traction – much like Steve Park’s car did in an early race crash in last Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 – before hitting the flagstand. Two workers on the stand were able to leap out of the path of the car. They were not injured. Goldfarb died of head injuries, according to an SCCA press release. The Monroe County coroner was unavailable for comment Monday. Hanushek said he believes Goldfarb died instantly. An ambulance was on the scene of the accident less than a minute after it occurred, and paramedics began resuscitation efforts. When a LifeFlight helicopter arrived at the scene, a doctor pronounced Goldfarb dead at the scene. Goldfarb, a native of Duxbury, Mass., was an experienced race driver. Goldfarb is survived by his wife, Lisa. See full story at the Citizens Voice:(8-6-2002)


    (8-5-2002)

  • Foyt looking for Road Racer to run Watkins Glen UPDATE P.J. Jones to run: A.J. Foyt Racing is attempting to hire a road course expert to drive its No. 14 Pontiac in next weekend’s Sirius at The Glen Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen International, spokesman Michael Rompf said. Heading the list of candidates is likely to be P.J. Jones, who attempted to qualify a second entry for Foyt in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. Mike Wallace has driven the #14 the past two races. No driver has been named beyond Watkins Glen.(ThatsRacin.com).(8-4-2002)
    UPDATE: A.J. Foyt has hired P.J. Jones to drive the #14 Conseco Pontiac in the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen NASCAR Winston Cup race this weekend at Watkins Glen International road course in Watkins Glen, NY. Jones, the son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, has raced at the 2.45-mile road course in upstate New York in both the Cup and BGN and holds the overall track record in the IMSA GTP sports cars. “Mike Wallace had told me he wasn’t comfortable on the road courses and suggested we look for someone who has more experience on road courses” Foyt said. “P.J. has run there in sports cars, Busch and Winston Cup cars so I hired him for that race. I am hoping that we can get some momentum going with a good finish there.”
    “It’s a one-off for A.J.’s team,” Jones said. “I was at the Glen last year as a driver coach for Jimmie Johnson in the Busch Series and I ran for Chip Ganassi the year before that in Winston Cup. It is much easier for a driver like myself to fill-in for a road course event than to try to run like we did at the Brickyard last weekend. The NASCAR drivers only run two roadcourse races a year so it’s not as difficult to stay current on the set-ups. I believe we’ll have a good weekend in the Conseco Pontiac at Watkins Glen.” Jones has three starts at Watkins Glen in Winston Cup cars with his best finish of ninth with the Melling team in 1993. His last Winston Cup start at the Glen was in 2000 driving for Chip Ganassi in the No. 01 BellSouth Chevrolet; Jones started 29th and finished 21st. Jones, whose wife Jolaina gave birth to the couple’s first son Parnell Jagger on July 29th, will test the #14 Conseco Pontiac at Virginia International Raceway’s road course on Tuesday in preparation for the race.(Foyt Racing)(8-5-2002)
  • Rudd Announcement now Tuesday? UPDATE later in the week: Ricky Rudd tentatively has set a news conference for Tuesday in Charlotte, presumably to announce his ride for next year, which is expected to be with Chip Ganassi. But legal issues may force postponement. Insiders say attorneys are debating points in both the proposed M&Ms contract with Robert Yates and the proposed Texaco contract with Ganassi.(Winston Salen Journal)(8-4-2002)
    UPDATE: Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR reports that Ricky Rudd says there will be NO announcement until LATER this week on his 2003 plans/ride.(8-5-2002)
  • Rookie Of The Year Battle gets closer: Jimmie Johnson, #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, finished ninth. Johnson collected his 13th top-10 of the 2002 season which breaks the modern Era record for top-10 finishes by a Raybestos® rookie. Tony Stewart held the record for most top-10s by a rookie (12) set in 1999. Johnson unofficially leads the raybestos® rookie standings by seven points (288-281) over Ryan Newman.(Camp and Assoc PR)(8-5-2002)
    CORRECTION: actually Stewart had 21 Top 10’s in 1999 to go with 12 Top Fives. Johnson currently has 5 Top Fives and 13 Tops 10’s in 2002. Newman has 9 Top Fives and 12 Top Tens.(8-5-2002)
  • Hubert in the #23 at The Glen? UPDATE 3 Yes: hearing Tom Hubert will drive the #23 Hills Bros Dodge at Watkins Glen.(7-31-2002)
    UPDATE: been told that Hubert will NOT drive the #23 at Watkins Glen, assuming Stricklin will drive the car.(8-1-2002)
    UPDATE 2: been told one again, that Hubert WILL drive the #23 at Watkins Glen, at this point, be best to wait for something official.(8-2-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Tom Hubert will pilot the #23 Hills Bros. Coffee Dodge at Watkins Glen this weekend, serving as a one-race substitute for driver, Hut Stricklin. Hubert’s duties at Bill Davis Racing include serving as a general mechanic for both Ward Burton’s #22 Caterpillar Dodge and Hut Stricklin’s #23 Hills Bros. Coffee Dodge during the week and changing rear tires for the #22 Caterpillar Dodge on the weekends. Hubert also assists as a test driver for Bill Davis Racing. Crew Chief of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, Tommy Baldwin, will take Hubert’s place as tire changer on the #22 car while Hubert is driving the #23 car this weekend. Hubert has extensive road course experience, including leading laps at Watkins Glen during the BGN race in 2000. The Hills Bros. Coffee Racing team is taking the same car to Watkins Glen that competed earlier this year at Sears Point. Road Course Testing: Hubert and the Hills Bros. Coffee Racing team tested Virginia International Raceway on Monday, July 29th (road course) to gear up for the NWC event at Watkins Glen International.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(8-5-2002)
  • Indy TV Ratings UPDATE: NBC’s broadcast of the Brickyard 400 got a 5.7 overnight rating and 12 share, even with last year’s overnight. In 2001, the small market bump yielded a final rating of 6.2. This year’s final rating will be available on Thursday.(MotorsportsTV)(8-5-2002)
    UPDATE: Sunday’s Brickyard 400 on NBC delivered a 5.7 overnight rating/13 share, tying last year as the highest overnight rating in the event’s nine-year history, according to figures released today by Nielsen Media Research. NBC’s Brickyard 400 coverage (2:30-6:15 p.m. ET) outperformed all network weekend sports competition, generating an overnight rating 58 percent higher than the closest competition (Fox’s 3.6 for Saturday’s four-game regional MLB coverage). The Brickyard 400 also delivered the highest overnight rating for a sports event in nearly a month (since Fox’s primetime coverage of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 9). The Brickyard’s 5.7 overnight rating surpassed such recent events as ABC’s primetime coverage of the “Battle at Bighorn” and ABC’s coverage of the British Open. The 5.7 overnight rating and 13 share for NBC’s second year in covering the NASCAR Winston Cup race from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway ties the 2001 overnight and posted a 58 percent increase over the 3.6 on ABC in 2000 on Saturday of the same weekend. The overnight rating is also 21 percent better than the previous record high for the race, a 4.7 for the race’s inaugural running in 1994 on ABC. The Brickyard 400 rating built every half hour and peaked with a 7.3 during the final 15 minutes from 6-6:15 p.m. ET as Bill Elliott took the checkered flag for the second straight week. This peak increased nine percent from the 2001 peak of a 6.7 as Jeff Gordon won his third Brickyard title. Indianapolis led the 53 metered markets with a 20.3 rating/ 44 share.(NBC Sports PR)(8-5-2002)
  • This Weeks Golden Benny: NBC/TNT/PRN’s Benny Parsons presented this weeks “Golden Benny” to NBC/TNT cameraman Don Fenwick for his coverage of the Steve Park/Dale Earnhardt Jr wreck. Benny came to this decision after talking to many of the team crews on the bus after the Pocono race.(8-5-2002)
  • Terry Labonte looking to stay: #5-Terry Labonte is reported to be negotiating with Rick Hendrick for a contract extension that would keep him on the team another three years.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2002)
  • IROC to be revamped? Promoters of the International Race of Champions [IROC] are looking at revamping the long-running series, which has become anything but a true test of the world’s best drivers. They may even add a road race to the 2003 format, if they can find a track to race on. On Saturday, Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett won the final series race of the year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a dull, 40-lap affair. “We’ll be sitting down with a spreadsheet and exploring ways of adding some new elements to the series,” said George Signore, who runs IROC with his brother Jay. “If we could find a road course that fits in with the driver’s schedules, we’d do it in a heartbeat.” When IROC started in 1974, it was run at Riverside International Raceway — a 2.5-mile road course — in California. It attracted drivers from all forms of racing, including Mark Donohue, Bobby Unser, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and A. J. Foyt. The trend could change next year, however. “We’d like to diversify the series,” Signore said. “If we can fit in with schedules and TV commitments, we could run at least one road race.”(Detroit Free Press)(8-5-2002)
  • Shawna back at MIS: during FSN’s NASCAR This Morning, Shawna Robinson, who was subbing on the show for Derrike Cope, mentioned she would be testing the #49 BAM Racing Dodge at Michigan this week and if it goes well, she expects to run in the Cup race there on Aug 18th. AND Robinson has launched a new website, www.shawnarobinson.net. The new site maintains a guest book, posts photos, has links to fan sites and features personal and race related information. The new site will complement the official driver site, www.shawnarobinson.com both websites have links to each other.(8-5-2002)
  • Ganassi says Spencer will be back, and a twist: Chip Ganassi still isn’t saying much about his plans for next season, but insiders say that Ganassi has told #41-Jimmy Spencer he’ll be back next season as #40-Sterling Marlin’s teammate. Ricky Rudd is expected to announce shortly that he will also drive for Ganassi next season. The question now is who Rudd and Ganassi will pick for a crew chief. [The Twist]: There are reports that Ganassi is already planning yet another team, which he hopes to get Tony Stewart to drive for.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2002)
  • Daytona Testing: NASCAR likely will ask 12 to 15 drivers to take part in a test focusing on restrictor-plate setups August 13 at Daytona. Winston Cup series director John Darby says the purpose of the experiments is to create ‘a lower downforce, lower drag’ configuration that would allow the cars to gain speed down the straightaways and force drivers to lift off the gas in the corners. The idea is to make the cars’ handling more of a factor. Dodge teams are expected to test a car with a spoiler width of 48 inches, a reduction of 7 inches from the current race setups. The height of the spoilers might be increased by as much as 2 inches per car, and teams will be asked to pull out the front fenders.(Sporting NewsAND to test a smaller fuel cell that could be used for the restrictor-plate race at Talladega later this year. “We’re going to look at a 20-inch fuel cell and see how many laps they can make under those conditions,” NASCAR vice president for communications Jim Hunter said. The smaller fuel cell would require teams to make more pit stops in the 500-mile races on plate tracks, with the idea being that would help break up the big packs of cars blamed for causing multicar wrecks. “We’re also looking at body locations for next year to try to come up with a standard location,” Hunter said. “That means measuring from the rear axle to the front of the roof the measurement would be the same with a little give or take for all makes. A lot of people in the garage like to run shorter and others like to run longer, and there’s a difference of up to about 4 inches.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-5-2002)
  • Dover fall race to honor heroes of 9/11: Joe Gibbs Racing and MBNA are working together to honor the heroes of Sept. 11 and to help children who lost parents in the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington. In a press conference today [1:00pm at Indy] in Indianapolis, MBNA and Gibbs Racing will announce plans for a promotion Sept. 20-22 at Dover International Speedway. The name of the Sept. 22 Winston Cup race will be changed from the MBNA America 400 to the All American Heroes 400. Gibbs Racing driver Bobby Labonte will drive a car with the race’s name and the words “Let’s Roll” emblazoned across the hood. The car will be unveiled today at Indianapolis.[see my Paint Scheme Gallery for an image of the car posted a few weeks ago]. Proceeds from special race events organized by Gibbs and MBNA will benefit the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, created in honor of a passenger on one of the hijacked flights of Sept. 11. The foundation helps children who lost parents in the Sept. 11 attacks. All profits from sales of models of Labonte’s special No.18 car will be donated to the Beamer Foundation. Every organization involved in the All American Heroes 400, including Action Performance, the maker of the No.18 model die cast, is donating 100 percent of profits from the event to the Beamer Foundation, Alpern said. Before the race, NASCAR.com will give fans the opportunity to sponsor Labonte per lap in the race, with all donations going to the foundation. After the race on Sept. 24, eBay will hold a live auction where fans may bid on Labonte’s race uniform, helmet, shoes and gloves, in addition to the hood of the car, all of which will be autographed, with the proceeds going to the foundation. Alpern said Gibbs Racing and MBNA hope Beamer’s widow, Lisa, will serve as grand marshal of the event. MBNA has also invited President Bush.(Hartford Courant)(8-2-2002)
    IMAGE see my Paint Scheme Gallery for a real image of the car taken at Indy.(8-5-2002)
  • Wallace expects to stay with Ford: Penske Racing South’s contract with Ford ends after this season and while there have been reports that the team of Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman will switch to Dodge next year, Wallace said he expects to remain with Ford.(Roanoke Times)(8-5-2002)
  • Wells announcement soon: Cal Wells is expected to announce his decision – Ford or Pontiac – at Michigan later this month. A major question for Wells is who would build his engines [rumor is Childress]. If he stays with Ford, he can renew with Robert Yates.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2002)
  • Oops: After NASCAR’s inspection sticks were found to be a quarter-inch off Friday, and teams were forced through re-inspection before the error was discovered, some crew chiefs – taking note of NASCAR’s new tough policy on height infractions – suggested NASCAR give each team 25 points and $25,000 for the error. Jokingly, of course.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2002)
  • Seven cars Dyno’d at Indy: Seven cars, including the #9 Dodge of race winner Bill Elliott, were put on the chassis dynamometer for testing following Sunday’s race. The device measures rear wheel horsepower. The other cars were those of #20-Tony Stewart, #2-Rusty Wallace, #17-Matt Kenseth, #29-Kevin Harvick, #24-Jeff Gordon and #88-Dale Jarrett.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-5-2002)
  • Meeting with NASCAR at Watkins Glen: After the race, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said #97-Kurt Busch and #41-Jimmy Spencer [who had an altercation at Indy] and their respective team owners, Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi, will have to meet with NASCAR officials next Friday before being allowed on the racetrack at Watkins Glen International.(ESPN/AP)(8-5-2002)
  • Blocking to be watched: NASCAR is considering monitoring blocking during the October race at Talladega Superspeedway and could punish drivers who intentionally prevent passing. “It’s gotten to be that the larger crashes have been caused by blocking,” Winston Cup director John Darby said Sunday. “So we’re starting by looking at what is a block because cars change lanes all the time and we have to figure out what the parameters are.” There was heavy blocking in both races at Daytona International Speedway this season and the April event at Talladega, but NASCAR said it had no way to police the practice. So officials are now in discussion as to what they can do, and Darby said it’s possible drivers will be penalized during the race.(ESPN/AP)(8-5-2002)
  • NASCAR to test ‘Bigger’ cars at Lowe’s: NASCAR has a session scheduled Aug .12 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to further test the bigger cars. Those cars have the larger roof area, which gives drivers extra room inside but also can alter the downforce on those cars, reducing the affects of aero push, some say. At least three cars and as many as six are expected at the test. Series officials tested the larger car in May at Kansas Speedway with Jimmy Spencer’s team.(Roanoke Times)(8-4-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials will conduct a test Tuesday, following the Brickyard 400. The test, to be held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, is being piggybacked with a Goodyear tire test and done in cooperation with all three manufacturers. The objective of the test is to gauge the aerodynamic effect of a larger upper roll cage, which requires enlarging the greenhouse. The purpose of enlarging the upper roll cage is to put more distance between the head and shoulders of a driver and the surrounding steel bars. A larger roll cage will require a increase in the minimum roof height from the current 51 inches to as much as 52 to 52.5 inches and a comparable increase in the drivers side window.(Insider Racing)(8-5-2002)
  • NASCAR Considering Smaller Tanks At Other Tracks: NASCAR is also looking into using a smaller fuel cell at the restrictor plates tracks as a way of spreading out the field. However, the smaller cell, set at 12.5 gallons, could also be used at Michigan, California, Pocono, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Texas and Lowe’s tracks.(Insider Racing)(8-5-2002)

 


(8-4-2002)

 

  • Elliott Dominates the Brickyard 400: #9-Bill Elliott won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his first win at the hallowed track, his 2nd win in a row, 2nd win of 2002 and 43rd career win for Elliott and moves up into 6th in Drivers Points. Elliott became the first driver to win the Brickyard 400 from the front row (started 2nd). By winning last week’s race at Pocono and this weeks Brickyard 400, Elliott also scored his first set of back-to-back victories since March 1992. #2-Rusty Wallace finished 2nd, the third time he finished 2nd at the Brickyard 400. The final top ten finishers, caution info, lap leaders, and Jayski Notes on my Brickyard 400 Race Info page
    Race Results at: ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(8-4-2002)
  • Starr to Cup/Petree/Jones in 2003? CTS driver David Starr said he has been contacted about the driver’s vacancy on the NASCAR team being assembled by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and current Winston Cup [#33, #55] team owner Andy Petree. Ricky Rudd, the team’s first choice, apparently is preparing to sign with car owner Chip Ganassi for 2003. Starr, a regular in the CTS, said Cowboys marketing executive John Hickman attended Friday night’s race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Starr finished 34th in that event and fell from second to seventh in the points chase after, ironically, crashing with Petree’s truck. Starr said Hickman recently told him to expect a call from Petree, who has yet to officially announce the structure of his partnership with Jones. “You could say I’m still a candidate,” said Starr, who is in his first year of driving full time for truck owner Wayne Spears. “It all depends on how my season ends up. I might want to stay in the Truck Series another year and get some more experience. It wouldn’t be a dumb move on my part. Right now, I’m just focused on trying to win this championship.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(8-4-2002)
  • Talladega Test in two weeks? UPDATE: NASCAR officials reportedly have scheduled a major test at Talladega within the next two weeks, a test that is being described by some NASCAR sources as a mandatory test for stock-car tour teams. NASCAR officials could not be reached last night for confirmation or comment. It is unclear just what might be on the testing agenda. According to one source it could be the proposed smaller fuel cells, holding 11 to 13 gallons of gas instead of the regular 22; smaller tanks would force teams to make more pit stops, presumably spreading out the field. However, according to another source it could be a new smaller cubic inch engine, something like the 3.5-liter normally aspirated V-8 used in the Indy 500 and other Indy Racing League events. Such an engine would be half the size of the current 358 cubic inch behemoths, which produce over 750 horsepower unrestricted. NASCAR has been using restrictor plates on its Talladega and Daytona motors since 1988 to cut that horsepower back to about 420.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2002)
    UPDATE:NASCAR offered no official word on the proposed Talladega test later this month, and many teams were unaware the plans. It’s still unclear what’s going on, but one NASCAR source indicated the test had tentatively been set for Aug. 13. Teams are five races in to a stretch of 20 in a row, and they are expected to be less than enthusiastic about any such test. NASCAR tried to schedule a Daytona-Talladega test, as a Daytona 500 preview, last December, but received such a negative response from teams that the test was cancelled.(Winston Salen Journal)(8-4-2002)
  • Glover being honered at Indy: Tony Glover, a team manager at Chip Ganassi Racing, will be presented Sunday with the “True Grit” award for contributions to the sport. Glover, a longtime crew chief who won the Daytona 500 twice before moving into management when he helped launch Ganassi’s NASCAR teams two years ago, gets a $10,000 award from C & R Racing. “The cool thing is that my name is going to be on a trophy over in the Hall of Fame,” Glover said. “I’ll go over and see that a few times.” The soft-spoken Glover was almost embarrassed over the award. He shied away from Ganassi when the car owner began chanting “Hall of Fame” to him. The award, started five years ago by former Indy car mechanic Chris Paulsen, honors non-drivers for achievement, excellence in preparation and management, and dedication to working on race cars. C & R gives out a similar award during the Indianapolis 500.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-4-2002)
  • MB2 and McDonald’s in 2003? The MB2 team, which will lose long-time sponsor M&M Mars to [Robert] Yates after this season, is looking for new backing but does not seem to be in a panic. GM Jay Frye says several major companies are inquiring, and that the sponsor environment is full-speed-ahead. He admits, however, that sponsorship to replace M&Ms may not become available until later in the year, making the possibility of keeping the present group together chancy. Frye noted that the M&Ms deal, with his team since 1996, would kick up by about $5m in proceeding to the Yates level, which would suggest a bank account at about $16m for Yates. One of the companies mentioned as interested is McDonalds, which backed Junior Johnson in the early 1990s. Reportedly, former McDonald’s racing advisers (that’s the imperial plural) have been rehired as consultants, with an eye to a re-up.(Speed Channel)(8-4-2002)
  • Stewart and Havoline? in 2004? Sources say this [Silly Season] could get real much uglier next year, when Havoline attempts to conclude an alleged deal with Tony Stewart for 2004, whether that includes Ganassi or not. Word is Havoline and Stewart have at least a handshake for that season. Joe Gibbs team reps say Stewart’s contracts (and those of Home Depot and of major players such as Greg Zipadelli, Ronny Crooks and Mark Cronquist) are through 2004. It is not known whether 2004 is an “option” year, and we all know that racing contracts are only as good as the desire (by all parties) to fulfill them. The way the scene reads, Rudd would join Havoline/Ganassi for one year, then retire. Havoline then would put Stewart in the car for 2004 and beyond.(Speed Channel)(8-4-2002)
  • Park and DEI close? #1-Steve Park has yet to finalize his plans for 2003. In recent weeks, he has been mulling an offer of a one-year contract extension from DEI. “We’re not totally locked in yet, but Ty Norris (executive vice president of motorsports at DEI) is doing a good job of making sure that this team runs good and stays together,” Park said. “We feel we turned a corner in Pocono with our setups and stuff.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-4-2002)
  • Grooved Tires in 2003? NASCAR officials are looking into a number of ways to try to cut speeds next season. Among the options, grooved tires.(Winston Salen Journal)(8-4-2002)

    (8-3-2002)

  • Smaller Fuel Tanks at Talladega? UPDATE 3: NASCAR officials are considering requiring smaller gas tanks for the season’s final restrictor-plate race, at Talladega Superspeedway in October. The idea is that, by requiring tanks with a capacity of 13 gallons instead of 22, additional pit stops will create greater space between the cars and reduce the likelihood of multi-car pileups.(Gaston Gazette)(7-29-2002)
    UPDATE: As expected, earlier this week a NASCAR bulletin informed teams that the teams would have to equip their cars with 13-gallon fuel tanks for the October race at Talladega Superspeedway. The tanks normally hold 22 gallons, and officials apparently think more pit stops – they will seem to be happening constantly — will allow the field to string itself out and lessen the potential for crashes. One question: Why not save the teams some expense and force them to put only one can of fuel, not two, in during stops?(Gaston Gazette)(8-1-2002)
    UPDATE 2:NASCAR said reports that it would require teams to switch from a 22-gallon gas tank to 13 gallons for the EA Sports Thunder 500 at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway were “not true.” Some teams felt the sanctioning body wanted more pit stops during the race to break up the huge pacts of traffic and avoid the 20-car pileups that have become all-too-familiar at the speedway.(Augusta Chroncile)(8-3-2002)
    UPDATE 3: NASCAR has not mandated any changes in fuel tank capacity for Winston Cup cars in the October race at Talladega, spokeswoman Danielle Frye said Saturday. No bulletins regarding such a change have been issued to Winston Cup teams, Frye said. She called such a change is “an idea” that was being discussed by NASCAR officials. The change, reducing the size of fuel tanks, would apparently help to keep the field more spread out by increasing the number of pit stops. It is hoped that the change would reduce the multicar accidents common in the closely packed racing at Talladega under NASCAR’s restrictor-plate rules.(ThatRacin.com)(8-3-2002)
  • Escape Hatch? #18-Bobby Labonte said the Gibbs team has a solution for getting drivers out of tight-fitting stock cars: Put an escape hatch in the roof, much like drag racing’s Funny Cars have.(Indianapolis Star)(8-3-2002)
  • Sacks New Team to Debut at Lowes in Oct? The first time the FRANCHI$IT race car zips around the track later this year or next, Loren Fossie isn’t sure she will be able to watch. While others might want to see spectacular crashes at NASCAR events, Fossie doesn’t want a scratch on the brightly colored Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It’s different when you have a stake in the ownership of the team. Fossie, who developed the FRANCHI$IT board game that hits the mass market in September, will have her fingers crossed when the car makes its track debut. Fossie has teamed up with veteran driver Greg Sacks to promote her board game. Sacks, who has started 258 Winston Cup Series races, has painted his car with images of FRANCHI$IT, his new sponsor. After Fossie and Sacks agreed on a plan, the FRANCHI$IT car with red, orange, yellow and green decals, was unveiled in Florida in June. On Thursday, the car made an appearance at Burlington County College’s Mount Laurel campus. The car could run in the Cup races at Charlotte [Lowes], in October and Homestead in November, Fossie said. A full slate of Winston Cup races is planned for next year and sponsorships are lined up for the next three years. Sacks has the core of his team ready to go, but won’t make any announcement because some are currently working for other drivers. The FRANCHI$IT/Sacks Racing team will be based in North Carolina.(Courier-Post), see my #05 Team News and Links page for past news.(8-3-2002)
  • Product Loyalty with NASCAR fans: According to data compiled by Performance Research of Newport, R.I.
    Given the choice of two products of equal cost, 72 percent of stock car fans would nearly always or frequently pick the brand they associate with NASCAR over one that is not.
    Forty-six percent would buy a brand costing up to 10 percent more if linked to NASCAR over a less-expensive brand that is not.
    Forty-three percent were so influenced by sponsorships that they would switch from their usual grocery store brand to try another linked to the sport, such as Tide or Cheerios.
    According to a SponsorEM .com study, fan/product loyalty is highest among NASCAR fans, at 72 percent compared with 52 percent with tennis, 47 percent with golf — and is twice as strong as that among NFL fans.
    Self-expression. Just as fans identify with a driver who fits their values, people identify with a brand that fits who they are as a person.
    Group-expression. Buy that case of Bud or box of Tide in the store and you herald your allegiance to a particular driver.
    Influencing outcome. Some fans who highly identify with drivers “have this perception that if they buy those products that the company will make more money and give more money to the sponsorship of the athlete,” said Christian End, a professor in the psychology department at the University of Missouri in Rolla.
    See full story at the Indianapolis Star: NASCAR fans’ zeal fuels brand loyalty.(8-3-2002)
  • Update on Hornish to NASCAR: Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. continues to insist there is no update on his prospects of becoming a NASCAR driver soon. But things are still happening behind the scenes. Ty Norris, executive vice president of Dale Earnhardt Inc., said the team is trying to strike a deal with the 22-year-old driver. Discussions are continuing although no contract has been drafted. DEI wants Hornish to share a BGN ride with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2003, with up to three Winston Cup races thrown in for 2004. Hornish’s five BGN races would come at the end of next year, after his IRL season concludes. “We don’t want to do anything to interfere with (the IRL program),” Norris said. “It’s better for us if Sam’s a three-time (defending) IRL champion.” Hornish is 14 points out of the IRL’s points lead this season with four races to go. He has a contract with Panther Racing through next season, although he has not responded to the team’s contract extension offer, presented last month at Kansas, team general manager John Barnes said Friday.(Indianapolis Star)(8-3-2002)
  • Harvick after IROC title: IROC Points leader Kevin Harvick will attempt to become the sixth rookie to win the International Race of Champions title during this afternoon’s 40-lap/100 mile season-finale. The IROC rookie champions are Mark Donohue (1974), Harry Gant (1985), Al Unser Jr. (1986), Geoffrey Bodine (1987) and Ricky Rudd (1992).(Fort Worth Star TelegramAND All 11 drivers competing in the IROC have a mathematical chance to win the season title. Harvick, who will start last, is the points leader by 44 points. Al Unser Jr., who won’t race while undergoing treatment for an alcohol problem, is five points back and tied with Tony Stewart.(Hoosier Times) The race will run Aug 3rd and be televised Aug 11th on ABC at 5:00pm/et.(8-3-2002)
  • Just a test – Gordon and Montoya to swap cars UPDATE: F1 BMW Williams driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, is expected to try his hand at the American racing series, NASCAR, when he takes to the wheel of Jeff Gordon’s #24 Dupont Chevy on the 12th of August. Meanwhile, Gordon, will take to the BMW Williams F1. Partly sponsored by BMW, Juan Pablo will return to the scene of the Brickyard’s oval layout, where he won the Indy 500 back in the year 2000, while Gordon will lap the infield created for the Formula One series.(F1-Live)(8-1-2002)
    UPDATE: The proposed media event that will have Winston Cup’s Jeff Gordon and Formula One’s Juan Montoya switching cars for a practice session at the Speedway is having trouble landing a date. The original date was Sept. 30, the day after the U.S. Grand Prix. But Speedway officials wanted to use the ride-swapping session as a promotional tool for the third annual event and pushed for Aug. 12. A spokesperson for General Motors said the August date was good until word of a Montoya conflict came Thursday. The issue has not been resolved. Said Gordon, who very much wants to crawl into an F-1 car: “Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.”(Indianapolis Star)(8-3-2002)
  • Rudd to Ganassi, Sadler/M&M’s to Yates announcment postponed? UPDATE 2: Ricky Rudd, Chip Ganassi, Robert Yates and Elliott Sadler may have to wait another week to make the official announcements of their plans for next season, because there is apparently a disagreement between Yates and long-time sponsor Texaco [Havoline/Chevron] over the car #28. That has been Yates’ number since the late Davey Allison drove for him. However, Texaco executives say that number has been theirs just as long. Yates, Sadler and new sponsor M&Ms had planned to unveil their new car at Indianapolis.(Winston Salem JournalAND A news conference scheduled by Chip Ganassi Racing for this morning was canceled a couple of days ago, track officials confirmed Thursday. The cancellation leads to speculation that a deal with Ricky Rudd is not yet completed. Published reports state that Ganassi is close to signing Rudd for a third team, and Rudd will be a teammate to points leader Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer.(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE: There’s widespread speculation that Ricky Rudd is close to signing with Chip Ganassi’s Winston Cup team, although he said Friday that nothing has been finalized. “I’m looking for which operation is the best I can go to and win races right out of the box,” the 45-year-old Rudd said. “I don’t have three years. If it’s going to be a two- or three-year building process, well, I don’t have two or three years to do that.” Rudd currently drives for the Robert Yates team, and a possible hang-up to the deal with Ganassi is the Texaco-Havoline sponsorship and the use of the Yates team’s traditional car number 28. “It’s not a done deal,” Rudd said. “There have been some conversations”.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-2-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Ricky Rudd’s deal to move to Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2003 season could be finalized as soon as Saturday. “It’s not a done deal,” Rudd said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “There have been some conversations trying to get all the details worked out.” When asked at midday when an end to the ongoing saga might come, Rudd jokingly looked at his watch and then suggested he might have a deal by late afternoon. But after Friday’s Brickyard 400 practice he said nothing would be signed at least until Saturday. Ganassi, who currently fields Dodges for Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer, was coy when asked about rumors he’ll add a third team with Rudd for 2003. “(The press) is talking about it more than I am,” Ganassi said. “Stay tuned.” Rudd said that his current sponsor, Texaco/Havoline, has another year left on its contract with Yates. Though there has been nothing announced, it’s apparent that Elliott Sadler has a deal to drive for Yates next season with M&M’s as his sponsor, joining Dale Jarrett’s UPS-backed team. Rudd has talked about retiring at the end of this season and about trying to keep his current team together, but he said Friday that based on what he has learned in the past few weeks “the Yates deal has never really been an option for me since probably late May.” Rudd said he believes legal issues are complicating the disposition of the final year of Texaco/Havoline’s deal with Yates. One possible scenario is that the sponsor would go with Rudd to Ganassi’s team along with the car number, 28, that has been with Yates since he bought the team from Harry Ranier. That would allow the sponsor to carry over the car owner points amassed by Rudd this season to next year’s Dodge effort with Ganassi.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-3-2002)
  • Car# could be the holdup for Sadler/M&M’s announcement/Stricklin could stay in the #23 if a sponsor is found: Sources said that ‘a roadblock’ had sprung up in the negotiations and that it was unclear if the problem was squabbling over car numbers or if the problem was related to contract problems between Yates and incoming sponsor M&M Mars. Mike Brown, general manager for Bill Davis, said, “We’re the holdup. The guy at M&Ms likes number 27, but that’s our number, for Scott Wimmer. Let them use number 89 or something.” Brown and Davis, of course, have to worry about Hut Stricklin’s place next season with the High Point team. Brown said that Hills Brothers may leave the Stricklin team next year as the primary sponsor, and the team would have to find a sponsor to keep Stricklin with the team. “We’re not opposed to that,” Brown said, “but it’s a question of whether the pieces will come together.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2002)
  • Pocono TV Ratings: NASCAR scored big Sunday on cable TV, even with wrecks, reds, and rain. The broadcast scored a 5.0 cable rating for TNT, down 4% from last year’s 5.2. However, this is a solid number given the circumstances. The strange twists meant that four parts of the NASCAR telecast finished in the top six programs for the week on cable TV. Nielsen said the race had a 4.1 household rating, representing 4,275,000 households, making it the #1 program on basic cable for the week for the second week in a row. The post-race show was #2 at 3,899,000 households. The track repair segment was #4 on cable with 3,762,000 households, and the rain delay was #6, drawing 3,430,000 households. WWE programming finished #3 and #5, with Spongebob getting seven spots in the top 15.(MotorsportsTV.com)(8-3-2002)
  • Martin to be inducted into Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: Mark Martin heads the list of the inductees in this year’s Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame located at Davey Allison Memorial Park in uptown Talladega. Martin led the fans’ vote for active driver to be inducted into the Walk of Fame. Two other men included in that list of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers will also be inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame as the inactive drivers of 2002. Robert “Red” Byron and Bobby Isaac led the fans’ vote in that category. The 2002 induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in uptown Talladega, a block south of the town square. The annual induction ceremony takes place on Saturday night during the EA SPORTS’ 500 Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The ceremony and all festivities – including a concert – are free to the public. Find out more about the Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame on www.talladegawalk.com (u can buy a brick). The Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame was created in 1994 after the death of Davey Allison. Since 1995, one active driver and two inactive drivers have been inducted into the Walk of Fame based on the fans’ vote.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(8-3-2002)
  • Stewart in the booth for BGN races: Tony Stewart will join the NASCAR on TNT telecast team for three BGN races, beginning with the Midas presents NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Indy this Saturday, August 3, at 8:00pm/et on TNT. Stewart will join TNT play-by-play announcer Allen Bestwick and analyst Benny Parsons in the booth. This is the fourth time Stewart has worked behind the microphone for TNT, most recently in Daytona for the network’s 2002 Speedweek coverage. In addition, Stewart will also join the booth for the BGN races in Michigan and Charlotte. He will also make two additional appearances on TNT, with those appearances still to be determined.(Turner PR)(8-3-2002)
  • Chevy Templates being made: NASCAR officials are making templates for the new Chevrolet, which will debut next season. The car, which was tested at Atlanta earlier this week [by Terry Labonte], is expected to be approved soon.(Roanoke Times)(8-3-2002)

    (8-2-2002)

  • 2003 Pontiac Unveiled at Indy: Pontiac officials unveiled the 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix race car on Thursday to members of the media. The car will debut in the 2003 Daytona 500. “The excitement level surrounding NASCAR and Winston Cup racing just keeps getting higher and higher,” said Pontiac-GMC General Manager Lynn Myers, “and Pontiac intends to be right in the middle of it. This new race car is additional proof that we are committed to supplying the necessary resources for our Pontiac teams to compete for the championship.” The new design is the culmination of many months of work and cooperation between Pontiac racing engineers, NASCAR and members of the teams that will be racing the new cars, including Winston Cup driver Johnny Benson’s MBV Motorsports team, whose [#10 Valvoline] car was on display Thursday. “We’ve been working on this race car for over a year now and it’s a great feeling to be able to show it to the rest of the world today,” said James Ince, Benson’s crew chief. “For us, the new Grand Prix is something to look forward to. We know that we are going to have to work extremely hard to get the new car ready, but it’s also going to be something that gives us the opportunity to go and win races, and that’s the business we’re in.” The new Pontiac is somewhat shaped like its Ford and Dodge competitors but features a much more pronounced nose section and many of the trademark Pontiac features found on the current Grand Prix model.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-2-2002)
  • Penske to Dodge? may be true after all UPDATE: A Penske Racing South official said the organization is still talking with Dodge about a potential switch from Fords to Intrepids for Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman next year. At this point, there is no clear favorite, though speculation remains that it will take a blockbuster offer for the teams to switch.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(8-1-2002)
    UPDATE: from a DW column on Foxsports: “I firmly believe that Indiana native Ryan Newman, two-time Brickyard 400 runner up Rusty Wallace and Penske Racing will switch to Dodge next year based on what I know and what I’ve been told. There’s some pretty extensive testing going on, and I don’t believe they’d be doing the kind of testing that they’re doing if they weren’t pretty serious about making the switch so it wouldn’t come as a big surprise to me. I’d give it a 98.9 percent chance that it could happen. That’s going out on a limb a little bit. I know the Penske shop has got a good relationship with Ford, but just keep an eye on that situation because I’ve got a gut feeling that that could happen.”(FoxSports)(8-2-2002)
  • Bill Elliott’s future? Like Ricky Rudd, who is also looking toward the final years of a great career, Elliott is pondering what next. “I’ve really made no concrete decisions,” Elliott said. “I’ve got another year on my contract, with another two-year option after that. Depending on how I feel next year, that will decide what I do. Right now I want to focus on the rest of this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-2-2002)
  • DEI and BDR switch? Park to Davis? Wallace to DEI? BUT this is different…….now comes word of a behind-the-scenes deal between Bill Davis Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. – a deal which would put Kenny Wallace in the DEI cars that Steve Park currently drives [#1 Pennzoil Chevy] and put Park in some of Davis’ cars [#23 or #27], to work with Tommy Baldwin, who was his crew chief on the Busch North Series. Wallace would bring Stacker2 to DEI, and Pennzoil would go with Park to Davis. But the whole thing may be too complicated to put together. A few weeks ago Buckshot Jones made a hard run at landing a ride for next season with Davis. Then two weeks ago Kenny Wallace, with $11 million of sponsorship from Stacker2, appeared headed to Davis.(Winston Salem Journal)
    BUT Kenny Wallace appears to be the leading candidate to replace Hut Stricklin in the #23 Dodge at Bill Davis Racing. Mike Brown, team manager at Bill Davis Racing, said an announcement could come in about two weeks. He said published reports that Steve Park will be driving for Davis next season aren’t true. “We’ve talked to Steve about driving for us, but we haven’t offered him a contract,” Brown said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-2-2002)
    UPDATE: A spokesman for team owner Bill Davis said Steve Park hasn’t been offered a contract for 2002, but Davis wants him if sponsorship comes through. Mike Brown, the team’s general manager, said Davis and Park have talked at length about Park replacing Hut Stricklin in the #23 Dodge. But Brown said it would be “premature” to assume the deal has been done.(Daily Press)(8-2-2002)
  • Coors re-ups with Ganassi: Sterling Marlin locked up his primary sponsor through 2005 when Coors Brewing Co. signed a three-year extension on the #40 Dodge Intrepid. Coors has been with Marlin since 1998, continuing the relationship after car owner Chip Ganassi bought the team from Felix Sabates two years ago.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-2-2002)
  • Hubert in the #23 at The Glen? hearing Tom Hubert will drive the #23 Hills Bros Dodge at Watkins Glen.(7-31-2002)
    UPDATE: been told that Hubert will NOT drive the #23 at Watkins Glen, assuming Stricklin will drive the car.(8-1-2002)
    UPDATE 2: been told one again, that Hubert WILL drive the #23 at Watkins Glen, at this point, be best to wait for something official.(8-2-2002)
  • SAFER at Daytona in 2003? The University of Nebraska researcher who headed development of the SAFER barrier system says the energy-absorbing system could be in place at Daytona International Speedway in time for the Daytona 500 next February. The steel-and-foam system first was used at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indianapolis 500 in May and will be in place for the Brickyard 400 this weekend. The barrier would be more difficult to install on a high-banked track such as Daytona, but inventor Dean Sicking told the Dallas Morning News that he is “very hopeful” such issues will soon be overcome.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(8-2-2002)
  • Sad News: Former Charlotte Observer sports reporter Dan Lohwasser died Wednesday after a bout with cancer. Mr. Lohwasser, 53, left The Observer in 1986 to work for Charlotte’s Muhleman Marketing and was hired by Hendrick Motorsports in 1998 as the company’s marketing director. Visitation is Monday from 6:00 – 10:00pm at the Heritage Funeral Home’s Weddington Chapel, 3700 Forest Lawn Dr. Funeral services will be Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-2-2002)
  • All-Star Race Results and news: I-55 Raceway, the dirt track Ken Schrader owns in Pevely, Mo., hosted an all-star race Wednesday night that included Schrader, Kyle Petty, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Park and Mike Wallace, all driving dirt modifieds. Schrader was hopeful the 10-lap shootout would race over $100,000 for Petty’s Victory Junction Gang youth camp in Randleman. Earnhardt and Park made the trip despite the aftereffects of the devastating first-lap crash at Pocono last week.(Gaston GazetteAND results from I-55 speedway wed July 31 in 10 lap nascar feature
    1st Bill Elliott
    2nd Ken Schrader
    3rd Steve Park
    4th Kyle Petty
    5th Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    6th Mike Wallace (after hitting the turn 1 wall and rolling completely over, Wallace continued and stayed on the lead lap with a broken car–right rear shock dragging.(8-2-2002)
  • TRAC series tests at Lowes: earlier this week, TRAC series cars tested at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with Boris Said and Tony Ave driving the cars. It was reported that the series is on track for its April 2003 debut.(ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night)(8-2-2002)
  • Sabates House Burns UPDATE: A $2 million home under construction in southeast Charlotte burned down early Wednesday morning, one month before a prominent local businessman was to move in. Flames broke out at the home at 7414 Baltusrol Lane around 5 a.m. The 10,000 square feet home is owned by racing team {part owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Flex Sabates #40 and #41 cars] owner Felix Sabates, who also owns a part of the Charlotte Checkers hockey team. It took nearly three dozen firefighters about 90 minutes to contain the blaze, but not before the roof caved in, according to Charlotte Fire Captain Rob Brisley. No one was injured in the fire. Sabates says this was going to be his family’s ” last house,” so he’s upset about ehf fire, but glad no one was hurt. He says he spent a year-and-a-half building the home. Around 5 a.m., a neighbor told police he woke up to the sound of a ringing doorbell. When he answered the door, he found a man, who told him that the house next door was on fire and to call 911. The neighbor never saw the guy again, and authorities have no idea who he was, or what he was doing in the neighborhood at that hour. Arson investigators are now on the scene, looking for a cause of the fire and talking with construction crews who were building the house.(nbc6.com)(7-31-2002)
    UPDATE: A fire that destroyed a $2.5 million home being built for NASCAR team co-owner Felix Sabates was intentionally set and may be connected to other unsolved arson cases, fire officials said. The home was engulfed in flames just after 5:00am/et Wednesday. The house was about 30 days from completion and unoccupied at the time. On Thursday, Charlotte Chief Fire Investigator David Lowery said accidental ignition sources had been eliminated. He said the front door of the home was open and a padlock had been removed, but declined to reveal other evidence suggesting arson. “I don’t know what to think,” Sabates said after hearing the fire was intentionally set. “Hopefully, it’s a random thing. I don’t know of anyone who would want to hurt me or my wife.” The Charlotte (N.C.) Fire Investigation Task Force is investigating whether the blaze is connected to other intentionally set fires at vacant or partially built homes in the surrounding area. Lowery said investigators are looking closely at three or four unsolved fires set at unfinished homes in southeast Charlotte last year. Lowery said Wednesday’s fire was started inside the 10,000-square-foot house and spread through the attic and roof before being noticed. Flames were shooting through the roof when firefighters arrived. Residents reported seeing a man who doesn’t live in the neighborhood about the time of the fire, but fire officials had no description of him. Lowery said investigators are interviewing contractors, subcontractors and laborers who worked on Sabates’ house and others nearby. He also said nothing outside the house indicates that it belongs to Sabates, so it is unlikely the person who set the fire knew who owned it. Sabates said he was at the house near Quail Hollow Country Club the night before the fire to look at wallpaper recently hung in his home office. He said he secured the front door with a padlock when he left. The padlock was gone when firefighters arrived, but its key was still in its hiding spot, an electrical box on the front porch. Sabates said anyone who required access to the house knew where to find the key. He and Chip Ganassi own a Winston Cup racing team that fields cars for Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer. Sabates is also part owner of the Checkers, Charlotte’s minor-league hockey team. He was an original investor in the Hornets. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, police and fire officials announced a $10,000 reward offered by the N.C. Arson Awareness Council for information leading to an arrest. They said anyone who might have information should call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600. Fire officials estimate the fire caused $1.6 million in damage to the house in 7400 block of Baltusrol Lane. Sabates said he plans to rebuild – hopefully in time for the Wachovia Championship, a PGA Tour event scheduled at the country club in mid-May. “I have a perfect view,” he said.(Charlotte Observer)(8-2-2002)


    (8-1-2002)

  • DMP on the #8 – been asked, didn’t know, here ya are: Oh, By the Way II on Dale’s DMP: What was that DMP on the left front corner of Dale Jr’s nose when he returned to the racetrack after his first lap wreck with teammate Steve Park at Pocono? What was that all about? It didn’t say B-U-D. It said D-M-P. They had to spray it on there with a spray gun. It was a very obvious tip of the cap to his friends, the crew he rolls with at home in Charlotte, the “Dirty Mo Posse.”(FoxSports/DW) and also hearing it is “Da Mooresville Posse”.(8-1-2002)
  • Nemechek not in the #25 after 2002 UPDATE: FSN’s Totally NASCAR reports that Joe Nemechek will not be back in the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in 2003.(7-24-2002)
    UPDATE: If Nemechek can turn his luck around, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be on the short list, still the rumor mill is spinning with names like Steve Park and Bobby Labonte [for the #25 Hendrick Motorsports ride]. But it’s too early to speculate.(Sporting News), looks like if things get better for Nemechek is a candidate for the #25 ride in 2003, but unlikely. Sources tell me Park either stays with the #1 DEI car or goes to Bill Davis. Do not see Labonte leaving Joe Gibbs Racing, plus his contract is thru 2004.(8-1-2002)
  • 2nd Foyt car enters the Brickyard 400: A.J. Foyt has hired P.J. Jones, son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, to drive the #50 Conseco Pontiac in the Brickyard 400. Foyt contacted Jones, who was in town to drive in tonight’s USAC Silver Crown feature at Indianapolis Raceway Park, and reached an agreement earlier today. Foyt will file the second entry tomorrow at the track. Mike Wallace is slated to drive the No. #Conseco Pontiac in his second race for Foyt. “Originally, I had planned to run two cars at Indy, which was why Mike Wallace tested here a couple weeks ago in the #50 Conseco car,” Foyt said. “After Stacy Compton was released, I decided to run just one car but that became an issue for NASCAR. They told me yesterday that they were going to penalize my team quite heavily because they thought I was trying to get around the limited testing issue. Well, that was the last thing on my mind, but I told Mike Hillman [crew chief] to enter the second car. I called P.J. about driving it and he said he’d love to. “I considered hiring his dad Parnelli but I couldn’t get him off the golf course,” Foyt joked about his longtime rival and good friend who retired from driving race cars in the 70’s. “I am excited about this opportunity to run at the Brickyard, even if it came at the last minute,” Jones, from Torrance, Calif., said. “We’d like to be more prepared but we’ll just do the best we can. It’ll be fun to drive for A.J. at Indy.” Jones, 33, did run a stock car here at the first open test in 1994, but did not compete in the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 (although Foyt did for what turned out to be his last Winston Cup race). Jones started racing midgets and sprint cars in California in the late 1980s. Dan Gurney hired Jones to race in the IMSA GTP series in 1992, and Jones won five races in two seasons, including an overall victory in the Rolex 24 in 1993 at Daytona. He also ran six races for the Melling Racing team that year, with a best finish of 9th at Watkins Glen. Jones concentrated on NASCAR racing in 1994, winning twice in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He returned to Gurney’s All-American Racers team in 1996 to drive in CART, staying there until 1999. Jones joined Patrick Racing in 1999, earning a career-best second-place finish at Nazareth Speedway. Since 1999, he has raced in the NASCAR Busch Series and in selected USAC Silver Crown Series events. He finished fourth in the Silver Crown feature at the Copper World Indy 200 in March at Phoenix International Raceway. Jones will race at IRP tonight and strap into the #50 Conseco Pontiac tomorrow afternoon when the Winston Cup teams practice for Saturday’s qualifying session.(A.J. Foyt Racing PR)(8-1-2002)
  • Just a test – Gordon and Montoya to swap cars: F1 BMW Williams driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, is expected to try his hand at the American racing series, NASCAR, when he takes to the wheel of Jeff Gordon’s #24 Dupont Chevy on the 12th of August. Meanwhile, Gordon, will take to the BMW Williams F1. Partly sponsored by BMW, Juan Pablo will return to the scene of the Brickyard’s oval layout, where he won the Indy 500 back in the year 2000, while Gordon will lap the infield created for the Formula One series.(F1-Live)(8-1-2002)
  • Smaller Fuel Tanks at Talladega? UPDATE: NASCAR officials are considering requiring smaller gas tanks for the season’s final restrictor-plate race, at Talladega Superspeedway in October. The idea is that, by requiring tanks with a capacity of 13 gallons instead of 22, additional pit stops will create greater space between the cars and reduce the likelihood of multi-car pileups.(Gaston Gazette)(7-29-2002)
    UPDATE: As expected, earlier this week a NASCAR bulletin informed teams that the teams would have to equip their cars with 13-gallon fuel tanks for the October race at Talladega Superspeedway. The tanks normally hold 22 gallons, and officials apparently think more pit stops – they will seem to be happening constantly — will allow the field to string itself out and lessen the potential for crashes. One question: Why not save the teams some expense and force them to put only one can of fuel, not two, in during stops?(Gaston Gazette)(8-1-2002)
  • Testing at Darlington: The following teams are scheduled to test at Darlington Raceway:
    August 6 and 7, ]BGN] Evans Motorsports, #7-Randy LaJoie
    August 13 and 14, Evernham Motorsports, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and the Dew Crew
    August 20 and 21, Roush Racing, #17-Matt Kenseth, Hendrick Motorsports, #5-Terry Labonte
    (Darlington Raceway PR)(8-1-2002)
  • Benny Pays Up: Benny Parsons has had a long standing bet that if any Pit Crew can do a four tire pit stop under 13.00 seconds in competition that he would pay all seven members of the crew 100 dollars each [total $700]. Last week at Pocono Benny Parsons had to pay up. The # 55 Schneider Electric Pit Crew busted off a 12.95 second Pit Stop back in June at the Michigan International Speedway. Benny Parsons reviewed the tape and agreed that the stop was legit. The # 55 Schneider Electric Pit Crew is the first team to take the money from Benny.(National Association of Pit Crew Members PR)(I had just assumed it was for a race NBC/TNT covered with Benny in the booth)(8-1-2002)
  • Park to Davis? UPDATE: Bill Davis confirmed last week that Hut Stricklin won’t return to the #23 Dodge next year. (Neither will Hills Brothers Coffee, by the way). On Sunday, the long-time team owner said Steve Park will replace Stricklin in the stable that also includes Ward Burton.(Daily Press), also hearing Tom Hubert will drive the #23 Hills Bros Dodge at Watkins Glen.(7-31-2002)
    UPDATE: been told that Hubert will NOT drive the #23 at Watkins Glen, assuming Stricklin will drive the car.(8-1-2002)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing that both Park and Kenny Wallace could be coming aboard, making it a three car team and keeping Scott Wimmer in the Busch Series for another year.(8-1-2002)
  • Penske to Dodge? may be true after all: A Penske Racing South official said the organization is still talking with Dodge about a potential switch from Fords to Intrepids for Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman next year. At this point, there is no clear favorite, though speculation remains that it will take a blockbuster offer for the teams to switch.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(8-1-2002)
  • de Bidart Angry About Wallace’s Plans: Kenny Wallace says that he and sponsor Stacker2 are on their way to Bill Davis Racing and the Winston Cup circuit in 2003, and Innovative Motorsports owner George de Bidart is not happy about it. Stacker2 officials have told de Bidart the company will return, reportedly with a different product, to his team next year for a second Busch Series season. He’s also on the lookout for a veteran driver to replace Wallace next year. Still, the Winston Cup program he’d been planning won’t come to fruition, and when de Bidart and Wallace spoke by telephone July 18, the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based team owner expressed his profound displeasure with the turn of events. Despite their differences, de Bidart vows to keep Wallace in his car through the end of the year because of his commitment to Stacker2 and the effort they’ve put into promoting the driver. Likewise, Wallace not only insists his team won’t fall into a lame-duck funk, but he guarantees a win with de Bidart before the end of the year.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(8-1-2002)
  • Scott Pruett Successful in Test for Price Motorsports at Watkins Glen: After a successful two-day test session this week at Watkins Glen International, the Price Motorsports, Inc. Cup Series team is extremely encouraged by the results recorded by road course specialist Scott Pruett. Thanks to Ganassi Racing and Pruett, the Raleigh-based race team was able to post some of the fastest lap times on the famed road course in the #59 Dodge Intrepid. “We’re appreciative of what Scott did for us getting this racecar set up for The Glen,” Price Motorsports, Inc. Marketing Director Don Lewis said recently. “He is a proven, accomplished road course racer with a very impressive racing resume. We were extremely happy to have him testing with us.” The team also announced Wednesday that a full season schedule was planned for 2003. The team still plans on racing in several additional races in 2002. Also in the team’s plans are races at Bristol Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, as well as, second trips to Lowe’s Motor Speedway, North Carolina Motor Speedway, Richmond International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.(Price Motorsports PR) Doesn;t say who will drive the car at Watkins Glen.(8-1-2002)
  • NBC Brickyard 400 Media Call Highlights: NBC Sports today conducted a media conference call to preview the Brickyard 400 from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NBC & TNT’s coverage of the Brickyard 400 weekend begins Saturday at 11 a.m. ET on TNT with Bud Pole Qualifying. Saturday night in primetime, Midas presents NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Indianapolis Raceway Park at 8 p.m. ET on TNT. NBC’s Brickyard 400 coverage begins Sunday at 2 p.m. ET with the “Discover Card Countdown to Green” pre-race show immediately followed by the green flag at 2:30 p.m. ET. On today’s call were NASCAR on NBC & TNT analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach; pre-race host/lead pit reporter Bill Weber and producer Sam Flood.
    Highlights of the call follow: On the 79 cameras NBC has deployed to cover the Brickyard 400:
    Flood: “This event is obviously the biggest event on the calendar this weekend, and one of the top two or three events on the Winston Cup schedule. Unlike any other track there is, one camera cannot follow the leaders around the racetrack. [In adding more cameras] We have raised the degree of difficulty for Mike Wells, our director, but we know that Mike can handle it. A lot of this [additional cameras] is because this is such a big event, but in the same breath you can’t do your normal coverage.”
    Parsons: “It’s a BIG event. It’s the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s without a doubt the most famous Speedway in the world. When Tony George and Bill France got together and we started running the Brickyard 400 in 1994 – I think it elevated NASCAR another notch.”
    On the S.A.F.E.R. “Soft Walls” being used at IMS:
    Parsons: “I have been talking about soft walls, for what seems like forever, but I guess it’s been five or six years. It started when drivers started hitting the walls and breaking their shoulder blades We have got to some how soften this blow, the cars are faster and they are going through the corners faster. Twenty years ago they hit a metal guardrail that gave, then the cars got faster and the rails really gave – they broke. So you have to have the concrete walls, but you have got to start to soften the blows that these drivers are taking. I cannot tell you what a pleasure it is for me to go to a racetrack that is going to soften that blow for these drivers.”
    Dallenbach: “I think Benny hit the nail on the head, it’s going to be a big test this weekend, I hate to say it, but everybody is waiting to see the first guy to hit the wall. That’s the information that they need. NASCAR and everybody else is waiting to see what the result of a Winston Cup car hitting a soft wall in competition is. From a drivers standpoint, heck yeah, I would rather hit a soft wall than a concert wall – there is no question about it.”
    On Jeff Gordon’s 2002 season and chances of repeating his Brickyard 400 victory:
    Parsons: “He has won Indy three times, but if you look back at Pocono (last Sunday), unless they find some magic this week he did not have a car that is good enough for him to win at Indy.”
    Weber: “I love to disagree with Benny and I will disagree with him here, I would have a hard time picking against Jeff Gordon in this race. That is not to say that if he does not win here that his season is a total disaster. If you go back and look at his history of how strong he normally is in the Winston Cup season’s second half, he is not only a contender this weekend but I think he is a contender for the championship. If I were going to Vegas I might put some money on someone else, but I would definitely put money on Jeff Gordon. When you talk to these guys in the garage you hear what they are saying, and you sometimes hear what they are thinking. This team is clearly pointing to certain events in the second half to show there muscle and I think one of theses events is Sunday. No one wants to win here more than Gordon, especially since the last time he won was Kansas City.”
    On Dallenbach driving three NASCAR Busch races, beginning Aug. 17 in Michigan: Dallenbach: “This is something that is not only going to be good and not only a lot of fun for me, but also adds credibility for me in the booth Sunday after just coming off the racetrack Saturday. I will be able to talk to the booth during cautions. Benny will be able to pick my brain on what we are doing and what we have accomplished.”(NBC PR)(8-1-2002)
  • Park and Earnhardt Jr test at VIR UPDATE: Just a day after surviving a horrific cash in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono, both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Steve Park were back at work today, testing their road-racing cars at VIRginia International Raceway. Despite the accident, and despite being admittedly sore and bruised, both were lapping the 2.225-mile North Course at VIR today in searing heat, as temperatures hovered around the 100F degree mark. Many of the Winston Cup teams have discovered VIR as an ideal place to refine their road-racing set-ups for the races at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, and Watkins Glen, NY. “We can learn a lot about road-course racing at this track,” said Earnhardt. “When you don’t have a lot of road-racing experience, like me, every lap on a road course counts for something. We’re testing and learning a lot of new things.” He said the proximity of VIR to the team’s home base in Mooresville, N.C., is an important factor. It’s only a two-hour drive from the Dale Earnhardt, Inc., headquarters. Park, whose first-ever Winston Cup win came at Watkins Glen in 2000, was here trying to put things into place for a repeat performance.(VIR PR)(7-29-2002)
    UPDATE: Tom Hubert tested the #23 at VIR on Monday (along with Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt Jr.), and said that he would not be driving the car at the Glen. He works as a mechanic for Davis, and has done occasional testing with the team.(8-1-2002)