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August 2003 News Archives


 

  • (8-31-2003)

  • WOW – Texas Terry wins the Southern 500! #5-Terry Labonte won the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, his first win in 156 races [Texas in 1999] at age 46. Labonte stopped and got the 76 checkered flag from the flagman, and took a lap around with it. Some of his crew climbed the fence on the frontstretch. #29-Kevin Harvick was 2nd for the third straight race in a row. The rest of the top five were #48-Jimmie Johnson, #42-Jamie McMurray and #9-Bill Elliott. Labonte has won the Southern 500 twice, his first career win on September 1, 1980 and today. It was Labonte’s 22nd career win. All four Hendrick Motorsports teams have won a race this year [#24, #25 and #48].
    Race Re-air: NOTE: Speed Channel has changed their lineup starting in August – so there will be a one-hour recap [called Fast Forward] of the race on Wednesday, September 3rd at 7:00pm/et and again on September 4th at 1:00am/et; a full three-hour race show will re-air at 12:00pm/et on Thursday, September 4th
    Race Results at
    Jayski’s Darlington Results
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.
    For the top 10, lap leaders, out of race/off track, cautions and explanations, notes, see my Southern 500 Race Info page.(8-31-2003)
  • StockCarFans.Com – Rumblings – Darlington: Score one for the Old Guys!!! Sure, we were wondering if Terry was gonna win another one before he got his AARP card, but after today he’s just another young gun. Texas Terry led the final 33 laps at Darlington Raceway to capture his second Mountain Dew Southern 500 (he won here way back in 1980) and 22nd career victory. He’s now in sole possession of 25th place on the all-time win list (breaking a tie with Benny Parsons, btw) and snaps a 156 race losing streak. Terry’s last win was at Texas Motor Speedway in March of 1999!
    This was win #114 for Hendrick Motorsports, and marks the 16th different winner this season.
    Kevin Harvick was the bridesmaid again….thats three in a row and four out of the last seven races he’s claimed that spot.
    Jeremy Mayfield (6th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond in May of 2002!
    Bobby Labonte (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Daytona in July.
    Elliott Sadler (9th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Chicagoland in July.
    Kevin Lepage (15th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Talladega in October of 2001! (only 12 races)
    Jeff Green (18th….and unemployed) had his best finish since he was 16th at Chicagoland in July.
    STREAKIN….Kevin Harvick has 5 Top-5’s in a row.
    The Rookie Report: Jamie McMurray (4th) captures this honor for the 11th time this season (he’s the leader of the pack). He was followed by Greg Biffle (10th), Casey Mears (35th), and Tony Raines (42nd). Larry Foyt was a DNQ this week. For a long time there today it looked like we could have another rookie winner….both McMurray and Biffle had strong cars this afternoon.
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: The Operator of the Week is a lonely Kevin Lepage (+26). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Johnny Benson (-29), followed by Mark Martin (-26), Ryan Newman (-22), Dave Blaney (-20), and Christian Fittipaldi (-20). Certainly was a down day in the “shaft”.
    Kevin Lepage led today for the first time since he led once for 3 laps at Atlanta in November of 2001! He’s the 43rd different driver to lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 46.
    Matt Kenseth’s still got it on cruise control. He tacked another 38 points onto his lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr….it’s now 389. His “Magic Number” grew as well…it’s at 6 vs Little E as well as Kevin Harvick. Bill Elliott gained 3 spots (17th to 14th) while Ward Burton lost 4 spots (18th to 22nd) as they were the big movers in the points today.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-31-2003)
  • Retirement not an easy call, Elliott says UPDATE: Bill Elliott said LAST week he’ll talk about his plans for retirement as a driver when he’s good and ready to do so, but he admitted again Saturday that it’s something he’s thought about. “I am at the age that not many people go very much past,” said Elliott, who turn 48 on Oct. 8. Only four drivers in history – Dale Earnhardt, Morgan Shepherd, Bobby Allison and Harry Gant – have won at an older age than Elliott is right now.
    “I do know I’m on the shorter end of the stick,” Elliott said. “Whether it’s this year, next year or the year after, we’ve got to sit down with (car owner) Ray (Evernham) and make that decision. We’ve got to talk about not only what’s best for me but what’s best for the race team.
    “That’s something I need to sit down and think through, discuss and figure out what’s going to be best. It’s a huge decision to make, but right now my focus in on this race and that’s (retirement’s) the farthest thing from my mind.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-30-2003)
    UPDATE: Bill Elliott, always the realist, admits he’d consider retirement under the right circumstances, but he notes much would have to line up correctly to persuade him to call it quits after this season. Elliott, 48 in October, noted after his Brickyard victory last year that he would begin to consider his future toward the end of his driving contract with Evernham Motorsports. That contract concludes after this season, although both Elliott and owner Ray Evernham are considering extending it. “It depends on a lot of circumstances,” the 1988 NASCAR champion said. “If Ray could find somebody to get in the car and take the team to the next level, I’d step out and let it go. But several things are going to have to happen. Do we go this road, this road, this road? I’ll tell you one thing, I’d quit this minute if I had to go through changing teams again. “I wouldn’t do that another year. I’m way too old for that crap.”(Speed Channel)(8-31-2003)
  • More on DEI and Andretti; Andretti at Talladega for RCR; DEI and Coke/Pizza Hut? Biffle to the #1 in 2004? or is it Riggs A FEW ADDITIONS: DEI has picked John Andretti to take Jeff Green’s place [in the #1 Pennzoil Chevy] the rest of the season, except at Talladega, where Andretti will drive for Childress. However, DEI is still working on a 2004 deal for that team — according to one source, the sponsor could be Coca-Cola and Pizza Hut. Busch Scott Riggs has been the front runner [see rumor below], but Greg Biffle could also be in the picture. However, Biffle is under to contract to Roush for another season and would have to buy his contract out, if Roush would even OK such a move.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND well…doubt it could be Pizza Hut AND Coke since they are owned by a PepsiCo consortium, actually I am hearing the sponsor could be Dominos Pizza, if Pizza Hut goes to another team, we could have a pizza war. Since DEI is heavily involved with Coca-Cola, can’t see it being Pizza Hut.
    OR also hearing Fed-Ex could be the #1 sponsor in 2004, with Riggs in the seat.
    AND II no idea if Andretti will drive the #30 AOL car or if that will be a 4th Childress team for a race, Kerry Earnhardt will drive a race or two for Childress in the Busch Series in the #03 [see my Busch Series sitefor more].(8-30-2003)
    UPDATE: FSN’s NASCAR This Morning reports that John Andretti will drive the #30 AOL Chevy for RCR at Talladega.(8-31-203)
  • Mayfield Out? UPDATE: Ray Evernham may be in the market for a new driver, if Jeremy Mayfield leaves [the #19 car]. Evernham and other Dodge team owners have been under heavy pressure from Dodge executives to improve performance.(Winston Salem JournalAND being told by source Mayfield will leave the #19 team, no idea where he goes, and who goes into the #19? would imagine a young gun of some caliber.(8-30-2003)
    UPDATE: however, PRN’s Garage Pass reported on Thursday that Mayfield’s option for 2004 was picked up by Evernham Motorsports.(8-31-2003)


    (8-30-2003)

  • Kodak or Drug Company for the #99 in 2004? Jeff Burton and Jack Roush are close to a new sponsor for the #99 Ford: according to one source, Kodak [that would be weird seeing a yellow #99] — according to another, an unnamed pharmaceutical company.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND being told it is a pharmaceutical company, no name yet….they are supposedly trying to work out how it conflicts with Pfizer/Viagra.(8-30-2003)
  • Yeley or Burton [Ward] to the #30 in 2004?: Richard Childress says he’s reviewing the Steve Park-Mike Beam [#30 AOL Chevy] operation. Sprint star J.J. Yaley [Yeley] and Ward Burton are on Childress’ list of potential drivers, according to team sources. Scott Wimmer is considered the leading candidate to replace Ward Burton in the #22 CAT Dodge [or whatever manu they use in 2004].(Winston Salem Journal); NOTE: hearing Burton will be in the #30 in 2004.(8-30-2003)
  • Tire Test at Daytona: #97-Kurt Busch and #15-Michael Waltrip are scheduled to take part in a Goodyear tire test at Daytona on Sept.8-9. Phil Holmer, Goodyear’s marketing manager for stock-car racing, said the company is looking at changing its compound for that track. Holmer also said that whoever does Goodyear’s tire test at the redesigned Homestead-Miami Speedway later this year won’t be in the points race. Goodyear and NASCAR officials don’t want a driver in a points race to have an advantage over the rest of the field.(Roanoke Times)(8-30-2003)
  • Bobby Allison to take ‘Victory Lap’ at Talladega: Fans of the NASCAR Winston Cup era were treated Friday to a sneak preview of a special Talladega Superspeedway “Victory Lap” tribute to Bobby Allison. The long-time leader of the famed “Alabama Gang” unveiled his red, white, silver and gold #22 Victory Lap car at Darlington Raceway following a press conference where he was joined by Talladega Superspeedway President Grant Lynch and NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. Allison will celebrate his Winston Cup career and 1983 Winston Cup championship during pre-race festivities for the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sept. 28.(NASCAR PR)(8-30-2003)
  • Elliott to Retire at End of 2003? UPDATE 2 Elliott diecast in 2004 refutes rumor: hearing rumors that Bill Elliott, driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers Dodge with Evernham Motorpsorts is considering retiring at the end of the 2003 season. Rumored driver to replace him? Greg Biffle.
    HOWEVER two recent reports seem to indicate Elliott is racing in 2004 and Biffle is close to reupping with Roush Racing and the #16 team:
    Evernham not changing drivers: There has been talk that Brendan Gaughan, who leads the Craftsman Truck Series in points and victories (four), might move to Cup racing in 2004, possibly with Evernham Motorsports. Though Gaughan, 28, tested for the organization in the past, team owner Ray Evernham says the next logical step for Gaughan would be the Busch Series. One thing is certain: Evernham has no intention of replacing Bill Elliott or Jeremy Mayfield next year. “For his age (47), Bill is one of the best drivers I’ve ever worked with, and he carries our deal on his back a lot of the time,” Evernham says. “I feel like I owe him a lot.” …(Sporting News)(8-20-2003)
    AND Biffle not signed…yet: during a NASCAR This Morning [Fox Sports Net – each Sunday at 10:30am/et] #16-Greg Biffle was interviewed and asked by John Roberts if he was signed for next year [2004], Biffle said no, but they are working on a contrat extension for next year and beyond and to do some Busch Series racing.(8-10/20-2003)
    UPDATE: #9-Bill Elliott isn’t giving any hints about his future driving plans, even amid widespread speculation that he’s contemplating retiring at the end of this season. “When I’m ready to talk, I’ll talk. When I ain’t, I ain’t,” Elliott said Tuesday. “That’s just plain and simple. When it’s time, it’s time and I’ll let you know.” This year has been a bit of a struggle for Elliott, who broke his foot in an accident in May but did not miss a race, driving with a special brace to help him shift. But he’s got just three top-five finishes and is 17th in the standings. Still, car owner Ray Evernham said Elliott can drive the #9 Dodge as long as he wants to. “Bill is one of the best drivers I’ve ever worked with, and he carries our deal on his back a lot of the time,” Evernham said. “I feel like I owe him a lot and he can drive my car until he doesn’t want to do it anymore.” But Elliott admitted Tuesday he has given thought to how long he wants to continue driving. If he’s come to a conclusion, he wasn’t saying. “I’m almost 50 now, so I’ve given it thought because I’m definitely on the shorter end of the stick,” he said.(see full story and quotes at ThatsRacin.com/AP)hi elliott9f(8-27-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Been told Bill Elliott is scheduled to run a NHL All Star Game Evernham Dodge at Daytona in 2004, that would seem to refute any retirement ‘rumors’. AND Ray Evernham may be in the market for a new driver, if Jeremy Mayfield leaves. Evernham and other Dodge team owners have been under heavy pressure from Dodge executives to improve performance. Bill Elliott, Evernham’s other driver, said he expects crew chief Mike Ford to continue in that position next season.(Winston Salem Journal), that sounds like Elliott has no plans on retiring this at the end of this year.(8-30-2003)
  • Blaney Back with the #77 in 2004? Dave Blaney, driver of the #77 Jasper Motorports Ford, should know Monday if his owners will renew his contract.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-30-2003)
  • Ganassi going to four teams in 2004? Now that Chip Ganassi has lost the battle for Stewart, he could jump back into the marketplace to find another man to fill that possible fourth Winston Cup team. According to one man familiar with the new game plan, Ganassi is going to the top of the standings and will keep making runs at drivers at the sport’s big names until he finds one willing to bite on his $5 million a year deal.(Winston Salem Journal); lets see…top of the standings……..Kenseth signed for 2004+; Earnhardt Jr. – not signed; Harvick is signed; Johnson is signed; Gordon is signed; Busch signed; Newman signed; Waltrip signed; Labonte signed…….seems to be pointing at one driver in the ‘top of the standings’.(8-30-2003)
  • Riggs to DEI #1? Andretti? UPDATE 5 OFFICIAL – Andretti in starting at RIR: hearing that Scott Riggs may be the new driver for the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004 if a sponsor is signed.(6-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Insiders continue to look for Scott Riggs to get the call to join DEI next season, if sponsors agree. DEI officials expect to have a decision on the company’s third team car by Darlington in three weeks.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2003)
    UPDATE 2: from a NASCAR.com conversation: Your name has come up in the rumor mill a lot lately. What’s out there that we can believe and not believe?
    Riggs: You can believe that there’s definitely a lot of opportunities out there that I’m very fortunate to have been contacted by a lot of people. When you have people in the Cup series interested in your future, it’s definitely a praise to what your able to do and your accomplishments in your career. With all that said, there’s a lot of opportunities and a lot of people I’ve talked to, and I have yet to make a decision one way or another that I might go next year. I’m still working with these guys here at ppc, first of all, to try to get a championship for everyone here with the Nesquik Ford. At the same time, we’re also talking about the future here, too. We’re working on some different things with sponsors and seeing what avenues ppc can go down. Haven’t made a decision one way or another which way I’m going. I think in the next three or four weeks, some decisions will start being made, and you’ll start seeing the dominos start to fall, and a lot of people will fall into place, and Silly Season will start.(NASCAR.com)(8-26-2003)
    UPDATE 3: hearing Riggs and Green may share the #1 ride after Green’s contract is up after Darlington, and that John Andretti could run a race or two or more in the car.(8-28-2003)
    UPDATE 4: Sunday’s Southern 500 is likely Jeff Green’s last weekend in Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #1 Chevrolet this season. Ty Norris, DEI’s executive vice president of motorsports, said Friday that John Andretti, released from Petty Enterprises earlier this season, would drive the No. 1 next weekend at Richmond, Va., and for several other races this season. “John did a really good job for us at Indianapolis and we were really impressed,” Norris said. Andretti qualified and drove a fourth DEI entry at Indy. We had an opportunity to see if we could improve our performance. We just talked to him about getting in the car for a while. There is no set time or agenda,” Norris said. “There’s no sense in locking ourselves into anything. But if John does what he did for us at Indianapolis, he really impressed a lot of people with what he did in our car there.” Green was hired in May after former driver Steve Park was released by DEI. Green was signed only through the end of this month, however.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-29-2003)
    UPDATE 5 – Andretti in the #1: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has hired John Andretti to drive the #1 Pennzoil Chevy beginning with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 6, 2003. Andretti is a two-time winner in NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition who brings more than 10 seasons of experience to the team. Earlier this month, he drove a DEI-supported Chance 2 entry at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; where he qualified 11th. “The racing heritage we have at DEI is unparalleled,” said Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt Inc. “We look forward to making this team stronger with the invaluable experience that John brings.” Since the May race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Jeff Green and Ron Fellows have shared driving duties in the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet. This year, the team has earned a Bud Pole Award and two top-10 finishes. Andretti is looking forward to his name now being associated with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., as well. “I look at driving for DEI as a great opportunity,” John said. “I’m excited to become a member of the team for the next few races. And, it’s also nice to be reunited with Pennzoil again. I drove an Indy Car they sponsored in 1991 and 1992 and won my first race in their yellow car. This team at DEI is established in NASCAR and I’m hoping to do a good for them.” In addition to his two-career NASCAR victories, Andretti has also earned four Bud Pole Awards, 13 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes.(DEI PR)(8-29-2003)
    UPDATE 6: Totally NASCAR mentioned to expect to see Scott Riggs run a race in the #1 sometime before the end of the season.(FoxSports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(8-30-2003)


    (8-29-2003)

  • Bye-Bye Rumors – Stewart Re-ups with JGR thru 2009:Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart agreed to terms of a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing that will keep him behind the wheel of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet through 2009. “I’m happy to have all of this worked out,” said Stewart in regard to his new contract. “Joe Gibbs and everyone associated with Joe Gibbs Racing have been very good to me in the seven years I’ve been here. They’ve always given me everything I need out on the race track, and they’ve always been there to support me off the track as well. It’s a very tight-knit group of hard-working people, and I look forward to spending another six years with them. The same is true with Home Depot, who I can honestly say has been the best sponsor I’ve had in all my years of racing. They’re not just a sponsor to our race team, they’re a partner and a friend. Our record of success is pretty impressive,” said Stewart, “and you don’t just walk away from that. I did have some very flattering offers, and it felt good to be a wanted man, but Joe Gibbs Racing and Home Depot wanted me too, and staying at a place I call ‘home’ just made sense. We’ve won a lot in our five years together in Winston Cup, and we’ve got a lot more wins ahead of us. I just want to thank Zippy (crew chief Greg Zipadelli), Joe and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Home Depot for standing by me and giving me all the time I needed to make the right decision.”
    “Obviously, we’re very happy to have Tony with us for the foreseeable future,” said Gibbs. “Along with Home Depot, he’s been an important part of our organization for a number of years, and we’re thankful that’s going to continue.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(8-29-2003)
  • Nextel buying land: Nextel is close to buying land near Concord, N.C., where NASCAR’s safety facility and a number of teams are based, USA Today reports. The story says the telecommunications company, which takes over sponsorship of NASCAR’s top series next year, plans on hiring a 20-person staff that “presumably will include some” employees of R.J. Reynolds Sports Marketing Enterprises division.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-29-2003)
  • StockCarFans.com – Ramblings – Darlington: The incredible pole machine that is Ryan Newman continued to roll this afternoon at Darlington Raceway. Ryan captured the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Mountain Dew Southern 500 (the final Labor Day edition) with a time of 24.090 (169.048 mph)….besting Jimmie Johnson for his 6th pole of the year and 13th of his career.
    Newman’s pole percentage is now at .188 (13 poles in 69 events)….not too shabby.
    Terry Labonte (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond in May.
    Ricky Craven (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Rockingham in February.
    Johnny Benson (11th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 10th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    STREAKIN….Bobby Labonte has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races. Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    Only 44 cars this week….the Trouble Train is a lonely one for #50-Larry Foyt. He can take solace in the fact he was quicker than all the provisional- seekers, however.
    The provisional picture looks like this: Michael Waltrip uses his first [actually his third, he also used one at Texas and Richmond] of the season (and it’s the lone non-charged one this weekend). Jimmy Spencer (Busch’s Best Buddy is Back!!!), Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty, Kevin Lepage, Derrike Cope, and Hermie Sadler all used charged provisionals. Schrader, Petty, Lepage, and Cope (the #49, #45, #4, and #37 cars) join the #43 of Christian Fittipaldi on the OOP list (Out Of Provisionals). With the exception of the #37 of Cope, the aforementioned other four drivers will receive their next provisional at Martinsville in October (race 32). For Cope, he’s only made 18 attempts this season…..his schedule will dictate when he gets another freebie. He’ll receive that one when he attempts his 24th race.
    Gonna be kind of sad this weekend. Labor Day and Darlington have been together since Johnny Mantz steered his Plymouth around this old joint in 1950. When you look down the list of winners at the Track Too Tough to Tame it reads like a who’s who of our sport. California is nice, but you just don’t build tradition in 7 years….and tradition used to be worth something.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(8-29-2003)
  • Buckshot back – to run Atlanta UPDATE and Talladega: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership are pleased to announce Georgia native Buckshot Jones will drive the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Chevy in the Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 26, 2003. The car will be prepared and crewed by MWR’s NASCAR Busch Series team coordinated by crew chief, Bobby Kennedy. The Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 will mark Jones’ return to Winston Cup racing since his 17th-place finish in the #09 Dodge at the Daytona International Speedway in July. Buckshot has 55 Winston Cup starts in his career with a best finish of eighth at Dover in 1998.
    “Bobby Kennedy always likes to stay in touch with the Winston Cup Series and this is an opportunity to test the waters and do so in Buckshot and Aaron’s backyard,” explained Waltrip.. “Buckshot has the talent and the determination it takes to run well in any NASCAR series and his testing efforts have shown us he’ll proudly don the Aaron’s Dream Machine colors in the Cup race. Buckshot and I have been trying to put something together for a while now, and it just makes sense to have a Georgia driver and a Georgia sponsor in the race just outside of Atlanta (Ga.).. Everyone involved is looking forward to making this happen.. Aaron’s is the sponsor for the Busch race on Saturday and will have many of their employees and customers in town.. It just makes since to expand Aaron’s involvement over the course of the entire weekend.”
    “I’m excited,” Jones said. “I know Michael and Bobby put together fast racecars everywhere they go.. We tested earlier this year and our times were fast enough to be in last year’s top-10.. I love Atlanta Motor Speedway and can’t wait to get down there, turn some laps and challenge myself to a top-10 finish in the Aaron’s Dream Machine.”
    “Aaron’s is in the business of making dreams come true, and we are going to help Buckshot realize his dream of returning to the Winston Cup Series,” said Ken Butler, President of Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership. “By letting Buckshot race the Dream Machine in Atlanta, someone may come along and give him that full-time job he’s been looking for and we’ll enjoy watching an Aaron’s car race toward the front on Saturday and Sunday.” The Georgia 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is scheduled for October 26, 2003 at 1:00 PM and will be broadcast live on NBC and PRN radio.(Aaron’s PR)(8-26-2003)
    UPDATE and a 2nd race? Buckshot Jones is set to return to the Winston Cup circuit at Talladega on Sept. 28 and at Atlanta on Oct. 26. Jones said the two races he’s running later this season in a Michael Waltrip-owned Chevrolet are his only scheduled appearances for the time being.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-29-2003)
  • New Helmet: Dale Lott, an entrepeneur who owns a Nashville-based company called Active Xtreme, and Atlanta-based Racing Radios, have developed a new racing helmet designed to reduce driver fatigue and lessen the damage to a driver’s hearing. The helmet looks like a standard racing helmet, but the foam interior contains a bladder that is pumped up with air to conform to the driver’s head. The earpiece for the two-way radio is inside the bladder, so there’s no need for separate earpieces. And when a driver goes through a turn or his head moves from side-to-side, the air pressure, which come from a small hand pump on the helmet, equalizes the pressure on the driver’s head. Much of the same technology is being made available for crew members on pit road. Their radios are being designed to reduce background noise and combine the channels a crew member needs to hear. Lott and Racing Radios have gotten the OK from NASCAR to test the helmet and drivers including Robby Gordon have shown interest in using one. The entire driver’s unit costs about $1,500 compared to $600 for a conventional system.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-29-2003)
  • Spencer back, sales up 40% UPDATE No Change Spencer says: #7-Jimmy Spencer learned that his trackside souvenir sales increased 40 percent over the three-day Bristol weekend as fans swarmed the Team SIRIUS souvenir location to buy Mongo T-shirts, hats and banners. If that wasn’t enough to prove the public’s affection, the deafening cheers of 165,000 people at Bristol Motor Speedway when the #7 SIRIUS Dodge rolled out was. Only problem, Spencer wasn’t there to see it.(Jimmy Spencer site)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Spencer said a week’s suspension by NASCAR won’t change his aggressive driving style, but added that he has no intention to continue bickering with Kurt Busch. ”It’s over as far as I’m concerned,” Spencer said yesterday in his first public appearance since being suspended for punching Kurt Busch following a heated race at Michigan two weeks ago. ”But I won’t change the way I drive. I’ll still drive hard. It’s the only way I know to race.”(Tenneseean)(8-29-2003)
  • Leffler’s Truck ride in jeopardy? Sprague in #2 Truck? UPDATE 4 Leffler named driver of #0: Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith says Jason Leffler needs to decide where his loyalties lie. Smith says if Leffler wants to retain his #2 Dodge ride with Ultra in the Craftsman Truck Series, Leffler can’t continue to drive a Pontiac for Haas-CNC Racing in Winston Cup. “We’ve sent him a contract,” Smith says. “The next move is his.” Smith says Leffler, who is eighth in truck points, is welcome to walk, but it will come at a high price. Leffler has driven the Haas-CNC No. 0 car in three Cup races and had agreed to drive in eight more.(Sporting News), see my #0 Team News and Links page for the news on Leffler signing with Haas-GNC Racing for 2004.(8-25-2003)
    UPDATE – Leffler out; Sprague in the #2 Truck? hearing that Jason Leffler, who was at odds with Truck Series owner over taking the #0 Haas-CNC Racing Pontiac Ride, has split with Smith and former #0 driver, Jack Sprague will drive the #2 ASE Dodge for Ultra Motorsports and Smith for the rest of the season. Sprague has signed to drive a 2nd IWX Team Truck in 2004. Dennis Conner is the #2 Truck Crew Chief, he was Sprague’s crew chief for years in the Truck and Busch Series as well for about half the season in Cup in 2003 before he parted ways with the team.(8-26-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Crew chief Tony Furr has confirmed that Jason Leffler will drive the #0 NetZero Haas-CNC Pontiac for the remainder of this season and 2004 in the Winston Cup Series. Leffler is currently eighth in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points driving the #2 truck for Ultra Motorsports. There has been no confirmation as to who will drive that truck at Richmond September 4.(Fox Sports)
    UPDATE 3: or is Spencer in? hearing Jimmy Spencer will drive the #2 Ultra Motorsports truck at Richmond on Sept 4th.(8-27-2003)
    UPDATE 4: Haas CNC Racing announced today Jason Leffler will be behind the wheel of the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac for the remainder of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season and continue with the team in 2004. I’m happy to be a part of the Haas CNC Racing team,” said Leffler, 27.. “It’s a great team and a great opportunity for me to get back to the Winston Cup Series.. Gene Haas, Joe Custer and Tony Furr have worked hard to get me here and I’m looking forward to our future together.. NetZero is a great sponsor and I’d like to thank everybody involved for giving me this chance.”
    “We are thrilled to have Jason Leffler become a permanent part of our team,” stated Joe Custer, General Manager of Haas CNC Racing.. “We think Jason is a good, young driver with a ton of potential and we look forward to a long, successful future together.” Leffler, a native of Long Beach, Calif., will make his fourth start behind the wheel of the #0 NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac this weekend at Darlington Raceway.(NetZero Racing/Motorsports Management PR)
    UPDATE 4a: Jimmy Spencer has been tabbed as the replacement for Jason Leffler as the driver of the #2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge for the Virginia is for Lovers 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Richmond, VA. “Jason has a chance to move up to the NASCAR Winston Cup ranks and we wish him the very best of luck,” said Ron Weiner, President of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). “We certainly appreciate the effort that he put forth on our behalf over the past two years. By the same token, we are very appreciative to Jimmy Spencer for helping us out at Richmond, where ASE is celebrating  our 200th race as an NCTS sponsor. “Mr. Excitement” is a working-man’s driver, and the 450,000 ASE certified mechanics clearly identify with his work ethic and his 110% efforts on the track.”  His Richmond outing will be Spencer’s first in the Craftsman Truck Series. “I’m excited about driving the #2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge at Richmond,” Spencer said.  “The #2 truck is probably the most recognizable in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series because it’s been winning races since the series began in 1995.  A lot of great drivers have wheeled this truck, and I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of that.” The Virginia is for Lovers 200 is scheduled for Thursday, September 4th at Richmond International Raceway.(8-29-2003)
  • NASCAR and iN DEMAND Win an Emmy Award: NASCAR and iN DEMAND garner the 2003 Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Television for a Single Program. The Emmy will be given to Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting and Jeffrey Pollack, managing director of broadcasting and new media, NASCAR Digital Entertainment and to Robert Jacobson, chief operating officer, and Stacie Gray, vice president and executive creative director of iN DEMAND. There were 48 entries from every major broadcast and cable network, and the winners were selected by a Blue Ribbon Jury comprised of members of the Academy’s Interactive Media Peer Group.(NASCAR PR)(8-29-2003)
  • Rubbermaid meets with Busch: Representatives from Newell Rubbermaid Inc. maker of Rubbermaid®, Sharpie® and other leading consumer product brands, called a meeting with Roush Racing and Kurt Busch on Wednesday to discuss the company’s expectations for its sponsorship of the #97 car after recent incidents and comments from the Winston Cup series driver. Rubbermaid® and Sharpie®, both power brands of the company, have been sponsors of the #97 team since 2001.  Most recently, the company’s tool brand, Irwin®, has joined as a major sponsor. “We arranged the discussion with Roush Racing and Kurt to express our disappointment, more closely align what we expect from the team in the future as well as to confirm our commitment to them,” said Eric Pinkham, director of corporate event marketing for Newell Rubbermaid.  “We take great pride in our brands like Rubbermaid, Sharpie and Irwin and appreciate the people who make and use our products everyday.  We value our employees, customers, and the fans and will ensure that our race team reflects our ideals – to put the best product out there day-in and day-out. Our relationship with Kurt and Roush Racing is strong.  We will be taking an active role with Roush Racing in helping Kurt get guidance and working closely in developing a mentoring program.  This program includes scheduled meetings with Roush teammates and veteran competitors, so Kurt can learn from their years of racing experience – both on and off the track. Kurt is a phenomenal driver with a lot of passion for the sport and has a great career ahead of him.”
    “Kurt has the potential to be one of the best, and his approach to the fans, the media, other drivers and his sponsors will demonstrate that fact,” said Jack Roush, team owner. “Rubbermaid, Sharpie and all the brands at Newell Rubbermaid are world-class and they should expect a world-class ambassador in Kurt Busch.  Together with Rubbermaid, Sharpie and Irwin, we will work with Kurt to improve his relationships with the fans, the media and his competitors. There is a lot to be done, but I know Kurt will step up and put his best foot forward.” Busch, currently sixth in the Winston Cup points race, promised to further accountability and a renewed commitment to his sponsors.(Newell Rubbermaid PR)(8-28-2003)
    AND check out at Roush Racing: Statement from Kurt Busch.(8-29-2003)


    (8-28-2003)

  • Get Wells To:
    Ed Spencer, Jimmy’s [#7 Sirius Dodge] Dad, who had a heart attack on August 22nd and
    Joanne Naman who was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Joanne is the wife of Don Naman of Naman Motorsports Management and Consulting (former VP of Talladega Superspeedway and Director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame) and mother of Sharon Naman-Griffin (Champion Sports Group).(8-28-2003)
  • Smirnoff and the #99? or to Penske? UPDATE: hearing that Smirnoff Ice/Triple Black could end up being the sponsor for the #99 Roush Racing team and driver Jeff Burton, either in a full time capacity or similar to what they are doing with #17-Matt Kenseth this year [seven races as a primary sponsor on the car], OR could re-up with Kenseth for another year OR could do a similar deal with #12-Ryan Newman [not sure how Miller Lite would like that] also being a sponsor on one of Penske’s IRL cars [who is losing Marlboro] with one of their hard liquior labels, which is allowed in the IRL but not in NASCAR. While mulling over this one, kmowing it looks like a sponsor will stick with NASCAR, check out their contest: Smirnoffice.com – Hang With Matt & The Crew [that Chris Brock seems fun to hang out with](7-28-2003)
    UPDATE: now hearing the sponsorship [7-8 races, like it is for this year] is between staying with the #17 team or going to the #29 RCR team and Kevin Harvick.(8-28-2003)
  • Update on the Boat Accident: Regarding Rob Jones, mechanic for the #01 U.S. Army team — his condition remains critical; vital signs are good. He is at Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.(US Army PR) — Jones was involved in a boat accident where the boat ended up on I-77 near Mooresville, NC. For the full story, see my #01 Team News and Links page, no word on the current condition of the two passengers of the boat.(8-28-2003)
  • Earnhardt Jr. dedicates climbing wall: South Elementary physical education teacher Vicki Troutman wanted a climbing wall for her students, something to get their minds off video games and into exercise. When none of the grants to defray the wall’s cost came through, she called a former Mooresville High [NC] student who had volunteered for her at elementary school field days. Kelley Earnhardt then called another Mooresville High alum, her brother Dale Earnhardt Jr. The man currently ranked No. 2 in NASCAR’s Winston Cup standings donated $5,000, the entire cost of the wall and then some. Troutman had hoped for a wall 25 feet to 30 feet long; Earnhardt Jr. gave enough for 40 feet. As 800 unsuspecting students and their teachers gathered, Earnhardt Jr. sheepishly strode in through the gym’s back door Wednesday, his head bowed in his trademark red Budweiser baseball cap, to dedicate the wall. It was his first charity appearance at any school. Promising not to ask about girlfriends, Troutman put student questions to Dale Jr. See the few story and answers to thise questions at the Charlotte Observer.(8-28-2003)
  • Bodine’s return delayed: It will be several more weeks before Brett Bodine Racing gears up for its return to the Winston Cup Series, team spokeswoman Carolyn Carrier said Wednesday night from her North Carolina home. “I know a lot of people have been asking, but it’s just taking longer to get everything in place,” she said. “It’s business, and sometimes those things take awhile.” Bodine hasn’t raced since losing his Hooters sponsorship in June. He signed a two-year sponsorship deal with a still unnamed company on Aug. 12.[He did make an attempt in the #4 Kodak Pontiac at Pocono but didn’t qulaify]. The team had initially hoped to compete in this weekend’s Southern 500 in Darlington. Those plans have been scrapped so the sponsor, which is new to NASCAR, can finalize its marketing plan. “They are new in racing and just trying to get everything done and do it right,” Carrier said. Carrier said it is difficult to say for sure when Bodine might make his return but said it could be “two or three more weeks.” “We’ll announce who the sponsor is once we decide when the (first) race will be,” she said. “We’ll make a big announcement, probably the week before (we race).” Carrier said the earliest Bodine could have his No. 11 Ford Taurus on the track again would be the Sylvania 300 in Loudon, N.H., on Sept. 14, or the Dover 400 in Dover, Del., on Sept. 21. “We have to wait to see how quickly things come together,” Carrier said. “We’re trying to get everything done, and do it right.” Carrier said the team has yet to hire new people and begin to upgrade its equipment since signing the sponsorship deal. “We’re just trying to get everything together to figure out what we need and how we are going to approach it,” Carrier said. “We don’t want to come back and not have everything ready to go.”(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-28-2003)

    Sad News: Sympathies go out to former NASCAR Busch North Series driver Eric Bodine of Waverly, NY whose wife, Leslie, died Sunday after an extended illness. The cousin to NASCAR racing brothers Geoffrey, Brett and Todd Bodine competed full time in the Busch North Series from 1996 to 1999 before taking time off for personal reasons to spend with his wife and family. Leslie Bodine, 38, a native of Towanda, is also survived by three daughters and a son.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-28-2003)

  • Some Bristol TV/Cable Stuff UPDATE – conflicting info?: The Sharpie 500, televised this past Saturday night from Bristol by TNT, was the most-watched program of the week on cable, with 5,958,000 viewers.(Figures from TNT and Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)
    RATINGS DOWN: But the race’s 4.3 Nielsen Media Research rating was down 10 percent from last year’s 4.8, MotorsportsTV.com reports.(8-27-2003)
    AND MORE: The Sharpie 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night took the #1 spot on all of basic cable last week, with 3,730,000 households tuning in, according to Nielsen Media Research. It finished ahead of two installments of the WWE, Monk, and Fairly Odd Parents, which rounded out the top five. The #1 show on all of cable was Sex and the City [HBO], which averaged 4,914,000 households.(MotorsportsTV.com)(8-28-2003)
  • Race Fan Reenlists at PPI Motorsports’ Shops: Petty Officer First Class Brian Wilkes, a 10-year veteran of the United States Navy, has been a race fan for as long as he can remember. When Wilkes, a resident of Hickory, N.C., learned he could choose the site of his reenlistment ceremony, he immediately thought of a way to incorporate his love of NASCAR into this special day. On Tuesday, Aug. 26, Wilkes stood among family and friends, and a dozen or so #32 Tide Pontiacs, as he recited his oath of enlistment at PPI Motorsports’ sho in Hickory. Following the ceremony, PPI driver Ricky Craven posed for photos and signed autographs for the Officer and his guests. Wilkes and his entourage were then given a tour of PPI’s facilities.(PPI Motorsports PR)(8-28-2003)
  • #97 Crew Wins Pit Award at Bristol UPDATE: The pit crew for #97-Kurt Busch certainly played a part in his victory at Bristol this past Saturday night. Busch’s crew won the weekly’s McDonald’s/POWERade Pit Crew Championship Award, worth $20,000. Busch’s car spent 233.373 seconds in the pits, the lowest total among teams competing in this particular contingency program.(NASCAR PR)(8-27-2003)
    UPDATE: Kurt Busch’s team not only captured Saturday night’s (Aug. 23) Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but the pit crew for Busch’s Ford Taurus also took home top honors in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the second McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship victory for Busch’s No. 97 pit crew in the past four races. The crew also won at the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis. Each victory was worth $20,000. Busch’s crew did an outstanding job in the pits during the thrilling 500-lap race on the historic .533-mile oval. The No. 97 Sharpie/Rubbermaid Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road – 233.373 seconds, nearly 40 seconds fewer than the second-place finisher – the No. 88 Dale Jarrett UPS Ford (272.851). Busch’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Andy Thurman (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Jimmy Fennig. In the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade season standings, Busch’s pit crew is ranked third with 816 points, three behind the second-place pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael Waltrip’s crew leads the chase with 891 points. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus.
    For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(8-28-2003)
  • Ince car wins championship: Justin Wells, from Aurora, Mo., wrapped up the national I.M.C.A. Sunoco Late Model championship with feature wins Saturday at Joplin 66 Speedway and Sunday at Monett Speedway. Why does that make my Cup page? Wells was driving a new James Ince car, Ince is the crew chief for Johnny Benson and the #10 MBV team; plus I wanted to post it.(WhoWon.com)(8-28-2003)
  • Testing at Kentucky UPDATE six teams: #23-Kenny Wallace and #27-Scott Wimmer will test at Kentucky Speedway August 27-28.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-26-2003)
    UPDATE: Research and development was the phrase of the day for six NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams which tested the 1.5-mile tri-oval at Kentucky Speedway. Teams gathered information to prepare for a season-ending, 12-race stretch that features several intermediate tracks. Bill Davis Racing drivers Kenny Wallace and Scott Wimmer, Evernham Motorsports veteran Bill Elliott, Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series regular Mike Bliss, MB2 Motorsports super sub Mike Skinner, Petty Enterprises namesake Kyle Petty, and Hendrick Motorsports test specialist David Green were part of the session. Skinner and Wimmer were potentially auditioning for full-time series rides in 2004. Skinner, who was released from his Morgan-McClure Winston Cup contract following the June 8 race at Pocono, is wheeling the #01 Army Pontiac for MB2 Motorsports while primary driver Jerry Nadeau continues to mend his injuries. Skinner used the test to get better acquainted with the MB2 team. Wimmer, who enters the week ninth in the Busch series standings and riding a string of nine straight top-10 finishes under Davis, also may be in line for a full-time Winston Cup ride if Davis can secure sponsorship for a third series entry. A second scenario might find Wimmer behind the wheel of the #22 Caterpillar car should Ward Burton vacate the seat.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-28-2003)
  • Belmont Helping Out: ARCA Re/Max Series driver Andy Belmont has joined others in support of a stricken youth, Belmont will place the “Race for Shannon” on the hood of the Verizon 1-800-USE THE VZ Ford Taurus race car and donate all winnings to Shannon Mishon; a fourth grade classmate of Belmont’s son Kyle at Our Lady of Grace Catholic school in Penndel, PA who was recently diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformation, see the full story on my Racing Charities page.(8-28-2003)
  • Stewart and Gibbs to talk? a few readers tell me that Tony Stewart was on the DC101 Radio show interview on Wednesday and was asked: “What about you leaving Joe Gibbs, you leaving?” Stewart said: “I don’t think so, the coach has been real good to me. We are meeting tomorrow to sit down and hopefully wrap things up.” AND “I love Joe and the JGR organization and ill be going in to the shop to try and finish the deal tomorrow” he also said Joe has been more that fair to him though out his career.(8-28-2003)

    (8-27-2003)

  • Sad News: Amanda Zimmerman, who was the grand marshal for the 2002 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, died Monday night at the age of 17. Amanda had battled chronic heart and lung disease since birth. She also formed a special bond with NASCAR driver Bill Elliott, who would call Amanda each year on her birthday.(8-27-2003)
  • More on Helton; DEI; and Horish; from Tuesday’s Toronto Sun…in part……The NASCAR racing world is buzzing about a rumour that Mike Helton will pack up his job as president of the stock car racing sanctioning body and move his stuff over to Dale Earnhardt Inc. For anyone who follows the ins and outs of NASCAR in general and DEI in particular, Helton taking over the reigns at the Mooresville, N.C., based team makes absolute sense. Since the death of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona in 2001 the family firm has been run by a triumvirate — Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, racing boss Ty Norris and shop boss Steve Hmiel. The problem is that the three vie for decision-making power, and often it ends up that nothing gets done, or when it gets done it gets done badly. A case in point was the apparent deal offered open-wheel ace Sam Hornish by Norris. Hornish, the two-time defending IRL champ, signed with Team Penske yesterday [Monday]. Norris had made a handshake deal for Hornish to join DEI to replace Jeff Green in 2004. The deal would have been a double win for DEI, as it would have have kept Pennzoil from taking its sponsorship off the #1 team. But according to sources in the garage, Norris failed to pass the deal by Teresa Earnhardt. When she got wind of it, she put the kibosh on it — not because she didn’t think Hornish was a good driver, but because it was not her idea. Now Hornish is telling people the whole thing soured him on ever racing for DEI.
    And then there’s the Dale Earnhardt Jr. contract dispute. Junior holds Norris in high regard, both as a friend and team boss, but thinks that maybe Hmiel and his stepmother don’t realize his value. DEI without Junior is unthinkable but many NASCAR people are saying that Helton may be the only one capable of patching things up between the 28-year-old superstar and the team.
    (see full story at the Toronto Sun) and see past news/rumors about this info on my NASCAR Personnel page and the #1 Team News and Links page.(8-27-2003)
  • Some Bristol TV/Cable Stuff: The Sharpie 500, televised this past Saturday night from Bristol by TNT, was the most-watched program of the week on cable, with 5,958,000 viewers.(Figures from TNT and Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)
    RATINGS DOWN: But the race’s 4.3 Nielsen Media Research rating was down 10 percent from last year’s 4.8, MotorsportsTV.com reports.(8-27-2003)
  • Dalr Jr. and Gordon vs LaBron: LeBron James signed a multi-year contract with Coca-Cola on Thursday to endorse its Sprite and Powerade brands. The company and agent Aaron Goodwin declined to disclose the terms of the deal, but sources close to James say it is worth approximately $15 million over the next seven years. It is believed to be the richest beverage deal ever signed by a basketball player, trailing only NASCAR stars Jeff Gordon (Pepsi) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Budweiser) in the market. (Akron Beacon-Journal) (8/27)
  • No Carrot Top on the #49 at Darlington or Atlanta: #49 driver Ken Schrader is revved up about the new 1 800 CALL ATT national consumer promotion. Indeed, it’s unique, a NASCAR fan will be the face on the hood of Schrader’s #49 1 800 CALL ATT Dodge in the Sunday, Oct. 26, race at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway. The face will belong to winner of a national consumer promotion that began Monday, August 25th. “Carrot Top is a nice guy but it will be nice to have somebody else looking back at me during the race,” he laughed. Schrader’s 1 800 CALL ATT Dodge at Darlington, S.C., this weekend will carry a paint scheme announcing the promotion, with “Your Face Could Be Here” emblazoned on the hood. “I can’t think of a cooler deal than having your face on the hood of a NASCAR Winston Cup car in front of 150,000 fans,” Schrader said. “Atlanta is a perfect place for it too. A Darlington or Bristol, well, it could put a few wrinkles in you.” Every collect call made with 1 800 CALL ATT beginning August 25th and continuing through October 8th, is a chance for fans to be entered for the promotion. Other prizes include Ken Schrader autographed collectible cards. 1 800 CALL ATT for collect calls is AT&T’s automated service that lets you make collect calls from any phone. For more information about the service or the sweepstakes, visit www.callatt.com.(Williams Company PR)(8-27-2003)

    (8-26-2003)

  • Buckshot back – to run Atlanta: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership are pleased to announce Georgia native Buckshot Jones will drive the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Chevy in the Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 26, 2003. The car will be prepared and crewed by MWR’s NASCAR Busch Series team coordinated by crew chief, Bobby Kennedy. The Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 will mark Jones’ return to Winston Cup racing since his 17th-place finish in the #09 Dodge at the Daytona International Speedway in July. Buckshot has 55 Winston Cup starts in his career with a best finish of eighth at Dover in 1998.(Aaron’s PR). See full PR and quotes on my #00 Team News and Links page.(8-26-2003)
  • Mike Wallace in the #09 for six races: Mike Wallace will drive the #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming Dodge, owned by James Finch, in six Cup races through the end of the season. Wallace finished ninth in Finch’s car in the season opening Daytona 500. Wallace will drive Winston Cup races at the following tracks: Richmond on Sept. 6; Talladega on Sept. 28; Kansas on Oct. 5; Atlanta on Oct. 26; Phoenix on Nov. 2; and Homestead on Nov. 16. Along with the six NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, Wallace will continue at the wheel of the #4 GEICO/Biagi Bros Chevy in the Busch Series.(Biagi Bros PR) See full PR and quotes on my #09 Team News and Links page.(8-26-2003)
  • #66 Closed Up? hearing that the #66 Travis Carter team has shut down, due to lack of sponsorship. Guess Hideo Fukuyama couldn’t supply the sponsorship and is looking for a ride.(8-26-2003)
  • Changes soon with the #16? UPDATE 2 Goss out: Though rookie Greg Biffle won last month at Daytona, his learning curve would be accelerated by the addition of a veteran Winston Cup crew chief. Biffle’s crew chief is Randy Goss, who is in his first full Winston Cup season in that job. Roush would not confirm that changes are ahead for any of his teams, but he says he won’t wait until the end of the season if he believes a move should be made.(Sporting News), Jimmy Elledge is one possibility.(8-5-2003)
    UPDATE: Some shifts and changes have taken place within Greg Biffle’s rookie team. “We have a new program that has a new driver and new crew chief,” Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said of the re-evaluation the team underwent, “to get the right support system around the program.” However, Smith added, “I can tell you unequivocally that [crew chief] Randy [Goss] wasn’t one of the people that will be shifted. That doesn’t mean that he won’t be shifted, but that’s not happened – the reports are premature.”(Ford Racing)(8-8-2003)
    UPDATE 2 – Goss replaced by Richert: Roush Racing announced today that Doug Richert has been appointed as crew chief of the #16 Grainger Ford driven by Greg Biffle effective immediately. Richert, currently the crew chief of the Carl Edwards Truck Series #99 entry, has extensive Winston Cup racing experience, including the 1980 series title with Dale Earnhardt and two victories with Neil Bonnett in 1985. Randy Goss will assume the role of Busch Series Program Manager at Roush Racing’s Mooresville location where he will oversee the day-to-day operations. Goss is a winning crew chief in all three of NASCAR’s elite divisions and he helped secure the 2002 Busch Series Championship and 2000 Truck Series Championship for Roush Racing. Kevin “Cowboy” Starland has been appointed as crew chief for Carl Edwards and the #99 Superchips Ford F-150. Starland, car chief for Biffle’s championships in the Busch Series and Truck Series, had also been the crew chief for the cancelled #60 Stanton Barrett program, helping Stanton achieve his best career qualifying and finishing results.(Roush Racing PR)(8-26-2003)
  • RPM2 Night gone after 2003: After almost three full seasons of being on the outside looking in at NASCAR events, ESPN has decided not to renew RPM 2Night next season. “As a result of low ratings, RPM will not return next year,” ESPN spokesman Mike Humes tells MotorsportsTV.com. However, it will finish out its run this year. NASCAR might be pleased with another decision from the Disney network. Humes says that “starting with next year’s Daytona 500, ESPN will accept credentials” to NASCAR events. Currently, ESPN’s Mike Massaro and a producer have standard media credentials to talk to people and search for news inside the track, but ESPN does not shoot any footage inside the track. The conflict between NASCAR and ESPN has festered since February of 2001. NASCAR wouldn’t grant ESPN a credential to shoot footage for RPM or use actual race footage because the sanctioning body classifies RPM as a feature show. In turn, ESPN said that it would not seek a credential for any video crews for its news outlets and shows.(see full story at MotorsportsTV.com)(8-26-2003)
  • TRAC Gone: Team Sports Entertainment [TRAC] announced today, effective immediately, it has discontinued its efforts to develop, own, operate and sanction an automotive racing league. As previously discussed, the Company’s business plan provided that its ability to continue to pursue the creation of a racing league and begin racing in May 2004 would depend upon its successfully selling operating rights for six teams and sufficient league sponsorship packages by September 30, 2003. Following extensive and ongoing discussions between management and the Company’s various consultants, the Company’s Board of Directors has concluded that such sales are not possible within the necessary time period.(see full story on the TRAC Site or at Yahoo) see past news on my TRAC page.(8-26-2003)
  • SI to feature Darlington: Sports Illustrated will make a stop at this weekend’s Southern 500 festivities. The magazine, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is visiting one sporting event in 25 different states and will feature that event in an upcoming issue. The issue featuring Darlington Raceway will hit newsstands Sept. 8.(Morning News)(8-26-2003)
  • Feud Settled? During Spencer and Busch’s tussle at Michigan, two former combatants were getting along fabulously inside the media center. After finishing in the top five together at Michigan, #29-Kevin Harvick and #16-Greg Biffle, who tried to choke each other after a Busch race at Bristol last year, said their rivalry had ended. “Everybody thinks we fight and bicker,” Harvick shrugged. “We just sell hats and T-shirts,” Biffle said.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-26-2003)
  • Wells Fargo Re-ups with Petty: Wells Fargo Financial announced it has renewed and extended its sponsorship of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty and his #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge for the 2004 season. Wells Fargo Financial, the North American consumer finance subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company, is continuing the sponsorship as a result of their highly successful partnership with Petty Enterprises. Petty Enterprises is unique in its ability to bring added value to a Winston Cup sponsorship. “We are very happy with our relationship with Kyle and the entire Petty Enterprises team. Wells Fargo Financial is excited to be involved with one of the most celebrated names in all of NASCAR and in the fastest growing spectator sport in America,” said Tom Gibbons, Director of Corporate Sponsorships. “We’re very proud to have Wells Fargo Financial continue its sponsorship of Petty Enterprises,” said Kyle Petty. “We believe they are an excellent partner with our other top-quality sponsors, like General Mills, Georgia-Pacific and Coca-Cola, and are the premier financial services company in the U.S.” The sponsorship has provided significant benefit and impact to Wells Fargo Financial’s business lines through client/dealer incentives and entertainment, customer promotions, driver appearances, show car appearances and employee incentives. NASCAR’s popularity exceeds the NBA, NHL and MLB combined and averages more than 190,000 fans attending each event and more than 5.5 million viewers per race. Over 75 million Americans call themselves fans of the sport. Petty Enterprises, located in Randleman, NC, fields two Winston Cup teams: Kyle Petty’s #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge and Christian Fittipaldi’s #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. In addition to the race teams, the associated Richard Petty Driving Experience gives fans and corporate groups the opportunity to ride in or drive a Winston Cup-style stock car at 26 racetracks around the country. The Petty family is well known for its charitable efforts and will complete construction of The Victory Junction Gang Camp, founded in honor of Kyle and Pattie’s son Adam, in 2004. The camp will host children with chronic and/or life-threatening illnesses ages 7 to 15 years old and their families at no charge. The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has raised millions for charity over the past nine years. Kyle was named 2002 “March of Dimes” Sportsman of the year, 1998 and 2002 True Value Man of the Year and the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated “Person of the Year”. Kyle’s dad, known as “The King”, Richard Petty, NASCAR’s all-time most winning driver with 200 wins and seven championships, is still significantly involved in race operations and charities.(Wells Fargo Financial PR)(8-26-2003)
  • OK, next Horish rumor….to the #2? UPDATEs NO; But to Penske…in the IRL: Although Rusty Wallace admits he is looking at the happy downhill side of his long racing career. he declares he will be racing in NASCAR through 2005, amid reports that Indy Racing League charger Sam Hornish would replace him in the seat of the Penske Racing #2 after 2004. “I’ve told everybody I’ll run to the end of 2005, and I’m not guaranteeing anything after that,” the 1989 NASCAR champion said recently. “It’ll be a stretch for me to go beyond 2005.” Word from Nazareth, Pa., site of this weekend’s IRL IndyCar race, is that Hornish, subject of much speculation as he leaves Panther Racing after two championship seasons, would join Penske with an eye toward a NASCAR run in 2005, replacing Wallace, who turned 47 this month. As it is expressed now, Hornish instead would be given a part-time ride in IndyCar (particularly for the Indy 500) and would be graduated through a sort of ABC (ARCA/Busch/Cup) stock car schedule, as Newman was on his way to the premium seat. Hornish then would take over Rusty’s Miller Beer ride in 2005. None of that could be confirmed late last night.(Speed Channel)(8-23-2003)
    UPDATE Hornish to Penske – IRL Team – de Ferran to retire, Official AND: Penske Racing, Inc. announced today that 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile race winner and two-time National Champion Gil de Ferran will retire at season’s end. Two-time IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. has signed a multi-year deal to drive for the team beginning in 2004. “Sam Hornish Jr. will be an excellent addition to Marlboro Team Penske. Certainly, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to hire someone with Sam’s ability. He and Helio will give us a great combination next season,” said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing, Inc. “I am thrilled to be joining Marlboro Team Penske,” said Hornish. “The opportunity to drive for the most successful open-wheel team in history and to follow in the footsteps of the organization’s remarkable driver lineage, including Gil, is an honor.”(full story at the IRL Site)
    AND Hornish announced last week that he was leaving Panther Racing, for whom he won his IRL titles. The driver from Defiance, Ohio, said he wanted to continue to compete in the Indy 500, but also stated a desire to race in the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 – NASCAR’s biggest events. Moving to Penske gives him that opportunity. The team also fields cars in Winston Cup for Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-25-2003)
    UPDATE 2: There had been speculation Hornish might sign with Penske’s NASCAR program. But Hornish, who said he might one day compete in NASCAR on a limited basis, insisted he is focused on the IRL and winning the 500. “I don’t foresee doing anything like that (NASCAR) in the future,” he said.(Indianapolis Star)(8-26-2003)
  • Riggs to DEI? UPDATE 2: hearing that Scott Riggs may be the new driver for the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004 if a sponsor is signed.(6-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Insiders continue to look for Scott Riggs to get the call to join DEI next season, if sponsors agree. DEI officials expect to have a decision on the company’s third team car by Darlington in three weeks.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2003)
    UPDATE 2: from a NASCAR.com conversation: Your name has come up in the rumor mill a lot lately. What’s out there that we can believe and not believe?
    Riggs: You can believe that there’s definitely a lot of opportunities out there that I’m very fortunate to have been contacted by a lot of people. When you have people in the Cup series interested in your future, it’s definitely a praise to what your able to do and your accomplishments in your career. With all that said, there’s a lot of opportunities and a lot of people I’ve talked to, and I have yet to make a decision one way or another that I might go next year. I’m still working with these guys here at ppc, first of all, to try to get a championship for everyone here with the Nesquik Ford. At the same time, we’re also talking about the future here, too. We’re working on some different things with sponsors and seeing what avenues ppc can go down. Haven’t made a decision one way or another which way I’m going. I think in the next three or four weeks, some decisions will start being made, and you’ll start seeing the dominos start to fall, and a lot of people will fall into place, and Silly Season will start.(NASCAR.com)(8-26-2003)
  • Roush Racing Circle of Fans: Roush Racing has announced the second phase of the “Roush Racing Circle of Fans” commemorative paver brick program. A fanwalk of personalized bricks is now in place outside of teams new 83,000 square foot Roush Racing world headquarters and museum, located in Concord, adjacent to Roush’s five Winston Cup team’s shops. Up until now The “Roush Racing Circle of Fans Program” has been offered on a pre construction basis. It allowed Roush fans to show their support for the team by purchasing a paver brick to be placed in the courtyard circling a fountain just outside the Roush Racing museum. Each paver brick featured an engraving of a fan’s choice, up to 45 characters long. The package also comes with an exclusive and limited edition Owner’s Series 1/24-scale diecast, created with a special paint scheme acknowledging participation in the program. Pre-construction orders have been processed and installed, leaving less than half the available brick pavers open for sale. Currently Roush Racing is taking orders for the next installment. Roush Fans can purchase their commemorative brick on the “Roush Racing Circle of Fans” for only $89.00 per brick, which includes the special paint scheme 1/24-scale diecast, a $79.00 value. Fans also have the opportunity to purchase a replica of their own brick paver, which they can proudly display in their home or office, for an additional $39.00. More info at the Roush Racing Site(8-26-2003)
  • Marlin to be Scary UPDATE: The Coor’s Light Twins [and…..Twins!] will be part of the pre-race ceremonies and are confirmed to sing the National Anthem prior to the stat of the Winston cup race on October 5th in Kansas and will be featured on the #40 Dodge along with Scary Movie 3. See images of the car at 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 24-99.(8-19-2003)
    UPDATE: Coors Light is bringing their “Here’s to Twins” advertising campaign from the television to the racetrack. Sterling Marlin, driver of the #40 Coors Light Dodge will display the Coors Light twins in a special paint scheme for the Kansas 400 at Kansas Speedway. “It is always fun to cross-pollinate our marketing initiatives. This special paint scheme paying homage to the twins also highlights our partnership with Miramax, as the twins will be featured in the soon to be released Miramax feature: Scary Movie III. The twins continue to be very popular with our consumer, so we look forward to bringing the twins to the Speedway for the fans, said Steve Saunders, director of event marketing for Coors Brewing Company. Diane and Elaine Klimaszewski, better known as the Coors Light Twins, will not only be featured in the special paint scheme but they will pull double duty, singing the national anthem at the start of the race. The twins are coming off a very successful summer where they appeared at the ESPY awards, NBC’s “The Restaurant”, FX’s season finale of “Lucky” [Great show can’t believe they canceled it] and the Drew Carey show. They also have a busy fall they start it by heading to the Kansas Speedway for the race activities. Then they are also set to appear in Scary Movie 3 which is set to be released in the fall. They will also help raise money for the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital at the end of the month when they serve as the Coors Light Queens of Halloween. Sterling Marlin will race his “Here’s to Twins” Coors Light Dodge in the Kansas 400 on Sunday, October 5th.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-26-2003)


    (8-25-2003)

  • Looking Good for Kenseth to win the final Winston Cup: #17-Matt Kenseth leads the points standings by 351 points [with 12 races to go], and no driver has ever lost a lead that big in the race for the championship. In 1981, Darrell Waltrip was 341 points behind Bobby Allison with 17 races left, but came back to win the title by 53 points.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-25-2003)
  • Showdown Site: NASCAR.com, in cooperation with partner NASCARtouring.com, have launched an all-new, official website for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, the inaugural all-star race for NASCAR’s regional touring divisions. The website features news, event information, photos and profiles of the top regional touring competitors that are angling for invitations to this prestigious event, scheduled for Nov. 6-8 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. The official Toyota All-Star Showdown event website can be accessed at www.nascartouring.com/toyota.(NASCAR PR)(8-26-2003)
  • Lepage in the #4 for Darlington: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced Kevin Lepage as the driver for the upcoming Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Tim Brewer will serve as crew chief. Lepage returns to the #4 Kodak Pontiac after driving for the Abingdon, Va.-based team for 21 races in 2001. The 41-year old Shelburne, Vermont-native has 131 career NASCAR Winston Cup starts to his credit with two top-fives, eight top-10s and one pole position. Lepage has seven starts at Darlington Raceway with four top-10 starting spots and three top-10 finishes. His best start at the famed 1.366 egg-shaped oval is an outside pole in the spring 2000 event. His best finish there is fifth in the 1999 fall race.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-25-2003)
  • Hornish to Hendrick? UPDATE Denied: Sam Hornish, the two-time IRL champ, apparently is headed for a Winston Cup career with Chevy team owner Rick Hendrick, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal), see past news on Hornish in my MISC section of the Dirvers Looking page, other rumor has Hornish with Penske, doing an ABC deal like Newman did in 2001.(8-23-2003)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports is not negotiating with Sam Hornish and they have no plans to run him in any future events.(HMSPR)(8-25-2003)
  • CART Owner Plans to Keep Tracy: CART team owner Gerry Forsythe yesterday poured cold water on speculation that Toronto’s Paul Tracy will race in NASCAR Winston Cup next season. Tracy has been wooed by Winston Cup team owner Richard Childress to race with his three-car effort that would have him join Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon in the RCR garage. Forsythe said that Tracy and Player’s/Forsythe Racing teammate Patrick Carpentier are under contract to him through the end of the Champ Car World Series 2004 season. But with talk that the series may not return next year or that if it survives it will be in some other form, speculation was that Tracy would be in demand in NASCAR or in the Indy Racing League. “CART will not fail,” said Forsythe, who is part of a partnership group that has made a bid to buy the series. “So any question of Tracy going anywhere is moot.” Tracy, however, told The Toronto Sun that he has to keep all his options open and that he was flattered, but not surprised, by the interest shown in him by Childress.(Toronto Sun), see past rumors/news on my #30 Team News and links page.(8-25-2003)
  • Wallace goes to the hospital UPDATE 3: #2-Rusty Wallace, involved in a hard crash with #15-Michael Waltrip and walked away from the wreck, requested to be airlifted to a nearby hospital to be checked out as he didn’t feel right.
    UPDATE: Rusty has been released from the hospital, is ok and is on his helicopter and headed home.(TNT Race Coverage)(8-23-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Wallace was treated and released later in the evening after a negative CT scan.(NASCAR.com)(8-24-2003)
    UPDATE 3: After the vicious crash that Miller Lite Team Penske Dodge driver Rusty Wallace endured Saturday night on lap 88 of the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, it could be expected that he would spend Sunday at home in bed trying to shake it off. Not Wallace. Instead, after a nice lunch at the family dining table, he could be found flying daughter Katie back to school at the College of Charleston (S.C.) “I have some really sore ribs and I bit the heck out of my tongue, but I’ve been up and moving around all morning long,” Wallace said early Sunday afternoon. “I haven’t seen the tape of the crash yet and several people have told me that I might not want to see it,” Wallace said, managing a chuckle. “I did all I could to avoid hitting the 15 car,” Wallace said of the accident in which Michael Waltrip got into the outside wall and slid back down the track in Wallace’s path. “I’m just glad that we both came out of that one okay. When I was in the infield care center there at the track, Dr. Petty said that it might be a good idea to go get a CT scan, so we went over to the hospital (Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center) and checked out just fine. Like I said, I’m fine but really sore right now. But if we had to race at Darlington tomorrow, I’d be right there ready to go I’m disappointed more than anything else because after we made that pit stop, our car was really flying. But we’ll never get to see just how strong it was. This season is beginning to remind me of our year in 1992 when we had all kinds of problems and just never could get things rolling along in the right direction,” Wallace said. “But as wacky as things are in the sport today, it’d be just right for us to win at Darlington this week (where Wallace is winless in 39 prior races).”(see full story at Tom Roberts Site)(8-25-2003)
  • More on Kodak: Kodak is in its 17th year as primary sponsor for the No. 4 Morgan-McClure team, but rumors persist that it will not return after this season. Team owner Larry McClure could not be reached for comment, but Ed McClure, his brother, says the contract runs through 2005. Because most sponsor contracts contain performance clauses, Kodak likely has an out. Sources at Dale Earnhardt Inc. deny that Kodak will sponsor the #1 car next season.(Sporting News), see my #4 Team News and Links page for quotes from McClure about Kodak being good thru 2005 and my #1 Team News and Links page for DEI’s denial of Kodak as their sponsor in 2004.(8-25-2003)
  • Childress; IRL; and Wallace’s son; and…..another Horish rumor: [#29,30,31 team owner] Richard Childress is putting together a major technological association with a top Indy-car team, to add another layer of expertise to his Winston Cup operation, and to give Robby Gordon a solid Indy 500 option next May. Childress also confirmed that he is considering a fourth Winston Cup team, but only if he feels his current three teams are each solid. ‘I’ve been exploring with Indy-car teams how to use their technology, the way Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi can use their own Indy-car technology down here,’ Childress said. ‘We’re trying to hook up with a top Indy-car team to put a technology program together and tie the sponsorship programs together. We haven’t worked out the structure, but it’s all being discussed.’ One possible driver for a fourth Cup team would be Sam Hornish, the GM Indy-car star who is being wooed by other NASCAR teams as well. Childress already has a long-term contract with Rusty Wallace’s 16-year-old son, Steven [actually Stephen], ‘because he’s good. He wins in everything he sits in. And he couldn’t have a better teacher.'(Winston Salem Journal)(8-25-2003)
  • Leffler’s Truck ride in jeopardy? Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith says Jason Leffler needs to decide where his loyalties lie. Smith says if Leffler wants to retain his #2 Dodge ride with Ultra in the Craftsman Truck Series, Leffler can’t continue to drive a Pontiac for Haas-CNC Racing in Winston Cup. “We’ve sent him a contract,” Smith says. “The next move is his.” Smith says Leffler, who is eighth in truck points, is welcome to walk, but it will come at a high price. Leffler has driven the Haas-CNC No. 0 car in three Cup races and had agreed to drive in eight more.(Sporting News), see my #0 Team News and Links page for the news on Leffler signing with Haas-GNC Racing for 2004.(8-25-2003)
  • Looking Good for Kenseth to win the final Winston Cup: #17-Matt Kenseth leads the points standings by 351 points [with 12 races to go], and no driver has ever lost a lead that big in the race for the championship. In 1981, Darrell Waltrip was 341 points behind Bobby Allison with 17 races left, but came back to win the title by 53 points.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-25-2003)
  • More on the Dodge 2005 Model: John Fernandez, Dodge’s vice president of motorsports, says DaimlerChrysler will run the Intrepid in the Cup division next year, but look for a new model, matching the company’s production schedule, for 2005. “There are a few new templates coming,” Fernandez says. “But because of the common templates, there won’t be a huge difference.” Fernandez says NASCAR’s greatest concerns are maintaining the safety standards of the car and the equality among the four car makes. With 18 of the 32 templates being common, the nose, the tail and the side windows are the areas in which cars can retain identity.(Sporting News)(see my Dodge page for past rumors on this)(8-25-2003)
  • Latest on Rusty’s Busch team: Rusty Wallace plans to field a Busch Series team next season and will make the announcement soon. The driver is expected to be Billy “Catfish” Parker, a late-model competitor and brother of Busch driver Hank Parker Jr.(Sporting News), see my #2 Team News and Links page for past rumors on Rusty’s Busch team.(8-25-2003)

 


 

  • (8-24-2003)

  • Said and the Bud Shootout: Twenty drivers already have qualified for the Budweiser Shootout next February at Daytona International Speedway. Of those 20, only 18 have current rides — Boris Said and Geoffrey Bodine aren’t full-time Winston Cup drivers. Said hopes to get a Jasper Motorsports car for the race, and he plans on running the ARCA race at Talladega in October to gain experience.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-24-2003)
  • 2nd Team for Wells in 2004? #32-Ricky Craven, whose single-car team has struggled at times in a sport dominated by multi-car operations, may soon get some help. “I believe Cal is well on his way to having a second team, as early as next year,” Craven said this week at Darlington, referring to car owner Cal Wells III. Wells fielded two cars in 2001, but dropped back to one after losing a sponsor.(Charleston Post and Courier)(8-24-2003)
  • The Preview: been asked, what happens to the Winston Preview now that Winston/RJR is leaving?
    The T. Wayne Robertson preseason NASCAR preview may not be dead after all, according to several Winston Cup drivers who say they’ve been told by NASCAR officials that no decision has yet been made on the annual January event, which has been held in Winston-Salem for the past 18 years. But NASCAR’s hopes to hold the preview in Daytona during January testing may be doomed, according to drivers, who said they’re not interested in flying all the way to Florida for the one-day autograph session and auction. NASCAR had tentative plans to hold the preview on the Jan. 10 weekend between the two three-day Daytona 500 test sessions. If the preview is held the same weekend as it was this year, it would be Saturday, Jan. 17, after the two sessions. Some drivers would prefer the preview simply be dropped — others say it’s a worthwhile charity event.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2003)


    (8-23-2003)

  • Helton and DEI? UPDATE 4 Denied: There is validity to the long-running reports that NASCAR president Mike Helton’s name is once again in the hat to take over Dale Earnhardt Inc., according to top NASCAR sources. Owner Teresa Earnhardt has asked Helton to take over running the company built by the late six-time [um..actually 7 time] Winston Cup champion, according to sources. It is unclear how interested Helton might be in such a position or how such a move might change the power structure inside the stock-car racing sanctioning body.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
    UPDATE: a source tells me that the Helton/DEI deal is done and that Helton will leave NASCAR and become a part-owner and the new President of DEI. Seems unlikely to me, however.(8-21-2003)
    UPDATE 2: being told to expect an announcement in December 2003; possible replacements [if it happens]? Brian France, George Pyne, Greg Penske.AND been told that the rumor has been denied by Helton.(8-22-2003)
    UPDATE 3: During his interview on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despian, Mike Helton wouldn’t comment on the unsubstatiated rumor that he would leave NASCAR for DEI.(8-22-2003)
    UPDATE 4: The rumor persisted at Michigan International Speedway: NASCAR president Mike Helton will leave the race series to run Dale Earnhardt Inc. So Mike, any interest in replacing Ty Norris at DEI? “I’m flattered, though I’m not sure Teresa [Earnhardt, Dale’s widow] likes hearing the rumors out there,” Helton told AutoWeek. “I’m happy doing what I’m doing now. As long as Mr. France wants me, I’ll be here.”(Autoweek)
    AND NASCAR president Mike Helton on Thursday denied rumors that he’s leaving NASCAR to run Dale Earnhardt Inc. DEI was founded by the late Dale Earnhardt and is now run by his widow, Teresa. The company fields the Winston Cup cars driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip and Jeff Green. “With all respect to Dale and Teresa and her organization, I’m very content with where I’m at,” Helton said. “As long as Bill France and Jim France and the family will keep me there, I hope to stay there.” The France family owns NASCAR. Helton, a close friend of the Earnhardt family for years, said the rumor may be fueled by the respect he has for the Earnhardt family and their organization. “But those rumors are out of order and not accurate,” he said, adding that he and Teresa Earnhardt “possibly have had light-hearted conversations” about him coming to DEI. “If I were inclined to leave NASCAR voluntarily, which I am not, and was going to stay in motorsports, I would be honored to work for Teresa and that organization and Dale Jr.,” he said. “I would be flattered to be considered, but the biggest issue is I have no desire to leave NASCAR.” He also said he didn’t know of any effort to oust him from his current job. “I don’t put a lot of time or worry into rumors,” he said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
    AND from NASCAR.com: Contrary to recent published reports, Mike Helton has not been offered a position at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and has no intention of stepping down as NASCAR president, Helton told NASCAR.com Friday. “I have no desire to leave NASCAR. I have not been offered a job by Teresa (Earnhardt) at DEI,” said Helton, resting comfortably on a sofa in the principal’s office of the big red truck. “I’m flattered that somebody out there thinks she would even offer me the job, but I’m happy at NASCAR and plan on staying at NASCAR throughout my career. I’m very thankful to Bill France and Jim France and their whole families for having faith in me to give me the responsibility they’ve given me and I have no intentions of leaving NASCAR.”(NASCAR.com)(8-22-2003)
    FROM Wind Tunnel Mike Helton’s description is accurate: the rumor of his impending move to D.E.I. is unsubstantiated. No source for that information has been named. That said, Jayski’s website has earned a reputation for the remarkable accuracy of the unsubstantiated rumors it spreads, and Jayski said it’s a done deal. Here’s “My Take.”…….see the full column at Speed Channel: “My Take” on Mike Helton and DEIby Dave Despain.(8-23-2003)
  • Allison scheme at Talladega? UPDATE 2 and a new look for the #42 in 2004 announcement: hearing the Talladega Special scheme for #42-Jamie McMurray is a “Davey Allison Rookie” paint scheme.(5-16-2003)
    IMAGES: Davey Allison’s Rookie car was sponsored by Havoline in 1987. He won 2 races and won Rookie Of The Year. Jamie will celebrate this with a special paint scheme to race at Talladega on September 28th. See images of the car at 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 24-99.(8-19-2003)
    UPDATE: On Saturday, August 23, 2003 at 4:00pm/et at Bristol Motor Speedway, ChevronTexaco/Havoline Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing and Liz Allison and family will be on hand to announce a special “Anniversary Celebration”, including a car unveiling, for the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. In addition, ChevronTexaco will announce and discuss the new 2004 paint scheme to be driven by NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-20-2003)
    AND McMurray’s Havoline Dodge will be sporting a new paint scheme at Bristol, providing fans with a “sneak peek” at the 2004 car design.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-21-2003)
    UPDATE 2 – the announcement [in full]: ChevronTexaco announced today two milestones for Havoline in NASCAR with a sneak peek of the 2004 Havoline Dodge and plans for a tribute to former Havoline driver Davey Allison at a press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray will pilot the new 2004 paint scheme tonight in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway [See an image of the car at my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 24-99 page]. ChevronTexaco also announced a retro paint scheme for the car that will race at Talladega Superspeedway next month in tribute to Davey Allison.
    “The cars we’re unveiling today represent the future and history of Havoline’s commitment to NASCAR,” said Craig Duncan, vice president, ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants, North America. “We are very excited to provide NASCAR fans with a look at our 2004 paint scheme design, and to pay tribute to Davey Allison, who is an important part of Havoline Racing history.”
    “It gives us great pleasure to be able to unveil Havoline Racing’s 2004 paint scheme design for NASCAR fans,” said Bob Slocumb, Director of Motorsports for ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants. “This paint scheme is being run during the Bristol night race to validate its on-track appearance and will return for the 2004 season. The graphics of the Havoline car are among the most recognizable in the series, and for that reason we are reverting to the more traditional fan favorites. The design helps tie in the history and legacy of the Texaco and Havoline brands in NASCAR.”
    Tribute to Davey Allison: Reflecting Havoline’s ongoing commitment to NASCAR, its history and its fans, Havoline Racing, along with Chip Ganassi Racing, Ranier Racing, Action Performance and Liz Allison will join to celebrate the life of driver Davey Allison on the 10-year anniversary of his untimely passing. In celebrating Allison’s legacy, Jamie McMurray’s #42 Havoline Dodge will sport a retro paint scheme that resembles the car Allison drove during his 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rookie campaign. McMurray will pilot the specially painted car at Talladega Superspeedway on Sept. 28, 2003.
    “I am truly honored to have this opportunity to pay tribute and to remember the legacy that Davey left for the NASCAR community and fans,” McMurray said. “I can’t think of a better way to remember him than through this special paint scheme. While we have a new number on the Havoline Dodge this year, it’s important for us to look back at where it all started and to recognize Davey’s contributions to making Havoline a household name in NASCAR for performance on and off the track.”
    Davey’s widow, Liz, and their children, Robbie and Krista, will take part in this anniversary celebration.
    “I am very proud for Davey that even after ten years, he is still remembered as not only a fierce competitor, but a fine man,” Liz Allison-Hackett said. “This celebration of Davey’s life is a collaboration of many people who felt the need to have Davey recognized as we mark the ten year anniversary of his death. Although his death was tragic, this is a celebration of the remarkable life he lived,” she added. “I feel Jamie has shown all the qualities in his driving ability and his personal effort to carry on the high standard Davey set many years ago when Havoline first signed him as a young rookie. Robbie, Krista and I are honored to pay tribute to Davey and to cheer Jamie on as he ventures in to what I am sure will be a fabulous NASCAR career of his own.”(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-23-2003)
  • More on Busch UPDATE: on Speed Channel’s Trackside from Bristol, at the beginning of the show, the Busch/Spencer thing came up and Mike Joy mentioned this:
    Kurt Busch said there was no reason for the post-race skirmish between the two drivers last weekend at Michigan International Speedway
    Not so fast..
    When Spencer walked up, Busch verbally taunted Spencer to the point of Jimmy losing his temper and hitting Busch. Kurt was not an innocent victim; instead, he provoked Spencer.
    Not that it is right to wack someone but maybe that explains things a bit more. Anyhow, see the full transcipt of Busch’s press conference at Bristol on Friday at the Roush Racing Site: Busch Makes Statement Regarding Michigan Altercation with Spencer.(8-23-2003)
    UPDATE: Kurt Busch engaged in an obscenity-laced tirade with Jimmy Spencer following last Sunday’s Winston Cup race at Michigan, at one point yelling at Spencer, “You’ll (expletive) die” before Spencer hit him, the in-car camera tape in Busch’s No. 97 Ford shows.(see full story at ThatsRacin.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-23-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Bristol: Nothing like a short-track to get back to some real racing, eh? #97-Kurt Busch fought a dying alternator (two batteries?….whatcha wanna bet we’re gonna see that become the norm real soon?) and held on to beat #29-Kevin Harvick to the finish of tonight’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. But how about the welcome he got in Victory Lane? The last time we heard a Bristol crowd react like that was August 28, 1999 when Dale Earnhardt drop-kicked Terry Labonte out of the way on the last lap to take the win. Then, that classic “What’s wrong with ya’ll?” look on his face in Victory Lane was forever etched in our minds.
    Busch claimed the wreckfest (we tied a Cup record with 20 cautions) for his 4th win of 2003 and the 8th of his career. He’s now tied for 50th on the all-time win list with Dale Earnhardt Jr & Kyle Petty. He’s credited with the 66th win for Roush Industries….they’re just two behind the legendary car owner Bud Moore [records I have show Moore with 63 wins as an owner].
    And now a word about Wally’s attempt at waxing eloquent on the pre-race show. His comments about the privacy of driver communication with his crew would have played well a couple years ago….but that was before NASCAR decided that they could sell those conversations to the fans! When NASCAR found the cash cow in Trackpass and In Demand, they invited us to “get into their heads”. So why should we care if they don’t like us in their house?
    And, Busch also becomes a sweeper as he’s taken both Bristol events this season. Anybody else wonder if Jimmy was watching and what he was thinking tonight?
    #32-Ricky Craven (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Dover in June.
    #23-Kenny Wallace (15th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Daytona in July.
    #01-Mike Skinner (18th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Darlington in March.
    #0-Jason Leffler (26th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Homestead in October of 2001 (only 6 races).
    STREAKIN….Kevin Harvick has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races. Ryan Newman has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races. Matt Kenseth has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    The Rookie Report: Jamie McMurray (3rd) jumps into the lead in this category with his 10th top-finish this season. He was followed by: Tony Raines (20th), Casey Mears (21st), Greg Biffle (22nd), and Larry Foyt (39th).
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: Jamie McMurray (+28) becomes the leader of the pack as this is his third Operator award of the season. He was followed by Kevin Harvick (+21), Dale Jarrett (+20), and Casey Mears (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Michael Waltrip (-39), followed by Mark Martin (-34), Jeff Gordon (-27), Ricky Rudd (-25), Ted Musgrave (-24), Rusty Wallace (-23), and Elliott Sadler (-21). Some big names on the down side of the “shaft” this week.
    Matt Kenseth tacks 22 markers onto his lead….it’s now 351 over Little E. Jeff Gordon’s “Magic Number” has now ballooned to 8th [which means if Kenseth finishes 8th or better in the last 12 races, Gordon cannot catch him], Dale Jr’s number is 4.
    Kurt Busch’s win translates to a 3-spot advance in the points (9th to 6th), while Michael Waltrip’s crash gave him the same ride in the opposite direction (5th to 8th).(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(8-23-2003)
  • IMAX Filming at Bristol: IMAX is filming more of “NASCAR: The IMAX Experience 3D” at Bristol Motor Speedway this week with IMAX crew members running around with multimillion-dollar cameras, capturing the Bristol experience in a way never before seen on film — in three dimensions. Director of Photography James Neihouse said the IMAX format, 10 times larger than regular movie film, will allow fans to get a new perspective on the sport. Only three IMAX format 3D cameras are in existence. Two of the $3.5 million cameras were on hand for Friday’s filming. The film is said to give a brief history of the sport told from the viewpoint of some of the legendary drivers, then will take a look at NASCAR today. IMAX, based in Canada, leases projection systems to more than 130 theaters in 20 countries. IMAX theaters are located throught the country. The film is set for release in March.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-23-2003)
  • If Robby Wins, Fan wins $1 Million: While many NASCAR fans are Gordon fans, Cindy Maxwell will be rooting this weekend for Robby, not Jeff. Maxwell, who was one of 10 finalists in a nation-wide contest who won a trip to today’s Sharpie 500 in Bristol, Tenn., also won the grand prize in the contest, getting a stake in the race. After a drawing Friday, Maxwell learned “her car” in the race would by Robby Gordon’s #31 Chevrolet. Gordon will start the race in the 22nd position, but if he wins, Maxwell will take home $1 million. If Gordon finishes second through fifth, Maxwell will take home $150,000. In fact, if Gordon just finishes the race, Maxwell will get a nice consolation check of $10,000. Her father-in-law, Don Maxwell, said no matter how Robby Gordon finishes, his son and daughter-in-law are having a great time in Bristol — and he has become a big Robby Gordon fan.(Abilene Reporter-News)
    UPDATE it didn’t happen as Gordon had trouble all race and finished 35th.(8-23-2003)
  • Stewart wins in NJ: Track kingpin Billy Pauch of Frenchtown, NJ, really got down when the purse went up Wednesday [Aug 20th] at New Egypt Speedway, beating a bevy of the Northeast’s best short-track stars, plus visiting celebrities Dave Blaney and Mike McLaughlin, to hit for a $6,000 score before a huge crowd in the Down & Dirty Modified 100, sponsored by CARQUEST Auto Parts. The 12-lap Challenge of Champions pitted current NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart and Dave Blaney against some of the most storied dirt-track stars in Modified history. In the sprint, Stewart proved he hadn’t forgotten his roots, stamping the gas on the Team Goewey XST #20 to get the jump on polesitter Danny Johnson. With all the top hotshots chasing him, Stewart kept the pedal to the metal as the fans roared their approval. Doug Hoffman drove like a bat out of hell to catch Stewart, chewing away at his lead as the laps wound down. On the last lap, Hoffman pulled alongside the leader but Stewart shut the door coming down for the checker, and took the $1,000 victory in the winner-takes-all match race. Hoffman was second, less than half a car length back.”When I come out to play, I give it everything I’ve got,” Stewart told the appreciative crowd after his dirt-track triumph. “I was giving it all I had – I had nothing left.” During the evening, Stewart met fans and signed autographs to benefit Zippy’s Crusade for Kids, a charity created by his Winston Cup crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, to assist children experiencing medical, financial or social trauma. New Egypt fans donated $8,800 to the cause, with a big check being handed to Zipadelli’s father, Chick, as Stewart looked on. Stewart graciously added his $1,000 Challenge of Champions winnings to the pot, raising the total to $9,800. See full story at the South Jersey Dirt Racing site.(8-23-2003)
  • Burton and Davis news: Ward Burton and Bill Davis have not come to terms on 2004, but ‘communication is better,’ they say. Davis is bringing an engineer to the track, which Burton says is helpful. The two may still split at the end of the season. Burton reportedly is under consideration for a ride with the Rick Hendrick satellite operation owned by Gene Haas [but supposedly Jason Leffler has signed to drive the #0 in 2004]. USAC dirt star J. J. Yeley could get a tryout for the Davis ride.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2003)
  • Davis wins round one with Dodge: Bill Davis just won round one when Michigan judge George Steeh dismissed one count of DaimlerChrysler’s suit against the High Point car owner over Toyota dealings.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2003)
  • France Daughter taking over? This week’s New Yorker [story here] has a lengthy article on NASCAR. The piece itself is fairly routine, but it does have a curious paragraph in which the writer, who spent considerable time with Bill France Jr., hints that Lesa Kennedy, his daughter, could take the helm of the family empire. Kennedy is head of the family’s International Speedway Corp.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2003)
  • Tragic News: An accident Friday night at the Clinton County Fairgrounds Speedway [Mackeyville, PA] leaves one man dead and two in the hospital. Police in Lamar tell Newswatch 16 a race car driven by 53 year old Charles Colegrove of Trout Run ran off the track and crashed through some barriers. Colegrove was killed. Two people standing in the pit area were hurt, both are listed in serous condition. Police don’t know why Colegrove lost control of his car Friday night at the speedway in Clinton County.(WNEP-16 TV site)(8-23-2003)

    (8-22-2003)

  • Leffler not allowed to drive the #0? UPDATE signs for 2004, no word on more in 2003 yet: Haas CNC Racing has entered Jason Leffler in its #0-NetZero Pontiac for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol, but the driver’s status as a factory Dodge driver in the Truck Series may prevent it, as neither his truck owner nor Dodge want to permit it [Leffler ran the car at Indy and at MIS]. The problem is Leffler’s primary role is driving Ultra Motorsports’ factory-supported ASE/CARQUEST Dodge in the Craftsman Truck Series for owner Jim Smith. “As of right now, Jason Leffler’s under contract with me and he does not have permission to drive anything but this (No. 2 Dodge) truck,” Smith said Wednesday night before the O’Reilly 200 Truck Series race. “And he has been told he’s not to drive the 0 car. . .as of right now. If the 0 car was a Dodge, we wouldn’t have an issue with it. We’d all love him to do more racing, but from Dodge’s perspective, if he goes out there and does real well, it would make us look kind of crazy.” At Watkins Glen, Smith said he did not care if Leffler drove another car, but he said he was sensitive to Dodge’s feelings, and Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, the head of Dodge’s motorsports program, John Fernandez, made his feelings crystal clear. “Jason has said that he’d like to do it,” Haas CNC Racing’s general manager Joe Custer said Wednesday afternoon. “We’re just taking this one step at a time.” Leffler has continuously stressed his number one priority is his truck deal with Smith. At WGI, Smith said he had offered a new contract to Leffler. At Michigan, Leffler said there was no issue with that, except he had just changed agents. “We’re in good standing with Jim, and I’m totally comfortable there,” Leffler said. “There were some things behind the scenes that delayed us working on the contract, because I’m with Cary Agajanian [Tony’s Stewart’s agent by the way] and his group, now.(NASCAR.com), so…if Leffler doesn’t driver, who does? Wonder if John Andretti is in Bristol?(8-22-2003)
    UPDATE: Jason Leffler has signed with Haas-CNC Racing and is expected to drive the #0 Ne Zero Pontiac in 2004 [Jayski note: NetZero supposedly will NOT be back as the sponsor]. Leffler, 27, has been the primary driver for Haas-CNC since Jack Sprague was released last month, but he is still under contract to drive the #2 ASE Dodge for Jim Smith in the Truck Series for the remainder of the season. “The deal just revolves around next year,” says Haas-CNC general manager Joe Custer. “He has to do what is necessary to appease his current sponsor and Jim Smith. “But we think Jason has a big future ahead of him and we want to be part of it.” Custer adds that Haas-CNC Racing will run both a Winston Cup and Busch Series team next season and allow Leffler to choose which program he feels the most comfortable with. He also has the option to run both. As part of his original nine-race Cup deal with Haas-CNC, Leffler will be in the team’s car this weekend at Bristol and for six more races. Leffler’s availability to continue that deal is contingent on getting the approval of Smith and Dodge.(Sporting News)(8-22-2003)
  • Congrats: NASCAR driver/test driver, Joe Ruttman has another grandchild to spoil! Carrie and Tim Hartsell welcomed their son Timothy II on August 17 (9lbs 3oz, 22 inches). This birth was extra special for the family, because this was the first grandson. No word on when grandpa is going to buy little Tim his first helmet/Hans device.(Joe Ruttman site)(8-22-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Bristol: Jeff Gordon took the pole for Saturday Night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway by the wide margin of .001 seconds over Mark Martin this afternoon. It was the 3rd Bud Pole of the season for Gordon (2 shorties and a roadie), and the 45th of his career. Tho the difference between Gordon and Martin may look close, he really had another 1/1000th of a second to spare. For Mark Martin (2nd), this is his best starting spot since Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October….but in that one we lined up by points. In fact, Mark started on the outside pole three times last season….and every one of those was the result of a washout of qualifying. The last time he started this far up on time was when he was outside the front row at Atlanta in November of 2001
    Michael Waltrip (3rd) has his best starting spot since he started 3rd here last August.
    Mike Skinner (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May (only 5 races).
    Kurt Busch (5th….and needs to learn when to fold ’em) has his best starting spot since he started 5th at Infineon in May.
    Ted Musgrave (7th) has his best starting spot since he started on the outside pole at Martinsville in October of 1999
    Ricky Rudd (8th) has his best starting spot since he started 5th in the Daytona 500.
    Kenny Wallace (11th) had his best qualifying effort since he started 9th at Martinsviile in April.
    Tony Raines (12th) had his career-best qualifying run today. His previous best was 17th at Dover in June of 2002.
    Ricky Craven (14th) has his best starting spot since he started 14th here in March.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    47 cars on hand…46 took a time. The Trouble Train of four consisted of: Hermie Sadler (for the 7th time this season), Billy Bigley, Derrike Cope (his 6th DNQ this year), and Morgan Shepherd (who did not make a qualifying attempt).
    Provisionals were taken by: Jeff Burton, Joe Nemechek (both of those were non-charged), Jeff Green, Todd Bodine (they’ve got one left till Martinsville), Casey Mears, Kyle Petty (in the same boat with Todd Bodine), and Christian Fittipaldi. Give some guys a provisional….and they promptly use it. For Fittipaldi and the #43 team, they’re out again till we get to Martinsville in October.(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(8-22-2003)
  • Milestones for Labonte: Saturday night’s 500-lap race at Bristol Motor Speedway will mark #5-Terry Labonte’s 50th start on the lightning-fast half-mile oval and his 350th race behind the wheel of a Kellogg’s-sponsored Chevrolet. Of Labonte’s 49 previous starts at Bristol, 21 have been with Kellogg’s on board. Labonte has now gone 29 consecutive races without a DNF, a personal career high. The last time he failed to finish was last fall’s event at Talladega, Ala. His streak is currently the second longest in the series behind only Michael Waltrip, who has completed 33 straight. Labonte remains one of only four drivers who have completed every race this year; the others being Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Waltrip. The modern-era record is 56, set by Jeff Gordon in 2001-02.(HMS PR)(8-22-2003)
  • Vasser looking for 2004 ride: Heading into his 200th Championship Auto Racing Teams start Sunday at Montreal, Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 series champion has no idea where — or even if — he’ll race next year. CART is for sale and might not be around in 2004. Even if it is, owner Stefan Johansson’s first-year American Spirit Team needs to find a primary sponsor. So Vasser is looking. The Indy Racing League or NASCAR, where he has run in a couple of Busch Series races, are possibilities.(Indianapolis Star)(8-22-2003)
  • Special decal for Hendrick cars: The teams of Hendrick Motorsports [#5, #24, #25, #48] will carry very special artwork during this weekend’s events at Bristol in support of one-year-old Cole Jackson of Waxhaw, N.C. The “C-post” decals will feature “Get Well Soon” wishes to the youngster, who suffers from bilary atresia, a rare liver disease that affects one in 15,000 babies and requires a liver transplant. Hendrick Motorsports president John Hendrick met the Jackson family at a charity golf tournament earlier this year and will lend his support at a silent auction at Firethorne Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, Aug. 24. For more information, visit www.HendrickMotorsports.com or www.TheJacksonFour.com.(HMS PR)(8-22-2003)
  • Morgan-McClure close to a full time driver announcement; one car team in 2004: #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports team owner Larry McClure recently said he plans to hire the man to handle his Kodak-sponsored Pontiacs sometime next month. Seven drivers have taken the wheel for the team in Winston Cup races, qualifying and test sessions after Mike Skinner was released in mid-June. “We’ve got some great people with the race team right now,’’ McClure said. “ We’re strengthening our base, and I feel like putting the right driver in with these people, we’re going to jump back to where we were.’’ McClure said Morgan-McClure Motorsports will field one car each week next season. The team qualified two cars for one race for the first time in its 20-year history at Watkins Glen Aug. 8 but lacks enough sponsorship to become a multi-car team. Johnny Sauter is driving the car this weekend at Bristol. Sauter is a candidate to move into the Morgan-McClure seat long-term, along with David Reutimann, Johnny Miller and P.J. Jones, according to McClure. “We feel like we want some youth in the car because it seems like they just get up on the wheel, and that’s kind of what we need,’’ McClure said. “We came out of nowhere (before). We were a 20th-place team in 1989. I hired one driver, Ernie Irvan. “All of a sudden, we were one of the best teams. We had one of the best crew chiefs, one of the best engine builders and some of the best cars. You just have to get that right combination.’’ McClure said Kodak’s sponsorship agreement with the team runs through 2005.(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)(8-22-2003)

    (8-21-2003)

  • Rusty to do Polish Victory Lap before Bristol race: #2-Rusty Wallace is set to make yet another Polish victory lap at Bristol this Saturday night in his Miller Lite Team Penske Dodge. As the “kick-off” for the recently announced “Victory Lap” program (where still-active past champions are paired with another inactive or late champ), the NASCAR tribute to long-time series sponsor R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Wallace is paired with his late pal Kulwicki. Part of the pre-race activity will feature Wallace making the lap in reverse direction around the track. His Miller Lite Dodge will carry a special one-race commemorative color scheme in this weekend’s Sharpie 500.(Tom Roberts PR), the #7 Kulwick car will be driven it’s lap by Jimmy Hensley.(8-21-2003)
  • Boat Accident in NC UPDATE team members involved: Three people are in the hospital after a Thursday morning boating accident on Lake Norman, NC [near Mooresville]. The boat was driven into a rock barrier on the lake and the impact sent the boat into the air. The boat landed on I-77, clipping the front of a car, according to Davidson Fire and Rescue. The accident happened around 2:30am/et and the boat landed in the southbound lane of I-77 at mile marker 30. One person was ejected from the boat, two others became trapped inside. One boater was transported by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center. The two remaining victims had to wait for firefighters to arrive to cut them out of the boat. All three are in the hospital. Investigators say drinking was definitely involved. The people in the car that was clipped did not suffer major injuries and one female did hurt her shoulder. I-77 was closed for several hours after the accident.(NBC 6 / Charlotte.com).
    AND Troopers say three people, two males and a female, were in a boat when it hit an embankment, went airborne, hit two cars on Interstate 77 and landed in the median. Troopers say charges are pending. No one in the cars was hurt, but the boaters were transported to Carolinas Medical Center. Police say the boaters’ injuries are serious, but not life-threatening. Troopers say they found some alcohol in the boat. Investigators aren’t sure why the boat became airborne, and they’ve called in the state Wildlife Resources Commission to check into it.(WWOC-TV).
    Jayski NOTE: been told one Cup team member was involved and although rumored, I am being told NO Cup drivers were involved. When named are released, I will post more on the story.(8-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Three people were hospitalized, all involved directly or indirectly with NASCAR, after a boat speeding across Lake Norman apparently became airborne, jumped a guardrail and struck a southbound car on Interstate 77 near Davidson, N.C. Injured in the accident were Robert Jones, 30; Dustin Bills; and Jennifer Wade, 28. Jones and Bills were listed in critical condition Thursday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Wade was there as well, listed in fair condition. Authorities said alcohol was believed to have played a role in the accident. Jones is the lead mechanic for MB2 Motorsports’s #01 U.S. Army Pontiacs in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Wade, identified as Jones’ girlfriend, works at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, based near Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Concord, NC. Bills is an employee of Penske-Jasper Engines. The accident occurred about 2:20 a.m. Thursday where the highway crosses the lake at Mile Marker 30, said Corrine Rust of Mecklenburg County Emergency Services. The three people who were hospitalized were all riding in the boat. Jones was taken by helicopter to CMC. No one in the car was injured.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-21-2003)
  • Leffler to be honored: On Sunday, August 24th, Jason Leffler [driver of the #0 NetZero Pontiac in Cup and #2 ASE Dodge in the CTS] will be the youngest driver every inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame located at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, WI. Leffler was the 1997,1998, & 1999 USAC National Midget champion and will join the likes of Parnelli Jones, Stan Fox, Mel Kenyon, Tony Stewart, and among others.(8-21-2003)
  • Ultra Motorsports/Jim Smith Reaction: see the full text of the statement at the Jimmy Spencer site.(8-21-2003)
  • Yarborough unveils Victory Lap car: Cale Yarborough and Ricky Craven unveiled new cars at Darlington Raceway. Yarborough’s, painted in the familiar gold-and-white colors of his famous #11, will be part of a prerace “Victory Lap” tribute to longtime series sponsor Winston. Craven’s displayed a special #32 “Give Kids The World” paint scheme for the Southern 500 on August 31st.(The State).(8-21-2003)
  • Darrell Waltrip To Make Tribute Lap At Martinsville In #11: For more than a decade, Darrell Waltrip’s dominance of Martinsville Speedway was so great, he should have had his own key to the front gate. As impressive as his 11 Winston Cup wins are on the tight, difficult .526-mile oval, it really doesn’t completely illustrate his Martinsville prowess. Waltrip had 27 career top-five finishes at Martinsville and 31 career top-10 finishes, both track records. His eight Martinsville poles are a record. Four of those poles came in the Advance Auto Parts 500 and four in the SUBWAY 500. Not surprisingly, he holds the track record for most poles for each race.
    All those lofty numbers and Waltrip’s love of the Virginia track is the reason NASCAR selected the three-time Winston Cup champion to display his Winston Victory Lap Tribute car at Martinsville. He will take a ceremonial lap in a replica of the #11 Chevrolet he drove for Junior Johnson prior to the running of the SUBWAY 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville on October 19. R.J. Reynolds’ sponsorship of the Winston Cup Series comes to an end after the 2003 season, and NASCAR will honor the longtime partnership with the Victory Lap Tribute. The tribute will recognize drivers, active and retired, who won championships during Winston’s 33-year sponsorship of the series.(Martinsville Speedway PR)
    see full and past press releases/news and images of the cars [including #11 DW and #72 Benny] on my Victory Lap page.(8-21-2003)
  • Biffle’s Pit Crew Scores Victory at Michigan: Greg Biffle’s pit crew captured its first win in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade by scoring the victory in Sunday’s (Aug. 17) race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The victory, worth $20,000, was the result of Biffle’s No. 16 Grainger Ford spending the least amount of time on pit road during the 220-lap, 400-mile race at MIS. Biffle’s car, owned by Roush Racing, was on pit road for 206.124 seconds. The series point-leading pit crew – Michael Waltrip’s team – finished second in Michigan (217.808) and Kurt Busch’s team was third (228.306). “The Grainger Team has been working around the clock to improve all aspects of our program, and it’s nice to see that their hard work is paying off on the track and on pit road,” said Biffle, who posted a fourth-place finish at Michigan.. “They’ve done a great job all season and I’m really proud of their efforts. “Everything came together for us in Michigan and everyone on the team stepped up to the plate.. Our stops were awesome all day and we kept ourselves in position by making the right calls with adjustments, having solid pit strategy and of course having great pit stops.. My hats off to the guys and they definitely deserve this award.” Biffle’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Adam Emmert (front tire changer), John Gaynor (front tire carrier), Jeff Merkel (jackman), Mike Hillman (rear tire changer), T.J. Hamilton (rear tire carrier), Rodger Ueltschi (gasman) and Mike Abner (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Randy Goss and Justin Hines handles the windshield duties.
    For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(8-21-2003)
  • TV Ratings for MIS: Daily Variety says TNT drew 6.23 million viewers for Sunday’s airing of the GFS Marketplace 400 from Michigan International Speedway, which made it the highest-rated sports event of the week, today’s Sports Business Daily says. The number made the race the second-most-watched show of the week on cable, according to the story in the Daily, which does not contain any rating numbers.(Winston Cup Scene Daily NewsletterAND The GFS Marketplace 400 from Michigan International Speedway garnered a 4.9 rating on TNT on Sunday, down 7 percent from last year’s 5.3 rating.(MotorsportsTV)(8-21-2003)
  • No ‘white’ #49 at Bristol, it’ll be gold: With a highly unique paint job and a car that might even outglow the lights of the speedway itself, Ken Schrader and the #49 SEM Products/Color Horizons Dodge team head to Bristol. The race will debut one of the most unique paint schemes in NASCAR Winston Cup history. Sponsor SEM Products Inc. is introducing its Color Horizons line of custom finishes on the #49 SEM/Color Horizons Dodge at Bristol. The car showcases SEM/Color Horizons’ intense colors and the unique designs as applied by artist Ron Fleenor, a nationally-known custom designer from Knoxville, Tenn. The car itself will sport a design and coloring unlike anything seen before in major league stock car racing. It is a translucent mandarin candy which goes from light to dark from the top to the bottom of the car, all on top of a silver base. The colors were developed by SEM Products Inc. in their Color Horizons line, and are available through automotive paint suppliers. The thoughts of SEM/Color Horizons Dodge driver Ken Schrader heading into Bristol: “We think we’re going to have a pretty good weekend at Bristol but, no matter what, everybody is going to remember we were there. This SEM/Color Horizons car is hot. It looks great. That mandarin candy on top of that silver base really makes it jump out.(Williams Company PR), see an image of the car without decals on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Cars #’s 24-99.(8-21-2003)
  • Reverse #31: The #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet will carry a special orange “reverse” paint scheme this weekend at Bristol.(RCR PR)(8-21-2003)
  • Special Scheme for the #43, starting at Bristol: Christian Fittipaldi will be driving a special Cheerios Heart Health Dodge for the three races beginning with Saturday night’s event at Bristol. The car is being used as the kickoff to a special consumer promotion by Cheerios Racing, which will bring a race fan closer to the sport than ever before.(Williams Company PR)
    AND A marriage proposal on the No. 43 car? It’s possible with a new sweepstakes announced today by Petty Enterprises and Cheerios Racing. To celebrate more than 60 years as a heart healthy breakfast favorite, the Cheerios #43 car is offering auto racing fans an opportunity to win space on the hood of the car as the official engine sponsor. The contest is called the “Tune Your Engine Sweepstakes.” The term “engine” is used analogously with “heart,” which serves as the body’s “engine.” Instant Winner Sweepstakes details are now featured on Cheerios boxes in grocery stores in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States. Each of the three Grand Prize winners will be awarded space on the car for their names, their sweetheart’s name, their kid’s name, the name of their favorite charity or whatever they choose that will fit in the space provided and is appropriate. The Cheerios No. 43 car will feature a new design to kick-off the sweepstakes. The design change will include a giant heart on the car’s hood and big red heart behind the “43” to replace the usual red oval. The new heart health Cheerios car design will be introduced to fans at the August 23 race in Bristol, Tenn. As official engine sponsors, the grand prize winners of the Tune Your Engine Sweepstakes will have their engine sponsorship decal appear on the car at races in the spring of 2004. The three total grand prize packages include a trip for two to a race in the spring of 2004 or autumn of 2004 (the complete sweepstakes details appear on Cheerios packages). Ten first prizes will include one of the engine’s pistons that has been used in an actual race and mounted in a display box. Fifty second prizes of an autographed 1:24 die cast No. 43 car are also included in the sweepstakes. Instant Winner Sweepstakes certificates will be placed inside specially marked Cheerios boxes or entries can be made without purchase through the mail (sweepstakes details appear on Cheerios packages).(8-21-2003)
  • Top 10 Championship Comebacks: #17-Matt Kenseth enters Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a 329-point cushion in his pursuit of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series title. It can safely be considered a comfortable lead, but it cannot be characterized as insurmountable judging from some of the dramatic comebacks that have been staged since the current point system was instituted in 1975. A maximum of 151 points can be made up in a single race — a race win with a maximum of 10 bonus points versus a last-place finish — so even the largest of leads can uickly evaporate with some misfortune and the pursuers going on a tear. Darrell Waltrip is a testament to that, rebounding from a 341-point deficit in the final 17 races to claim the 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup championship and pace the NASCAR Top 10 for the largest comeback under the current point system [This list was compiled by NASCAR, NOT Jayski, all compaints can be directed to them, see my Racing FAQ for contact info]. His other two championship runs also rank in the NASCAR Top 10, giving him three of the top-10 comebacks and making him one of two drivers on the list with more than one.
    The List:
    No. 1 — Darrell Waltrip, 1981, 341 points: Waltrip claimed his first of three NASCAR Winston Cup championships in dramatic fashion. Following the 14th event of the 31-race season at Texas World Speedway, Waltrip was third in the championship hunt and trailing leader Bobby Allison by 341 points.
    No. 2 — Tony Stewart, 2002, 301 points: After a last-place finish in the Daytona 500, Stewart had an uphill battle for the 2002 championship from the outset. After 10 races, he found himself 301 points behind leader Sterling Marlin. With 10 races left, he was still 118 points behind but made his breakthrough at Talladega in early October.
    No. 3 — Alan Kulwicki, 1992, 278 points: This is perhaps the most dramatic comeback under the current point system considering the amount of points Kulwicki made up in such a short period of time and the thrilling finale. Kulwicki overcame a 278-point deficit in the final six races to earn the 1992 title. During that span, he made up an average of just over 48 points a race to nip Bill Elliott in the closest NASCAR Winston Cup championship finish.
    No. 4 — Jeff Gordon, 1995, 251 points: Gordon, like Stewart in 2002, needed the final 26 races of the season to earn his first NASCAR Winston Cup championship. Gordon was eighth in the championship and trailed Dale Earnhardt by 251 points after five races, but four races later he had tied Earnhardt for the lead.
    No. 5 — Richard Petty, 1979, 229 points: Petty rallied in the final 11 races to make up 229 points and capture his seventh NASCAR Winston Cup championship in the second-closest title race in NASCAR Winston Cup history.
    No. 6 — Terry Labonte, 1996, 211 points: Labonte struggled in the first three races of the season to fall to 16th in the championship — 211 points behind leader Dale Jarrett — but by the 16th event of the 31-race season he had bounced back to take the lead.
    No. 7 — Darrell Waltrip, 1982, 210 points: Waltrip’s second NASCAR Winston Cup title in 1982 was not as dramatic as his first, but once again he needed a second-half surge. He was trailing Terry Labonte by 210 points with 16 races remaining, but by the end it was another battle with Bobby Allison for the championship. Waltrip was 101 points behind with six races to go.
    No. 8 — Darrell Waltrip, 1985, 206 points: All three of Waltrip’s NASCAR Winston Cup championships reuired a late-season tear, and the 1985 run was another classic. Waltrip was 206 points down to leader Bill Elliott with eight races remaining and wound up winning the title by 101 points.
    No. 9 — Rusty Wallace, 1989, 190 points: Wallace rebounded from a 190-point deficit with 16 races remaining to claim the only NASCAR Winston Cup championship of his career. Wallace had been chasing Dale Earnhardt and still found himself trailing by 102 points with just six races remaining.
    No. 10 — Jeff Gordon, 1997, 184 points [after 6 races]: Gordon joined Darrell Waltrip as the only drivers to own more than one championship comeback in the NASCAR Top 10. Gordon, who also has the fourth-largest comeback, came back from a 184-point deficit in 1997 to capture the second of his four NASCAR Winston Cup titles.(NASCAR PR, can be seen in whole on NASCAR.com)(8-21-2003)


    (8-20-2003)

  • Appeal to be heard Wednesday UPDATE – THE RULING: Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR reports that the NASCAR Commission will hold an Appeal Hearing at Bristol, TN for Jimmy Spencer on Wednesday, August 20th at 8:00am/et. Spencer will attend and was told to bring his Truck [for the Truck Series race] just in case. Ted Musgrave will drive the #7 Sirius Dodge in the Cup race if Spencer is not allowed to run the Cup race.(8-19-2003)
    THE RULING:
    On Aug. 20, 2003, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Jimmy Spencer.. The appeal pertained to a penalty issued by NASCAR following an incident in the garage at the conclusion of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 17, 2003.
    The penalty assessed by NASCAR was:
    – A $25,000 fine;
    – Suspension from NASCAR until Aug. 26, 2003;
    – Probation until Dec. 31, 2003.
    In deciding the appeal, the Commission considered a number of factors.
    Jimmy Spencer made a compelling argument, expressing remorse and acknowledging that his actions were wrong.
    The Commission notes that NASCAR had previously forewarned Mr. Spencer and put him on notice regarding his behavior with respect to the other driver involved in the incident.
    Furthermore the Commission notes that, irrespective of alleged provocation or the exact magnitude of the physical contact, an inappropriate line had been crossed in this case.
    It is therefore the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the penalty assessed by NASCAR.
    The Appellant has the right, under Section 15 of the NASCAR Rule Book, to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR PR), So Spencer will NOT be racing at Bristol this weekend.(8-20-2003)
  • No Truck race for Fittipaldi: Due to sponsor conflicts [Dodge/Ford?] Christian Fittipaldi will not drive in the Truck Series race. Johnny Sauter will drive the #9 Ford in the Truck Series race and joins Kevin Harvick and Ted Musgrave as drivers doing the Triple, driving in the Cup, Busch and Truck Series races.(8-20-2003)
  • Elliott to Retire at End of 2003? hearing rumors that Bill Elliott, driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers Dodge with Evernham Motorpsorts is considering retiring at the end of the 2003 season. Rumored driver to replace him? Greg Biffle.
    HOWEVER two recent reports seem to indicate Elliott is racing in 2004 and Biffle is close to reupping with Roush Racing and the #16 team:
    Evernham not changing drivers: There has been talk that Brendan Gaughan, who leads the Craftsman Truck Series in points and victories (four), might move to Cup racing in 2004, possibly with Evernham Motorsports. Though Gaughan, 28, tested for the organization in the past, team owner Ray Evernham says the next logical step for Gaughan would be the Busch Series. One thing is certain: Evernham has no intention of replacing Bill Elliott or Jeremy Mayfield next year. “For his age (47), Bill is one of the best drivers I’ve ever worked with, and he carries our deal on his back a lot of the time,” Evernham says. “I feel like I owe him a lot.” …(Sporting News)(8-20-2003)
    AND Biffle not signed…yet: during a NASCAR This Morning [Fox Sports Net – each Sunday at 10:30am/et] #16-Greg Biffle was interviewed and asked by John Roberts if he was signed for next year [2004], Biffle said no, but they are working on a contrat extension for next year and beyond and to do some Busch Series racing.(8-10/20-2003)
  • NASCAR Ticked at Wally? the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that “at least one official blew a gasket over Wally Dallenbach’s report for NBC/TNT before the Watkins Glen race 10 days ago on the different philosophies of on-track medical care.” “That was about as biased a piece as I have ever seen,” NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter told AJC motorsports writer, Rick Minter. “They sat down with Mike Helton and did a long interview, and they edited out everything that he said about the way we do things and talked about how great the traveling medical team with CART is,” Hunter said. “Well, it happens to be Wally Dallenbach’s father who was instrumental in starting that medical team with CART. I can understand Wally thinking his father’s deal is better than somebody else’s, but that was poor journalism.” As for Hunter’s charge that too many of Helton’s remarks were cut, Dallenbach said, “That’s 100 percent b.s.” He said Helton made his point on-air and declined an invitation to expound on his defense. “If the CART people told their story better, it’s not my fault.”(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(8-20-2003)
  • and yep, more Hornish stuff; to Hendrick? to Penske?: Although Sam Hornish Jr. will not confirm where he will be racing next season, the two-time Indy Racing League champion sounds as if he is heading to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. “You never want to be the big fish in a small pond and the IRL continues to grow,” Hornish said Tuesday. “But sometimes, you want to try something different. Not saying that’s what I’m going to try different, but it’s been a possibility for quite a while now and I’ve been looking at it. You want to run where the fans are going to come and watch you.” Hornish didn’t dodge many questions, other than refusing to confirm which team the 24-year-old from Defiance, Ohio will drive for in 2004. “We’re pretty close to a decision with one team right now,” he said. “We are not negotiating with multiple teams right now. We are pretty close to a deal, but everything isn’t done yet.” In the past, Hornish had discussions with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports. Hornish said Saturday that DEI was not going to be his choice and that he had talked with Hendrick Motorsports. However, a sponsor source at Hendrick Motorsports said it was unlikely the two-time IRL champion had a deal in place. “Sam has a plan, but nobody seems to know,” a sponsor source from Hendrick Motorsports said. One possible NASCAR scenario has Tony Stewart leaving Joe Gibbs Racing for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Stewart would be able to compete in both Winston Cup and run in the Indianapolis 500 – something that has been a source of frustration with Gibbs. Stewart’s current team owner allowed him to run in both races in 1999 and 2001 but preferred him to stay out of the high-speed Indy cars to concentrate on NASCAR. If Stewart moves over to Ganassi, Gibbs could hire Hornish as his replacement – and ironically allow him to run in the Indy 500. Hornish said his next deal would include a chance to compete in the Indianapolis 500 – the biggest race in the world and a part of the Indy Racing League. “From now until the time I retire from racing, I’m going to make sure I can go there and run in that race every year,” he said. A key part of Hornish’s decision is that his personal services contract with General Motors ends at the conclusion of this year. That means he is free to walk away from any Chevrolet involvement and pursue other options. In NASCAR, that includes Dodge and Ford, with Toyota down the road. There seems to be something in Winston Cup racing that is luring him away from Indy car racing, something he has proven to be so good at in his three full seasons in the IRL. “I don’t know if I’m going to be successful in NASCAR,” Hornish said. “You go to different tracks and do different things. You go to short tracks, superspeedways, you go to drafting tracks and you go to road courses. Who knows if you can be successful at any of those tracks? If that is what I were to do, there is only one way to find out and that is to get in a seat and see what you can do.”(more at Sports Ticker via FoxSports)
    AND Sam Hornish Jr. didn’t say he was leaving the Indy Racing League for NASCAR next year during Tuesday’s national teleconference, but the American star of the all-oval open-wheel series gave every indication he was following Tony Stewart’s career path. A day after announcing he would end his successful three-year run with defending IRL champ Panther Racing, Hornish all but said his next challenge would be with a roof over his talented head. And all signs point to Roger Penske’s multipurpose operation being his next stop. Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced earlier this year it was pulling out of the Sam Sweepstakes, while Michael Andretti’s IRL team was interested but doesn’t offer a NASCAR alternative. Chip Ganassi wanted to make Hornish an offer for stock cars or Indy cars but his sour relationship with Hornish’s agent, John Caponigro, squashed any chance of that happening. A Joe Gibbs ride would be good for Hornish should Stewart leave Gibbs for Ganassi before 2005. But Gibbs currently has no Indy 500 program. The likely candidate for Hornish’s services all along has been Penske, who fields a pair of cars in Winston Cup and the IRL. Everyone assumed the two-time IRL champ would be snatched up by “The Captain” for the IndyCar series but now it’s looking like he’d be teammates with Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves only at Indy. Penske, who runs Dodges in Winston Cup for Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace, would likely bring Hornish along like former USAC champion Newman — starting him in ARCA and Busch with only a couple of Cup appearances. Caponigro, who represents Mario and Michael Andretti plus Al Unser Jr., is thought to be after a three to five-year deal for Hornish, who was rumored to be making less than $500,000 this season at Panther Racing. Obviously, Panther took a chance on him in 2001 and it paid big dividends for both because now Hornish is ready to be compensated accordingly.(ESPN – Robin Miller)
    past news on Hornish, see my Drivers Looking page in the MISC section.(8-20-2003)
  • Cameron Wins – Amazing Comeback: Back in April it was announced that Winston West driver [how has attempted a few Cup races] was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma cancer. Austin Cameron could not drive in the races and was treated at Grossmont Cancer Center. Then about a month ago Cameron drove the #16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy at Irwindale Speedway in the “King Taco 200”. Cameron started 5th and finished 20th that night. This past Satruday night at Stockton 99 Speedway, Cameron won the race and moved up to 16th in the points standings.(Racing West)(8-20-2003)
  • Not Cup but amazing: Ray Paprota, the first and only paraplegic driver to compete in a NASCAR Touring Series will appear in the August 20, NASCAR Goody’s Dash Pabst Blue Ribbon 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Paprota uses state-of-the-art hand controls that enable him to operate the throttle, brakes and clutch with both hands on the steering wheel. Paralyzed in a motor vehicle accident at the age of 21, Paprota who is unable to use his legs, began racing Legends Series race cars in 1996. He credits NASCAR and Goody’s with providing an opportunity to demonstrate his abilities in a race car rather than focusing on his limitations in a wheelchair. Former NASCAR crew chief George White and Winston Cup Champion Bobby Allison became aware of his racing achievements in the Legends car and have helped transition him into the competitive world of NASCAR. Longtime Goody’s Dash competitor Danny Bagwell heard of Ray’s desire to compete in the series and provided a race car in which the newest version of hand controls were installed “You can’t just buy these controls off the shelve, we have been refining this unit for several years now. I first tested them in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck and later in an ARCA car before adapting them to the Dash car. We worked closely with NASCAR to receive my NASCAR drivers’ credentials and gain approval of the modifications for the controls,” says Ray. The system utilizes pneumatic cylinders to actuate the brake and clutch peddles and a cable operated throttle for the gas. Ray pushes a button on the transmission shifter knob that dictates how quickly the clutch peddle is released, allowing a smooth acceleration in the pits or fast gear changes in the race. The entire system received close scrutiny before Paprota made NASCAR history when he competed in his first Goody’s Dash series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 25, 2002. “We wanted nothing handed to us, I wanted to be allowed to compete because I’m a good race car driver and for no other reason,” said Paprota. Paprota currently is exploring opportunities for 2004 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and ARCA Series.(BMS PR)(8-20-2003)
  • Darlington Testing: #99-Jeff Burton, who originally was scheduled to only be here on Tuesday, will return on Wednesday. #87-Kyle Busch is testing with the Nemco Busch team. #25-Joe Nemechek and #22-Ward Burton will also be testing on Wednesday.(Darlington Raceway PR)(8-20-2003)
  • Musgrave to drive for Spencer: NASCAR.com posted that Ted Musgrave will drive the #7 Sirius Dodge in the Cup race and the #6 Tommy Baldwin Racing Dodge in Friday’s Busch race. The Truck owner Jim Smith entered for Spencer in tonights Truck Series race has been withdrawn. So Musgrave will join Kevin Harvick in doing triple duty at Bristol: Truck, Busch and Cup races.(8-20-2003)
  • Busch Accepts Probation Status: Kurt Busch announced today that he will not appeal NASCAR’s decision to place him on probation status following an incident last week involving Jimmy Spencer. Said Busch, ” I have decided not to appeal NASCAR’s penalty. My decision is being made even though no one to our knowledge has ever been penalized for being struck while seated in a race car. I am accepting this penalty regardless of whether or not it is fair or appropriate. My motivation in accepting it is simply to demonstrate to NASCAR and to the fans my continuing commitment to race hard, my continuing commitment to race clean and my continuing commitment to obey all the rules. This penalty has not and will not affect that commitment. And, my commitment will not be affected by the outcome of Jimmy Spencer’s appeal.”(Roush Racing PR)(8-20-2003)
  • Busch Tired to Cut Spencer’s Tire Down: Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch made disparaging remarks toward Jimmy Spencer over the radio during last Sunday’s race at Michigan, including an admission he tried to “flatten the … fender” of Spencer’s car, according to a transcript of Busch’s radio conversations with his team. The transcript, obtained by ThatsRacin.com, and the radio version obtained by Speed Channel, covers an exchange Busch made over his radio with his team on Lap 135 of 200. Following the race, Busch stopped his #97 Ford in front of Spencer’s team hauler. Spencer pulled his #7 Dodge in behind Busch, got out of his car and after the two traded obscenities, punched Busch while he was still sitting in his car. On Monday, NASCAR suspended Spencer through Aug. 26, fined him $25,000 and placed him on probation through the end of the year. Busch was also placed on probation. Local authorities in Michigan are still investigating the incident. Both teams appealed the punishments. Spencer’s appeal will be heard at 8:30 a.m. today in Bristol, Tenn., site of Saturday night’s Sharpie 500. Roush’s appeal had not been set as of Tuesday night.
    When informed of Busch’s remarks Tuesday night, Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president for corporate communications, issued the following statement: “We will let the process run its course. … I am sure the commission will be very thorough and I am sure they will have all the pertinent information.”
    While Sunday’s race was under caution on Lap 135 and Busch riding on the backstretch, the following exchange took place, which could be picked up on Busch’s team’s scanner frequency:
    Busch: “See, I’m not very good at being bad. I was trying to flatten the seven car fender and I got mine. I needed to be further forward on his car.”
    Response from Pit: ” They just showed that on TV. You just missed by about an inch or two Ah, not far enough forward.”
    Busch: “Inches only count unless you’re playing Horseshoes and hand grenades. Ah, I don’t wanna play either with that clown.”
    Response from Pit: “I hear ya, man.”
    Speed Channel planned to air portions of the radio transmissions Monday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on its show, “Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain.” Rick Miner, senior vice president of programming/production and executive producer Speed Channel, verified the written transcript with the actual radio broadcast.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-20-2003)
  • Spencer a No Show on Wind Tunnel: Quotes from tonight’s (August 19, 2003) Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain only on SPEED. Dave Despain On Intent – …… “Intent is difficult to prove.. Now translate this into racing television, ‘made contact’ has become the verb of choice to describe racing collisions in part because the announcers have to live with the drivers every weekend and Made Contact is a nice neutral way to describe the collision without placing blame.. It is very difficult to determine blame unless you know each drivers intent.”
    On Spencer’s cancellation –…… “We had scheduled Jimmy to be here tonight.. We double checked yesterday and was told absolutely he would be here and that he is anxious to be on the show.. This morning different story, we can’t come.. We will fax you a statement and the statement, well, we are still waiting for it.”
    UP NEXT – Thursday night Dave’s guest will be Mike Helton, President of NASCAR.. Tune in to Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm/et only on SPEED [Let’s Hope He Shows].(Speed Channel PR)(8-20-2003)


    (8-19-2003)

  • Parrott back to Yates….with the #38: Robert Yates Racing announced today that effective immediately Todd Parrott will assume crew chief duties for Elliott Sadler and the #38 M&M’S Racing Team. Raymond Fox III, who had served in the crew chief capacity since October of 2002, will continue to play an integral role on the #38 team. “Todd (Parrott) is going to assume the position of crew chief,” said Robert Yates, owner of the #38 and 88 teams. “The 38 team had some success in several races this year but we feel like we need to improve the performance so we can run up front on a more consistent basis. Todd’s experience will take the #38 team to the next level. Raymond Fox has done a great job for us, and will continue to be an important part of this race team.”
    “I’ve been at home re-charging my batteries,” said Parrott. “I am really excited to be back to work and am looking forward to working with Elliott Sadler. Elliott is a young, energetic and enthusiastic driver who has had an up and down season. They have qualified and raced well at times and I hope that I can help this young guy get into the winner’s circle. With Raymond and I working side by side I think it won’t be too hard to find victory lane.”
    “I think Todd Parrott’s return will help us find the depth we were missing at this point in the season,” said Elliott Sadler. “I said at the beginning of the year this team could win a championship and I still think that today. I’m really happy of the opportunities given to me at Robert Yates Racing.” Parrott, who had served in the team manager position since December 2001, will assume the position he worked in with the #88 team from 1996 to 2001. Parrott led the team to the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship and has scored 24 wins as crew chief with the #88 team. Dave Smith will continue to work as the car chief under Parrott and Fox.(Elevation Motorsports PR)(8-19-2003)
  • So who is in the #7 at Bristol? logical choice would be Ted Musgrave, who drivers for Ultra Motorsports in the Truck Seires and has driven the #07 Kenwood/Sirius Dodge in a few races the last few years for Smith. Also, not sure what happens with the appeal by Spencer. NASCAR has ten (10) days to hear the appeal. Not sure if while he appeals the suspension/fine if Spencer can race until it is resolved. Would expect NASCAR to hear the appeal quickly.(8-19-2003)
  • Sharpie at Bristol: It’s seems special Sharpie paint schemes are good luck for the Winston Cup’s Kurt Busch. The Sharpie brand, the world’s most popular brand of permanent marker and title sponsor of the Sharpie 500, is hoping that good fortune continues as Kurt Busch’s #97 Ford returns to Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) sporting the Sharpie Metallic paint scheme that brought him victory in March. The special paint scheme supports the launch of the Sharpie Metallic silver marker, and makes its second Bristol appearance in 2003 and the first under the lights at the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, August 23. The March victory marked his second in a row for the March race at Bristol. In 2002, his first win at Bristol and first since joining the Winston Cup came driving – you guessed it – a lucky Sharpie marker paint scheme. “We’ve won at Bristol two out of the last three times driving a special Sharpie paint job,” said Busch. “If we can win the Sharpie 500 driving the No. 97 Sharpie Metallic Ford, that would be sweet – two wins for Sharpie at Bristol in one year.” The Sharpie car is decorated with eye-catching, silver-metallic splashes of color highlighting the new metallic marker that writes on dark surfaces. “Seems like only yesterday that Kurt was bringing home the #97 Sharpie Metallic Ford to victory lane at Bristol,” said Greg Stoner, vice president and general manager of Sharpie. “We would like to see him autograph victory lane twice this year with the Sharpie Metallic silver marker.” In addition to the paint scheme, Sharpie is planning a news conference on Thursday, August 21 to unveil a plan to build on the brand’s NASCAR involvement. For more details, visit www.sharpie500.com.(Sharpie PR), see an images of the car at my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 24-99.(8-19-2003)
  • Triple duty for one; Double duty for others: #29-Kevin Harvick will attempt to run in three NASCAR races at Bristol Moto Speedway this weekend, the Truck Series O’Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline MaxLife, the Busch Series Food City 250 and the Cup Series Sharpie 500. Jimmy Spencer was slated to run all three [#7 in Cup, #6 in Busch and # in the Trucks, but he has been suspended]. Nine drivers [with Spencer it would be 10] will be Buschwacking: #42-McMuarry [in the #1 Busch car], #16-Biffle [#7], #17-Kenseth [#17], #41-Mears {#19], #29-Harvick [#21], #27-Scott Wimmer [#23], #74-Raines [#33], #4-Johnny Sauter? [#43] and #15-Waltrip [#99].
    Five [maybe six] drivers will do Truckwacking, #0-Jason Leffler [#2], #29-Kevin Harvick [#6 in Trucks], #49-Ken Schrader [#52], #43-Christian Fittipaldi [#9] and #80-Morgan Shepherd [#21]. Ted Musgrave could end up Truckwacking if he subs for Jimmy Spencer in the #7, Spencer was supposed to run all three races too.(8-19-2003)
  • Testing at Milwaukee: Robby Gordon and the #31 Cingular Wireless team are scheduled to test at Milwaukee Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 18 and 19 .(RCR PR); also all three Ganassi teams [#40,#41,#42] are testing at Milwaukee on Monday and Tuesday.(Ganassi PR)(8-19-2003)
  • #9 and #19 get a Mane UPDATE: hearing #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jeremy Mayfield will sport Lion King paint schemes at Kansas Speedway in Oct.(6-23-2003)
    IMAGES: see images of the cars at 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 0-23.(8-19-2003)
  • Marlin to be Scary: The Coor’s Light Twins [and…..Twins!] will be part of the pre-race ceremonies and are confirmed to sing the National Anthem prior to the stat of the Winston cup race on October 5th in Kansas and will be featured on the #40 Dodge along with Scary Movie 3. See images of the cars at 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 24-99.(8-19-2003)
  • GM Card scheme: Steve Park will run the #30 AOL GM card scheme at in Atlanta on October 26th.(8-19-2003)
  • Popcorn colors: hearing the #43-Christian Fittipaldi will have the Pop Secret colors [as the #43 normally does for this race] at Rockingham’s final November race, in the Pop Secret 400 [which goes to California in 2004](6-23-2003)
    IMAGE: See an image of the scheme at 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 24-99.(8-19-2003)
  • Hands of Victory Charity: hearing #45-Kyle Petty will run a “Hands of Victory” scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Oct. A portion of all sales will be donated to the Hands of Victory Charity – not sure what that is.(6-23-2003)
    IMAGE: See an image of the scheme at 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 24-99.(8-19-2003)
  • Easy Dinner Scheme: The #43 Petty Enterprises Dodge will run a Dinner Made Easy scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedway under the lights in October, no idea who will drive since Fittipaldi will be in the #44 Bugles Dodge at that race. See an image of the scheme at 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes – Car #’s 24-99.(8-19-2003)

    (8-18-2003)

  • More on Horish and NASCAR – Pretty Fast Dude UPDATE leaving Panther Racing: IRL driver, Sam Hornish Jr., who broke the record for the fastest IRL race at Kentucky Speedway on Sunday [197.897mph], is in the last year of his contract with Pennzoil Panther Racing. He has publicly discussed everything from moving to another Indy Racing League team that can boost his salary to defecting to NASCAR. Hornish, who is meeting with Panther officials this afternoon in Indianapolis, said yesterday that staying with his current team is one of his top choices. The 24-year-old is playing his decision-making close to the fire suit. He seems to wrestle with himself out loud when asked about his future. “On the other hand,” he said after saying Panther is a top candidate, “I could’ve stayed in go-karts until I was 50 and won a lot of races, but is that what’s going to make you the happiest?” He said his fans are split on what they want him to do. He said he only knows that he wants to be a racing legend. “Someday you hope to be a legend,” Hornish said. “And you hope to associate yourself however you can to be able to put yourself there.” When asked later about his other goals, he said: “Winning the Indy 500 is the top of my list,” adding that he will definitely be at the race next year.(Lexington Herald-Leader)(8-18-2003)
    UPDATE: Two-time defending IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. is moving on. Just where remains to be seen. Hornish, 24, told Panther Racing officials today that he will leave them when his 3-year contract expires at season’s end. He did not say if his new team will be in the IRL or NASCAR, or both, which now appears to be the most likely scenario given his admitted interest in competing in the Daytona 500. “The opportunities I’ve been given are too good,” he said. Hornish, who won his record-breaking ninth IRL race Sunday at Kentucky Speedway, said money was not a factor in his decision to leave Panther. In fact, team co-owner John Barnes said he was not allowed to make a contract offer even though he expects to have a partnership with Winston Cup team owner Richard Childress next season. Hornish said he is ready for a new challenge. “I’ve done the best I could with that (Panther) car,” he said. “You start off as an amateur, you move to a race winner, you move to a champion and someday you hope to become a legend.” Barnes said Panther will not rush the search for a replacement.(Indianapolis Star)(8-18-2003)
  • Response From Jimmy Spencer: The following is a statement from Jimmy Spencer in response to his suspension by NASCAR, which was announced today by news release: “I will always protect myself and my race team.. We are going to appeal the penalty, and we are going to do so in accordance to the NASCAR rulebook.”(Ultra Motorpsorts PR)(8-18-2003)
  • On The Subject Of The Post-Race Assault On Kurt Busch: The following statements are being issued by Roush Racing in connection with yesterday’s assault by Jimmy Spencer on Roush Racing driver Kurt Busch.
    Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president: “Kurt Busch had an operation in December to correct a deviated septum. Because there is some concern that the blow Jimmy Spencer delivered has reinjured Kurt, he is undergoing a medical examination in order to evaluate the injury. We hope that Kurt has suffered no long term effects. We will issue an update on his condition after results have been received. We want to point out that only the Lenawee [Mich.] County District Attorney has the legal authority to press criminal charges against Jimmy Spencer for this assault. That decision does not reside in the hands of Kurt Busch, Jack Roush or any private citizen. That’s the way the criminal justice system works and we all need to respect that process.”
    Kurt Busch on what happened: “I ran out of gas when I got into the garage area, and Jimmy Spencer ran into the back of my car. I was still in the car when he approached me with obvious anger. Words were exchanged, but I was still strapped in my seat with my helmet off when he struck me in the face. He broke my tooth and bloodied my nose.”
    Kurt Busch on Spencer’s penalty. “I appreciate that NASCAR has recognized that Jimmy’s assault went beyond the level of a “racing incident.” I have been concerned by media comments characterizing Jimmy’s involvement with me as a “rivalry,” “duel” or “fight” all which carry a connotation that I actively participate in this type of behavior. Our racing Sunday was hard and clean. NASCAR’s fine and suspension demonstrate and acknowledge for me their agreement that this was a unilateral assault which required serious punishment and for that I thank NASCAR.”
    Jack Roush: “It is incomprehensible to me that NASCAR used this incident to place Kurt Busch on probation. His only involvement in the “altercation” was to be the recipient of a blow struck by an individual that is twice his size. Drivers, as do others in the garage, often exchange heated words, and in my memory no one has even been penalized for words spoken in private to one another. We intend to promptly file an appropriate appeal against this penalty, although we have learned that the merits of an argument carry little weight in this particular form of appeal. On the other hand, I think that NASCAR’s sanctions on Jimmy Spencer should be enough to give a sobering pause to any driver or other individual that might think the halo of competition can conceal an assault on any individual, whether on or off the race track. It is a step in the right direction. I hope that it is enough.”(Roush Racing PRs)(8-18-2003)
  • Medical Condition Update On Kurt Busch” 5:10 P.M. Upon completion of his medical examination this afternoon, Kurt Busch issued the following regarding the extent of the injury he received from Jimmy Spencer.
    “I have swelling on the left side of my face that is not expected to heal for three months. My breathing has been affected, and although it will not affect my ability to race, it will make breathing with helmet on more uncomfortable. I have been told that there is some tissue damage, and that there is a 15% chance that I will require reconstructive surgery to repair the damage. That assessment will not be made until the swelling dissipates.”(Roush Racing PRs)(8-18-2003)
  • Spencer could face charges after altecation with Busch
    UPDATE – SPENCER SUSPENDED will miss Bristol:
     #7-Jimmy Spencer could face assault charges after a confrontation with competitor #97-Kurt Busch following Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400. As the drivers came onto pit lane at Michigan International Speedway following the checkered flag, Spencer drove into the rear of Busch’s car and spun it around. Witnesses said Spencer then got out of his car, raced up to Busch’s car and punched Busch several times in the face. Sheriff’s deputies pulled Spencer away and took him to the NASCAR hauler. The witnesses said Busch, who finished 18th, was holding a bloody towel to his face when he entered the track medical facility. Jeff Patterson, spokesman for the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Dept., confirmed to The Associated Press that his department was investigating an assault charge against Spencer, who finished 26th. Both drivers left the track without comment. “NASCAR spoke with both drivers about the incident that occurred today. If we should take any actions, we’ll announce it at an appropriate time,” NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said. “They spoke with NASCAR inside (the hauler) and (NASCAR officials) are going over the incident right now.” Jeff Miles, the transport driver for Spencer, said, “I know he tried to put Jimmy in the fence on the straightaway.” #31-Robby Gordon, another Winston Cup driver, offered to pay Spencer’s fine and said Busch “had it coming for a while.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-17-2003)
    AND The feud between Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch flared up again in the garage area at Michigan International Speedway after Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400, with Spencer allegedly punching Busch while Busch sat in his race car. Busch’s car ran out of fuel, crew chief Jimmy Fennig said, as he tried to drive it back to his hauler after the race. It stopped, interestingly, in front of Spencer’s transporter. Spencer then rammed Busch’s rear bumper, causing the bumper to buckle. Spencer got out of his car and approached Busch, reaching through the window and allegedly punching Busch. By the time Busch crawled out, crewmen from Spencer’s team had surrounded the #97. Busch waved and yelled at Spencer, and then walked to the NASCAR hauler. He did not appear to be bloodied. There were no other punches thrown. Almost immediately, however, Fennig went to NASCAR officials. “I want Spencer here right now,” Fennig said angrily. “We’re going to have a fight here.” Roush told Speed TV that Spencer broke Busch’s nose. Busch went to the track’s infield care center after he left NASCAR’s office trailer and a Roush Racing spokesperson said Busch would get his nosed looked at when he got home.(see full story at NASCAR.com)(8-17-2003)
    AND II: When they pulled in the garage Spencer hit Busch’s car in the rear and then got out and punched Busch in face. Busch’s nose was not bloody and did not appear to be broken but he will see his personal physician today. He is expected to have two black eyes. That punch prompted car owner Jack Roush to bring local police to the post-race discussion in the NASCAR trailer, and deputy Jeff Patterson said that there was an assault investigation under way. Spencer made a quick getaway without comment after an hour-long meeting with President Mike Helton of NASCAR . NASCAR officials didn’t say what penalties that Spencer might be assessed, but suspension was being discussed, according to Tommy Baldwin, Spencer’s crew chief. Roush said that Spencer was already under NASCAR orders to behave, a sort of secret probation apparently related to last summer’s incident at Indianapolis. NASCAR officials had virtually nothing to say about the Spencer-Busch incident, apparently waiting to see if charges would be filed against Spencer.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-18-2003)
    AND III: A lot of questions remained unanswered about what happened between Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer after Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. But the biggest question is what happens next. Potential punishment from NASCAR might not be Spencer’s chief worry after he reportedly punched Busch in the nose following the race. Lenawee County sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Paterson took statements for what he called “an investigation into the alleged assault” and said he would submit his findings to a prosecutor. Busch, the left side of his face puffy with swelling, emerged first. “Ask Jimmy,” he said when asked what happened. Did Spencer hit him? “Ask Jimmy Spencer,” Busch replied. He then got on a cart and was taken to the infield care center, then left the track after being treated there. The post-race incident apparently grew from contact between Busch and Spencer on Lap 150, when Busch passed Spencer into the lead after a restart following a yellow flag.(more at ThatsRacin.com)(8-18-2003)
    UPDATE – PENALTIES – SPENCER SUSPENDED: Drivers Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch were issued penalties for their roles in a post-race altercation that occurred in the garage area of Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Spencer is suspended from any NASCAR-sanctioned competition until Aug. 26. He also received a $25,000 fine and was placed on probation until Dec. 31. The suspension will cause him to miss this weekend’s NASCAR national series triple-header at Bristol Motor Speedway.[JAYSKI NOTE: he was going to run all three races] Spencer was in violation of Sections 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the event) and 12-4-F (Fighting) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book.
    Busch has been placed on probation until Dec. 31 for his actions. He was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the event) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book. “This was a very unfortunate situation,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “Emotions are a part of every sport, NASCAR Winston Cup racing included. However, there is a fine line. In this instance, that fine line was crossed.”(NASCAR PR)(8-18-2003)

 


 

  • (8-17-2003)

  • Newman wins 5th race of 2003: #12-Ryan Newman’s fuel held out and he won the The GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 5th win of 2003 and 6th of his career. #97-Busch was leading with 2 laps to go, but ran out of fuel and ended up 18th. #29-Kevin Harvick finished 2nd. Bad days by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(32nd) and #24-Jeff Gordon (30th) and lost a ton of points to points leader #17-Matt Kenseth, who ran a consistent quiet race and now leads the points by 329. Nice runs by #30-Steve Park [5th – his first top five in 65 races at Dover in June 2001 and first since his wreck at Darlington in Sept 2001], #49-Kenny Schrader [8th] and #10-Johnny Benson held on for a nice 10th. #16-Greg Biffle was the highest finishing rookie of the year candidate with a 4th place finish.
    The UNOFFICIAL Top Ten (start pos in parens), lap leaders, cars out, cautions and some notes as well as results links on my GFS Marketplace 400 Race Info page.
    Race Results at
    JAYSKI – GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan Race Results from NASCAR
    Sporting News/AP
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(8-17-2003)
  • StockCarFans.Com: Rumblings – Michigan: In what was yet another fuelish event, #12-Ryan Newman made his gas last the final 52 laps today at Michigan International Speedway and won the GFS Marketplace 400. For Newman, it was his 5th victory of the season and 6th of his career. He’s now the lone driver in Cup history with 6 wins….58th on the all-time win list. This was also the 47th victory for Roger Penske (or 50th if you count the three that Jeremy Mayfield got for partner Michael Kranefuss)….with the last six for Penske Motorsports being earned by Ryan. Had a nice “beer crash” at pit-in today….wonder what Junior called Rusty? One thing’s for sure….it was the pits for Earnhardt’s chances after that. Notice how fast the response was today by the rescue teams? Also, we saw a press release this week about a new “chase” vehicle for NASCAR with a face familiar to drivers aboard. It’s all about damage control.
    Second beef….NASCAR.com must be fixed. Last week, they decided to eliminate the 43rd position in their results. Today, it’s 14th! Is this some kind of contest….guess the driver we’ve forgotten? For the record, Ward Burton was 14th (I was able to find this at one of those “unofficial” websites).
    #30-Steve Park (5th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Dover in June of 2001! His Top-5 finish gives us 29 drivers to hit that mark this season….last year we had 31 of ’em.
    #49-Ken Schrader (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Atlanta in March of 2001!
    #10-Johnny Benson (10th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Dover in June.
    #45-Kyle Petty (16th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Talladega in April.
    #37-Derrike Cope (34th) had his best finish since he was 29th at Las Vegas in March (only 9 races).
    STREAKIN:
    Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    Robby Gordon has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races.
    Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: For the ninth time this season, Greg Biffle (4th) was the top-finishing first year driver. He was followed by: Tony Raines (24th), Jamie McMurray (36th), Larry Foyt (39th), and Casey Mears (42nd). Biffle & McMurray are now tied at the top in this category.
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Johnny Benson (+25), followed by Matt Kenseth (+24), Ken Schrader (+22), Tony Stewart (+20), Kyle Petty (+20), Mark Martin (+20), and Mike Skinner (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper is Bobby Labonte (-36), followed by Jason Leffler (-29), Kevin Lepage (-27), Christian Fittipaldi (-26), Larry Foyt (-25), and Casey Mears (-25). With all those surprises at the top of the lineup and all those good drivers at the bottom of the starting grid, this week was a shaft-watchers delight! Nearly 1/3 of the field involved.
    Matt Kenseth put some more distance between himself and Little E today….71 points worth. His lead is now a very strong 329 markers, with a “Magic Number” of 4 (that’s pretty high with 13 races to go). Greg Biffle (21st to 19th) made the only multiple-position move in the Top-50. Rusty Wallace went down in flames (don’t you just love a good pun?), falling from 12th to 15th.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-17-2003)
  • More on Dale Jr. and his contract situation: RELATIVE TO YOUR CONTRACT WITH DEI, HOW IMPORTANT IS TEAM OWNERSHIP TO YOU? “It’s not a big deal to me. I never said it was a big deal to me. There are other things in the contract. I haven’t talked to Teresa (Earnhardt) one on one. So I don’t know what certain aspects we need to sit down and discuss yet. So I can’t say what is holding the process up.
    (WHERE DID THIS OWNERSHIP RUMOR COME FROM?) “I don’t know. I guess people were speculating on the (contract) hold up or what could be the situations of disagreement or circumstances that need to be compromised in the contract between me and Teresa (Earnhardt). I guess that was one of the things that people thought might be my interest but it’s really not. I don’t really find interest in ownership at this particular time. I enjoy the Busch Series team that I have and I’m only 50% owner in that. But it’s fun and I’m learning as far as that goes. That’ll be the experience that will tell me whether I want to have anything to do with ownership down the road. Right now, this is enough. I haven’t even gotten to where I want to be as a race car driver. I’ve got a long way to go as a race car driver. Ownership is just way, way out of the picture right now.”
    (ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT THIS CONTRACT ISSUE IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW? THE MEDIA THOUGHT THIS WAS SIGNED AND OVER WITH LAST JANUARY?). “I knew it was going on and we just didn’t particularly have any interest in sharing information with anybody. But you know me when I’m asked a question. I can’t help but give an honest answer.”
    (DID THAT GET YOU IN TROUBLE?) “Well, it looked a little poorly upon myself. And it did put the company in a little bit of a strain.. We’re trying to seek sponsors for the No. 1 Chevrolet and we don’t need any mysteries about what I was going to be doing next year. My initiative it to try to find sponsors for the No. 1 car and try to put a driver and a team together on every level of that company that can run good. So my interests are very similar to the ownership side of it. And I want to drive well for my Bud car. I really enjoy those guys and I’m having a great time. I never thought about it. I entertained the idea for driving for somebody. You always do that. You daydream about everything in the sport. But it was never anything I ever thought would be a reality. But on the other side of that, I’m definitely out to get what I feel like I deserve. As sure as everybody can be about me driving the No. 8 car for as long as I drive, I’m not going to do it for free. I would expect to get paid and get compensated as I would for anywhere else in this business.”
    (HOW ABOUT BUDWEISER AND DEI – ARE THEY SIGNED?) “Budweiser of course, in doing the smart thing, is going to wait until our issues are secured until they can sign an extension. They want to definitely know that everything is in place. They’re like everyone else – including the press – and everybody else out in the public. They don’t know the whole story. And (they) don’t really know my true feelings. If they did, I feel like everybody would just calm down about it. My mind and my heart are in driving the No. 8 car and it always has been.”
    AND….
    UPDATE: HIGHLIGHTS OF Q&A’s WITH CHILDRESS AND THE MEDIA: DALE JR. RECENTLY CREATED A STIR WHEN HE SAID HE WAS A FREE AGENT.. DO YOU EVER SEE HIM DRIVING FOR RCR?) “No, not as long as DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) is going and their doors are open, I think you’ll see him racing for DEI. I know what Dale’s (Earnhardt) plans were for DEI and where he wanted to see Jr. and Kerry race. I hope that if he ever did decide to race somewhere else that he would come and talk to me and would want to drive an RCR car.” (HAS HE EVER DONE THAT?) “No, not really. We haven’t sat down and talked about it directly.”(GM PR’s)(8-17-2003)
  • More on Tracy and Childress: “We’ve talked on occasion,” Childress told the Indianapolis Star at Watkins Glen over the weekend about Paul Tracy. “He’d definitely be my kind of driver if he’d like to try Winston Cup racing.” With CART’s future in doubt, Tracy has been checking out his options. And Childress could have an opening next year. Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon will be back in RCR’s #29 and #31 cars, but Steve Park has no such security in the #30 car. Park is a candidate for that ride, as is Ward Burton, who has asked out of his contract with Bill Davis Racing. The next step would be a stock car test, possibly at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, near Tracy’s Nevada home. Tracy, who got his sixth win of the season Sunday at Mid-Ohio, told reporters he’s interested. Though Tracy has a year left on his contract with Players/Forsythe Racing, he has had run-ins with CART’s hierarchy, including CEO Chris Pook. He could be looking for a way out.(Tampa Tribune)(8-13-2003)
    UPDATE: HIGHLIGHTS OF Q&A’s WITH CHILDRESS AND THE MEDIA: HAVE YOU TALKED TO PAUL TRACY ABOUT JOINING RCR? “A lot of people have asked me about that when the word came out about the IRL and wanted to know if Paul Tracy would be my driver since he’s in CART now and might be looking to move to IRL some day. I don’t know what his plans are.. I haven’t talked to him in two years. Two or three years ago we talked about it. He said some day he wanted to go Winston Cup racing and whenever he did, he was going to talk to us. So I haven’t talked to him. But he’s my kind of driver. He’s got a little flair to him. I’d rather have the drivers that you have to sit down and talk to or the driver that wants to win every week. They’ve got to have a little fire in their guts. I was with one of the best for 20 years so that’s set the standards for what we’ve got to have for RCR.”(GM PR)(8-17-2003)
  • 8 Straight at MIS: There have been eight different race winners in the past eight Winston Cup races at Michigan which ties Charlotte, New Hampshire and Pocono for the second longest streak of different race winners. Martinsville holds the all-time record for different race winners, with 11 different winners between the spring of 1997 and the fall of 2002.(ThatsRacin.com for more facts)(8-12-2003)
    Make it 9: when #12-Ryan Newman won at Michigan [Aug 2003], he is now the 9th different winner in nine Cup races at Michigan International Speedway. The others: 1999- Bobby Labonte; 2000 – Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace; 2001 – Jeff Gordon and Sterling Marlin; 2002 – Matt Kenseth and Dale Jarrett; 2003 – Kurt Busch and now Ryan Newman.(8-17-2003)
  • Wally’s World: During TNT’s Live Coverage of NASCAR Winston Cup Michigan 400, Brad Arnold, lead singer for the Grammy-nominated rock band Three Doors Down, will climb into the passenger seat of TNT/NBC analyst Wally Dallenbach’s car for a few laps around Michigan International Speedway this weekend for TNT’s Wally’s World segment. The segment, highlighting the differences in NASCAR’s tracks around the country, will air during TNT’s live NASCAR Winston Cup Series coverage of the Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 17 at 1:30pm/et. “It’s a dream come true to be able to get in a racecar, just to do a lap at near race speed. I’m really, really, really looking forward to it. I’ve told 20 people already,” said Arnold. Three Doors Down will be well-represented at Michigan International Speedway this weekend, with defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart using a Three Doors Down paint scheme for the NASCAR Busch Series race on TNT on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 1:30pm/et. The band will also play a concert at the track on Saturday night following the Busch Series race. The first video from the band’s sophomore album Away From The Sun was “The Road I’m On”, which features Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. racing each other in sports utility vehicles.(NBC/TNT PR)(8-14-2003)
    AND check out the pictures of ‘the ride’ at MotorsportsTV.com.(8-17-2003)
  • Changes coming at Petty Enterprises:……However, outsiders say that the problems are not so much technical as managerial, and [Kyle] Petty agrees: ‘So we’re getting ready to make a structural change in the next couple of weeks. I’m starting to give some of it to other people, so I can focus on just the driving and the business.’ So will Fittipaldi be in that car again next year? There is speculation that Jeremy Mayfield may get a Petty ride. Petty said: ‘Our plan is for Christian to be in that car next year, and that’s the plan we’ve laid out for General Mills. However, if all of sudden Tony Stewart, for example, comes knocking at the door, then he’s either going to get my seat or Christian’s. ‘Barring unforeseen circumstances, Christian will be in that car. But I won’t give you a definitive, because I don’t think there are any definitives in racing any more … except we’re Petty Enterprises and we’re going to be here for a while.'(see full story and many quotes at the Winston Salem Journal)(8-17-2003)
  • Pit Road Extended: For the second straight race, NASCAR has extended the onset of the pit road speed limit in an attempt to make conditions on the service alley safer. For Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway, teams were told in the drivers’ meeting that the pit road speed limit of 55 mph would be enforced from a line 195 feet before the first pit box. In June’s Winston Cup race at Michigan, the pit road speed limit began at a line 45 feet before the first pit box.(NASCAR.com/TNT Pre-Race Coverage)(8-17-2003)
  • Money Honey: Posted awards for the GFS Marketplace 400 are $4,235,337 – an increase of 9.2 percent over last year’s $3,880,083. This is the first time that the purse for the GFS Marketplace 400 has topped $4 million. Total posted purse for first place is $137,630, second is $96,030, third is $80,335 fourth is $71,595 and fifth is $62,430.(MIS Site)(8-17-2003)

    (8-16-2003)

  • Texas Lawsuit: NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. is expected to give a deposition Tuesday in the lawsuit over a second Winston Cup date for Texas Motor Speedway. Plano, TX resident Francis Ferko and Highland Village resident Rusty Vaughn are shareholders of Speedway Motorsports Inc., the parent company of TMS. Ferko and Vaughn are suing NASCAR over failing to deliver on an alleged promise to provide a second annual Winston Cup race at TMS. The suit also alleges federal anti-trust violations in NASCAR’s relationship with International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 facilities where Winston Cup events are held. The France family owns NASCAR and has a controlling interest in ISC. France will be deposed in Daytona Beach, Fla., where NASCAR is headquartered, by attorneys for Ferko and Vaughn.(Dallas Morning News), see past news on the lawsuit on my Lawsuit News page.(8-16-2003)
  • Sauter back in the #4 at Bristol: Johnny Sauter tested the #4 Kodak Pontiac at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday in preparation for the Aug. 23 Sharpie 500. Sauter will also compete in the Aug. 22 Food City 250 Busch Series race.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-16-2003)
  • Chase Car: NASCAR added a “chase vehicle” to its repertoire of emergency vehicles last season, designed to add an extra layer of communication and safety in case of accidents during Winston Cup races. ASCAR president Mike Helton said the chase vehicle is not specifically an extra emergency vehicle to serve in a medical capacity, but it is to help give some familiarity to drivers involved in accidents. “We have a vehicle on the racetrack that we put into play last year that will respond to a scene,” Helton said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “It is a NASCAR official, a person that the drivers will be familiar with, a face that the drivers will be familiar with.” Last weekend at Watkins Glen International, drivers Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon criticized emergency workers for their slow response to getting to wrecked cars. NASCAR employs local emergency personnel to staff tracks, and Helton said the sanctioning body wouldn’t swerve from that policy. Helton said there is only one chase vehicle at the racetrack, but road courses like Watkins Glen makes it difficult for one vehicle to cover the entire circuit. Helton said adding extra chase cars for road courses probably won’t happen. But Helton said NASCAR would be open to change. The NASCAR official who mans the chase vehicle drives to the scene of the accident as soon as possible, but stays away from the immediate area to let the safety crew work. If the driver chooses not to ride in the ambulance, the chase vehicle takes the driver to the infield care center.(see full story at NASCAR.com)(8-16-2003)
  • New Fire Suppression System Required at MIS: This event marks the first where the new NASCAR-mandated trunk-mounted fire suppression system will be required. The new system, with automatic and manual triggering systems, is meant to give the drivers a few extra moments of safety in the case of a car fire after a rear impact. Recently, several drivers experienced frightening situations in rear impact accidents with the walls. The teams rose to the occasion nicely with Winston Cup director John Darby giving a nod to the teams that work in his garage. “Any issues surrounded more installation rather than the actual parts and pieces,” Darby told TFR. “I would say that the garage put on a very impressive performance on getting everything up ad running.” Darby added, “Very, very nice installations and substantial mounting brackets, the kind of stuff we [NASCAR] like.” Explaining the operational aspect of the system Darby said, “With the Halon agents that we use they are a flooding agent. In other words, once they’re released they flood whatever area they’re in. “The thought is on impact if a fire ignites the bottle that we have for the trunk automatically fires on heat sensing. And when it does it floods the whole area where the fire is. This will give the drivers more time to get out of the car.”(Team Ford Racing)(8-16-2003)
  • Tony Stewart Foundation Kicks Off at Michigan: Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has formed his own charitable foundation.. The Tony Stewart Foundation was created to raise funds that will then be primarily distributed to organizations that help care for critically ill children, as well as to lend support to families of race car drivers who have been injured in motorsports.
    Specific charities that will benefit from the Tony Stewart Foundation will be the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities and the Make-A-Wish Foundation – all of which have a long-standing relationship with Stewart.
    “The foundation is something that I’ve wanted to do for quite awhile,” said Stewart.. “We’ve raised money for charity before, but it was always a deal here and then a deal there.. We never had anything that was ongoing.. With the foundation now in place, our fund-raising can be sustained year-round.. More people, at various times throughout the year, can now be helped.”
    Stewart’s first charitable contribution from the foundation that bears his name comes Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.. There, Stewart is making his first NASCAR Busch Series start in four-and-a-half years for Chance 2 Motorsports – the team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. – in the Cabela’s 250.. Stewart will receive 50 percent of the winnings, with Chance 2 receiving the other 50 percent.. Stewart’s share of the purse, regardless of where he finishes, will be donated to his recently formed foundation, whereupon the money will then be granted to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation.. Also going to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation will be Stewart’s race-worn firesuit and helmet.
    “Driving for Junior’s team meant that the Dale Earnhardt Foundation would naturally be the first recipient of any funds we raised from running the Busch race,” said Stewart.. “It’s an understatement to say that Dale meant a lot to everyone in the garage area.. I’m no exception.. Making our first donation to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation just seemed like the right thing to do.. They’re in the business of helping people too.” Those wishing to make tax-deductible contributions to the Tony Stewart Foundation can do so via the following address:
    Tony Stewart Foundation
    5671 West 74th Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46278
    (True Speed Communication PR)(8-16-2003)
  • More Victory Lap Unveilings: Martinsville Speedway, North Carolina Speedway and NASCAR are combining for an exciting media event at the NASCAR Café in Greensboro, NC., on Tuesday, August 19. Two former Winston Cup champions, Darrell Waltrip and Benny Parsons, will be unveiling their “Victory Lap” tribute cars at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 19 at the NASCAR Café. The “Victory Lap” tribute will honor Winston Cup champions during RJR’s 33-year tenure in the sport at various tracks through the end of the season. After the official unveiling, Waltrip, Parsons and officials from both Martinsville Speedway and North Carolina Speedway will be available for photo opportunities and interviews.(Martinsville Speedway PR), see many of the schemes and the past news on my Victory Lap Schemes/News page.(8-16-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings: Michigan: There must be something about this place and the Labontes. Are you sure we’re in Michigan and not in Corpus Christi? [TX] #18-Bobby Labonte grabbed his 4th Bud Pole of the season for Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400 this afternoon. After a two hour rain delay he blistered off a lap of 37.847 (190.240 mph), good enough to edge out #12-Ryan Newman by .062 seconds. Bobby (now just one behind Newman in the race for most poles this season) now has 25 career top-spots in Winston Cup, and swept both poles here this year.
    #31-Robby Gordon (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Infineon Raceway in June. #57-Kevin Lepage (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Texas in March of 2000! #5-Terry Labonte (5th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 5th when we were here two months ago. That’s the second half of that Labonte connection. #0-Jason Leffler (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Kansas in September of 2001. #43-Christian Fittipaldi (7th) had his career-best qualifying run today. His previous best start was 17th at Phoenix last November. #99-Jeff Burton (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Las Vegas in March. #7-Jimmy Spencer (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Bristol in March. And, once again, Jimmy didn’t have a problem telling us how he feels about the current state of racing in NASCAR during that rain- delay. And you can bet that Jimmy has tons of race fans who agree with him! #50-Larry Foyt (14th) had his career-best qualifying effort today. His previous best was 26th at Daytona in July. #74-Tony Raines (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 22nd at Bristol in March. STREAKIN….Bobby Labonte has 5 Top-10 starts in a row. (Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(8-16-2003)
  • Races at Michigan in Jeapardy? UPDATE NO!! The worst blackout in Michigan history could threaten this weekend’s GFS Marketplace 400, and NASCAR officials said they are monitoring the electrical crisis that wiped out power to a good portion of this area and have talked with Gov. Jennifer Granholm and other area politicians about the crisis. Several counties near Michigan International Speedway have been declared disaster areas, including towns that are temporarily home to Winston Cup teams. The National Guard is hauling water into the Detroit area, a million gallons of gasoline is to be shipped into southeastern Michigan, and 50 state police troops have been assigned to Detroit. Fans trying to get to Michigan International Speedway yesterday were confronted by amazing lines at service stations when they attempted to stop for gas. With power out to many service stations, the few that were able to pump gas were deluged with customers, who at times backed up on the Interstate. It is unclear what effect that state-police redeployment could have on the traffic control operations here. However none of these NASCAR crews is at all eager to face the possibility of having to haul back up here in late November. The next open date on the schedule is Nov. 23.(Winston Salem Journal)
    BUT the MIS site posted on Friday: All track activities for August 15, 16 and 17 will go on as scheduled at Michigan International Speedway. Michigan International Speedway has electricity and track facilities are running smoothly.(MIS)
    UPDATE: folks at MIS inform me that the reports of the races being in jeopardy are TOTALLY unfounded and false and everything is going as scheduled.
    AND from the Free Press: The power stayed on Thursday and Friday at Michigan International Speedway, and stock car races today and Sunday will go on as usual. The only glitch Friday was a rainstorm, which delayed qualifying for the GFS Marketplace 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race. It started about two hours late. “I think we were simply fortunate,” MIS president Brett Shelton said Friday. “We’ve been running mainly on regular Consumers Power since the blackout. We just happened to be west of all the major issues.” While food vendors and other suppliers at MIS were unaffected by the crippling power outage in southeast Michigan, NASCAR officials decided to operate backup generators for timing and scoring during practice and qualifying Friday. “We wanted to test the system in case we need to use it Saturday or Sunday,” Shelton said. “We have redundant systems that allow us to go ahead with events under almost any circumstances.” Shelton anticipated a smooth operation. “You hope you never have to use any backup system,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they can gather dust.” A few fans called asking if the races would be held, but “I’d say they were isolated,” Shelton said. “I guess the word got out that the show was on.”(Free Press)(8-16-2003)


    (8-15-2003)

  • Dale Jr. Featured COLUMN POSTED: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be featured on the cover of USA WEEKEND Magazine’s 8/15 issue. The cover story, The real national pastime? NASCAR (vs.) Baseball, features Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Barry Zito discussing each sport. You can you read this entire article online beginning 8/15 at usaweekend.com, or check your local newspaper for your own copy. Earnhardt on winning a championship, “For three years, I was never taken seriously. But now I’m different.”(USA WEEKEND Magazine PR)(8-13-2003)
    THE COLUMN: NASCAR vs. baseball by Dennis McCafferty. Thanks for the mention Dale Jr.! (8-15-2003)

  • Pemberton to leave Ford and go back to a team? UPDATE denied: Now that Robin Pemberton has successfully helped Ford get its new Taurus through the NASCAR approval process, look for the veteran crew chief to move back to his former job running a race team. The most logical position for Pemberton would be with Robert Yates, whose two-car operation has been struggling.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
    UPDATE: The has been some speculation in the past few weeks, rumors about Robin Pemberton, a Ford’s representative, yearning to return to the ranks of crew chief again. Pemberton says he has no intentions of leaving Ford and the job that he has now. “This rumor circulates every week,” says Pemberton, I’m perfectly happy doing what I’m doing.”(Insider Racing News)(8-15-2003)
  • Fuel Supplier Chosen? a correction UPDATE 3: it was reported earlier that ExxonMobil had won the bid to become the official fuel supplier for NASCAR next season, however, there was some changes [not sure what], and being told that now that ExxonMobil has NOT signed with NASCAR, and remains one of three companies vying for the fuel deal.(8-11-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing it will be Sunoco and there will be an announcement at MIS this weekend.(8-12-2003)
    some NOTES: the Exxon post was removed from the Sporting News article on their site, but the old one is still posted at Fox. MSNBC and Yahoo. What I posted is an update to that. ALSO, some folks are getting confused over the Mobil ads that proclaim them as the “Official Lubricant of NASCAR”, it has been the case since the beginning of 2003 [see Exxon PR or my NASCAR Sponsors page dates 11-7-2002] and has nothing to do with the Fuel deal, which is currently supplied by Unocal 76. Like I said, been told it is Sunoco and will be announced at MIS this weekend.(8-12-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Sunoco has emerged as the favorite to replace Unocal 76 as NASCAR’s fuel supplier. Unocal, which has one of racing’s longest-running sponsorships, is leaving.(Tampa Tribune)(8-13-2003)
    UPDATE 3 hmm…heard this someplace before:…..Sunoco will replace Union 76 as the official fuel of NASCAR’s top three series, beginning in 2004. An industry source, who spoke Thursday to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Sunoco will supply all the fuel used in NASCAR’s Winston Cup – which will become the Nextel Cup next year – Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. NASCAR planned [planned? or plans?] to make the announcement at a news conference Friday at Michigan International Speedway. ConocoPhillips, owner of longtime fuel supplier 76, informed NASCAR it would not be continuing the relationship because of a shift in its marketing strategy and focus after the merger of the two companies last year. The 76 brand, which had several different owners during the period, was the official fuel of NASCAR for more than 40 years. The source said several other companies were interested in replacing 76, but NASCAR chose the Sunoco brand “because of its longtime racing involvement, supplying fuel for about 30 different racing series.” The deal with Sunoco is “long-term,” but details were not immediately available.(ThatsRacin.com/AP – only posting this to stop all the email about it)(8-14-2003)
  • Major NASCAR Announcent Friday UPDATE: Major NASCAR announcement with NASCAR President Mike Helton, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne at 10:00am/et on Friday, Aug. 15 at MichiganInternational Speedway media conference room. AND SPEED Channel will cover Friday’s NASCAR Press Conference LIVE from Michigan, beginning at 10:00am/et. SPEED’s Bob Dillner will be reporting.(8-13-2003)
    UPDATE 2: the announcement is aired on Speed from approx 10:30 to 10:35am/et, the blackout caused some problems with the initial broadcast due at 10:00am/et. No word on any re-air’s, look for it in part on tonight’s Totally NASCAR on FSN/Speed.(8-15-2003)
    UPDATE – It’s Official Sunoco to be NASCAR’s official fuel: NASCAR announced today that Sunoco, the world’s largest manufacturer of premium racing gasoline, will become the “Official Fuel of NASCAR,” beginning with the 2004 season. Under the 10-year agreement, Sunoco will provide racing gasoline for NASCAR’s three national series “ the NASCAR Winston [um, it will be Nextel Cup in 2004] Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Sunoco, a leading manufacturer and marketer of petroleum and petrochemical products, distributes gasoline to more than 400 race tracks in the United States. Sunoco already has a relationship with NASCAR as the gasoline supplier to approximately 80% of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series that competes at 75 tracks.
    “Because our sport literally runs on gasoline, this partnership is one of the most important relationships for NASCAR,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “Sunoco has a well-earned reputation for producing the highest-quality racing gasoline and for reliably distributing it to race tracks. In our NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series association with Sunoco, we have been impressed with Sunoco’s people, products and passion for our sport. We are proud to welcome them as the Official Fuel of NASCAR.”
    “While Sunoco is already the authorized gasoline manufacturer for more than 30 racing series, we are extremely proud of this partnership with NASCAR, one of the world’s premier motorsports and the epitome of performance-based competition,” said Robert Owens, senior vice president, Sunoco. “Sunoco has enjoyed a reputation for producing high-quality race gasoline for more than two decades. Through our dedicated manufacturing facility in Marcus Hook, Pa., Sunoco produces racing gasoline that delivers the exact components, exactly the same way, every time. This partnership with NASCAR is a crowning achievement for our performance products.”
    Sunoco will replace Conoco Phillips’Unocal “76” brand as the official fuel provider of NASCAR in 2004. After the recent merger of Conoco, Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Company, the company’s marketing strategy shifted; Conoco Phillips chose not to renew the 76 fuel supplier contract, which expires at the end of the 2003 season.
    “Unocal 76 has been a trusted and valued partner for more than 40 years,” Helton said. “We’ve enjoyed our long and successful relationship, and would like to thank 76 for their support and partnership in helping grow NASCAR through the years.”
    Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE:SUN), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., is a leading manufacturer and marketer of petroleum and petrochemical products. With 730,000 barrels per day of refining capacity, approximately 4,500 retail sites selling gasoline and convenience items, interests in almost 11,000 miles of domestic crude oil and refined product pipelines and 34 product terminals, Sunoco is one of the largest independent refiner-marketers in the United States. Sunoco is a growing force in petrochemicals with approximately 6 billion pounds of annual sales, largely chemical intermediates used in the manufacture of fibers, plastics, film and resins. Utilizing a proprietary technology, Sunoco also manufactures 2 million tons annually of high-quality blast furnace coke for use in the steel industry. For additional information, visit Sunoco’s Web site at www.sunocoinc.com. Sunoco Performance Products, with a distributor network selling and promoting three racing gasoline brands “ Sunoco Race Fuels, Turbo Blue Racing Gasolines, TRICK Racing Gasoline “ offers information on these products on the following web sites: Sunoco Race Fuels at www.racegas.com, Turbo Blue at www.turboblue.com and TRICK at www.trickgas.com.(NASCAR PR)(8-15-2003)
  • Childress to the IRL? NASCAR Winston Cup team owner Richard Childress might be the newest Indy Racing League team owner. Childress confirmed talks with IRL president Tony George and a couple of open-wheel teams about fielding a car in the 2004 season. Childress’ biggest interest is with Panther Racing, which has an engineer (Andy Brown) who has caught his eye. “It would be a little of our [stock car] technology and a little of theirs,” said Childress. “I think it would help our Winston Cup teams. But I don’t have time to do it on my own.” Childress’ involvement could go a long way toward helping Panther retain two-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who also would like to run the Daytona 500 next year. It also opens some other interesting possibilities, like having Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon, winners of the past two Winston Cup races, in the Indy 500. Childress and Harvick attended this year’s 500 as guests of the Andretti Green team.(Autoweek)(8-15-2003)
  • Power Outage UPDATE: as most probably know, there is a major power outage in the North East effecting North New Jersey [Jayski is in South NJ and not effected], it extends over to Detroit Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is about an hour west of Detroit. Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR reports that power did shut down at MIS for a bit but is now back on and all drivers and teams have already arrived.(8-14-2003 at 6:05pm/et)(8-14-2003)
    UPDATE: All track activities for August 15, 16 and 17 will go on as scheduled at Michigan International Speedway. Michigan International Speedway has electricity and track facilities are running smoothly. AAA Pole Day track activity starts this morning with NASCAR Busch Series practice from 8:45 –10:50am/et. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars will be on track for their practice from 11:00 – 12:55pm/et followed by NASCAR Busch Series Qualifying at 1:05pm/et for Saturday’s Cabela’s 250. NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying will follow the Busch Series at 3:05pm/et.(MIS PR)(8-15-2003)
  • Sarah Fisher Looking at NASCAR? “If the Gen IV (Chevy/Cosoworth engine) isn’t it, and if a major sponsor isn’t forthcoming real soon, (Sarah) Fisher might even turn to stock cars – one of the few four-wheeled racing vehicles she has never commanded. ‘That’s definitely one thing I’m looking at,’ she said. ‘We’ve talked about it this year. It’s a lot easier for a sponsor to justify a NASCAR program, even though it requires more expense.'”(Cincinnati Post via MotorsportsTV.com)(8-15-2003)
  • Atwood and Bradshaw visit the Pentagon: During a recent visit to the Pentagon, the Navy’s [#14 Busch team] racing team visited the Sailors they represent on the track. NASCAR driver Casey Atwood, National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Armando Fitz of the FitzBradshaw Racing team toured the Pentagon and signed autographs for fans. Bradshaw and Atwood also ate lunch with Sailors to show their appreciation for the men and women they represent. Bradshaw and his FitzBradshaw Racing Team partner, Fitz, own the blue and silver Number 14 Navy car, which serves as a retention and recruiting vehicle for the Navy. The car was on display in the Pentagon Courtyard during their visit. Bradshaw, a four-time Super Bowl champion and Fox Sports football commentator, said he has the utmost respect for Sailors and is proud to be associated with the Navy. “It’s an exciting program,” said Bradshaw. “It’s a perfect fit.” As a part of the sponsorship deal, Atwood will represent the Navy in eight Busch Series races and one Winston Cup Series race between Memorial Day and Nov. 30.(Navy Newstand)(8-15-2003)
  • didja know? even if the winner was awarded 50 points instead of 5 for winning a race the top ten in 2003 Drivers Points would be vurtually unchanged? #12-Newman would move from 9th to 7th and #18-Labonte would fall from 7th to 9th. Newman would be 523 behind Kenseth, instead of 658. Marty Smith of NASCAR.com also has the a recent comparison and Kenseth would lead in the IRL and CART systems while being tied in the F-1 system with Dale Earnhardt Jr. See the story: By any system, Kenseth is the points leader.(8-14-2003)
    PLUS see Stock Car Fans updated page: How NASCAR points would look in IRL.(8-15-2003)
  • Some Michigan Facts and Notes: Alan Kulwicki brought the state of Wisconsin a NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship in 1992, by overcoming a 278-point championship points deficit with six races remaining. Eleven years later, Matt Kenseth (#17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford), a native of Cambridge, Wis., is trying to bring the Badger State another title – by keeping a 258-point lead intact with 14 races remaining. History may prove that Kenseth’s task is the harder of the two. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series has one of the longest season schedules in all of professional sports and it’s only recently passed the halfway mark. In other words, there are a lot of laps yet to be raced and plenty of championship points to be won or lost between now and November. Statistically speaking, a driver can gain or lose as many as 151 points in a single race. For Kenseth, a single DNF or irreparable mechanical problem in the early stages of a race could change his championship outlook dramatically. Last weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#8 Budweiser Chevrolet) trimmed 28 points from Kenseth’s lead by finishing just five positions ahead of him. So, Kenseth must steer his No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford relatively trouble-free for the next 4,753 laps – including stops at some of the series’ most unforgiving race tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway.
    Winston Leader Bonus reaches $230,000 … As if the $4.25 million champion’s share of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series point fund were not a big enough incentive, a record $230,000 Winston Leader Bonus is out there for the taking – for Matt Kenseth’s taking, that is. As the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader, Kenseth is currently the only driver eligible for the cash bonus that is awarded to the series points leader if he wins a race. The Winston Leader Bonus, first introduced in 1996, starts at $10,000 and increases by that same amount at each event until it is won. The bonus has not been awarded this season and the current amount is already $40,000 more than the previous record payout. Bobby Labonte collected $190,000 for winning at Indianapolis in 2000.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won two Bud Pole Awards at Michigan – both during the GFS Marketplace 400 weekend in August. His qualifying speed of 191.149 mph in 2000 was the first Bud Pole speed at Michigan over 190 mph and stands as a track record. That speed places Michigan among the top-five fastest tracks, as determined by the top qualifying speed, on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. (Talladega, Daytona, Atlanta, and Texas have produced faster qualifying speeds.) #9-Bill Elliott leads all active drivers with six Bud Pole Awards and seven wins at Michigan.
    Over the years, starting up front at Michigan International Speedway is much more important than many may think. Forty of the 68 NASCAR Winston Cup races at MIS have been won from the first four starting positions (58%). Also, 14 MIS race winners have won from the pole, more than any other starting position. Only 11 races at MIS have been won from outside the top-10 starting positions (16%) and all have occurred in the last 24 races at MIS. #97-Kurt Busch won June’s Sirius 400 from the fourth starting postion. That’s why NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series drivers will put a little bit of extra effort in competing for the top starting position in the August 15 AAA Pole Day at MIS. Also, drivers and teams will be shooting for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s track-record breaking pole speed of 191.149 mph.(MIS PR)(8-15-2003)


    (8-14-2003)

  • Bye-Bye Intrepid? Hello Charger? Daytona?: The Winston Cup Scene is reporting that the Dodge Intrpid will stop being made in 2004. While not announced, Dodge is expected to cease production of the Intrepid by the end of 2004. Dodge is supposedly looking at bring the Dodge Charger or Dodge Daytona back in 2005. Wintson Cup director John Darby said NASCAR has been informed by Dodge that the Intrepid would be replaced. The submission for a new car will be July 1, 2004 but the car doesn’t hvae to be completed by then. The Intrpid has won 15 Cup races since making it debut in 2001.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read online)(8-14-2003)
  • Fittipaldi To Do Double-Duty at Bristol: Petty Enterprises has announced that Christian Fittipaldi will compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Fittipaldi will drive the #9 Bugles/Wells Fargo Financial Ford for Ballew Motorsports. He is in his first season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and will be seeking to gain experience on the high-banked short track that will transfer to his #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge for the Winston Cup Event. Petty Enterprises CEO Kyle Petty suggested the idea to help Fittipaldi gain race experience on the track before the Winston Cup race three nights later. Fittipaldi is excited about the opportunity to run two races at Bristol next week.. He last pulled double-duty at Pocono in July, entering the ARCA and Winston Cup events.. For the ARCA race he qualified third and was running in the top five before losing an engine.(Williams Company PR)(8-14-2003)
  • #74 gets a sponsor for Michigan: In addition to serving as the title sponsor of this weekend’s GFS Marketplace 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), Gordon Food Service, Inc. will take over primary sponsorship of the #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy driven by Tony Raines. With over 100 years of food service experience, GFS Marketplace specializes in offering restaurant quality products and unparalleled service to thousands of businesses and organizations. GFS Marketplace stores, which are open to the public without membership fee, were created to service the needs of local restaurant owners, schools and events planners in 94 locations throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. In addition to the team and race sponsorship, Gordon Food Service is also lending a hand to BACE’s core charity, America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization. “Through a partnership with Tyson Foods, GFS Marketplace will donate 25-pounds of chicken to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for every mile Tony Raines runs in the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday,” Gordon announced. “NASCAR fans are not the kind of people to sit idle while their neighbors are in need, and we’re proud to aid BACE in their support of America’s Second Harvest by assisting the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.” BACE will host a pair of Michigan racing fans that did their part as well. In an August 8th auction held by mid-Michigan radio station WKCQ in support of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan’s annual “Drive to End Hunger,” Jerry Jamieson of Lapeer, MI and his grandson, Christopher, fought off the other bidders to join Raines and BACE crew behind the wall of the GFS Marketplace 400 as honorary crew members. The Second Annual, “Drive to End Hunger” generated over 250,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan’s 22 county area, which contains over 200,000 food insecure individuals serviced through 370 partner agencies that distribute over 13 Million pounds of food annually.(BACE Motorsports PR)(8-14-2003)
  • Burton Plans Fund-Raising Run at Darlington: Roush Racing says driver Jeff Burton and Citgo, primary sponsor of his #99 Ford, will team up again to help raise money to find a cure for muscular dystrophy during the Aug. 31 Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Burton’s car will sport a special red, white and blue paint scheme for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Burton will wear a special helmet and firesuit that will be auctioned off to help raise money for MDA. This will be the third year the driver and sponsor have teamed on the effort.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-14-2003)
  • Nextel Article: Nextel Communications made history June 19 when it signed on to be the title sponsor of what will be known as the NASCAR Nextel Cup, starting with the 2004 season. Nextel replaces the current sponsor, Winston, which has been the title sponsor for 33 years. The 10-year contract for a reported $700 million to $750 million is the largest sponsorship deal in the history of sports, dwarfing other pacts like Nike’s 13-year deal for $440 million with English soccer club Manchester United and Winston’s current $200 million five-year agreement with NASCAR. Nextel beat out other companies like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Visa, which were all reportedly interested in signing on as the title sponsor. But the question that investors must ask is this: Can Nextel make a profit on this deal? At the press conference announcing the agreement, Nextel stated that the deal would not negatively affect its bottom line. A closer look at the numbers shows in fact there could be a tremendous upside to the deal for Nextel. In the first quarter of this year, Nextel generated an average of $67 in revenue per customer. Its 11.1 million customers produced $2.2 billion in service revenue for the quarter. See full article at Forbes.com: Nextel’s Push To Talk Profits and see past news on the deal, announcment and other things on my NASCAR Sponsors page.(8-14-2003)
  • ABC Report to be filmed: ABC, which was to film at Highland Rim Speedway last Saturday, has rescheduled its visit. Track spokesperson Tammy Williams said the camera crew did not complete another assignment in time to get to the track, and plans to try again next month. ABC plans to use the segment as a part of a report about wives whose husbands are involved in a dangerous sport.(Tennessean)(8-14-2003)
  • The Virginia Motorsports Initiative: Gov. Mark R. Warner announced Wenesday, a program to transform the state’s NASCAR venues and other motor sport centers into engines for job creation and tourism, especially in economically depressed Southside and southwest Virginia. Standing in the pit of the 88,000-seat Martinsville Speedway, Warner (D) announced the launch of the Virginia Motorsports Initiative, a public-private partnership that he said will help “grow” jobs from the state’s far southwestern tip to its midsection, a region where recent unemployment rates have climbed as high as 14 percent. Warner said several state agencies will help promote popular racing locales such as Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond as magnets for engine builders, component makers, race car teams and other sectors of an industry that has grown dramatically as a spectator sport — and even boosted the Democrat’s own 2001 campaign for governor. (see full story at the Washington Post)(8-14-2003)
  • Triplett close to being a candidate: A former NASCAR executive has moved a step closer to announcing his candidacy for the 9th District congressional seat. Kevin Triplett of Abingdon, who recently resigned as managing director of business operations for the car-racing association, said yesterday he has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission that will allow him to further explore a bid for the Republican nomination in the so-called “Fightin’ Ninth.” The FEC requires prospective candidates to file a statement of candidacy within 15 days of raising $5,000 for a potential congressional bid, Triplett said. Triplett could make a formal announcement next month. The election will be in November 2004.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-14-2003)
  • SEM Products Sponsors BAM Racing #49 At Michigan and Bristol: SEM Products, Inc., celebrating its 50th year of automotive product research, production, manufacturing and distribution, will sponsor the #49 BAM Racing Dodge of driver Ken Schrader in the upcoming NASCAR Winston Cup stock car races at Michigan Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. SEM will feature its Color Horizons custom finish paint through the sponsorship, and BAM will showcase a special paint scheme using Color Horizons Flakes and Color Horizon Pearl Pigments in the Aug.23 night race at the .533-mile Bristol track. “SEM and the fabricators at BAM are putting together a deal that is going to look incredible under the lights at Bristol,” said Schrader. “Everybody is always trying to come up with these special night paint schemes. With the ingenuity of SEM and the expertise of our fabricators, this is going to be one that will really show off this race car.” SEM Products recently revamped Color Horizons, which create a rainbow of color combinations for almost any look. Color Horizons, which can be applied to metal, aluminum or plastic surfaces, and is available in an array of base and candy concentrates, metal flakes, and pearlescent pigments as well as easy to use aerosols for a showstopping finish. “We are very pleased SEM Products and Color Horizons will be on our car for the next two races,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns BAM Racing along with her husband Tony. Having SEM with its history of excellence as a part of BAM Racing means a lot to all of us,” she continued. “We plan on giving them our best effort for two races, and are excited to see how good our car will look at Bristol when we use Color Horizons.”(Williams Company PR)(8-14-2003)
  • Final Watkins Glen TV Ratings: The Sirius At The Glen on NBC finished with final numbers of a solid 5.6 rating and 15 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. This is a 5 percent increase over last year’s race, and the numbers represent 5,926,000 households. Sunday’s race was the second highest rated sports broadcast for the week, finishing behind the NFL Hall of Fame Game, which garnered a 7.4 rating and 13 share in prime time on ABC.(MotorsportsTV.com)(8-14-2003)
  • Bodine to announce sponsor soon UPDATE and a Truck ride for Geoffrey: Motorsports marketing agency, RKR MotorSports has inked a long-term primary sponsorship deal for Brett Bodine Racing’s #11 NASCAR Winston Cup team. While the identity of the new sponsor has not yet been made public, this new sponsorship program will begin during the second half of 2003 and continue through completion of the 2005 season. Complete details will be announced at a press conference in the coming weeks.(BBR PR)(8-12-2003)
    UPDATE: Brett Bodine’s concerns ended Tuesday, when he signed the largest primary sponsorship contract his team has ever had. The deal, which is expected to begin at the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C., on Aug. 31, will last through the 2005 season. The deal was announced Tuesday on Bodine’s official Web site, www.brettbodine.com. Bodine could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The name of the sponsor, which Bodine said in June would be new to NASCAR, will be announced at a press conference in a few weeks. “This is going to be more money than he’s ever had,” team spokeswoman Carolyn Carrier said from her North Carolina home Wednesday night. Carrier said Bodine told her, “This is such a huge relief to know we have a future. I definitely slept better last night.” Bodine had been running a scaled-down Winston Cup schedule this year, with a small sponsorship from Hooters. Since Hooters left the team in June, Bodine has attempted to race in only one event, the Brickyard 400 earlier this month. Bodine had been courting this sponsor prior to learning of Hooters’ decision to pull its money. Carrier said the money should be able to take the team up a level, though it will probably take some time to do so. “You can’t just spend that kind of money overnight and expect to come out of the box and improve,” she said. “It will help us get the people, the equipment, and get everything the way we had hoped to be all these years.” She said real improvement should be seen heading into the 2004 season. “Every year we’ve been scrambling at the last minute not knowing what we were going to do,” Carrier said. “This will be such a total relief to be able to plan ahead for a change. We’ve never been able to do that.” Carrier, who said Bodine had to lay off “most everybody” on the team, said he is in the process of hiring people back. “We were bare bones,” Carrier said. “We didn’t have the funds to do anything and were not sure of the future.” In addition, Carrier said a deal is in the works for the team to run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004, with Brett’s older brother, Geoffrey, doing the driving. “That looks good,” she said. “That would just be icing on the cake. It would be wonderful.”(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-14-2003)
  • Drivers willing to pay for safety crews: #48-Jimmie Johnson said that drivers are willing to spend their own money to provide a full-time traveling safety team that NASCAR executives have steadfastly refused to pay for. ‘I guarantee you that is something every driver would like to see happen,’ Johnson said of canning the dangerous yellow-flag racing rule. ‘And if it was required of the drivers to help in the funding of that safety team, I think the drivers would all participate. I’d like to see us put something in place like the CART series has, with a traveling group of (safety) people that all the drivers know and all the team members know, that are trained professionals and know our race cars inside and out and can respond immediately and be there on time. I know Alex Zanardi, and I know people that work with him. If that crew of people that CART has was not there and didn’t start working on him immediately and rode on the helicopter with him to the hospital, Alex wouldn’t be here today.” Safety has resurfaced as an issue among NASCAR drivers, particularly the slow response time of emergency teams – in part because of NASCAR’s rule about racing back to the caution flag – and the difficulty in getting out of a wrecked car. Racing back to the yellow, Johnson said, is part of the problem. ‘That’s a big part of it,’ Johnson said. ‘The last thing we want to do is put an ambulance or truck full of safety workers in harm’s way because we race back to the caution. On a road course I think you could probably roll a little easier in come cases. But on an oval you’ve got cars coming at 200 mph. You’ve got to wait until everybody is contained by the pace car.” NASCAR has a new emergency roof hatch that is expected to be approved later this summer. But some drivers are wary about installing it.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2003)
  • #21 testing at AMS UPDATE 2 Jarrett testing a 2004 Ford NOT REPLACING RUDD in the #21: on Wednesday, August 13th, the #21 Wood Brothers team and driver Ricky Rudd are scheduled to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway which is closed to public.(AMS PR)(8-12-2003)
    Jarrett to test 2004 Ford at AMS on Wed: Ford Racing will conduct a one-day test session Wednesday, August 13, at Atlanta Motor Speedway to test the 2004 Ford Taurus with NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett. Ford officials originally expected Ricky Rudd to test the car but announced the substitution this week for the new Ford, built by the Wood Brothers. The test session will be closed to the public and to the media.(AMS PR)(8-12-2003)
    NOTE: some folks are reading this a Jarrett replacing Rudd in the #21 – NO, NO, NO – it doesn’t say that…..The Wood Brothers built the 2004 Ford [just as they did with the Taurus when it first was tested]. Rudd ended up not being able to test the car, so Jarrett was recruited, that is all. Rudd will be in the #21 in 2004 and Jarrett will be in the #88 in 2004.(8-13-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The 2004 Ford Racing Taurus participated in a test session at Atlanta Motor Speedway today, and when it was over, Ford Racing officials were very happy. “It went extremely well and pretty much according to plan,” said Greg Specht, Manager, North American Racing Operations, Ford Racing Technology. “And we’re very pleased that we got the track test out of the way.” The 2004 Ford Racing Taurus was built by the Wood Brothers and was driven in the test by 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett, who also was pleased by the test. “Everything went well,” said Jarrett. “The car seems to be very well balanced. They did a really good job of building the car. It looks really nice, the lines on it are good, and it did things on the race track that we think will help us to be more competitive even for next year.” Specht said today’s test with the 2004 Taurus was truly a team effort, involving Wood Brothers Racing, Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing. “I’d like to thank the Woods for allowing Dale Jarrett in their car in place of Ricky Rudd, who had a previous commitment and couldn’t be here today,” said Specht. “This is a great sign of cooperation between our top NASCAR teams. We had all three of our partners represented at the test here today: Dale, being the driver from Robert Yates Racing; obviously, the Wood Brothers built and brought the car here; and, we got engineering support from Roush Racing. I think that’s important as well.” Jarrett said the 2004 Ford Racing Taurus seemed to have improved downforce over the current model. “I can see where the car has potential when you get it in race trim,” said Jarrett. “Something the Fords fight, and that’s a little more front downforce, and it seems like this car may have that without creating a lot of drag. And I think that’s something that we were interested in: Could we make something that was good for us still on the straightaways, but get us through the corners a little bit, too?” The on-track test consisted of a series of multi-lap runs. “They wanted to run over 10 laps at a time, and so we went out and did that, and they were looking at times,” said Jarrett. “They had a certain time that they wanted to see, and I didn’t even know how many laps I was going to be running, I just ran until they told me to come in, that the NASCAR folks were satisfied that that’s what they were looking for.” The 2004 Taurus was tested later in the day with NASCAR at the windtunnel at Lockheed in Marietta, Ga.(Ford Racing PR), see my Ford Past News page for images of the 2004 Ford.(8-13-2003)
    See two images of the test at the Ford Racing site.(8-14-2003)


    (8-13-2003)

  • A Decade at the Brickyard DVD: The continuation of a highly successful partnership created to bring motion picture-quality home entertainment to an estimated 75 million enthusiastic NASCAR racing fans, NASCAR Images and Shoreline Media Group (SMG) today announced the upcoming release of A Decade at the Brickyard. Home to the internationally renowned Indianapolis 500(r) since 1911, the 2.5-mile “Brickyard” is regarded as the most historically significant racetrack in the world. Although it took NASCAR nearly 50 years to reach the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway(r), in one short decade the annual “Brickyard 400(r)” has become one of the most significant dates on the yearly motorsports calendar. A Decade at the Brickyard will trace the popular event from the historic first race in 1994 to a behind-the-scenes coverage of the 2003 Brickyard 400(r). From the first of three race wins for Indiana native Jeff Gordon at the inaugural race in 1994 through Bill Elliott’s touching win in 2002, A Decade at the Brickyard will incorporate all of the colorful Brickyard 400(r) images that only the “Racing Capital of the World” could produce. Thanks to the gifted storytelling of NASCAR broadcast veteran Ken Squier, fans will enjoy an unprecedented presentation of Brickyard history including Ricky Rudd’s 0.183 second win over Bobby Labonte in 1997 and the legendary Dale Earnhardt’s 1995 victory. In addition to reviews of each previous Brickyard 400(r), the NASCAR Images’ award-winning production team will cover the 2003 event with the highest quality of documentary production values. “It is our intention to take our viewers well beyond the Brickyard 400(r) experience they normally enjoy on race day,” explained Jay Abraham, CEO, NASCAR Images. “With A Decade at the Brickyard our growing fan base will have the world’s best garage pass without having to leave the comfort of their living room.” An officially licensed product of NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway(r), A Decade at the Brickyard follows the popular 2003 releases of NASCAR Winston Cup 2002 Year In Review (NASCAR Image’s first ever DVD home video release) and Road to Daytona 2003. The product will first be distributed through SMG’s direct distribution system with advertisements directing customers to call their 800# (800-856-4266) or to purchase through their website at SportsDVDHeadquarters.com.
    “Over the past several months, the overwhelming response to our NASCAR-based video and DVD products has confirmed our commitment to distributing ultra high-quality sports home entertainment products into the marketplace,” added Jennifer Burns, CEO of Shoreline Media Group (SMG). “A Decade at the Brickyard” is an exciting next step toward reaching our objectives.”(Shoreline Media Group), see more at their site: www.sportsdvdheadquarters.com.(8-13-2003)
  • Elliott Sadler’s Pit Crew Wins at Watkins Glen: Elliott Sadler’s pit crew took home the first-place check of $20,000 for winning Sunday’s (Aug. 10) McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Watkins Glen International. The victory was the first for Sadler’s pit crew, which is ranked seventh in the overall McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship point standings. Sadler’s team also became the 13th different pit crew winner in the first 22 NASCAR Winston Cup point races of the season. “The M&Ms pit crew works hard week in and week out to get the job done for me on pit road,” said Sadler. “These days with competition as tight as it is, pit crews are essential to get valuable track position. Their jobs are as important as mine. I’m real proud they won at the Glen.” Sadler’s No. 38 M&Ms Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road at Watkins Glen International – 84.106 seconds. Bobby Labonte’s Interstate Batteries Chevrolet was second with 85.287 and Casey Mears’ Target Dodge was third with 86.504. Sadler’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Dave Smith (front tire changer & car chief), Scott Wood (jackman), Kevin Hall (front tire carrier), Ray Holm (Rear Tire Changer), Paul Volk (rear tire carrier), Norman Koshimizu (gasman) and Danny Dickerson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Raymond Fox III. For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(8-13-2003)

  • PE’s Ray Hudson finishes the Appalachian Trail, raises $45k for VJGC: Not many people can boast that they hiked 2,172 miles, through 14 different states all in one attempt.. Ray Hudson can say just that, and that he raised over $45,000 for his favorite charity. Ray Hudson, a shop fabricator at Petty Enterprises, hiked the entire 2,172-mile Appalachian Trail starting in Springer Mountain, GA on March 1.. Hudson finished his hike on July 21, 143 days since he began.. His inspiration for this incredible hike was to raise funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. On August 11th at 4:00 pm Ray attended a huge welcome home bash and celebrated his very own Ray Hudson Day. The town of Randleman generously named August 11th Ray Hudson Day.. Over 100 individuals who donated to Ray’s hike joined Richard and Kyle Petty at the Petty Enterprises Fab Shop in Thomasville.. A check in the amount of $45,000 from Ray’s hike was presented to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. “My goal was somewhere between $15,000 to $20,000. I just can’t believe that I raised $45,000, I had no idea. This is amazing, thank you”, said Ray Hudson. Kyle Petty was just as shocked at the amount raised, ” Ray we are so proud of you.. By living out your dream you helped us to build our dream of Victory Junction”. For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.org.(The Victory Junction Gang PR)(8-13-2003)
  • Update on Ward and Dusty: Last September it was reported [see the #22 News and Links page and scroll to 9-30/10-5-2002] in the Kansas City Star that Billy Duncan took son six-year-old Dusty Duncan to Grandview for an autograph session with NASCAR driver [#22] Ward Burton. Dusty, along with his four-year-old sister, Angie, suffers from a cleft palate. While the condition doesn’t threaten his life, it affects his personal appearance, which in turn threatens his self-esteem. Burton was touched by the young boy in a way that surprised even Dusty’s parents. After the autograph session, Burton sent a security officer after the parents, desperate to know what was wrong with their son. The security officer tracked down the Duncans and brought them back to Burton. After explaining the condition of their two young children to Burton, he asked how he could help. When the media caught wind of the story an outpour of support ensued on Dusty’s behalf. The Shriner’s Hospital for Children contacted Burton and told him they would handle the surgery for both children and do whatever they could to assist in treatment.
    Many of Burton’s fans inquired as to how they could help the Duncans with medical expenses. Since the Shriner’s Hospital was handling the surgery, an address was posted on the internet for contributions. In addition to Burton’s large donation, many small contributions were made to the Duncan fund.
    The Duncans flew to Galveston, Texas, where Dusty and Angie were evaluated and returned home. After two months without word from the Shriner’s Hospital, Sonja Duncan, the children’s mother, called the Galveston hospital for an update. Sonja was told that the Shriner’s would not be able to assist with the children’s procedures because the family had doctors locally who could provide the service and the children were covered by Medicade. Billy Duncan did not take the news sitting down. He contacted the administrator of the Shriner’s Hospital in Galveston [click for link] and demanded that all of the donations made in Dusty and Angie’s name be returned to the contributors.
    “The administrator asked “what donations,” said Duncan. “After I talked to him awhile, he said he would get something done and they would do the kids’ surgeries.” As of Tuesday, Aug. 5, the Duncan’s were still awaiting a phone call from the hospital.
    The Duncan’s have stayed in contact with Burton’s office and have been assured that something will be done to help their children receive the treatment they need.(see full story at Ward Burton Fan Site – but this has most of the details) That is where things stand as of now, will update as I hear more. The last thing about Dusty on the official Ward Burton Site is from Oct 2002.(8-13-2003)
  • The burnout at the Brickyard: getting many questions about Kevin Harvick’s burnout at the Brickyard 400 when he popped the tire and tore up the rear 1/4 panel. A far as I know, NASCAR, even thou it was rumored a year ago [dated 8-8-2002], did not stop the drivers from doing the victory celebrations, just as long as they stay off the top of the roof [remember the pvc ‘fence’?]. If a driver blows a tire, the team puts new ones on before the car is put threw post-race inspection, under NASCAR’s watchful eye of course. The only thing that got a bit messed up from the fender getting tore up, is that the car didn’t go to the wind tunnel, which most teams would love for NASCAR to do, a free wind tunnel test.(8-13-2003)
  • Sad News: Keith Hutton, 53, succumbed to injuries sustained August 12, 2003 during competition at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Hutton was competing in his qualifying C main with the SCRA sanctioned [Sprint Car Racing Association] Non Winged World Championship Series event at Southern Iowa Speedway when his car made contact with the outside retaining wall and launched into a series of flips, resulting in fatal injuries.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-13-2003)
  • Is the IRL insane? We’ll take him: J.J. Yeley — leading all three of the United States Auto Club’s highly-competitive open-wheel divisions and is trying to duplicate Tony Stewart’s triple crown of 1995, recently broke a USAC record set by A.J. Foyt in 1961. His work ethic is right out of Foyt’s era as he takes care of his sprint car and knows as much about a chassis and engine as any mechanic. At 26, he’s very clever, handsome, articulate and marketable. Yeley is the ideal American oval-track racer and the perfect peg for the puzzle that has become Tony George’s Indy Racing League, which was supposedly formed to restore deserving USAC drivers to Indy-car prominence. A series now dominated by road racers, foreign drivers and Japanese engines is crying out for a Heartland Hero from Indy’s grass roots heritage like Yeley. But, unless one of the IRL’s owners suddenly wises up and notices this kid’s pedigree, he’s headed south to join Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Jason Leffler and Stewart. Yeley will be yet another USAC star swallowed up by NASCAR’s vortex because nobody in the all-oval IRL is paying attention. “I haven’t heard from anyone in the IRL all year but several NASCAR teams have called me,” said Yeley, who qualified for the 1998 Indianapolis 500 at age 21 but has only been employed to drive the IRL’s two-seater around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since that May. “There’s nothing I can do about who’s interested and who isn’t. I don’t have anyone chasing me in the IRL right now and that’s fine by me. I’ve got some things happening in NASCARland and you know that’s where the racers are going right now. There’s nothing available in the IRL for us USAC guys. Our future is in NASCAR.”(see full Robin Miller story at ESPN), imagine the IRL with Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Jason Leffler and Tony Stewart…and NASCAR without them.(8-13-2003)
  • More on Tracy and Childress: How to describe Paul Tracy to stock car racing fans who don’t follow CART? Jimmy Spencer with talent [yikes!]. “We’ve talked on occasion,” Childress told the Indianapolis Star at Watkins Glen over the weekend. “He’d definitely be my kind of driver if he’d like to try Winston Cup racing.” With CART’s future in doubt, Tracy has been checking out his options. And Childress could have an opening next year. Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon will be back in RCR’s #29 and #31 cars, but Steve Park has no such security in the #30 car. Park is a candidate for that ride, as is Ward Burton, who has asked out of his contract with Bill Davis Racing. The next step would be a stock car test, possibly at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, near Tracy’s Nevada home. Tracy, who got his sixth win of the season Sunday at Mid-Ohio, told reporters he’s interested. Though Tracy has a year left on his contract with Players/Forsythe Racing, he has had run-ins with CART’s hierarchy, including CEO Chris Pook. He could be looking for a way out.(Tampa Tribune), see past news/rumors on this at my #30 Team News and Links page.(8-13-2003)
  • Dale Jr. a Free Agent? UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he is a “free agent” and has no long-term commitment to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. In January, Junior said during a news conference he had reached a deal to stay with DEI through 2007. But he never signed a contract and said last weekend at Watkins Glen he has only a “driver’s agreement” that runs from race to race. Junior says he wants to get the contract done—but on his terms. “I’ve paid my dues to get where I am, and I feel I have to stand up for myself,” he says. “There’s too many security blankets on one side of the fence, and there need to be a few on my side. Right now the contract looks out totally after Dale Earnhardt Inc. rather than myself.” Junior expressed concerns that if the complexion of DEI should change through the sale of the company or the addition of a new partner, he wants the option to leave if he doesn’t agree with the new ownership. Junior says he and crew chief Tony Eury Sr., an uncle, and car chief Tony Eury Jr., a cousin, are a package deal. Though Junior hopes to work things out with DEI, there are a lot of fans who would love to see him team up with Richard Childress, his late father’s longtime car owner. DEI better not drag its feet.(Sporting Newsand PRN’s Garagepass)(8-11-2003)
    UPDATE: While Dale Earnhardt Jr. still has not signed a contract to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. through the 2007 season, his sister and business manager said Tuesday that Earnhardt Jr. has “no issues with his team” and no plans to drive anywhere else. “The whole thing is way overblown,” said Kelley Earnhardt, who as business manager for JR Motorsports has been part of the contract talks with DEI. “There is a verbal agreement and 95 percent of the deal is worked out. There are just a few things Dale Jr. and Teresa (Earnhardt, Dale Jr.’s stepmother) need to work out.” Earnhardt said early this year that he’d reached an agreement on a new contract, but the Sporting News and the Performance Racing Network reported Monday that Earnhardt Jr. said this weekend at Watkins Glen that too many of the new deal’s “security blankets” were on the DEI side of the fence. Earnhardt Jr. was quoted as saying he feels a need to take care of himself in the deal. Kelley Earnhardt said Tuesday that none of the remaining issues have anything to do with his role as driver of the No. 8 Chevrolets and that Earnhardt Jr. has no plans to go to any other team. One issue still being discussed, she said, was an ownership position in DEI for Earnhardt Jr.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-13-2003)
  • Lowe’s Testing Dates: Lowe’s Motor Speedway has confirmed open testing dates for the Oct. 11 UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. Testing dates/times on Tuesday, Sept. 2 and Wednesday, Sept. 3 from 3:00 to 10:00pm/et. The main grandstand is open free of charge during each of the testing sessions.(LMS PR)(8-13-2003)
  • Long/Carter withdraw: Veteran NASCAR Winston Cup team owner Travis Carter had hoped to put Carl Long in his #66 Travis Carter Enterprises Ford at Michigan International Speedway this weekend as an opportunity to do research and development work to help out the team. However, plans for this event fell through, and the team will not make the trip to Michigan. Carl Long hopes to drive for Travis Carter again soon if sponsorship can be found to help fund their effort.(Carl Long SIte)(8-13-2003)
  • Fan Sentenced: An angry NASCAR fan who flooded Fox Entertainment with e-mails after a Boston Red Sox game pre-empted an auto race has been sentenced to six months of home detention. The fan paid $36,000 in restitution before his sentencing and also will have to pay a $2,000 fine. He pleaded guilty in May to a federal misdemeanor charge of damage to a protected computer system. He admitted he wrote a computer program that fired off more than a half-million e-mail messages to WFXT-TV 25 in Boston after a Red Sox game was aired instead of a NASCAR race in 2001. The e-mail messages were automatically forwarded to Fox-25’s Los Angeles parent company, Fox Entertainment. The network, thinking it was a hacker attack, shut down Internet communications with the affiliate and was forced to spend about $36,000 to clean up the site.(Sporting News/AP)(8-13-2003)
  • ALSO NOTICED – #01 a PE??: no idea why, but the #01 MB2 Motorsports team and Boris Said are listed as a PE (means POST ENTRY) on NASCAR.com’s OFFICIAL Results from Watkins Glen. Not sure why, this is usually only used for a team that enters at the last minute, unless the #01 team got the entry blank in late. This is why I should learn NOT to do stats pages before the official results come out.(8-11-2003)
    UPDATE: the points, Drivers and Owners reflect that the team and driver both got 46 points, so the PE on nascar.com is probably is a mistake. No speculation needed, thanks.(8-11-2003)
    The Official Watkins Glen Race Results from NASCAR [not NASCAR.com] are now posted, Said and the MB2 team have 46 points from The Glen.(8-13-2003)


    (8-12-2003)

  • Compton in the #4 this week, Brewer to serve as Crew Chief: Stacy Compton was announced as driver of the #4 Kodak Perfect Touch Pontiac for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Compton, who drove for Morgan-McClure Motorsports in July at the. Daytona Pepsi 400, had an eighth place finish in last year’˜s Busch Series race at Michigan. Tim Brewer will serve as crew chief. (Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR), no word on the #04 which was rumored to be running, looks like a one car team at MIS.(8-12-2003)
  • Bodine to announce sponsor soon: Motorsports marketing agency, RKR MotorSports has inked a long-term primary sponsorship deal for Brett Bodine Racing’s #11 NASCAR Winston Cup team. While the identity of the new sponsor has not yet been made public, this new sponsorship program will begin during the second half of 2003 and continue through completion of the 2005 season. Complete details will be announced at a press conference in the coming weeks.(BBR PR)(8-12-2003)
  • Richard Childress to Unveil No. 3 “Victory Lap” Car UPDATE and an IMAGE: On Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 2:00pm/et at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, six-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion car owner Richard Childress and four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon will attend a special press conference concerning the Lowe’s Motor Speedway portion of the “Victory Lap” program which is recognizing R.J. Reynolds’ contributions to the sport. H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and Mark Dyer, vice president of licensing and consumer products for NASCAR, will also participate in the press conference which will conclude with the unveiling of the specially painted #3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that Childress will drive during pre-race festivities for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 11. In what promises to be one of the most memorable moments of the “Victory Lap” tour, Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 Dupont Chevrolet alongside Childress and the #3 during the pre-race festivities. Gordon’s “Victory Lap” car will also be on display.(LMS PR)(8-11-2003)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress unveiled the specially painted #3 “Victory Lap” Chevrolet Monte Carlo Tuesday afternoon at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. In what promises to be one of the most memorable moments of the “Victory Lap” tribute program recently detailed by NASCAR, Childress will drive the No. 3 during pre-race festivities for Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 11. The “Victory Lap” tribute will recognize drivers who captured a NASCAR Winston Cup championship during R.J. Reynolds’ 33-year sponsorship tenure. The tribute will take place at designated tracks, including Lowe’s Motor Speedway, throughout the remainder of the season, Winston’s last as title sponsor of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Offering a fitting tribute to Winston, the Lowe’s Motor Speedway portion of the “Victory Lap” tribute will mark the first on-track appearance of the #3 car since the death of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500. The special No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo unveiled by Childress features the legendary Earnhardt black along the bottom with silver dominating the hood, roof and rear deck lid. The “Victory Lap” logo, honoring Winston, appears several places on the car. Earnhardt won five NASCAR Winston Cup Series events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and was the first three-time winner of The Winston, NASCAR’s annual all-star race. Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon will represent “active” NASCAR Winston Cup champions in the UAW-GM Quality 500 “Victory Lap.” He will drive a specially painted #24 Dupont Chevrolet alongside Childress and the #3 during a pre-race parade lap.(LMS PR)(8-12-2003)
    IMAGE: see an image of the #3 car on my Victory Lap Paint Schemes page, along with shots of most of the cars, including new shotss of the ‘real’ #5.(8-12-2003)
  • Paul Tracy to NASCAR? UPDATE 2 with Childress: Volatile, hard-driving Paul Tracy, an outspoken Indy-car star, may be looking for place to race next season, with CART going down the tubes. And two Winston Cup team owners interested in Tracy are Chip Ganassi and Richard Childress. Childress has made a career of dealing with hard-to-deal with drivers. It’s unclear if Childress might be considering expanding to four Winston Cup teams.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2003)
    UPDATE: ….Childress is pondering what could be his next reclamation project, Paul Tracy, the wildest of the Indy-car wild men. Now Childress might not wind up hiring Tracy – though a large number of Winston Cup regulars would love the chance to put a fender to Tracy and see how much excitement he could take – but Childress said that Tracy is ‘definitely’ a card on the table for him. That Childress would even take a gander at another big project such as this, instead of simply settling for a solid guy such as Steve Park or Ward Burton, shows how confident Childress is that his operation has finally turned the corner.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-10-2003)
    UPDATE 2: While rumours were rampant late last week that Richard Childress might be interested in [Paul Tracy] the 34-year-old CART Champ Car star, nobody on the team was willing to confirm the validity. But Tracy’s win Sunday at Mid-Ohio suddenly got Childress to speak about the possibility of having Tracy “on the list” of drivers he’d like on his team. “He’s a card on the table,” Childress said of his interest in Tracy. The next move would have to be a Winston Cup test for Tracy, likely at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Tracy told reporters in Lexington on the weekend he would be interested in such a test.(Toronto Star)(8-12-2003)
  • The Battle of the Busch’s: Brotherly love will be left in the pit area Tuesday [August 12th] night when NASCAR Winston Cup ace Kurt Busch squares off against younger brother and rising star Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Celebrity Grudge Match during the final night of the 10th annual Summer Shootout Series at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Even though the two will undoubtedly race against each other many times in the future, the NASCAR Celebrity Grudge Match showdown, in which the two Las Vegas natives will drive Winston Cup-style convertibles, will finally end a long-standing tie.(See more and info on attending at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Site)(8-12-2003)
  • Testing at Darlington: Cup points leader, #17 Matt Kenseth tested at Darlington Raceway on Monday, August 11th and will again on Tuesday.(Darlington Raceway PR)(8-12-2003)
  • Testing at Bristol: Michael Waltrip will test his #15 Napa Chevy and #99 Aaron’s Dream machine at Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Kenny Wallace will be there also helping Scott Wimmer with his Busch Team.(Speed Channel’s IWC) Also, add #2-Rusty Wallace and Casey Atwood testing the #19 Dodge.(8-12-2003)
  • #88 Tests at Kentucky: The #88 UPS Racing Team is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday before heading to Michigan for this weekend’s race activities. Crew chief Shawn Parker said Tuesday’s test session will determine which car Jarrett will drive this weekend at Michigan.(UPS PR)(8-12-2003)

    (8-11-2003)

  • TV Ratings for The Glen: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Sirius at The Glen proved to be the top sports event on television this weekend, according to Nielsen Media Research’s overnight numbers, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The race drew a 5.0 rating and a 12 share. The second biggest draw was NBC’s pre-race show with a 2.9/7, ahead of CBS’s 2.8/6 for its final round coverage of the PGA Tour event. Last year’s race drew a final 5.3/14, which was up 12.8 percent over the 4.7/13 in 2001.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-11-2003)
  • Cingular to Donate $100,000: Cingular Wireless, primary sponsor of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, will donate $50,000 each to FDNY and Special Olympics as a result of Robby Gordon’s win Sunday at Watkins Glen. The donation marks the third time Gordon’s on-track success has benefited FDNY and Special Olympics. Following his November 2001 victory at New Hampshire International Speedway, car owner Richard Childress and Gordon donated $203,924, their total purse money, to the Uniformed Firefighters Association’s Widow’s and Children’s Fund. Cingular Wireless also donated $18,800 to Special Olympics Team USA in April 2003, a $100 per-lap-completed donation, after Gordon completed all of the 188 laps in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. Cingular Wireless had pledged to each organization $50,000 if Gordon won Sunday’s Sirius at The Glen.. As part of Cingular Wireless’ support of FDNY and Special Olympics, the #31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevrolet also carried a special paint scheme this past weekend at Watkins Glen International. “Sweeping both road course races this year is pretty special but being able to raise money for FDNY and Special Olympics makes it even more awesome for me,” Gordon said. “It’s all about us being able to give something back to these everyday heroes. I got to know a lot of the guys with FDNY back in 2001 when Richard Childress and I presented a check to them after we won at Loudon. They’re just a great group of selfless people and I’m glad we could help them out. I’ve also gotten to know a lot of the athletes with Special Olympics as a result of Cingular Wireless’ relationship with them and they are truly amazing people in everything they do. This win was for both of these great organizations.” A date and location for Cingular and Gordon’s check presentation to FDNY and Special Olympics will be announced in the near future. Cingular Wireless is the largest U.S. corporate sponsor in Special Olympics history, raising more than $28 million nationwide during the past three years.(RCR PR)(8-11-2003)
  • Riggs to DEI? UPDATE 2: hearing that Scott Riggs may be the new driver for the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004 if a sponsor is signed.(6-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Insiders continue to look for Scott Riggs to get the call to join DEI next season, if sponsors agree. DEI officials expect to have a decision on the company’s third team car by Darlington in three weeks.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2003)
  • Finishing Order for the Sirius at the Glen looks like it has changed, with #41-Mears being dropped from 22nd to 32nd and all in between moving up a spot. I will correct my stats pages already done accordingly. Please not the UNOFFICIAL RESULTS at NASCAR.com still show the OLD order while most AP results show the new one and most post-race PR’s reflect the AP order. NASCAR.com has released OFFICIAL Results with the corrected final results.
    Why the change: Rookie #41-Casey Mears lost 10 spots Sunday after being penalized 30 seconds for going straight through the Inner Loop. Mears had unofficially finished 22nd before the penalty, which was the highest finish of any rookie. After the penalty, he ended up 32nd. AND During the last lap of the race, Mears ran out of fuel and drove through a section of the racetrack that is not allowed. He was penalized for the move and relegated to a 32nd place finish.(8-11-2003)
  • Subway on the #54 UPDATE: Didn’t hear about this or notice until Bodine spun out the #54 Ford, but Subway is on the rear quarter panels of the National Guard Ford.(NBC Race Coverage)(8-10-2003)
    UPDATE: supposedly it is a 2-race deal at Watkins Glen and Martinsville.(8-11-2003)
  • Lepage returns in the #57 to MIS: After successfully qualifying and running in the 10th Annual Brickyard 400, Team CLR Racing will now head to Michigan International Speedway to compete in the GFS Marketplace 400 with Kevin Lepage as driver of the #57 Ford Taurus. Team CLR Racing was at Michigan with Hermie Sadler in his #02, Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling Chevy Monte Carlo’s, in both the ARCA and Winston Cup races run earlier this year. In the ARCA race they qualified 2nd and finished 2nd to Casey Mears. In Cup they qualified 16th and finished 36th. Team CLR is still looking for both major and associate sponsorships. To learn more about Team CLR on the Internet, surf www.TeamCLR.com or www.OTWracing.com.(Team CLR PR)(8-11-2003)
  • Didja know? Richard Childress Racing teammates #29-Kevin Harvick and #31-Robby Gordon were the only drivers to finish in the top five in both of this season’s road-course races this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-11-2003)
  • McClure Quotes on Kodak: Larry McClure, owner, quotes: “I think today was a bright spot for the team. It was something to build on and move on to Michigan. We have Bristol coming up and some other good tracks for the team. It was exciting to have two cars in a race for the first time. Our sponsorship with Kodak will continue for another two and a half years. I hope after that, it will go on for another 18 years. That is a question many people have been asking me. When someone is not having success, the buzzards start flying. We would certainly like to be doing better. This is a business. We make decisions that work sometimes and other times they do not. This is no different than other businesses in that area, Even Kodak has to go through that. We spent Thursday up at Kodak Park in Rochester. The support they showed our race team was an inspiration. Everybody is trying to do the best they can do.”(Morgan-McClure PR)(8-11-2003)
  • Traction Control being used by 16 Cup drivers? As many as 16 Winston Cup teams may have used traction control this season, #54-Todd Bodine says. And he says he’s been beaten this season by the illegal but virtually undetectable technology that keeps a car from spinning its rear wheels: ‘Yes, unequivocally yes. I’ve heard numbers that up to 16 cars in here have it. The funny part is the guys who win with it and then forget they have it, and they can’t do the burnout. So they stop, switch the (ignition) box, and then do the burnout. It’s happened three times in Busch this year with two different drivers.’ Traction control – standard equipment on many passenger cars – has long been a no-no in NASCAR. It was also a no-no in Formula One until inspectors finally gave up trying to police it. Some Winston Cup teams want NASCAR to legalize it, too, since it has proven impossible to police. ‘They’re almost undetectable,’ Bodine says. ‘There is one the driver himself can put in and take out when he gets in and out of the car. I don’t know exactly how they all work, but I know they’re hard to find. ‘They’ve caught people, but the people they’ve caught, they’re not going to say anything about. That’s just the way they do it.” So what’s NASCAR to do, just ignore it? ‘It’s almost to that point’ Bodine says. ‘It’s either that, or do like ASA and NASCAR puts the ignition boxes in the car itself,’ Bodine says. The penalty for using traction control? ‘You would definitely be thrown out of NASCAR,’ car owner Jim Smith says. ‘No fine. Just indefinite suspension. Pack your stuff up and go home.’ However Smith concedes he’s been hearing numerous reports that traction control is widespread, particularly on the Truck tour. ‘There are even systems out there you can operate with your cellphone,’ Smith added. Car owner Jack Roush dismisses all the talk: ‘I’m like the dog that never heard the whistle, so I’m not getting fed. It looks to me like people are organizing a snipe hunt. I doubt NASCAR is missing anything, certainly not with the teams they inspect. If there were an opportunity, it would be for a team that wasn’t torn down after a race.(see full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2003)
  • Dallenbach to run some Busch races UPDATE 3:: It appears the deal that former Winston Cup crew chief and current FOX Sports broadcaster Larry McReynolds and driver/broadcaster Wally Dallenbach have been trying to put together to compete in the Busch Series will happen. Dallenbach, the former SCCA Trans-Am champion who works the second half of the NASCAR season for TNT/NBC, plans to compete next weekend in a Reiser Enterprises car when the Busch Series races at Kentucky Speedway. But he and McReynolds are on the verge of announcing a deal to race four times in the fall, in Busch races at Kansas Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.(NASCAR.com)(6-8-2003)
    UPDATE – Dallenbach to run Kentucky: NBC/TNT broadcaster/driver Wally Dallenbach is entered at Kentucky in the #17 Aleve Ford owned by John Reiser. The car has been driven by NASCAR Winston Cup Series point leader Matt Kenseth in six races this year and has been to Victory Lane twice (California and Charlotte). In three races last year, Dallenbach had two top-10 finishes with his best (seventh) coming at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October.(NASCAR PR)(6-11-2003)
    UPDATE 2: hearing the sponsor for Dallenbach and McReynolds will be Mr.Clean and the team will be run out the Reiser shop and be #17.(6-11-2003)
    UPDATE 3: NBC/TNT broadcast Wally Dallenbach mentioned during the NBC’s Watkins Glen broadcast that he had a five-race Busch Series deal with John Reiser [the #17 Busch team] and hinted that they will have a ‘clean’ sponsor, then the camera show a Mr. Clean look-a-like and Wally said it was a clue. The races mentioned above plus the 2004 Busch race at Daytona.(8-11-2003)
  • The Big Red Hauler is busy: The NASCAR hauler was a busy place after Sunday’s race. Kevin Harvick and crew chief Todd Berrier were summoned following Harvick’s last-lap incident with Jeff Gordon, who had run out of gas. Making the trip on their own accord were drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon. Earnhardt Jr. went to thank NASCAR officials for allowing him to remove the in-car camera system from his car Saturday. He said it had thrown off his No. 8 Chevrolet’s balance. Gordon went to the hauler to discuss his wait for an ambulance to arrive at his last-lap wreck and the ensuing ride to the track’s infield care center.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-11-2003)
  • Simpson Update: Speculation in the garage is that safety guru Bill Simpson settled his suit with NASCAR out of court in order to simplify the distribution of his new product line, Impact Racing, which features, among other things, improved helmets. Simpson says he has pressurized the helmet with air from the top, which keeps carbon monoxide away from the driver’s face and prevents the visor from getting clogged up. The helmet is a pound lighter than his previous models, which is better on the neck during impact. Joe Nemechek, Ricky Craven, Casey Mears and Rusty, Kenny and Mike Wallace are wearing the new helmets.(Sporting News)(8-11-2003)
  • Students Take the Checkered Flag: On Monday, August 11th, NASCAR Technical Institute Celebrates its Inaugural Graduating Class, the first graduation ceremony of 80 students. Developed by the Universal Technical Institute, Inc. and NASCAR to boost the number of automotive service technicians entering the manufacturer, aftermarket and motorsports industries, the institute is the country’s first- ever technical training school to combine a complete automotive technology program and a NASCAR-specific motorsports program. The graduates, who began their studies in July 2002 as the institute’s initial students, have trained to excel as entry-level technicians. The school provides coursework in engine construction, electrical, fuel and lubrication systems, drive trains, body and chassis fabrication and racing theory principles.(dbusiness.com) and see their site at www.ntieducation.com and for other schools and programs [such as NASCAR looking to train officials], see my Racing Schools/Jobs page. Been told this ceremony actuall took place on Friday, August 8th, not today.(8-11-2003)

 


 

  • (8-10-2003)

  • So what’s up with Shawna? Shawna Robinson returned to her auto racing roots Saturday during an Iowa State Fair special held at the half-mile oval track at the fairgrounds. The Des Moines native came to compete last summer, but her transmission locked during a heat race. Saturday she again left her world of asphalt behind for a chance to circle her former dirt track. And there was lots of dirt – and dust – during the annual daytime races. “Let me just say that I couldn’t see anything,” Robinson said. The former Saydel High School student finished 20th out of 25 cars in the “A” feature for stock cars, which turned into a dust bowl. She qualified for the “B” feature through a heat, but was given a promoter’s provisional to start at the back of the “A” feature. “I feel like I need to get used to it,” she said before her feature. “I’m a little nervous, but it’s all in fun.” She rarely drives on dirt tracks anymore. Robinson, 38, was the first woman in more than a decade to start a NASCAR Winston Cup race when she did so in 2001. She became the first woman in more than two decades to start the Daytona 500 in 2002. “Last year it was amazing how many people looked at me as being a big-time racer because I drove Winston Cup,” she said. “I never looked at it that way.” Robinson drove John Hunnell’s No. 62 stock car Saturday. The two attended the same high school. “Last week I drove this car and won,” Hunnell said. “We’ll see how she does.” As the afternoon went on and the track dried, visibility reduced dramatically. A thick cloud of dust hovered around the track surface. Steve Jackson, defending track champion from Des Moines, won the stock car feature. He took over the first position midway through the 15-lap race. Jackson, who also races in Boone, said it was nice to say he raced against a NASCAR driver. But since Robinson rarely competes on dirt, Jackson said he doesn’t think he defeated her under fair circumstances. “Put us in one of her cars on asphalt, with her in front, then see what happens,” Jackson said. Robinson, who now lives in Charlotte, N.C., competed in an ARCA race earlier this season and in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in June for Aaron’s Dream Team at Texas Motor Speedway, which had an all-female pit crew. She’ll race with Aaron’s Dream Team twice more – in September and October. “Next year I want to get in a Busch car and earn my way to Winston Cup,” Robinson said.(Des Moines Register)(8-10-2003)
  • StockCarFans.com – Rumblings – Watkins Glen: #31-Robby Gordon led the last 30 laps today at Watkins Glen International and captured his second win of the season (and 3rd of his career) in the Sirius at The Glen. He becomes the 3rd Sweeper since we added Infineon Raceway to the schedule in 1989, and they’re both named Gordon. Jeff did it twice, in 1998 and 1999 (more on him later).
    Robby’s win moves him into a tie for 80th on the all-time win list, and is the 74th win for RCR Enterprises (or 76th if you count the two that Ricky Rudd got for Childress Racing in 1983).
    It was certainly a wild event….a pit fire, splashers in the mud, sun bathers on the beach, a few visits to the kitty litter, and trouble for Jeff Gordon in the first turn of the first lap and last turn of the last lap. He lacked about 100 feet from finishing (Mr. Lead Lap will like that).
    Gonna be interesting to see what happens on the safety front the next couple weeks. The drivers are starting to get their fill of it, and with Mike Helton saying “this works for NASCAR” you can bet they’re gonna come back with “how about something that works for NASCAR’s drivers”? Ryan Newman was rather vocal after his wreck on Friday (to take that long to get to a driver during practice has gotta take some ‘splainin), and Jeff Gordon touched on it after his last lap crash today. Now we’ll see if NASCAR responds.
    #39-Scott Pruett (2nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 6th here last year. His Top-5 gives us 28 drivers to score that mark this season….last year’s number was 31. His Top-10 gives us 40 drivers at that level this season….last year’s number was 42.
    #22-Ward Burton (6th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Martinsville last October.
    #0-John Andretti (19th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Fontana in April (only 8 races).
    #39-Scott Pruett led today for the first time since he led here once for three laps in August of 2001. He’s the 42nd driver to lead a lap this season…. we had 46 of those last year.
    STREAKIN….Robby Gordon has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races. Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Scott Pruett (+26), followed by Jeremy Mayfield (+24), Dale Jarrett (+23), and Michael Waltrip (+21). The Big Dropper was a tie between Jeff Gordon (-32) and Rusty Wallace (-32), followed by Greg Biffle (-29), Boris Said (-29), and Ron Fellows (-20).
    Matt Kenseth lost 28 points off his lead today….it’s now 258 over Dale Earnhardt Jr. No drivers were mathematically eliminated today; that line remains unchanged at 46th and below.
    Kevin Harvick (7th to 5th), Tony Stewart (13th to 11th), and Ward Burton (22nd to 20th) made the only multiple position gains in the Top 45. Rusty Wallace (10th to 12th) and Dave Blaney (24th to 26th) did the same in the opposite direction.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-10-2003)
  • Thanks Ryan: at the Winston Breakfast Club on Saturday, Ryan Newman was the guest, one of his comments were pretty cool [so? one of the few times I am self serving here, lol]: Question: WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?
    Answer: “Thanks to Jayski, I was looking on there and at this time last year we had 10 more points than we do now [see the Stats and Stats Links page for the stat]. It’s just that Matt Kenseth’s had a runaway year. We’ve had our problems no doubt, but we’ve overcome those. We’ve had bigger problems in the form of crashes, but we’ve had bigger victories as far as the quantities of wins. We’re just going to go out and do the best job we can and let the points lie where they lie. We can’t make points. We can just do out best to get what we can.”(Golin Harris PR)(8-10-2003)
  • CASCAR Team stuff stolen: For the second time in the past few years, the CASCAR Super Series’ visit to Montreal’s Autodrome St-Eustache has been marred by the theft of the entire race hauler, race cars and tools of one of the series’ top teams. Last night, Fitzpatrick Motorsports was the victim as the team’s hauler – including Don Thomson’s #4 Home Hardware Chevy and John Fitzpatrick ’s #14 Cambridge Rigging Chevy – were stolen from the parking lot of the Radisson Hotel, in Laval, QC.(more info at Inside Canadian Racing), been told the hauler was recovered, but empty.(8-10-2003)
  • Biffle not signed…yet: during a NASCAR This Morning [Fox Sports Net – each Sunday at 10:30am/et] #16-Greg Biffle was interviewed and asked by John Roberts if he was signed for next year [2004], Biffle said no, but they are working on a contrat extension for next year and beyond and to do some Busch Series racing.(8-10-2003)
  • Paul Tracy to NASCAR? UPDATE with Childress: Volatile, hard-driving Paul Tracy, an outspoken Indy-car star, may be looking for place to race next season, with CART going down the tubes. And two Winston Cup team owners interested in Tracy are Chip Ganassi and Richard Childress. Childress has made a career of dealing with hard-to-deal with drivers. It’s unclear if Childress might be considering expanding to four Winston Cup teams.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2003)
    UPDATE: ….Childress is pondering what could be his next reclamation project, Paul Tracy, the wildest of the Indy-car wild men. Now Childress might not wind up hiring Tracy – though a large number of Winston Cup regulars would love the chance to put a fender to Tracy and see how much excitement he could take – but Childress said that Tracy is ‘definitely’ a card on the table for him. That Childress would even take a gander at another big project such as this, instead of simply settling for a solid guy such as Steve Park or Ward Burton, shows how confident Childress is that his operation has finally turned the corner.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-10-2003)
  • Newman not happy with rescue workers response UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman qualified 13th for Sunday’s Sirius at The Glen in a backup Dodge after crashing his primary car in practice Friday morning. Newman, who wound up with his car turned sideways sitting on the driver’s side after it slammed thick foam barriers guarding a tire barrier off Turn 9 of the Watkins Glen course, was uninjured in the crash. Still, he was critical of the way the track’s emergency team handled the crash. “I hit a rock with my helmet getting out of my car because the safety crew was about 10 minutes late getting there,” he said. “It was pretty ridiculous. When they got there they didn’t know what they were doing”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-9-2003)
    UPDATE: Ryan Newman rolled his car onto its driver side at Turn 9. While rolling a car is never pleasant, waiting for the safety crew to arrive at the car to help the driver out of the car borders on the intolerable, at least according to Newman. “I got loose in Turn 9 and had a couple of wiggles and never recovered,” explained Newman. “I hit a rock with my helmet getting out of my car because the safety crew was about 10 minutes late getting there. They were definitely late,” Newman continued. “It was pretty ridiculous. When they got there they didn’t know what they were doing. It seemed like they were pretty uneducated about what to do.” Watkins Glen International safety matters are handled by the volunteer organization Race Services Incorporated. According to the RSI website the crew is “an organization of volunteers committed to promoting the cause of road racing enthusiasts, and promoting Watkins Glen International as a leader in road racing.” The only requirement for a first responder job is that the volunteer must be a certified member of a New York or Pennsylvania fire department. One case showing the volunteer group’s lack of familiarity with NASCAR specific issues, which occurred in 2001, had rescue volunteers pouring water onto a TV box [#31-Robby Gordon] which contained a significant amount of lithium in the battery pack that powered the unit. This combination of water and lithium cells caused the cells to explode.(Ford Racing), maybe time to rethink a full-time traveling rescue crew?(8-10-2003)
    AND Winston Cup director John Darby responded to Newman’s concerns. “Our safety concerns we never sleep on,” Darby said. “Any incident on the racetrack, including the one yesterday, if it took 30 seconds to respond, then immediately after that incident the team that’s responsible is trying to figure out how to do it in 20 seconds. It’s something we never sit still on,” Darby said. “If we didn’t do it 100 percent right, we’ll find out why and the next time we’ll make sure we do.” Darby said he personally was not aware how much time it took from the impact of Newman’s car into the barrier and the arrival of the safety vehicles. The vehicles responded from a station that was at the exit of the Inner Loop, the track section right in front of where Newman crashed that’s little more than 200 yards away. Darby said the track’s safety vehicles never move until they are dispatched by the NASCAR control tower. “We know that if we pull an emergency vehicle out in front of a race car that’s traveling 180 miles an hour, we’re going to have a bigger problem than we started with,” Darby said. “There’s a lot of things that play into moving equipment, and when and how it’s moved.” Newman said that, particularly in practice mode, NASCAR needs to do a better job.(more at NASCAR.com)(8-10-2003)
  • NBC to have 57 Cameras, Including the Return of “Squash-Cam”: Just as the road course presents a unique set of challenges for drivers it also presents a unique set of challenges for broadcasters. “Unlike the typical oval track, there is no single camera that can cover the entire course at Watkins Glen,” said Mike Wells, director, NASCAR on NBC & TNT. “It’s a combination of there being so many turns, the track being so big, the elevation changes and the inner-loop that makes it a challenge for everybody. For many of the same reasons the course is tough for some of the drivers, it’s also a challenge for the television crew.”
    57 Cameras & “Squash-Cam” Returns: NBC’s production arsenal includes 58 cameras to cover the road course at Watkins Glen. “Squash-Cam,” which was used effectively last weekend at the Brickyard 400, will be taken to Watkins Glen for this Sunday’s race. “Squash-Cam” is a lipstick-size camera that will be buried in the grass in the inner-loop (chicane) at Watkins Glen. The camera often shows a car moving over or extremely close to the camera lens to give the audience the feeling of being “squashed.”(NBC PR)(8-10-2003)
  • 20 USAF Recruits to be sworn in: The Air Force will have a special paint scheme on Ricky Rudd’s #21 Motorcraft Ford Taurus for a special occasion. Before the race, Gen. John W. Handy, who heads the U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command, will officially swear in 20-plus Air Force recruits [Jayski remembers when he got sworn in, Philly in a hot room – this sounds like more fun]. Four F-16 fighter jets from the 174th Air National Guard Fighter Wing in nearby Syracuse, N.Y., will do a flyover to mark the occasion. Rudd, who qualified 26th, has 25 top-five finishes in 48 road-course races, more than any driver in NASCAR history. He has two wins and eight top-five finishes at Watkins Glen and won the pole last year.(ESPN/AP)(8-10-2003)
  • #8 Removes In-Car Camera: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. received permission Saturday from his team’s sponsor, Budweiser, to have the in-car camera system it had paid for removed from his car. Each week several teams’ cars are equipped with the in-car systems. The systems are generally paid for by one or more of a team’s sponsors. With the system removed, Earnhardt Jr.’s team had to add 30 pounds of weight to offset the difference. Earnhardt Jr. sought the change following Saturday’s final 45-minute practice session. He said the in-car system’s weight was throwing off the balance of his car on the road course. “It was enough to kind of offset the balance of the car compared to when they were here testing,” said team publicist Jade Gurss. “They did have two test dates up here. The team was excited. Junior’s excited. “After they put the camera system in before practice, the weight differential was enough that he didn’t feel like it was balanced quite like it was before.” Earnhardt Jr. qualified sixth for Sunday’s Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. He was 12th fastest in Saturday’s first practice and third fastest in the final practice. Gurss said Budweiser did not have a problem with the request. “The executives at Budweiser have always told the team that performance is the key,” Gurss said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-10-2003)
  • rain update: well…looking at the radar as of 12:00noon/et, looks pretty clear with very little green in the area, it is partly sunny, forecasts lhave rain in the area around 3:00-400pm/et, so good chance the race will get in under dry condidtions, but never know with the rain, and it tends to do opposite of what I post.(8-10-2003)
  • 80% chance of rain; could be Historic at the Glen: The forecast for Sunday’s Sirius at The Glen was calling for an 80 percent chance of rain, and the chance that NASCAR would conduct its first-ever race using Goodyear’s rain tires became a possibility. “It could be historic,” said Rick Heinrich, marketing manager for Goodyear. “That’s why we bring ’em. We want to be ready.” A torrential downpour forced the Busch North series race to be called after 41 of 62 laps Saturday, giving Ted Christopher the victory. Heinrich said Goodyear shipped 1,200 rain tires to Watkins Glen. He added that NASCAR indicated it would not like to begin the race on the tires, which cost $394 apiece and have a tread depth of 6/32nds. “They want to have the option to use them under the right circumstance in order to get the race in,” Heinrich said. If the tires are used, pit strategy could become critical. Heinrich said that under extremely wet conditions cars could run the whole race on one set of tires. Mike Skinner won an exhibition race in Suzuka, Japan in 1999 on rain tires, and Mark Martin, Terry Labonte and Robby Gordon are among a handful of drivers who have tested in the rain at The Glen. NASCAR said a decision will be made at race time. If it rains, one windshield wiper and one brake light in the rear window would be added to each car.(ESPN/AP)(8-10-2003)

    (8-9-2003)

  • ‘Rain’ Tires could be used: Goodyear has brought its specially developed rain tire here and NASCAR President Mike Helton said he might let the Winston Cup teams use them during practice today if the conditions are right. Helton said the tires could be used during Sunday’s Sirius at the Glen if it rains. “That’s why we brought them here,” he said. The National Weather Service forecast for today is calling for a 60 percent chance of rain throughout the day. There’s a chance of thunderstorms Sunday. If the track is wet today, the Mohegan Sun 150 NASCAR Busch North Series race, scheduled for 1 p.m., would be canceled. However, “happy hour,” the 45-minute Winston Cup practice session scheduled for 11:10 a.m. today could be run, with the field equipped with rain tires. Goodyear developed a rain tire for Winston Cup a few years ago. Aside from a couple of impromptu tests, including one here, they have never been used in an official session. Winston Cup cars normally run on treadless, slick tires. “We’re ready,” Rick Heinrich, Goodyear’s marketing manager said. “It would take us just a very short period of time to have a set mounted for every team.” The treaded tires, all 1,200 of them, have been sitting in climate-controlled storage at Goodyear headquarters in Akron, Ohio, for a couple of years. The tires, which would be enough to supply the field for Sunday’s race, are in a trailer at Watkins Glen this week. Heinrich said the tread pattern is similar to its aquatread street tire pattern and is designed to pump the water to the edges of the tire as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If the rain tires are used, a single windshield wiper would be installed on the cars, along with a rear brake light.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-9-2003)
  • So…rain? Tires? what happens at Watkins Glen if it rains this coming weekend? [a 50% chance per the Weather Channel and 31% per Accuweather.com], can assume [oops] that Goodyear will have their ‘wet’ race tire available for the teams. It is NOT a rain tire. The cars would not run in a steady or heavy rain, but could run on a wet track. A windshield wiper [front only] and a rear brake light would also be installed. The ‘wet’ tires are only used on road course track, if needed.(8-6-2003)
    UPDATE: Rain tires? Watkins Glen is the one track where NASCAR has threatened to use them, but most drivers and car owners consider that more of a marketing ploy to boost ticket sales in the area than a real possibility. The last time NASCAR tried to get drivers even to run a few laps, they finally decided it was too wet for the rain tires.(Winston Salem Journal), ‘wet’ / ‘rain’ tires are NOT mentioned in the Goodyear Tire Notes but Goodyear does have 1200 wet/rain tires at the track.(8-7-2003)
    AND Winston Cup Series director John Darby also said that the use of rain tires this weekend is a possibility, but that they would be employed only in the race on Sunday in an effort to complete the race if bad weather came after the event had started.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-9-2003)
  • Stewart wants Zippy as part of the deal? UPDATE: According to sources, the only reason Stewart hasn’t signed with Ganassi yet is Greg Zipadelli, his crew chief. Stewart wants Zipadelli, but Zipadelli isn’t sure what he wants to do. It appears to be a similar situation to that which faced Ray Evernham and Jeff Gordon a few years ago. Zipadelli wants Stewart to stay with Gibbs, but Stewart – though he is not saying much – seems inclined to move on.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2003)
    UPDATE: With rumors continuing to circulate concerning Tony Stewart’s future post-2004 — when his contract at Joe Gibbs Racing expires — Stewart said there were no changes. He and his agent/lawyer, Cary Agajanian, continue to negotiate with the intent of extending his relationship with Gibbs. Yes, said Stewart, he has talked with rival owner Chip Ganassi. “I talk with Chip every week, but not about driving with him. I talk him because I see him in the garage and we know each other,” Stewart said. Stressing that his contract still has another full season to run after this one, Stewart said he hadn’t had the time to devote much attention to renewing the contract.(Gaston Gazette)(8-9-2003)
  • More on the Wind Tunnel tests: Winston Cup Series director John Darby said Friday that NASCAR officials were pleased with the results of wind tunnel tests done earlier this week on eight cars after last week’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Darby said the range from the best to worst among the four manufacturers was around 75 pounds of downforce, showing NASCAR has made progress in keeping the cars evenly matched. He also said the drag numbers on all four makes were within an even smaller range. Given those results, Darby indicated he’s confident that if NASCAR elects to trim the rear spoilers on all makes before the 2004 season – a possibility clearly being considered – the effects would be equal among Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac and Dodge teams.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-9-2003)
  • Davis offers to terminate Ward’s contract/Tracy and Childress? Blaney back to Davis?: Ward Burton said Bill Davis Racing has offered to terminate his contract with the #22 team for next season, but Burton isn’t prepared to sign it yet, “It’s an option to terminate our agreement for ’04, Nov. 30. Obviously, I’m not going to sign it until I have an agreement with someone else.” Burton has talked to other car owners but declined to name any. One of the car owners reportedly interested was Richard Childress. Childress and Burton said Friday at Watkins Glen International they have talked, but it was about hunting.(NASCAR.comAND Ward Burton’s future may be the second-hottest driver story on the Winston Cup tour – along with Richard Childress’ surprising negotiations with Paul Tracy, a temperamental Indy-car star. Burton and car owner Bill Davis appear destined to split at the end of the season, perhaps sooner. Mike Brown, Davis’ general manager, said Davis has no plans to replace Burton in the coming weeks, despite reports that Dave Blaney, who once drove for Davis, might return. Burton said he expects to be in Davis’ car the rest of the season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-9-2003
  • First Time for Morgan-McClure: For the first time in Morgan-Mcclure’s 20 Year History, the team will field two Cup cats in a race by making the Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. P.J. Jones will drive th #4 Kodak Perfect Touch Processing Pontiac and Johnny Miller will drive the #04 Kodak Easy Share Pontiac. Miller qualified 32nd and Jones was 33rd. The team tested with both drivers two weeks ago at Watkins Glen. P.J. Jones has four Winston Cup starts at Watkins Glen and one Busch Series start. Johnny Miller has one Winston Cup start, which took place at Infineon Raceway in June. The entire race team was in Rochester, New York, visiting Kodak City on Thursday. The team participated in a Teamwork day, which involved learning booths, simulated pit stops and autograph sessions. Hundreds of Kodak employees were able to interact with the Kodak Racing team, while parallels in racing and manufacturing were discussed. Making a special appearance at the event was Dan Carp, CEO of Eastman Kodak.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-9-2003)
  • #30 Decision by Mid Oct: Steve Park said he and car owner Richard Childress haven’t talked about what’s going to happen with the #30 AOL Chevrolet next season, but both said a decision should be made my mid-October. Childress said he prefers to keep Park in the car, and Park clearly wants to remain with Richard Childress Racing. Rumors surfaced recently that Park was talking to Bill Davis about a ride, but Park just smiled.(NASCAR.com)(8-9-2003)
  • Cup Drivers do ok in the Bully Hill Vineyards 250: there were a few drivers with NASCAR connections in Friday’s Bully Hill Vineyards 250 at Watkins Glen International. Rick Carelli and John Metcalf picked up their first Rolex Series GTS win in the Team Re/Max Racing #05 Corvette on Friday night. The duo took a three-lap victory over the second-place Gunnar Racing #6 Porsche GT1 of Gunnar Jeannette, Kyle Petty and Paul Newman. The Porsche was able to take second in the class despite a spin by Newman that sent the car into The Glen’s foam walls and brought out a caution. The team was able to repair the car and get it back on course before the track went back to green flag conditions. Petty was the only guest NASCAR driver to earn a spot on the podium. Robby Gordon finished fifth in the Daytona Prototypes class in the Cegwa Sport #3 Toyota, and Geoffrey Bodine took seventh in the class in the G&W Motorsports #8 BMW. The Bully Hill Vineyards 250 will be broadcast on SPEED Channel on Sunday, August 10 at 5:00pm/et. The overall race was won by Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber. Former Busch driver and son of Racing legend Mark Donohue, David Donohue was 2nd.(Grand American Road Racing Association Site)(8-9-2003)
  • Stockcarfans.com – Ramblings – Watkins Glen: #24-Jeff Gordon grabbed his second Bud Pole of the season today (he had the top-spot at Martinsville in April) at Watkins Glen International for Sunday’s Sirius at the Glen, and it was a new track record. For that matter, with the cloudy and overcast conditions, the first 18 drivers were quicker than the previous track record.
    With a time of 70.798 sec (124.580 mph), Gordon claimed his 44th career pole. He’ll be joined on the front-row by #16-Greg Biffle, who claimed his career-best starting spot. His previous best was 4th at New Hampshire last September.
    #6-Mark Martin (3rd) has his best starting spot since he started 3rd at Rockingham in February.
    #2-Rusty Wallace (5th) has his best starting spot since he started on the outside pole at Dover in June.
    #54-Todd Bodine (17th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 14th at Pocono in June.
    #45-Kyle Petty (31st) has his best starting spot since he started 27th at Dover in June.
    STREAKIN….Bobby Labonte has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
    The road course event brought out a car count of 47, so we’ve got 4 cars loaded up for the early out on today’s Trouble Train. Ken Schrader, Joe Varde, Scott Maxwell (in the #43 this weekend), and Larry Foyt were all DNQ’s this week.
    Provisionals went to: Sterling Marlin (his first of the year), Ricky Craven, Jimmy Spencer (friend to road racers everywhere), Jeremy Mayfield (his first provisional of the season as well), Steve Park, Tony Raines, and Paul Menard (making his first ever Cup start).(Stockcarfans.com Winston Cup Newsletter)(8-9-2003)


    (8-8-2003)

  • Army offers free diversions at track: The Army has a sprawling display among the vendors near the Pyramid shopping complex along the Watkins Glen International infield. A tank, helicopter and race car simulators, a pit crew challenge, combat games and marksmanship competitions are part of the setup, free of charge. “A lot of it’s for fun,” said Steve Ingo, 45, who travels the NASCAR circuit with the Army. “It also doubles as a recruiting station.” The booth will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.(Star Gazette)(8-8-2003)
  • Milestones: #10-Johnny Benson will start his 250th Winston Cup race; #97-Kurt Busch will start his 100th Cup race. #18-Bobby Labonte will start his 350th consecutive Cup race at Watkins Glen.(8-8-2003)
  • NY Army National Guard to take a lap: Watkins Glen International invitated the members of the New York Army National Guard to drive the NASCAR drivers on the parade lap around the track. The NYARNG will also provide the color guard, proudly presenting our nations color’s for the national anthem. All the soldiers are members of the 1-108th Infantry, the 427th Support Battalion, the 101 Cavalry, and the 27th Brigade from Rochester, NY.(8-8-2003)
  • New Color Scheme for Cup: It appears NASCAR’s premier series will not only get a name change next season, but also a new color scheme. Nextel Communications signed a 10-year deal to begin sponsoring what is now known as the Winston Cup series beginning in 2004. The change will also include the series’ marketing colors, from traditional red and white to predominantly yellow and black [HEY – just like Jayski!!], ThatsRacin.com has learned. The change in color would be new for NASCAR as well as Nextel, which uses primarily maroon now in its advertising. The change will be made in part to make Nextel’s involvement more distinctive, sources confirmed. The Winston Cup series’ logos and colors can be found all over the country, including billboards, souvenirs, signage at tracks and even the colors of NASCAR’s mobile headquarters haulers.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2003)
  • Congrats: #7 Ultra Motorsports crew chief Tommy Baldwin and his wife Beth are proud parents of a newborn son, Jack Harris Baldwin, born on Monday, Aug. 4th.
  • DW, Mikey and the Stooges PLUS: Michael Waltrip, Inc. (MWI) announced today that Darrell Waltrip (D.W.) will compete for his third NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series race this year at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 18. Darrell will be behind the wheel of his younger brother’s #17 Aaron’s/Three Stooges Chevrolet race truck, the latest addition to The Three Stooges 75th Anniversary racing program that has the vaudevillian troupe climbing aboard several race cars in the National Hot Rod Association and NASCAR circuits. Action Performance Companies Inc., C3 Entertainment Inc. and Global Icons came up with the idea of bringing the Three Stooges to the races. In addition to The Three Stooges truck, Michael Waltrip’s #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine, NASCAR Busch Series entry will also promote the Three Stooges 75th anniversary. See the press releasse on my Truck Series site AND see an image of the truck on my 2003 Truck Schemes page.(8-8-2003)
  • Good Answer: Car owner Chip Ganassi doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to sign reigning Winston Cup series champion Tony Stewart, should he become available. Asked Friday what his timetable was to hire Stewart, Ganassi replied: “Whenever his contract is up.” Stewart’s contract with Joe Gibbs Racing expires after 2004, but Gibbs has presented Stewart with a long-term contract extension. Stewart has yet to sign off on the new deal and has been the subject of speculation about his future, including a possible move to Ganassi in 2005. Stewart’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, and sponsor, The Home Depot, have both agreed to extensions but are waiting for Stewart. Ganassi has previously said he would be interested in Stewart.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2003)
  • Geoffrey Book in 2004 and some plans: Former WGI press liaison and current manager of public relations for Grand-Am J.J. O’Malley said Thursday his Geoffrey Bodine biography is targeted for release in the fall of 2004.(Corning Leader)
    AND Bodine will team with Darren Law at Watkins Glen to race the #8 car in tonight’s Bully Hill Vineyards 250 Rolex Series race MORE Looking ahead to next season, Bodine said he’s exploring opportunities for himself and his brother Brett in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Looking ahead to tonight’s race, Bodine seemed more concerned with impressing his hometown fans than a Winston Cup team.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-8-2003)
  • NASCAR vs IRL Points: what would the top ten in Drivers Points look like using IRL system? (where they stand in other system in parens)
    Matt Kenseth (1 in Cup system))
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2)
    Jeff Gordon (3)
    Bobby Labonte (6)
    Kurt Busch (8)
    Ryan Newman (9)
    Jimmie Johnson (4)
    Michael Waltrip (5)
    Kevin Harvick (7)
    Tony Stewart (13)
    Current top ten in Winston Cup Points system:
    Matt Kenseth (1 in IRL system)
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2)
    Jeff Gordon (3)
    Jimmie Johnson (7)
    Michael Waltrip (8)
    Bobby Labonte (4)
    Kevin Harvick (9)
    Kurt Busch (5)
    Ryan Newman (6)
    Rusty Wallace (11)
    Not a huge difference at all.(see full comparision at Stockcarfans.com)(8-8-2003)
  • Good News: Dave Traini, seriously burned in a fiery crash at the Fairgrounds Speedway [Nashville, see my Past News – 7-28-2003 on 7-28] two weeks ago, has been released from Vanderbilt Medical Center and will continue treatment and rehabilitation at his Hartsville home. Traini said he wished to express his appreciation to friends and fans who offered their support during his ordeal.(Tennessean)(8-8-2003)
  • Smirnoff and the #99? or to Penske? UPDATE – Sponsor Announcement Soon for the #99? hearing that Smirnoff Ice/Triple Black could end up being the sponsor for the #99 Roush Racing team and driver Jeff Burton, either in a full time capacity or similar to what they are doing with #17-Matt Kenseth this year [seven races as a primary sponsor on the car], OR could re-up with Kenseth for another year OR could do a similar deal with #12-Ryan Newman [not sure how Miller Lite would like that] also being a sponsor on one of Penske’s IRL cars [who is losing Marlboro] with one of their hard liquior labels, which is allowed in the IRL but not in NASCAR. While mulling over this one, knowing it looks like a sponsor will stick with NASCAR, check out their contest: Smirnoffice.com – Hang With Matt & The Crew [that Chris Brock seems fun to hang out with](7-28-2003)
    UPDATE: Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president, is very bullish on the prospects of getting Jeff Burton’s Ford sponsored for the 2004 season and beyond. In fact, Smith hopes to have something to announce soon. “We’re in discussion with sponsors,” the executive told TFR. “I hope that one of the prospects will have a deal within 30 days.” Asked about the difficulty placing sponsors, Smith said, “We’re having a really good selling year. We’ve had three companies sign with us that could have gone away.” Plus, he is speaking with four potential parties for Burton’s car.(Ford Racing)(8-8-2003)
  • Changes soon with the #16? UPDATE: Though rookie Greg Biffle won last month at Daytona, his learning curve would be accelerated by the addition of a veteran Winston Cup crew chief. Biffle’s crew chief is Randy Goss, who is in his first full Winston Cup season in that job. Roush would not confirm that changes are ahead for any of his teams, but he says he won’t wait until the end of the season if he believes a move should be made.(Sporting News), Jimmy Elledge is one possibility.(8-5-2003)
    UPDATE: Some shifts and changes have taken place within Greg Biffle’s rookie team. “We have a new program that has a new driver and new crew chief,” Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said of the re-evaluation the team underwent, “to get the right support system around the program.” However, Smith added, “I can tell you unequivocally that [crew chief] Randy [Goss] wasn’t one of the people that will be shifted. That doesn’t mean that he won’t be shifted, but that’s not happened – the reports are premature.”(Ford Racing)(8-8-2003)
  • Richard Petty on “Fox & Friends” This Morning: Richard Petty will unveil a commemorative 100th Anniversary New York Yankees car in New York on Friday. He will be interviewed live on Fox & Friends with the show car during the 8:00 hour on FOX News Channel, probably around 8:35am/et. AND Richard Petty will also be on The Best Damn Sports Show Period tonight on FOX Sports Net. Petty and baseball Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra will be interviewed while promoting the show car from Yankee Stadium.(MotorsportsTV)
    AND Petty threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, his catcher was baseball legend, Yogi Berra (FSN’s Totally NASCAR show), also see some new images of the real #44 Dodge on my 2003 Cup Schemes page – #24-99.(8-8-2003)
  • NASCAR and U.S. Army Launch Diversity Outreach Program in Three Cities: NASCAR and the U.S. Army recently announced the launch of a new diversity outreach program designed to introduce inner city teenagers in three cities to the broad range of opportunities available in motorsports. The program will reach out to teens in Indianapolis, IN, Richmond, VA and Miami, FL, through a unique interactive off-site event, special at-track tours, and discussions with NASCAR and U.S. Army representatives prior to attending a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The program’s official launch was in Indianapolis on Friday, Aug. 1, 2003 and included more than 70 young adults from the Indianapolis Urban League and other community organizations, ages 16-22. The youngsters were transported to the Indianapolis Raceway Park for a day of at-track hospitality that included a NASCAR diversity and career opportunity presentation during dinner before the race, pit and garage tours and discussions with NASCAR industry representatives including Sam Belnavis, African American Owner of a NASCAR Winston Cup Series #54 team -BelCar; Anthony Martin, Executive Director of the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia; and Wayne Clapp, Executive Director of the Association for Diversity in Motorsports. The two other events will take place in Richmond on September 4th and in Miami on November 14th. “NASCAR is working directly with our entire industry to broaden our sport’s appeal and to help create meaningful opportunities for the many diverse communities throughout our country,” said Dora Taylor, head of NASCAR’s Diversity Affair’s Department. “We are calling on all members of the motorsports industry to promote diversity in every facet of their operations.” NASCAR and the U.S. Army will be working with the local affiliates of the National Urban League and other community organizations to identify the young adults for these exciting events. Much more information about NASCAR and the the U.S. Army’s plans at www.diversityinternships.com.(8-8-2003)
  • UAW leaving but… as announced previously [see the #25 Team News and Links page], UAW will not return in 2004 to sponsor the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and driver Joe Nemechek, however, Delphi, co-sponsor on the car the past few years, will return in some form. The team is not worried about landing a replacement for UAW.(Wisnton Cup Scene – need sub to read)(8-8-2003)
  • Stewart wants Zippy as part of the deal? According to sources, the only reason Stewart hasn’t signed with Ganassi yet is Greg Zipadelli, his crew chief. Stewart wants Zipadelli, but Zipadelli isn’t sure what he wants to do. It appears to be a similar situation to that which faced Ray Evernham and Jeff Gordon a few years ago. Zipadelli wants Stewart to stay with Gibbs, but Stewart – though he is not saying much – seems inclined to move on.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2003)
  • Labonte looking to extend contract thru 2004 UPDATE 3: Terry Labonte, a two-time champ, is negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports for a one-year extension of his contract to drive the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet.(Sporting News)(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Rejunivated Terry Labonte is in contract talks with Hendrick Motorsports. Labonte’s current contract runs out at the end of this year. An announcement is expected in the next few weeks for a three or four year deal.(Insider Racing News)(6-23-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Kellogg’s, which has sponsored Hendrick’s #5 Chevrolets and driver Terry Labonte since 1994, is expected to return next season with the start of a multi-year contract extension, sources said. Labonte, who is in the final year of his current contract with Hendrick, is also expected to return to the team for at least one more season, sources said. Asked about the sponsor and driver contracts, Hendrick team spokesman Jesse Essex said Tuesday the team does not comment on contract negotiations.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-29-2003)
    UPDATE 3: #5-Terry Labonte will be back at Hendrick Motorsports in 2004 as something has been worked out, Rick Hendrick says no contracts have been signed but that Labonte will be in the #5 in 2004.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-8-2003)
  • Foyt Delivers Meals to Seniors: #14/50 NASCAR driver Larry Foyt looked poised and prepared Thursday morning, but not for a big race. Instead, he was getting ready to hop in his race car to deliver meals to the elderly. Corning Meals on Wheels, the local organization that delivers meals to homebound seniors, plan-ned the event with the help of Harrah’s Entertain-ment Inc., a Las Vegas-based company. “This has been a really fun program for me. You’ve got a really awesome Meals on Wheels facility here,” said Foyt, whose father, A.J. Foyt, recently was voted Driver of the Century. “This has been an excellent opportunity to give something back.” Foyt has delivered meals in cities from Las Vegas to Chicago.(Corning Leader)(8-8-2003)
  • TV Ratings for Indy UPDATE: In Indianapolis, at last Sunday’s Brickyard 400, approximately 300,000 fans were on hand. As far as the Indy market’s TV race-watchers were concerned, the event (broadcast by NBC) earned an incredible 22.1 rating “ outside the Daytona 500, the highest local market rating for any race this year. Indy led the way for 16 markets that had a rating greater than 8.0, including non-traditional NASCAR markets Dayton (10.5), Milwaukee (8.7), Columbus (8.5) and St. Louis (8.2). (Figures from NBC and Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)(8-7-2003)
    UPDATE: The Brickyard 400 on NBC finished as the #1 ranked sports broadcast for last week, turning in a 6.0 rating and 15 share, representing 6,415,000 households, according to Nielsen Media Research This is down 5% from last year’s 6.3 final rating. The closest competitor to the race from Indy was the ABC primetime Battle of the Bridges with Tiger Woods, garnering a 4.6 rating and 8 share.(MotorsportsTV)(8-8-2003)
  • #0 News UPDATEs: hearing that Jason Leffler will drive the #0 Netzeo Pontiac at Indy in the Brickyard 400 and that Netzero may not be back as a sponsor in 2004 for the team. AND as was previously reported [see the #0 Team News and Links page, Leffler will drive the #0 in 7-9 races in 2003, 6 straight from MIS thru Dover…
    UPDATE: the future isn’t expected to include current sponsor NetZero, as the company failed to notify the team of its intent to return by a July deadline. The team isn’t worried as Haas Automation, company of team owner Gene Haas wanted to sponsor the team this year and will do so in 2004 if another company doesn’t come aboard. No word on who will drive the car in 2004 but Leffler could be a candidate, depending on his situation with his Truck Team owner Jim Smith.(Wisnton Cup Scene – need sub to read)(8-8-2003)


    (8-7-2003)

  • SAFER Installation to start at RIR on Aug 18th and No All Star Race in 2004: Richmond International Raceway will begin installation of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction [SAFER] barrier Aug. 18 and expects to have the “soft-wall” technology assembled in seven to 10 days, RIR President Doug Fritz said yesterday. That timeline would put the SAFER system in place well before the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 Winston Cup race Sept. 6. The addition of the barrier, which made a successful debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year, will limit testing at the 0.75-mile oval for the Sept. 4-6 NASCAR weekend to the next 11 days [before the barrier is installed]. Teams traditionally test the week or two before an event. NASCAR prevents testing on the week of a track’s race. Fritz said the same workers who constructed the SAFER wall in Indianapolis have been hired to install Richmond’s version of the barrier, which reduces the forces absorbed by drivers during a crash and has prevented any serious injuries at Indianapolis since its May 2002 debut. Also RIR won’t be playing host to the NASCAR’s all-star race. The event, which formerly was known as The Winston, is expected to return to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 2004 in its first year with the series’ new title sponsor, Reston-based Nextel.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-7-2003)
  • Sad News: Binkley dies: Longtime Nashville, TN area racing figure Ray Binkley died earlier this week. Binkley was related to several drivers who have competed at Fairgrounds Speedway over the decades, and built engines for Darrell Waltrip early in Waltrip’s career.(Tennessean)(8-7-2003)
  • AT&T To Stay: AT&T apparently won’t keep its telecommunications off the circuit next year despite restrictions set forth by new sponsor Nextel. With Nextel set to replace Winston as the title sponsor the NASCAR’s top level of stock car racing in 2004, the only telecommunications companies allowed to sponsor cars will be companies already on the circuit. BAM Racing has a part-time sponsorship from 1-800-CALL-ATT, but Nextel decided to add so many restrictions on AT&T, including the banishment of AT&T’s famed global emblem from the car and all of its marketing, everyone thought the deal was dead. “It looks like AT&T will be with us in some form in 2004, and this offers another tremendous opportunity for a sponsor,” said BAM owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. “They appear to be very willing to work with our 2004 sponsors, develop cross-promotions and marketing opportunities, and help whoever comes in with BAM Racing.” One way Morgenthau can make the AT&T deal work around Nextel’s restrictions is to promote the company’s 800-calling plan, not its telephone service.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-7-2003)
  • Starr might fit well for Aikman-Staubach team: Hall of Fame Racing, the new NASCAR team being formed by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, still hopes to run one or two cars in the Busch Series next year. One driver who would appear to be a perfect fit is NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racer David Starr. His name alone is a great marketing tool for a team owned by former Cowboys, but Starr also has a few other things going for him. He’s a respected racer with the talent to win, he has the looks and personality that sponsors love, and he’s a Texan who lives just down the road from Texas Stadium.(Dallas Morning News)(8-7-2003)
  • Leffler in the #0 for more races? UPDATE: The fast, consistent test laps Jason Leffler ran at Kentucky Speedway were among the reasons crew chief Tony Furr elected to put Leffler in the #0 NetZero Pontiac at Indy. Leffler joined the team at 5 the morning of the test and stayed until 3 the next morning to make sure the car would be ready, and that sealed the deal. Furr was impressed enough by Leffler that he signed him to nine races, on the weekends Leffler doesn’t have a conflict with the trucks series. John Andretti already was signed to drive the car Sunday at Watkins Glen.(Sporting News)(8-4-2003)
    UPDATE Leffler to run the #0 at MIS: Jason Leffler will return to the driver’s seat of the #0 Netzero entry at Michigan International Speedway.(NetZero Racing PRAND Fox Sports Nets Totally NASCAR reports that Leffler will race Michigan and the following five race [for a total of 6] and may run as many as nince races.(8-7-2003)
  • Rutemiller to sub for Bryan: Robert Rutemiller will serve as jackman on the #88 UPS Racing Team while John Bryan rests from the accident he was involved in at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week. Rutemiller currently works in the NASCAR Busch Series as jackman on the #59 Busch Series team.(UPS PR) AND Fox Sports Nets Totally NASCAR reports that Bryan will be out for 5-6 weeks.(8-7-2003)
  • NASCAR Recruiting and Training Officials: NASCAR is beginning an extensive recruiting and training program for NASCAR officials. They have set up an e-mail address and phone number for candidates. The new director of officiating for NASCAR Joe Garone is working full-time on the project and preparing detailed manuals and official training courses for new officials in all positions in all series which will include both book and on the job training with veteran officials. A web site comming in Jan. Before they go to Daytona 2004.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required) For the email address and phone number, see my Racing Schools and Jobs page.(8-7-2003)
  • Kurt Busch’s Team Grabs Pit Crew Honors at Indianapolis: In Sunday’s (Aug. 3) 10th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the pit crew of Kurt Busch’s team captured the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. The victory paid the No. 97 crew $20,000 and lifted the team into fifth place in the season pit crew point standings. Busch’s Roush Racing Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road – 196.331 seconds — during the 400-mile race. Robby Gordon’s Chevrolet was second – 219.670 and Bill Elliott’s Dodge was third – 221.298. Busch’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Andy Thurman (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Jimmy Fennig. Michael Waltrip’s pit crew continues to hold a commanding lead in the McDonald’s/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship standings with 794 points, 77 more than the second-place pit crew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus.
    For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(8-7-2003)
  • Donlavey Racing to run Nashville ARCA race: This weekend, Junie Donlavey’s ARCA team, featuring driver Jason Hedlesky in the EMP Stewart Components Ford, will try to earn a spot in the lineup for Saturday’s Waste Management 200. EMP Stewart Components is an industry leader in high performance cooling systems. “We took Jason to Nashville when the track first opened,” Donlavey said from his shop in Richmond, Va. “It was one of the weekends the Winston Cup Series was off, and I went there to watch practice and qualifying. Jason had difficulty with the car on his second qualifying lap, and it got too beat up to fix before race time. What a difference two years makes. Jason has made terrific strides, and I’ve been proud of the progress he has made during a sporadic driving schedule. I look for him to accomplish a career-best finish there this weekend.” Waste Management, Superior Logistics Services and Accu Industries are associate sponsors of the team this weekend, and Donlavey and Hedlesky will sign autographs and answer questions for the 200-300 Waste Management employees at the race.(Keystone Marketing PR)(8-7-2003)

    (8-6-2003)

  • Wanna Engine? the Smokey Yunick Foundation is raffling off Big Block Chevy Engine that ran in the #13 car in the 1967 Daytona 500, more info at www.smokeyyunick.com or on my Racing Charities page.(8-6-2003)
  • Last ‘Ringer’ to win? Road Course ‘Ringers’ [drivers who specialize in runnig road course tracks/series] have not won a road course race in Winston Cup since Jayski fave, the late Mark Donohue won at Riverside, CA in the #16 AMC Madator for Roger Penske AND speaking of Donohue, there will be a Mark Donohue Tribute Reunion at Watkins Glen at the on September 5-7th during the 2003 Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix. The main event will include a demonstration race with the cars from Donohue’s past. More info on my Mark Donohue Tribute Page.(8-6-2003)
  • Magic Number: seen this a few places, but what is #17-Matt Kenseth’s ‘magic’ number? meaning where does he need to average to win his first [and the last] Winston Cup? Kenseth has 3152 points, 286 over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr’s 2866. If Earnhardt Jr. wins the remaining 15 races and leads the most laps, he would have 5641 points, the most he can get. So Kenseth would need 2490 to beat Dale Jr. [a tie would go to Jr. since he would have 16 wins to Kenseth’s 1]. 2490/15 works out to 166 points, so he would need to average 166 points to win the Cup, third place finish is worth 165. So if Kenseth can average a third place finish in the 15 races for 2475 points and lead a lap in three races, he can’t lose the Cup.(8-6-2003)
  • 2003 vs 2002 – Comparison after 21 races: not as close as a few weeks ago…but:
    2003: #17-Matt Kenseth has 3152 points, 286 ahead of 2nd in the standings, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2002: #40-Sterling Marlin had 2866 points, 211 ahead of 7th place in the standings, #20-Tony Stewart, who won the Cup
    so there still is a chance with 15 races to go.
    Here are some Facts: Marlin lost the points lead at the Sept New Hampshire race, race #27, got hurt in race #29 at Kansas, Stewart passed him [3rd – Marlin 4th] in race #28 at Dover. Marlin fell from the lead two weeks before he got hurt.(8-6-2003)
  • Stewart’s car features ‘store of the week’: Home Depot store #703, located in Memphis, Tenn., will be represented on the lower rear quarterpanel of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet during the Sirius Satellite Radio At The Glen. Store #703 was judged to be the outstanding store of the week, thereby earning its place on the orange and black Joe Gibbs Racing machine.(True Speed Communication PR)(8-6-2003)
  • Joe Gibbs Racing Fanfest: Joe Gibbs Racing has announced its third annual Fall Fanfest will be held Friday, October 10th from 8am-2pm at the team headquarters in Huntersville, NC. This annual event allows the race fans to participate alongside the Joe Gibbs Racing family and drivers to help support local charities. This year Joe Gibbs Racing and participating sponsors will once again be focusing their efforts on the Toys for Tots campaign that has been so successful in the past. In addition to that on-going association, Joe Gibbs Racing is proud to announce that the Victory Junction Gang Camp development fund will also join the list of beneficiaries from the Fanfest. See more info at the Joe Gibbs Racing site or on my Racing Charities page.(8-6-2003)
  • Dale Jr’ and Lorenzen Voted to the Walk of Fame: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be enshrined in the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in nearby Davey Allison Memorial Park. On the eve of the EA SPORTS* 500, Dale Jr. will be inducted into the Walk of Fame after receiving the most votes by the fans. This is the quickest any driver has been inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame. This is only Dale Jr.’s fourth full season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. His father, Dale Earnhardt, was the first active driver to be inducted into the Walk of Fame, in the inaugural class of 1995. Fred Lorenzen, voted as one of the 50 greatest drivers in NASCAR history, will be enshrined into the Walk of Fame as the inactive driver of 2003. The 2003 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony is on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in uptown Talladega , a block south of the town square. This year’s ceremony marks the 10th anniversary of Davey Allison’s death. Joining emcee Benny Parsons on stage will be Larry McReynolds and special guests Liz Allison, along with children Robbie and Krista Allison. The induction ceremony begins at 7 p.m. and is free to the public.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(8-6-2003)
  • So…who wins the ‘trade’ between DEI and RCR? Some comparisions of #30-Steve Park and #1-Jeff Green.
    after the May Richmond race, Green was released from the #30 Richard Childress AOL Chevy and Park was released from the #1 Dale Earnhardt Inc. #1 Pennzoil Chevy. The same week, Green was named to drive the #1 car and Park was named to drive the #30, so how have they fared?
    Park: after 11 races in the #1 Chevy, Park had an average finish of 26.5; after 9 of 10 races in the #30 Chevy, Park’s finishing average is 26.0. Best finish in the #1 was a 10th, best finish in the #30 [so far] is 8th.
    Green: after 11 races in the #30 Chevy, Green had an average finish of 26.3; after 9 of 10 races in the #1 Chevy, Green’s finishing average is 25.7. Best finish in the #30 was a 7th, best finish in the #1 [so far] is 16th.
    Didn’t count Sonoma in Park’s average [43rd place finish] since Green didn’t race there in the #1, Ron Fellows did. Looks pretty even as trades go.(8-6-2003)
  • More on Stewart/Ganassi: ….Rumors that Stewart might be considering a move to Ganassi’s operation surfaced nearly a month ago and show no signs of dying down. [Crew Chief Greg] Zipadelli admits that has become something of a distraction for the team. Zipadelli said the issue has not caused a great deal of friction between him and his driver, who goes to Watkins Glen International as the defending champion of the Winston Cup race on that road course. Sources have confirmed to The Charlotte Observer that Ganassi’s contract offer is for 2005 and beyond. If such a deal were to be reached now, it would present several possible scenarios for 2004. Stewart could drive for Gibbs in the final year of his contract. He could be allowed to leave and drive for Ganassi in 2004 while Gibbs finds another driver. Or, Stewart could be replaced at Gibbs, but be contractually prevented from driving in Winston Cup for another team. That, theoretically at least, could send him back to the IndyCar Series or to another form of competition for 2004. The negotiations with Ganassi do not include The Home Depot, primary sponsor of Stewart’s car at Joe Gibbs Racing. If Stewart did drive for Ganassi next year, that team would likely expand to four teams with current drivers Sterling Marlin, Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray keeping their rides.(in part from ThatsRacin.com)(see all the past news and rumors about this on my #20 Team News and Links page)(8-6-2003)
  • Testing at Kentucky: #32-Ricky Craven and the Tide team will spend Wed. and Thurs., Aug. 6-7, testing at Kentucky Speedway. The team will use the session to collect data for General Motors and to test different concepts that can be applied at some of the 1.5-mile tracks the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will visit in upcoming months.(ppi motorsportsAND also #19-Jeremy Mayfield will test on Wednesday, August 6th, Brian Vickers will test a Cup car for Hendrick Motorsports on Wed and Thurs, Aug 7-8th.(Kentucky Speedway)(8-6-2003)
  • Dodge and ARCA: Dodge Motorsports announced a season-long contingency program with the ARCA RE/MAX Series. The contingency program begins with the Waste Management 200 race at Nashville Superspeedway on August 9. Under the guidelines of this program all Dodge drivers in the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be awarded $2,000 for each victory, $1,000 for every second-place finish and $750 for every third-place finish.. Dodge will also award a $5,000 grand prize to any Dodge driver who wins an ARCA RE/MAX championship. The partnership with the ARCA RE/MAX Series represents Dodge’s ongoing commitment to leverage its motorsports initiatives at the grass roots level.. The program runs through the final eight races of the 2003 ARCA RE/MAX Series season, and will continue throughout 2004.(Dodge Motorsports/Golin Harris PR)(8-6-2003)
  • Bud Moore back: Racing fans can be excused for checking their calendars when they attend the 30th annual Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Aug. 15-17, at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. They might think it’s 1970 all over again, or 1967, as the Bud Moore Trans-Am teams reunite for the first time in more than 30 years. Reunited 1967 Mercury and 1970 Ford Championship Trans-Am Teams Bud Moore, Parnelli Jones, George Follmer, Dan Gurney, Ed Leslie and David Pearson meet fans at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca Bud Moore Trans-Am Cougar and three Boss 302 Mustangs will race again. Memories will surely come flooding back with the presence of three of the team’s famous Mustangs in the reunion. George Follmer’s stunning red, black and white Boss 302 Mustang owned by Vic Edelbrock of Torrance, California will represent the 1969 season, and two of the famous “school bus yellow” Boss Mustangs will recall the 1970 season. They are George Follmer’s No. 16 car also owned by Ross Myers, and Parnelli Jones’ No. 15 car owned by Harry Lipetz of Vancouver, British Columbia. All of these cars and the 1967 Cougar will be racing at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, August 16, in “The Historic Trans-Am” race that features 1966-1972 cars. More information at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Site.(8-6-2003)
  • SIM Stuff: NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway has renewed its licensing agreement with International Speedway Corporation (ISC) through 2005, forging a multi-year relationship with the ownership group of some of America’s greatest racing facilities. Customers of the 14 unique racing centers will be able to continue to enjoy simulated NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing on ISC tracks. Perfect Line, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMTS, owns and operates NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway. The racing centers currently feature ISC properties Daytona International Speedway and Richmond International Raceway on the simulators, two of the six NASCAR Winston Cup Series tracks that NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway customers can choose from when competing in simulated races [the other four are: Atlanta, Bristol, Indianapolis and Lowe’s]. The development of additional ISC tracks is in Perfect Line’s plans during the term of the license.(Perfect Line PR), see SIMs links, and past news on my Fantasy League/Games/SIMs links page.(8-6-2003)
  • Ernie at Atlanta Thursday CANCELLED: Former NASCAR Winston Cup star Ernie Irvan will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway this week for Papa John’s Fan Appreciation Night at Thursday Thunder, where he will be signing autographs for the fans and racing against his young protégé in a celebrity Legends race.
    UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway regrets to inform its fans that Ernie Irvan and Kevin Conway have cancelled their appearance at tomorrow’s Papa John’s Fan Appreciation Night at Thursday Thunder. Both 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White and current Busch competitor Ron Young will still be on hand to sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on the concourse.(AMS PR)(8-6-2003)


    (8-5-2003)

  • TV Stuff and Commercials: MotorsportsTV.com has a Brickyard 400 Special Broadcast Log – With so much controversy about commercials on NBC and TNT, they decided to provide a complete log of all of the action and the commercial details, see it on their main page MotorsportsTV.com and on their News Briefs for August 4, 2003 has a commercial breakdown for the last four Brickyard 400’s: “yesterday’s broadcast had 3 minutes and 33 seconds less in commercial time per hour than ABC’s broadcast in 2000” and almost a minute less then in 2002 [and of note, your typical sitcom on network TV does 7-8 minutes of commercials ever 30 minutes, so 14 in an hour is pretty normal, and is of course what allows NBC and Fox to bring us the races LIVE on the tube].(8-4-2003)
    AND see more at MotorsportsTV: Multi-Billion Dollar NASCAR TV Contract Has Caused No Significant Increase in Commercials, MotorsportsTV.com Study Shows.(8-5-2003)
  • Mexico? Australia [can I go?] Canada? in the future for NASCAR UPDATE: NASCAR’s search for new markets for Winston Cup racing could take a decidedly unexpected twist – think Mexico City and Australia. Car owner Jack Roush says that an early January Cup race in Australia would be perfect timing, since the weather’s great, and he likes Canadian and Mexican options, too. While the Indy Racing League would be the obvious choice to replace CART at those venues, NASCAR sources say that the stock-car sanctioning body – which, after all, runs one of the world’s most popular auto-racing series – may be approached by sponsors to consider running races at Mexico City and in Australia in CART’s stead. Two such Winston Cup races could perk the interest of NBC and Fox, who haven’t been making money on the sport they’re paying $400 million a year to broadcast. Two venues closer to home, with more logical markets, are Vancouver, British Columbia, and Denver [street courses for Cup cars?].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham confirmed Tuesday the sanctioning body is exploring the “long-term possibility” of holding a Busch or Truck series race in Mexico, likely in the Mexico City area. NASCAR has expanded beyond the continental United States before but only with non-points “exhibition” races held in Japan in 1997 and 1998. “People in Mexico are intensely interested in NASCAR and Mexico borders areas of the U.S. also with a lot of fan interest,” Branham said. “It should come as no surprise there would be interest in holding a race in Mexico considering the tremendous growth of the sport.” In its third year of distributing its programming overseas, NASCAR started the 2003 season with an expanded global reach including television broadcasts in more than 100 countries in 21 languages each week. “We are working hard to drive more worldwide exposure and attention to NASCAR and we are pleased with the early results our international television partners are seeing in their local markets,” said Paul Brooks, NASCAR’s vice president of broadcasting. Asked specifically if the 2005 season was a possibility for a NASCAR event in Mexico, Branham said there was not established timetable.(Thatsracin.com)(8-5-2003)
  • Ward Talks: As driver Ward Burton and car owner Bill Davis are talking about a possible split at the end of the season, Burton says he’s exploring his options and talking with other car owners to see what’s available. Burton said “I haven’t done it for so long I feel quite new at it so I’m gonna see in the next couple weeks what options may be out there for me.” Burton went on to say “It’s somewhat awkward, I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about it, but at the same time I feel like that I could do a good job for someone on the racetrack so the opportunities could be exciting as well.” Burton has driven for Davis since 1995 winning the 2002 Daytona 500 and the 2001 Southern 500.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-5-2003)
  • 2,172 miles, 14 States, 143 Days – Ray Hudson finishes the Appalachian Trail: Not many people can boast that they hiked 2,172 miles, through 14 different states all in one attempt. Ray Hudson can say just that, and that he did it all to help his favorite charity. Ray Hudson, a shop fabricator at Petty Enterprises, hiked the entire 2,172-mile Appalachian Trail starting in Springer Mountain, GA on March 1. Hudson finished his hike on July 21, 143 days since he began. His inspiration for this incredible hike was to raise funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Ray will return to his hometown of Randleman, North Carolina to a huge welcome home bash and his very own Ray Hudson Day. The town of Randleman has generously named August 11th Ray Hudson Day. All of the individuals who donated to Ray’s hike will be invited to join Richard and Kyle Petty to welcome back Ray. A check with the total amount from Ray’s hike will be presented to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. “This is huge, we are all really proud of Ray,” said Kyle Petty.(Victory Junction Gang PR)(8-5-2003)
  • #02 Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Jeff Buckner has been fined $1,000 for a rule infraction that occurred during the Brickyard 400 race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Buckner was penalized for having unapproved rear axles on the #02 Pontiac of driver Hermie Sadler. NASCAR officials discovered the infraction during last Saturday’s (Aug. 2) post-qualifying inspection. Buckner was in violation of Sections 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(8-5-2003)
  • Petty to drive a Porche at the Glen: Kyle Petty will return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Cars Series at Watkins Glen International, August 7-8, driving a Porsche in the Bully Hill Vineyards 250. At the same time, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran will be raising awareness for the eight Hole in the Wall Gang camps for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their families. Petty will join Gunnar Jeannette in the Gunnar Racing #6 Porsche GT1. The car, driven by Petty to a second place finish in the GTS class in the recent Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway, will carry a special paint scheme featuring all eight Hole in the Wall Gang camps for the 250-mile race. “Kyle joined us at the Paul Revere 250, and he liked racing in our car and asked if he could drive it again,” said team owner Kevin Jeannette. “Of course we were thrilled to have him come back and join us. Because of our team’s prior affiliation with Paul Newman, who founded the Hole in the Wall Gang camps, and Kyle’s Victory Junction Gang Camp, I thought it would be a great idea to help promote awareness of these camps in front of the Winston Cup crowd at The Glen.” Jeannette will donate his winnings from the race to the Hole in the Wall Gang camps, and plans to encourage all of the other Rolex Series teams to do the same at the Bully Hill Vineyards 250. The car will mark the first time that all eight of the Hole in the Wall Gang camps have been featured together. That number includes the Victory Junction Gang Camp near Greensboro, N.C., founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of Adam Petty, which will open in 2004. The other camps include the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut, Boggy Creek Gang Camp in Florida, Double “H” Hole in the Woods Ranch in New York, Barretstown Gang Camp in Ireland, L’Envol in France, Painted Turtle Camp in California and Jordan River Village in Israel. Petty is no stranger to Gatorade Victory Lane at The Glen. He won the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, and joined John Andretti in the Orbit Porsche to capture GT honors in the 2001 Bully Hill Vineyards 250. He has also competed four times the Rolex 24 At Daytona, scoring two overall finishes in the top seven driving the Orbit Racing Porsche.(Watkins Glen PR)(8-5-2003)
  • NASCAR Trading Cards: The Topps Co., famed candy and baseball card maker, is selling trading cards of NASCAR drivers exclusively online via etopps.com. etopps NASCAR, which officially launches today, plans to offer two cards per week starting with Kyle Petty and Matt Kenseth for about 30 drivers in all. Once the ordering window closes, the cards will not be offered again. Card prices range from $4 to $9.50.(CharlotteObserver)(8-5-2003)
  • Marlin testing at Nashville: Sterling Marlin and the #40 Coors Light team are testing Tuesday and Wednesday, August 5-6th at the Nashville Superspeedway. Also, #42-Jamie McMurray is testing there too.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(8-5-2003)
  • McClure wins Late Model race: Eric McClure and Michael Kidd earned the pole for their respective Late Model Twin 50 event Saturday night at Lonesome Pine Raceway, and both jumped out to the lead on the initial start and held on for the win. McClure, who won the second Twin 50 of the evening, marked his second career NASCAR Weekly Racing Series win and his first this season. McClure did win a 150-lap United Auto Racing Association Late Model touring race at LPR in June, however. McClure is the son of #4 Morgan-McClure co-owner and raceday spotter Jerry McClure.(Kingsport Times News)(8-5-2003)
  • Changes soon with the #16? Though rookie Greg Biffle won last month at Daytona, his learning curve would be accelerated by the addition of a veteran Winston Cup crew chief. Biffle’s crew chief is Randy Goss, who is in his first full Winston Cup season in that job. Roush would not confirm that changes are ahead for any of his teams, but he says he won’t wait until the end of the season if he believes a move should be made.(Sporting News), Jimmy Elledge is one possibility.(8-5-2003)
  • Wind Tunnel Testing Tuesday UPDATE: NASCAR will take cars to the wind tunnel for the first time this season Tuesday in Marietta, Ga., to test how they react to a reduction in spoiler height. The cars that will be tested: Chevrolet, #24-Jeff Gordon and #20-Tony Stewart; Ford, #17-Matt Kenseth and #38-Elliott Sadler; Dodge, #2-Rusty Wallace and #42-Jamie McMurray; and Pontiac, #32-Ricky Craven and #10-Johnny Benson. Reducing the spoiler height likely would lead to slower speeds because the rear end of the car wouldn’t be as stable. The tests also will serve as baseline for the 2004 Taurus, which will go to the wind tunnel later in the week.(Sporting News)(8-4-2003)
    UPDATE: McMurray’s and Kenseth’s engines will be torn down and inspected Wednesday at NASCAR’s tech center.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
  • Helton and DEI? Unlikely: There is validity to the long-running reports that NASCAR president Mike Helton’s name is once again in the hat to take over Dale Earnhardt Inc., according to top NASCAR sources. Owner Teresa Earnhardt has asked Helton to take over running the company built by the late six-time Winston Cup champion, according to sources. It is unclear how interested Helton might be in such a position or how such a move might change the power structure inside the stock-car racing sanctioning body.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
  • Pemberton to leave Ford and go back to a team? Now that Robin Pemberton has successfully helped Ford get its new Taurus through the NASCAR approval process, look for the veteran crew chief to move back to his former job running a race team. The most logical position for Pemberton would be with Robert Yates, whose two-car operation has been struggling.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
  • Marlboro, Penske and Cup? NASCAR’s proposed ban on tobacco sponsorships comes as reports are surfacing that Philip Morris’ Marlboro brand may be interested in sponsoring a Roger Penske Winston Cup team. There have been persistent reports that Penske is considering a third Cup team, but the team continues to deny those reports.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)

    (8-4-2003)

  • #88 Jackman Injured UPDATE 2 at home: On his first pitstop #88-Dale Jarrett spun out, hit his jackman, John Bryan, who was attended attended to on pitroad [which was closed] – John was (and is) awake and alert, Bryan was transported to the local hospital, Doug Yates told IMS radio that Bryan’s shoulder hurts and he has pain in his pelvic area, but is awake and alert and Yates thinks he is OK – Good News! (radio and TV reports)(8-3-2003)
    UPDATE: #88-Dale Jarrett was headed to pit road on lap 37 when his brakes appeared to lock up and his car began to spin down the service road. He hit jack man John Bryan, who was unable to get out of the way. “It’s the most devastating thing I’ve ever been associated with,” Jarrett said. “It was just stupidity on my part.” The car spun around and went backward into the wall, pinning Bryan against the concrete barrier and sending his helmet flying into the fence. Bryan was awake and alert when taken to the hospital, complaining of a sore shoulder and pain in his pelvis. He was released Sunday night with no sign of serious injuries. Also injured was Joe Krupa, a photographer for The Star Press of Muncie, Ind. Another member of Jarrett’s crew dropped a tire which came up and hit Krupa. He also was released Sunday night. Jarrett had the first pit box. “I knew which pit box we had, and I thought I’d seen how far I could get in,” Jarrett said. “Apparently we just got in too far today.” Jarrett started 34th, but he never recovered from the pit accident. He finished 39th, 18 laps behind winner Kevin Harvick. “I didn’t even care about the rest of the race. I had to finish it for the guys,” Jarrett said. “I could have cared less. My thoughts were just, ‘God take care of John Bryan.”‘(Thatsracin.com/AP)(8-3-2003)
    UPDATE 2: John Bryan is at home and resting after being involved in a pit road incident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the running of the Brickyard 400. After being evaluated at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Bryan was released with all tests coming back negative. Albeit a little sore, Bryan’s spirits are up and he is looking forward to getting back to the race track. “I’m very sore . . . I feel like I was hit by a racecar,” Bryan joked Monday afternoon. “I am a little sore all over right now but the biggest thing that’s sore is my shoulder, which makes sense because I landed on my right shoulder. Other than that, I feel pretty good and hope to get back to the shop later this week.” Bryan, who has been working at Robert Yates Racing since 1996, has been part of the #88 team pit crew since April 2002. He has worked as the Parts Manager since 1996, and shortly after that went to work pitting the #28 Robert Yates Racing Fords before moving to the #88 team in 2002. Bryan says he has every intention of returning to his jackman duties as soon as possible. Bryan, who flew home with the team on Sunday night, talked to Jarrett before leaving Indianapolis. “I saw Dale at the airport and I think seeing me in person and being able to see I was OK was a big help for him,” Bryan said. “DJ is a great person and a great driver. We’re having a tough time as a team, but we’ll get through it and I just want to get back to the track and be part of that.” Bryan says one of the positives that came out of the weekend was the performance of his safety equipment. “The safety equipment did a great job,” Bryan said. “I wear a Troy Lee helmet which has a chin guard and I think that made a huge difference. I think I was able to figure some things out too that may even help make this job safer and have talked to both Robert (Yates) and DJ (Jarrett) about it.” Bryan will sit out this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen and probably the August 17th race at Michigan International Speedway. He hopes to be able to attend the race in Michigan for moral support for the team. “These things happen,” Bryan said. “This is the class I signed up for 10 or 11 years ago when I started doing this. I’m not quitting and I’m looking forward to getting back to the track in the next couple weeks.” Bryan is going to continue resting for the next couple days before returning back to work.(Elevation Motorsports PR)(8-4-2003)
  • Jerry Nadeau Update and MORE: Jerry Nadeau says it’s “a pretty realistic goal” that he’ll make his return at next year’s Daytona 500. Team officials had talked about Nadeau possibly racing again at the end of the season, but Nadeau is not sure that schedule will work as he continues to recover from injuries suffered in a crash at Richmond in May. “I was looking at timetable-wise Atlanta because Atlanta is such a good place and I’ve won there,” Nadeau said of the Oct.26 race. “But, you really never know.”(Roanoke Times)(8-2-2003)
    UPDATE: Jerry Nadeau is considering making a return to Richmond for the Cup race Sept. 6. He won’t be behind the wheel of the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac. He’d prefer that he was – even though his last trip around the 0.75-mile track was harrowing. “I’ll probably go to Richmond,” Nadeau said. “But it’d probably be better if I would go back to drive rather than watch. That’s what I do for a living is drive. If I go back where the horse bucked me off, it would make it a better time to get back. I need to make the horse pay for my injuries.” He is uncertain of his return to the car but is targeting next year’s Daytona 500 as a goal. He raced a go-kart three times last week. Nadeau made his second appearance as a spectator at a track [at Indy] this weekend after rejoining his team as at New Hampshire International Speedway two weeks ago. He said he is improving steadily. “I can’t tell visibly that I’m better,” he said. “People that see me once a week can see a difference.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-4-2003)
  • Sad News – Woman Killed, Son Injured, in a racecar: A Lower Lake [CA] race car driver died when she lost control and struck a crash wall at Lakeport Speedway at the Lake County Fairgrounds, the race course’s first deadly accident. Marlene Baker crashed during a “ladies powder puff race” Saturday. Baker’s son was a passenger in the car and was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with a severe concussion. The crash occurred on the last lap of the last race of the evening on the quarter-mile oval track, Nadine Strauss, the speedway’s manager, said in a statement released Sunday evening.(Press Democrat)(8-4-2003)
  • Laps at the Brickyard: Bill Elliott, the 2002 Brickyard 400 champion, has completed a record 1,599 of a possible 1,600 laps in 10 starts. Bobby Labonte, the 2000 race champion, finished one lap down and has completed 1,598 laps. Robby Gordon joined John Andretti and Tony Stewart as the only drivers to lead laps in both the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400. Gordon led the Brickyard race for the first time Sunday, and also has led the open-wheel Indy 500 in 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2003. Three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon led three laps. He has led a record eight Brickyard 400s and a record 309 laps.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(8-4-2003)
  • Garfield’s Engine Has No Purr: Kyle Petty’s #45 Georgia Pacific Dodge was painted in a tribute to the 25th birthday of Garfield, the popular comic character created by Muncie [IN] native Jim Davis [do not remember seeing much of it on TV during the race]. The famous cat didn’t help the car purr, however. “It felt terrible today,” Petty said. “We have no motor, no motor, no motor. We have to figure it out. We need to find a motor somewhere.” Petty used a provisional to start Sunday’s race in 41st place. The rear end broke in the car on lap 95, forcing Petty to the pits, where repairs cost him 19 laps. Petty finished 40th, 19 laps behind winner Kevin Harvick.(Muncie Star Press)(8-4-2003)
  • Mexico? Australia [can I go?] Canada? in the future for NASCAR: NASCAR’s search for new markets for Winston Cup racing could take a decidedly unexpected twist – think Mexico City and Australia. Car owner Jack Roush says that an early January Cup race in Australia would be perfect timing, since the weather’s great, and he likes Canadian and Mexican options, too. While the Indy Racing League would be the obvious choice to replace CART at those venues, NASCAR sources say that the stock-car sanctioning body – which, after all, runs one of the world’s most popular auto-racing series – may be approached by sponsors to consider running races at Mexico City and in Australia in CART’s stead. Two such Winston Cup races could perk the interest of NBC and Fox, who haven’t been making money on the sport they’re paying $400 million a year to broadcast. Two venues closer to home, with more logical markets, are Vancouver, British Columbia, and Denver [street courses for Cup cars?].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2003)
  • Leffler in the #0 for more races? The fast, consistent test laps Jason Leffler ran at Kentucky Speedway were among the reasons crew chief Tony Furr elected to put Leffler in the #0 NetZero Pontiac at Indy. Leffler joined the team at 5 the morning of the test and stayed until 3 the next morning to make sure the car would be ready, and that sealed the deal. Furr was impressed enough by Leffler that he signed him to nine races, on the weekends Leffler doesn’t have a conflict with the trucks series. John Andretti already was signed to drive the car Sunday at Watkins Glen.(Sporting News)(8-4-2003)
  • P.J. Jones to drive for Morgan-McClure at The Glen: Former CART driver P.J. Jones will drive the #4 Kodak Chevrolet [actually he tested the #04 for Morgan-McClure while Johnny Miller tested the #4] this week at the road course at Watkins Glen, N.Y. He finished fourth in last year’s race. Robert Pressley failed to get the car qualified for the Brickyard.(Indianapolis Star) Jones ran the #14 Foyt Racing Dodge at Sonoma in June, no idea if Larry Foyt will drive or if the team will hire another road course specialist.(8-4-2003)
  • New Ford Engine: Ford officials said they have talked to NASCAR about submitting a new engine. “We’re heading towards submitting a piece of hardware by the deadline, which we’re shooting for a September-October time frame,” said Greg Specht, North American Operations Manager, Ford Racing Technology. “It’s going to be nothing radical and, frankly, nothing they haven’t seen before, but it’s going to give our engine builders some new ground to work on and to catch up with our competitors.”(Roanoke Times)(8-4-2003)
  • Vickers may debut in Cup later this year: Car owner [#’s 5,24,25,48,60] Rick Hendrick said he plans to put Brian Vickers in a Cup car this season, most likely in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick said Vickers has tested a Cup car in Kentucky during an engine test.(Roanoke Times)(8-4-2003)
  • Ward to the #30? UPDATE 2 Park?: Sources in the garage say the AOL ride is available next season and that the sponsor would like a mature driver capable of winning races. Sounds like the perfect fit for Ward Burton [who is signed with Bill Davis thur 2004]. Not only has he won at a variety of tracks, he would be a good hunting buddy for owner Richard Childress.(Sporting News)(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE: Ward Burton is looking to get out of his contract with Bill Davis Racing, perhaps at the end of this season. Burton has one more year remaining on his deal with Davis but wants to get out of it early. He told The Associated Press that he and Davis are “looking at other options” for next season, and a team spokesperson confirmed that Burton was looking to leave. Davis had left the racetrack to head to Indianapolis Raceway Park for Saturday night’s Busch Series race and was unavailable for comment. “I would love to get our differences straightened out, but I don’t know if it’s possible,” Burton told The Associated Press. “It’s just lack of respect and lack of communication.(NASCAR.com)(8-3-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Who might [Bill Davis Racing GM Mike] Davis pick to replace Burton? Steve Park was at Davis’ shop the other day and did fly up here with the team, but Brown insisted that there is no quid-pro-quo in the works to swap Burton for Park with Richard Childress. ‘Not an ounce of truth,’ Brown said. ‘Steve was bringing his motorcycle by for a ride that Bill and Steve and a few others are going on after Watkins Glen.’ But Brown said: ‘We’ve told Ward that timing is everything, and we can’t wait 60 to 90 days for him to make up his mind on what he wants to do. Sometimes if you want to do something different, you’ve got to be willing to step up and do the right thing so everybody can move on. We haven’t talked with anyone about the ride. We feel if we and Ward part ways and do it in a timely manner, then we won’t have a problem putting anybody in the car.’ One entanglement is Burton’s close ties with sponsor Caterpillar. Brown insisted that Caterpillar wouldn’t leave if Burton leaves. ‘We’ve had recent meetings with Caterpillar and they’ve assured us they’re 100 percent behind the race team,’ Brown said. ‘This is the first year of a five-year deal, and they want us to make the racing decisions, though they want to be aware of everything that’s going on and they want to buy into anything that’s going on.’ Brown declined to comment on reports of disagreements Friday between Burton and crew chief Frank Stoddard. Dodge officials want to keep Burton, last year’s Daytona 500 winner, and one place that might have an opening is Ray Evernham’s.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2003)
  • Upgrade the Points System? UPDATE 2: NASCAR may use the sponsorship change from R.J. Reynolds to Nextel as an opportunity to change the championship points system and give a points bonus for winning poles and races. But there is also talk among crews and car owners about giving every race entrant at least 30th-place points, even if he finishes last. The move would be a safety plus, by removing any points-incentive to repair a damaged car. The danger of lightning-fast garage repairs during a race was seen when Robby Gordon’s hood flew into the Daytona grandstands last month. Plus there are dangers to crewmen making the repairs.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-2-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is considering changing its championship points system to give bigger rewards for winning poles and races. The current system favors consistency over winning. The system, which began in 1975 and is often criticized, has been under attack this season while Matt Kenseth has built a whopping 232-point lead in the championship race with just one victory but a string of top-10 finishes. “We are reviewing the points system, as we often do when there is talk about one driver having so big of a lead that it looks like the championship will be decided before the season is over,” NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said Saturday. One of the scenarios NASCAR is looking at is awarding a sizable points bonus to the race winner — anywhere from an additional 10 points to 50 — and giving a bonus for winning the pole. Other options include awarding the same amount of points to drivers who finish 30th through 43rd, or not awarding any points after 36th position. Both of those scenarios would make it pointless for damaged cars to return to the racetrack. NASCAR has already applied all those scenarios to past seasons and found that it never changed the series champion, Hunter said.(NASCAR.com)(8-3-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Changing the points system was a hot topic last weekend at Indianapolis. NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. says NASCAR is looking at awarding bonus points during different periods of each race. Although race winners likely will receive a bump in points, France doesn’t anticipate teams receiving points for qualifying [ie – the Pole]. Regardless of what is agreed upon, expect a new points system to be in place for 2004.(Sporting News)(8-4-2003)
  • Kenny on the hot seat? Another question facing Bill Davis’ team is the future of driver Kenny Wallace. Brown denied speculation that Scott Wimmer would step up from the Busch tour to replace Wallace. ‘There have been a lot of people speculating that, because we’ve said Wimmer is ready for Winston Cup,’ Brown said. ‘But we’ve been exploring other sponsorship opportunities there. Kenny has always been an integral part of the Stacker2 brand — he’s responsible for getting us and them hooked up. So Kenny will always have a place in that car as long as Stacker2 wants to use him.'(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2003)
  • Provisionals Changes? saw this a few places – NASCAR issued a bulletin that changes the way provisional exemptions will be handed out for the rest of the year. Essentially, cars positioned in the top 25 in the car owner standings are guaranteed a starting spot in every race the rest of the year. Teams ranked outside the top 25 will have to use one of their allotted exemptions.(Augusta Chronicle/Sporting News). This has been in place for a few seasons, don’t see what the change in policy is? From my Provisional Land page: ” If a team is in the top 25, they will not be charged a provisional. So if a team was out of the top 25 in owners points and is charged all four provisionals and then gets into the top 25, that team can still use a provisional spot because it will NOT be charged” That started a few years ago…so…???(8-4-2003)
  • Target and General Mills Team Up to Raise Funds for Target House: The first annual Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series race is scheduled for November 8, 2003, at North Carolina Speedway. Target and General Mills will be working together to raise money for Target House, a home away from home for families and children receiving care at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. “We’re grateful to have such a high-profile event to help raise funds and visibility for Target House and the hospital,” said Richard Shadyac, National Executive Director of ALSAC/St. Jude, the hospital’s fund-raising arm. “I know the kids are looking forward to cheering on their favorite drivers during the race.” To help raise funds for Target House, Target will be selling souvenir die-cast racecars on target.com. All proceeds from the die-cast cars will benefit Target House. In addition, a portion of sales from select, specially-marked General Mills snack products sold at Target stores will go toward Target House, with a maximum donation of $50,000. The General Mills snack products include Fruit Gushers, Pop Secret Popcorn, Fruit Roll-Ups and Chex Mix. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing team associate sponsors including Fujifilm, Coca-Cola, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle Purina and Clorox have committed an additional $30,000 to Target House. Target has a long history of supporting motorsports and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing team has supported St. Jude and Target House since 1997 through donations from the race team. The team provides $25 for each lap lead, $1,000 for each pole position and $5,000 for every race win. Over the past six seasons, the team has raised more than $275,000 for the hospital and Target House. “Target House is one of our leading community programs and we’re happy this race will heighten the visibility of the ground-breaking work taking place at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said John Remington, vice president, events marketing and communications, Target Corporation. Fans can order tickets to the inaugural Target House 200 by calling the North Carolina Speedway ticket office at 1-800-PITSTOP or 910-582-2861 or by visiting online at www.northcarolinaspeedway.com.
    About Target House: Funded by Target Stores and its vendor and celebrity partners, Target House is a home-away-from-home for families with children receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As an extension of St. Jude’s commitment to care for any child regardless of the family’s ability to pay, Target House provides fully furnished apartments, free-of-charge. Based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-4-2003)

 


 

  • (8-3-2003)

  • Harvick wins the Brickyard 400 at Indy: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first ever won from the pole. It is the 2nd win for the team [the late great Dale Earnhardt won in 1995 with the same team, then #3]. It is Harvick’s 4th career win and first of the season. Harvick blew the right rear fender off the car when his burn out popped and shreaded the tire. Finishing 2nd was #17-Matt Kenseth, who extends his points lead even more. Last years winner, #9-Bill Elliott came back and finished 5th. Nice finish by #7-Jimmy Spencer and Mongo. And rookie #42-Jamie McMurray lead 22 laps and finished 3rd, his best finish of the season.
    See my race rundown, cautions and notes on my Brickyard 400 Race Info page.
    Race re-air: NOTE: Speed Channel has changed their lineup starting in August – so there will be a one-hour recap of the race on Wednesday, August 6th at 7:00pm/et and again on August. 7th; a full three-hour race show will re-air at 3:00pm/et on Thursday, August 7th
    Race Results at Jayski’s Brickyard 400 Race Results
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(8-3-2003)
  • More on Ward Burton and Bill Davis and a possible split: from an XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) interview by Claire B. Lang (CBL):
    XM-CBL: Is Ward looking elsewhere?
    Bill Davis: “Well….it’s no secret that we have have had two very unproductive years – I mean we did win two races last year including the Daytona 500 but we haven’t raced to our potential in a couple of years. You know we’ve been together a long time and these things don’t usually go on forever and we’ve been dissatisfied with the performance and just haven’t been happy with what we’ve had going on and you know it may well be time for a change and a fresh start for both of us.
    We need to make some changes.We need to check some things up. You know We’re well into our second very unproductive season for both teams. We haven’t raced to our potential in a long time. We haven’t put up the numbers that we needed to. We won two races but still finished what 14th in points or something and that’s just not acceptable. I tell everybody that works for us nobody’s job is secure right now because we need to make some cfhanges and get some fresh blood and some fresh ideas in here and you now get going with something.
    XM-CBL: Have you told Ward he’s free to look around?
    Davis: Well Ward’s under contract. I guess he’s out shopping around so whatever.
    XM-CBL: So it could be a driver – a crew chief a team member -anything?
    Davis: Anything could happen around here in the next 60-90 days – we’re looking for some improvement.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(8-3-2003)
  • Congrats: Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 ALLTEL Dodge and his girlfriend Krissie Boyle got engaged last Tuesday [July 29th].(FSN’s NASCAR This Morning)(8-3-2030)
  • IROC: no spoiler here, to see who won the race and who won the IROC Championship, see my 2003 IROC Page, also there is TV re-air schedule.(8-3-2003)
  • StockCarFans.Com: Rumblings – The Brickyard: #29-Kevin Harvick led the first 17 laps….then the final 16 laps. He didn’t bother messing with Mr. Inbetween! Harvick won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon for his 4th career win and first of the season. He becomes the 15th different winner this season, and is now tied for 65th on the all-time win list. He put Richard Childress in Victory Lane at Indy for the second time and provided him with his 73rd win [Jayski stats have RCR at 75 as does the RCR site] as a car owner. This was Harvick’s first win since he captured the event at Chicagoland Speedway in July of 2002.
    Harvick’s win from the pole (the 4th by a driver this season) was worth a measley $418,253 from the paltry $8,175,873 in posted awards. Finish last this week and pocket a mere $102K. Mighta been why we had 52 cars, huh?
    #17-Matt Kenseth (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    #42-Jamie McMurray (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October of last year.
    #7-Jimmy Spencer (8th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    #10-Johnny Benson (13th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Dover in June.
    #57-Kevin Lepage (30th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Atlanta in November of 2001 (only 6 races).
    STREAKIN….An empty category. No driver has strung more than two together.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP [moved up the most postions]: Operator of the Week is #10-Johnny Benson (+27), followed by #7-Jimmy Spencer (+24), and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr (+22). DOWN [lost the most positions]: The Big Dropper (for the second week in a row) was #81-John Andretti (-32), followed by #19-Jeremy Mayfield (-31), #25-Joe Nemechek (-30), #38-Elliott Sadler (-26), #22-Ward Burton (-22), and #40-Sterling Marlin (-22).
    #01-Mike Skinner led today for the first time since he led one lap at Loudon in July of 2002. He’s the 41st driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 46 leaders.
    Matt Kenseth tacked another 54 points onto his lead today….it’s now 286.
    #42-Jamie McMurray (25th to 21st) gained the most spots this week while #25-Joe Nemechek (22nd to 25th) and #21-Ricky Rudd (23rd to 26th) dropped the most positions.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-3-2003)
  • Narrow Pit Road; F-1 road an option in the future? #25-Joe Nemechek has become a fan of Formula One at Indy, if for no other reason than envy. The Winston Cup veteran and No. 7 starter for today’s race wants to use the pavement strip that F-1 uses for pit road. Nemechek contends Indy’s oval-track pit road is too narrow at 39 feet wide. The F-1 pit road is 50 feet wide. “I want to ask (Speedway president) Tony George if we can use the F-1 road,” Nemechek said. “The one we’ve got is so narrow that you’ve really got to be careful. It’s one of the narrowest we’ve got.” A narrow pit road requires precision on entry and exit. If a team pitting in the middle of pit road decides to take fewer tires than its competition, the driver must dodge incoming and outgoing traffic. But there are no plans to use the F-1 road. The Speedway has temporary bleachers there and has sold all of the tickets. Plus, the grandstands in the area closest to the fourth turn are permanent.(Indianapolis Star)(8-3-2003)
  • Safety at IMS: Indianapolis Motor Speedway is using the traveling Indy Racing League safety team for today’s race, and Bill Elliott says it’s time for NASCAR to have its own traveling safety crew. “It’s something I’d like to see NASCAR adopt,” he said. “I feel like it’s time this sport goes into a realm of common people coming in every week that know the drivers and understand what the values are out there. My hat’s off to [IMS president] Tony George and all the guys here because they have been on the leading edge of safety. When we talk about soft walls, all this stuff, they put them up.”(Tampa Tribune)(8-3-2003)
  • StockCarFans.com: Ramblings – The Brickyard: I tell ya….dem boyz like to wear poor ol’ Tom Carnegie out. We heard “it’s a neeeew traaack recooooord” so much it sounded like a recording. All told, eleven drivers were faster than the old mark set by Tony Stewart last year. #29-Kevin Harvick crossed that yard of bricks in 48.822 (184.343), a new track record if you hadn’t heard, and will lead ’em to the green tomorrow for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the Bud Pole. It’s the second career top-spot for Harvick (his other pole was at Daytona in July of 2002). Harvick is the 13th different pole winner this season.
    #22-Ward Burton (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Martinsville last October.
    #25-Joe Nemechek (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 7th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    #57-Kevin Lepage (21st) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Atlanta in November of 2001 (only 6 races).
    #0-Jason Leffler (26th) has his best starting spot since he started 7th at Homestead in October of 2001 (only 4 races).
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Bobby Labonte has 3 Top-10 starts in a row.
    You know this is a big one if we have a car count of 52! We had 9 drivers hit the bricks and load up on the Trouble Train, and one of those brings to a close a very long consecutive race streak.
    Since Ken Schrader went full-time on the Winston Cup circuit in 1985, he’s started every race we’ve had. That streak (579 consecutive races) came to an end today as he missed the field by a little over 3/100th’s of a second.
    The other DNQ’s were: Brett Bodine, Billy Bigley, Jim Sauter, Christian Fittipaldi, David Reutimann, Ted Musgrave, Hermie Sadler, and Robert Pressley.
    Provisionals were used by: Jeff Burton, Terry Labonte, Ricky Rudd (all of those were non-charged), Johnny Benson, Kyle Petty, Larry Foyt, and Derrike Cope. Foyt used his last provisional on the #14 car….if they continue to run that number that team won’t be eligible for their next provisional till we get back to Loudon in September.(StockCarFans.Com Wcup Newsletter)(8-3-2003)


    (8-2-2003)

  • Evernham Honored: [#9, #19, #91 team owner] Ray Evernham was named the winner of the event’s True Grit award, which honors a veteran chief mechanic for outstanding achievement.(Indianapolis Star)(8-3-2003)
  • Different Points Systems, Different Results [well…not really]: from the USA Today – The Winston Cup points race would look much different if NASCAR adopted another series’ scoring system:
    Current NASCAR Winston Cup points standings (43 cars score points; 175 for a victory, 34 for 43rd):
    1. Matt Kenseth (1 win) 2,977
    2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) -232
    Hypothetical standings if NASCAR awarded 50 bonus points for winning a race:
    1. Matt Kenseth (1 win) 3,027
    2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) -232
    Hypothetical standings if NASCAR used the Formula One’s scoring system (eight cars score points; 10 for a victory, 1 for 8th):
    1. Bobby Labonte (1 win) 69
    2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) -1
    Hypothetical standings if NASCAR used the CART’s scoring system (12 cars score points; 20 for a victory, 1 for 12th):
    1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1 win) 163
    2. Matt Kenseth (1) -2
    Hypothetical standings if NASCAR used the Indy Racing League’s scoring system (33 cars score points; 50 for a victory, 1 for 33rd):
    1. Matt Kenseth (1 win) 546
    2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1) -49.
    See the USA Today for the top 10 in each system.(8-3-2003)
  • Paul Tracy to NASCAR? Volatile, hard-driving Paul Tracy, an outspoken Indy-car star, may be looking for place to race next season, with CART going down the tubes. And two Winston Cup team owners interested in Tracy are Chip Ganassi and Richard Childress. Childress has made a career of dealing with hard-to-deal with drivers. It’s unclear if Childress might be considering expanding to four Winston Cup teams.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2003)
  • Ganassi expanding to 4 teams? Look for Ganassi to expand to four teams next season, according to team sources. That could be fuel for the report that Robert Yates has expressed interest in selling his teams. But Ganassi is more likely to make a run at Sam Hornish, GM’s struggling Indy-car star, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2003)
  • More Consecutive starts stuff: #24-Jeff Gordon is set to make his 350th consecutive start this weekend at Indianapolis. That is the record for most consecutive starts from a driver’s debut. #49-Ken Schrader ‘s streak of 579 consecutive starts could be in jeopardy this weekend. His team is out of provisionals, so he must qualify in the top 36 or he won’t make the Brickyard 400.(Roanoke Times), see the list on my Stats and Stats links page.(7-30-2003)
    #49-Ken Schrader’s streak came to an end when he missed the Brickyard 400.(8-2-2003)
  • Coke Rethinking? Coca-Cola officials may be rethinking their NASCAR marketing plans, according to sources. The Atlanta-based company, with profits growing, has been marketing under the logo ‘the Coca-cola family of racers,’ with tie-ins to half a dozen Winston Cup stars. It is unclear if Coke might now want to focus on a single-car sponsorship. At least four car owners are looking for such a car sponsorship, Teresa Earnhardt, Jack Roush, Rick Hendrick and Jim Smith.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-2-2003)
  • The Brick Car: the #11 U.S. Micro/Brick Ford with driver/owner Brett Bodine was on the track Friday practicing for the Brickyard 400 at Indy. Nice spot they chose for Jayski.com…Thanks. Bodine was 43rd fastest in Friday’s practice, with Bodine 46th in owners points and a slow qualifying run [was 37th fastest, just missed the cut] Bodine missed making the Brickyard 400, so don’t get to see the bricks in the race.(8-2-2003)

  • Harvick wins the pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indy: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser Pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indy with a new track record of 184.343 [the old record from 2002 was 182.960mph, by Tony Stewart]. Eleven drivers qualified faster then the old track record. #49-Ken Schrader will miss his first Winston Cup race after 579 consecutive starts. #11-Brett Bodine failed to get the BRICK car in the race, shame, that would had been cool. Both Morgan-McClure teams missed the race, #4-Robert Pressley and #04-David Reutimann. The #07-Ted Musgrave and #79-Billy Bigley Jr’s teams missed the race while making their 2003 Cup debut. #14-Larry Foyt used his last provisional for that car until the team attempts 24 races. For the results and some stats, who missed the race and who used provisionals, see my Jayski’s Brickyard 400 Qualifying Page.(8-2-2003)

    (8-1-2003)

  • New Taurus Unveiled: Fans at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis were treated to a “first” today as Ford Racing unveiled a freshened exterior Taurus and all-new F-150 pickup truck that will be competing next season in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, respectively. Cisco Codina, vice-president, Ford Customer Service Division, and Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology, unveiled the vehicles today as part of the annual Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day. Numerous Ford Racing drivers from the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck series assisted in the presentation. This marks the second time that Taurus has received a styling and design change to its nose and tail sections since becoming the first four-door entry in NASCAR’s top division in 1998. The F-150 is also undergoing its second facelift, but it’s the truck’s first since 1996. The new styling on the race vehicles reflects the styling changes that will appear on the production 2004 Taurus and 2004 F-150 that will be on sale this fall. Although being shown for the first time today, the Taurus and F-150 race vehicles won’t make their competition debut until February 2004, at the start of Daytona Speedweeks.(Ford Racing PR)(7-31-2003)
    IMAGES: see my Ford News and Links page for a few images of the car and truck.(8-1-2003)

  • Special Announcment: NASCAR announced Friday that R.J. Reynolds, whose 33-year sponsorship of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series helped elevate the premier stock car series to one of the most popular sports in the United States, will be officially recognized for its contribution to the sport through the “Victory Lap” tribute program. The “Victory Lap” tribute will recognize drivers who captured a championship during R.J. Reynolds’ sponsorship tenure at designated tracks throughout the remainder of the 2003 season. See the full press release and many of the schemes that will be run or displayed on my Victory Lap Paint Scheme page.(8-1-2003)
  • Jarrett staying at Yates: Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett made it clear in no uncertain terms Friday he is not leaving Robert Yates Racing and may in fact remain there until he retires from the sport. During a news conference Friday honoring former winners of the Brickyard 400, Jarrett took the opportunity to direct comments at reporters who have said he was considering leaving Yates, even returning to Joe Gibbs Racing, should Tony Stewart leave that organization. “I’ll take this chance to take a second and say I am at Robert Yates Racing, I intend to be at Robert Yates Racing for quite a while and UPS is going to be the sponsor,” Jarrett said. “We have been a little frustrated. We haven’t been exactly happy with our performance, but that isn’t any reason to quit. We’ll continue to strive to get better and, hopefully, this weekend will help turn us around.” Jarrett is 27th in points, with five top-10 finishes and one top-five, which was a win at Rockingham, N.C., earlier this season. “I look at it as being unfortunate, that maybe it’s human nature that as people struggle they get kicked while they’re down and others try to help that scenario, if you will, by starting things that they don’t know anything about,” he said. “I have a contract through next year. We’ve agreed on 2005 and 2006 in principle. it’s just something that hasn’t ever been a priority with Robert Yates and myself, that we have to have a piece of paper doesn’t really mean a lot. It’s what’s in your heart.”(Thatsracin.com), see my #88 Team News and Links page the recent news and rumors on this.(8-1-2003)
  • Ganassi and Stewart have spoken: Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart and car owner Chip Ganassi have spoken about teaming up at some point. Ganassi fielded an IRL car for Stewart two years ago in the Indianapolis 500 and said Friday that partnership could eventually lead to a merger. Stewart’s current team, Joe Gibbs Racing, offered him a contract extension, but Stewart says he hasn’t looked at it. His deal expires at the end of the 2004 season and there’s been rampant speculation that Ganassi is trying to land him. “Tony drove for us a couple years ago, and we’ve had an ongoing rapport since then,” Ganassi said. “And we have talked about the possibility of him driving a Winston Cup car for us someday if he ever became available.” Stewart has repeatedly denied having any contact with Ganassi, and the car owner was not specific about when the two last talked. The discussion of Stewart’s future has followed him to Indy, his home track, where is he preparing for the Brickyard 400 on Sunday. Because Gibbs likes to renew contracts before they expire – teammate Bobby Labonte re-signed last month – the talks have started with Stewart. “Any car owner on top of his game would be remiss not to try to talk to him,” Ganassi said. “There’s a big difference between a guy who can win races and a guy who can win championships, and Tony can win championships.” NASCAR does not have rules prohibiting a car owner from pursuing a driver already under contract, although some owners wait out of respect until deals are expiring before talking to a driver. But because contracts can easily be bought out, others are more aggressive. Gibbs is currently negotiating with sponsor Home Depot and crew chief Greg Zipadelli on contract extensions to keep the team together past 2004. Those deals are believed to be close to done. The speculation over Stewart’s future has swirled through the garage area for the past month or so, and is now involving other drivers and teams. Earlier Friday, Dale Jarrett used a news conference honoring former Brickyard winners to tersely deny speculation that he would leave Robert Yates Racing to take Stewart’s seat at Gibbs if it opened up. The natural fit for Stewart would be joining Ganassi, who could enter him in the Indy 500 – the one race Stewart truly covets – every year. Stewart has not run Indy since Ganassi gave him a car in 2001, focusing on his Winston Cup effort the past two years. But Ganassi said the two spoke the past two years about entering the race.(Thatsracin.com/AP)(8-1-2003)
  • Roush, Yates and Wood Bros re-up with Ford: Ford Racing officials on Friday announced they had signed new, five-year contract extensions with three of the top Ford teams in Winston Cup – Robert Yates Racing, Roush Racing and Wood Brothers Racing. Together, the organizations field eight Cup teams each weekend and include such drivers as 1999 champion Dale Jarrett, current series leader Matt Kenseth and veterans Mark Martin and Ricky Rudd, among others. “Loyalty is something that we just take extremely seriously at Ford,” said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing. “We like to reward loyalty and these three organizations have been so loyal to us that I felt it was important for Ford and Ford Racing to demonstrate our loyalty to them. We’ve picked our dance partner and for Ford Motor Co. and NASCAR, these are our dance partners.” These organizations were also instrumental in the development of the 2004 Ford Taurus, which will be officially submitted to NASCAR this week for competition beginning next season. “The kind of commitment that need to made for research and development and pooling of information and for the development of strategies can’t be made on an ad hoc basis,” said team owner Jack Roush. They can’t be made annually. They almost have to me made with a decade in mind, and this certainly is moving in the right direction.”()(8-1-2003)
  • Safety Plans: NASCAR is looking at long-term and short-term answers to safety concerns.
    SHORT TERM
    — An escape hatch on stock cars could be ready in two weeks that would be optional for competitiors to use during the rest of the Winston Cup season.
    — Beginning next week, a heat sensitive fire extinguisher will be required near the cars’ fuel cell.
    — Indy already has soft walls. Richmond and New Hampshire will have them by this fall’s races.
    LONG TERM
    — NASCAR is working on a new fuel cell that would prevent fires from ever starting.
    — A larger driver compartment has been developed but will need to be integrated into the stock cars.
    — NASCAR is testing aluminum foam to be placed in the car to absorb some of the G-forces generated in crashes.(story and more detail at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-1-2003)
  • Parrott to PE? maybe Roush? UPDATE 3 looks like neither: Sources in the garage say former Robert Yates Racing crew chief Todd Parrott could be coming out of retirement and headed for Petty Enterprises — if the Pettys can afford the seven-figure price tag it would take to retain him.(more ‘Dish’ at Sporting News)(7-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Earlier this year, Todd Parrott was released as director of competition at Robert Yates Racing. Earlier this week, there was a report that Parrott may wind up with Petty Enterprises, but a source told me Friday that Parrott could wind up at Roush Racing. We’ll keep you posted on that.(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(7-26-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Crew chief Todd Parrott is shopping for a job, and two places he’s applied are Petty Enterprises and Roush Racing. But sources say that Parrott won’t be offered a job with Roush. ‘Todd came to me, and I have talked with him,’ Jack Roush said, without further explanation.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Petty Enterprises has talked to Todd Parrott about its General Manager’s job, but Kyle Petty says Parrott will not be joining the team. Petty continues to look for a GM for the team.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to view)(8-1-2003)
  • Shepherd withdraws: #89-Morgan Shepherd has withdrawn his Winston Cup entry from the Brickyard 400. “The pistons for the new engine didn’t come in, ” stated Shepherd. “Instead of embarrassing myself or the sport I decided not to use the old engine.” Shepherd said he will not return with the Cup car until the new engine is ready. However, according to team sources, Earl Ramey of Hitech, located in Mooresville, NC, said the pistons should be in by the middle of next week. This will allow Shepherd the needed time to have the Cup engine ready for his plans to compete in the Shapie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23. Shepherd will attempt to qualify for the Craftsman Truck Power Stroke Diesel at IRP.(Morgan Shepherd site)(8-1-2003)
  • Three Contenders for IROC Championship: In recent True Value IROC seasons, the scenario going into the finale at the Brickyard has been a wide spread battle, usually consisting of half the 12-driver field or more. But the sixth consecutive, True Value IROC at Indy championship crowning event Saturday, August 2, will be a contest of three, consisting of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch, NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion, Mike Bliss, and Busch’s Winston Cup teammate Mark Martin. Winning races, collecting bonus points for leading laps and decent showings, when not winning, separates Busch, Bliss and Martin from the remainder of the field, but not by much. If Busch finished last and NASCAR Winston Cup driver, Ryan Newman, fourth in points, won and collected five-bonus points for leading most laps, he would lose the championship by the tiebreaker, which awards the championship according to average finishes over all four-races. Martin is a four-time True Value IROC Champion and has won every IROC race he has competed in at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting with the inaugural event in 1998 and continuing with consecutive wins in 1999 and 2000 – each win came from the back of the pack. Martin’s unabashed goal is to capture a, record-breaking, fifth title; he currently shares the record of four-titles with the late Dale Earnhardt. Adding to that, a repeat of his 1998 combination race win and championship would give him a 12th IROC race win and would break his shared record of 11 all-time wins, which he holds with Earnhardt and Al Unser Jr. Busch and Bliss are at the opposite end of their IROC careers. Both are bottle-rocket rookies with IROC wins under their belts. Busch won race two on April 5 at Talladega Superspeedway and Bliss won race three on July 12 at Chicagoland; both also maximized their victories by collecting five-bonus points. But, the two have a formidable situation sitting just ahead of them – literally. The line up for the race is by reverse order of the point standings, which will start Mark Martin 10th, one row ahead of Bliss and Busch starting 11th and 12th, respectively. The reigning True Value IROC champion, Kevin Harvick, sixth in points, is out of contention for a repeat championship. The 40-lap, 100-mile True Value IROC finale will get underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 2:00pm/et and be broadcast on ESPN, Sunday, August 3 at 1:00pm/et.(IROC PR). See my IROC page for past news and stuff.(8-1-2003)
  • Some Rookies Stuff: #42-Jamie McMurray has led more miles than any other Raybestos Rookie entering the Brickyard 400: eight times in three races for 97.25 miles (52 laps, I have 55 laps). The other rookies to lead this season: #16-Greg Biffle (twice in two races for 54.50 miles, 22 laps) and #41-Casey Mears (twice in two races for 22.50 miles, nine laps) [#14-Larry Foyt also led 5 laps [12.5 miles] at the June Pocono race].
    Did You Know? A Raybestos Rookie has posted a top-10 finish in each of the past four Brickyard 400 races: Tony Stewart in 1999 (fourth), Scott Pruett in 2000 (10th), Kurt Busch in 2001 (fifth), and Ryan Newman (fourth) and Jimmie Johnson (ninth) in 2002. Johnny Benson is the only Raybestos® Rookie to lead the most laps in the nine previous Brickyard 400 races. In 1996, Benson led three times for 69 laps and finished eighth in the race.
    Newman was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in last year’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. He was also the top qualifying rookie, taking the fifth starting position time trials. Jimmie Johnson finished ninth after a disappointing 37th place qualifying run. Neither driver led a lap in the race.
    The most recent Raybestos Rookies to lead a lap in the Brickyard 400 were Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick in 2000. Harvick led once for 18 laps while Busch led once for one lap.
    With Biffle’s win in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, a Raybestos Rookie has now won at least one race in each of the last five seasons dating back to Tony Stewart’s win at Richmond in September, 1999. Other freshman drivers to win: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond, 2000), Matt Kenseth (Charlotte, 2000), Kevin Harvick (Atlanta, 2001), Ryan Newman (New Hampshire 2002), and Jimmie Johnson (California and both 2002 Dover races). The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Johnson (2002) and Stewart (1999).
    A Raybestos Rookie has posted multiple victories five times in NASCAR Winston Cup history: Davey Allison (two wins in 1987), Tony Stewart (three wins in 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two wins in 2000), Kevin Harvick (two wins in 2001), and Jimmie Johnson (two wins in 2002). A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one pole position in each of the past seven consecutive seasons, dating back to 1996. The record for most poles in a rookie season is held by Ryan Newman, who won six in 2002.(Camp and Assoc PR). For standings and rules, see my Rookie of the Year page and Rookie Race by Race pages.(8-1-2003)
  • Contract Stuff: When Winston Cup drivers and owners open up their 2004 contracts – the ‘no sign, no drive’ contracts that NASCAR officials require teams to sign each season – they won’t be those loosely written three-page deals that have been sent out for years. The 2004 contract package is expected to be detailed on sponsorship issues, and some Winston Cup team owners are worried about what rights NASCAR executives may try to get them to sign away. There are also expected to be a number of legal issues at stake.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-1-2003)
  • Wimmer to run Bristol Cup race. . in a Chevy or is it Dover? UPDATE: Scott Wimmer said Monday on Speed Channel’s Inside NBS that he’s planning to enter the Cup race at Bristol in August. Bill Davis Racing has two [#27] Chevrolets back in the shop for him and he’s planning on testing soon [supposedly tested at Dover in May too].(Inside NASCAR Busch Series on SPEED via BGNRacing.com)(7-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Wimmer will likely run the Cup race at Dover on Sept 21st, in a Chevy. Wimmer tested a Chevy at Dover in May, and it was announced he would run there, then was withdrawn [right as the news that Dodge pulling their support of Davis broke](Winston Cup Scene – need sub to view)(8-1-2003)
  • Elliott Sadler wins 2nd Qtr NASCAR USG Person of the Year: A former basketball player, NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Elliott Sadlersaw the opportunity to play basketball to help raise money to benefit a cause that directly impacts his family. Sadler, with the help of his sponsor M&M’s, donated over $45,000 to the Autism Society of America through various events, most notably via his œHoops for Hope charity basketball game in May, all to help raise awareness of autism. For his efforts in staging the Hoops for Hope event and generating significant charitable funds, Sadler has been named the 2003 Second Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year. Autism is a disease that has personally affected his family. Sadler’s niece, Halie Dru, was diagnosed with autism in 2001. USG (United States Gypsum), the Official Building Products Supplier of NASCAR, is in its first year as sponsor of the NASCAR USG Person of the Year program. The award is designed to honor drivers, not only for their accomplishments on the track, but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR USG Person of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR Winston Cup season has been divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts. A select group of panelists will select one of the four quarterly finalists as the NASCAR USG Person of the Year. This award will be presented the week of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. Other second quarter nominees included Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton. The 2003 First Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year winner was Ricky Craven. In addition to the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, USG also sponsors the Driver of the Race Award, which goes to the eligible driver who wins each of the 36 NASCAR Winston Cup championship events. Each USG Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR)(8-1-2003)
  • Gaughan to run some Cup races? Brendan Gaughan is tied for the points lead in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He might compete in a couple of Winston Cup races later this year. “We have the car,” he said. “We just don’t know if we have the money.”(Dallas Morning News)(7-31-2003)
  • DW Wired at IRP: Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip is strapping in for this weekend’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park (Friday, 9:00pm/et) and Speed Channel is taking viewers along for the ride. Waltrip, a regular on Speed Channel’s Trackside program, will be wired for sound and his #17 Tide/Give Kids the World Chevy will be equipped with extra cameras. Fox broadcast partners Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will get in on the act, with Larry serving as DW’s spotter and Hammond taking position on the pit box. Both will have live mics as part of the live Speed Channel broadcast from IRP. Waltrip finished sixth in last year’s race on the .686-mile track. Waltrip’s brother, Michael, is the team owner and will be in the Speed Channel broadcast booth to help call the race.(Speed Channel)
    AND The team will use the Tide group again for IRP. Tide along with Winston Cup #32 car owner Cal Wells feel like it’s important that they keep their crew involved. DW tested at Hickory Speedway last Thursday to test.(FoxSports)
    AND MORE: The #17 Tide Chevrolet driven by Darrell Waltrip at Indianapolis Raceway Park’s (IRP) NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Aug. 1 will carry the colors of the Give Kids The World Village – a non-profit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses. With the paint scheme at IRP, Tide Racing kicks off a month-long awareness initiative for Give Kids The World. The campaign will culminate Aug. 31, 2003, with another special paint scheme on Ricky Craven’s #32 Tide Pontiac at Darlington Raceway’s Southern 500 – a design created by 19-year-old Lisa Healey of Amherst, N.Y., this year’s Tide/Give Kids The World Coloring Contest winner and sister of a wish child who visited the Village in 1998. In addition to the two special paint schemes, Tide is producing 1/64th-scale collectible die cast cars featuring Lisa’s design. Racing Champions donated 50,000 cars to help Tide raise funds for the Village – an effort that has raised more than $1.3 million in the past five years. Cars are available for a donation on www.blair.com beginning in August, with all proceeds going directly to Give Kids The World. Tide is joined this year by two of its #32 Tide Racing partners in support of Give Kids The World: Blair Corporation (and its website, Blair.com), the nation’s premier multi-channel direct marketer providing apparel and home products to the value-conscious consumer; and Super 8 Motels, Inc., the world’s largest economy motel chain.(PR)
    See the truck DW will run at IRP on my Truck Series Paint Scemes.(7-31-2003)
  • New NASCAR TV To Anchor Speed Channel Programming Schedule: Book-ended by Inside Winston Cup on Monday and Trackside on Friday, NASCAR TV will now anchor SPEED Channel’s new prime time programming lineup, which debuts Aug. 4, 2003. The announcement was made jointly by Speed Channel President, Jim Liberatore and Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting, NASCAR. As part of the new programming schedule, NASCAR TV, including Inside Winston Cup, Trackside, NASCAR Performance, NASCAR Past Champions, Totally NASCAR, Inside NBS, NASCAR Fast Forward and,Men Behind the Wrenches, as well as live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and live qualifying coverage from the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series will air 6:00-8:00pm/et, Monday through Thursday, most the viewing day on Friday, and continue to serve as the major component of Speed’s Monday through Thursday daytime lineup.(NASCAR PR)(7-31-2003)
  • Not NASCAR but a shame UPDATE 2 car found: When Coby Beltran is on the racetrack, all is right in his 5-year-old world. The Modesto boy can forget about the pump that feeds him through tubes in his stomach. He can forget about doctors and diagnoses. He just focuses his thoughts on the race — the colored flags, the cheering crowd, the cars, the trophy to be won. On the outside, Coby doesn’t look different. He’s a talkative child who tells elephant jokes and pushes Lego race cars around the living room floor. His NASCAR-decorated room is full of racing memorabilia that he’s happy to share. Then he lifts up his T-shirt. On the left side of his stomach are two small tubes that are hooked up to a pump twice a day — once for food, once for a laxative. Coby’s intestines don’t work. The machine helps do the work that his body can’t. Racing means everything to her son, Lori Beltran said. Which is why the family was devastated when Coby’s race car — a blue quarter midget worth about $3,200 — was stolen last week from the front yard of their home on Will Scarlet Way, off Merle Avenue in northeast Modesto [CA, where NASCAR great and Jayski Fave, Ernie Irvan is from]. The family was planning to sell the car to pay for repairs to a new car they bought for Coby. The new car is a better fit for him, but it needs new tires, shock absorbers and a better engine. On July 22, Coby’s father, Robert Beltran, was preparing to remove the engine from the older car. He left the race car on the lawn while he went inside for a drink and played a video game with Coby. He returned to the yard about a half-hour later. The car was gone. The family filed a police report, posted fliers around the neighborhood and put a sign in their front yard asking for information about the theft. The family is guarding the remaining car by keeping it on its trailer, and keeping it hooked to the truck — so the car is never left home when no one is there. So, Coby saved his birthday money and allowances and collected spare change to put in his piggy bank. He used the money to pay for the car that was stolen last week.(see full story at the Modesto Bee and check out Coby’s site: Coby’s Racing Page )(7-30-2003)
    UPDATE: Coby’s car was found. It is in pretty good shape but they had been trying to start it for a week. The police and newspaper went with the parents to pick it up from a fellow who purchased it out of the back of a pick up truck. It was one town south of them. There will be more info in the Modesto Bee soon. The CERES Sheriffs department did the recovery with them.(7-31-2003)
    UPDATE 2 – good news: Coby Beltran approached the blue-and-yellow race car with caution Thursday morning. The 5-year-old’s skepticism hid his signature smile. Could the car really be his? The one that was stolen from his front yard last week? Sure, it looked like his car, and it had his name on the front. But Coby wanted to be sure. He ran his fingers over the roll cage. He leaned into the car and checked the pedals and steering rods. Then he climbed in the driver’s seat and smiled. It was his car. The quarter-midget car valued at about $3,200 disappeared July 22 from the Bel-tran family’s front yard on Will Scarlet Way, near Merle Avenue in northeast Modesto. Wednesday, The Bee reported the theft, and readers responded in a big way, offering donations, tickets to big-time auto racing and sponsorships for Coby’s races. The best news came from Eddie Mora, a construction worker who lives in south Modesto. He had the car, and explained that he bought it for $525 from an un-identified man Sunday afternoon. Lori Beltran said Mora is Coby’s new hero.(see full story at Modesto Bee)(8-1-2003)