December 2000 Busch Series Archive

  • Akins Motorsports News: Newport News native Dick Conway has signed on with Chesapeake native Elton Sawyer and the Brad Akins-owned #98 BGN team. It’s a reunion of sorts since Conway handled all of Sawyer’s publicity, sponsorship scheduling and media relations when he drove for Ashton Lewis in 1987-1989. From 1990 through last season, Conway worked closely with the racing division of Raleigh, N.C.-based Goodmark Corp. He was aboard when Bobby Labonte won the 1991 Busch title and when David Green won it in 1994. In recent years, he worked with Terry Labonte and his son, Justin, on their BGN program. Conway became available to rejoin Sawyer when Goodmark ended its NASCAR relationship after last season(12-24-2000)
  • Pearson leaves Amick: Team Amick Motorsports announced that Ricky Pearson is leaving the #35 BGN team this week after serving one year as crew chief. Fred West, spokesman for Team Amick Motorsports, said Pearson is leaving to pursue other opportunities. West said the team is in the process of rebuilding for the 2001 season.(Amick PR)(12-22-2000)
  • #33 Changes: #33 Crew Chief Lance Dieter has left BACE Motorsports. He was serving as Tony Raines’ Crew Chief.(BGN Racing)(12-22-2000)
  • Talladega Testing: Fourteen BGN teams were at Talladega this past Monday for a closed session to experiment with recent changes in cylinder heads and engine compression ratio. The teams got about a 1-hour late start on the session, then drove through the rapidly plunging temperatures until dark. The test session was scheduled to continue on Tuesday, but was frozen out, and the teams headed home early. The testing session was needed so the teams could begin to dial in a new BGN General Motors cylinder head that will be the rulebook standard next season. Also, the drivers must begin adapting to the change from a 9.5:1 engine compression ratio allowed on the Busch cars in the past to a 12:1 ratio. This change brings Busch in line with Cup and the CTS Craftsmen Truck Series, which also mandate 12:1 compression ratios. Some of the drivers (and their teams) participating in the session included #10-Jeff Green; #87-Joe Nemechek; #60-Greg Biffle; #7-Randy Lajoie; #2-Kevin Harvick; #18-Jason Leffler; and #20-Scott Wimmer.(Anniston Star)(12-21-2000)
  • #53 Sponsor Hunting UPDATE 3 closed up? Parker to the #36 matbe #53?: Hank Parker Racing is looking for a sponsor to become a co-sponsor along with the US Marines, its primary sponsor in 2000. The Marines want 15 primary races, and then for the balance, they’d be the associate(Winston Cup Scene)(12-7-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing the #53 Hank Parker Team is closing up and Hank Parker Jr will drive the #36 Cicci-Welliver Chevy in 2001(12-12-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Cicci-Welliver Racing announced Friday that driver Hank Parker Jr., has been signed to join Tim Fedewa and David Green as the third driver for the team(NOL). – and I hear it was NOT contingent upon Parker bringing any sponsorship money with him. However, Team Marines will transfer the sponsorship over to Cicci-Welliver. Also hear that most of the crewmen from the #53 have found other jobs, not sure if that includes crew chief Dave McCarty(12-15-2000)
    UPDATE the PR: While Parker, Jr., will continue his relationship with the United States Marine Corps, additional marketing and sponsorship opportunities are available. Interested parties should immediately contact Mike Jacoy at Cicci-Welliver Racing, at 704-782-7009, ext. 18, or 704-906-6153.(12-16-2000)
    UPDATE 3: hearing they may run #53 instead of #36 since all of Team Marine marketing was done with #53(12-18-2000)
  • SABCO sells BGN team UPDATE: Armando Fitz has purchased Team Sabco’s BGN operation, and plans to field a Channellock-sponsored entry for Marty Houston in 2001. Fitz, who served as Sabco’s vice president of racing operations under father-in-law Felix Sabates, says he could field another full-time team if sponsorship is secured, as well as an additional part-time effort. Both Houston and Channellock have multiyear agreements with Fitz’s organization, which will be known as HighLine Performance Group. Houston ran the last three races of the year for Sabco, with a best finish of 14th in the season finale at Homestead.(Winston Cup Scene). No word on the fate of the #81 team with Blaise Alexander or if that is the ‘other team’ mentioned here(11-30-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing the team will switch from #82 to #6(will be #11) which was Houston’s father’s BGN number for years(12-16-2000)
  • Bill Davis News: hearing BGN Team Manager Chuck Spicer has left Bill Davis Racing to pursue another opportunity in NASCAR Racing. Hopefully an announcement on his new opportunity will be forth coming in the next few weeks(12-14-2000)
  • Gibbs cars in the Wind Tunnel: on Wednesday two each of the #4 and #18 Joe Gibbs speedway BGN cars were testing at the N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA(12-14-2000)
  • Gibbs Info UPDATE: Doug Richert has been placed in a team manager role for both Gibbs BGN teams(#4 and #18) in addition to his crew chief role for Jeff Purvis on the #4. Richert is also looking to hire a shock specialists and a data aquisition engineer for the organization(12-10-2000)
    UPDATE: Steve de Souza, Joe Gibbs Racing Vice President of Busch and Truck Operations, announced a reorganization within the Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series program. Doug Richert has been appointed Team Manager for both Busch Series Teams. Richert will also retain his position as crew chief for the Porter-Cable Power Tools Racing Team, driven by Jeff Purvis. de Souza also announced that Tim Shutt has been promoted from car shief to the position of crew chief for the #18 MBNA Pontiac driven by Jason Leffler(TOTAL Sports Marketing)(12-13-2000)
  • ARCA News: Control Racing of Cherryville, NC announced today that driver Rusty Wise will attend a test session at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. The team will be testing an ARCA Ford Thunderbird on December 15, 16, & 17th under the direction of former Cup Driver Jimmy Means. Control Racing has teamed up with Means Racing located in Forest City, NC for the December test(Control Racing PR)(12-13-2000)
  • Wind Tunnel: BACE Motorsports is testing a #74 Chevy at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(12-11-2000)
  • Jarrett to ARCA UPDATE: Jason Jarrett will run the full ARCA schedule in 2001 for ML Motorsports. From what I hear the #11 Jarrett-Farve BGN team will not run in 2001(12-10-2000)
    UPDATE: Jason Jarrett announced that he will run a full ARCA RE/MAX Series effort in 2001. Jarrett will join ML Motorsports, who fielded a Chevrolet for series Rookie of the Year Brian Ross last season. The 25-year-old Jarrett, the son of Dale and grandson of Ned, got his first taste of ARCA competition while filling in for Lyndon Amick at Charlotte last fall and earning a fourth-place finish. The team will start preparations for the 2001 campaign with a three-day test session at Daytona, the track where the ARCA season will open February 11.(SpeedVision)(12-10-2000)
  • #1 News UPDATE 3 it’s PJ Jones and: hearing Phil Parsons will move to the #1 James Finch operation and may drive a Dodge, no idea if Bob Evans stays aboard. To see the Finch Dodge built a few months ago, see my BGN Paint Scheme Gallery
    UPDATE: hearing Yellow Freight may be the sponsor for the #1 car(11-6-2000)
    UPDATE 2: now hearing PJ Jones will drive the #1 Yellow Freight car in 20 races, no idea what happens to Parsons, but he may end up in the TV Booth from what I hear(11-7-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Parsons said Nov. 6 that he has been working on another opportunity since June and that he should know something about it in the near future, but declined to give further details. He denied rumors that he was making plans to retire as a driver(Winston Cup Scene)(11-9-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Yellow Freight should deliver a signed contract to #1 Phoenix owner James Finch in the next day or so. P.J. Jones, son of Indy-racing great Parnelli Jones, will drive the #1 Fords/Chevy/Pontiacs(yes three manufacturers) Jeff Purvis will drive for Phoenix Racing as the team returns to Winston Cup superspeedway racing. Phoenix held its fifth-annual open house to benefit St. Andrew Bay Center, which has served adults with disabilities for more than 40 years. The fund-raising goal was $30,000. To get Jones more familiar with the Busch cars, crew chief Marc Reno has mapped out an “ambitious” testing schedule, which will have the team practicing every week until February’s season-opener at Daytona. Jones took the wheel of the Yellow Freight car last April and came with the sponsor to Phoenix. The practice time will be valuable because Jones figures to drive a Ford, Pontiac and Chevy at various times this season. As a kind of free agent when it comes to car manufacturers, Phoenix is playing the field. The team will take each model to Daytona for testing and race the fastest car. During the season they will use the model Reno and Jones believe is best suited to a particular track. The team also decided to venture back into Winston Cup with an old friend – Purvis – who competes in the Busch series with Joe Gibbs Racing. Purvis and Finch teamed on dirt tracks all the way to the big tracks for more than a decade before parting ways in 1998. They have, however, discussed joining forces again the past few years, Purvis said. The opportunity came with Bill Elliott’s decision to chunk his Fords and join the new Dodge team. His brother, Ernie, called Finch to gauge his interest in the engines Ernie Elliott had built. Finch purchased the engines, is having some car bodies assembled and will run the four Winston Cup superspeedway races with Fords next year at Talladega and Daytona. Sponsorship for the four Winston Cup races has not been secured, but given the success Phoenix has had at NASCAR’s two longest tracks and the $190,000 to be earned for making the field for the Daytona 500, the payoff could be sufficient to make sponsorship an afterthought(News Herald)(12-10-2000)
  • Dr Pepper and the #26? UPDATE 5: hearing that Dr Pepper will be the primary sponsor of the #26 Carroll Racing Chevy driven by Bobby Hamilton, Jr(11-2-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing Bobby Hamilton Jr will be the new driver of the #01 BellSouth CUP Dodge for Ganassi Racing in 2001(12-1-2000)
    UPDATE 2: another source says Hamilton Jr will stay with the #26 Carroll Racing BGN team in 2001 and a Sponsor announcement is to happen soon…..Dr Pepper(12-2-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Dr Pepper has teamed up with Denver, N.C.-based Carroll Racing as primary sponsor for the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division season. Bobby Hamilton Jr. will drive the Dr Pepper Chevrolet Monte Carlo No. 26. He is the son of veteran NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver, Bobby Hamilton. With a best finish of fourth at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring, Carroll Racing finished up the year strong by capturing their first pole-position at the season finale in Homestead.(Carroll Racing PR)
    UPDATE 4 an image: see an image of the car and Hamilton Jr at my BGN Paint Scheme Gallery(12-4-2000)
    UPDATE 5: Carroll Racing announced that Bobby Hamilton, Jr. has signed on to drive the #26 Carroll Racing Dr Pepper Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 2001, 2002 and 2003 BGN season. Hamilton Jr. drove for the Carroll Racing Team in 2000 and had a strong first full season of Busch racing, successfully qualifying for all 32 races and making impressive runs at all the tracks. “Bobby has displayed the abilities necessary to compete successfully, with intensity, commitment and consistently”, commented Carroll Racing owner, Dave Carroll. “We look forward to having him aboard for another season.”(Carroll Racing PR)(12-7-2000)
  • A Little Early but…UPDATE 2: Not BGN but a few drivers usually run the race so…..any Late Model driver who enters and wins the historic 33rd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway would walk away with the $50,000. The 33rd Annual Snowball Derby will be a 300-lap race, starting a field of 38 of the best Late Model drivers, giving each of them a chance to win the $50,000 which will be held December 3, 2000(Snow Ball Derby Site)(5-13-2000)
    UPDATE: The 33rd annual Snowball Derby will be held this weekend at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, and 65 late-model drivers from 15 states and Canada are already registered for the 300-lap event. But Red Farmer of Hueytown is not among them. Farmer is the only driver to have competed in all 32 of the previous Snowball Derbies. But time and the lack of a quality race car have caught up with the veteran racer. Rich Bickle won in 1999 in a controversal finish, Bickle is the only four day winner(Alabama Live) No idea if it will be Televised, Bickle is not listed on the current entries(11-30-2000)
    UPDATE 2: the race was won by Gary St. Amant, see the official results at the Snowball Derby site(12-4-2000)