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December 2000 News Archives


(12-31-2000)

  • #90 Ride Open? UPDATE 4 It’s Hut: hearing #90 Owner Junie Donlavey is talking to a few drivers for the #90 Hills Brothers Ford ride in 2001 including: Hut Stricklin, who drove the car for most of 2000; Greg Sacks, who last made a Daytona 500 attempt in the defunct #96 Perry-Huggins team in 2000; Geoffrey Bodine; Rick Mast; Jeff Fuller; and Ed Berrier, who started the 2000 season in the #90. Sacks recently coached CTS drivers Ricky Hendrick at the ARCA Daytona testing. Hendrick will run a few ARCA events in 2000 also(12-17-2000)
    UPDATE: Apparently, it is not a foregone conclusion that Hut Stricklin will be back as driver of Junie Donlavey’s #90 Ford. Donlavey has talked with several other drivers, one of them being veteran Greg Sacks. Reportedly, sponsor Hills Brothers Coffee will make the final call(Gaston Gazette) AND Team owner Junie Donlavey is letting sponsor Hills Brothers play a major role in selecting the driver for next season. It’s almost Christmas, but no contract has been signed with the team. Donlavey said Jeff Fuller, Greg Sacks, Rick Mast and Hut Stricklin all have spoken with the company. The team has added five crew members from the defunct Grubb Motorsports BGN operation(Richmond Times Dispatch)(12-24-2000)
    UPDATE 2: In a cross-promotion with sponsor Hills Bros Coffee and his hometown minor-league hockey team, car owner Junior Donlavey will announce his driver for 2001 during first intermission of Saturday night’s Richmond Renegades home hockey game against Charlotte. Donlavey remained mum on who the driver will be, with Hut Stricklin apparently the front-runner at the end of the season, having taken the wheel at mid-year. Others said to be in the running are Rick Mast, Greg Sacks and Jeff Fuller. Hills Bros, which joined Donlavey full-time in 2000, re-upped in October, and Donlavey, as always, promised to give the sponsor first call in driver choice.(SpeedVision), will also have NASCAR RIR Jersey’s available Dec. 29th and 30th at the merchandise stand there at the game(12-28-2000)
    UPDATE 3: have heard from a few sources that Hut Stricklin will be named the driver of the #90 AND Yesterday afternoon, Hut Stricklin was standing in Junie Donlavey’s Richmond-based shop when his cell phone rang. Asked to confirm he would be the driver for the #90 Winston Cup team in 2001, Stricklin waited half a second and responded. “I hope so,” he said. “We’ve got a lot invested here, just time and stuff.” But Hut, aren’t you standing in Donlavey’s shop right now? “Yes.” Isn’t that a sign that you will be the driver when the an-nouncement is made in just more than 24 hours? “I hope so.” There’s no breaking a driver trying to secure a deal with a sponsor. There’s a garage full of drivers who can attest to the fact that if you speak too early, you lose the deal. Stricklin isn’t risking anything. Still, he is expected to be the man in the spotlight tonight when Hills Brothers reveals Donlavey’s 2001 driver. In a ceremony at the Richmond Renegades hockey game, Donlavey and his team will join the sponsor in a showcase announcement. The group includes five crew members from the former Grubb Motorsports BGN (#83) operation. And Stricklin. He and Donlavey joined forces in 2000 for the second time in their careers and began working to rebuild the team. Donlavey’s driver announcement is scheduled for the first intermission during tonight’s 7:30 game at the Coliseum.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(12-30-2000)
    UPDATE 4: #90 owner,Junie Donlavey announced his driver and crew chief for the 2001 season and unveiled the new paint scheme for the Hills Brothers Coffee Ford during an on-ice announcement at the Richmond Renegades hockey game Saturday. Hut Stricklin will return in 2001 as Donlavey’s driver. The crew chief will be Bobby King, recently of the #83 Grubb Motorsports team that shot doen at the end of the 2000 season(That’s Racin’)(12-31-2000)


    (12-30-2000)

  • #01 Driver? now hearing the driver for the #01 BellSouth Dodge may be Kevin Lepage, former driver of the #16 Roush Racing Ford(12-30-2000)
  • New Game: Mario Andretti in conjunction with Fantasy Racing1, LLC announced the launch of Andretti Motorsports.com www.andrettimotorsports.com , a web site dedicated to fantasy auto racing games. Andretti Motorsports will allow race fans to form and manage their own fantasy CART, NASCAR, or F1 team(s) and compete head-to-head with thousands of other race fans around the world for the chance to win big cash and prizes. Participants not only get to choose their own team of real race drivers, they get to make changes to it every week, bringing an element of both skill and luck. Fantasy Racing, like Fantasy Football and Fantasy Baseball, gives fans something personal to really cheer about each race weekend as each team scores points based on how well the real drivers they picked perform. Unlike any other fantasy racing game, Andretti Motorsports offers three games in one. Players may choose to participate in the rough and tumble NASCAR Winston Cup series, the exciting CART FedEx series or the electrifying Formula 1 world championship, or if you are up to Mario’s challenge, compete against other owners in all three series.(Fantasy Racing1 PR and an advertisor on Jayski)(12-30-2000)

    (12-29-2000)

  • Indy 500 #1: Joyce Julius & Associates, which produces what many believe to be the only quantifiable measures of sponsor impact in sports, rated the Indianapolis 500 No. 1 among motorsport events in 2000, the company’s Sponsors Report revealed Thursday. According to Julius measurements, which include company time on screen during telecasts and sponsor mentions in media, this year’s 500, on ABC, was worth $102.4m to subsidizing companies. The Daytona 500, on CBS, slipped to No. 2 this year, generating $92.7m in exposure value. In third position, down from No. 2 in 1999, was Daytona’s July race, the Pepsi 400, also on CBS, at $83.8m. NASCAR and CBS produced two big gainers on Julius’ top-10 list, with Michigan’s Kmart 400 June 11 rising from 13th to fourth at $67.1m and Texas’s DIRECTV 500 April 2 improving from 10th in 1999 to fifth at $65.3m. Both were CBS telecasts. NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis fell from No. 4 to No. 6 at $61.6, on ABC. Next up were the two NASCAR races at New Hampshire, with the July race rising from 19th to seventh at $59.9m and the September event from 14th to eighth at $59.7. Both were on TNN.(more at SpeedVision)(12-29-2000)

    (12-27-2000)

  • Winston Cup Stat Book: The 2000 new version of “A Statistical Review of the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Season” has been released. Written each year by NASCAR Winston Cup Series statistician, Len Thacher. Thacher also acts as special stats coordinator for all on-site NASCAR Winston Cup events televised by ESPN and is the Official Researcher for ESPN. The book, with well over 200 pages of stats of the 2000 season is $28.95. For more info, see my Racing Bookstore(the Winston Cup Updates Section)(12-27-2000)

    (12-26-2000)

  • Musgrave to stay with the #01? NO Musgrave to the CTS UPDATE 3 and some Cup: Although nothing is official, it’s likely that Ted Musgrave will stay with the Ganassi-Sabates team(Daily Press)
    UPDATE: Ted Musgrave will drive the #1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Truck for Ultra Motorsports in the CTS for the 2001 season(NOL), actually Musgrave signed a letter of intent, not officially signed yet(12-22-2000)
    UPDATE 2: The Ultra connection also will insure that Musgrave – who won the wildcard spot for the 2001 Budweiser Shootout – will have a Winston Cup car to drive at Daytona in February, that being Mike Wallace’s #7 Ford(SpeedVision)(12-23-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Ted Musgrave will be the factory backed driver in the CTS #1 DODGE and also be running Cup in approximately 20 races this year and full time in 2002(with Ultra Motorsports 2nd team?). The formal announcement should be on Wednesday, Dec 27th(Ted Musgrave Site)(12-26-2000)


    (12-25-2000)
    no news


(12-24-2000)

  • Paint Schemes: one of the most popular section of this site is my Paint Scheme Gallery pages, but did ya ever think what a new paint scheme/sponsor changes does to a team? From the Gaston Gazette: “Ever wonder what teams that are changing sponsors go through during the off-season? Everything in the shop must be converted to reflect sponsor changes and new paint schemes. The transporter has to be repainted, repaired and decaled. It takes 26 gallons of paint to re-coat a 53-foot Winston Cup transporter. Paint schemes must also be changed on drivers’ helmets, pit and tool boxes, pit-wall banners, car covers, windshield covers, sign boards, umbrellas, chairs, headset decals and in-car camera decals. Obviously, all team apparel also changes. Traveling crew members get new clothes for Daytona, including jackets, sweatshirts, turtlenecks, dress shirts, T-shirts as well as uniform shirts, pants and firesuits.” and that doesn’t even take in to account the fan and the changes they make when their driver switches teams or gets a new sponsor. My Uncle, a huge Dale Jarrett fan for about three years now has more Dale Jarrett Quality Care/Ford stuff then I could imagine having. Now with UPS, does he buy more?? I am sure of it(Gaston Gazette and a story at NOL)(12-24-2000)
  • Craven to the #32? UPDATE 5: hearing from very good sources that Ricky Craven will leave the #50 Midwest Transit team and take over the wheel of the #32 Tide Ford at PPI Motorsports. No word on who will drive the #50 Chevy in 2001 AND see story at the Fayetteville Observer: Craven looks for Winston Cup ride by Thomas Pope. Doesn’t mention the #32 ride but says Craven is leaving the #50. The #01 is still open, the #7 is filled and like I said, I hear he will drive the #32 Tide Ford(12-16-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing Craven will announce his 2001 plans on Wednesday, Dec 20th(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE 2: while sources continue to tell me Craven will drive the #32 Tide Ford in 2001, it looks like no official announcement will be made for a week or two(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Less than a month ago Ricky Craven said he planned on being behind the wheel for the Midwest Transit Co. team for the 2001 Cup season. On Friday, Craven changed his mind and resigned as the driver of the team in order to pursue other driving interests, he confirmed on Tuesday. “It was absolutely a matter of being fair to everyone,” Craven said of his decision to leave the #50 team and try to iron out a deal with an undisclosed race team. My intention is to compete full time in Winston Cup next year and so it was a decision that was made with that in mind,” Craven said. Industry rumors point to Craven as a potential driver of the #32 Tide car owned by Cal Wells and the Precision Preparation Inc. Motorsports team. Craven wouldn’t “speculate on … speculation” on Tuesday, but admitted that he was close to ironing out a deal that would give him the security he seeks. “I am hoping that things can be finalized soon and an announcement made before we leave for Christmas,” Craven said.(Bangor Daily News)(12-21-2000)
    UPDATE 4: hearing that it was reported on WMTW, a local Maine ABC affiliate that Ricky Craven will announce his new deal with the PPI #32 team at the Winston Cup Preview January 6th.(12-23-2000)
    UPDATE 5: Ricky Craven, who resigned from his duties as driver for the #50 Midwest Transit Racing team owned by Hal Hicks on Dec. 15, is in line to drive the #32 Ford owned by Cal Wells, according to published reports. WMTW-TV in Maine reported Saturday that Craven will announce a deal with Wells on Jan. 6 at the Winston Cup Preview show in Winston-Salem, N.C. Wells has said that driver Scott Pruett is still under contract for the 2001 season.(USA Today)(12-24-2000)
  • #01 Driver Close? The fact that Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (formerly Team SABCO) has no driver for its #01 BellSouth Dodge team doesn’t seem to bother team manager Andy Graves all that much. Graves reported that Ganassi has a candidate for the #01 and was closing in on closing the deal. Even though Ganassi Racing has charted a course, Graves would realize a great comfort level knowing the #01 seat was filled. Many expect Ganassi to make an announcement during the annual Winston Cup media tour which begins on Jan. 8. (Speed Magazine)(12-24-2000)

    (12-23-2000)

  • THANKS: The stock car racing community raised more than $1 million for charities this year. From a light show at the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway to Rusty Wallace’s Stocks for Tots to several online auctions, race teams and race tracks on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series got into the holiday spirit generating both money and awareness for more than 50 causes(Savannah Morning News), for current charity happenings, see my Racing Charities page(12-23-2000)
  • #77 News: On Friday, December 22, several members of the team, including crew chief Ryan Pemberton, traveled to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia to test two cars at the wind tunnel. Preparations for the Ford testing session planned for January 8 and 9, as well as the session planned for Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the end of January, are also right on schedule. The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford Taurus driven by Robert Pressley will have a new look for the 2001 season. Fans and competitors who may have become accustomed to the blue Jasper Ford will have to be on the lookout for Pressley in his new yellow Taurus. The car is solid yellow with blue letters and numbers(see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery). On the crew member front, tire carrier Larry Robinett was named Jasper Motorsports MVP for the 2000 season at the Ford Motorsports Team Taurus party on December 15. Robinett, who hails from Dallas, Texas, has been with Jasper for one year and serves as a machinist and front tire carrier.(Jasper Motorsports Site)(12-23-2000)
  • Pardoned: NASCAR team owner(#’s 5,24,25 in Cup, #’s 24 in BGN, #’s 17,24 in CTS) and Charlotte car dealer Rick Hendrick, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud three years ago, was granted a full pardon by President Clinton Friday, federal officials said. Hendrick was fined $250,000 and sentenced in December 1997 to 12 months home confinement and three years’ probation in connection with an ongoing government investigation into a bribery scandal at American Honda Co. He also was banned from the sport and the car-dealing business for a year. Hendrick was among 59 people pardoned by Clinton on Friday.(That’s Racin’)(12-23-2000)
  • #60 – sponsor and a crew chief needed/announcement and ‘The Rock’ – UPDATE 6 Fell Thru? Crew chief Jim Long has left Bessey Motorsports, leaving the NASCAR Winston Cup team without a crew chief as well as a sponsor. The group, owned by Joe Bessey, fielded the #60 Power Team Chevy in 2000. Power Team, however, has announced that it would not return as a sponsor for the upcoming season. Long, 43, served as crew chief for the team and driver Geoffrey Bodine in 1999-2000. He previously worked for owner/driver Ricky Rudd (’97-98), Lake Speed (’96) and Kyle Petty (’94). He left the group shortly after the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta(Kingsport Times News)
    UPDATE: hearing that Bessey Motorsports has been sold to BGN driver Hermie Sadler and WWF star “The Rock”. Supposedly Bessey is going to run at least Daytona in the BGN and then go from there as he has no sponsor(not srue if Bessey is the BGN owner or it is part of Sadler’s Cup team). No sponsor known for Sadler’s Cup team and supposedly Jim Long will be the crew chief(12-7-2000)
    UPDATE 2: World Wrestling Federation Superstar, “The Rock”, will make a major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 at 11:00am/et. The press conference will also be open to a limited amount of general public attendees. Where: Jillian’s at Concord Mills Mall, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, North Carolina 28027(Cox Marketing)(12-8-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Hermie Sadler is expected to purchase Bessey Motorsports and compete for 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors. According to published reports, the car will be sponsored by the World Wrestling Federation. The WWF has scheduled a press conference for Dec. 19 in Concord, N.C., with “The Rock” to make a “major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement.” Bessey Motorsports spokesman Mike Twist had no comment on the reported sale.(Winston Cup Scene)
    UPDATE 3 – correction: Actually, The Rock has scheduled the press conference, not the WWF, who no involvement in the announcement
    UPDATE 4: Due to scheduling conflicts, “The Rock” NASCAR press conference for Tuesday, December 19 has been postponed until further notice. Once additional details for the re-scheduled press conference are available it will be posted(12-14-2000)
    UPDATE 5: not sure what happened yet, but am hearing the deal between Bessey Motorsports, Sadler and ‘The Rock’ fell thru(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE 6: World Wrestling Federation superstar “The Rock” apparently has put his plans to buy Bessey Motorsports on hold. The Rock planned to make a “major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement” on Dec. 19 at Concord, N.C., but he canceled those plans a day before he was expected to say he and NASCAR Busch Series driver Hermie Sadler were buying out Joe Bessey. Now that the sale has broken down, Bessey plans to compete at the season-opening Daytona 500, although insiders said the former Busch Series driver is close to closing the doors on his shop(Savannah Morning News)(12-23-2000)


    (12-22-2000)

  • Mast to the #50? UPDATE: hearing Rick Mast is talking to the #50 MidWest Transit team about driving for them in 2001 as Ricky Craven has left the team (to go to the #32 Tide ride). Other possibilites include Hut Stricklin and Kevin Lepage
    UPDATE: Rick Mast looms as odd man out as the final pieces fall into place for the 2001 Winston Cup season. After being told last fall he wouldn’t return to the A.J. Foyt-owned #14 team, Mast was in line for the Jim Smith-owned #7 team and the #01 team of Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. But Smith announced late last week that Mike Wallace will be his new driver(Daily Press)(12-22-2000)
  • #7 Crew Chief? UPDATE 2: hearing that #7 Crew Chief, Bobby Kennedy has left Ultra Motorsports and will be going to Michael Waltrips #99 Aarons Rent BGN team. Crew Chief at the #7? Hearing it’ll be Tim Brewer(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE: Bobby Kennedy, who as crew chief at Ultra Motorsports in the 2000 Cup season achieved results well below his car and driver’s potential, has been reunited with driver Michael Waltrip. Kennedy, 38, starts as the crew chief for Michael Waltrip BGN #99 Aaron’s Chevys on Wednesday, the veteran mechanic said Tuesday. He said the expansion of the Cup schedule and his family situation in part led to the move, along with a desire to win races with Waltrip, 37. Kennedy informed team owner Jimmy Smith and newly announced driver Mike Wallace on Friday that he had decided to make a switch from the NWCS program. As of Tuesday afternoon, Kennedy’s replacement had not been announced at Ultra. Kennedy’s wife Andrea is expecting their second child in July, which also is fine for the crew chief. Kennedy said Aaron’s program “right now is 17 races next season.” He said there had been some talk of doing “a little bit more with Ted Christopher,” the 2000 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series New England Region champion who also has extensive NASCAR Touring Division experience in the northeast. Waltrip ran 12 races in 2000 with two top-5 and four top-10 finishes. Christopher also ran three races in Waltrip’s cars. Waltrip had indicated earlier this season that his previous sponsor, Band-Aid, potentially might do some races with his team(NOL)(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Former NASCAR Winston Cup champion crew chief Tim Brewer will return to that role in 2001 with Ultra Motorsports and driver Mike Wallace, team owner Jim Smith announced Friday. Brewer, 45, who has worked in a research and development position for Ultra for the past two years, has already assumed his position with the NationsRent Ford team(NOL)(12-22-2000)
  • Dodge News UPDATE 2: Lou Patane, Vice President of Motorsports for DaimlerChrysler and the man responsible for carrying out the launch of Dodge’s new NASCAR Winston Cup effort, has decided to retire, effective date unclear, it was learned over the weekend. Company representatives said the retirement was voluntary. “It’s not a sports resignation, not a part of the merger or the change in motorsport,” said Debby Robinson, vp at Chicago-based Golin/Harris, which handles aspects of Dodge’s publicity.(SpeedVision)(12-18-2000)
    UPDATE: Lou Patane says his decision to retire sometime next year is a family and lifestyle one, not a corporate one. Patane revealed Friday that he would retire from DaimlerChrysler at some time next year. Patane says he plans to move to the Charlotte area first of the year to pursue business opportunities, but he makes clear that he intends to maintain his involvement with DC racing, at least through the near future(SpeedVision)(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Regarding Lou Patane’s announcement of his retirement sometime in the future as the head of Dodge’s racing programs, the StockCarFans Newsletter reports that a good source speculates that Patane’s position will probably be eliminated as all the motorsports decisions will be coming from Germany in the future. Daimler-Chrysler is unfortunately becoming less and less of an American company and almost totally a German one. Also don’t be surprised if Patane ends up being involved in ownership of a NASCAR team somewhere along the way(12-22-2000)


    (12-21-2000)

  • Inside NASCAR gone? The MotorsportsTV.com site is reporting that “An insider tells us that Inside NASCAR may not be just saying goodbye to TNN this weekend, but perhaps goodbye for good. They may not be moving to Speedvision or one of the Fox cable networks in 2001 after all”. ALSO looking for race re-air info? See their Race Rerun page(12-21-2000)
  • Sad News UPDATE: According to reports at NSSN, longtime midget car driver Stan Fox of Janesville, Wis. was killed in a highway accident Tuesday night in New Zealand. While he was not racing, Fox was in the country as part of a U.S. contingent competing at Western Springs Speedway. Fox competed with USAC and the Badger Midget Auto Racing Ass’n for many years, winning countless races in midget cars. Fox went on to make eight Indianapolis 500 starts, with a best finish of seventh in 1987. Fox, driving for Ron Hemelgarn at Indy in 1995, was involved in a violent crash in turn one early in the race. Fox survived but was never able to compete again despite his many efforts to gain doctor’s approval(National Speed Sport NewsAND Well known race driver, Stan Fox, originally from Janesville, WI, was killed yesterday in a traffic accident in New Zealand. Fox was a familiar face to all who followed IndyCars, midgets and many other forms of racing. Stan started the Indianapolis 500 eight times, won the Badger midget championship in 1979, the Belleville Midget Nationals in 1979-80, the Copper World Classic in 1980 – 90 and 93 and a huge number of local short track races in between. Many will recall Stan’s frightening crash at Indy several years ago that left him broken, but not down. There currently is no word on services(Speedway Illustrated)(12-19-2000)
    ALSO Fox competed in two Winston Cup races in 1992 at the July Talladega and August Michigan races, driving the #13 Chevrolet fielded by Clint Folsom(Motorsports One). Fox started 36th and finished 36th at Talladega and starting 38th and finishing 37th at Michigan(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE: Services for Stan Fox will be held in Janesville, Wisconsin., on December 29th. The funeral is scheduled to begin at 11:00am December 29th at First Lutheran Church, 612 N. Randall Ave in Janesville, Fox’s hometown. Fox will be buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Janesville. The wake will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 28 at First Lutheran Church(12-21-2000)
  • Bud the King: 2000 Joyce Julius and Associates’ Sponsors Report, which calculates the exposure value of NASCAR Winston Cup sponsorships by comparing the on-screen time of a logo or verbal mention against the cost of purchasing a commercial spot during those same broadcasts reports that Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave Budweiser the most bang for its buck during his solid rookie campaign, enabling the Anheuser-Busch brand to earn nearly $58 million worth of exposure, leading all sponsors. Budweiser’s position in the report ended Valvoline’s seven-year run at the top of the annual report. In all, series sponsors saw the value of their investments rise more than 12 percent over last year, continuing a five-year growth trend that has seen a rise of 92 percent. The report also determined that 182 separate sponsors earned over $1m in mentions on network broadcasts, and the typical sponsor earned time worth $57,000 at each event. Miller Lite with driver Rusty Wallace was second on the list followed by Texaco, Valvoline and Interstate Batteries. NASCAR sponsors earned more than $1.6 billion in advertising exposure last season(SpeedVision)(12-21-2000)
  • Tire Changes: The 2000 season was not a good one for Goodyear, which struggled with constant complaints about its Winston Cup tires and faced an embarrassing tire shortage at Charlotte in October. Goodyear also faced a series of blown tires in a few races, a development that always causes drivers and teams to lash out at NASCAR’s lone tire supplier. Part of its problems in 2000 were a result of different tire compounds being used at nearly every track. Goodyear used at least 25 different tires, for instance, for the 34 Winston Cup races. In 2001, Goodyear will reduce its inventory to about 15 different compounds. That means it will supply the same tire for as many as five or six different tracks, giving teams some conformity it did not have last year. By reducing the number of compounds it uses, Goodyear will also produce a harder, more durable tire at many tracks. The harder tire will not only improve tear wire, but could improve the racing. A harder tire will make it more difficult for drivers and crews to get a handle on their cars, a development that could play into the hands of the sport’s top drivers and possibly lead to closer racing. A harder tire could also lead to slower speeds, another critical development following a season in which three drivers were killed. Teams have already begun to prepare, conducting tests in December when most drivers and teams typically take a vacation. And Goodyear is hard at work producing tires for a heavy schedule of January testing.(in part from CBS Sportsline)(12-21-2000)
  • Longtime Writer Retires: Bob Latford, long a mainstay in press boxes and media centers around the NASCAR world, has retired after working in the sport for over 50 years. See full story at SpeedVision(12-21-2000)

    (12-20-2000)

  • Motorsports Media Tour: The International Union, UAW and General Motors Corporation announced today they are the presenting sponsor of the 18th Annual UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Beginning Monday evening, Jan. 8, and continuing through Friday, Jan. 12, over 150 motorsports journalists from across the country will descend on the home of major league stock car racing, Charlotte, N.C. This premier media event will kick off an exciting NASCAR season as reporters tour race shops, meet with drivers, crew chiefs and owners, and discuss the latest developments and breaking news in racing with industry leaders. Media members from 23 states and as far away as The Netherlands are registered to participate. Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing, Bill Davis Racing, A.J. Foyt Racing and Evernham Motorsports are among the teams scheduled to host media functions during the week while Jack Roush Racing’s drivers will give media members race car rides around the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway quad oval(LMS PR)(12-20-2000)
  • Labonte Honored: Bobby Labonte, who drove the Joe Gibbs owned, #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac to his first NASCAR Winston Cup driving title, and earned the car owner championship for Gibbs, was voted the Al Holbert Memorial Eastern Motorsport Press Association Driver of the Year Award. Ted Christopher, the winningest asphalt Modified stock car driver in the Northeast for the second straight year, was voted the EMPA’s Northeast Driver of the Year. When the annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention is presented, January 5-7, 2000, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA (north of Philadelphia) Labonte and Christopher will receive their awards. More than 150 media who regularly cover motorsports are expected to be in attendance. In addition four new names will be added to the prestigious Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame. 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with six time NASCAR National Modified champion Jerry Cook (now a NASCAR executive), the late Larry Nuber the pioneering motorsports television personality, and 1960 NASCAR National Sportsman champion and 1961 co-champion Bill Wimble who also notched five championships at Fonda, NY Speedway. The EMPA membership also selected Kyle Petty & The Petty Family to receive their T.Wayne Robertson Memorial Newsmaker Award for their outstanding charitable activities. The Eastern Motorsport Press Association is a non-profit organization made up of more than 250 media that regularly cover motorsports as print journalists, photographers and broadcasters. The EMPA continues to strive to improve the media coverage given the sport and the conditions under which the media work as they cover the sport(Eastern Motorsport Press Association PR)(12-20-2000)
  • Burton to IROC: Jeff Burton will return to the International Race of Champions for a fourth consecutive year. Burton is the sixth driver to be named to the 2001 campaign. A total of 12 will compete in the four-race series at Daytona, Talladega, Michigan and Indianapolis. Eddie Cheever, Dale Earnhardt, Scott Goodyear, Buddy Lazier, Ricky Rudd and now Burton are the six drivers who have been selected, so far(NOL). See my IROC 2001 page for info and my IROC 2000 Page for info on the past series(12-20-2000)
  • Gordon Tests the #4: Morgan-McClure Motorsports tested the #4 Kodak MAX Film Chevy at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Friday, December 15th. The test session marked the first time Robby Gordon, the team’s new driver, was behind the wheel of the familiar yellow car. The road crew (with the exception of two) were on hand to familiarize themselves with the California native. They focused on communications, along with finding a comfortable baseline on the car. Several tests had been planned to help form a mold between driver, crew chief and crew, but they had to be canceled due to weather-related problems. Once the Greenville-Pickens test had been completed, Gordon and crew chief David Ifft debriefed. The team worked on running race trim during the session. They ran a speed of 19.90 second. More tests are planned during the first of January, with the most important being the Daytona test on January 11th and 12th(Morgan McClure PR)(12-20-2000)
  • Robinson gets Yates: Shawna Robinson’s ARCA RE/MAX Series team will have have engines from Robert Yates Racing. Robinson’s #8 ARCA Ford team has been participating in a three-day test at Daytona over the past weekend in preparation for the ARCA season opener. Along with the new engines, Robinson has a new crew chief in Joe Dan Bailey. Bailey has crewed for Dale Earnhardt, Jeremy Mayfield and Derrike Cope, but his stint with Robinson in 2001 will be his first as crew chief. Along with the Feb. 11 opener at Daytona, Robinson plans to run 12 other ARCA events and seven NASCAR Winston Cup races in 2001(That’s Racin’)(12-20-2000)
  • A Mears in Cup? #01? UPDATE 2: hearing Casey Mears, Indy 500 Legend Rick Mear’s nephew, tested for the #01 BellSouth/Chip Ganassi Racing team recently at Lakeland, FL and is under consideration for that ride. Mears ran in the CART finale this past season
    UPDATE: hearing the Mears test was for a limited ARCA ride in 2000 with Ganassi(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE 2: actually hearing that Mears has not tested yet but will on Thursday and Friday, Dec 21st and 22nd(12-20-2000)


    (12-19-2000)

  • Derrike Cope/#37 Update: All of the team’s planning and effort is focused on the 2001 Daytona 500. The team planned chassis dyno testing on their completed super speedway car recently and anticipate using the car for testing at Daytona on January 11th and to add asecond super speedway car when they test at Talladega later in January. The team has sufficient staff on board to prepare for Daytona and will expand as sponsorship entities are added. The team continues to make progress in securing sponsorship(Derrike Cope Site). For past info, see my #37 Team News and Links page(12-19-2000)

    (12-18-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel News: Two #14 AJ Foyt Pontiacs are at the N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA testing their Daytona cars(12-18-2000)

(12-17-2000)

  • Changes at PPI and the #32? UPDATE 4: hearing that Scott Pruett and PPI Motorsports may part ways and that Kevin Lepage is a possible candidate for the driver of the #32 Tide Ford. ALSO hearing that Mike Beam, who recently left the #21 Wood Brothers team as a crew chief to take the #75 Galaxy Motorsports Team Manager job will be the new crew chief of the #32 Tide Ford. No word on what would happen to Scott Houston who was named as the crew chief of the 32 a few months ago, but the #96 McDonald’s Ford of PPI Motorsports could be a possibility since Andy Houston, Scott’s brother is the driver for that car(12-13-2000)
    UPDATE: hear it is true, that is/was the sponsor’s decision. Beam is now with PPI Motorsports but it may be as a Team/General Mgr or/and crew chief
    UPDATE 2: hearing now that Beam has come aboard PPI in an unspecified capacity, but that Pruett has NOT been released and is still with the team but that the team is “looking at everything”, including driver, to improve in 2001
    UPDATE 3 – Beamed named: Mike Beam has joined Hickory-based PPI Racing, which will field two Winston Cup teams next season. Team spokesperson Amy Riley said Beam’s role for now is to work with team manager Joe Garone through an off-season evaluation of the Cal Wells-owned team’s first year in NASCAR, in which Scott Pruett drove the #32 Fords. Rookie Andy Houston will join the team as driver of the #96 Fords next season(That’s Racin’), no word on why Beam left the #75 Galaxy Motorsports team only a month after leaving the #21 Wood Brothers team to go there. No comment on if Pruett will drive the #32 car in 2001(12-14-2000)
    UPDATE 4: Beam was hired away from Galaxy Motorsports to join PPI, not as a crew chief, but as a senior consultant to team manager Joe Garone as well as crew chiefs Scott Houston (32 car) and Pat Smith, who moves up from the Busch car to lead the No. 96 team. The team made no statements about the future of Scott Pruett as the driver of the #32 car except to say that he is still under contract through the year 2001, and is planing to be the driver of the Tide-sponsored Ford(SpeedVision)(12-15-2000)
  • #90 Ride Open? hearing #90 Owner Junie Donlavey is talking to a few drivers for the #90 Hills Brothers Ford ride in 2001 including: Hut Stricklin, who drove the car for most of 2000; Greg Sacks, who last made a Daytona 500 attempt in the defunct #96 Perry-Huggins team in 2000; Geoffrey Bodine; Rick Mast; Jeff Fuller; and Ed Berrier, who started the 2000 season in the #90. Sacks recently coached CTS drivers Ricky Hendrick at the ARCA Daytona testing. Hendrick will run a few ARCA events in 2000 also(12-17-2000)
  • TV News: NBC won’t ask local affiliates to help pay for NASCAR telecasts during its six-year contract that begins in 2001, the network’s president said, after Fox said it might request financial help from affiliates as soon as 2003. General Electric Co.’s NBC, Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Sports, News Corp.’s Fox and its cable sister FX will pay more than $2.4billion over at least six years for rights to televise NASCAR races beginning next year. NBC’s promise not to make the 202 affiliates it doesn’t own pay for NASCAR comes as escalating costs have networks keeping more 30-second advertising spots for themselves, rather than letting affiliates have them(That’s Racin’)(12-17-2000)

    (12-16-2000)

  • Sad News: Donald O’Reilly, 87, of Sea Pines Circle, an award winning photographer, free-lance writer and broadcaster who retired in 1981 as The Dyatona Beach News-Journal’s Flagler County bureau chief, died Friday at Coquina Center, Ormond Beach. In 1939, he accepted a full-time position at the paper, where he began his lifelong association with motor racing while covering the Thompson Speedway in South Attleboro. After working at the New London Day in Connecticut, he enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1940. He later worked at the Washington Post. In 1947, he and Jerry Quisenberry founded Speed Age Magazine. A pioneering auto racing publication, the magazine reached a peak publication of 150,000 a month before its demise in 1953. First exposed to Daytona Beach’s burgeoning racing scene through his publication, O’Reilly received an offer in 1953 to work for Bill France Racing, the predecessor of NASCAR. He later served as public relations director for the Atlanta Speedway. He also produced documentaries for Ford, Pontiac and Chrysler, and for ABC Television’s “Wide World of Sports” and served as a public relations officer for American Motors from 1971-1975. O’Reilly authored “The Road to Daytona,” as told by Curtis “Crawfish” Crider; “Mr. Hockey: The World of Gordie Howe”; “The Complete Book of Motor Camping”; and “Auto Racing Guide.” The recipient of numerous awards, his memberships included: Who’s’ Who; National Auto Racing Hall of Fame; Living Legends of Auto Racing; Honorable Kentucky Colonels; National Motorsports Press Association; National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association; National Press Photographers Association;Halifax Historical Society; and the Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club, where he was both a charter and life member.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-16-2000)

    (12-15-2000)

  • #7 Driver? UPDATE 2 Wallace is it!! #7 Team owner Jim Smith says he has talked to several drivers about the vacancy created by Michael Waltrip’s jump to Dale Earnhardt Inc. “Our driver selection for the #7 car is obviously not done yet,” said Smith. “Mike Wallace is either going to be in my #1 Mopar truck or the #7 Taurus, and hopefully we’ll have an answer in the next couple of days on that. We’re also looking at Rick Mast.” Smith indicated he’s waiting on his sponsor, NationsRent, to offer its input on a driver and said the process is taking longer than he expected. On the surface, Smith looks like a one-car team owner. He’s actually got a staff the size of Joe Gibbs Racing. Why? Because of his two truck teams, which are housed next to his Cup operation. He’s drawing all his resources together to form one big team pulling the rope together. Smith said he’s got 10 engineers on the payroll to compete with other high-tech operations(Speed Magazine)
    UPDATE: hearing Mike Wallace has signed to drive the #7 Nations Rent Ford for the 2001 season – also hearing the Official Announcement will be made at 6:00pm/et tonight Friday, Dec 15th
    UPDATE 2: Ultra Motorsports President Jim Smith had promised to bring his winning ways from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to his #7 NationsRent team when he purchased it this spring, and he kept his word. Mike Wallace, one of the most successful drivers in the history of the truck series, will drive the NationsRent Taurus next season in NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series. Smith made the announcement today. Wallace, 41, is the middle of three Wallace brothers, including Rusty and Kenny, but the only one to have won races in three major league national touring series. His first Winston Cup victory will give him a family unprecedented four premier touring series(Williams Company)(12-15-2000)
  • Mast – #7? #32? – After talking with Rick Mast on the radio Monday night, he admitted that there was a handshake deal with Chip Ganassi to drive the #01 Dodge for next year, but that deal is pretty much over. The latest rumors have Mast in either the Jim Smith #7 Ford or perhaps a deal with the #32 Tide ride is not out of the woods(Racin’ with Russ)(12-15-2000)
  • #75 News/Testing: Providing sponsorship can be found, Galaxy crew chief Newt Moore already has most of Wally Dallenbach’s testing schedule for 2001 lined up. Dallenbach will join the other Ford teams at Daytona for testing there on Jan. 8-9. He will test at Las Vegas and Darlington in February, in Bristol on March 13-14, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in mid-July, and at Watkins Glen International in late July two weeks prior to the race the upstate New York road course. … Dallenbach’s cars for a Jan. 27-28 test at Las Vegas are ready to go. All that remains is to install the engines(FoxSports), Looks like the Pizza Hut sponsorship is not locked up yet(12-15-2000)
  • Roberts Honored: Tom Roberts, veteran publicist for the Penske South/Miller Lite team and driver Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 Ford Taurus, swept the first-ever Speedway Scene Ole Carburetor Awards. The awards, voted on by members of the news media that regularly covers the NASCAR Winston Cup stock car series, are for the best public relations person of the year and the best press kit of the year. Not only was Roberts voted the best in his profession, but Roberts ‘ press kit also was voted top, too. Of the 27 votes cast, Roberts got 23 votes. Others receiving votes were Chip Williams, Jimmy White, Steve Post and Kinnon Marshal. Other press kits receiving votes, besides the one of Miller Lite, were CITGO, M&Ms and the one for the late Adam Petty(TRPR)(12-15-2000)
  • Hamilton/Nemechek/Hamilton Jr Tests at Kentucky: #55 driver Bobby Hamilton and #33 driver Joe Nemechek of Andy Petree Racing (APR) will test at the Kentucky Speedway Friday and Saturday(Dec 15th-16th). APR is taking three #55 race cars with different configurations and two #33 race cars to Kentucky. With just two drivers and a short time with which to work, team owner Andy Petree has enlisted the help from a driver with a name he could trust – Hamilton’s son, Bobby Jr. Hamilton’s main off-season goal is team chemistry. According to the 10-year veteran, the ability to communicate is what builds successful race teams. On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the Square D Racing Team took its first step towards developing that relationship at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, site of the #55’s first test with Hamilton after the 2000 season(AutoChannel)(12-15-2000)
  • 100 Most Powerful People in Sports: Golfer Tiger Woods was chosen as The Sporting News the Most Powerful Person in sports for 2000. Where did NASCAR fare? Bill France Jr., is 20th on the list this year after being ranked eighth along with his son, Brian, last year. Brian, is 65th on this year’s list. New NASCAR President Mike Helton is listed 34th, he was not on the list in 1998 or 1999. No drivers made the list.(Sporting News)(12-15-2000)

    (12-14-2000)

  • #60 – sponsor and a crew chief needed/announcement and ‘The Rock’ – UPDATE 4 postponed: Crew chief Jim Long has left Bessey Motorsports, leaving the NASCAR Winston Cup team without a crew chief as well as a sponsor. The group, owned by Joe Bessey, fielded the #60 Power Team Chevy in 2000. Power Team, however, has announced that it would not return as a sponsor for the upcoming season. Long, 43, served as crew chief for the team and driver Geoffrey Bodine in 1999-2000. He previously worked for owner/driver Ricky Rudd (’97-98), Lake Speed (’96) and Kyle Petty (’94). He left the group shortly after the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta(Kingsport Times News)
    UPDATE: hearing that Bessey Motorsports has been sold to BGN driver Hermie Sadler and WWF star “The Rock”. Supposedly Bessey is going to run at least Daytona in the BGN and then go from there as he has no sponsor(not srue if Bessey is the BGN owner or it is part of Sadler’s Cup team). No sponsor known for Sadler’s Cup team and supposedly Jim Long will be the crew chief(12-7-2000)
    UPDATE 2: World Wrestling Federation Superstar, “The Rock”, will make a major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 at 11:00am/et. The press conference will also be open to a limited amount of general public attendees. Where: Jillian’s at Concord Mills Mall, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, North Carolina 28027(Cox Marketing)(12-8-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Hermie Sadler is expected to purchase Bessey Motorsports and compete for 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors. According to published reports, the car will be sponsored by the World Wrestling Federation. The WWF has scheduled a press conference for Dec. 19 in Concord, N.C., with “The Rock” to make a “major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement.” Bessey Motorsports spokesman Mike Twist had no comment on the reported sale.(Winston Cup Scene)
    UPDATE 3 – correction: Actually, The Rock has scheduled the press conference, not the WWF, who no involvement in the announcement
    UPDATE 4: Due to scheduling conflicts, “The Rock” NASCAR press conference for Tuesday, December 19 has been postponed until further notice. Once additional details for the re-scheduled press conference are available it will be posted(12-14-2000)
  • #98 Deal Gone? UPDATE 2: hearing that the sale of the #98 team to Chip MacPherson has fallen through and Cale Yarborough has retained ownership of the shop. No word on the future of the #98 team or driver Jeff Fuller(12-10-2000)
    UPDATE: heard from a source that Cale Yarborough says by no means is his deal with the #98 team and Chip MacPherson falling through. MacPherson has cut back on the number of people working at the shop until a sponsor is found. Plus MacPherson is building a new shop at the Concord airport which the team hopes to move in by January and that Jeff Fuller will be in the #98 Taurus in 2001(12-11-2000)
    UPDATE 2: MacPherson Motorsports has released driver Jeff Fuller and is working toward acquiring sponsorship for 2001. Owner Chip MacPherson was out of the country and unavailable for comment Dec. 11, but a spokesman said a report indicating that MacPherson’s purchase of the team from Cale Yarborough Motorsports had fallen through was incorrect. The team is talking with one potential sponsor about running the entire schedule next year, while four other companies are talking about deals that would allow the team to race 15 to 20 events with a driver to be determined. Yarborough also confirmed Dec. 11 that “everything is still on go,” regarding the sale to MacPherson(Winston Cup Scene)(12-14-2000)
  • NASCAR Official Injured: Carl Wolf, chief engine inspector, was injured in a traffic crash in late November, apparently in the Charlotte area, and remains in Carolinas Medical Center. Apparently, Wolf is in bad shape and requests “no visitors, flowers or phone calls at this stage of his treatment.” SpeedVision reports that a fax asks for donations of blood in Carl’s name at Red Cross offices(SpeedVision from the Insider Racing site)(12-14-2000)
  • #31 Sponsor? UPDATE: hearing that Top Choice Lumber, which is sold at Lowes, will be the sponsor on the #31 RCR Chevy driven by Mike Skinner for the first half of the 2001 Cup season. Lowes announced a few months ago that it wanted out of its contract to sponsor the #31 but team owner Richard Childress says he will hold Lowes to it deal which runs thru 2002. So it looks like companies associated with Lowes will be on the car(12-5-2000)
    UPDATE: Car owner Richard Childress confirmed Dec. 7 that Lowe’s will return as a primary sponsor next year for his #31 Chevy and driver Mike Skinner. Childress did confirm that a lumber company that is a Lowe’s vendor will be on the hood of the car with the home improvement store continuing on the quarter panels(Winston Cup Scene)(12-14-2000)
  • All Stars: The 2000 Chase Racing All-Stars, the informal version of NASCAR’s All-American pit crew, was announced earlier this week. Driver Bobby Labonte, the Winston Cup champion, and his crew chief, Jimmy Makar, were selected to the first team, along with the following crewmen, listed with the driver with whom they work, in parentheses: Earl Barban (#2-Rusty Wallace), jackman; Doug Yates (#88-Dale Jarrett), engine specialist; Darren Jolly (Jarrett), front tire carrier; Bill Wilburn (Wallace), front tire changer; Scott Hewitt (#18-Bobby Labonte), rear tire carrier; Barry Cook (Labonte), rear tire changer; Derick Jennings (Labonte), catch-can man; Norman Koshimizu (#28-Ricky Rudd), gas man; Butch Hylton (Labonte), chief mechanic; and Kevin Stimberis (Jarrett), fabricator.(Gaston Gazette)(12-14-2000)
  • Sad News: Condolences to Morris Metcalfe on the death of his wife. Jeanne Metcalfe, 74, died Dec. 6th after a lengthy illness. Metcalfe retired earlier this year as NASCAR’s chief scorer(Winston Cup Scene)(12-14-2000)

    (12-13-2000)

  • Petty Enterprises Changes UPDATE: Rick Mann, head engine builder at Petty Enterprises, left the team after Atlanta to pursue other opportunities. Petty Enterprises continues to search for a replacement for Mann and hopes to have someone in place by January 1. Also the #44 PE Georgia Pacific team hired Mark Tutor to be the crew chief for new driver Buckshot Jones. As for the PE #45 BGN team, plans are still a go for that team, with Steve Grissom behind the wheel of the #45 Chevy, they are still looking for a sponsor for the car(contact info on the Engine Builder job is on my Team Addresses page)(12-8-2000)
    UPDATE: The new #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge will enjoy a lot of experience in 2001. Mark Tutor has been hired as crew chief for the team and new driver Buckshot Jones. Tutor, 38, joins Petty Enterprises from Haas-Carter Motorsports, where he spent part of the time as crew chief for retiring legend Darrell Waltrip. A native of Raleigh, N.C., Tutor has worked with such teams as Cale Yarborough Motorsports, Robby Gordon Racing and Loy Allen Motorsports. The 2001 season will mark Petty Enterprises’ 52nd year of racing, evolving from a small A-frame shop in the middle of North Carolina into one of the most successful racing organizations in motorsports history. Combined, the Pettys have won 273 races. For the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season, all three Petty drivers will race Dodges. Kyle Petty will drive the #45 Sprint Dodge, while John Andretti will handle the #43 Cheerios Dodge(Williams Company)(12-13-2000)
  • Olds Gone: General Motors has decided to shut down Oldsmobile. Late this morning, CEO Rick Wagoner and president of North American operations Ron Zarrella announced that GM will phase out America’s oldest car brand “over the next few years.” The reasons given were that the division’s sales were off markedly and that it was no longer profitable.(SpeedVision). Some NASCAR Oldsmobile Info – Oldsmobile accounted for 116 Winston Cup wins, the last coming in 1992 when Harry Gant won at Michigan in August of 1992 in the #33 Skoal Bandit Olds Cutlass. Olds left the sport after 1992(12-13-2000)

    (12-12-2000)

  • Gordon Announcement UPDATE new Paint Scheme – it’s official: During the audio chat at NASCAR Online Thursday, Jeff Gordon said there will be a press conference on Tuesday, December 12th at 9:30am/et to officiallyannounce the 2001 paint scheme. To catch a few images of the scheme, see my Paint Scheme Gallery 2001 page(12-8-2000)
    UPDATE: see full story at NOL: Gordon has fiery new look for 2001(12-12-2000)
  • Congrats to DW: kind of missed in the whole banquet thing was a rare honor given to Darrell Waltrip: the Bill France Award of Excellence. Probably the best speech of the banquet with wife Stevie up on stage with him. Not sure who else has won the award, but it is not given out every year but only when someone has done something special(12-11-2000)
    UPDATE: past winners
    1997 – Bruton Smith (mainly for founding Speedway Children’s Charities)
    1990 – Chris Economacki
    1988 – Bobby Allison
    1987 – Richard Petty
    1985/6 – Richard Childress
    1965 – Goodyear (developed the inner liner)(MotorsportsTV)(12-12-2000)
  • Hotel Alone UPDATE: A couple was charged with neglect after they left their two young children at a hotel while they attended the Pepsi 400. Harold Hadnott, 47, and Sara Hadnott, 31, of Greensboro, N.C., were arrested early Sunday when they returned to their hotel room at the Georgian Inn in Ormond Beach. The children, ages 8 and 5, were playing on the pool deck at the hotel Saturday when a bystander asked them where their parents were. The children said their parents had gone to the races at Daytona International Speedway at about 2:00pm/et and had told them to play at the pool until 6:00pm/et, then return to their room, police said. The bystander called police, who arrived and found the children alone in the family’s room. Police took the children into custody and turned them over to the Division of Children and Family Services. The Hadnotts have been released on bond(Infobeat/AP)(7-7-2000)
    UPDATE: A North Carolina couple that left two children at a Florida motel while they went to a NASCAR race at Daytona have been sentenced to six months in jail. Harold and Sara Hadnott of Greensboro pleaded no contest to charges of child neglect. The Hadnotts were arrested in July after returning to their motel room at the Georgian Inn in Ormond Beach. The couple subsequently lost custody of a third child, a 6-month-old boy. John Maxwell, a social worker with Child Protective Services in Greensboro, testified at a hearing in August that the Hadnotts had a long history with social services. Maxwell said he received a report one week before the Florida arrest that Sara Hadnott had taken one of the children with her to buy drugs. The children are being cared for by other family members(ESPN/AP)(12-12-2000)
  • ESPN to launch RPM Online: ESPN.com is launching RPM Online, the companion online service to ESPN and ESPN2’s vast motorsports event and news programming that will cover the world of motorsports. The site, launching prior to the Daytona 500 in February 2001, will provide news, analysis, multimedia, games and other interactive elements for racing circuits such as NASCAR, Formula One, CART, IRL, NHRA and IROC(WDIG Site)(12-12-2000)

    (12-11-2000)

  • Waltrip runs another marathon: Michael Waltrip ran in this past weekends inaugural Hop’s Marathon by the Bay in Tampa, FL. He was 1209 over all (out of approx 3200 marathoners). His time was 4:36:07.(Hops Marathon Page/Tampa Bay Online)(12-11-2000)
  • #01 and #7 UPDATE 3: hearing Mike Wallace will accept the #1(could change to #5) CTS ride from Ultra Motorsports and that Philips may move from the #7 team and go with Michael Waltrip on either the #15 NAPA Cup team or Waltrip’s own #99 Aarons Rent BGN team. From what I hear, Ultra Motorsports is now looking for another co-sponsor with Nations Rent and may hold off on a driver announcement for a few more weeks
    UPDATE but: am now hearing Rick Mast will be driving the #7 Ford in 2001, no word on the sponsor sitiuation(12-4-2000)
    UPDATE 2: There’s still no definitive word – or any substantive trend, for that matter – to report about the open drivers’ seats in the #7 Fords and the #01 Dodges for the 2001 season. Rick Mast’s name has been rumored for both rides, but apparently, sponsor BellSouth wants a younger driver. It now appears that if Mast is to have a ride for next season it would be in the #7 Fords owned by Jimmy Smith. Mike Wallace’s name is also in the discussions about that ride but will probably be back in one of Smith’s trucks. Kevin Lepage, ousted from the #16 Fords after the 2000 season, also could be a player in either opening, but it appears that neither seat will be filled until next week at the earliest(That’s Racin’)(12-6-2000)
    UPDATE 3: hearing Rick Mast will be named the driver of the #7 Nations Rent Ford soon, no word on the #01 BellSouth car yet(12-11-2000)

(12-10-2000)

  • Purvis and Finch return to Cup: Jeff Purvis will drive for Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch at the Cup races in Daytona and Talladega for the 2001 season. 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. The Phoenix Racing team 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(News Herald), no idea if they will use the #51 as they did in the past(12-10-2000)

    (12-8-2000)

  • Another NHRA owner to NASCAR? a little old but I missed this a month ago – NHRA Team owner Don Schumacher confirmed yesterday that while sponsorship is still pending for his second Top Fuel team, driver Melanie Troxel and tuner Jimmy Prock are definitely on the payroll, and will be with the organization in 2001. Schumacher also indicated that he hopes to add a second Funny Car to the Matco Tools-sponsored machine that will be driven by Whit Bazemore and tuned by Tim and Kim Richards. “We’ll try to add a second Funny Car team at some point during the year, but that’ll be it. Four teams are more than enough in drag racing, but after we get that settled I’m going to expand into NASCAR. I’m going to take a serious look at what’s going on over there.”(SpeedVision). NHRA Owner/Driver, Warren Johnson is owner of a new Cup team that is supposed to run in 2001, the #37 Pontiac with driver Derrike Cope. Sponsorship was to be announced on December 1st, but nothing was reported(12-8-2000)
  • Gaughan to run many series: Winston West driver Brendan Gaughan said his plans for 2001 include a full season in the Winston West series another five truck series races, a pair of ARCA races, two Winston Cup events (at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Sears Point Raceway) and the NASCAR Busch Series race at LVMS(Las Vegas Sun). Gaughan planned to attempt the 2000 Vegas race in the #62 NAPA Auto Parts/The Orleans Casino Chevy but couldn’t get the car ready in time(12-8-2000)
  • Chris Economaki honored: Chris Economaki, editor and publisher emeritus of National Speed Sport News, received the Buddy Shuman Award on Thursday for going beyond the call of duty on behalf of NASCAR racing. Champion sponsors the award, which has been given annually since 1957. Then, Thursday evening, Economaki was honored with a lifetime achievement award from Speedvision. Economaki was a fixture on early television coverage of all forms of motorsports and the only person to win both the Buddy Schuman Award (presented prior to the Winston Cup banquet) and the Award for Excellence.(That’s Racin’) and full story from SpeedVision(12-8-2000)
  • Kyle Award: Kyle Petty on Friday became the third-generation member of his family to win the Myers Brothers Award presented by the National Motorsports Press Association. Lee Petty, Kyle’s grandfather, won the award in its second year in 1959. Richard Petty, Kyle’s father, won it three times by himself and shared it in 1992 with his wife, Lynda. The award is given each year by the NMPA for contributions to stock car racing. Petty was honored for his continuing efforts on behalf of a number of charities in spite of the death of his son, Adam, in a crash at New Hampshire International Speedway, on May 12(That’s Racin’)(12-8-2000)
  • Shav Glick honored: Shav Glick, veteran Los Angeles Times auto racing writer, became the fourth person in the 18-year history of the Motor Press Guild to receive a lifetime achievement award Tuesday night, when he was honored during the 2000 Dean Batchelor Awards at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Glick, who just completed his 46th year as a Times sportswriter, has covered auto racing for 32 of those years. Others who have received the MPG award are journalist-broadcaster Chris Economaki, photographer Jesse Alexander and driver-writer Denise McCluggage(LA Times)(12-8-2000)

    (12-7-2000)

  • One Round of Qualifying in 2001 UPDATEs: NASCAR will only hold one round of qualifying in the Winston Cup series — except for the Daytona 500 — in 2001, it was announced Thursday. (That’s Racin’) more details as I get them
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced in New York City Thursday the cancellation of second round qualifying at its Winston Cup races in 2001. Only a single session of qualifying will be held. Further details are expected in the coming weeks according to NASCAR(MB2 Motorsports PR) and story at NASCAR Online: No more Cup second-round qualifyingAND On a typical NASCAR weekend, a Friday afternoon qualifying session that sets the entire field would give the 43 teams that make the race more time to work on their cars in race set ups on Saturday(That’s Racin’). The entire 43-car field will be set following one round, with the first 36 positions determined on the basis of speeds and seven provisionals added based on car-owner points(12-7-2000)
  • #41 to return? #41 Car owner Larry Hedrick hopes to know within several weeks whether a potential sponsor will sign, allowing his Winston Cup team to return for 2001. Hedrick’s 2000 season turned sour when a deal with Big Daddy’s BBQ didn’t pan out as expected. Driver Rick Mast left the team to join A.J. Foyt’s operation at Texas for the seventh race of the season.(Winston Cup Scene)(12-7-2000)
  • Congrats: #10 Valvoline Pontiac Crew Chief James Ince is used to making big decisions at a racetrack. Usually it’s when to pit Johnny Benson or whether to take on two or four tires. But, on Wednesday at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. the 30-year-old Missouri native made one of the biggest decisions of his life. Ince and his fiance Denise Wood were married in a private ceremony conducted by Ron and Jackie Pegram of Motor Racing Outreach and witnessed by Ted and Debbi Musgrave. The Ince’s will attend the NASCAR Winston Cup banquet in New York City then honeymoon in Paris.(MB2 PR)(12-7-2000)
  • #40 Crew Chief? UPDATE 2: hearing that Lee McCall, formerly with Penske-Kranefuss, has been chosen by Ganassi Racing to replace Scott Eggleston as the crew chief on the #40 Coors Light Chevy and driver Sterling Marlin. Scott Eggleston is moving to be the crew chief of DEI’s #15 Napa Chevy with driver Michael Waltrip
    UPDATE: hearing Kevin Cram, who worked on Bill Elliott’s team in 2000, will be Ganassi Racing’s #01 Crew Chief(12-6-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Lee McCall, a stock car racing mechanic since 1986, has been named crew chief for driver Sterling Marlin and the new Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge team. McCall, 32, started work at the team’s Mooresville, NC, shop last week and participated in a two-day test with Marlin at Kentucky Speedway(Greenville News). Tony Glover, who was acting crew chief for the #01 Chevy will be the Team Manager in 2001(12-7-2000)
  • What ever happened to? UPDATE: been asked many times but never knew: What happened to the track worker injured at Martinsville in Oct 1999? See the story and a way to help at TachZone: Meet Randy Hall.(12-2-2000)
    UPDATE: Ryan got a letter from Randy’s Mom: A Letter From Mom at TachZone(12-7-2000)
  • Benson to drive some Late Model: Johnny Benson Jr., driver of the #10 Valvoline Pontiac, has committed to race in four Late Model stock car races at Berlin Raceway’s half-mile in 2001. It will be the most races Benson has entered in a season at Berlin since winning the track title in 1989. Benson is part owner in the track. Benson will participate in the May 9 and May 12(Scott Baker Open Invitational 100 Memorial, Baker will killed in an ARCA race at Toledo in 2000) races, as well as races on June 30 and Aug. 15.(Michigan Live)(12-7-2000)
  • Sadler tests at Kentucky and… The #21 Wood Brothers Motorcraft Race Team ended the two-day test Wednesday at the Kentucky Speedway. Driver Elliott Sadler’s best speed was 182.400mph on the new 1.5-mile tri-oval track. Sadler was joined by the third generation of the Wood family, Jon Wood, on the track who ran a lap of 180.000mph. It was the first opportunity that new crew chief Pat Tryson and Sadler had to work together. The Wood Brothers are looking for a sponsor for Jon Wood next year in either a limited NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series or Winston West schedule. The team carried an extra car along to give Wood a little seat time in a Cup car. The car he tested was the vehicle that Elliott Sadler drove to a 16th place finish at the Pocono 500 this past June. This was Jon’s first time in a Cup car on track larger than 3/4 of a mile(Wood Brothers PR)(12-7-2000)

    (12-6-2000)

  • Fox hires Pit Reporters: Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes and Matt Yocum will report from pit road during NASCAR races for Fox next season. Berggren and Byrnes most recently have worked for TBS, TNN and CBS. Yocum, who also will work for NBC and TBS, is leaving ESPN(FoxSports/AP and SpeedVision)(12-6-2000)

    (12-5-2000)

  • Fenley Motorsports: Hearing the team that was the #15 Bud Moore team, bought by Fenley Motorsports in 2000 and only attempted a few Cup races in the #15 Ford, will be the #16 in 2001 and run a limited Cup schedule and ARCA in the 2001 season. No idea of drivers being considered(12-5-2000)
  • #31 Sponsor? hearing that Top Choice Lumber, which is sold at Lowes, will be the sponsor on the #31 RCR Chevy driven by Mike Skinner for the first half of the 2001 Cup season. Lowes announced a few months ago that it wanted out of its contract to sponsor the #31 but team owner Richard Childress says he will hold Lowes to it deal which runs thru 2002. So it looks like companies associated with Lowes will be on the car(12-5-2000)
  • Rudd to IROC: Ricky Rudd has accepted an invitation to race in the 25th anniversary edition of the True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) Series in 2001. Rudd, driver of the #28 Texaco/Havoline Ford, is the 1992 IROC series champion. Rudd was an IROC contender in 1992, 1993 and 1995. The four-race IROC schedule includes races at Daytona (Feb. 16), Talladega (April 21), Michigan (June 9) and Indianapolis (Aug. 4). ABC and ESPN will broadcast the events in 2001(Ricky Rudd Site). Rudd joins IRL drivers Buddy Lazier and Scott Goodyear as the drivers announced so far for IROC 2001. More info on the series at my IROC page(12-5-2000)

    (12-4-2000)

  • #01 Driver? UPDATE..2: hearing Bobby Hamilton Jr will be the new driver of the #01 BellSouth Dodge for Ganassi Raving in 2001(12-1-2000)
    UPDATE: 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 2: Hamilton and Dr Pepper with the #26 Carroll Racing BGN Chevy, see my BGN Page(12-4-2000)

(12-3-2000)

  • Driver of the Year: Bobby Labonte, who parlayed consistency and four victories into the Winston Cup Championship, added another honor today as he was selected DRIVER OF THE YEAR for all American motorsports. Labonte, 36, driver of the Joe Gibbs/Interstate Batteries Pontiac on the NASCAR/Winston Cup tour, gathered seven votes from a panel of 16 motorsports media to win the most prestigious award in motorsports. A brief field of who’s who in American motorsports was strung out behind the Corpus Christi, Texas native. The World of Outlaws Steve Kinser and NHRA Funny Car drag racer John Force each received three first-place nods, while CART’s Juan Montoya had two and that sanctioning body champion, Gil de Ferran, had one. Labonte also carried the fan vote, which was featured for the first time on ESPN.com. Running a very close second was NHRA’s Funny Car Champion John Force. While Labonte didn’t win a quarterly vote-those went to Mark Martin, Juan Montoya, Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart-his consistency paid off with the DRIVER OF THE YEAR HONOR. Labonte follows 1999 Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett as DRIVER OF THE YEAR. Labonte will be feted at a luncheon at New York’s swank Le Cirque on December 9th, then will be formally honored at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductions at Talladega in April.(DOTY PR)(12-3-2000)
  • Vasser Looking? UPDATE No – stays in CART: on Sunday’s RPM2Night (ESPN2) it was reported that CART driver Jimmy Vasser, who was considered in the recent past as a possible driver for the #01 Ganassi Racing Dodge in 2001, is now without a CART ride again according to Robin Miller (Indianapolis Star). Pat Patrick supposedly backed out of a deal at the last moment and Mo Nunn who was ready to hire Vassar at one point signed Jimmy’s ex-Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Zanardi instead. It had been reported in the past that Vasser was a front runner for the #01 ride but decdied to stay in CART as he had a deal close to finalized, but who knows now(11-27-2000)
    UPDATE: Patrick Racing confirmed that 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser will drive a Toyota/Reynard for the team in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series(SpeedVision)(12-3-2000)


    (12-1-2000)

  • Dodge in Danger? Just months away from popping the cork on their first Winston Cup race in 16 years, Dodge officials are looking over their shoulders as their parent company restructures its top executives and considers deep budget cuts. After DaimlerChrysler posted a $512 million loss in the third quarter — the first quarterly loss in nine years — German executives now in charge of the newly merged company began ousting top American managers. Although the company says there are no plans to curtail racing and marketing budgets, some in NASCAR racing circles are wondering if the high-level reorganization is a signal of cutbacks in the Dodge division’s fledgeling NASCAR racing program. One encouraging sign is that Jim Julow, vice president of DaimlerChrysler’s Dodge Division, and Lou Pataine, the company’s racing operations manager, remain in their jobs. Another indication that it’s full-speed ahead came when Darlington Raceway announced Tuesday that Dodge will sponsor the track’s Spring NASCAR Winston Cup event. See Full story at FoxSports(12-1-2000)
  • Dodge Testing UPDATE 6: hearing that Bill Davis Racing cancelled their Dodge test at Kentucky Speedway for Monday through Wednesday and that Evernham Motorsports will test the week after Thanksgiving(11-18-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing Bill Davis Racing will now test at Kentucky on November 29th and 30th
    UPDATE 2: Evernham Motorsports will test at Talladega on Monday(NASCAR2Day)(11-19-2000)
    UPDATE 3: with the race delay, the test was pushed back to Tuesday(11-22-2000)
    UPDATE 4: The Dodge test team will be testing at Kentucky Speedway from Nov 29th thru Dec 1st(rain date), teams testing: Petty Enterprises, Ganassi Racing and Bill Davis Racing. Also hear former #55 BGN driver Michael Ritch is helping as a Dodge test driver(11-27-2000)
    UPDATE 5: hearing that Ganassi Racing was the only team to show up on Wednesday for the first of a two day Dodge Test at Kentucky Speedway(11-30-2000)
    UPDATE 6: Teams/drivers testing – Bill Davis Racing: Ward Burton, Dave Blaney; Petty Enterprises: Buckshot Jones; Ganassi/SABCO – Sterling Marlin. Testing continues till the end of Friday as they are testing engine durability(12-1-2000)