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December 2001 News Archives


 


  • (12-31-2001)

  • Harvick in the Indy 500? If Kevin Harvick does well in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona [see story below], look for Harvick to try his hand at the Indianapolis 500.(Sporting News)(12-31-2001)
  • Little Al to NASCAR? UPDATE 2: with the Galles Racing IRL team appearing to be done (reportedly, a proposed big-money deal with Budweiser fell through), Al Unser Jr. — “Little Al” is suddenly shopping for a ride. “It seems as good a time as any for Little Al to look south, perhaps finally take up Earnhardt’s invitation to come play with the full-bodied boys. Problem is, all the Winston Cup seats are filled — except one. A.J. Foyt keeps delaying the announcement on who will drive his #14 Cup car next season. Rumors center on Stacy Compton, Kevin Lepage and Mark Green. A call to Foyt’s shop this past week found Larry Foyt, A.J.’s son and Busch Series driver, answering the phone. “Any chance A.J. might be trying to work out something with Little Al?” Larry Foyt was asked. “I’ve heard a lot of talk, but that’s a new one,” said Larry, who said A.J. will name his driver Jan. 2. A.J. and the Unsers go way back, of course, so there’s definite familiarity. Plus, A.J. could put Little Al in a competitive Indy ride for a Memorial Day double (that should be a popular attempt this coming year, with Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti likely to try it). Perhaps the best bet for an Unser NASCAR appearance would be Penske, who fielded three cars several times last year in order to break in Ryan Newman. Penske has the resources to field a competitive part-time car, and could also put Unser in a quality Indianapolis ride.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-23-2001)
    UPDATE: and another column at ESPN: Unser to make move to Winston Cup?(12-27-2001)
    UPDATE: an an update to the ‘rumored’ Daytona Beach News Journal column: Racin’ rumors go faster than the racers involved(12-31-2001)

 


(12-30-2001)

 

  • Bummer: effective Monday, Dec. 31, no more commentary columns at Speedvision.com (the SpeedVision channel will change to Speed Channel – owned by Fox – in 2002). Hopefully the writers will find new venues to write for so they can be linked here(12-30-2001) – will now be SpeedTV.com


    (12-29-2001)

  • Pressley in the #92 at Daytona: Robert Pressley will drive the 92 Dodge Intrepid for Mark Melling in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17th. Pressley will drive for Melling in a one-race deal and still plans to run in five to seven Winston Cup events for Bobby Hamilton Racing in 2002.(Robert Pressley Fanclub Site)(12-29-2001)
  • NASCAR Wins Award: NASCAR and its Automotive Aftermarket program have earned the 2001 Supplier Award for Outstanding Retail Promotion from Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance. The award, one of eight presented every year by the Aftermarket Alliance, recognizes outstanding marketing support for a retail promotion. In the case of NASCAR, it recognized the recently completed NASCAR Your Car promotion and other retail activity. Alliance members from more than 3,600 stores and 60 warehouse locations vote for these awards.(Retail Merchandiser Magazine)(12-29-2001)
  • Autopsy Photos News: [Florida] Gov. Jeb Bush has renewed his support for a law exempting autopsy photographs from Florida’s public-records law. The governor outlined his views Dec. 21 in a friend-of-the-court brief for a pending lawsuit challenging the exemption’s constitutionality. The Independent Florida Alligator, a student newspaper at the University of Florida, sued the state after legislators responded to pleas by NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt’s widow in March and rushed the exemption into law in record time. Bush thinks the law protects victims’ families’ privacy and upholds the state Legislature’s right to exempt “particular records from public access when a competing public policy outweighs the right of access,” according to the brief.(Orlando Sentinel)(12-29-2001)
  • Rolex 24 at Daytona – Robinson in?(no) UPDATE 4 Harvick, Petty, R Gordon, Stewart, Dallenbach, Andretti: hearing Shawna Robinson is going to be driving a second Flis Corvette in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, with Conway and Goad as co-drivers. Supposedly Bam Motorsports is buying the seat time for her.(12-7-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing Shawna Robinson will NOT drive in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and that Kevin Harvick could be in the seat now(12-25-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Flis Motorsports, which claimed 2001 AGT-class driver and car owner championships, will test two Corvettes entered for this year’s race. A championship-winning NASCAR driver, whose name will be made public Jan. 2, has signed on to drive in the team’s second car(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-27-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Kevin Harvick will help kick off Speed Weeks 2002 by driving a Flis Motorsports Corvette during the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Feb. 2-3. Harvick will join the Daytona Beach-based team drivers Rick Carelli, John Metcalf and Dave Liniger, primary sponsor of the Flis Corvette. Carelli, a Truck Series driver [in Harvicks CTS truck] and longtime friend of Harvick, was instrumental in suggesting that the NASCAR star join the team. Harvick joins a growing list of NASCAR drivers who will suit up for this year’s 24-hour event at Daytona International Speedway. Kyle Petty [#45 Cup car], whose team finished seventh overall in the 2001 endurance event, is returning for another run and will bring along Petty Enterprises teammate John Andretti [#43], also a sportscar racing veteran. They will drive a Porsche GT3R. Tony Stewart [#20] will drive a Judd-powered Crawford prototype racer. Wally Dallenbach Jr. will drive a Robinson Racing Riley & Scott MkIII, also a prototype. Robby Gordon [#31] is said to be joining Indy Racing League driver Scott Sharp, who announced Wednesday that he will drive for the Jim Matthews Racing team in an Elan-powered Riley & Scott. Sharp, a two-time SCCA Trans-Am champion and 1996 IRL inaugural season co-champion, teamed with Wayne Taylor and Jim Pace to win overall honors in the 1996 Rolex 24 At Daytona.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-28-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Robby Gordon will drive a Jim Matthews Racing R&S Mk III C for the 40th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, according to Bill Riley, vice president of chassis manufacturer Riley & Scott, and Jim Matthews, owner of Jim Matthews Racing. Guy Smith, Jim Matthews and 1996 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Scott Sharp will share driving duties with Gordon.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-29-2001)


    (12-28-2001)

  • #7 Car Chief? hearing that Bobby Foley, former car chief on Kyle Petty’s #45 Sprint Dodge’s is the new car chief for the #7 Ultra Motorsports Dodge driven by Casey Atwood. Foley has been working in racing for 23 years(12-28-2001)


    (12-27-2001)

  • Most Powerful in Sports: The Sporting News has tabbed NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, as their Most Powerful Person in sports for 2001. Where do any NASCAR folks rank (out of 100)?
    5th is Bill France, Chairman, board of directors, NASCAR; Chairman, ISC;
    45th is Mike Helton, President, NASCAR;
    52nd is Jim Hunter, Vice president, corporate communications, NASCAR;
    66th is George Pyne, Vice president, NASCAR;
    68th is Jeff Gordon, Driver, NASCAR;
    95th is Teresa Earnhardt, Chairwoman, DEI;
    See the story and links to lists at the Sporting News(12-27-2001)


    (12-26-2001)

    NONE – Christmas!


    (12-25-2001)

  • NASCAR and CASCAR? the Cayuga 2000 Speedway site is reporting that five 5 NASCAR Stars Officially Signed to race at the track during the final 2002 off weekend and Canada Day Weekend. An official press conference will be held sometime in Jan 2002. Supposedly the January 2002 issue of Performance Racing News it mentions Tony Stewart as confirmed, and either Ken Schraeder or Michael Waltrip as other drivers being there(12-26-2001)
  • Welding: Body Dynamics Racing Bodies Inc. is proud to announce their newest product sponsor, Lincoln Electric. Lincoln Electric has come to an agreement with Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. in which they will supply the use of their welders and associated equipment in exchange for marketing opportunities on www.bodydynamicsracing.com as well as in the fabrication facilities of Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc.(Body Dynamics Racing Bodies PR)(12-26-2001)
  • Todd Bodine in the 24 hours? hearing Todd Bodine [driver of the #66 Kmart Ford] will test a car to drive the 24 hours of Daytona and decide after the test if he will run the race. No word on what team or type of car he will test(12-26-2001)
  • Congrats: Big Ed Watkins, pit crew coach and jackman of Evernham Motorsports, got engaged to Vonda Duke this Christmas while the couple was vacationing in Flordia.(12-26-2001)


    (12-24-2001)

  • New RCR shop: Richard Childress Racing has started construction on an 80,000-square foot state-of-the-art Winston Cup shop will be the new home for its three Winston Cup teams. The building will have paint and body shops, prep stations and truck bays for the #29, #30 and #31 teams of drivers Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green and Robby Gordon, respectively. The new structure will include office space for the Winston Cup crew chiefs and general manager, as well as the RCR engineering department. Samet Construction of Greensboro, N.C., is building the new shop. It will be a two-story, precast concrete construction, with an elevator and parking for 150. The new shop will be among 12 buildings that make up 330,000-square feet on the 34-acre RCR complex. The Winston Cup shop is expected to be completed by April 15, 2002.(That’s Racin’)(12-24-2001)
  • #9 crew members to #99? Crew members Ryan Buscaglio [Front Tire Carrier], Andy Thurman [Front Tire Changer], Heath Cherry [Rear Tire Carrier] and Marc Jacobs [Jackman] left Bill Elliott’s [#9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge] team for jobs with Jeff Burton’s #99 Ford in 2002(Sporting News), hearing Cherry and Jacobs went to the #41 Ganassi Racing team and driver Jimmy Spencer and that Thurman went to Roush, but to the #97 team(12-24-2001)
  • Wrangler Chevy to be auctioned:Dale Earnhardt’s blue-and-yellow Monte Carlo [#3 Wrangler], (which comes with a crash helmet signed by Earnhardt) is going on the auction block along with some 850 other collector cars at the 2002 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Classic Car Auction to be held from January 17th through the 20th at the WestWorld resort in Scottsdale, AZ. Also for sale is the Richard Petty 50th anniversary Limited Edition Pontiac Grand Prix concept car. For more info see the Barrett-Jackson site (12-24-2001)

 


(12-22-2001)

 

  • Gibbs agreement with aerodynamics company UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has signed a multi-year agreement with Automotive Aerodynamics, Inc. (AAI) and their principal engineer, Louis Duncan to provide aerodynamic engineering services for all race teams of JGR beginning January 1, 2002. For Joe Gibbs Racing, this alliance represents an on going effort to have the most competitive teams week in and week out on the racetrack.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(12-21-2001)
    UPDATE: An aerodynamic engineering firm that had been part of a cooperative effort among Winston Cup teams owned by Richard Childress, Andy Petree and Dale Earnhardt Inc. has now been hired to provide its services to teams at Joe Gibbs Racing.Automotive Aerodynamics Inc. and its principal engineer, Louis Duncan, signed a multiyear deal to provide aerodynamic engineering services for the Winston Cup, Grand National and Truck series teams at Joe Gibbs Racing. Childress, Petree and DEI will continue their RAD program but did not renew their contract with Duncan and his business.(That’s Racin’)(12-22-2001)
  • Sospenzo to the #5? #7? UPDATE 3 Not the #5 and not the #7: hearing former #12 Penske Crew Chief Peter Sospenzo could end up with the #7 Ultra Motorsports/Evernham Motorsorts team and driver Casey Atwood(11-28-2001)
    UPDATE: The word on the street — it’s not official and could just be part of the rumor mill — is Peter Sospenzo, the crew chief for the 12 car, is going to be the crew chief for Terry Labonte.(FoxSports)(11-29-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Jack Flowers of the Speedway Scene magazine is reporting that Sospenzo is expected to assume the crew chief’s role sometime this month with the #7 Dodge team(12-18-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Kevin Cram, the crew chief who started the 2001 season with Jason Leffler [#01], found a new opportunity when Ray Evernham became a partner with Jimmy Smith in Ultra Motorsports’ Winston Cup team. Cram has begun work as the crew chief of the #7 Ultra team that is in the process of switching from Fords to Dodges, for sophomore driver Casey Atwood. A spokesperson for Evernham’s team said a sponsor is still being sought for the #7, but that Evernham had made a commitment to Atwood when he transferred him from the #19 to the #7 that the team would run a full schedule in 2002.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(12-22-2001)


    (12-21-2001)

  • Sprague to IROC: three time CTS Champ Jack Sprague has been named to the True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) lineup for 2002. First race is at Daytona in February. The event will mark the first time a CTS driver has ever competed in the IROC ranks. Sprague will run the #24 NetZero Chevy in the 2002 BGN series(Motorsports Management Group PR)
    Drivers so far:
    Kevin Harvick, 2001 BGN Champ
    Sam Hornish, 201 IRL Champ
    Buddy Lazier, IRL
    Scott Sharp, IRL
    Jack Sprague, 2001 CTS Champ
    other rumored drivers:
    Dale Earnhardt Jr? (suuposedly been invited – has NOT accepted or been officially announced)
    Tony Stewart?, 2nd in Cup standings (usually take the top five in Cup standings)
    Sterling Marlin?, 3rd in Cup standings
    Ricky Rudd?, 4th in Cup standings
    Dale Jarrett?, 5th in Cup standings
    Gil de Ferran?, 2001 CART Champ, now IRL
    Helio Castroneves?, CART now IRL
    Kenny Brack?, CART (conflict with Japan CART race and Calif IROC race make this unlikely)
    Bobby Labonte?, 2001 IROC Champ
    John Force would be fun
    Jeff Gordon, 2001 Cup champ, turned down IROC for 2002(12-21-2001)
  • New #55 Crew Chief: Charley Pressley, has joined Square D Racing and will give the #55 Schneider Electric Chevy driven by Bobby Hamilton seasoned help for the 2002 Cup Series season. On Tuesday, Hamilton and the team welcomed their new crew chief at the Andy Petree Racing (APR) shop located in Flat Rock, NC. Pressley honed his strong leadership abilities and added to his Winston Cup experience when he worked with Hamilton while Hamilton drove the #4 Chevy in 1998. Pressley cited his communication with Hamilton as the best factor of their relationship.(Motorsports Decisions Group PR)(12-21-2001)
  • Rudd to carry The Torch: Ricky Rudd will rely on his feet, not his race car, when he carries the Olympic torch through Martinsburg, WV, Thursday. Rudd [#28 Havoline Ford], a NASCAR driver, will be among more than 50 people toting the torch in Hagerstown and Martinsburg. Rudd is scheduled to take the torch from bearer Betsy Howell of Harrisburg, PA., at 5:29pm/et. He will carry the torch on Moler Avenue, starting at Central Avenue. Support runner Daniel Comer will join him at 5:32pm/et. At the Second Baptist Church sign, Rudd will hand the torch to bearer Joan Laboiteaux of Berkeley Springs, WV.(Herald-Mail)(12-21-2001)


    (12-20-2001)

  • Hamilton tests at Nashville: #55-Bobby Hamilton spent a day testing at Nashville Superspeedway last week in preparation for the upcoming Cup season. NASCAR limits teams to seven ”official” tests a year on tracks where Winston Cup races are run. Tests on non-Cup tracks like Nashville Superspeedway don’t count. Teams can practice there as often as they want. Hawks did not charge Hamilton a fee for the session. Hamilton was only required to pay for expenses such as rescue workers and other personnel who had to be on hand for the test.(Tennessean)(12-20-2001)
  • New #88 Paint Scheme for 2002? UPDATE 2: hearing UPS is offering employees a sneak preview of Dale Jarrett’s newly designed fire suit and the #88 UPS Ford new paint scheme on Friday, December 7. Despite the changes, the familiar UPS shield remains the prominent figure of the car’s sporty new look. Am hearing it may incorporate some blue for it’s 2nd day delivery service(12-7-2001)
    UPDATE: no blue, same basic scheme with more yellow and the stripe is like a lightning bolt. See the images on my Paint Scheme Gallery(12-7-2001)
    UPDATE 2: The 2002 UPS Ford will feature a variation of the initial design used throughout 2001. Yellow lightening bolts frame the brown swooshes that will adorn the sides of the #88 UPS Ford. The familiar UPS shield remains the prominent figure on the car’s sporty new look. Alongside the #88 on both the driver and passenger sides of the race car is the UPS acronym which will remain on the rear quarter panels and deck lid, although the color will change from yellow to white.(UPS Racing Site)(12-20-2001)
  • Lazarro back to Open Wheel:Sam Schmidt Motorsports announced the signing of a multi-year deal with Anthony Lazzaro to be the IRL team’s driver(SpeedVision). Lazarro ran some Cup races in the #68 carwhich is supposed to run a limited 15 race Cup schedule in 2002, no word on if Lazarro will be part of that effort but it looks unlikely(12-20-2001)


    (12-19-2001)

  • Spencer in CART? No, just a bet and a test: NASCAR Winston Cup star Jimmy Spencer tested Chip Ganassi’s Toyota-powered Lola Champ Car Tuesday at Sebring International Raceway. Seems Ganassi and Spencer, who has signed to drive for Ganassi’s Target-sponsored [#41] Dodge team in the 2002 Winston Cup title chase, were talking recently when the subject worked its way around to Champ Cars and wound up with a friendly wager between the two. Spencer did three laps around the Sebring testing circuit, never getting any further up the gear ratios than third. Team manager Mike Hull explained that, since the Cup team was doing a commercial shoot on the airport runways nearby and the Champ Car team was on hand to try out its 2002 Lola, things just happened to come together nicely.(SpeedVision). Ganassi’s CART driver, Kenny Brack is expected to attempt to run the 2002 Daytona 500 in a 3rd Ganassi Dodge(12-19-2001)
  • Geoffrey Bodine 2002 plans UPDATE: NBC 6 in Charlotte reported tonight that Geoffrey Bodine has secured sponsorship for at least three races in 2002, at both Daytona races and Homestead. Sponsorship reportedly to come from Miccosukee Indian Gaming [the sponsor for Bodine at Homestead]. Bodine is looking for a team to supply the cars/engines and is working with a few but could also end up with brother Brett [#11 Ford] if nothing else works out but feels he is close to working out cars and engines with a couple of teams. Geoffrey Bodine also is working on another deal that would allow him to run 18-20 Cup races in 2002.(NBC 6)(12-13-2001)
    UPDATE: Geoffrey Bodine finalized his Daytona 2002 plans today [12-18-2001] and will be driving for James Finch and Phoenix Racing. They will be testing at Daytona during the first test session, January 7th, 8th and 9th, with the 10th being a rain date. The car number and other specifics are still in negotiations and will be reported as soon as the information becomes available.(Geoffrey Bodine fanclub site), Finch also runs the #51 Ford for Jeff Purvis on a limited basis, supposedly with Lance Snacks as the sponsor in 2002(12-19-2001)
  • #10 Testing Sched: Johnny Benson and the #10 Valvoline Pontiac testing schedule – Daytona Jan 14, 15, and 16; Lakeland (Fla) Jan 17 & 18; Rockingham Jan. 22 & 23; and Las Vegas Jan. 30 & 31(MBV PR)(12-19-2001)


    (12-18-2001)

  • Gordon turns down IROC 2002: The ever-increasing demands put on Jeff Gordon by sponsors and by himself as the co-owner of the new #48 NASCAR Winston Cup team [Jimmie Johnson] have forced Gordonto cease his participation in the International Race of Champions series, announcing that he was declining the invitation forwarded him as the reigning NASCAR title winner. “It’s definitely an honor to be recognized by IROC and compete against an elite group of drivers,” said Gordon. “I’ll never forget the first invitation I received from IROC in 1995. It was very exciting. Unfortunately, due to the demands on my time with the number of races on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule and commitments to my sponsors, in addition to my increased involvement with the No. 24 and No. 48 teams, I have to decline the invitation.” Gordon becomes the first NASCAR champion since Bobby Allison won the 1983 series title not to follow his title-winning year with a run in the IROC series. Gordon has competed six times in the IROC series but has never had much success, taking the checkered flag in the 1998 season-opener in Daytona as his only IROC victory. Series officials confirmed that they had discussed the matter with Gordon before he announced his decision and that the move did not come as a surprise to them. The series currently has five of its 12 drivers for the 2002 series under wraps, including Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr., Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, Indy 500 polesitter Scott Sharp, all-time IRL victory leader Buddy Lazier and NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year Kevin Harvick.(SpeedVision)(12-18-2001)
  • Congrats: Jimmy White and Rea McLeroy were wed in an 11 a.m. ceremony at The Little Church of the West in Las Vegas on Tuesday, December 18. McLeroy is the motorsports reporter for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch. White is the media representative for Raybestos at Camp & Associates, Inc., in Concord, N.C. Among those in attendance were NASCAR Winston Cup Series team owner Junie Donlavey, David Poole (Charlotte Observer motorsports reporters) and Jim Utter (ThatsRacin.com reporter), Mike Snow and Lori Vizza (NASCAR reporters for Speedway Scene), John Bisci (Public Relations Manager, Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and Evelyn Holmer (public relations representative and bubble-bearer).(12-18-2001)
  • Stewart to run 24 Hours: Tony Stewart is in the process of finalizing plans to race in the 24 Hours of Daytona just prior to the Daytona 500 as well as the Chili Bowl on January 10th.(Tony Stewart Newsletter)(12-10-2001)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart signed a deal Tuesday with Max Crawford to race in the Grand American Road Racing Association’s upcoming Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Stewart will co-drive a works-entered Crawford SSC2K powered by a Judd V10 engine along with road racing veterans Jan Lammers and Johnny Mowlem.(SpeedVision)(12-18-2001)
  • Mobil Not Happy? BUT UPDATE 2: hearing Mobil might not be coming back to Penske at all as an associate sponsor as they were not happy with the team going away the way it did and might do just a very small associate sponsorship now if at all and do not have a contract signed(12-11-2001)
    UPDATE: from the Mobil 1 Racing site: ExxonMobil will continue its relationship with Penske Racing as associate sponsor on both the #2 Miller Lite Ford Taurus and the #12 Alltel Ford Taurus. We will also continue as an associate sponsor on Penske’s two open wheel racing entries and look forward to our ongoing association with Penske Racing. We have a long history in motorsports and use these programs as a product development proving ground and as part of our brand communication efforts.(Mobil 1 Racing)(12-14-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that the #12-Ryan Newman Ford, will carry Mobil One colors for up to four races in 2002(12-18-2001)
  • Speaking of the #12 Team: Ryan Newman and #12 ALLTEL Team Penske will head to Lakeland, FL to test on December 19th and 20th. The team will resume testing in January beginning with the NASCAR sanctioned test at Daytona International Speedway from the 7th through 9th. Gasman George Whitley and his wife, Mandy, welcomed their second child in November and crew chief Matt Borland and his wife, Stacy, are expecting their first child any day now. Jackman Chad Norris will be married on New Year’s Eve and public relations representative Michele Greth got married on December 15th.(Tom Roberts PR)(12-18-2001)
  • Sospenzo to the #5? #7? hearing former #12 Penske Crew Chief Peter Sospenzo could end up with the #7 Ultra Motorsports/Evernham Motorsorts team and driver Casey Atwood(11-28-2001)
    UPDATE: The word on the street — it’s not official and could just be part of the rumor mill — is Peter Sospenzo, the crew chief for the 12 car, is going to be the crew chief for Terry Labonte.(FoxSports)(11-29-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Jack Flowers of the Speedway Scene magazine is reporting that Sospenzo is expected to assume the crew chief’s role sometime this month with the #7 Dodge team(12-18-2001)
  • Chocolate News: #29 RCR Gasman, Chocolatr Myers will have surgery on his left wrist during the off season. Danny “Chocolate” Myers injured his left wrist during a pitstop at Talladega in October. Seems that the gas can got stuck as Kevin Harvick was pulling out of the pits and Myers twisted his left wrist in the process, tearing tendons and ligaments. Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center will perform the surgery and after some rehab, he’ll be good to go for Daytona. Chocolate helped raise Thousands when the Charity League of Lexington, NC hosted their annual Holiday House tour at Myers Manor – the home of Danny “Chocolate” and Caron Myers. Over 3000 people attended the event – at five dollars a pop – with Danny and Caron standing at the door shaking hands with each guest as they arrived. Race fans got to see how the famous Gas Man lives at home. There were Christmas trees in each of the 19 rooms.of their 5000 square foot Victorian home, each with a different theme. And, of course,.Chocolate’s Victrola (crank phonograph) collection. All proceeds of the event went to benefit children and underprivileged families in Davidson County, NC. And Chocolate was seen at the Lexington KMart ringing a bell for the Salvation Army last Saturday. And he wasn’t shy about intimidating people and making them dig deep into their pockets. Remember, this is the same guy who wrestled a bear once! Myers has recently been appointed to the board of the Salvation Army. And finally: Politics for Mrs. Chocolate?: Caron Myers, wife of Danny “Chocolate” Myers and writer for Racing Milestones Magazine, was elected to the Lexington Planning Board and the Board of Adjustments. She began serving her three year term of public office on Monday, December 17th.(12-18-2001)


    (12-17-2001)

  • Skinner back and will test: Mike Skinner will return to the track this week for the first time since the Sept 23 race at Dover. He will be getting used to his new ride, the #4 Kodak/Morgan McClure Chevrolet, and his new team and crew chief, Scott Eggleston, during test sessions at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. Skinner stopped racing because of injuries related to a crash in July at Chicagoland.(Sporting News)(12-17-2001)
  • NASCAR.com news: the NASCAR.com site is set to undergo a redesign by the time NASCAR revs back into action in February. Turner Sports Interactive, caretaker of the site, plans to offer more real-time features aimed at enhancing the race-viewing experience.(Star Telegram)(12-17-2001)
  • Johnson featured: Jimmie Johnson [driver of the #48 Lowes Chevy and 2002 ROTY Candidate] is featured in the current edition of ESPN the Magazine (Dec. 24). Johnson was selected to represent auto racing in its annual “Who’s Next” edition, photos available on ESPN.com (12-17-2001)
  • Not NASCAR but… Alex Zanardi stood for the first time on his artificial legs, presenting Formula One champion Michael Schumacher with an award. “I’m so emotional that my legs are trembling,” Zanardi, the two-time CART champion, said Saturday at a motor show in his native Bologna. Zanardi lost his legs in a Sept. 15 accident in a race in Germany in which he nearly died. He received artificial limbs and has been doing physical therapy to learn how to use them.(CBS Sportsline)(12-17-2001)

 


(12-16-2001)

 

  • Daytona to name ‘something’ for Earnhardt: Daytona International Speedway is going name something after Dale [Earnhardt] — they just aren’t saying what it will be. It’s already been decided and it has the blessings of the Earnhardt family, as well. “After considerable input from fans and competitors, and with the support of the Earnhardt family, we have chosen a special way to celebrate the life and legend of Dale Earnhardt. It is our intention to make the announcement regarding our tribute during Speedweeks 2002.” David Talley, Director Corporate Communications, ISC(NASCAR.com)(12-16-2001)
  • Steele back in Cup: Tim Steele, a three-time ARCA series champion and third generation Michigan racer: “My plans for 2002 see our HS Motorsports Team running in right at 20 races during the year. That’s enough to qualify as full-time racers, yet we all can still have lives outside the race track.” The “Man of” Steele’s schedule for next season sees him competing in 10 to 12 ARCA races, five NASCAR Winston Cup races and five NASCAR Busch Series events. “We’re planning on running all the ARCA races that feature live television, the Cup races at Pocono, Michigan and Chicago, and the Busch races at Las Vegas, Kentucky, Michigan and Charlotte (Lowe’s),” said the 33-year-old Grand Rapids native and Coopersville, Mich., resident. “We’re confident that we can run this schedule and be competitive everywhere we go.(Tom Roberts PR)(12-16-2001)
  • Mansion Motorsports back in the CTS: Mansion Motorsports [#85 Dodge in Cup with Carl Long] will bring back their CTS program to run a limited amount of races in 2002. They will be running Dodge Rams, with driver Carl Long. Mansion Motorsports is currently working on trucks for the 2002 season. Their first race for 2002 has yet to be determined but it won’t be at Daytona(Mansion Motorsports Site)(12-16-2001)


    (12-15-2001)

  • Rudd and Pit Crew Progress: The recovery of Winston Cup driver Ricky Rudd, who underwent arthoscopic back surgery in Charlotte shortly following the annual banquet weekend, continues to progress. “My recovery is on schedule and I’m looking forward to racing in the Daytona 500 in February,” Rudd said Friday in a statement. Rudd drives the #28 Fords for Robert Yates Racing. In addition, all three Yates crew members injured in a pit road accident at Homestead, Fla., in November plan to return to their duties in time for the 2002 Daytona 500. Bobby Burrell, front-tire changer, is home recovering from head injuries. On Dec. 5, he started working with the team trainer on hand-to-eye coordination drills and plans to return to work after the first of the year. John Bryan, jack man, has returned to work and also anticipates starting pit stop practice after the first of the year. Kevin Hall, front-tire carrier, has returned to work and resumed pit stop practice with the team.(That’s Racin’)(12-15-2001)
  • Seat Belt News: Dale Earnhardt customized his seat belt mountings in his race car in a way the manufacturer said was dangerous, and his harness failure may have contributed to his death in the Daytona 500. On Tuesday, NASCAR outlawed customized seat belt placements for the 2002 season, and in effect vindicated beleaguered seat belt maker Bill Simpson. Next year’s guidelines regulate seat belt systems and describe in detail what drivers and pit crews must wear during practice, qualifying and races. On Tuesday, NASCAR issued its strongest language to date on seat belt systems. NASCAR’s six-month investigation of Earnhardt’s crash indicated the left lap belt of his harness system “dumped,” or buckled then tore during the crash. NASCAR all but said Earnhardt’s belt system was improperly mounted when the sanctioning body released its findings in August. Simpson has said that if properly mounted, Earnhardt’s seat belt system would not have failed, and that he warned the seven-time Winston Cup champion several times to mount his harness according to manufacturer’s specifications. There was no attempt during 2001 to change customized mounting positions, but the language in NASCAR’s upcoming rules package indicates that area of the rule book will change dramatically in 2002. Specifically, the new rule reads: “Each car must be equipped with a NASCAR-approved seat belt restraint system. Unapproved seat belt restraint systems or components will not be permitted,” and “The seat belt restraint system must be installed in accordance with the directions provided by the system supplier and/or manufacturer.” NASCAR didn’t specify which seat belt systems are approved for the 2002 season.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-15-2001)


    (12-14-2001)

  • Atlanta Qualifying in fall at night: The fastest qualifying session on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit just got more exciting, as Atlanta Motor Speedway officials announced today that the Oct. 25 Georgia-Pacific Qualifying Day session will be held at night under the lights. Joining the evening’s lineup will also be a 150-lap Goody’s Dash Series race, held on the speedway’s front stretch quarter-mile track.  Georgia-Pacific Qualifying is traditionally the fastest qualifying session of the year for NASCAR Winston Cup drivers, who are gunning each year for the track record of 197.478 mph, set by Geoffrey Bodine in 1997. The new qualifying format will be part of a NAPA 500 weekend that has already undergone major changes since last season. The NAPA 500 was moved from its November date to Oct. 27, and the Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race on Oct. 26 has taken the place of the traditional fall ARCA race.(AMS PR)(12-14-2001)
  • Congrats: former Cup and current CTS driver, Jason Leffler, and Alison East were married in Hawaii on Dec. 11, 2001. They will be returning to their home in Stanley, NC on the 15th of December.(12-15-2001)
  • Kenny’s Cruise: A look at the Kenny Wallace Fan Club Cruise #6 – 2001(12-15-2001)
  • Special Magazine issue: Racing Milestones will have a special December featuring the Legends of NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson, Bobby Allison and highlights of the careers of folks like Smokey Yunick, the Wood Brothers and Banjo Matthews.(Racing Milestones)(12-14-2001)


    (12-13-2001)

  • Minimum Age Requirement: Effective for the 2002 season, NASCAR has implemented a minimum age requirement for all drivers, crew members and other participants in its top three series – Winston Cup, Grand National and Trucks – as well as its Touring series. NASCAR hasn’t permitted anyone under 18 to participate in Winston Cup or the Winston West stock-car series since 1998, in part because of the series’ sponsorship by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. At least one driver will lose his chance at participating in one of NASCAR’s top series next season as a result of the new rule. Kyle Busch, 16-year-old brother of Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch, was scheduled to run a full season for Roush Racing in NASCAR’s Truck series, but will not be allowed to compete. Roush officials said Thursday he would remain under contract, however.(That’s Racin’AND Busch, a high school student from Las Vegas, scored one top-10 effort. However, with the new ruling in place beginning with next year, it looks like Busch will be driving Late Model. With Busch sidelined for at least two years, that opens up the seat for someone else. The team has said that they will fulfill all contractual obligations to Busch. No driver has been named to the #99 CTS seat(NASCAR.com)(12-13-2001)
  • Jasper-Penske Engine deal over? UPDATE not so? hearing the Jasper-Penske engines deal is about to break up. Rumor is Penske is preparing to offer to buy out partner Doug Bawel and begin selling engines in competition with Yates. Part of the deal might include the #77 team, which Bawel owns(12-13-2001)
    UPDATE: sources within Jasper Motorsports say there is no truth in the above statement(12-13-2001)
  • Cope to return to the #57: Derrike Cope will be driving the #57 CLR Ford Taurus in 12-15 Cup races in 2002 beginning with the Daytona 500 in February. The team will continue to use Robert Yates engines and are working to procure additional sponsorship and expand their schedule. Cope says about sponsorship, “I have had several recent meetings with companies that are considering us for sponsorship and have been pleased with their positive responses to date. I will be working to finalize these opportunities during the upcoming weeks.” Cope and the #57 team plan to test at Daytona, January 12 through 15th and may also test in Talladega later in the month.(Derrike Cope Site) – looks like the #37 team with Cope and Warren Johnson will cease to exist?(12-13-2001)
  • Weird but probably a typo? UPDATE yep: on this weeks Thunder Previews at Action’s goracing.com, they list the #2 Miller Lite/Elvis Pressley scheme that will run at Las Vegas as a “2002 Dodge Intrepid R/T”, typo or are the past Robin Miller rumor’s true about Penske switching from Ford to Dodge (even thought they have a contract with Ford thru 2003)?
    UPDATE: as mentioned, it looks like it was a Typo and has been corrected to FORD as Penske will NOT switch to Dodge(12-13-2001)
  • Congrats: Everett Ashton Burton was born 12-10-01 around 4:00 PM weighed 7 lbs. 9 oz. and mother Tabitha and baby are both are doing fine.(Ward Burton Fan Club)(12-13-2001)
  • NASCAR Rock N’ Roll: Hybrid Recordings and Atlantic Records have announced the release of NASCAR: FULL THROTTLE, the first-ever official NASCAR compilation to feature rock artists. The album – released in association with NASCAR, NBC Sports and Turner Broadcasting – collects 13 high-octane tracks from a variety of new and classic rock artists. FULL THROTTLE. features exclusive tracks from Metallica – whose “Fuel For Fire” is an alternate version of “Fuel” (from RELOAD) with different lyrics – and Sammy Hagar, who has updated his classic 1984 hit, “I Can’t Drive 55,” to the more-accelerated “I Can.t Drive 65”. Tracks from .NASCAR: FULL THROTTLE. were heard throughout NBC and TNT coverage of NASCAR races, including audio play during the opens, pre-race, teases, animations, highlights and bumpers. The album also includes songs from matchbox twenty, Sugar Ray, P.O.D., Creed, Collective Soul, the Grateful Dead, Motley Crue, the Cult, Convoy, Vertical Horizon, and Breaking Point. The CD is available through Kmart and Wal Mart and record stores everywhere.(NASCAR PR), all they need is some AC/DC, Collective Soul and Kiss – hope mine in under the tree on the 25th!(12-13-2001)
  • Yocum gets engaged: Fox/NBC/TBS pit reporter Matt Yocum got engaged Nov 29th in New York City on a carriage ride through Central Park after dinner at Tavern on the Green. The lucky lady is Ingrid Bendezu. However, Yocum already had the engagement ring before the “Matt and Tony post-race show” in New Hampshire, where Tony Stewart joked and asked when Yocum was gonna ask Ingrid to marry him. Rumor had it that Tony knew it would happen before February and it was his last chance to get a dig in on his friend, but it looks like the pressure is all on Tony now (to get engaged)(12-13-2001)


    (12-12-2001)

  • Donlavey Announcement UPDATE 2 C.F. Sauer the Sponsor., Mast the driver…and… and images: there will be a 2002 Winston Cup Sponsorship announcement at the C.F. Sauer Company in Richmond, VA on Wednesday, December 12th at 1:00pm/et. Attendees Include: #90 Owner Junie Donlavey, Mark Sauer, Governor Jim Gilmore, [Driver?] Rick Mast, Kyle and Pattie Petty [not sure why – interesting](Keystone Marketing PR)(12-10-2001)
    UPDATE: The C.F.Sauer Company and Swansboro Motor Company, Inc., announced today their agreement to an all-Virginia team for the 2002 Winston Cup season. The two Richmond-based companies also named Rick Mast, the Rockbridge, Va. veteran Winston Cup and Busch Grand National racer as driver of the #90 car. The 114-year old C.F. Sauer Company is family owned and operates manufacturing facilities in Richmond,Va., Greenville, S.C. , New Century, Kan., San Luis Obispo,Calif., and a distribution center in Orlando, Fla. The Company’s brands are Sauer’s, Dukes’, Bama, Spice Hunter, Gold Medal, and Mrs. Filberts and also manufactures customer label margarine products for the retail, food service, and industrial markets. The Company also owns Pleasant’s Hardware. “This marks our second season in racing,” Sauer stated, “and everyone at The Company looks forward to a long and productive association with Junie Donlavey.” Donlavey, owner of Swansboro Motor Company, added, “For the 52 years I’ve been in racing, I’ve wanted to field an all-Virginia team, and I reckon if you wait and work long enough, your dreams can come true.” In addition to announcing the racing association, The C.F. Sauer Company named three non-profit charity affiliates to be involved in promotional efforts of the new team. The charities are the United Network for Organ Sharing, the Richmond based non-profit that manages the nation’s organ transplant system; Victory Junction Gang, a retreat for seriously ill children founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty and new member of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps founded by Paul Newman; and the Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary, which was established in 1965 to provide aid to Winston Cup families suffering injury or tragedy as a result of preparation or participation in Winston Cup events.(Sauer PR)(12-10-2001)
    UPDATE 2: It’s official see the Keystone Marketing PR at Sauer, Swansboro to Team for Winston Cup 2002 Season; also, see images of the #90 Sauer/Dukes Mayo Ford (layout and the front/side view), check it out on my Paint Schemes Gallery(12-12-2001)


    (12-11-2001)

  • Helmets and Firesuits UPDATE 2: NASCAR informed teams last week that fireproof suits and helmets will be mandatory for anyone who goes over the wall on pit stops next season.(Sporting News). Wonder if it means NASCAR Officials too?(12-10-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing that the helmet/firesuit requirement does includes officials, they are not sure of what type of helmet but a helmet will be required of anyone going over the wall including officials(12-10-2001)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR will require any crew member going over the wall during race conditions to wear protective helmets and fire-resistant clothing beginning with the 2002 season. In a technical bulletin that began going out to teams late last week, NASCAR also amended its official Winston Cup rulebook to include requirements for the first time that drivers wear helmets and fire suits during practice, qualifying and competition. NASCAR’s rulebook amendments, which will be included in the 2002 rulebooks for its Grand National and Truck series as well as Winston Cup, still put the onus for safety on the competitors. “Each Competitor is solely responsible for the effectiveness of personal safety equipment used during an Event,” the bulletin said, adding, “NASCAR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ANY PERSONAL SAFETY EQUIPMENT.”(That’s Racin’)(12-11-2001)
  • New #6 Car Chief: Joe Dan Bailey, a member of Dale Earnhardt championship teams at Richard Childress Racing in 1993 and 1994 who later moved to Penske-Kranefuss Racing and most recently worked with Shawna Robinson, is the new car chief on the No. 6 Fords owned by Roush Racing and driven by Mark Martin. Bailey, 37, will join with Martin’s new crew chief, Ben Leslie, in leading the team next season.(That’s Racin’)(12-11-2001)
  • Carl Long news: Carl Long and the #85 Mansion Motorsports team will be back racing in 2002. The team plans to attempt the Daytona 500 with a brand new Dodge and Petty Dodge engines (from 2001, PE will go with a different engine builder). The team will go to the Daytona January (7th-10th) test to test out the new car and engines if they are able to finish the car in time. There is not a 2002 chedule yet for the races Mansion Motorsports plans to attempt, but it is possible the team will run 6-10 races. Also Long wants to let a west coast team use his Dodge engines that he recieved from Petty Enterprises so that he can drive in Winston Cup races on the west coast. Long also wants to use the engines in the BGN and CTS(Mansion Motorsports Site)(12-11-2001)


    (12-10-2001)

  • Newman will be #12: Ryan Newman’s fleet of Alltel Team Penske Ford Taurus race cars will carry the number 12 for the 2002 Cup season. Penske Racing South officials confirmed the move today, citing the equity position and history the team has with the number. The Penske association with the car number 12 dates back to the early 1970’s when racing legend Bobby Allison drove Penske-owned race cars bearing that number. Newman and his Matt Borland-led team will compete in all NASCAR Winston Cup events during the 2002 season as teammates to veteran driver Rusty Wallace and his Bill Wilburn-led Miller Lite Team Penske.(Tom Roberts PR)(12-10-2001)
  • Pressley to the BGN/CTS? UPDATE to the #18 CTS: It appears Robert Pressley will wind up either in the CTS or the BGN, one option may be as the full-time driver for Michael Waltrip’s #99 BGN cars.(Savannah Morning News), but am hearing Pressley will end up in the #18 Dodge truck(12-8-2001)
    UPDATE: Robert Pressley will replace Joe Ruttman in Bobby Hamilton Racing’s #18 Dodge truck, it was announced Monday. Pressley, released from his Winston Cup ride at the end of the season, will be taking over the truck Ruttman drove to two victories, 20 top-10 finishes and third in Craftsman Truck points in 2001. Pressley joins new teammates Brian Rose and Bill Lester and crew chief Danny Gill as BHR revamps with a three-truck effort in 2002. Pressley’s team is currently without a sponsor — after DANA Corporation declined to renew its agreement for 2002 — but the team is in negotiations and hopes to announce one in the next few weeks.(NASCAR.com)(12-10-2001)
  • Fedawa new ride includes Cup? UPDATE 2 Oops Driver NOT signed: rumor has it that Scott Bryant/Bryant Motorsports has acquired primary sponsorship that will allow the running of the full BGN 2002 schedule and run a limited Winston Cup schedule with Tim Fedewa as the driver(Catchfence)(12-8-2001)
    UPDATE: Bryant Motorsports has come to an agreement with a major minorities company who is excited to be involved with a quality racing team. This company’s name, which will be released at a later date, will be the primary sponsor for a full time BGN team. They will also be participating in a part time Winston Cup effort. Tim Fedewa has been signed as Bryant Motorsports driver for both series, with Keith Johnson as team manager.(STB Marketing Group/Catchfence.com)(12-10-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Keith Johnson will serve as team manager; however, at this time a driver has yet to be signed, and negotiations are still underway with a driver who will drive in both series. “Bryant Motorsports has obtained primary sponsorship, and driver talks are underway with several drivers.” stated Scott Bryant, owner of Bryant Motorsports. “Further details will be released as soon as they become available, and negotiations are finalized.”(STB Marketing Group – original PR had Fedawa listed as signed)(12-10-2001)
  • Stewart to run 24 Hours: Tony Stewart is in the process of finalizing plans to race in the 24 Hours of Daytona just prior to the Daytona 500 as well as the Chili Bowl on January 10th.(Tony Stewart Newsletter)(12-10-2001)
  • New Radio Show: Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds have agreed to join the Fox Sports Radio Network in 2002. Starting with the Daytona 500 and running for the next 21 weeks, the three will be giving weekly NASCAR Updates on Fox Sports Radio. Waltrip’s updates will air on Mondays and Fridays. Hammond’s on Saturdays and McReynolds on Sundays. Check with your local Fox Radio Network affiliate for air times.(Jeff Hammond/Larry McReynolds/Darrell Waltrip sites)(12-10-2001)
  • Earnhardt Tribute: The Brooklyn Cowboys’ new CD project, The Other Man in Black (The Ballad of Dale Earnhardt), holds a winning combination, featuring a fuel-injected tribute to the late-great Dale Earnhardt, is due to hit the stores on Feb 12th, 2002(Business Wire)(12-10-2001)
  • Johnson and Racing Champions: Racing Champions Corporation announced that a new multi-product and trackside vending license agreement has been reached with JG Motorsports, the licensing administrator for Jimmie Johnson and the Hendrick Motorsports #48 Lowe’s team. Under the terms of this agreement, Racing Champions will produce and market die-cast replicas, apparel, souvenirs, and novelties related to the #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet, whose primary sponsor is Lowe’s Home Improvement. The Company’s rights include exclusive distribution to mass retail for die-cast, and exclusive distribution at all NASCAR Winston Cup events for all products. Under a separate agreement, the Company also has obtained rights to produce Press Pass® trading cards related to the driver and team.(Racing Champions Site)(12-10-2001)
  • Robby Gordon races for the Nations Cup UPDATE: The wraps are finally off this year’s team line-ups for the Michelin Race of Champions – Nations Cup. Eight fearsome trios are set to lock horns around the 2.6 kilometres of asphalt and gravel of the Circuit Ciudad Deportiva Islas Canarias to decide which nation is the fastest of them all. Traditionally a star-studded event, this year’s Michelin Race of Champions (7-9 December, Gran Canaria) has attracted a better-than-ever calibre and quantity of speed merchants, drawn by the rare opportunity to put patriotism before individual pride. Representing the USA are: Robby Gordon [#31 RCR Chevy], Rhys Millen [Rally Driver/Pikes Peak] and Shaun Palmer [Snowboarder, World Cup mountain bike and motocross racer]. For more info, see the website: www.raceofchampions.com(12-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Finnish WRC ace, Harri Rovanpera was duly crowned 2001 Champion of Champions after defeating Germany’s Armin Schwarz in the Final of the prestigious Michelin Race Of Champions event at the Circuito de la Ciudad Deportiva Islas Canarias today. The Peugeot driver triumphed two heats to one with less than a second between both drivers in every race. Robby Gordon lost in the Quarter-Finals(Race Of Champions site)(12-10-2001)
  • Colleges and Auto Racing: Colleges in the heart of NASCAR country are offering new courses to meet a growing demand in the racing industry. For the first time, next semester Central Piedmont Community College will offer machining and welding courses teaching students to build the frames and engines of high-tech race cars. It joins Catawba Valley Community College, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and UNC Charlotte, all of which have started various types of motorsports programs in recent years.(Charlotte Observer). See lists of many schools, driving schools, job placement/resume services, etc at my Racing Schools/Jobs page(12-10-2001)
  • Hermie Sadler news: Hermie Sadler is working on some deals and plan to compete in 10 Cup races and 5 BGN races in 2002 and plans to announce his plans in January(12-10-2001)
  • Ryan Pemberton out? UPDATE: The print version of the Speedway Scene magazine reports that #77 Crew Chief, Ryan Pemberton and the team #77 Jasper Motorsports, has parted ways after his brother Roman was released by the team(12-9-2001)
    UPDATE: Roman has left the team but Ryan is still the team’s crew chief and is NOT leaving(12-10-2001)
  • APR Crew Chief(#55) and Sponsor(#33): Although Jimmy Elledge’s move to crew chief for Dale Jarrett [#88] surprised his former team, the #55 Chevrolet (Bobby Hamilton), there will be no rush to name a replacement. Andy Petree, with help from shop foreman Jeff Swann, will call the shots on his car for the time being. G.M. Steve Barkdoll says the team wants to limit activities because it is close to naming a sponsor for the sister car, the #33 Chevrolet. It hopes to secure Mike Wallace as the driver(Sporting News)(12-10-2001)
  • #55 Scheme for 2002? have two possible 2002 paint schemes for the #55 Schneider Electric/Sqaure-D Chevy on my Paint Schemes Gallery(12-10-2001)
  • Official Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation.org website now online: Kenny and Reva Irwin, parents of the late Kenny Irwin Jr., have unveiled the official Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation.org website. Located at kennyirwinjrfoundation.org, the website has a “fan club” section to learn how to support the foundation, as well as a contact section with e-mail addresses, phone numbers, directions information, and a printable donation form. Another feature is current photos and regularly updated news about the Dare to Dream Camp, located near New Castle, Indiana. The 27 acre campground with a six acre lake is under construction with a targeted June 2002 completion date. The foundation was established in 2000, as a way for the Irwin’s to honor Kenny’s legacy, and continue his generosity to under-privileged children. The Irwin’s wanted an official website to serve as an ongoing tribute to Kenny’s memory by creating awareness for upcoming foundation events and projects.(12-10-2001)
  • Earnhardt Honor: Seven time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, fatally injured in an accident at Daytona International Speedway in February, will be inducted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Hall of Fame. Earnhardt, known as “The Intimidator,” was the most high profile driver in NASCAR Winston Cup racing and his death brought a great deal of attention to the sport. The winner of 78 [actually 76] Winston Cup races made it to the EMPA Hall of Fame the first time his name has appeared on the voting ballot. In addition former Indianapolis car racer and three-time United Racing Club sprint car driving champion Mike Magill will join Earnhardt in the Hall. Nicknamed “Iron Mike,” he was a successful Modified and Midget racer in the 1940s and 50s. Also being inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame will be three-time USAC Sprint Car champion Larry Dickson. He also made eight appearances in the Indianapolis 500 with his best finish being ninth in 1969. Dickson was a top talent with the United Racing Club and American Racing Drivers Club in the early part of his career. And Bobby Gerhart Sr., winner of 41 modified stock car features at the old Reading, PA Fairgrounds Speedway, will have his name added to the Hall of Fame. Gerhart was also the Modified champion at Reading in 1969 and 1970. His son, Bobby, is currently a driver in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Eleven time National Hot Rod Association Funny Car champion John Force was been named the Al Holbert Memorial/EMPA Driver of the Year. The award is named in honor of the late Al Holbert who was an outstanding sports car and Indianapolis car racer who made his home in Warrington, PA. Ted Christopher, NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series National Champion, has earned the Northeast Driver of the Year honors for the second year in a row. Christopher was also the Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified champion. More than 200 members, media covering motorsports of all types on a regular basis, took part in the voting. The induction ceremonies will take place at the annual Winston Hall of Fame Awards Dinner which is part of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention, January 18-20, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA. The 31st Annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention will have support from Winston, NHRA, IRL, NASCAR, Hooters Tour, United Racing Club, Pocono Raceway, Goodyear, Grandview Speedway, Valvoline, Leading Edge Motorsports, 76, and Performance Racing Industry magazine.(12-10-2001)

 


(12-9-2001)

 

  • Earnhardt Tribute Auction: The first fundraising event for the Dale Earnhardt Tribute to be erected in Earnhardt’s hometown of Kannapolis, NC surpassed its goal of $10,000. Live and silent auctions pushed the count to over $11,000. Monies raised from other activities at the event have yet to be totaled. More than 80 race items and donations from Kannapolis businesses were auctioned. (That’s Racin’), more info at: Dale Earnhardt Tribute Fund Page(12-9-2001)


    (12-8-2001)

  • Marlin testing: Sterling Marlin’s team [#40] already has tested two days at Lakeland, FL. Rules prohibit any testing at a track that sanctions NASCAR events during December, but short tracks such as Lakeland aren’t associated with NASCAR, and they prove to be a great place to work on things like braking, engine combinations and transmissions.(Savannah Morning News)(12-8-2001)


    (12-7-2001)

  • Knaus to the #48? UPDATE 2 hearing #92 Melling Racing crew chief Chad Knaus is considering offers to crew chief the #48 Jimmie Johnson driven/Hendrick Motorsports Lowe’s Chevy and the #7 Casey Atwood driven/Ultra Motorsports-Evernham Motorsports Dodge for next season(11-23-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing Knaus will go to the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team(11-26-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Chad Knaus, one of the original Rainbow Warriors who helped build Jeff Gordon’s #24 Team into a powerhouse, has been named crew chief for the new #48 Lowe’s Chevy Team with Driver Jimmie Johnson, it was announced today. The team is co-owned by four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, who has amassed five Winston Cup championships and three Craftsman Truck championships over the past seven seasons. The team will be housed in the same facility as Gordon’s team and the two teams will work closely in race preparation and execution.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(12-7-2001)
  • #5 Crew Chief Change? UPDATE 2 Yep: hearing Gary Dehart will not crew chief the #5 Kelloggs / Hendrick Motorsports chevy and driver Terry Labonte in 2002. Am hearing Jim Long [formerly of the #7 Ultra Motorsports team] is in the running. As reported before by FoxSports, Peter Sospenzo [former #12 Crew Chief before the team folded] is also a candidate, but sources tell me Long will get the job. Dehart will supposedly remain with Hendrick Motorsports in a managment or R&D job(12-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Two-time Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, who finished a career-worst 23rd in the series points race this season, will have a new crew chief for 2002. Jim Long, who has worked for a vast array of Winston Cup drivers including Kyle Petty, Ricky Rudd and Geoffrey Bodine, will take over as crew chief for Labonte’s #5 Chevrolets, sources confirmed. It is unclear whether former crew chief Gary DeHart will remain with Labonte’s team in another position. DeHart originally worked with Labonte from 1994 to 1997, winning the 1996 championship with the driver from Texas.(That’s Racin’)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR veteran Jim Long, who was a member of the team that delivered Hendrick Motorsports its first major Winston Cup victory in the 1986 Daytona 500, has been named crew chief for the Kellogg’s Racing Team with driver Terry Labonte. Long, 44, who in a NASCAR career going back to 1983 has worked with such drivers as Ricky Rudd, Bobby Allison, Geoffrey Bodine, and Kyle Petty, replaces Gary DeHart, who has accepted another assignment with Hendrick Motorsports in its Research and Development Department.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(12-7-2001)
  • Shawna back in 2002? UPDATE 2 – 24 races in 2002: Shawna Robinson is the verge of putting together a deal to run as many as two dozen Winston Cup races in 2002 [#49 BAM Racing?]. Robinson made her Winston Cup debut in 2001 with Michael Kranefuss, but failed in each subsequent attempt to qualify. Kranefuss’ BGN team, with driver Elton Sawyer, was forced to shut its doors after finishing fifth in the championship due to lack of sponsorship.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(12-6-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing Shawna Robinson is going to be driving a second Flis Corvette in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, with Conway and Goad as co-drivers. Supposedly Bam Motorsports is buying the seat time for her.(12-7-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Shawna Robinson will be entering 24 Winston Cup races for BAM Racing [was #49 in 2001], driving a Dodge. The team currently has no sponsor but is financially secure enough to run the allotted number of events. The crew chief is Eddie Sharp and the team will be supplied engines from Ernie Elliott.(NASCAR.com)(12-7-2001)
  • Petree in no rush: hearing that #33 and #55 car owner, Andy Petree is looking to hire a car chief first, and then decide on the crew chief (unless a good candidate for crew chief shows up first). APR has fielded many calls for the open crew chief position on the #55 for driver Bobby Hamilton. Jimmy Elledge was the crew chief and left to go to the RYR #88 team(12-7-2001)
  • New #88 Paint Scheme for 2002? UPDATE: hearing UPS is offering employees a sneak preview of Dale Jarrett’s newly designed fire suit and the #88 UPS Ford new paint scheme on Friday, December 7. Despite the changes, the familiar UPS shield remains the prominent figure of the car’s sporty new look. Am hearing it may incorporate some blue for it’s 2nd day delivery service(12-7-2001)
    UPDATE: no blue, same basic scheme with more yellow and the stripe is like a lightning bolt. See the image on my Paint Scheme Gallery(12-7-2001)
  • Pemberton to Petty? rumors have former #2 crew chief, Robin Pemberton going to work for Petty Enterprises in some capcity (team manager, general magaer, consultant – but not as a crew chief) for the 2002 season.(12-7-2001)
  • Gordon Driver of the Year: #24-Jeff Gordon’s season convinced a panel of 16 motorsports journalists to make him the first four-time winner of the Driver of the Year (DOTY) award. Gordon received 13 first-place votes, outdistancing rookie Kevin Harvick, who received two votes. Gordon’s previous DOTY titles were in 1995, ’97 and ’98.(Arizona Republic)(12-7-2001)
  • Not NASCAR but…. CART co-founder Roger Penske [and owner of the #2-Rusty Wallace and #02-Ryan Newman Cup teams] is leaving CART for the rival IRL. Penske plans to race in all IRL events next season, including the Indianapolis 500, Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said Thursday in a statement from company headquarters in Reading, PA. Drivers Gil de Ferran, who won the CART title the last two years and Helio Castroneves (winners of the 2001 Indy 500) will remain as Penske’s drivers(That’s Racin’/AP)(12-7-2001)
  • Carelli to drive in the 24 hours:CTS driver Rick Carelli is going to drive in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in one of two Corvettes fielded by Flis Motorsports of Ormond Beach, FL and bringing Re/Max sponsorship along(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-7-2001)
  • Gordon to carry the torch: What: 2001 Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon will carry the Olympic Flame in Daytona Beach, Florida on Friday, December 7. Nominated by Olympic Torch Relay presenting sponsor Chevrolet, Gordon was selected due to his extraordinary efforts to support the physical, social and intellectual needs of children through the Jeff Gordon Foundation, as well as the inspiration he provides to thousands of motorsports fans.(GM PR)(12-7-2001)
  • Bruton to buy NBA team? UPDATE no: hearing from readers that it was reported on WFNZ 610 AM sports radio duing an interview with Mark Packer on Thursday that Speedway Motorsports (Lowes Motor Speedway, Texas, Atlanta, Sears Point and Bristol) mogul Bruton Smith offered $125 million to buy the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise.
    UPDATE: actually Smith has not offered to buy the Hornet’s but said yesterday that George Shinn has a “moral obligation” to keep the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte – and said he was certain that that “local interests” would buy the team should Shinn sell. Smith stopped short of saying that he would personally buy the team. But he said he could “guarantee” that someone locally would, rather than allow Shinn and co-owner Ray Wooldridge to move the team elsewhere. Smith said he had a handshake agreement to buy the Hornets from Shinn four years ago until Shinn reneged. “I went through negotiations with George for about two and a half weeks, with his lawyer there, with his accountant there, and we reached an absolute deal,” Smith said. “We shook hands. Verbally I had purchased the Hornets, and the figure was $130 million. And the next day George called me and said he’d changed his mind.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-7-2001)


    (12-6-2001)

  • New #88 Crew Chief: hearing #88 Crew Chief, Todd Parrott is moving to a Team Manager role for Robert Yates Racing and that #55 Crew Chief (APR/driver Bobby Hamilton) Jimmy Elledge will be the new crew cheif for #88-Dale Jarrett(12-6-2001)
    UPDATE: Todd Parrott, who has been crew chief for Jarrett’s #88 Fords since 1995 and won the championship with him in 1999, has vacated that position and becomes team manager, effective immediately. Jimmy Elledge, who has worked as crew chief at Andy Petree Racing since 1999 and completed his first season with Hamilton, is Jarrett’s new crew chief. APR has made no decision on a replacement for Elledge(That’s Racin’)(12-6-2001)
  • Rudd’s Back? UPDATE 2 Surgery: #28-Ricky Rudd could be headed for the same back surgery that Mark Martin had during a recent offseason. “I didn’t hurt my back when I hit the wall, I think I must have the Mark Martin syndrome, my back has been bothering me for a little while,” Rudd said. “I might have to get it fixed this winter. It hurts when I sit in the seat for a long time.”(SpeedVision)(11-19-2001)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd will undergo exploratory surgery next week to investigate the source of back pain that bothered him for nearly the entire season. Though the seriousness of his back injury isn’t known, Rudd said he expected a recovery period of only two weeks. It’s possible Rudd could need six months of rehab, depending on what next week’s arthroscopic procedure uncovers. Rudd said the injury is probably just some inflammation in his back – something many other drivers have experienced during the grueling schedule of races.(Arizona Republic)(11-30-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Ricky Rudd underwent arthroscopic back surgery on Wednesday in Charlotte. He came through the surgery very well, has been released from the hospital and is resting.(Ricky Rudd site) AND Rudd chose not to waste any time in getting help, having arthroscopic back surgery on Wednesday in Charlotte. Rudd came through the surgery without incident and is currently resting and recuperating. He was released from the hospital after the surgery. It was not immediately known if the surgery would have any effect on his ability to run in the open test at Daytona in January, but the team was confident that the 45-year-old would be able to test and is optimistic enough in Rudd’s recovery that it is not putting together any contingency plans for a substitiute driver at this time.(SpeedVision)(12-6-2001)
  • Fenley team back? Cope and Elliott legal action? UPDATE: Fenley Motorsports (was the #15 and then #16 and former Bud Moore Motorsports) may be on the verge of signing a major sponsorship deal that would bring it back to the big time after years of struggle. But if the deal doesn’t come through in January as Fenley hopes, the Spartanburg-based race operation’s longstanding financial and legal problems suddenly will become urgent. In a February court hearing, the Fairview Avenue race shop could be foreclosed on and scheduled for sale at public auction in the Spartanburg County. SC courthouse. Company president Robert Fenley said Friday that a happy ending is more than possible. “We’ve been assured that we have a deal for a major sponsor for five years — one year in the Busch Grand National series and four years in Winston Cup — but we just haven’t signed anything yet,” Fenley said. “We’re pretty optimistic that everything will be signed and done by the end of January.” Fenley declined to identify his operation’s potential new sponsor. He estimated that the sponsor would provide at least $12 million of the $14.5 million needed to compete in the 2002 Busch season and the 2003 Winston Cup season. The legal battle is with Ernie Elliott over engine and technical services. Also driver Derrike Cope, who left the Fenley operation in April 2000, claims it still owes him an unspecified portion of a $667,236 judgment levied by an arbitrator in federal court nine months ago. Cope had claimed in legal papers that Fenley violated his contract by failing to enter some NASCAR Winston Cup events. The driver also accused Fenley of being late with his February and March 2000 payments and failing entirely to make the April 2000 payment. The Revenue Department has tax liens on Fenley’s Fairview Avenue property — more than $53,000 worth, according to court papers filed by Cauthen.(full story at the Herald Journal), looks like a real mess(12-4-2001)
    UPDATE: Challenge Motor Sports, Inc., owned and operated by Randy Fenley, announced that it has secured several associate sponsors for the 2002 BGN and Cup series seasons. Challenge Motor sports has entered into an agreement with “theracefanschoice.com” (TRFC Inc) to promote more intimate fan participation in auto racing. Challenge Motor Sports will support all programs the TRFC Inc “theracefanschoice.com” has on line. Additionally, Challenge Motor Sports is still in negotiations for primary corporate sponsors for the team. The outcome of these negotiations will determine the extent of the 2002 BGN and Cup schedules. Challenge Motor Sports is negotiating with several drivers, but no driver has been named for the upcoming season. Challenge Motor Sports has a contract to purchase the race team from Fenley Motor sports and a lease agreement for the facility. Challenge is no way affiliated with Fenley Motor Sports. The disposition of litigation between Fenley Motor sports and Ernie Elliott, Inc. will determine whether Challenge Motor Sports continues to be based at the present facility in Spartanburg, SC.(Challenge Motor Sports PR)(12-6-2001)
  • More Gordon and Gordon: Jeff Gordon had a surprise visitor at his private championship party Nov. 29 when Robby Gordon, who punted him out of the lead to win the Nov. 23 race at New Hampshire, showed up. According to witnesses, the two drivers chatted about the incident with the intent of putting it behind them. Jeff Gordon, meanwhile, says the incident might have been a blessing in disguise. After he chased down Robby and rammed his car from behind, his fan base suddenly began to swell. “I gained more fans over that deal than I did by winning races all year long,” he said. “I had a lot of people approach me and say, ‘It was great to see that intensity,’ and, ‘We know that you’ve got it in you.'”(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(12-6-2001)
  • Irvan to Carry Olympic Torch UPDATE 5 add Roush, Petty and Andretti; and Jarrett; and Waltrip: The Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), Coca-Cola and Chevrolet announced that former Winston Cup driver Ernie Irvan has been selected to carry the Olympic Flame on its 65 day, 13,500 mile journey from Atlanta, GA to Salt Lake City. Torchbearers were nominated earlier this year by family members, friends, or co-workers by writing a 50-100 word essay describing how the nominee embodied the Olympic spirit and inspired an individual or a community. Irvan was one of 7200 torchbearers selected from more than 210,000 nominees. The Olympic Flame will be lit during a ceremony in Olympia, Greece before traveling to Atlanta – where the flame last rested on American soil – and starting its cross-country journey through 46 states on December 4, 2001. An average of 180 torchbearers will each carry the flame approximately two-tenths of a mile. Irvan has been notified that. he will carry the flame either December 4, 5, or 6 in either Charlotte, NC; Hickory, NC; or Rock Hill, SC. The exact time and place will be announced later this month. Irvan stated he is really looking forward to participating in the Olympic Torch Relay and considers it a true honor to be selected to carry the Olympic Flame.(Irvan.com)(11-11-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR team owner Jack Roush (#’s 6,16,17,97,99 in Cup and #9,60 in the BGN and #’s 50, 99 in the CTS) will have the honor of carrying the Olympic torch through a portion of Charlotte, NC, on Wednesday, December 5. Roush was invited to carry the torch by the Coca-Cola Company. His relay will be a 0.2-mile segment on Wilkinson Blvd., west of downtown Charlotte, as the torch makes its way toward Salt Lake City, Utah, for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.(Roush Racing PR)
    AND also hearing that Kyle Petty and John Andretti will be involved in carrying the torch(11-29-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Dale Jarrett has been invited to participate as an Inspirational Torchbearer in the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay on December 5, 2001 as it passes through Hickory, NC.(Dale Jarrett Site)(12-1-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip will join 11,500 inspirational individuals in carrying the Olympic Flame in the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Torch Relay on Wednesday. The Olympic Torch was lit in Greece and flown to the United States, Atlanta, Georgia, specifically, where the Torch Relay begins on Tuesday, December 4, 2001. The Relay, presented by Chevrolet, will spread from Atlanta to Greenville, S.C., then onto Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2001 where Waltrip will take his turn as the only person in the entire world with the privilege at that moment to be carrying the flame. Waltrip’s segment will start at 6:01pm/et. The Olympic Flame will journey across America for 65 days and 13,500 miles before reaching Salt Lake City on February 8th.(Falgren PR). Update on Irvan: Ernie Irvan will be carrying the Olympic Torch on Thursday, December 6, in Rock Hill, SC. His segment is on Cherry Road from Family Dollar to TCBY Yogurt. He is scheduled to carry the torch at 8:04am/et. See the www.saltlake2002.com for more on the Olympics(12-4-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Steve Park, Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr., are among the 11,500 individuals who will participate in carrying the Olympic Torch in the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Torch Relay. Also in attendance will be team owners Teresa Earnhardt and Jack Roush, and former Winston Cup star Ernie Irvan, among others. The Torch will pass through Charlotte at approximately 6:00pm, Wednesday, at which time Waltrip will take it down Park Rd. to Princeton Avenue, just a couple miles south of downtown Charlotte. He will then hand it to Park.(NASCAR.com)(12-5-2001)
    UPDATE 5: see That’s Racin’ for a column on the torch carrying: Crowd cheers Olympic torch, Earnhardts(12-6-2001)
  • Locked out and released? Rumor has it that there have been more job cuts with the #12 team at Penske Racing. The team used to employ around 60 people, but roughly 40 were let go when Penske decided to cut back from three Winston Cup teams to two. Word is that some of the remaining 20 were given the pink slip on Wednesday morning. The 20 employees had gone over to the #2 shop to hear the announcement that Robin Pemberton was leaving as Rusty Wallace’s crew chief; and when they returned, the locks had been changed on the #12 shop. Some received new keys, and some didn’t. More cuts at Penske may be coming soon.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(12-6-2001)
  • Sterling’s Fire Suit: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Target Stores will donate $2,550 to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The fire suit Sterling Marlin wore during the Aug. 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series’ “Sharpie 500” at Bristol Motor Speedway was auctioned off from November 21 to December 1 on Ebay (www.ebay.com). The winning bidder was Jody Gable of Cobleskill, New York. Mr. Gable owns Gable Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, & Jeep, Inc. and plans on displaying the fire suit in his Dodge show room. Target, which served as title sponsor of the #40 Dodge for the Aug. 25 race at Bristol, created Marlin’s fire suit especially for use in the “Sharpie 500”.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-6-2001)
  • Open House: Sam Bass will unveil the second in a series of holiday limited edition prints featuring Santa and a NASCAR theme on Saturday, December 8, 2001 from 10:00am – 5:00pm. This year’s print is titled “Holiday Fun!” Santa will also be on hand between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Dec. 8 to greet guests and go over holiday wish lists. All visitors to the gallery who bring a canned food item will receive a complimentary gift. All collected food will be donated to Cooperative Christian Ministry in Concord, NC.(for more info see the www.sambassart.com site)(12-6-2001)


    (12-5-2001)

  • #27 Eel River Racing – Up for Auction: Eel River Racing, Mooresville, NC – January 16 – 17 – 18 – 19 – 20 if needed, 2001; 25 Motors, 20 Cars, Trucks, Motor Home, Trailers, Fab Equipment, Shop Equipment and Pit Equipment. For more info see Charlie Sentman’s Auctions Site, also on the 24th of Jan, the Blaise Alexander estate will be auctioned off(12-5-2001)
  • Earnhardt Will: Dale Earnhardt willed his estate to his wife, including everything from his NASCAR race teams to the rights to his name and “Intimidator” trademark. Teresa Earnhardt also inherited her husband’s numerous business interests, such as his Catawba County Chevrolet dealership, numerous boats and cars and their $300,000 Iredell County home, according to Earnhardt’s will on file in Iredell County Superior Court.(Charlote Observer)(12-5-2001)
  • Pemberton out? Sospenzo in? UPDATE yes…and no: hearing that former #12 Penske crew chief, Peter Sospenzo, will be named to the crew chief position of the #2 Miller Lite/Penske Racing Ford and driver Rusty Wallace. Supposedly current #2 crew chief, Robin Pemberton wants to spend more time with his family. No word on if Pemberton will stay at Penske in some capacity(12-4-2001)
    UPDATE: Bill Wilburn, a 20-year NASCAR Winston Cup veteran and a team member at Penske Racing South since 1992, has been named crew chief for Rusty Wallace’s [#2] Miller Lite Team Penske effective immediately. Wilburn, a 35-year-old native of Kernersville, NC, assumes the position vacated by Robin Pemberton, who cited his desire to cut back on travel as the reason for leaving his position. “This is definitely as amicable a situation as possible,” said Pemberton, crew chief for Wallace’s team since 1995 who is expected to stay with the team until the end of the year. “I’ve been on the road for 22 straight years and I’m ready for a change. My boys are growing up so fast and I’m really missing that side of life so much. I’m looking forward to staying in the sport, but in a position where I’m in the shop most of the time and not a road warrior any more. I’ll always be thankful to everyone involved here at Penske Racing for giving me some of the best years of my career. I may be changing jobs, but the friendships I’ve made here through the years will remain forever.”(Tom Roberts PR)(12-5-2001)
  • Labonte’s Honored in Texas: Terry [#5] and Bobby Labonte [#18] have been elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame located in Waco, TX. Induction ceremonies are scheduled for February 26rh, 2002. The Texas Sports Hall of Fame is a nonprofit, educational museum established to celebrate and preserve Texas’ sports history. Other Auto Racing greats inducted: A.J. Foyt[1967], Johnny Rutherford [1985], Carroll Shelby [1986], and Jim Hall [1999]. For more info, see their website: www.hallofame.org(12-5-2001)


    (12-4-2001)

  • Brett Bodine gets sponsors: The Timberland Company announced a two year strategic partnership between Brett Bodine Racing and its Timberland PRO(TM) Series line of work boots for working professionals. Throughout the 2002 and 2003 racing seasons, Timberland will promote its Timberland PRO Series via associate sponsorship of the #11 Brett Bodine Racing Cup Team, owned and driven by Brett Bodine. In addition to generating valuable trademark exposure on the race car itself and on driver and pit crew uniforms, the partnership presents a host of promotional opportunities that will build awareness of and drive purchase and preference for the Timberland PRO Series among target consumers. Planned programs include in-store promotions, advertising tie-ins and appearances by Brett Bodine, his team and his show car. The Timberland PRO Series logo will appear on the left/right lower rear quarter panels of the car between the #11 and wheel well, on all driver/pit crew uniforms, will be added to the team hauler and pit signage and all pit crew members and garage mechanics will be outfitted with Timberland PRO Series footwear and apparel featuring the Timberland PRO Series logo (Brett Bodine Racing)
    AND Wells Fargo Financial has announced their continued sponsorship of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Brett Bodine for 2002.(Brett Bodine Racing)(12-4-2001)
  • New #10 Scheme in 2002? UPDATE: hearing the #10 Valvoline Pontiac will run a new paint scheme in 2002, supposedly quite a dramtic change(11-11-2001)
    UPDATE: there is a new scheme, not drastic, but looks sharp, see Paint Scheme Gallery for the scheme(12-4-2001)
  • NASCAR Movie: NASCAR, NASCAR Digital Entertainment (NDE) and IMAX Corporation have entered into an exclusive agreement to develop and produce an IMAX® film that will capture the thrilling excitement of NASCAR in this larger-than-life film format. IMAX technology will transport audiences from behind-the-scenes action of NASCAR into the driver’s seat of cars travelling at 190 mph, providing a film experience that only IMAX delivers in size, sound, clarity and impact. Production will begin in 2002, with an anticipated release to the worldwide IMAX theatre network in 2003.(PR Newswire/Yahoo Biz/IMAX Site)(12-4-2001)


    (12-3-2001)

  • Shepherd buying PPI cars? UPDATE: hearing long time Cup driver, Morgan Shepherd, is in the process of buying some of the #96 Fords from PPI Motorsports and housing the cars in his shop(11-1-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing Shepherd had a buy in place for some of the #96 Fords but the sponsorship check never arrived, so the cars were never bought(12-3-2001)
  • Rusty and Harley again: hearing that #2_Rusty Wallace will once again run a Harley Davidson scheme for selected races in 2002 (just like 2000 and 2001), along with the Elvis Pressley scheme at Las Vegas(12-3-2001)
  • Labonte and Cheez-It: hearing #5-Terry Labonte will have a Cheez-It scheme at The Winston in May(12-3-2001)
  • Martin and Kraft: #6-Mark Martin will run a Kraft scheme at the 2002 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. See my Paint Scheme Gallery for an image(12-3-2001)
  • Busch and Little Tykes: #97-Kurt Busch will run a Little Tykes paint scheme in the 2002 Budweiser Shootout(12-3-2001)
  • Mayfield and Aerosmith? UPDATE: hearing that Jeremy Mayfield will have an Aerosmith (rock group) paint job on the #19 Dodge at Las Vegas in 2002(11-21-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing this scheme/plans has been canceled(12-3-2001)

 


(12-2-2001)

 

  • TV Ratings for the Year: Winston Cup on NBC and TNT averaged a 3.9 adjusted national rating (right at 4m households) per broadcast, up 34% from a 2.9 in 2000, the final year before the consolidated television contract went into effect. The Busch Series races on NBC/TNT averaged a 1.4, up 75% from a 0.8 average national rating in 2000. The Cup telecasts also showed significant gains in the coveted Male 18-49 and Male 25-54 demographic categories. Overall, the 18-49 group rated 3.8 (up from 2.9 in 2000) while the 25-54 bunch averaged 4.3 per broacast (up from 3.2).(SpeedVision)(12-2-2001)


    (12-1-2001)

  • Wally signs for five years: Wally Dallenbach Jr. signed a five-year contract extension, which includes an interesting twist, with NBC and TNT to continue announcing Winston Cup and Busch Series races. Dallenbach said NBC will allow him to compete in select Winston Cup events as “an announcer in a race car” and run the full 2002 IRL schedule. Dallenbach said he hopes to have a Daytona 500 deal in hand within the next week. He’s pitching a deal to three Winston Cup teams for this unique opportunity. A source close to the deal said Andy Petree Racing is considering hiring Dallenbach for a four-race deal in the vacant #33 car. Joe Nemechek drove the #33 this season but is moving to another team next season. The Petree car has no major sponsorship[for the #33].(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-1-2001)
  • Little E in USA Weekend SUNDAY(in print) and online NOW: In the December 2nd edition of USA Weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be featured in an article. USA Weekend is found in many Sunday newspapers. The exclusive story is called: Living Up to Greatness by Dale Earnhardt JR., excerpts from the story(used with permission): “Now that the NASCAR season is finished, I’ve had a lot of time to think about everything that’s happened. I’ve grown a lot as a driver, and, since my dad died in a crash last February, I had to deal with a lot of adversity.”
    “Some people may think I got a free pass up that ladder just because I was his son and carried his name. Don’t believe it.”
    “This was a man who dropped out of ninth grade and ended up as a multimillionaire with a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.”
    “I learned from him that you are the people you surround yourself with. I stopped spending so much time with those who do not improve me as a person. It takes a while to realize who they are, but I was learning.”(11-27-2001)
    COLUMN: see the exclusivwe column at Living Up to Greatness by Dale Earnhardt Jr.(12-1-2001)
  • New Scheme for the #18 in 2002? hearing the new 2002 paint scheme for the #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac will be unveiled in front of Interstate Batteries Headquarters in Dallas, TX on Monday Dec. 3rd 8:30am. See my Paint Scheme Gallery for the image(12-1-2001)
  • License Plates: Several states are now offering registration Race Plates to their residents as an option to their standard license plate programs. Residents of states where the legal registration plates are not yet authorized, have requested non-registration versions of the popular plates and now Race Plate Marketing has responded with two new lines of non-registration Race Plates. The Collector Series features the popular checker flag background traditional Race Plate design and the new Signature Series highlights the car number, driver signature, and NASCAR logo in the center of the plate. Race Plate Marketing has also added a new twist to the Race Plate non-registration lines. All plates are available in personalized versions. Race fans can now display their home state, favorite driver and their name all on the colorful new Race Plates. Both new designs are available now at the Race Plates website, www.raceplates.net.(12-1-2001)
  • Helping Out: American Heroes working to clear debris from the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York will be treated to a uniquely tasty visit from Nascar’s 4-time Winston Cup Champion courtesy of Racecakes.com. Racecakes.com will serve forty Jeff Gordon Racecakes to relief workers entering the third month of recovery efforts since the attacks. The donated mixes will be sent to Penndel, PA for baking in the expansive kitchen of the Penndel Fire Department. The cakes will then be sent to Nino’s restaurant in New York for serving to recovery crews. Nino’s closed its doors to the public following the attacks in order to concentrate on a 24-hour catering effort for rescue workers. Based in Mooresville, N.C., Racecakes.com offers cake mix kits that create replica racecars of the stars of Nascar’s Winston Cup circuit. The unique kits come complete with edible decals and authentic paint scheme icing.. Melissa Germany of Racecakes.com notes “This is our way of showing support for the recovery crews in hope that it will provide a boost of morale and energy to the crews. We want to do our part to remind them that they are in our thoughts and prayers as they continue their difficult tasks.” Gordon personally visited Ground Zero on Tuesday in what was a scaled-down Awards Week for Nascar.(12-1-2001)