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December 2002 Busch Series Archive

 

  • Grubb leaving the #54? UPDATE 2 yes: hearing Kevin Grubb is leaving the #54 Team Bristol/Toys R Us Chevy and Toby Porter may be in the ride for 2003.
    UPDATE: actually hearing the ride is wide open and no one has the driving gig yet.
    UPDATE 2: Team Bristol Motorsports owner Rick Goodwin announced today that Kevin Grubb will not drive for the Toys “R” Us sponsored # 54 BGN car in 2003.  Goodwin and Grubb were unable to come to terms on a contract for the upcoming season and have agreed to part ways.  Grubb was hired to drive for the team early in the 2002 season and competed in 30 races, recording a top finish of third at Gateway International Raceway. “I want to thank Kevin for driving for us this past year and wish him luck this next season,” Goodwin said.  “We were hoping to extend our relationship, but were unable to come to an agreement.  I am now in the process of interviewing drivers for the 2003 season.” Goodwin hopes to have a driver in place by the Daytona test session in early January. “I enjoyed driving for Team Bristol Motorsports this past year and want to thank everyone involved with the organization,” Grubb said.  “Rick Goodwin hired me early on in the year and we had some great runs, nearly wining a couple of races.” Team Bristol Motorsports will enter its third year of Busch Series competition with the season opening Daytona Beach race on February 15th.(Team Bristol PR)(12-31-2002)
  • New Assoc Sponsor for the #57: Bear Creek Country Kitchens announced their partnership with ppc Racing for the 2003 BGN season. The soup company joined ppc Racing in 2002 as an associate sponsor for the #57 Albertson’s Ford driven by Jason Keller, and is looking forward to becoming a more prominent sponsor in 2003. The soup company is also making a name for itself outside the track, with their “Traveling Soup Vehicle.” The vehicle is equipped with a state of the art kitchen and sound system, which grabs the attention of passing race fans. The vehicle visits racetracks associated with the BGN, as well as local grocery stores that sell Bear Creek Soups. Race fans can partake in warm samples of soup, as well as go home with a sample dry package to cook at their convenience. The vehicle is helping Bear Creek reach their ultimate goal of “Spreading the Bear Creek Love,” and encouraging race fans to purchase Bear Creek Soups in their favorite grocery store. “Our goal with this sponsorship is to help make Bear Creek Country Kitchens a household name to race fans,” said Jeff Hansen, Director of Marketing for Bear Creek Country Kitchens. “Jason Keller has proven that he is a winning driver and ppc Racing is a winning team.. NASCAR fans are very loyal to their drivers and sponsors and we know Jason will lead us to victory lane in 2003” Founded in 1991, Bear Creek Country Kitchens began when word-of-mouth made the founder’s homemade English Wassail recipe a local favorite.. What began as a weekend enterprise, blossomed into a full-time business as Bear Creek added several dry mix soups that tasted “made from scratch” to their growing list of products.. Today, more than 40 tried-and-true mixes from soups and breads to cakes and dip make up the Bear Creek product line. Bear Creek Country Kitchens continues to delight families with “meal solutions” that are easy and great tasting.. From classic soup flavors such as Chicken Noodle, Creamy Potato, and Cheddar Broccoli to new favorites such as Tortilla, Cheddar Potato, and Minestrone, Bear Creek soups are “Always Just Right!”(globalPERFORMANCE Co. PR)(12-31-2002)
  • Owens with PPM UPDATE: PPM Racing announced that former CTS driver Trent Owens, nephew of NASCAR Legend Richard Petty will be coming on board as Shock Specialist beginning with the second BGN race of the season, at Rockingham, NC. Prior to coming on board with PPM Raicng, Owens will be available for consultation in preparation for any of the Daytona events in February.(PPM Racing PR)(12-28-2002)
    UPDATE: A source close to Owens said that he is still seeking sponsorship and a home for the upcoming 2003 CTS season. He had hoped that something was in place by now, but he hopes now he could do some test-driving for a team needing a second test driver at the upcoming CTS Daytona test. Owens is however excited about the shock specialist position with PPM racing and said that all talks to this point have been very positive. He also plans to assist the #37 team of driver Derrike Cope in the upcoming Daytona Winston Cup events.(12-31-2002)
  • Harmon in GQ: The January 2003 issue of GQ magazine has just hit the news stands and has feature article on Mike Harmon written by special correspondent.Peter Richmond. The article is titled “Walking Away from Racing’s Worst Accident” and it gives the GQ readers some incite on Harmon’s life in racing and details on the devastating accident that he walked away from last August at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Mike states, “I am flattered to be featured in GQ Magazine, I want to thank them for the great exposure that they have given to me. Peter wrote a great story and he let the readers see a side of me that not too many people actually know about.”. The article could not have came at a better time as the team is making.plans for the upcoming 2003 season. Preparations are being done for the upcoming test at Daytona, and they will also be doing some testing at Talladega in the near future. The crew has been working diligently during the so called “off season” with.sponsorship announcements coming in the upcoming new year. Plans are to run the full BGN schedule in the #44 and Harmon will also be driving for #93 GIC Motorsports in the Winston Cup Series on a limited schedule that will be announced at a later date.(Mike Harmon and Mixon Motorsports PR)(12-28-2002)
  • Tennessean: Purvis’ gift is surviving wreck by Larry Woody(12-26-2002)
  • a look at the new Milwaukee Mile grandstands: the Milwaukee Mile is getting a refurb with new stands, looks nice.. The new grandstand will be ready for the CART race in early June. The top row will be 85 feet high. Unlike the old grandstand, the new one will not be covered.
  • NASCAR working to diversify sport: The only black driver to win at NASCAR’s highest level never got a proper celebration in Victory Lane. Wendell Scott beat the field in a 200-mile race in 1963, but as the story goes, NASCAR officials were worried about how the predominantly white crowd in Jacksonville might react to seeing a black man hoist the winner’s trophy. Buck Baker was declared the winner, and only after two hours of review – with the crowd long gone – was a “scoring error” detected and Scott named the official winner. Nearly four decades later, NASCAR still hasn’t seen a black driver celebrate in Victory Lane, mostly because blacks remain a rarity in stock-car racing. Through the years, a smattering of black drivers, owners and crewmen – driver Willy T. Ribbs, car owners Thee Dixon, Reggie Jackson and Dennis Green, Busch series crew chief Tim Shutt – have taken turns working in NASCAR garages or trying to own NASCAR teams, all with middling degrees of success, at best. Currently, the only black driver participating in any of NASCAR’s national-level circuits is truck driver Bill Lester. Yearning for a chance to start a team are black men like Herbie Bagwell [www.bagwellmotorsportsinc.com] of Bridgeport, Conn. Bagwell, who says he’s a qualified driver, has been working the phones and soliciting on the Internet trying to find sponsors for a team that could eventually make it to Winston Cup. He says he’s not looking for any handouts from NASCAR, but is surprised at the reluctance he encounters from sponsors. Headline sponsors pay up to $15 million a season to put their logo on cars in Winston Cup, but drivers can get in at the lower levels of racing for about $300,000. “NASCAR is not responsible for putting African Americans behind the wheel,” Bagwell said. “We need to help ourselves. We have resources. I’m a qualified driver and a qualified businessman.”(full story at ThatsRacin.com/AP)(12-25-2002)
  • Chris Bingham and Jay Robinson Racing Join Forces: Chris Bingham, in Daytona testing for the upcoming ARCA 200, has signed to drive the Jay Robinson #49 Ford for the 2003 BGN season. Winston Cup driver and TV analyst Derrike Cope will serve as a driver consultant for Bingham in 2003. “I’m looking forward to driving for Jay Robinson in 2003,” stated Bingham, a native of Bellevue, Washington. “We worked well together during the Daytona test, and I believe his program has all of the elements necessary to be competitive.” Bingham has retained fellow Washington native Derrike Cope as a consultant for his racing program. “Chris called me last February with some questions regarding sponsorship,” said Cope, the 1990 winner of the Daytona 500. “Eventually our conversations led to NASCAR, and how Chris could begin a career in stock cars,” added Cope. Cope who will run his own Winston Cup team in selected events, plans to enter Bingham in five events in 2003. “It’s a natural fit to put Chris in one of my cars for the two Winston Cup road races,” said Cope. “Additionally we plan to run him in three or more events over and above the road courses.” Bingham’s entry into NASCAR will be supported by a Seattle based investment group led by Vernon Horton Smith. Sponsorship for the Jay Robinson Racing #49 BGN Ford and the additional Winston Cup events is being pursued, and Bingham looks forward to making an announcement before the start of the season.(PR)(12-24-2002)
  • Bickford leaves team/Furr is now involved: Fred Bickford has resigned as co-owner of #94 DF2 Motorsports, the team announced on Saturday. Bickford sites family reasons for stepping down from the team. The news comes on the heels of the announcement of a partnership between the team and Winston Cup Crew Chief Tony Furr. The team is on-track to compete full-time in the BGN in 2003, and the announcement will have no effect on those plans. Partner Danny Bost joined the team in 2002 and will continue that partnership now with Furr in the 2003 season.(BGN Racing)(12-23-2002)
  • #26 Dr Pepper Team, who is the driver?? While all may be quiet in the way of official news on the #26 Dr. Pepper -Carroll Racing team, there has been some talk about Joey Clanton possibly filling the vacant seat created when Ron Hornaday left to drive for the #2 RCR BGN team. Clanton won the 2002 ASA Championship for Steve Dale, who recently became the majority owner of that series.(in part from StockCarFans’ ASA Newsletter)(12-20-2002) AND: Joey Clanton will NOT be in the Dr. Pepper car because a current BGN driver already had his photo shoot in the car.(StockCarFans’ ASA Newsletter)(BGN Racing), doesn’t say who that driver is….and I have not heard.(12-23-2002)
  • Pistone to run some BGN races: Tommy Pistone III will be running in some selected BGN and CTS races in 2003 for his grandfather, “Tiger” Tom Pistone. If they can sign a sponsor, they will compete primarily in the BGN. They are planning on driving Fords. (Pistone PR via BGN Racing)(12-23-2002)
  • Tuttle Motorsports to run part-time in 2003: Tuttle Motorsports announced their plans to compete on a part-time basis in the BGN in 2003. The team, based in Mooresville, NC will be headed up a veteran BGN crew chief to be named in an announcement in the coming weeks. No driver or sponsor has been named. Tuttle Motorsports will be making their 2003 schedule announcement in the coming weeks.(PR)(12-23-2002)
  • Team Announcement UPDATE 3: PPM Racing will be participating in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2003, running a limited schedule of a minimum of 12-15 races. PPM Racing will also participate in a minimum of 2 ARCA/ReMax Series races in 2003. PPM Racing will be racing with the benefits of an existing Busch Series team currently not scheduled to compete in 2003. More information will be released at the appropriate time.(PPM Racing PR)(11-22-2002)
    UPDATE: on Friday, December 20,2002, PPM Racing will be releasing all pertinent information regarding the team’s plans. This announcement will introduce the team’s drivers, sponsors, car numbers and more.(PPM Racing PR)(11-28-2002)
    UPDATE 2: PPM Racing is proud to announce that Brian Winters will be driving the 2003 PPM Racing NASCAR BGN Chevy. Winters is a 3 time AMA National Champion and 1991 Mickey Thompson Off Road Champion. Additionally, Winters is a successful AMA ATV National Champion and Mickey Thompson Off Road Champion. Additionally, Winters has competed in the USAC Silver Crown Series, USAC Midget Series, Formula 2000, Indy Racing League, ASA, ARCA/ReMax Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(PPM Racing PR)(12-11-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Winters will run NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 2003.(12-23-2002)
  • Renshaw News: ARCA Series driver Deborah Renshaw was done for the day, back in street clothes and ready to make good Friday on a media interview promise. Slowed by a thick orthopedic boot protecting her injured left ankle, she nixed the suggestion of sitting in the fluorescent palace known as the Daytona International Speedway media center to chat. This was the first time Renshaw had been back inside a racetrack with Bob Schacht’s team since Oct. 9 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. It was on that dark day that Renshaw was involved in a fatal racing accident. During an ARCA practice session, her car smacked into the driver’s side of Eric Martin’s stalled racing machine. Martin was killed instantly. “I didn’t want her sitting around all winter at home thinking about it,” Schacht said. “She needed to get back out there.” Friday’s test session for ARCA competitors proved to be good tonic for Renshaw, who was greeted warmly by driver after driver. Mark Gibson, Andy Belmont, Jason Jarrett and Andy Hillenburg all waded in with a hug and a smile in a blitz of oil-smudged well-wishes. These ARCA folks, along with family and friends, helped pull Renshaw from a dark mental abyss in the weeks following the horrifying tragedy. Schacht was key to Renshaw’s emotional recovery. As soon as Renshaw had the strength, Schacht loaded her into his passenger van and they toured the accident site at LMS. It was painful. Schacht, a longtime ARCA man and a racer’s racer, knew Renshaw had to let it out and come to terms with the loss-of-life incident. Renshaw is ready to wheel a race car again. It was supposed to happen Friday but a fuel spill in Turn 2 of the 2.5-mile tri-oval postponed all test laps until today. Renshaw has come to grips with the accident, which severely damaged her left leg and ankle. No matter what safety gains are made in the sport, it will always be dangerous. “I’m not ever going to get over it,” Renshaw said. “It’s something that I’ll live with the rest of my life but I’m not going to let it control me.” Even though a 2003 Busch Series deal fell apart after Martin’s death, many think Renshaw will be “the one,” the first female to truly break the male stranglehold on the sport. “Good kid,” one of those veteran drivers told me. “She’s got a lot of potential if she gets that accident behind her.” Renshaw has a solid base with her father Dan and big brother Tommy and mentor Schacht all circling constantly like watch dogs.(full story at Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-21-2002)
  • #10 Gasman recovering: ppc racing, #10 car gasman, Jim Potter had surgery to repair a torn RCL in his left hand from a Pikes Peak pit road incident. He is expected to make a full recovery and be in place for Daytona in February.(12-21-2002)
  • McMurray to run part time in BGN UPDATE and the other drivers: hearing from a few readers that on the local news in Panama City, FL, #1 BGN team owner, James Finch said they would run entire BGN season and that Jamie McMurray [driver of the #42 Cup car] would be driving car along with four other drivers [others not mentioned]. Finch will also run a limited Cup schedule, no driver mentioned. Supposedly the team will run Dodge’s.(12-20-2002)
    UPDATE: After car owner Chip Ganassi let Jimmy Spencer go as his Winston Cup driver [of the #41], a deal has now been worked out with BGN owner James Finch that has cost Spencer a second ride. Ganassi has put up some extra money so Finch can run the full schedule with four different drivers in the #1 Yellow Freight machine. Jamie McMurray will run 15 races, Casey Mears up to seven, the others are going to be split between CTS driver Ryan Hemphill and ASA competitior David Stremme. Crew chief Marc Reno says they would like to pick the driver they feel most comfortable with this season and take a shot at the BGN championship in 2004. As for Spencer, he was caught off guard when he learned he wouldn’t be driving the car. Spencer told PRN’s Garagepass, “I was shocked in a way because the.way it went down. It was a business decision on James’ part and I can live with that. I can’t agree with the way it was handled with who he sided with, but that’s life. Yellow has been a great company for me and I wish them the best of luck.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)(12-21-2002)
  • Alice Cooper partners up with ARCA/BGN team: Alice Cooper has become partners with Chase Montgomery in a race team that will field a car in the ARCA Series next season. Montgomery Motorsports is family-owned and ran this season without a sponsor. ”Hopefully, Alice Cooper will help us get some backing,” Montgomery said. Montgomery said there is a chance that in addition to running a full ARCA schedule he also will run a limited number of NASCAR Busch Series races next year.(Tennessean)(12-19-2002)
  • Ren looking for a gig: Rick Ren, a 27-year racing veteran, has spent the last five years as manager and crew chief of the #60 CAT Rental Store Team at Addington Racing in the CTS. In those five years, he led the team to four wins, 45 top-five finishes, 73 top-10 finishes, a Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award and the Chevrolet “Like a Rock” Award for completing the most laps three years in a row. Unfortunately, due to a lack of sponsorship, the Addington Racing Team has shut down. Ren remained to oversee the sale of the team’s equipment and facility but remains one of only five team members without definite plans for the 2003 season. “A lot of people don’t seem to know we’ve completely closed the Addington Racing operation,” said Ren.. “I’ve been so busy here that I haven’t had a lot of time to get the word out that I’m available.. We still have people calling here looking for jobs.. I just wanted to make it known that I am available for the 2003 season.”.(PR)(12-19-2002)
  • New ARCA teams: Horsepower Development team owner Mark Mancinelli has announced that he and BGNN driver Dave Davis will file an entry for the ARCA RE/Max series season opening Daytona 200at Daytona International Speedway February 8th. Davis from Denver, NC will pilot the #08 RaceRent.com Pontiac in his first start. Davis competed in last years Food World 300 at Talladega SuperSpeedway. Joel Garner of Jefferson GA will also be making his first trip down to Daytona in an effort to get valuable experience and track time in order to get his ARCA Speedway License. If successful in his licensing attempt, Garner will pilot the #07 HorsepowerDevelopment Chevy in February. Garner is a resident of Jefferson, GA and owner of Statewide Wrecker Service. He has competed in Sportsman, Pro-Trucks, and Super-Late-Model divisions over the past 5 years. HPD has acquired three of the Gibbs Racing Pontiac’s. One car for superspeedways, one for heavy downforce intermediate tracks and one for aero intermediate tracks. HorsepowerDevelopment specializes in engine development and motor leasing. Their onsite The Superflow 810 chassis dyno is a valuable tool in R&D research along with realtime racing. Along with the R&D work Horsepower Development currently has racecars for lease, from full raceday programs to testing programs Horsepower Development can support any racing effort from car to complete raceday crew.(HorsepowerDevelopment/Mancinelli Racing PR)(12-19-2002)
  • Marlin has new BGN ride for 2003 UPDATE 4 add Blount as teammate: Steadman Marlin will compete in at least 12 BGN races next season, Sterling said this weekend. Steadman, who has competed in seven BGN races this season with the #95 Sadler Brothers team, will race in 12 events with Todd Braun’s team. “He’s going to drive for Todd Braun next year,” Marlin said. “Probably going to run about 12 Busch races with Keystone Light as the sponsor. We’re trying to hook up a couple more sponsor deals where he can run 15 or 20 races.” Steadman, 21, has a best finish of 22nd this season, scored at Kentucky Speedway. He has started a total of 16 Busch races in his career. Braun Racing has fielded ARCA cars for Chad Blount this season.(Racing One)(9-3-2002)
    UPDATE: Braun Racing has announced plans for two BGN entries next year for Chad Blount, 23, and Steadman Marlin, 21. The team, which is owned by Todd Braun, says it will field Dodge Intrepids for the duo out of a shop in Mooresville, N.C. Braun Racing has two victories with Blount in the ARCA Re/Max Series this season. Patrick Donohue, who has served as a crew chief for the Busch programs of Brian Vickers and Jeff Gordon, has been hired as a crew chief for the team.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-6-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Braun Racing announced that it will field an entry in the BGN with driver Steadman Marlin. The Braun Racing team will be entering its first year of NASCAR competition as they move over from the ARCA Re/Max Series. The team also announced that Keystone Light will continue its support of Marlin by serving as the Primary Sponsor on the Braun Racing Dodge for 15 races. The schedule with Keystone will begin with the 3rd race of the season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1st. The Keystone Light Dodge (supposedly to run #30) will be powered by Ernie Elliott engines and the team will receive technical support from Chip Ganassi Racing. In addition to the Las Vegas race, the Keystone Light Dodge will race at the following events: Texas, Nashville, California, Nazareth, Lowe’s, Kentucky, Milwaukee, NHIS, Pikes Peak, IRP, Kansas, Atlanta and Phoenix. Also, Braun Racing has named Kevin Caldwell as Crew Chief for Steadman Marlin and his Keystone Light Dodge.(RacingOne)
    UPDATE 3: Expect another announcement from Braun Racing early this week. Plans for 23-year-old rookie Chad Blount and the team will be released along with a sponsor being named. Patrick Donahue is expected to be the crew chief for the new Dodge team.(BGNRacing.com)(12-16-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Braun Racing announced today that it will enter rookie Chad Blount in the 2003 Busch Series along with the previously announced entry for Steadman Marlin. Blount, 23, this year collected four wins in the ARCA Re/Max Series for Braun Racing, won rookie-of-the-year honors and placed second overall. American Petroleum Promotions Inc. of St. Louis will sponsor the team. Patrick Donahue will be the crew chief for Blount. The team says it will have technical support from Chip Ganassi Racing and use Ernie Elliott engines.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-17-2002)
  • New Team? AutoRacing1 is reporting Billy Bigley Jr will attempt to run a nearly complete Winston Cup schedule in 2003 driving a Ford for Arnold Motorsports. Bigley Jr will make his first Winston Cup appearance at Las Vegas, and will run a total of 34 point races in 2003 using car #79. The team and its sponsor, who have been kept under wraps until now, will be announced on NBC the day after Christmas. Arnold Motorsports, new to the Winston Cup scene, confirmed today that Bill Bigley Jr would drive their #79 Ford in 2003. This information was shared with AutoRacing1 by the team manager and co-owner of Arnold Motorsports, Keith Coleman, from his Naples, FL location. Arnold Motorsports, co-owned by real estate developer Don Arnold, will have their race shop located in Statesville, NC. The team has procured Hopkins chassis’ for the majority of their race cars, and is looking to run Laughlin chassis’ for their superspeedway program. While Coleman couldn’t confirm who would be supplying Arnold’s engines, it appears that Robert Yates Racing will be supplying power plants for the team. Coleman also stated that the team is planning to field a second race team later in 2003, with its debut at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona. Even though Arnold Motorsports is still seeking a driver for their second Winston Cup entry, it is planning for their second team to run a complete schedule for the remainder of the 2003 season.(AutoRacing1 – need sub to read), NOTE: I had heard a few days ago that Bigley would run some BGN races in Yates equipment (from the defunct #98 Yates BGN team – see next note)(12-17-2002)
  • Bigley part time in 2003? hearing that former CTS driver Billy Bigley Jr. may be driving a #78 Ford out of Robert Yates Racing but Yates will not be listed as owner as Bigley will. The cars supposedly will be RYR chassis and motors.(12-16-2002)
  • Congrats: On Saturday, December 14, 2002, Ashton Lewis, Jr., the driver of the No. 46 Civil Air Patrol BFN car, and Meredith Busby were married in a ceremony at the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa located in Asheville, NC. The wedding took place at 5:00 pm, at the Country Club, which was decorated for the Holidays. It was attended by approximately 100 of the couples family and friends. A reception immediately followed, also at the Country Club. The couple flew out early on Sunday morning to enjoy their honeymoon in Kauai, Hawaii.(PR)(12-16-2002)
  • Green out, Kahne in at the #38? UPDATE Green still part time: hearing that Kasey Kahne, formally of the defunct #98 RYR BGN team, will drive the Great Clips #38 Ford for the 2003 season, in spite of previous announcements that Mark Green would be the 2003 Great Clips driver.(12-14-2002)
    UPDATE: 22-year-old racing phenom Kasey Kahne has been selected as the new driver of the #38 Great Clips Ford for 2003. Kahne made 20 starts for the #98 team last season, but was forced to look elsewhere when that team closed down after the season ended. Kahne replaces Mark Green, who started out the year as a consultant for the team, but became the full-time driver in July after injuries sidelined Christian Elder. .Green will return to the consultant role in 2003 and drive under the Deka Batteries colors in at least four races for the team.(BGNRacing.com)(12-16-2002)
  • Alice in Racing: Montgomery Motorsports (ARCA team) announced a partnership with American rock legend Alice Cooper who has joined forces with the team for 2003. 19-year-old Chase Montgomery, in his second season on the tour, will drive the Alice Cooper/Montgomery Racing entry for the ’03 season. The Lebanon, Tennessee-based team is pursuing sponsorship partners for a limited 2003 Busch Series schedule and the full ARCA RE/MAX Series campaign. (Cooper/Montgomery PR via BGNRacing.com)(12-16-2002)
  • Weber moving up? Texas driver Chuck Weber, who has raced in the ARCA series the last five years, plans to move up to the Busch series in 2003.(Dallas Morning News)(12-12-2002)
  • BLV Motorsports’ Future Unclear: Hendrick Motorsports and team owner Ricky Hendrick officially announced on Monday, December 9th the signing of 19 year-old Brian Vickers to drive the #5 GMAC Chevrolet in the BGN for 2003. The future of Vickers’ former team – BLV Motorsports, is unclear at this time. BLV Motorsports [#40 Dodge] had been aggressively pursuing sponsorship leads for the 2003 season, but had not signed any marketing partners to this point and was still ascertaining their options when the opportunity with Hendrick Motorsports presented itself. Vickers’ team had carried a great deal of momentum through the last part of the season and despite several layoffs in recent weeks, was retaining a core group of personnel led by crew chief Bryant Frazier in anticipation of competing in the Busch Series in 2003. Any final decisions regarding the teams equipment and facility have also not been made at this time.(BLV Motorsports PR)(12-12-2002)
  • Sad News at Team Rensi: Team Rensi Motorsports lost a member of its family on Sunday evening. Don Stiteler, gas man for the #25 Team Marines and long-time member of the NASCAR family, passed away on Sunday, December 8, 2002. Ed Rensi, owner of Team Rensi Motorsports made the following statement: “Don was a outstanding member of our organization. He has been with us since the beginning of the 1999 season and we would not be where we are in this sport without his dedication and the hard work he put into this team. He will be greatly missed by all at Team Rensi Motorsports. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his wife Fern, and his entire family at this time.”
    Funeral arrangements are as follows:
    Kraft Funeral Home
    814 Bethlehem Street
    Erdenheim, PA 19038
    215-233-2231
    Visitation is Thursday, December 12, 2002 from 7-9pm
    Memorial service is Friday, December 13, 2002 at 10am
    In addition, Team Rensi mourns the passing of Lt.Col. Herbert T. Holden of the 6th Marine Corps Recruiting District, who also passed away on December 8, 2002. “Col. Holden was a dedicated career Marine and a good friend and supporter of the Team Marines Racing program,” said Rensi. “He will be missed by everyone at Team Rensi Motorsports.”(Team Rensi PR)(12-11-2002)
  • Grubb to stay in the BGN: hearing that the #54 Team Bristol team and driver Kevin Grubb will remain in the BGN series full time in 2003 and may run a few Cup races. Ricky Pearson is supposedly the new crew chief for the team.(12-11-2002)
  • David Green to the #37: Clarence Brewer Jr., owner of Brewco Motorsports announced that David Green will drive the #37 Timber Wolf Pontiac in the BGN for 2003. The 44-year old Green won the NASCAR Busch Series Championship in 1994 and finished second in 1996. The Owensboro, Kentucky native competed in twelve Busch Series races in 2002 posting three top-five and four top-ten finishes. In his 253-race Busch Series career, Green has won nineteen poles, five races, and posted 52 top-five and 99 top-ten finishes. He ranks fifth all-time in Busch Series poles won and his earnings of over $3.6 million rank ninth in career money won. Green was the 1996 NASCAR Busch Series Most Popular Driver and finished second in the 1997 Winston Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year standings.(Catchfence)(12-11-2002)
  • New Crew Chief for Wimmer: Bill Davis Racing has promoted Chris Rice to the position of crew chief for Scott Wimmer’s 2003 NASCAR Busch Series team. Chris Rice enters the 2003 season as crew chief for Scott Wimmer, and the #23 NASCAR Busch Series operation. Prior to being named as Wimmer’s crew chief, Rice worked as a shock specialist for the #23 NASCAR Winston Cup team at Bill Davis Racing during the 2002 season. While this is his first crew chief title in the upper ranks of NASCAR competition, Rice has been around auto racing almost his whole life. Born and raised in South Boston, Virginia, Rice’s racing career started in 1985 when he worked as a mechanic for Jeff Burton’s late model stock team, while attending school. Rice worked with Burton from 1985 through 1989 and in the final year, Burton attempted running a limited Busch schedule with Rice’s father as his crew chief. Burton owned the team, but the operation was run out of Allen Rice’s shop. From 1990 through 1993, Rice worked with Hermie Sadler at Sadler Motorsports.. For the first three years, Sadler ran part-time in the NASCAR Busch Series and Rice’s duties included mechanic and spotter.. Rice graduated from high school in 1992 and in 1993, Sadler went racing full-time in the Busch Series.. Rice continued with Sadler while attending college in 1993, and the same year Sadler won Rookie of the Year honors. In 1994, Rice graduated college with a two and a half year Associates degree and went to work with Elliott Sadler and his late model stock team as crew chief. The duo scored their first win together at Ace Speedway in Burlington, N.C. in 1994.. The following year they won the South Boston Speedway championship, scoring six consecutive wins, a record that still holds today.. They also finished second in the Mid-Atlantic Region championship the same year.. In 1996, they ran a limited Busch schedule together before Diamond Ridge Motorsports hired Sadler mid-season.. The remainder of 1996 and 1997, Rice went to work for Speedway Engineering and also drove late model trucks for his father, A&E Racing. Rice resumed his crew chief duties during the 1998 and 1999 seasons for two late model stock teams, working with drivers, Frank Deiny and R. D. Smith.. In 2000, he was hired as a shock specialist for Buckshot Racing and when Petty Enterprises hired driver, Buckshot Jones, for the 2001 season, Rice went with him.. Rice remained at Petty Enterprises through June 2002, when he left to join the Bill Davis Racing operation.(BDR PR)(12-10-2002)
  • Mitchell leave Mac-Hill: West Virginia driver Richard Mitchell announced that he is leaving the Jack McNelly-owned Mac Hill Motorsports race team [see related story below]. Over the 2001/2002 seasons Mitchell campaigned Mac Hill cars on both the ARCA and BGN tours. “I will always be grateful to Jack (McNelly) for giving me an opportunity to run the superspeedways,” Mitchell said, “unfortunately the current economics involved in securing NASCAR sponsorship these days transposes friendship. >From a business perspective, Jack and I found it necessary to go in different directions.” Mitchell, a two-time NASCAR Northeast region Weekly Racing Series champion, is currently pursuing other BGN opportunities and hopes to make an announcement concerning his future by the end of the month. “We are talking with several different people, and feel we are close to putting a deal together, but that’s all I can say at this time,” Mitchell added. For more information on Richard Mitchell please visit: mitchellracing.com.(PR)(12-9-2002)
  • Green not back with Hendrick? UPDATE Vickers is in: hearing David Green, who ran so well in the #5 GMAC Hendrick Motorsports Chevy after Ricky Hendrick announced his retirement, will NOT be back with the team in 2003 as they want to put a young driver in the seat, Casey Mears? or Brian Vickers?(11-26-2002)
    UPDATE: Ricky Hendrick informed Green on Nov 18th that the team is going with youth for their 2003 driver of the #5. Speculation is that Casey Mears or Brian Vickers will get the seat.(Winston Cup Scene need subscription and Acrobat to read online)(11-29-2002)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Green will end up with Brewco in either the #27 or #37 Pontiac with Casey Atwood driving the other car. The #37 has sposnorship for 2 more years with Timber Wolf and the #27 os looking for a sponsor.(12-3-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Car owner Ricky Hendrick today announced the signing of driver Brian Vickers to pilot the #5 GMAC Financial Services Chevy in 2003. “We’re excited to have a talented young driver like Brian,” said Hendrick, who assumed the role of team owner immediately following the 2002 season. “I’ve always been impressed with his attitude, personality and ability on the race track. Brian has the potential to be a great race car driver. He’s bringing the kind of energy and desire it takes to be successful in this sport and I have no doubt that he’ll be a winning addition to Hendrick Motorsports and Team GMAC.” The 19-year-old Vickers made his Busch Series debut at The Milwaukee Mile in 2001 and ran the majority of the circuit for #40-BLV Motorsports the following season, starting 21 of 34 events. As a rookie in 2002, the Thomasville, N.C., native earned one top 10 and six top-15 finishes in the No. 40 entry while qualifying in the top 10 on three occasions, including an outside pole position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. “This is an awesome opportunity for me,” Vickers said. “I just graduated from high school in May and now I’m continuing my education with Hendrick Motorsports — it’s unbelievable. This is a top-notch team with the best possible equipment and a great sponsor in GMAC. I can’t imagine a better way to develop, both personally and professionally. Joining Hendrick Motorsports is truly an investment in my future.” Vickers, who graduated with honors from Trinity (N.C.) High School in May, began his racing career in 1993, earning 83 World Karting Association victories before competing in the Allison Legacy Race Series, NASCAR Weekly Racing Series and USAR Hooters ProCup Series, where he finished second in championship points in 2001 with two wins and three pole positions.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(12-9-2002)
  • Gibbs Looking for help: As Joe Gibbs Racing prepares two Busch teams for the full 2003 schedule they continue to expand with personnel. Currently there is opening for body hangers.(12-7-2002)
  • Mac Hill Motorsports gets ready for 2003: With veteran crew chief David Ifft calling the shots and technical consultant Jeff Spraker on board, Mac Hill Motorsports owner Jack McNelly is excited about the up-coming season. “We’re in the process of building on the foundation we set last year,” said McNelly. Having both David and Jeff join us will give us the resources we’ve needed to be contenders in the NASCAR Busch and ARCA series. Ifft, who has 27 career Winston Cup wins as a crew chief is spearheading the Mac Hill effort and will maintain the Busch cars at his York, SC, race shop and call the shots on race weekends. A driver search for 15-20 events is underway. Spraker, who in addition to driving for Mac Hill in six ARCA races, will maintain those cars with Ifft making the raceday calls. Spraker owns Spraker Racing Enterprises in Mooresville, NC, where he builds and services some of the most competitive cars in motorsports. Additionally, he serves as a consultant for several Winston Cup teams including Joe Gibbs Racing. McNelly is currently seeking sponsorship for the BGN cars and will also tender offers from drivers who already have sponsor relationships.(PR)(12-5-2002)
  • Renshaw and Goodwin part ways UPDATE Renshaw’s choice: Driver Deborah Renshaw has parted ways with [#54] car owner Rick Goodwin and is exploring options to continue her racing career. Renshaw worked with Goodwin’s BGN #54 team this past year on a testing program. “I’m very fortunate that I was chosen by Rick Goodwin to compete on the Busch Series next year,” said Renshaw. Rick and I have decided to part ways in an amiable fashion and I want to thank him and his entire team for the opportunity. I appreciate everything Rick has done for me and wish them nothing but the best.” In 2002, Renshaw made five starts on the ARCA RE/MAX Series and recorded five finishes in the first eleven including three Top 10’s. Renshaw plans to make an announcement regarding her future plans within the coming weeks.(RacingOne). Renshaw last was in a race car at Charlotte in Oct when she was involved in ARCA practice wreck that left her injured and driver Eric Martin fatally injured. No word on Goodwin’s plans as he was to run BGN with Renshaw and the #54 crew chief left yesterday. Driver Kevin Grubb was to move up to Cup in 2003 with Goodwin’s team, but have heard nothing on that in a while.(12-3-2002)
    UPDATE: BGN owner Rick Goodwin told the Associated Press yesterday that it was Deborah Renshaw’s decision not to pursue an opportunity with his team and that he agreed with her plan to run a limited ARCA schedule in 2003. ”She is still in a cast, still is going through some rehabilitation,” Goodwin said. ”Deborah knows whenever she feels she’s ready to drive a Busch car, I’m here to give her the opportunity. I still believe wholeheartedly she is going to be a superstar in NASCAR.” Goodwin had planned to field a car for Renshaw starting in February at Daytona. Goodwin said his Team Bristol hopes to announce a new driver for its second car within the next few weeks, and he wants a woman to take Renshaw’s place. ”I think it’s time for a young lady to run a full season in Busch. I think there’s a number of young ladies qualified to run that, and I look forward to being a part of that,” he said.(Tennessean), 2nd team? so does that mean Grubb stays in the BGN and not move to Cup as announced by the team months ago?(12-5-2002)
  • Kentucky Signs Sponsor: Kentucky Speedway signed of Meijer, one of America’s largest grocery and general-merchandise retailers, to a five-year marketing and sponsorship agreement. The agreement provides that the BGN race to be held this June 14 at the speedway will be the “Meijer 300.” Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but Meijer stores will receive VIP corporate suites, venue signage, advertising, grandstand tickets, event-specific merchandise, hospitality and other promotional considerations under the agreement. As a member of the tickets.com ticketing services, Meijer stores will continue to sell Kentucky Speedway tickets in addition to officially licensed speedway merchandise.(Cincinnati Post)(12-4-2002)
  • ASA Fan Team: A full-time ASA race team that will compete in 2003, with significant support and input from a “fan based membership”. This will give fans who have long supported this unique concept a chance to play a significant role in the race team’s plans, receive a long list of member benefits, and have a year-long opportunity to root for the team to win races, and make a strong run in the points championship, instead of watching a few limited races from time to time, or just hoping the idea ever reached the point where a team would take the track. Mark Westrick of Fans Motorsports and Tom Granelli of BG Motorsports are teaming up together in this effort. Fans Motorsports and BG Motorsports have decided to move forward with a plan to operate a team full-time in the American Speed Association (ASA – www.asaracing.com). BG Motorsports has been in existence since 1995, when they began the first of four very successful seasons in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series. In 2000, BG Motorsports added an ASA team to their organization. The new Fans Motorsports website, due to be launched December 1st, contains pictures and a complete history of BG Motorsports. The Fans Motorsports Team will also have other sponsorship support from 2 or 3 other sponsors, to be announced over the next 3 to 4 weeks. This will insure that the Fans Motorsports – BG Motorsports partnership in ASA makes a strong run in the championship points and competes for wins on a regular basis. Although the decision on the driver for the Fans Motorsports team is 99% set, the announcement is not expected to be made for another 2 or 3 weeks. In addition to competing full time in ASA, Fans Motorsports will take part during the year in a variety of other special events. One of those events will be the debut of Fans Motorsports Team at Daytona during Speedweeks 2003. The Fans Motorsports – BG Motorsports partnership will start when the team enters and competes in the season-opener for the 2003 NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series on Sunday Feb. 9th. As a part of the kickoff to the season, and this partnership, Fans Motorsports will be running some spectacular sweepstakes for the first 2,000 new members. They include trips to Daytona for the race, trips to Lakeland, Florida for the ASA opener in March, and the chance to win a “real race-ready race car,” as well. For more info, see their site at www.fansmotorsports.com.(12-4-2002)
  • Randolph to crew chief at ppc Racing? UPDATE: hearing former #41 crew chief Doug Randolph will be the new crew chief of the #10 ppc Racing Ford and driver Scott Riggs in the BGN series.(12-3-2002)
    UPDATE: Doug Randolph has been named Crew Chief of the #10 Nestlé Nesquik Ford Team at ppc Racing. Randolph comes to ppc Racing from the #41 Winston Cup Team of Chip Ganassi. Randolph will assume crew chief duties effective immediately to prepare for the upcoming 2003 BGN season. Greg Pollex, co-owner of ppc Racing, is impressed with Randolph’s credentials and is confident that Randolph will be the perfect fit for the ppc Racing. “Doug will be a great addition to the No. 10 team roster,” said Pollex. “He is driven to succeed like the rest of the guys on the Nestlé Nesquik Ford Taurus and I believe his professional manner will be an asset to the entire team. He has proven his level of commitment to the teams he has worked with and I think he is the leader we need to take us back to victory lane.” Randolph returns to the Busch series where he began his racing career working part time for L.D. Ottinger. “I am thrilled to work with a team that has such a winning tradition,” said Randolph. “I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with a driver like Scott Riggs and the ppc Racing organization.”(ppc Racing PR)(12-3-2002)
  • Drivers looking to move up to Busch: 2001 NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series Champion, Cam Strader is exploring options to move to the BGN full time next season. Strader is pursuing a full-time ride, and may compete in the Dash Series events at Daytona, Charlotte, and Bristol as well in 2003. Strader was the rookie-of-the-year in the Dash Series in 2000. Veteran crew chief, Barry Owen has been the mentor on Strader’s Wesson Cooking Oil/Peter Pan Peanut Butter entry since 2000. More info at www.camstrader.com(11-23-2002)
    AND Lee Tissot who has has raced UARA, All Pro, USAR ProCup, Late Models, and Sportsman. Tissot has two track championships at Asheville Motor Speedway [NC], Wins in UARA, All Pro, USAR ProCup, as well as Late Models. More info at www.leetissot.com
    AND II NASCAR 2002 Goody’s Dash Champion – Jake Hobgood is searching for a new avenue to show his talents. He is the son of the 1994 Goody’s Dash Champion, Will Hobgood. Jake began his first full season of Dash racing in 1997 and just 5 years later he stands on top. For more info goto www.jakehobgood.com
    AND III Justin Hobgood In Search of BGN Opportunity. In 2002 Justin finished 3rd in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Points Standings, was the recipient of the Gatorade Front Runner Award, the Bud Pole Award with 5 poles, and 3 wins to his list on accomplishments. Justin is currently searching for an opportunity to use his experience from the Dash Series. More info at www.justinhobgood.com
    AND IV: Chris Bingham and Park Place Racing, two time defending Grand Am Rolex Series GTS Champion is finalizing his plans to run in the Busch Series next year.(11-28-2002)
    MORE: 2002 NASCAR Goody’s Dash Rookie of the Year, Chuck Gafrarar, is looking to add the BGN series to his options for the 2003 race season. Gafrarar will be in the #52 Icehouse/Highlands #52 Toyota at Daytona testing for the Dash Series. Gafrarar is a.seven time National Champion on the Pro Kart circuits and racked up his latest win a week after he received the Rookie of the Year award in Greensboro NC. More info at www.chuckgracer.com.(12-2-2002)
    AND MORE: hearing that Clay Rogers has been meeting with some BGN teams [no idea which teams] that have shown some interest him. In 2001 Rogers drove as teammates with Matt Kenseth at Reiser Enterprises, in the #17 Visine BGN car. After the sponsorship left, Rogers was left seeking a ride. Rogers drove in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series throughout 2002.(12-3-2002)
  • Lambert to the #4 Team: Biagi Bros. Racing announced Monday that they have signed Tony Lambert as crew chief for their #4 BGN car with driver, Mike Wallace. “We are excited to have Tony onboard for the 2003 season,” said team owner, Fred Biagi. “Tony is one of the top crew chiefs on the Busch Series circuit and he will bring a plethora of knowledge and experience to our team.. We are truly looking forward to building our team into one of the top competitors in the Busch Series and with the help of Tony Lambert, we are confident that we can make it happen.” Lambert most recently called the shots for the #54 BGN car of Team Bristol Motorsports and driver Kevin Grubb. “I look forward to working with Mike Wallace and the Biagi Bros. team,” said Lambert. “This is a fairly new team in the sport of NASCAR racing and I am looking forward to building the team into one of the top competitors at every event.”(Biagi Bros. Racing PR)(12-2-2002)
  • Beam to ppc Racing #10? UPDATE nope – Beam to RCR: former #32 PPI Motorsports Cup crew chief, is expected to announce a move to the ppc Racing [BGN] team of Scott Riggs [#10] in the upcoming weeks.(Winston Cup Scene need subscription and Acrobat to read online)(11-29-2002)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing made some changes to its race teams Monday, announcing veteran Mike Beam as driver Jeff Green’s new crew chief for the 2003 season. Beam served as crew chief for PPI Motorsports and driver Ricky Craven most recently. Beam replaces Todd Berrier, who will oversee RCR’s research and development program. Beam’s career as a crew chief began in 1981 with Kyle Petty. Since then, he’s worked with many notable drivers, including Richard Petty, Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Sterling Marlin, Elliott Sadler, and for the past two seasons, with Craven. Beam has three victories (two with Elliott and one with Craven), 16 poles, 55 top-five and 153 top-10 finishes. He also has six top-10 finishes in the season point standings.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-2-2002)