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December 2002 News Archives


 

  • (12-30-2002)

  • F1 Visitor’s at Homestead UPDATE: Three-time Formula One champion Alain Prost strolled through the pits and paddock Friday at Miami-Homestead Speedway, getting his first look at NASCAR stock cars. “They are very loud, just like Formula One,” Prost said, smiling. The Frenchman, whose Prost F1 team went bankrupt midway through the 2002 season, was the guest of Winston Cup and Busch Series car owner George deBidart. Also visiting the track Friday was F1 driver and former CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya, who has a home in Miami, was the guest of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Andy Graves, who ran Ganassi’s Indy-car operation in 2000 when Montoya won the Indianapolis 500.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(11-16-2002)
    UPDATE: Alain Prost, former World Champion, has expressed interest in running a NASCAR team, 11 months after his Formula One team Prost Grand Prix went bankrupt. The 47-year-old, who won four drivers’ crowns, said the relatively modest running costs in NASCAR and the guarantee of close racing was tempting from an ownership viewpoint.(Daily F1)(12-30-2002)
  • Hamilton to the Trucks? Bobby Hamilton, who parted ways with Petree at the end of last season, is contemplating his next move, which could be getting behind the wheel of a truck. Hamilton says if he decides to run for the title in the Craftsman Truck Series — in which he undoubtedly would be a weekly contender — he wouldn’t want to risk his health in a part-time Winston Cup role, even at the Daytona 500. “You’re at everyone else’s mercy,” Hamilton says of Daytona. “If one guy makes a mistake, it can take out half the field. That doesn’t happen at a place like Charlotte or Atlanta.”(Sporting News)(12-30-2002)
  • NASCAR Plates Not Selling Well in SC: Sales have been sluggish for South Carolina NASCAR official license plates with NASCAR/a person’s favorite driver on them. The plates have been available since December 2nd and cost $94. Part of the fee goes to benefit the South Carolina Children’s Emergency Shelter Fund. So far, there have been 177 NASCAR plates sold in the state. The tags come with a driver’s name, car number and autograph.(WISTV.com)(12-30-2002)
  • Get Well Matt UPDATE 3 a note: wishes go to my buddy Matt McLaughlin for a speedy recovery from some health issues. Matt is a writer for RacingOne/SpeedFX, see some of his columns at RacingOne: Matt McLaughlin, Featured Expert and check out his novel: Eights and Aces.(12-23-2002)
    UPDATE: Matt left a message on the SpeedFX BBS: Will try to check in when I can but I have no email account I can access. If one of you has Jayski’s email addie please send him [Jayski note: no need to now that I have seen this] a note from me wishing him and his a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too. Add my thanks for the blurb he had about me on his page. Hello, and Merry Christmas to my readers, detractors and buds. This is the first time I’ve been on line since the tenth, and I’ll warn you up front I’m bombed on morphine and Percocet. Don’t know when I’ll be able to get on again as I’m using a nurse’s computer. Yep, I’m still in the hospital. Honest, I slipped on the ice taking out the trash on my way to church and I fell. Thought maybe I’d sprained the knee but the pain got bad enough I went to the ER. Next thing I know I’m admitted and receivin a blood transfusion. A few days later I’m having emergency surgery to save my lower left leg. (Faceiotomy? Big nasty cuts.) Basically here’s the problem. They keep transfusing me, but the blood level goes down again. The doctors are still not sure what is wrong and Matt has no idea how long he will be in the hospital. Matt humbly asks for your prayers in this uncertain part of his life and prayers for the other sick folks he is spending Christmas with and the nurses there, many of whom are oustanding in thier compassion and kindness.(12-26-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Matt McLaughlin, who has been with Speed/FX and RacingOne since Day One, is on the injured reserve list. Matt’s columns and observations have been out of action for a few weeks now as he sits in a hospital trying to get better. You see Matt is one of those racing writers who lives up north. A few weeks ago, on his way to church he slipped on some ice outside his house as he was taking out the garbage. Matt went down hard on his leg. At first thinking it was only a sprain, the leg was severely injured and the next thing you know, Matt’s in the hospital taking blood transfusions to save his leg. A couple days ago, he gamely grabbed a nurse’s computer and posted a note on the RacingOne message board to give us all an update. But he needs our help. Prayers and thoughts and kind words can go a long way to someone battling a mysterious illness so I ask you all for your support. He’ll hopefully be out of the hospital early next week and if you can, drop him a note:
    Matt McLaughlin
    301 Parkway, #209A
    Broomall, PA 19008
    It is understood that Matt will be in a wheelchair for a while. Get well soon Matt.(RacingOne)(12-27/28-2002)
    UPDATE a note from Matt on R1: …thanks to so many of you for the kind words, good thoughts an particuarly your prayers. I’ve long been convinced of the power of prayer and the news is a lot more positive this time. It’s no longer a question how many legs I’ll have when I leave (I’ll have both) it’s just a question of when. The repairs to the lower leg worked and blood flow is restored. They closed up the wounds with a skin graft. Any of you who might have had one of these grafts know that the donor site (Thigh) is sorer than the repaired area. Lots of morphine so excuse my grammar and spelling. (Like it’s any worse than a normal column right?) As soon as I get myself weaned off the happy,happy joy shots and back onto Coors I’ll be writing again. Trust me, I’m bored. Heck a rainy weekend at NHIS would be more fun than than this dog and pony show.
    The blood count number that kept dropping the doctors couldn’t figure out has now been stable a few days. Call it a coincidence that occurred the same day I asked for your prayers but I feel otherwise. I’m an admittedly and decidedly imperfect person, so I credit better folks than me making the petitions.
    Yes, I have Speed Vision [Speed Channel] here. How come there’s always infomaercials when I turn it on? Seriously I do enjoy the Aussie and English touring car series. Yes, it looks like I’m moving. My current apartment is not WC accessible.
    Again, let me offer my sincere and humble thanks for your prayers and well wishes at this difficult time. I ain’t dancing yet, but I’ve promised myself I’ll walk into the Pocono infield this June under my own power, no canes, crutches, wheels, etc.(R1 Message Board)(12-30-2002)

 


(12-29-2002)

 

  • Nice Way to Celebrate: On Wednesday, Jan 1st, Marvin and Bettie Panch will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary the only way a real race car driver can — at Daytona International Speedway with a stock car and a decent-sized crowd. About 250 folks have been invited to the ceremony scheduled for Daytona’s Victory Lane. The Rev. Hal Marchman, who has been Speedway chaplain since 1960, will run the show. Joining Marvin and the former Bettie Gong in the Winner’s Circle will be the #20 Pontiac that Panch wheeled to victory in the 1961 Daytona 500. The car will be on display outside Daytona USA from 2:30 to 6:00pm on Wednesday. The bride and groom will have an autograph session, open to the public and free of charge, from 5:00 to 6:00pm next to the car.(full story at Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-29-2002)

    (12-28-2002)

  • 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. Harmon 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)
  • New Head and Neck Restraint: The G-Force Racing Gear Research and Development team spent over two years designing the SRS-1. The design parameters were driver comfort, ease of use, ease of ingress and egress from the racecar, performance comparable to other competing devices and a price that would not break the bank. The end result is that the G-Force R&D team met or exceeded all of these parameters. The SRS-1 was also designed as a complete system to be used in concert with an approved helmet. All helmets with attachment points for the SRS-1 have to meet Snell or SFI certification with the points manufactured into the helmet. They must also meet a test to help ensure the mounting points integrity in the event of a crash. This is a problem with other add-on type devices. The G-Force SRS-1 helmet restraint device consists of a cable that attaches to helmet. See more on the PR for this device, other devices and links on my Safety: Restraint page. No mention of if this device is approved for NASCAR use.(12-28-2002)

    (12-27-2002)

  • Fittipaldi to run 24 hours of Daytona: Road racing veteran Christian Fittipaldi of Sao Paulo, Brazil will be teaming up with Bell Motorsports for the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. The open-wheel veteran will be racing his first 24 hour event since his victory in a works Porsche at the 1993 24 Hours of Spa with co-drivers Uwe Alzen and Jean Pierre Jarrier. Car owner Forest Barber of Fort Worth, Tex., and Terry Borcheller of Phoenix will drive the No. 54 Chevrolet-powered Doran in the 2003 Rolex Sports Car Series. Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi and Belgian Didier Theys will join them for the Daytona 24-hour race. Fittipaldi has enjoyed success in open-wheel racing, with three seasons in Formula One, victories in the CART Championship Series and a second-place finish in the Indianapolis 500. He will switch to stock cars in 2003, driving the #44 Dodge Intrepid for Petty Enterprises in a combination of ARCA, Busch Series and Winston Cup events. The 2003 Rolex 24 at Daytona is set for Feb. 1 and 2 on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course in Daytona Beach(Fittipaldi Online), Fittipaldi joins Kyle Petty and Kevin Lepage as NASCAR drivers competing in the race.(12-27-2002)

    (12-27-2002)

  • Some #43 schemes in 2003: General Mills [Cheerios manufacturer] has the Hamburger Helper scheme, the Betty Crocker scheme and the new schemes are Old El Paso and LeSueur Peas for 2003 on the #43 Petty Enterprises Dodge with John Andretti driving. Not sure yet when these schemes will run, no word on if a Pop Secret scheme will run at Rockingham as it has the past 4-5 years.(12-27-2002)
  • #16 Scheme: been told the 2003 #16 Grainger Ford scheme has been selected, see my Paint Scheme Gallery for the chosen pic.(12-27-2002)
  • Mayfield getting hitched: on Jan 4th, 2003, #19 Dodge driver Jermey Mayfield is getting married to Shana Sessions.(FoxSports)(12-27-2002)
  • Sad News: Randy Brown sustained massive head injuries from a snow-boarding accident at Mountain High Ski Resort last Tuesday morning, December 24th. Brown was air-lifted to Arrowhead Hospital in Colton, California in very critical condition and was placed on life support systems until 8:34pm, December 25th. On, December 26th at 8:56am, Brown passed away. Brown was the 2002 Mechanix Wear Speed Truck Challenge Champion. Brown, who was 19, is survived by his sister Wendy, his father Bob, and his grandmother Barbara. Please continue with your thoughts and prayers for Randy’s family members. Memorial services are being planned and we will notify of same. The Randy Brown Memorial Fund has been established to help the family with final expenses and donations can be made to Randy’s grandmother.
    and Darel Jay Anderson, 34, passed away December 24, 2002 from injuries received in an automobile accident. Anderson drove the #2 Grand National Sportsman at Magic Valley Speedway during the 2002 racing season. Funeral services are tentatively set for Saturday, Dec. 28, 2002 at an unconfirmed time and location. The family will receive friends from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Colonial Funeral Home 2005 So. 4th Ave., Pocatello, and for one hour prior to the services. The interment will follow at Aberdeen Cemetery.(RacingWest)(12-27-2002)
  • Sad News: Mr. Terry “T.C.” Duane Collier of Lakeland died of cancer Thursday (Dec. 26, 2002). He was 51. Born in Delaware, Ohio, on July 24, 1951, he came to Lakeland from Plant City in 1987. He was the public address announcer for Lakeland International Speedway. Mr. Collier is survived by his wife, Carol Collier; son, Robert Collier, Lakeland; stepsons, Dennis Lowell Jr., Gregory Lowell, both of Williamsport, Pa.; parents, John and JoAnn Collier, Lakeland; brother, Rodney Collier, Lakeland; sister, Melody Karavitis, Tacoma, Wash. Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at David-Russell Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Good Shepherd Hospice, 50 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland.(Lakeland Ledger)(12-27-2002)

    (12-26-2002)

  • Bodine news – all three, Todd back with the #26? Geoffrey testing the #26 and for Brett, run Daytona with APR? in the 24 hours of Daytona? Geoffrey Bodine along with Jerry Nadeau embarks on a tour with the Armed Forces Entertainment Program in support of “Operation Enduring Freedom”, to help maintain morale for service members in Afghanistan and other Southeast Asia sites for a week. Bodine’s brother Brett was supposed to be a part of that group, but business commitments forced him to change his plans. Once back, Geoffrey Bodine will be testing the #26 Haas Carter Motorsports Ford for brother Todd, who is still recuperating from back surgery in November. Geoffrey tested for the team on Dec. 12 and 13 at Talladega Motor Speedway. Haas Carter’s Web site said the team expects to have its sponsorship package for 2003 signed very soon, with Todd as its driver. Speculation is that the Army National Guard will be one of the team sponsors [Jayski note: but that is supposed to be the sponsor for the #54 BH Motorsports team]. Geoffrey will also help conduct tests for middle brother Brett Bodine [#11] in January, with Geoffrey testing a second team car to the #11 driven by Brett. Brett is finalizing his 2003 plans, which will likely see the Hooters restaurant chain return as the team’s sponsor and involved somehow in the ownership of the team. Geoffrey’s plans for 2003 are beginning to take shape after he split with the #09 James Finch-owned Phoenix Racing team last month. Bodine did a limited schedule of races for that team, finishing a best of third in the Daytona 500. Bodine, who has sponsorship from the Miccosukee Indian Gaming casino for a limited Winston Cup schedule, has been shopping for a new team. Geoffrey is supposedly talking to Andy Petree Racing [#33 and #55] about driving for them in the Daytona 500. However, the Web site reported that team owner Andy Petree has secured a single-race sponsor for his #55 car in the Daytona 500. The name of the sponsor has not yet been released, but Web site www.jayski.com reported that it may be motor home builder Monaco Coaches. Petree had been lining up Ken Schrader as his driver, but Schrader signed with BAM Racing on Friday. Petree is now looking for a replacement driver. If a deal with Bodine materializes, the Indian gaming casino, which is based in Florida, will probably show up as an associate sponsor on a Petree car for Daytona. As for the remaining Winston Cup races that Bodine has sponsorship for (thought to be 12 to 20 races), Bodine has not said whom he’ll eventually hook up with. Also, Geoffrey Bodine could join fellow Cup drivers Kevin LePage and Kyle Petty in competing in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona sports car event on Feb. 1 and 2. Cegwa Sport Daytona Prototype team is interested in him for the ride in the prestigious endurance race. The team will field a 4.3-liter Toyota-powered Fabcar this year in the series, which makes two stops at Watkins Glen International.(in part from the Star Gazette)(12-26-2002)
  • APR News: Andy Petree Racing will be allowed to pay back a $5 million loan earlier than expected following approval by a county panel Monday. The Henderson County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority waived a 45-day notice period to let the company go ahead and repay a loan made by Wachovia bank. The money was in the form of bonds that the state allowed Petree to borrow privately through an Industrial Revenue Bond agreement, authority president Herbert Young said. Such bonds have been in place for industrial development for more than 25 years, Young said. Andy Petree Racing is considered a manufacturing industry, and that’s why it qualified for this type of loan, he said. Because these types of bonds are loans and industries have the right to pay them back, the money is not considered a gift, Young said. The money comes from a private source, but the borrower must have state government approval and the authority acts as a conduit, he said. The company struggled to find sponsorship for one car for the 2003 season. That was a far cry from 2001 when Petree fielded a two-car team, with both the #33 car, sponsored by Oakwood Mobile Homes and the #55 car, sponsored by Schneider Electric, posting victories. But a pullout by Oakwood Mobile Homes sidelined the #33 car. And a recent announcement that Schneider Electric will no longer be a full sponsor of the #55 car has put its future in doubt. At one time, Petree employed 110 people but now only has 25 full-time employees. Petree has a single-race sponsor lined up for the season-opening Daytona 500, general manager Steve Barkdoll said. The sponsor will be announced after the new year.(Hendersonville Times News)(12-26-2002)
  • Air Force Schemes for the #21: hearing that the #21 Wood Brothers Ford with Ricky Rudd driving will have three Air Force Primary paint schemes in 2003. They will run at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, Watkins Glen in August and Dover in September.(12-26-2002)

    (12-25-2002)

  • 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)

    (12-24-2002)

  • Toyota in Cup – 2007? CTS in 2004: While it’s years from an official announcement, Autoweek has word that an agreement has been reached between Toyota and NASCAR for Toyota to race in Winston Cup in 2007. That’ll be three years after it starts in Craftsman Truck in 2004. Toyota engineers are working on the carbureted V8. It’s still on the computer at this point, but will soon come to three-dimensional form. One problem with the engine is casting it in iron. Most Toyota blocks are aluminum alloy, but engineers found a Toyota facility in Japan that still casts in iron. The Craftsman entry will feature a Tundra body and the Cup car will be a Camry, “whatever the Camry will look like then,” Toyota sources said.(Autoweek)(12-24-2002)
  • Petree has Daytona 500 sponsor, now needs a driver UPDATE: NASCAR Winston Cup owner Andy Petree has secured a single-race sponsor for his #55 car in the Daytona 500. Andy Petree Racing, based in Henderson County, NC, has been scrambling in recent months to land a sponsorship after electrical distribution company Square D said it could no longer afford to run an entire schedule. The new sponsor’s name will be announced after the new year. Petree now must find another driver for the #55 after Ken Schrader signed up Friday with the BAM Racing Dodge next year. Petree had been trying to line up Schrader to drive #55, APR general manager Steve Barkdoll said. “Schrader had the opportunity to drive the BAM car full time, so we told him to take it,” Barkdoll said. First Petree was forced to lay off employees, now he’s looking for investors for his team. Times are tough for Petree, still scrambling to keep his Winston Cup team afloat. After laying off 25 employees last month, Petree is hoping an outside investor can step in and keep things running. He has enough employees left to send Schrader to the Daytona 500, but more money will have to appear before he can plan for any more races.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(12-22-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing the sponsor will be Monaco Coaches, still no word on the driver.(12-24-2002)
  • Yates Racing Moving: Charlotte-based Robert Yates Racing Inc. will move both its Winston Cup teams into a newly purchased Mooresville headquarters next month, making southern Iredell County the home for all its operations. The move will likely cost more than $6 million, observers say. Yates officials decline to disclose the company’s total investment in the deal. Last month, Yates bought the former Eel River Racing building in Talbert Pointe Business Park for $4.2 million, and Yates Racing is in the process of moving its #88-Dale Jarrett and #38-Elliott Sadler teams into the facility. Yates will vacate a 100,000-square-foot Charlotte facility off Interstate 85, near Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, which is now home to the Jarrett team. The Sadler operation will take the place of the Ricky Rudd team, which was already based in Mooreville. Rudd has left Yates. The move to Mooresville will boost Yates Racing’s operations there to more than 200,000 square feet. The relocation should be completed before February, when the 2003 Winston Cup season begins. With the transition, the existing Mooresville team shop for Yates’ #28 car — which Rudd drove during the 2002 season — will become a chassis shop. That 50,000-square-foot facility is on Rolling Hills Road in Lakeside Business Park. The #28 will be abandoned for the 2003 racing season in favor of Sadler’s #38 car. Having the chassis shop will enable the Yates teams to produce up to 90% of their own racing frames. A newly opened engine shop, housed in an 85,000-square-foot building that’s also in Lakeside Business Park, will maintain its existing operations.(Charlotte Business Journal – need to register to read)(12-24-2002)
  • Allison to visit Military bases: NASCAR legend Bobby Allison will visit bases in the Mediterranean, Jan. 7 to Jan. 13. The 1983 Winston Cup champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner is tied for third place among all-time NASCAR winners with 84 victories. He was voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver six times:
    Souda Bay, Greece: Jan. 7.
    La Maddalena, Italy: Jan. 8, on the Emory Land and on base.
    Naples, Italy: 4:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at Capo Landing at Capodichino.
    Gaeta, Italy: Jan. 10 on the USS La Salle and in the base community center.
    Sigonella, Sicily: Jan. 12 at Jox sports bar.
    Rota, Spain: Jan. 13.(Stars and Stripes)(12-24-2002)
  • Jasper Motorsports adds team members: The #77 Jasper Motorsports team has added six new team members for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, including four crew members who will augment the team’s existing pit-stop unit for it’s over-the-wall efforts in support of driver Dave Blaney. The new members of the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford team include Pat Marshall, the new Foreman of the team’s Fabrication operations and a recent employee of Hendrick Motorsports in its aerodynamic engineering department; Josh Watkins, an recent engineering graduate of UNC-Charlotte and the team’s fifth engineer; Aaron Piernatt, an addition to the team’s finish-fabrication area in-shop and a former tire-carrier for the #97 Roush Racing Team; the tire changer/carrier combination of Clay Robinson (body shop) and Mike Houston (suspension) and jackman Greg Pasi, all from the #40 Ganassi Racing Team’s pit-stop lineup during the 2002 WC season. The four new additions to the #77 Jasper Ford pit-stop crew join returning tire changer Rich Macco—who will work with Piernatt—and veteran gasman Dennis Cabe in a revised lineup that deepens the team’s roster of over-the-wall athletes. Bootie Barker was named crew chief last month and Kevin Kidd is the car chief(Jasper Motorsports PR)(12-24-2002)
  • Cope News: 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 [#37] 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)
  • What is up with Pressley? Robert Pressley’s plans for the 2003 season are still on hold. Right now Pressley is playing the “waiting game.” Pressley’s future depends largely on what truck-owner Bobby Hamilton plans to do in 2003. Robert wanted his fans to know that he is extremely happy with Bobby Hamilton Racing in the Craftsman Truck series and his top priority is to return to BHR, driving the #18 Dickies Dodge next season. However, Hamilton could return to the #18 truck if he is unable to work out a deal elsewhere. Pressley does have a couple of other options in the works at the moment; he has had talks with both a Winston Cup team and a BGN team. Both teams are new teams looking to make their debuts in the respective series. Pressely said that the Winston Cup deal doesn’t look too promising but the BGN deal is a distinct possibility.(Robert Pressley site)(12-24-2002)
  • Sad News: Sahara Hotel & Casino owner and Las Vegas Motor Speedway co-developer Bill Bennett, 78, passed away Sunday night after a lengthy illness. Bennett founded The Bennett Foundation for charitable needs. Diana Bennett said a lot of the charity work her father did was not known to the public. In addition to his daughter and his wife of more than 40 years, Bennett is survived by his son, William A. Bennett of Las Vegas; a sister, Betty Spitler of Arizona; four grandchildren; and two great grandchildren. Bennett’s death comes on the heels of the death of his good friend, Ralph Engelstad, owner of the Imperial Palace and co-developer of Las Vegas Motoe Speedway, who died on Nov. 26. Chris Powell, president and general manager of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, issued the following statement today regarding the death of Bill Bennett:
    “On behalf of everyone at LVMS, we are saddened to hear of the passing of Bill Bennett,” said Chris Powell, president and general manager of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “It was his vision, along with that of the late Ralph Engelstad, that led to the construction and development of this magnificent facility. And among Mr. Bennett’s many contributions to this community was an extremely generous donation to our charitable organization, Speedway Children’s Charities, for which we will be forever grateful. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bennett family.”(see full story at the Las Vegas Sun)(12-24-2002)
  • Spencer’s Dad faces charges UPDATE: The father and brother of NASCAR racer Jimmy Spencer [#41 target Dodge] are facing conspiracy charges for what police say was a scheme to steal truck tires for resale at their junkyard. The Luzerne County district attorney’s office approved conspiracy charges Thursday against Edgar Spencer and Edgar Spencer Jr., who own and run Ed Spencer Auto Parts in Berwick. Facing the same charges are the racer’s uncle and cousin, Edgar W. Spencer and Edgar W. Spencer Jr. of Spencer’s Auto Parts in Hunlock Creek. Authorities said they received a complaint from officials at a Wilkes-Barre business alleging that truck tires from their plant were being sold at the Spencers’ businesses. McCarthy Tire identified its tires through a code at the plant, a police report says. Edgar Senior and Junior are in Richmond this weekend to watch Jimmy race. Investigators expect all four Edgar Spencer’s to surrender either Monday or Tuesday and face theft charges in court.(CNNSI/AP and Newswatch 16)(5-4-2002)
    UPDATE: One year probation, and 25 hours of community service. That’s the sentence handed down Monday for four members of the Spencer family from Luzerne County. Edgar Spencer, Senior, his son and two cousins each pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and receiving stolen property. They admitted their roles in a scheme to resell stolen tires. Edgar Spencer, Senior is the father of NASCAR driver Jimmy Spencer.(Newswatch 16)(12-24-2002)


    (12-23-2002)

  • New Yates Engine Man: Mark McCardle, who formerly worked for Penske and engine developer Ilmor, will oversee Yates’ newly opened, 85,000-square-foot engine facility.(Sporting News)(12-23-2002)
  • Safety, the Garage and Pitroad: NASCAR is in the process of conducting safety discussions with the owners and principals for each of the tracks on the Winston Cup schedule. Topics include access plans and safety and security measures to be instituted in 2003. Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of communications, says NASCAR will be “very sensitive to the tracks’ needs, but we want to make the garage a more secure area than it has been.” Although pit tours still will be available, garage passes are expected to be limited to 25 to 30 per team and to about 75 per track for Winston Cup events. That does not include firefighters and safety personnel. In the past, there were no uniform rules involving issuing passes that covered the entire Winston Cup schedule. The garage also is expected to be closed to those without hard cards (season-long access passes) or garage passes during hot times: practice, qualifying and races.(Sporting News)(12-23-2002)

 


(12-22-2002)

 

  • Papis Cup test on hold: Max Papis will have to wait until January to get his first real taste of a Winston Cup machine. Papis was set to do his first test in Ray Evernhman’s Dodge at Kentucky Motor Speedway this week before Casey Mears crunched the wall after an engine let go. Papis, whose track time consisted of just a handful of installation laps in the car, is now looking forward to testing the Dodge in early January. Papis is exploring all of his options at present, including NASCAR, IRL and CART, where he said to be on the short list for Paul Gentilozzi’s new Rocketsports Champ Car program. Papis freely concedes he is in the mix at Rocketsports but says no deals are done as yet.(Speed Channel)(12-22-2002)

    (12-21-2002)

  • Stewart to run 4 ISA events: The International Stockcar Alliance (ISA) announced today that 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart will race in four events in the 2003 ISA Exide Racing Series. Stewart will be one of several Winston Cup veterans to take part in four ISA events for 2003. These include two events at the new Kawartha Superspeedway at Frasierville, Ontario, one being the Canada Day Million Dollar Shootout scheduled for June 28-29, 2003. Stewart will also race at Sanair Superspeedway near Montreal on June 3, 2003, and at Calgary’s Race City on August 5, 2003. Other Winston Cup drivers scheduled to race at the new Kawartha track include Dave Blaney, Kurt Busch, Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick, and Matt Kenseth. They will compete in the ISA’s Canada Day Million Dollar Shootout, as well as the event scheduled for September 9, 2003. These two events are part of the SA’s “Super 6” which will showcase top racing personalities at selected venues across Canada. The ISA is presently negotiating with other Winston Cup drivers to compete in selected 2003 ISA Exide Racing Series events. In related news, the ISA announced that tickets for four of its ISA 2003 Exide Racing Series are now on sale, and may be purchased through a user-friendly system on the ISA website, www.isaracing.com, or by calling 1-866-ISA-TICS.(Canada News Wire)(12-21-2002)
  • Hospital boosts Victory Junction: High Point Regional Health System [NC] has signed on as the third Triad health-care facility to serve as a founding hospital for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The hospital announced Thursday it will be providing representatives to the camp’s medical planning committees, as well as having staff actively participate in camp activities when they begin in June 2004. Founding hospitals also will provide assistance in equipping and supplying the Victory Junction Medical Center.(High Point Enterprise)(12-21-2002)
  • Schrader to run the #49 BAM Racing Dodge: Ken Schrader will drive the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2003. Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns the team with husband Tony, made the announcement on Friday. “We’re very excited that a driver of Ken Schrader’s abilities and experience will join us in 2003,” Morgenthau said. “His expertise as a driver, and his faith in us as a race team, will combine to make our first full season as a team a memorable one.” Schrader, a 47-year-old native of Fenton, Mo., who is known for never having met a car he didn’t want to race, has a list of NASCAR Winston Cup records. His 554 career starts is eighth among active drivers and 19th among all-time drivers. He races virtually every kind of car imaginable, and runs in hundreds of events nationwide each year. “Like a lot of drivers, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to what Beth Ann and Tony have been doing with BAM Racing, and the strides they have made,” Schrader said. “And like most drivers, I’ve been able to see what is going on with this team, and cut the truth out of what has been a lot of talk. Frankly, I like what I see at BAM and I like the direction they are headed. There is a tremendous amount of potential with this race team,” Schrader said. “They have good people in place and good leadership. I’m excited with the future.” BAM Racing began operations as a NASCAR Winston Cup team just over a year ago. Owned by south Florida investors, the team attempted a partial schedule in 2002, meeting with some success. “Everything we did and everything we went through in 2002 was to put us in a good position for 2003,” Beth Ann Morgenthau said. “We made tremendous strides last year. When you take into account that eight weeks before the Daytona 500 we decided we were going to enter it, we came a long way in a short period of time. “Our goal all along has been to make consistent progress. There have been occasional setbacks along the way but, all along, we knew where we wanted to go and knew we had to work hard to get there,” she continued. “Ken Schrader is another piece of that puzzle, and someone who will help this BAM Racing team reach its goals.”(Williams Company PR)(12-21-2002)
  • Another Hendrick Team: Hendrick Motorsports will field a fifth Winston Cup team next season in at least four races, team owner Rick Hendrick said Friday. Hendrick made the announcement at the company’s year-end gathering at its shops in Harrisburg. David Green, who drove several races for one of Hendrick’s Grand National teams this season, will drive the #60 Chevy [Jack Sprague’s team will run the #0 Pontiac in 2003] in at least the four superspeedway races in 2003, including the season opener at Daytona. The new team will be led by Gary DeHart, who heads Hendrick’s research and development program and is a former crew chief for Hendrick driver Terry Labonte. “You know, every year I’ve tried this and it has ended up turning into a new team because somebody has come along and it’s worked out,” Hendrick said. “But we thought about it this year and all the crew chiefs talked about it. Gary started our first R&D department. He built our first chassis back in 1988 and he’s always built a really slick car. We felt like that’s where we would dedicate our efforts, to the superspeedways.” Hendrick already fields four full-time teams, with drivers #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Terry Labonte and #25-Joe Nemechek.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-21-2002)
  • Conseco files for bankruptcy UPDATE will not sponsor the #14: Conseco struggling under more than $6 billion in debt, became the third-largest U.S. bankruptcy Wednesday, as the insurance and loan firm sought protection from creditors while it sells its finance unit and tries to restructure itself. Conseco’s filing, made in bankruptcy court in Chicago, is the third largest in U.S. history. Conseco has assets of $52.2 billion, according to recent financial reports, putting the firm behind only WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp. The bankruptcy filings cover Conseco Inc. — the holding company — and its troubled loan operation Conseco Finance and some related units. Conseco’s insurance units, under the close watch of state insurance regulators, are not affected.(Money Magazine site), how this effects the #14 AJ Racing Conseco team is not known.(12-18-2002)
    UPDATE: A.J. Foyt has learned that his Conseco, which recently filed for bankurptcy, will not return as his primary sponsor in 2003. Instead of a two-car operation, Larry Foyt will drive the #14 with Harrah’s Casinos as the sponsor.(PRN’s Garage Pass)(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)
  • Sad News: Jimmy White, who handles the PR for the Raybestoes Rookie of the Year program with Camp and Assoc., father, James, passed away Thursday. Thoughts go out to family and friends.(12-20-2002)
    AND Both the visitation (Saturday, 12-21 from 6 – 8 p.m.) and the funeral (3 p.m. Sunday, 12-22) will be held at the Union Grove Methodist Church. James was a lifetime member there. The address is 1331 Sloans Mill Road, Union Grove, NC 28689. If anyone needs more information, the number at the church is 704-539-4135. If people want to send flowers, they can go there or here at the house at 2199 W. Memorial Highway, Union Grove, NC 28689.(12-21-2002)
  • Howes Honored: Ken Howes, director of competition for Rick Hendrick’s race teams, became the first recipient of the “Papa Joe” Hendrick Award at Hendrick Motorsports. The award, formerly named for the late Robert Gee, a well-known car builder, is given annually to the employee who best displays outstanding job performance, leadership and teamwork, and for contributions above and beyond expectations. The name of the award was changed this season to honor “Papa Joe” Hendrick, Rick Hendrick’s father and owner of the No. 25 Chevrolet driven by Joe Nemechek. Howes received the award Friday during year-end celebration at the team’s shops. “I lot of the folks here didn’t know Robert because he was here a long time ago – and we’re still leaving the Robert Gee Award in place – but coming in they all know Pop because he’s around here all the time,” Rick Hendrick said. “We decided we should make it to honor him because of what he’s meant, bringing me in the sport and for the overall success of the organization”(ThatsRacin.com)(12-21-2002)
  • Brett Bodine and other drivers to Ring in New Year with U.S. Troops Overseas UPDATE: Brett Bodine has been selected to tour in the Armed Forces Entertainment Program overseas in support of “Operation Enduring Freedom” departing December 28, 2002 and returning around January 4, 2003. The group will provide a “touch of home” to service members at remote and isolated sites serving their country in Southwest Asia and “The Stans”. Brett has teamed up with other NASCAR drivers, Geoff Bodine (Brett’s brother) and Jerry Nadeau, and other series drivers, Tony Schumacher from NHRA, Nigel Hook from APBA (American Power Boat Association) and Gary Lewis from the Raybestos Northwest Busch Series. While the group has not been “drafted” they will experience military life, first hand. The soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines at these locations eat, sleep, shower, shave, etc. in tents, and so will Brett and the group. Their mission on this tour is to stimulate and help maintain the high morale of the troops serving their country.(BBR PR)(12-18-2002)
    UPDATE: Statement from Brett Bodine:.. “It is with a great deal of disappointment. that I must cancel my plans to go overseas to visit with the U.S. service men and women the end of this month.. There are business commitments which need my undivided attention during this time that have forced this decision… I was so excited about being involved with something of this magnitude and importance and am extremely sad that I will have to miss this opportunity of a lifetime. I wish each and every member of our Armed Forces a holiday filled with love and hopefully peace.. I know the rest of the folks on the tour are excited and looking forward to visiting with them and I apologize sincerely that I will have to miss that.. May God bless everyone!”(BBR PR)(12-21-2002)


    (12-20-2002)

  • NASCAR Promotions: The Board of Directors for NASCAR has announced promotions for two members of its senior management team. Executive Vice President Brian France has been named vice chairman, a title he will share with current Vice Chairman Jim France, and Senior Vice President George Pyne has been named chief operating officer (COO). Pyne has also been named to NASCAR’s Board of Directors.(NASCAR PR)(12-20-2002)
  • Crew Chief looking: hearing former championship crew chief Doug Richert, who worked with #11-Brett Bodine and the #54 BH Motorpsorts team in 2002, is not signed and is looking for new oppurtunity in 2003.(12-20-2002)

    (12-19-2002)

  • Melling Racing Suspends Operations: #92 NASCAR Winston Cup team owner Mark Melling announced today the suspension of operations at Melling Racing’s Concord, NC facility. “Due to the current economic environment, we’re forced to suspend operations until the business climate improves,” said Mark Melling. “We will continue to work with several potential sponsors, and I hope to get a Melling car back on the track sometime in 2003 or 2004. It is hard to believe there will not be a Melling car in the Daytona 500 this year,” said Melling. “We’ve had a car in each Daytona 500 since 1982, and only three other teams currently have a longer streak. I want to thank all of our employees for all of their dedication and hard work,” continued Melling. “For a group of 8 people to accomplish what they did in 2002, they deserve more credit than they have been given. The loyalty, teamwork and skill they’ve shown demonstrates what a strong team we’ve had. However, the current business climate has suffocated sponsorship spending. The fact that several prominent teams can’t land decent sponsorship says it all. Melling Racing played an important role in the growth of NASCAR during the 1980s, and our 22 year history in this sport covers many fond memories,” concluded Melling. “And when the opportunity to go racing full-time comes up, we’ll add another chapter to our long history in racing.”(Melling Racing PR)(12-19-2002)
  • Dodge engine stuff UPDATE 2: the word is that Dodge’s Ray Evernham may be supplementing his own in-house engine operation by signing up for a Penske engine leasing program with Penske’s engine man Larry Wallace..(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2002)
    UPDATE: Larry Wallace may be taking over command of the engine program for Ray Evernham’s three teams, according to Detroit sources. Wallace has been the Ford engine builder for years for Rusty Wallace (no relation), but his contract with the Roger Penske team is reported to be up at the end of this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-25-2002)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Larry Wallace has left Penske Racing, no word….yet…on where he many go…Evernham?(12-19-2002)
  • Hamilton Cup Plans? Bobby Hamilton might have run out of Winston Cup options for 2003. He had his eyes on two potential rides, but both have now been taken. John Andretti last week re-signed to drive the #43 for Petty Enterprises. Earlier, Casey Mears landed the #41 Target Dodge with Chip Ganassi Racing. Hamilton had expressed an interest in both jobs. Hamilton’s name has been linked with #49 BAM Racing, but that would hardly fit his definition of ”competitive ride,” which he has said is a requirement. The veteran driver said last month that if he cannot land a competitive ride in Winston Cup, he will spend next season racing in the CTS.(Tennessean)(12-19-2002)
  • Rusty and Harley ride again in 2003: hearing #2-Rusty Wallace will run a Harley Davidson scheme in 2003, a 100th Anniversary scheme, not sure where…yet.(12-18-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing the scheme will run at the Brickyard 400 in Indy.(12-19-2002)
  • M&M’s special at Bristol: hearing that #38 Elliott Sadler/M&M’s Ford will run a Combo Special at Bristol in August(12-19-2002)
  • Stewart special at Daytona: hearing that #20 Tony Stewart will run a Daytona Special in July which supposedly be unveiled in Feb 2003)(12-19-2002)
  • Audible Alert tested by Craven: After the final Cup race in November at Homestead, #32 PPI Motorsports conducted a private test of the Audible Alert driver notification system. Driver Ricky Craven voiced his support for the Audible Alert system following testing, stating “The product has lots of potential. The idea of having a closed system to alert each of the 43 drivers at the same time is a great idea. Hopefully this is a product that will make Winston Cup racing safer for all of us drivers.”
    “Ricky (Craven) thought it had potential, and everyone that Audible Alert has come into contact with has liked it,” said Jeff Huber, General Manager of PPI Motorsports. “There would probably be a couple of drivers alive today if this device had been accepted a couple of years ago. I sincerely believe that NASCAR is taking a good look at it.” There is great promise for the Audible Alert system, with other top touring series critically evaluating the potential use of the driver notification system for 2003, including ASA and ARCA.(Racefan)
    What is the Audible Alert System? it is the first ever sound-based track warning system. A short audible alert tone is used to notify every driver of changing track conditions and associated flags at exactly same time. This will reduce the dangerous multiple car accidents that occur when one driver reacts to a caution while the car behind is still racing at full speed. Re-starts are improved drastically by using the green alert tone to notify every driver simultaneously when the track goes green.(Invader Technologies site)(12-19-2002)
  • Mayfield Commercial: Creative digital effects and design studio Ring of Fire contributed to a dynamic spot for the new Dodge Intrepid SXT via ad agency BBDO Detroit. The spot, entitled “Co-Pilot,” was created in :30 and :23 versions and features NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield. “Co-Pilot” began airing in December. The spot opens with a man cruising along in a red Dodge Intrepid on a two-lane road. As he approaches a big rig truck, he decelerates and watches the speedometer fall to 40 mph. Suddenly, a small apparition of racecar driver Jeremy Mayfield appears on the man’s right shoulder. “Son, you drive like my granny,” Mayfield exclaims. “That’s no canned ham under the hood. That’s 250 horses!” The man nods in agreement. “Well then, pass him,” Mayfield insists. The driver steps on the gas and proceeds to overtake the truck as the voiceover states, “Dodge Intrepid SXT, with best-in-class horsepower and a little racing attitude.” After the successful pass maneuver, the man and his little guardian Mayfield stare, mouths open, as an attractive woman drives by in the opposite direction in a matching red Dodge Intrepid. “Man, I gotta go,” Mayfield declares as he disappears in a poof. The energetic spot concludes with the Dodge logo and the tagline “Grab Life By The Horns.”(Design in Motion)(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)
  • 4th IROC race at Indy: The International Race of Champions will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2003 for the sixth consecutive year. Next year’s race will be Aug. 2, the day before the 10th Brickyard 400. The IROC series, which consists of four races over the course of a year, features 12 top drivers from various series. The local race will be the season finale. Other races will be Feb. 14 at Daytona, April 5 at Talladega and July 12 at Chicago. Dale Jarrett is the defending Indy IROC champion. Mark Martin has won the local race three times.(Indy Star/AP) So far, the only drivers selected for IROC in 2003 are sprint car stars Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser, both champions in the World of Outlaws series.(12-18-2002)

    (12-18-2002)

  • Changes at RYR, new crew chief for the #88: Robert Yates Racing [RYR] announced wholesale organizational changes Wednesday, including naming Doug Yates, owner Robert Yates’ son, general manager over both Winston Cup teams. Effective immediately, Doug Yates will assume the role of general manager for both the #38 M&M Ford driven by Elliott Sadler and #88 UPS Ford driven by Dale Jarrett, overseeing the daily operations of both teams. Yates will continue to work closely with Yates Racing Engines, which has a strong lease program in addition to supplying engines for Jarrett and Sadler. Todd Parrott, Jarrett’s crew chief for seven years, has been named director of competition for Robert Yates Racing. Parrott’s new role allows him to focus on “big picture” projects for both the #88 and #38 teams. His responsibilities include overseeing chassis design, car construction and development and testing. Additionally, he will provide technical and race support to RYR’s crew chiefs at Winston Cup races. Brad Parrott, Todd’s younger brother, returns to RYR and will assume crew chief duties for Jarrett [#88]. A 17-year veteran of the sport, Parrott worked for Robert Yates Racing for six seasons from 1996 through 2001. During his tenure with RYR, Parrott began as a chassis specialist and later worked as assistant crew chief for the #88. Parrott most recently worked at Roush Racing as crew chief for Jeff Burton’s #9 BGN team, which won five of the 13 races in which the team entered in 2002. Raymond Fox III has been named crew chief of the #38 team with Sadler. A longtime employee of RYR, Fox has worked full time as a mechanic for Yates since 1990, turning wrenches under such drivers as Davey Allison, Kenny Irwin, Ernie Irvan, Jarrett and Ricky Rudd.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-18-2002)
  • More Surgery: #20 Jackman, Chuck White, recently had surgery on his elbow and #20 front tire changer Mike Lingerfelt had surgery on last week to remove the rod that was put in his leg when he was hit on pit road at Daytona and his leg broke a couple of years ago. Both of us will be ready for the season when it starts in February.(12-18-2002)
  • Testing at Las Vegas in Jan: Many Cup teams/drivers will be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Jan. 27-30, 2003, for the largest test session outside of Daytona. In past years, as many as 50 teams from the Cup and BGN have used LVMS’ 1.5-mile superspeedway to prepare for the UAW-DaimlerChrylser 400, Sam’s Town 300 and the upcoming season. #20-Tony Stewart, #24-Jeff Gordon, #42-Jamie McMurray and #41-Casey Mears have informed speedway officials that they will participate in the test session. Once again, the speedway’s grandstands will be open free of charge to race fans wanting to watch the testing. There will be no public admittance to the pit areas. LVMS will announce a complete list of participants in the test the week prior to the test. In addition to the superspeedway, the Bullring will be active on Thursday, Feb. 27 with a 100-lap Super Late Model race and the dirt track will host the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series on Feb. 28 and March 1.(Las Vegas Motor Speedway PR)(12-18-2002)
  • #48 scheme at Lowe’s UPDATE: hearing the #48 Lowe’s car will run a special scheme at Lowe’s in May, not sure what kind of scheme or for what.(12-11-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing it will be a Power of Pride Blue with silver stars.(12-18-2002)
  • Get Well: Jon Bussey, the chief steward at Stockton 99 Speedway, remained in serious condition at Washoe Medical Center after he was involved in a traffic accident in Reno over the weekend. According to Stockton 99 Speedway general manager Ken Gross, Bussey suffered a number of injuries in the mishap. He was in Reno to attend a track promoter’s workshop. ”According to his family, he’s got a broken arm, a broken pelvic bone, a broken back — but no spinal injury so he can move his arms and legs — and a couple of ribs,” Gross said. Bussey, who’s in his mid-40s, just completed his first season as a steward, or chief of competition, for the track. ”He’s basically our race director,” Gross said. ”He puts the show on, gets the staff together and orchestrates the officials, and he keeps the racing going in a timely and interesting fashion. … It was his rookie season and he had rave reviews. We’re excited to have him on board.” Even though he’s recovering in Reno, it is hoped that Bussey will be home for Christmas. ”That’s the way it is about the NASCAR family, when someone’s in trouble, everybody wants to help,” Gross said. ”My phone hasn’t stopped ringing.”(The Record)(12-18-2002)
  • Wind Tunnel: the #11 Hooters Ford will be at the Langley wind tunnel on Wednesday ,12/18.(BBR site)(12-18-2002)

    (12-17-2002)

  • Fittipaldi Testing at Daytona next week: Christian Fittipaldi, will be in Daytona Beach on December 20, 21 and 22 to test for Petty Enterprises. An extensive testing session in preparation for the 2003 season. Fittipaldi, 31, and a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, will be getting some seat time at the Daytona International Speedway for the first time as he gets ready for his ARCA debut in February. Fittipaldi and the Petty testing team will also be testing two Winston Cup cars as Christian takes most of the testing laps to further his experience with stock cars. Christian Fittipaldi will be driving a combination schedule consisting of select ARCA, Busch Series and Winston Cup events as he prepares to compete full-time in Winston Cup in 2004 for Petty Enterprises. Fittipaldi will be driving the #44 Dodge Intrepid. A primary sponsor is still being sought for 2003.(NASCAR.com)(12-17-2002)
  • New Flags: New Creative Enterprises announced that it will unveil a new line of die cut flags in January 2003 featuring 20 of the top named drivers in Winston Cup.. The agreement penned with NASCAR’s official licensee HiREV, will provide a major distribution opportunity for these unique flags that will carry the face and the car of each driver. This unique line, to be sold under the HiREV brand name, will add to the already nationally acclaimed flag lines presented by New Creative Enterprises.(Business Wire)(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)(12-17-2002)
  • Cronquist Surgery: Joe Gibbs Racing head engine builder, Mark Cronquist, the 2002 AE Clevite Engine builder of the year, had surgery performed on his ankle, which prevented him from attending the Winston Cup Awards Banquet in NYC.(Speedway Scene Magazine)(12-17-2002)

    (12-16-2002)

  • NASCAR Tech Center Moving: The NASCAR Tech Center is in the process of making a 60-mile move from its original facility in Conover, N.C., to its new 61,000-square-foot complex across from the Concord (N.C.) Airport. NASCAR managing director of competition Gary Nelson says the center’s priorities are safety first and competition second.(Sporting News)(12-16-2002)

 


(12-15-2002)

 

  • Fox TV stuff: Fox has announced it will show nearly 50 hours of on-track coverage and more than 20 hours of studio programming in February on Fox, FX, Fox Sports Net and Speed Channel. By comparison, there were a total of 43 hours worth of coverage when Fox came to Daytona for the first time in 2001. The biggest changes have the 70-lap Bud Shootout being presented in prime time Feb. 8 on Fox, and the two 125-mile qualifying races to be carried by FX on Feb. 13. Fox Sports Net showed the 125-milers two years ago, which caused a furor among local cable subscribers who still don’t have that channel as part of their basic package. (Nationally, Fox Sports Net is available in more than 82 million homes compared to almost 80 million for FX.) The Daytona 500 is Feb. 16, with Fox scheduled to have an hour-long pre-race show at noon. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will return for their third year together of calling races, along with studio analysts Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond and pit reporters Jeanne Zelasko, Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum and Steve Byrnes. Fox has no plans to cover the end-of-the-year banquet from New York in the future, and understandably so. While hardly scientific, only 14 percent of those who responded to a survey on the Web site of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described the telecast on TNT as “great.” Forty-two percent of the respondents called it “boring,” and another 44 percent said they didn’t watch. (Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-15-2002)
  • NASCAR car promotes new recruiting office: Recruiters for the Mississippi National Guard have a new Tupelo office. But what drew crowds Thursday was the red, white and blue NASCAR parked outside. The newest car in Winston Cup, the Army National Guard #54 Chevy, made a pit stop at the new office in town. “The number 54 represents the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia where the Army National Guard is located in the United States,” said Sgt. First Class David Rushing. “We’re an advertiser on the car.” The car has made stops in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., and will be shown next in Louisiana.(Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal)(12-15-2002)
  • Some Schrader plans…in ARCA: Ken Schrader 2003 plans include competing in three ARCA RE/MAX Series events with title sponsorship from Federated Auto Parts. Those events include Toledo on May 4, South Boston on July 2 and the DuQuoin dirt-mile on September 1. In addition, Federated Auto Parts has announced that it will be the presenting sponsor of the RE/MAX Series race at Toledo Speedway. The event will be titled the Toledo ARCA 200 presented by Federated Car Care.(ARCA Racing Site)(12-15-2002)
  • Hillenburg and Hover back to ARCA: 1995 ARCA RE/MAX Series driving champion Andy Hillenburg announced that he would be returning to the series fulltime in 2003 to make a run for the championship. The 2-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner has joined forces with renowned car owner/crew chief Stan Hover for the 2003 season. The team, recognized as the (has attempted Cup races in the #80) Hover Racing Inc.-Fast Track Alumni-Friends of Fast Track Ford, will utilize engines by GP Racing Engines.(ARCA Racing Site)(12-15-2002)

    (12-14-2002)

  • New Crew Chief for Andretti? UPDATE, yes and Andretti is signed, plus Thomas to Gibbs: hearing that Gary Putnam, crew chief from the #44 Petty Dodge is being moved over to crew chief the #43 and John Andretti while Brandon Thomas, who was the #43 crew chief is being moved over to head their engineering department.(12-12-2002)
    UPDATE: A new look to a traditionally winning team will grace the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge for 2003. With driver John Andretti back behind the wheel, Gary Putnam will take over as crew chief for the team. The 32-year-old Putnam began serving as a NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief for the first time just last year, taking the reins of the then-#44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge. “Having John and Gary signed and raring to go gives us all a great feeling about 2003,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “John is a tremendous talent and has proven he knows how to win,” Petty said. “I don’t know of anyone in the sport with as great a desire to excel. What he brings to our team on the track and what he brings to General Mills and Petty Enterprises off the track is fantastic. Gary has proven himself not only highly knowledgeable but a true leader,” Petty continued. “We’re excited not just with what he has shown us so far but with his tremendous potential. John is excited and all of us at Petty Enterprises are excited with what he can do for us.” Andretti, 39, is a NASCAR Winston Cup race winner beginning his fifth full season as driver of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. He is one of only two drivers in motorsports history with victories in major league Indy car, major league road racing and major NASCAR Winston Cup oval victories. A native of Nazareth, Pa., who grew up in Indianapolis, Ind., he resides in the Mooresville, NC, area. Putnam, a native New Englander, began his career in NASCAR’s Featherlite Modified Series, and has been involved in NASCAR Winston Cup racing since 1996. He worked as a mechanic and car chief for several top teams before moving to Petty Enterprises last season. Born in Hartford, Ct., Putnam resides in Concord, NC.(Williams Co PR) and hearing Brandon Thomas has left Petty Enterprises and is now working for Joe Gibbs Racing, not sure in what capacity.(12-14-2002)
  • Robinson looking for Busch program: Shawna Robinson will likely forego competing on the Winston Cup circuit in 2003, and will instead try to make her mark in the Busch Series. “The reason that the focus is on the Busch car is because money and sponsors are just really hard to come by right now,” Robinson said. “(The Busch Series) is very, very competitive. Believe me, honestly, in this situation, it’s not going to be any easier to go run Busch than it would be for me to go run Cup.” Robinson had high hopes for last season when she was hired to drive for the newly-formed BAM Racing operation. It seemed that all her work, effort and sacrifice was about to pay off. But a young and inexperienced team, along with on-track mishaps, ended her season abruptly. “If I would have stayed in the BAM car this year and wouldn’t have stopped after seven races and ran for the year and grew with the team, because the team would have stayed a lot more consistent, we’d have gone into 2003 knowing that we took everything we learned in 2002 and would be better,” Robinson said. “And I feel we could have done that; there’s no question in my mind that we could have done that. But, things didn’t work out that way. There were a lot of other areas that were researched and tried, and that’s what a new team has to do to really find their place.” Ironically, when Robinson joined BAM prior to last season, she suggested starting in the Busch Series, and eventually making the transition to Winston Cup. “I’m fortunate to be under contract to BAM because that’s the commitment we made at the beginning of the year,” she said. “And, at the beginning of the year, my thoughts to them were ‘Let’s go Busch racing, and then towards the end of the year, let’s do five Cup races and really grow this team. What I learned in the seven races and what I learned in any races prior to that, I’ll take and make better every time I get into a car. It’s just getting an opportunity to get in the right situation and that’s what I’m trying to do now.” Robinson remains under contract and is currently working with team officials to find sponsorship to compete in as many Busch events as possible in 2003. She also may do some driving for hire in the NASCAR Truck Series, as well. (much more to this story at ESPN)(12-14-2002)

    (12-13-2002)

  • APR looking for investors: Andy Petree said he is seeking investors for his NASCAR Winston Cup race team, and still has plans for a full schedule in 2003. “Investors with existing business relationships can find a home with a top stock car racing team,” Petree said. “I’m looking for someone who can partner with me and help us continue the success this team has enjoyed over the years. For someone who is looking to be part of a traditionally winning team in the most popular form of motorsports, we have a tremendous opportunity,” Petree said. “The missing piece of our puzzle is a business savvy investor with ties to corporate America. We’ve done everything you can do on the race track. I don’t think anyone disputes that we have a strong program here,” he said. “Someone who can come in as an investor and help us bring the final part of the sponsorship situation together is going to find tremendous rewards. The way this sport is booming right now, once the economy does come back – and it is showing every sign of doing that – an established winning NASCAR Winston Cup team is going to be at a real premium.”(Williams Company PR)(12-13-2002)
  • Dale Jr and MLB again: looks like for the third season in a row, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr will run a MLB (baseball) scheme at Daytona in July.(12-13-2002)
  • Special Paint for Kyle: #45-Kyle Petty will run a different scheme in the Brickyard 400, no idea what it is….yet.(12-13-2002)
  • Budweiser To Sponsor AC Indoor Racing: Budweiser, the King of Beers, through local distributor Harrison Beverage in Pleasantville, has joined Neptune Research and the Green Flag Driving Experience as presenting sponsors of the Atlantic City Indoor Auto Races at the Boardwalk Hall. The event, the first at the historic facility in 22 years, is set for Saturday, January 18, with practice slated for Friday, January 17. Tickets for the January 18 events went on sale November 25 at the Boardwall Hall box office, through Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-736-1420. Reports indicate that initial sales were brisk. Information is available at www.aarn.com or by calling 609-888-3618.(OpenWheelRacing), yeah I know not NASCAR, but don’t get racing all the way down here in deep south NJ, plus I am going……..(12-13-2002)
  • NBA player wants to try NASCAR: Derek Strong has played for six NBA teams during his professional basketball career. Now at age 34 and in the twilight of his hoops career, Strong, a forward with the Columbus Riverdragons of the National Basketball Development League, has dreams of racing after the roundball is over. “I have a five-year plan,” Strong said. “In five years, if I get the backing, I want to get to the Busch Series. If you do well there you might find a way up to the Winston Cup, which is where I’d like to be. If I could be successful with this, I think it would be another big step for African-Americans in stock car racing,” Strong said. Strong said the biggest problem he’s encountered in racing is trying to find sponsorships. The financial backing sponsors provide is important to a racing career on the NASCAR levels.(Ledger-Enquirer)(12-13-2002)
  • Winningest First Team drivers chosen All-America once again (sorry this is kind of long): The two drivers who have won First Team honors on the All-America Auto Racing Team more than anyone else – Steve Kinser and John Force – have been elected to the team yet again. They are among the drivers chosen to the annual team by the members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. The team will be honored – and the winner of the coveted Jerry Titus Award announced – at the annual AARWBA banquet Jan. 11 at the Sheraton Suites Fairplex in Pomona, CA. For the second year in a row, but only the fourth time in the 33-year history of the team, the team comprises 13 drivers as a result of a tie in the voting. Two drivers are elected from each of six categories, but three will be honored this year in the At Large category. Steve Kinser, the “King of the Outlaws,” has been elected First Team for an unprecedented 15th time, his 20th selection overall – both the outright records for any All-America race driver. He won his 17th Pennzoil World of Outlaws championship in the 25-year lifetime of the winged sprint car series. John Force similarly extended his championship records, winning NHRA’s PowerAde Funny Car title for the 12th time, making it 11 in a row, and also pushing his career victory record to 106. Force has now been an All-America 12 times, 11 of those as First Team. His selection this year broke him out of a tie with Don Garlits, whose 10 First Team selections now stand third all-time. Kinser leads the Short Track category of the team, and is joined by U.S. Auto Club standout J.J. Yeley, who won the USAC Weld Wheels Silver Crown championship and finished second in both the Sprint Car and Midget Car championships. It is Yeley’s first time on the All-America team. Force is joined in the Drag Racing category by Larry Dixon, who was a Second Team selection last year in his first All-America appearance, and now steps up to First Team after winning nine races and the NHRA PowerAde Top Fuel championship.
    Force, a three-time winner of the Jerry Titus Award, signifying the team’ s Driver of the Year, is in the running for an unprecedented fourth award along with Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. and NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart. The Titus winner – the driver receiving the most votes regardless of category – is a carefully-kept secret until the AARWBA banquet in January.
    Tony Stewart broke out of a tight pack of contenders for the Winston Cup championship with six races left in the 36-race season, but did not lock up the title until the final race. He won three times – on the high banks of Atlanta, a short track at Richmond, and a road course at Watkins Glen. Stewart is an All-American for a seventh time, every time First Team but in three different categories. He won twice in Short Track when he raced with USAC, in Open Wheel when he won the IRL championship, and now for a fourth straight year in the Stock Car category. Mark Martin is his teammate in the Stock Car category after persevering through the long Winston Cup season to be the final obstacle for the championship. Despite winning but once – the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway – his 22 Top-10 finishes kept him in the hunt all the way. Martin matches Force as a 12-time All-America; it is his fourth First-Team vote.
    Hornish leads the Open Wheel category of the All-America team after becoming the first driver to win the Indy Racing League championship two years in a row. Hornish came from behind in the points by winning the final two races of the season after three earlier victories. It is also Hornish’s second consecutive First Team selection.
    Cristiano da Matta, the CART champion, also is named First Team for asecond team, chosen this year in the Open Wheel category after winning in At Large as the Indy Lights champion 1998. This year da Matta dominated the CART circuit, winning seven times.
    The Road Racing category salutes two veteran drivers – Ron Fellows and Boris Said – who have never been First Team before and who both won their first major series championships.
    The At Large category encompasses drivers from a broad variety of series. The three drivers chosen First Team came from oval, drag and road racing. Leading the category is A.J. Foyt IV, the winner of the IRL’s Infiniti Pro Series in its inaugural year. Tied in the voting were Frank Manzo and Bryan Sellers – a longtime veteran drag racer and a young-gun road racer. Manzo is the NHRA Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster champion. The 21-year-old Sellers is the SCCA Formula Ford Zetec 2000 champion, and is making his first All-America appearance. With 13 drivers on the First Team, only 11 make the Second Team. They include Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, NASCAR champions Greg Biffle from the Busch Series and Mike Bliss in Craftsman Trucks, Prototype road racing champions Tom Kristensen from American Le Mans and Didier Theys from the Grand-Am Rolex series, and IHRA Top Fuel champion Clay Millican who put together a 10-race winning streak. Also named Second Team were Grand-Am GT champion Bill Auberlen, NHRA Top Fuel runner-up Kenny Bernstein, IRL third-place driver Gil de Ferran, Winston Cup’s third-placed Kurt Busch and Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Ryan Newman.
    Among drivers named Honorable Mention, who received at least a 5% vote, was Winston Cup rookie Jimmy Johnson, a three-time winner. A rarity in All-America voting, Johnson was not on the ballot but was selected on write-in votes. Also earning Honorable Mention were Matt Kenseth, a five-time winner in Winston Cup; Terry Borcheller, Grand-Am SRP-II champion; NHRA Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Funny Car runner-up Tony Pedregon; ARCA champ Frank Kimmel; ASA champ Joey Clanton; SCCA Pro Rally champ David Higgins, and IHRA Funny Car champ Jimmy Rector. The annual AARWBA banquet is open to the public. Information is available from AARWBA president Dusty Brandel at 818-842-7005 or 72746.1465@compuserve.com.(PR)(12-13-2002)
  • Third Song the choice for Third Eye? hearing that Third Eye Blind was scheduled to sing “Faster” at the Winston Cup Banquet/Awards. Until the day before the show, when a NASCAR type finally listened to the song and was appalled at the words. “Faster” is not about racing cars. The song they played was the band’s thirds or fourth choice, and had no relevance either.(12-13-2002)
  • Championship Race: NASCAR Silicone Motor Speedway is having their National Bristol Challenge this weekend at Concord Mills, NC and the top Bristol winners from all their locations are flying into have a championship race on Saturday the 14th. For more info, see www.smsonline.com.(12-13-2002)
  • Racing Official Injured UPDATE sad news: Eddie Carroll, long-time ACT and Thunder Road official, flagger and Street Stock steward, remains in critical condition at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center after being accidentally struck by a stray hunter’s bullet in his home Sunday, December 1. Some medical procedures have been forestalled by lack of knowledge of the type of bullet involved and requests for information have been made via local and regional news media.(more info on the Thunder Road site and at the Times Argus), Thunder Road is owned by former NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier.(12-5-2002)
    Sad News: ACT and the Airborne/Thunder Road racing family mourn the passing Tuesday night of Eddie Carroll, long-time ACT and Thunder Road official, flagger, Street Stock steward, gentleman and friend. Information regarding services will be posted as available. Cards,letters and e-mails may be sent to the ACT office. PO Box 296 Waterbury, VT 05676; info@acttour.com (ACT Site)(12-11-2002)
    and see a story Strap In – Remembering Eddie by Big Bigelow(12-13-2002)


    (12-12-2002)

  • FL Papers appeal ruling on Earnhardt photos: Two newspapers have filed an appeal challenging the constitutionality of a law restricting access to autopsy photos. The Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel filed a brief Wednesday in the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach challenging the constitutionality of the Family Protection Act, passed after Dale Earnhardt’s death. Under the law, upheld by a circuit judge last July, unauthorized people who view or copy autopsy photos can be fined $5,000 for committing a felony. Proponents of the law say it protects families from seeing their relative’s autopsy photos published or placed on the Internet. The newspapers argue that the law — which was championed by Earnhardt’s wife, Teresa — is too broad and will restrict the use of autopsy photos for teaching purposes.(Sporting News/AP)(12-12-2002)
  • Special TV Guide Covers: In its December 14 issue (on newsstands Monday, December 9), TV Guide magazine honors four 2002 NASCAR title holders with four collector’s covers available on newsstands in selected markets and available nationally online and by phone at the TV Guide Store. Tony Stewart (Winston Cup), Ryan Newman (Winston Cup Rookie of the Year), Greg Biffle (Busch Series) and Mike Bliss (Craftsman Truck Series) each adorn a cover in the special series. The full set of four NASCAR 2002 title holder covers will be available at the TV Guide Store and can be purchased online at shop.tvguide.comor by calling 1-888-TVGUIDE.(PR)(12-6/12-2002) are now listed at the site
  • Sad News: Charles B. “CB” Lee, a veteran of NASCAR Winston Cup racing and most recently with Petty Enterprises, passed away Tuesday night at his home. Lee, 57, had been a mechanic at Petty Enterprises since 1999. A Texas native, Lee originally worked with A.J. Foyt’s Indy car team in the 1970’s and early 80’s, moving to North Carolina to work on stock cars with Foyt. When Foyt first left stock car racing in the late 80’s, Lee moved to Stavola Brothers Racing, and also worked for Bobby Allison Motorsports and Bahari Racing. It was at Bahari he met Doug Hewitt and Gary Putnam, Hewitt bringing Lee to Petty Enterprises. He is survived with his wife, Trudy, a son, Charles, Jr., 22, and daughter Megan, 14. The family lives in Asheboro. A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at Hartsell Funeral Home, 460 Branchview Dr. NE, Concord, N.C.(Williams Co PR)(12-12-2002)
  • Update on Todd Bodine from the Todd Bodine site – “The doctor’s visit today (Wed. 12/11) went well, Todd has been released to drive and resume normal activities other than lifting, pushing, and pulling. He also received a rehabilitation program involving stretching exercises which will get the muscles back to where they need to be. We are looking to be released to drive a race car in the middle of January. The outlook for 2003 is looking bright. While we can’t say exactly what we are doing it appears we may be running both series next year with a part time and full time deal. We will be sure to let you all know as soon as we can. Sponsor negotiations and contracts sometimes take more time than you can imagine.”(12-12-2002)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Grappling Classic: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is lending his name and support to help create the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Grappling Classic, which organizers say has the potential to be the biggest jiu-jitsu (also known as jujitsu) tournament in the world. The tournament is the brainchild of local jiu-jitsu instructor and 2001 jiu-jitsu world champion Joe Hurst and N.C. state trooper and jiu-jitsu student Garrett Barger. The event will be at the Cabarrus Arena and Expo Center in Concord, NC on Jan. 25, 2003.(Independent Tribune)(11-7-2002)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is using his interest in the sport of Jiu Jitsu to create the premier Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic. Organizers say this tournament has the potential to be the largest Jiu Jitsu tournament in the world. Competitin begins at 10:00 am and will continue throughout the day. Tickets for the this event are available through Ticketmaster and will go on sale starting December 12. Earnhardt Jr. will be the host of the event and other NASCAR Winston Cup Series notables and local celebrities will be on hand to observe the competition. “I’ve become such a huge fan of this sport that I can’t wait to see how it all goes down,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Joe and Garrett have taught me a lot about what takes place at this type of tournament. It’ll be cool to see the different fights that go on throughout the day and who makes it to the end. That will be the best part when the top people compete for the title. That’s when the competition will be intense. I’m glad to be a part of the program,” Earnhardt Jr. continued. “I thought these guys needed someone to help them along with a little notoriety. The point is to get the word out about Jiu Jitsu. It’s about people who train and compete in intense settings like we do on the racetrack everyday. I hope to convert another group of fans by doing the Grappling Classic.. We also hope to do more of these every year.” For more information about the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Inaugural Grappling Classic, log on to www.dalejrgrapplingclassic.com.(12-12-2002)
  • Ray in NASCAR? former IRL champ, Greg Ray is trying to finalize a deal that will put in a Busch car for the 2003 season. Ray also wants to return to the IRL and compete in both series.(Dallas Morning News)(12-12-2002)
  • Talladega rained out Tuesday and delayed Wednesday: The wet weather that postponed Tuesday’s Dodge test session at Talladega Superspeedway was also wet enough to delay Wednesday’s testing until nearly 2:00pm/et. The Dodge test session at Talladega was to have ended Tuesday with the two-day Ford test session beginning on Wednesday. With Tuesday’s cancellation, that left both the Ford and Dodge camps in the NASCAR Winston Cup garage on Wednesday with a total of 20 cars – 10 Dodges, 10 Fords. Teams are preparing for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. Representing the Dodge camp were Chip Ganassi Racing drivers #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #41-Casey Mears; Evernham Motorsports, with #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jeremy Mayfield; Petty Enterprises, with #45-Kyle Petty; Bill Davis Racing, with #22-Ward Burton and Gary Bradberry in the #23; and Penske Racing South, with #12-Ryan Newman and Buddy Baker in the #2 Dodge. Representing Fords were Roush Racing drivers #6-Mark Martin, #99-Jeff Burton, #97-Kurt Busch, #16-Greg Biffle and Clay Rodgers in the #17; Yates Racing with #88-Dale Jarrett and #38-Elliott Sadler; the Wood Brothers with #21-Ricky Rudd; Haas/Carter Motorsports with Geoffrey Bodine in the #26; and Jasper Motorsports with Jeff Fultz in the #77.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(12-12-2002)
  • Cheesy Scheme: hearing that #99 Jeff Burton will run a Kraft Velveeta scheme sometime in 2003, maybe the Winston Open in May?(12-12-2002)
  • Kenseth’s Dad to Promote Track UPDATE: Madison International Speedway will have its third different owner since the track re-opened in 1992. Terry Kunes is in the process of finalizing the purchase of Madison International Speedway. Mr. Kunes has announced that Roy Kenseth, father of Winston Cup star Matt Kenseth, will be the promoter/manager of the Speedway.(Madison International Speedway site)(11-19-2002)
    UPDATE: Madison (Wis.) International Speedway has been sold to Chicago-area businessman Terry Kunes and will be managed by Roy Kenseth, father of Winston Cup driver Matt Kenseth. The sale was announced Saturday.(Rockford Register Star)(12-12-2002)
  • Former Winston Cup driver Trevor Boys to compete in ISA Series in Canada Born and raised in Calgary, Trevor Boys drove Cup from 1982-1993, and competed in 102 Winston Cup events. In ISAcompetition, Boys will drive for the Ideal Racing Team based in Kamloops, B.C.(NE Racing)(12-12-2002)
  • West Virginia Plates News: With the renewal of a contract to sell NASCAR plates, the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles’ Web site for online sale of the tags will be secured and reopened, a state official said. The Web site was temporarily shut down last summer after discovery was made of alleged hacker activity, dating back to October 2001.(Charleston Gazette)(12-12-2002)

    (12-11-2002)

  • New #32 Crew Chief: PPI Motorsports has hired Scott Miller as the crew chief of the #32 Tide Pontiac driven by Ricky Craven. Miller, a past employee of PPI, has a long history of involvement with NASCAR Winston Cup racing as well as other forms of motorsports. Beginning his racing career as a motocross rider in AMA, Scott progressed to racing Formula Vees and then into NASCAR’s Winston West division where he won a number of poles and was a race winner. After moving from behind the wheel in 1985, Scott worked in open wheel racing and eventually moved into Winston Cup in 1995. In 1997, Scott joined Richard Childress Racing as a chassis/shock specialist. Crewing with the legendary Dale Earnhardt #3 Goodwrench team, Scott worked with the team for over 3 years that included a number of victories. In 2000, Scott worked with PPI Motorsports on the McDonald’s team before returning to RCR in 2001.(PPI Motorsports PR)(12-11-2002)
  • Stewart EMPA Driver of the Year and other honors – Chris Economaki and Brett Hearn: Tony Stewart will receive the Al Holbert Memorial Eastern Motorsport Press Association Driver of the Year honors at the 33rd Annual EMPA Convention taking place at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, Trevose, PA, January 17-19, 2003. Stewart beat out 17-time World of Outlaws sprint car champion Steve Kinser by just a narrow margin to earn the honor for the second time in his career. Brett Hearn, who won dozens of DIRT Big Block Modified and 358 Modified events during the season plus track championships at Lebanon Valley Speedway and Albany-Saratoga Speedway, is the Richie Evans EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year. Both awards, as are all awards, are voted on by the more than 200 professional media members that make up the Eastern Motorsport Press Association. The man that many call the “Dean of Motorsports Journalism” Chris Economaki, well known for his Editor’s Notebook column in National Speed Sport News, has been voted into the EMPA Hall of Fame. Economaki earned his honors by what may have been the largest number of votes ever in the history of the EMPA. Former NASCAR Winston Cup star Harry Gant, winner of 18 Winston Cup races and 17 poles, will also be inducted as will the late Kenny Weld, winner of more than 250 sprint and modified features, and five time United Racing Club sprint car champion Dave Kelly. The three day Eastern Motor sport Press Association Convention, the only working convention for motorsports media, will include a series of press conferences, presentations, workshops and roundtable discussions.(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)
  • NASCAR SpeedPark in Concord: NASCAR expanded its effort to reach out to a younger fan base Tuesday by signing off on an officially licensed SpeedPark to be located in the heart of the stock-car racing community. NASCAR SpeedPark will be located in the Concord Mills, N.C., mall and be the third licensed park in the chain started by Burroughs & Chapin Co. The park will sit on more than seven acres and feature five indoor and outdoor go-kart tracks, a multilevel adult track, games, miniature golf, laser tag and other amusements. The facility, which joins its sister parks in Myrtle Beach, SC, and Sevierville, TN, will help develop the sport, Helton said. Ground was broken on the park Tuesday, and it’s expected to open next summer inside Concord Mills, a massive retail and entertainment center that ranks as North Carolina’s second-largest tourist attraction. Concord Mills is located on Speedway Boulevard, just a few miles from Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the heart of NASCAR’s community.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(12-11-2002)
  • Kyle to race in the Rolex 24: Kyle Petty will drive a Porsche at the 24 Hours of Daytona teaming up with Orbit Racing in Feb.(Orbit Racing)(12-11-2002)
  • #30 and Kraft: hearing that the #30 AOL team will run a green AOL/Kraft car at Chicagoland.(12-11-2002)
  • #48 scheme at Lowe’s: hearing the #48 Lowe’s car will run a special scheme at Lowe’s in May, not sure what kind of scheme or for what.(12-11-2002)

    (12-10-2002)

  • #42 for McMurray/Havoline? Wingo to Ganassi? UPDATE – Official: Another crew chief apparently on the move is Donnie Wingo, currently the crew chief on the #26 Fords owned by Travis Carter. Wingo is expected to join Lee McCall and Randolph as crew chiefs on the three Ganassi teams in 2003. Wingo would most likely be the crew chief for McMurray, although team manager Tony Glover said the crew lineup for the team next year won’t be decided until the driver for the #41 is decided.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-11-2002)
    #42 is it for McMurray UPDATE: got an image of the #42 Havoline Dodge that Jamie McMurray will drive in 2003, see the images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(11-8-2002)
    UPDATE – official: Texaco Havoline Racing together with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that rookie sensation driver Jamie McMurray will pilot the #42 Havoline Dodge in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series with veteran Donnie Wingo performing the crew chief duties. While the initial announcement was made back in September, today’s statement confirms car number and paint scheme design for the Havoline Dodge. For Texaco Havoline Racing, the new car number signifies a “new beginning” for the long-running NASCAR sponsor. ChevronTexaco’s Vice-President North America Lubricants Craig Duncan said, “We are very excited about our new partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing and Jamie McMurray. We see this as a remarkable opportunity to re-energize our Havoline brand, in driving it towards our goal of being the brand of choice among the motoring public in the USA.” In addition, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo has been hired to serve as McMurray’s crew chief during the 2003 season. Wingo comes to Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates after a seven-year stint as crew chief with Hass Carter Motorsports. Wingo, who is entering his 22nd season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, has a total of four NASCAR Winston Cup Series victories as crew chief.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-10-2002)
  • History Channel and NASCAR: Heroes who fight tax collectors and moral crusaders, or just common criminals? Like it or not, America was built by rumrunners, moonshiners, and bootleggers–even founding father John Hancock was a smuggler. In the 1920s, Prohibition turned fishermen into rumrunners and two-bit gangsters into millionaires, and moonshine haulers in their souped-up cars helped create NASCAR [which a story about NASCAR great Junior Johnson]. Rare archival footage and photos help weave the compelling tale of our nation’s love-hate relationship with illegal alcohol. Re-airing on the History Channelon Sat Dec 14th from 11:00am – 1:00pm.(12-10-2002)
  • NASCAR to clear up ‘Red Flag’ rule? Fox’s Jeff Hammond says NASCAR expects to do a better job next year of letting fans know when the sanctioning body might red-flag a race. “There’s going to be a better and clearer definition of a red-flag situation, so the fans should know what to expect if track conditions warrant a red flag near the end of a race,” Hammond writes today on the Fox Sports Web site. “I’m really excited about NASCAR’s new approach to let fans know that their decisions aren’t pulled out of their hats at the last second.” Hammond says that the Fox broadcast team learned of the intention when they met with NASCAR President Mike Helton and Vice Presidents George Pyne and Jim Hunter last week. They talked about the green, white, checkered situation, and while that’s not going to happen in the near future in Winston Cup.(FoxSports)(12-10-2002)
  • Lepage to run Rolex 24: Heritage Motorsports announced today that NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series driver Kevin Lepage will join the driver lineup for the Heritage Motorsports #48 Mustang at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Feb. 1-2. Lepage will team with drivers Tommy Riggins, Dave Machavern and a fourth driver to be named later.(Grand American Road Racing Association site)(12-10-2002)

    (12-9-2002)

  • 2002 Winston Cup Updates is out: A Statistical Review of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Season, NASCAR Winston Cup Media Update Book, is out. The 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Updates Year-End Book entitled “Statistical Review of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Season” is a complete compilation of the weekly versions of this information-packed series and is now available to all race fans. The book offers a complete race-by-race review of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. It also includes statistical analysis of all aspects of the 2002 season plus driver biographies. Written by Len Thacher, Director, NASCAR Winston Cup Statistical Services, this book offers every race fan the opportunity to access the same information used by television, radio and print media personalities in reporting each race throughout the year. Info such as address and phone number on my Racing Bookstore page.(12-9-2002)
  • Sad News: Valerie Rice Stephan Bettenhausen, 81, Martinsville, IN, died Dec. 5. A homemaker, she was the widow of M.E. “Tony” Bettenhausen Sr., the former Indianapolis 500 and Grand Prix driver, and was the mother of the late Tony Bettenhausen Jr., an Indianapolis 500 driver who owned the Bettenhausen Motorsports Racing Team. She also was the mother of former Indy 500 driver Gary Bettenhausen, and former sprint, midget, champ and dirt car driver Merle Bettenhausen.(Indy Star)(12-10-2002)
  • Testing at Talladega in Dec? UPDATE 3: According to NASCAR sources there will be a speedway test at Talladega Superspeedway for the Dodge and Ford teams in December. The test was arranged after the Dodge and Ford teams explained that they’re basically working with new cars and they should be entitled to see what effects the 2003 rules package changes have brought. The tentative two-day test is slated for Dec. 9 -10.(Ford Racing)(11-10-2002)
    UPDATE: so far have heard #40-Sterling Marlin (yes he has been cleared) and the #23 Bill Davis Racing team with Scott Wimmer will test (Kenny Wallace is on a cruise).(12-8-2002)
    UPDATE 2: hearing the test has been expanded by two days to Dec 12th due [but each team is allowed 2 days testing] to the power outages in the Charlotte area due to the recent snow/ice storm. Also hearing Clay Rogers will be testing the #17 Ford for Matt Kenseth.(12-9-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Sterling Marlin got back behind the wheel of his #40 Coors Light Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge on Monday during a Dodge manufacturer’s test at Talladega Superspeedway preparing for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Season. Marlin was joined by fellow Chip Ganassi Racing teams with #41-Casey Mears and #42-Jamie McMurray; Evernham Motorsports, with #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jeremy Mayfield; Petty Enterprises, with #45-Kyle Petty; Bill Davis Racing, with #22-Ward Burton and #23-Scott Wimmer; and Penske Racing South, with #12-Ryan Newman and Buddy Baker in the #2 Dodge. “I felt comfortable. Very comfortable,” said Marlin, who got back behind the wheel of his car for the first time since late September. Two days before qualifying for the EA SPORTS 500 at Talladega, it was announced that Marlin would miss the remainder of the season. Marlin, who was in the thick of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship hunt, was forced to sit out the final seven races of the 2002 season with a fracture of the No. 2 cervical vertebra. He was cleared to resume his driving duties on Dec. 5. Marlin and his fellow NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitors will return to Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 3-6, 2003. Tickets still remain for the NWC Aaron’s 499, as well as Saturday’s doubleheader with the Busch Series Aaron’ s 312 and the IROC Racing Series. Fans who wish to stake their claim for the 2003 Aaron’s Dream Weekend can call (256) 362-RACE or visit talladegasuperspeedway.com. A Virtual 3D Seating program is available online, allowing fans to take a look at the vantage point from different sections before selecting their seats. The two-day Dodge manufacturer’s test will continue Tuesday at Talladega Superspeedway.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(12-9-2002)
  • Siemens to Evernham: Siemens announced their Associate Sponsorship and Technology Partnership with Evernham Motorsports {#’s 9,19,91). “Evernham Motorsports and DaimlerChrysler are a force in racing and bring Siemens the exposure and platform for further development of technologies within NASCAR”, said John Dimmerling, director of Corporate Marketing Communications for Siemens. “Racing sponsorship provides a unique opportunity for a company as diverse as Siemens. In addition to brand exposure, NASCAR has been a great place for us to showcase our broad range of products and services, build relations with our customers and discover new business. We are excited about the opportunity to continue this relationship with NASCAR through Ray and his team.” For more information: www.usa.siemens.com.(Golin Harris PR)(12-9-2002)
  • Drivers underpaid? Newsday says NASCAR drivers aren’t collecting nearly as much of their sport’s revenues as athletes in other sports. The story by Ken Berger says drivers received about 18% of the $1.869 billion generated this year in NASCAR’s top three series [Winston Cup, Busch and Truck], while the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB pay athletes at least 50% of revenue in salaries governed by collective bargaining agreements. The story says that most of the 27 drivers who started all 36 Winston Cup races are believed to have collected $4 million to $5 million. It estimated that the average for Busch Series drivers was $250,000, while Craftsman Truck Series drivers were estimated to average about $100,000. The paper says Tony Stewart was the highest paid driver this year, collecting a $3 million base salary and $4.23 million for his share of the team’s winnings [50%]. It estimated the average salary for drivers in all three division was $1.17 million. NASCAR Vice President for Corporate Communications Jim Hunter told the paper that comparisons can’t be made with other sports: “Our drivers shouldn’t compare themselves, because you’re comparing apples and oranges. Everybody in our sport is an independent contractor and can go out and cut the best deal that he can.”(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-9-2002)
  • Foyt to Dodge? UPDATE: hearing A.J. Foyt Racing may be switching from Pontiac to Dodge in 2003 for the #14 Conseco car and the un-numbered (#50?) Harrah’s car.(11-19-2002)
    UPDATE: A.J. Foyt is switching to Dodge in 2003 and will get engines from Ray Evernham. Foyt’s son Larry, who tested last week at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC, is expected to drive the #14 Intrepid, perhaps more out of necessity than the belief he is ready to make the jump. Because of current sponsor Conseco’s possible departure, Foyt needs Harrah’s, sponsor for Larry’s Busch Series car, to fund the Winston Cup team.(Sporting News)(12-9-2002)
  • Wells’ new crew chief to leave? UPDATE 2: Widespread garage reports tell Ford Racing that Cal Wells’ choice for crew chief of the #32 is ready to leave the team. Within the past two weeks that Wells indicated that he was going to swap current crew chief Mike Beam with team engineer Roy McCauley. That plan appears to have taken on a shaky path now that McCauley is in play for another job in the garage.(Ford Racing)(11-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Cal Wells is trying to shake up his race team, which went winless this season, despite several strong runs by Ricky Craven. And Wells’ crewmen are wondering what Wells might do. Wells has already decided to move Mike Beam, his crew chief the past few years, to a new position and promote chief engineer Roy McCauley to crew chief. But Beam is trying to move on to another team, and McCauley is considering his options, also. Beam says he would be content “for things just to stay the same, but that’s not what Cal wants.” McCauley would say only that he doesn’t have any offers on the table.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Roy McCauley and PPI Motorsports have parted. McCauley was the team’s lead engineer before stepping in for Mike Beam as crew chief for Ricky Craven toward the end of last season. Beam joined Richard Childress Racing and will be crew chief for Jeff Green on the #30 AOL Chevy.(Sporting News)(12-9-2002)
  • RCR Med Exams: Richard Childress [#29,#30,#31] is requiring his drivers to undergo medical examinations before the start of the season to establish a baseline for their health. “We want to make sure that if they get hurt, we can compare ‘A’ to ‘B,'” he says. Childress didn’t find out until after the season that Johnny Sauter, his Busch Series driver, raced hurt for part of 2002.(Sporting News)(12-9-2002)
  • Sam Bass Gallery Prepares for Third Annual Christmas Open House: The third annual Sam Bass Gallery Christmas Open House in Concord, NC will be on Saturday, Dec. 14. Amid the hundreds of original paintings and prints in the gallery, a day full of festivities is scheduled. Santa Claus will visit with the children from 12noon to 2:00pm. Souvenir photos with Santa will be available for five dollars each, with all proceeds benefiting the Cooperative Christian Ministry (CCM). In addition to Mr. Claus, celebrity guests Paul Schadt and Sarah Waters from WKKT-FM’s Paul Schadt Morning Show will help Bass unveil two new holiday treats. “The North Polesitter,” perhaps the artist’s most personally revealing painting of the year, stars the man of the season – Father Christmas himself – as portrayed by local legend Bob Baucom, the real Santa Claus. Two-year-old Kendyl Bass, whose debut lit up the 2001 edition print, makes her return. The other new work is the first in a series of NASCAR holiday diecast designed by Bass and produced by Team Caliber. Decked out in green-and-red seasonal colors, the #02 Chevy features Santa, sporting sunglasses, driving his eight tiny reindeer alongside at Winston Cup speeds. Bass, who will be available to meet with race fans and give autographs, is asking that everyone coming to the gallery on December 14th bring a non-perishable food item to help stock the CCM food pantry, which is located in Cabarrus County. “We work with a different charity during each of our holiday open houses,” said Sam Bass, “because it’s important to remember that others in our community might not have the good fortune that we are enjoying. Each family that donates will receive a gift from us.” Open house hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm. Door prizes will be given away throughout the day. For more information about Sam Bass’ motorsports art and events, log on to www.sambass.com or phone 704/455-6915.(12-9-2002)…hmm, Jayski will be in the area, maybe I will stop by??
  • Snowball Derby Winner: Ricky Turner, who works in Ernie Elliott’s engine shop, won the 35th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. Rich Bickle was 2nd, Kyle [Kurt’s brother] Busch finished 33rd. See full story and results at www.51sportsracing.com.(12-9-2002)
  • Race team to Pay Sponsor to be on Car: America’s Most Wanted Motorsports has come to the realization that time is currently passing them by to acquire a full time sponsor of their program [Cup or BGN] for the 2003 racing season. So they have devised a plan that would be a golden opportunity for an existing or new sponsor. AMW Motorsports has a Guaranteed media package estimated to close to $4million and they are willing to negotiate a part time schedule next season for the BGN racing series with a sponsor and offer this complete package. AMW Motorsports will negotiate a 15-race schedule starting in Daytona and will offer their complete marketing program in full to a sponsor. This basically represents the team will be paying the sponsor to be on the car. For more info on this opportunity and to assist in finding Missing Children visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(12-9-2002)
  • From the Chad Little site UPDATE sad news: “Please Help Us Pray For Teri Little, Chad’s Mom. She Is In Critical Condition Following A Brain Aneurysm Which Occurred On 12/6 After Returning Home From The Chad Little Fan Club Cruise. Our Thoughts And Prayers Are With The Little Family”.(ChadLittle.com – will not post updates from the message board)(12-7-2002)
    sad news: Teri Little, mother of Winston Cup and BGN driver Chad Little, passed away on Saturday. Mrs. Little died following a brain aneurysm which occurred on Friday, December 6th after returning home from a Chad Little Fan Club Cruise. Mrs. Little is survived by four children and four grandchildren. It is suggested that in lieu of flowers donations could be made to Motor Racing Outreach in Teri’s name.(Frontstretch)(12-9-2002)

 


(12-7-2002)

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(12-7-2002)

 

  • Gordon and Pepsi back at Talladega: looks like Jeff Gordon will run a Pepsi scheme once again at Talladega in April, see the diecast image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(12-7-2002)
  • NASCAR Winston Cup Champ Stewart Gets $4.3 Million From Fund: 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart received $4,305,607 in point fund money Friday night at the series’ annual awards ceremony, held for the first time at the Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center. That amount – which included a $3.75 million contribution from series sponsor R.J. Reynolds – brought Stewart’s season winnings total to $9,163,761 and his career total to $20,937,721. This is the second-highest season winnings total for a NASCAR Winston Cup champion. The record belongs to Jeff Gordon, who won $9,306,584 in 1998 (Although the NASCAR Preview and Press Guide has Gordon’s total in 2001 as $10.8 million). This season’s second-, third- and fourth-place finishers also received point-fund payouts exceeding $1 million. Series runner-up Mark Martin received $1,721,988; third-place finisher Kurt Busch received $1,304,348; fourth-place finisher Gordon received $1,086,707. The point fund totaled $16,373,084 and included all fines collected by NASCAR during the 2002 season.
    For the sake of perspective regarding Stewart’s winnings, consider: Only 20 years ago, in the 1983 season, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series’ top 50 drivers’ combined season winnings didn’t match up to Stewart’s 2002 total. Only 15 years ago, in the 1988 season, the top 10 drivers’ combined winnings were less than Stewart’s total. It took a three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Darrell Waltrip, 18 years of competition to reach the $10 million mark in career winnings. See my 2002 Points Fund and Awards Winnings page for a detailed breakdown of 2002 winnings.(NASCAR PR)(12-7-2002)
  • Cheap Shot: A [Las Vegas] local television reporter showed up to interview Stewart as he was signing autographs Saturday at the Bullring [at LVMS]. The reporter supposedly never called the speedway’s public-relations department to arrange an interview. The talking head apparently just walked up, stuck a microphone in Stewart’s face and asked a few superficial questions. Supposedly, Stewart at one point pushed the microphone away from his face. Good for him. This appearance was for Stewart’s fans who braved the chilly night. When she “threw it back” to the news desk, as they say in television, that person commented that it was clear why not many people like Stewart. No, it’s more likely the reason a lot of people don’t like reporters, especially those who wear makeup and smile pretty. Had that reporter asked a speedway representative to set up a brief interview with Stewart, I think Stewart would have cooperated.(as reported by the Las Vegas Review Journal)(12-7-2002)
  • NASCAR Reality TV Show? Cable network FX is in talks with NASCAR to create a reality series involving the stock car racing circuit, an FX spokesman said Thursday. NASCAR, whose ratings have consistently increased on the four networks that televise its races, is searching for ways to broaden the visibility of its sport, which is carried on FX, Fox, NBC, and Turner Network Television in an unusual sharing arrangement. NBC and TNT alternate televising Winston Cup races for the second half of the season after Fox Sports airs the other half starting in the winter. The spokesman said NASCAR and FX have not worked out a concept, but it would definitely be unscripted, with a final deal possible within the next two months.(Hollywood Reporter)(12-7-2002)
  • Morgan Shepherd Announces 2003 Plans: Morgan Shepherd and the Victory In Jesus Racing Team is officially announcing their preliminary plans for the 2003 season in the CTS and Winston Cup Series. “Many exciting things are in the works for 2003” said Shepherd.  “Our plans include running some WInston Cup races, and we also have a few exciting things planned for the Craftsman Truck Series.  We have signed a letter of intent with 18 year old Kyle Drum.  We would like to get him started in the Craftsman Truck Series running for Victory In Jesus Racing.  The number of events is undetermined at this time, pending sponsorship dollars.” Kyle Drum joins Victory In Jesus Racing with an extensive resume. “I am very excited about the opportunities that lay ahead of me. Morgan Shepherd is a wonderful person and is going to be a great teacher, said Drum, currently a student at State University of New York at Alfred, where he is working on his engineering degree. “The amount of knowledge that he has about racing is unbelievable. I can’t wait to start working with him.” In addition, plans will soon be unveiled for a new Internet Service Provider. The Morgan Shepherd Victory In Jesus Racing ISP will soon be available to subscribers across the country.  For more information, see www.morganshepherd.com and www.kyledrum.com.(STB Marketing Group PR)(12-7-2002)

    (12-6-2002)

  • Awards Handed Out: Several other yearlong contingency awards were handed out at Friday’s breakfast:
    –Bud Pole Award: For the most poles in the season, with $100,000 going to rookie of the year Ryan Newman.
    –Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: A $77,000 award to Mark Cronquist, the lead engine builder for Joe Gibbs Racing. Second place, worth $20,000, went to Larry Wallace of Newman’s No. 12 team. Third, worth $10,000, went to Rick Wetzel of Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet team.
    –Gatorade Front-Runner Award: A check for $75,000 was awarded to Jeff Gordon.
    –Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award: Selected by a vote of the circuit’s crew chiefs, the winners from Sterling Marlin’s No. 40 team at Chip Ganassi Racing won $75,000.
    –Outback Steakhouses Bloomin’ Favorite Award: Kurt Busch of the No. 97 Roush Racing Fords won the $75,000 prize.
    –Waste Management Picking up Places Award: Matt Kenseth of the No. 17 Fords owned by Roush Racing collected $75,000.
    –76 Motor Oil Award: Jeff Green’s No. 30 team at Richard Childress Racing won $76,000.
    –76 Champion’s Fuel Award: A check for $76,000 was given to Stewart and his No. 20 team at Joe Gibbs Racing.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-6-2002)
  • Most Popular Driver is……Bill Elliott: Continuing his dominance of fan popularity, Bill Elliott edged out fellow racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award for 2002. Elliott and Earnhardt Jr. battled for the leader position in recent months as fans across the country placed more online votes than ever before as part of the only fan-based NASCAR award. Elliott, a 27-year racing veteran who drove for Dodge this season, has won the Most Popular Driver Award more times than any other driver – this marks his 16th victory. “Everyone knows that the fans are the real heart of NASCAR. I owe many thanks to them because my fans have stuck by me and kept me going all these years,” said Elliott, a Dawsonville, Ga., native. “I am so fortunate to be part of this great sport and be recognized by this award.” A record 3.3 million votes were cast by thousands of NASCAR fans, shattering all voting totals posted in previous years. Earnhardt Jr. actually led much of the season with Elliott’s votes coming on strong in the final months. A relatively narrow margin of votes separated Elliott from Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon and 2002 Winston Cup winner Tony Stewart were a distant third and fourth respectively. Rounding out the top 10 (in descending order) was Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Rusty Wallace and Kevin Harvick. More than 40 drivers received fan votes. Elliott, the 1988 Winston Cup champion, has won NASCAR’s two biggest races on the circuit, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of all time and was the first Winston Cup driver on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The Most Popular Driver Award dates back to 1956. It began as a simple poll of the drivers and grew to incorporate all NASCAR Winston Cup competitors. Later, it included all NASCAR members. Today, it’s a prestigious award voted on by racing fans nationwide. Through the years, voters’ choices have ranged from the obvious to the surprising. The only driver close to matching Elliott’s 16 most popular wins is Richard Petty, who’s won nine times. Other past winners have included such notables as Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.(Business Wire via Yahoo), sorry have not seen any vote breakdown for the top 10 and have not seen anything past the top ten listed here.(12-6-2002)
  • Stewart Buys Zippy a ‘Vette: Tony Stewart began today by giving something extremely nice to his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli. When Stewart and Zipadelli first began working together at Joe Gibbs Racing in 1999, Stewart told his crew chief that if they ever won a championship, Stewart would buy Zipadelli a new Chevrolet Corvette. It was a promise that Zipadelli had forgotten about, but Stewart made good on it Friday morning, surprising Zipadelli by having a brand new red ‘Vette brought to the Park Avenue entrance of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the headquarters for NASCAR championship week activities. Just after 10:30 a.m., Stewart walked Zipadelli outside to present him with the keys to the car.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-6-2002)
  • Kenny signs with IWC: Kenny Wallace and Speed Channel have signed a 1 year contract to place Kenny as the Official Permanent Guest Host of the show “Inside Winston Cup”. If Johnny Benson, Michael Waltrip or Ken Schrader can’t make the show, Wallace will be on the show as a replacement. Alan Bestwick hosts the show, which airs on Monday’s at 7:00pm/et on Speed Channel. Wallace will also be appearing every Sunday on RPM 2 Night on ESPN2 starting at Daytona. He will tape the segment after the drivers meeting on Sunday mornings.(KWR PR)(12-6-2002)
  • Marlin being sued: A Massachusetts man filed a federal lawsuit last week in Middle Tennessee’s U.S. District Court against professional NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin, a resident of Maury County. Joel Whitcomb, a native of Pittsfield, Mass., is seeking damages in the amount of $350,000 for injuries allegedly sustained in a beachfront brawl last year during the fourth annual Race Fans Beach Bash in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The Beach Bash invites NASCAR fans to attend a multi-day event in which they participate in recreational and leisure activities with various professional drivers. Whitcomb claims Marlin assaulted him during a women’s tug-of-war match in which Whitcomb, Marlin and their spouses were taking part during the Beach Bash. Whitcomb alleges that Marlin, who was coaching the team opposing that of Whitcomb’s wife during the tug-of-war game, physically attacked him during the match after Whitcomb accused Marlin of cheating and helping the women on his team. Whitcomb’s suit claims that he suffered extensive physical injuries after being thrown into shallow water by Marlin, including a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder and torn ligaments in his knee. He claims medical expenses that amount to nearly $34,000.(The City Paper)(12-6-2002)
  • Larry Foyt Tests Winston Cup Car/Decision on one or two teams in Jan: Larry Foyt took his first laps in a NASCAR Winston Cup car Monday at Caraway Speedway, a .455-mile banked oval in Asheboro, NC. The one-day test was primarily a shakedown run to see how the 25-year-old BGN driver would adapt to the cars in NASCAR’s premier series. By all accounts, the test went very well. Foyt logged over 200 laps and ran competitive times compared to Stacy Compton, who tested the Conseco Pontiac at the track early in the year. “There wasn’t a real big difference between the Cup car and my Harrah’s Busch car,” Foyt said. “But I did like having the extra horsepower. The Cup car also felt more drivable, I could hustle it around more. There were a couple of times I got it sideways and if that had been my Busch car, I would have spun, but with the extra power, I could drive out of it. It was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed driving it.” Plans for the 2003 season won’t be finalized until later this month. The Foyt Racing team expects to make an announcement in mid-January.(Foyt Racing PR)(12-6-2002)
  • UPS Honors its Scholarship recipients: With the official close of the 2002 Winston Cup season at hand with tonight’s championship banquet, UPS is recognizing its five UPS Racing Technical Edge Scholarship recipients. These future minority NASCAR drivers, crew members and technicians are currently enrolled in the new NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresville, N.C., and are receiving the benefits of these UPS scholarship funds totaling $80,000. The scholarship program unites two important UPS goals: to encourage diversity and advance educational opportunity. UPS, an avid supporter of the sport’s growing and diverse fan base, actively participates on the NASCAR Diversity Council and is working to introduce minority supplier opportunities to NASCAR. During the enrollment process for NTI, UPS scholarship recipients were selected based on financial need, automotive work experience and automotive-related career goals. Five more minority students will participate in the program next year. Among the recipients is Lael McMurry, a 19-year old woman from Tularosa, N.M. McMurry holds a lifelong passion for stock car racing, a devotion that has taken her from learning about automotive technology to actually competing on local racetracks for the past four years. To fulfill her desire to work at Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI), whose founder is also Lael’s long-time role model, she began classes at the NASCAR Technical Institute in August and plans to graduate in September 2003.
    Additional UPS Racing Technical Edge Scholarship Recipients include:
    Reginald Douthit, Winston-Salem, N.C.: Douthit began taking classes at the NTI when it opened in July and forecasts an August 2003 graduation. Pursuing a career in automobile racing, he has already completed a two-year automotive body repair course. He is a Kevin Harvick fan and aspires to work with a Winston Cup team in the future.
    Cody Brown, Dandridge, Tenn.: Following high school graduation, Brown began taking classes at the NTI in September and expects to complete his course work by October 2003. He has always enjoyed working on cars and hopes to land with a racing team.
    Arnold Lettsome Jr., Lithonia, Ga.: A Service Advisor and Technician for more than one year at Stone Mountain Toyota, Lettsome is currently working at Napa Auto Care Center in Mooresville, Ga., and began taking classes at the NTI in mid-October. He is planning to graduate in November 2003 with long-term goals to work for a car dealership and eventually open his own automotive shop. Lettsome credits his uncle, an automotive technician, for helping to fuel his passion for this field.
    Hai Link “Mike” Ngo, Clover, S.C.: Following his attendance at Central Piedmont Community College where he studied automotive body and refinish, Ngo enrolled at the NTI this summer. He expects to graduate in September 2003 and then attend the Volkswagen Graduate program, where he hopes to earn a position at a Volkswagen dealership in California.(Business Wire)(12-6-2002)
  • Lots of TV coverage at Daytona by Fox/Speed: Next February, the Daytona 500 will get its greatest level of coverage yeat as FOX Sports and its family of networks will open the NASCAR racing season with more than 75 hours of programming from Daytona SpeedWeeks, leading up to the season-opening Daytona 500 live on FOX on Feb. 16. The unprecedented coverage, shared by FOX, FX, Fox Sports Net and SPEED Channel, includes nearly 50 hours of on-track coverage and another 20-plus hours of studio programming, marking a dramatic increase in programming hours from 2001, when FOX offered 43 hours during its network premiere from Daytona. In addition to complete coverage of the Daytona 500, network programming will be highlighted by live coverage of the 70-lap Bud Shootout (Feb. 8, FOX), presented for the first time in prime time, and the debut of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED Channel (Feb. 14). Other programming highlights include live coverage of the Feb. 8 ARCA race (SPEED), the Feb. 9 Goodies Dash race (SPEED), the Feb. 13 Gatorade Twin 125s (FX) and the Feb. 15 NASCAR Busch Series race (FOX). The FOX Sports networks also will provide live coverage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series qualifying (FOX, SPEED), as well as Winston Cup Happy Hour (FX) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying (SPEED). Joining Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds in blanketing NASCAR coverage at the beach will be studio analysts Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond, along with pit reporters Jeanne Zelasko, Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum and Steve Byrnes. SPEED Channel, now available in 59 million North American households, is the home of NASCAR TV and is the fastest growing sports cable network in the U.S. SPEED will be in Daytona for NASCAR testing throughout January and will open the SpeedWeeks programming Feb. 7 with several studio shows and coverage of Bud Shootout practice. SPEED also will kick off its popular weekly programming lineup, including the live Friday Trackside program with Darrell Waltrip, Hammond and Byrnes and Monday’s Inside Winston Cup with Allen Bestwick, Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader and Johnny Benson. Fox Sports Net, now in more than 82 million homes, kicks off its NASCAR coverage on Feb. 9 with the debut of NASCAR This Morning at 10:30 a.m. ET. Another edition of NASCAR This Morning will air Feb. 16, the morning of the Daytona 500. The FSN program Totally NASCAR also returns with weeknight airings beginning Feb. 10. (Speed Channel), see the full schedule for Daytona at FoxSports.(12-6-2002)
  • NASCAR Broadcasts Continue to Generate Huge Exposure Results for Corporate Sponsors: Despite 16 fewer cable replays devoted to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 2002 and slightly lower advertising rates, sponsors still managed to post impressive television exposure statistics, as 1,132 corporate entities earned a cumulative $3.7 billion of comparable exposure value down just 5% from 2001’s record setting year-end figure. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates’ Sponsors Report — which specializes in documenting exposure received by corporate entities during national television broadcasts — sponsors accumulated more than 437 hours of on-screen time and 11,700 verbal references during the 59 telecasts (including replays) devoted to the series by Fox, NBC and their respective cable partners in 2002.. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the amount of time each sponsor appears clear and in-focus, as well as all mentions of sponsors, to the cost of purchasing a commercial during the network’s broadcast. While sponsor mentions fell for the second straight season (-6.2%), total on-screen time was at an all-time high in the series, increasing by more than 80 hours, or 22.5% over the 2001 broadcast season tally.. One of the largest factors for this year’s surge in on-screen time was the networks’ increased utilization of sponsored running order graphics segments which appeared at the top of the screen during the racing action.. 2001 saw the segments account for 2.5 hours of on-screen time and $30.7 million, while those figures rose to 82 hours and $626 million in 2002. For the second-straight season, Budweiser won the exposure battle among primary team sponsors, with a comparable value of $166.4 million, nearly $1 million over the beer brand’s total from 2001. Meanwhile, Lowe’s ($91 million) and the main sponsor behind Tony Stewart’s 2002 championship effort, The Home Depot ($83.7 million), broke into the year-end top-five for the first time, finishing second and third, respectively.(Joyce Julius and Associates PR)(12-6-2002)

    (12-5-2002)

  • #41 Driver? UPDATE 6 Official – Mears in the #41: …..have heard that Chip Ganassi hired Jimmy Elledge to be the crew chief for the 41 car, which is the car that Jimmy Spencer drove, and Ganassi is attempting to sell to Target that they need to put a veteran, Bobby Hamilton, in that car. Elledge/Hamilton is the package that went together at the 55 car.(FoxSports)
    UPDATE: However sources tell me that Hamilton will NOT be the new #41 driver.(11-26-2002)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing that Hank Parker Jr and Todd Bodine are out of the running for the ride.(11-27-2002)
    UPDATE 3: stated in a Fox Sports column by Larry McReynolds (contradicts a source): With Bobby Hamilton landing at the #41, the final few pieces of the Silly Season puzzle are: What is Casey Atwood going to do? (Busch) Where’s Ken Schrader going to go? (APR or without a ride)(FoxSports)(12-2-2002)
    UPDATE 4: being told the driver being looked at is BGN driver, Casey Mears maybe??.(12-4-2002)
    UPDATE 5: hearing BGN driver, Casey Mears will be the driver of the #41 Tagret Dodge, with an announcement coming today or tomorrow.(12-5-2002)
    UPDATE 6: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that Casey Mears will drive the #41 Target Dodge in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series with veteran Jimmy Elledge performing the crew chief duties. “The addition of Casey adds a lot of excitement and energy to the team,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “Our company is about winning races and adding value to our sponsor’s investments and we’re confident that Casey’s work ethic and talent coupled with Jimmy’s experience can help us do just that for Target.” The 2002 season marked Mears’ first year in the BGN [#66 Phillips Dodge] and his first full season running stock cars. He captured two top-10 finishes in his first season and finished 21st in driver points. Mears’ racing background includes CART and IRL racing from 1996 to 2001. In 1995, he captured the Jim Russell USAC Triple Crown Championship after finishing third in 1994. Casey is the nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Rick Mears. “I’m excited to be starting my Winston Cup career with Target Chip Ganassi Racing,” Mears said. “This is a great opportunity for me to be a part of a first-class organization that is dedicated to winning championships. I am especially excited to drive for Target. They have had a long, successful relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing and I’m looking forward to giving them more success in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.” Jimmy Elledge comes to Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates after spending four years in the crew chief role at Andy Petree Racing.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-5-2002)
  • Medical Update of Sterling Marlin: Dr. Jerry Petty, neurosurgeon, and Dr. Dom Coric, spinal injury specialist, of the Carolina Neurological and Spinal Injury Clinic, performed a medical update on Sterling Marlin the morning of Wednesday, December 5. Dr. Petty and Dr. Coric have cleared Marlin to begin racing again. Today, Marlin’s CAT scan clearly showed healing of the C2 vertebra. Marlin will begin testing the #40 Coors Light Dodge at Talladega Superspeedway on December 9 and 10. During this time, Marlin will be fitted for the HANS device. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates certified athletic trainer, Al Shuford M.Ed,A.T.,C.-L, will continue working with Marlin on a stretch/strengthening program. Marlin suffered a non-displaced fracture of the #2 cervical vertebra as a result of his accident at Kansas Speedway on September 29. Due to the injury, Marlin was sidelined for the remainder of the 2002 season and Jamie McMurray took over driving responsibilities in the #40 Coors Light Dodge.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-5-2002)
  • Dale Earnhardt Legacy Series logo: Action Performance announced an agreement with Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Inc. to showcase the new Dale Earnhardt Legacy Series logo on a special-edition die-cast race car. The Dale Earnhardt Legacy Series logo honors Earnhardt’s winning spirit by showcasing the Intimidator at his finest – arms outstretched in victorious celebration. The Legacy Series logo is a prominent feature on the limited edition black-and-red toned die-cast. Additionally, the Legacy Series die-cast car salutes Earnhardt’s signature “E” with a unique stripe mark featured on the body. Action will release the Earnhardt Legacy Series die-cast in a variety of prized collector scales. In 2003, the “E” stripe design also will be incorporated as an intricate part of every DEI race car paint scheme, including vehicles driven by the #1, #8 and #15 race teams [see my Paint Scheme Gallery for the images]. Every product released as part of the Dale Earnhardt Legacy Series will include specially designed packaging that incorporates the new logo on a hologram sticker. The agreement between Action and DEI also ensures future production of Earnhardt Legacy Series die-cast vehicle editions and other related merchandise. The Earnhardt Legacy Program will include the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, which will target various charities he contributed to during his life. Also planned is the early-2003 launch of a new official Earnhardt website, www.daleearnhardtinc.com that will have up-to-date news about the foundation, plus photos, clips and statistics pertaining to The Intimidator’s career.(Action Performance PR)(12-5-2002)

  • The King and Kyle Honored: Kyle Petty, son of NASCARs other seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Richard Petty, accepted the Buddy Shuman Award on his father’s behalf. The Buddy Shuman Award, a lifetime achievement type of honor, is named for the late Shuman, a NASCAR driver who died in a hotel fire in 1955. Jay Burkhart, vice president of marketing for Federal Mogul, presented the award. Kyle Petty said the inclement weather hitting much of the nation this week kept his father back home in North Carolina. “You know ˜The King”,” Kyle said. “He’s a man of few words, but here’s what he did say: ˜If it’s gonna snow, I’d rather be snowed in at home, than in New York City.”
    Kyle then returned to the stage several minutes later to receive the True Value Person of the Year Award from Pamela Lieberman, president and CEO of True Serve Corporation. Petty, Jeff Gordon, Ken Schrader and Ricky Craven were the four nominees for the award, which recognizes drivers who have excelled in humanitarian efforts. Kyle earned high marks in that area, with his annual Kyle Petty Charity (motorcycle) Ride Across America, and the ongoing establishment of the Victory Junction Gang Camp for seriously ill children among his charitable venture.(NASCAR PR)(12-5-2002)
  • Atwood Released UPDATE Not released?: NASCAR Winston Cup team [#9,#19,#91] owner Ray Evernham has informed driver Casey Atwood he is free to seek other employment options for 2003. An Evernham Motorsports spokesperson Monday said Evernham, who plans to field a two-car Winston Cup team next season for drivers Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield, indicated he would sit down with Atwood after the holidays and discuss the resolution of the final year of Atwood’s contract. Atwood, 22, drove Evernham’s #19 Dodge in 2001. This season, he drove Jim Smith’s #7 Dodge, in which Evernham became a partner to facilitate Atwood’s continued development. After Atwood struggled through 34 races, with a best finish of 11th and in 33rd in the driver standings, Smith released him and Evernham and Smith dissolved their partnership. BGN [#27, #37] owner Clarence Brewer, for whom Atwood won twice in 1999 and in 2000 before he went to Evernham Motorsports, has said he would like to rehire Atwood pending the resolution of his deal with Evernham.(NASCAR.com)(12-2-2002)
    UPDATE: A number of NASCAR racing Web sites have reported that Nashville’s Casey Atwood was fired by Ray Evernham earlier this week, but Atwood’s father yesterday said those reports are incorrect. ”Casey has not been fired,” Terry Atwood said. ”Casey’s lawyers are talking with Evernham’s lawyers. Nothing has been decided.” The holdup in the official announcement might be the remaining year on Atwood’s original three-year contract with Evernham Motorsports. That remaining year could be worth a substantial sum to Atwood, 22, if Evernham is forced to buy it out. Other legal issues also could be involved: Evernham shuffled Atwood into a non-competitive third car this season. That car was co-owned by Jim Smith, who replaced Atwood with another driver with two races left in the season. Evernham has refused to discuss the situation. What happens to Atwood if he’s fired by Evernham is unclear.(Tennessean)(12-5-2002)
  • Waltrip Hood to the Pentagon UPDATE: NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series driver Michael Waltrip will donate the hood of the car baring the Phoenix Project logo that he drove at the Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 6, 2002 to the Pentagon. The special presentation will be made at the Pentagon’s Phoenix site Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 10:00am/et. Phoenix Project Manager Will Colston will accept the hood on behalf of the Pentagon. The Daytona 500 winner is making the donation in remembrance and recognition of the sacrifices of those who lost their lives in the terroist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the resilience shown by those who rebuilt the Pentagon.(DefenseLink)(12-3-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip said he may have dropped a couple of slots at the Sept. 6 race at Richmond International Raceway to keep it in good condition, but yesterday he presented the Pentagon with the uncrumpled hood of the race car he drove that day. Blazoned across the purple hood is the Pentagon Phoenix Project’s emblem, an image of the five-sided building with smoke pouring out of a gash and a red phoenix, the mythological symbol of rebirth after fire, rising over it. Underneath it in big white letters is “Let’s Roll.” Waltrip drove the car with the emblem that day not only in honor of the 183 people who died when a terrorist-controlled jetliner crashed into the Pentagon but also to salute the workers who labored to have the building reconstructed. He finished eighth in that race. “It’s a short track, and a lot of times you run into each other,” he said as he toured the Pentagon with his wife, Buffy, and 5-year-old daughter, Macy. “So I was more concerned about having a hood left when all was said and done.” Now the Pentagon has to find a permanent place to display the hood somewhere among its 17 miles of corridors.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(12-5-2002)
  • Childress to build Fairgrounds Speedway engines UPDATE: Weekly racing at Fairgrounds Speedway [Nashville] next season will undergo the most radical change in the track’s 44-year history when standard engines are issued to all competitors in the top two divisions. Track President Dennis Grau yesterday said every team in the Late Model and Supertruck divisions will be required to use track-issued ”crate motors” which are intended to cut costs, balance the competition and reduce cheating. The engines will be built by Richard Childress Racing and sold through the track at a cost of $5,000. Grau said teams in the premier divisions this season have been spending $15,000-$25,000 per engine. He said the track will not earn a profit from the sale of the engines. The engines will be sealed, which will discourage illegal tampering.(Tennessean)(11-26-2002)
    UPDATE: been told by RCR that the team will NOT be building these engines.(11-27-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Fairgrounds Speedway President Dennis Grau said Richard Childress Racing will not build the standardized ”crate motors” for the track’s top divisions as he had originally been told. ”My original understanding was the motors would be built by RCR, but I have since learned that they will be manufactured and distributed by GM Performance out of Detroit,” Grau said. All drivers in the Late Model and SuperTruck divisions at the Fairgrounds will be required to use the motors by midseason. Grau said eight teams already have purchased the motors.(Tennessean)(12-5-2002)
  • Cheever to race at Daytona 500? Eddie Cheever Jr. settled the speculation today by announcing several new ventures, including plans to compete in the Daytona 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003. “It’s probable that I’ll be scaling back on the driving part of it to concentrate more on the business ventures,” Cheever said. “I’ll definitely be running Indy, but I’ll be cutting back on IRL races. I’m also looking into the idea of running Daytona and LeMans.”(Speed Channel) wonder if he meant the 24 hours of Daytona?(12-5-2002)
  • Kyle Honored: Kyle Petty was presented with the 2002 March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year Award at the March of Dimes 11th Annual Sports Luncheon, held at the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom [in NYC]. The award punctuated a season of competitive resurgence for the younger Petty, who drives the #45 Sprint Dodge. Petty finished this season 22nd in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship standings, riding the crest of a remarkable consistency over the balance of the 36-race season. The key statistic: Petty failed to finish only one race. Of course, Petty has become synonymous with more than racing. His annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America (on motorcycles) has raised over $3 million for children’s charities across the United States. In honor of his late son Adam, Petty and his wife Pattie are in the process of establishing the Victory Junction Gang Camp for seriously ill children. That sort of thing was the “bell-ringer” for the March of Dimes, said NASCAR President Mike Helton, who spoke at the luncheon. Petty, Helton pointed out during his speech, is the first NASCAR competitor to receive the March of Dimes award. “Kyle is truly a great ambassador for all sports,” Helton said. He has had a great deal of success over the years [in racing], but what he is best known for throughout the sport is using his fame to help others. In professional sports the product is the sport itself. The success of the sport depends on the character of those who choose to participate in it. Motorsports, in particular NASCAR, has been fortunate to have the Petty family members as participants… Kyle has elevated the Petty name to a new plateau.”(NASCAR PR)(12-5-2002)
  • DW to the White House At the personal invitation of President Bush, Darrell and Stevie Waltrip will attend a Christmas reception Thursday evening [Dec 5th] at the White House with the President and First Lady.(12-5-2002)

    (12-4-2002)

  • Snowball Derby: not NASCAR but I always give it a mention since I started the site – It is time for the 35th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola (FL) and Short Track Racing’s leading website, 51SportsRacing.com, is ready to bring its fans all of the coverage, from day one, all the way to the checkered flag on Sunday afternoon (Dec 5–8). In addition to the behind-the-scenes coverage from the 51 team, its editor, Bob Dillner, will also be covering the events for Speed Channel.  The television camera will be at Five Flags Speedway to capture qualifying, the Snowflake 100 on Saturday night and the grand finale on Sunday afternoon, The Snowball Derby.  Dillner will also conduct interviews with the winners of each of those races.  Highlights and results from the weekend’s action are scheduled to be seen on Speed News on Sunday (December 8th) at 7pm.  A more in-depth look at the Snowball Derby is planned for Speed News the following Sunday (December 15, also at 7pm). In an agreement with the Five Flags Speedway last month, it was announced that 51SportsRacing.com will serve as the official site of the Snowball Derby’s Late Model coverage.  51’s team of four, including Jeremy Troiano, Matthew Dillner, Jayson Kaplan and Bob (Dillner will be at the Snowball Derby Saturday and Sunday only) will be on hand for all four day’s of action at the historic event.   The website has already undergone a special “Snowball Derby look” for the week’s activities. Fast Eddies Fun Center of Pensacola will kick off the week with its “Snowball Showdown” on Wednesday evening.  The stars of the Snowball Derby will face-off against each other and then some will challenge the fans to a match-race that pays $125 to the winner.  After that race, the fun begins at Five Flags Speedway and 51SportsRacing.com for the 35thannual Snowball Derby.(see more info at the 51SportsRacing.com site or at the track site: www.snowballderby.com), some of the drivers entered include: Wayne Anderson; Rich Bickle; Kyle Busch; Bobby Gill; Hal Goodson; Dave Mader; Clay Rogers; Stanley Smith; and Gary St. Amant(12-4-2002)
  • #22 Crew Changes: being told by #22 team sources that two crew members were fired and two left after former crew chief Tommy Baldwin tried getting the whole over the wall gang and many shop personnel. The whole crew didn’t leave as was reported.(12-4-2002)
  • Stewart visits FDNY and NYPD: NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, along with crew chief Greg Zipadelli, paid tribute Tuesday to some of America’s real heroes – the firefighters and police officers of New York City. Stewart and Zipadelli spent the majority of the afternoon visiting with some of the heroes who were crucial during the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City. Their first visit was to the Midtown Precinct of the New York Police Department (NYPD), located on 54th Street. They met with a group of police officers, inspectors and detectives and exchanged gifts. Stewart and Zipadelli passed out autographed championship and Home Depot hats while they received NYPD apparel in return.(FoxSports), see images there and another story and more images at NASCAR.com.(12-4-2002)
  • Stewart Sporting News Driver of the Year: The Sporting News announced today that Stewart has been chosen as the NASCAR Driver of the Year, a noteworthy prize since the award is voted on by his fellow drivers. Stewart received 39% of the first-place votes while Jimmie Johnson garnered 22% of the first-place votes. “It’s an honor to have my fellow drivers vote me as their Driver of the Year,” Stewart said. “Earning the championship was great, but having the respect of the people we race with 38 weekends of the year means everything. I’m truly grateful for this award because there are plenty of other deserving candidates in the NASCAR Winston Cup garage.” Other winners announced were Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the recipient of the Dale Earnhardt Toughest Driver of the Year; Ryan Newman as Rookie of the Year; Jack Roush as Owner of the Year; Mark Martin as Comeback Driver; Matt Borland as Crew Chief of the Year; and Matt Kenseth’s #17 team as Pit Crew of the Year.(NASCAR PR) See stories at the Sporting News – TSN’s Driver of the Year: Tony Stewart and TSN’s NASCAR awards.(12-4-2002)
  • Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig Win 2002 IRWIN Crew Chief of the Year Honors: Solid efforts and yearlong consistency both on the track and in the pits were the formulas for success that crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig used to win this year’s IRWIN “Crew Chief of the Year” honors. For winning the honor, IRWIN, makers of professional power tool accessories like MARATHON saw blades and SPEEDBOR flat bits, will donate $5,000 to the Ellerbe, N.C. Educational Fund in their names. See rundown and more on my Pit Crew page.(Golin/Harris International PR)(12-4-2002)
  • Elledge to the #41? UPDATE 4 official and…: hearing that #55 crew chief Jimmy Elledge could be moving to the #41 team, especially if Hamiton goes there as the driver.(11-13-2002)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Elledge has said he won’t return as crew chief for Andy Petree’s #55, and it’s possible that if Ken Schrader moves to that car, he’ll bring Newt Moore, his chief from the #36.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Elledge has been hired as the new #41 crew chief, no word on Randolph’s 2003 plans.(11-20-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Elledge has been hired as the crew chief for the #41 Target Dodge, also leading to speculation that Bobby Hamilton, who worked with Elledge at the #55 could be the next driver if the #41 car.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-22-2002)
    UPDATE 4 – officially named and Ganassi crew moves: Jimmy Elledge started work Monday as the crew chief for Chip Ganassi Racing’s #41 Target Dodges. Ganassi, who has made several crew moves among his three NASCAR Winston Cup teams, hopes to announce a driver for the #41 within the next two weeks. In other moves at Ganassi Racing, Mike Brill, the car chief for Sterling Marlin’s #40 Coors Light Dodge, has been moved over to serve the same role for Jamie McMurray on the #42 Havoline Dodge. Long-time #40 general mechanic Todd Osborne has been promoted to work with crew chief Lee McCall as Marlin’s car chief. Ganassi also expects to announce a veteran crew chief for McMurray’s program by early next week.(NASCAR.com), Donnie Wingo is rumored as the #42 crew chief.(12-4-2002)
  • George Gets Award: General Motors presented its prestigious GM Racing Pioneer Award to the Hulman-George family and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Dec. 3 at the 2002 SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference and Exposition in Indianapolis. The presentation is historic, as it is the first time the award has been presented to anyone outside of the General Motors company. “There can be no more appropriate recipient of the GM Racing Pioneer Award than the Hulman-George family,” said Steve Shannon, executive director of GM Racing. “All of those who have been associated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway‚s long history of pioneering leadership in the advancement of auto racing safety are part of a distinguished group.” Some of the innovations pioneered by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway include the installation of the first red and yellow warning lights, the first mandatory wearing of helmets, the first mandatory fire-retardant driver suits and car roll bars, and the first application of crash data recorders. And again just this past year, IMS initiated the first application of the SAFER Barrier.(American Race Fan.com)(12-4-2002)
  • Race Fans Beach Bash: The Fourth Annual Air Jamaica Vacations Race Fans Beach Bash came to a close last weekend and once again it was filled with fans, festivities and.a fun time for everyone. The drivers, crew chiefs, media and fans spent the week in Montego Bay, Jamaica teamed up with one another on one of eight teams.competing in Beach Activities, Volleyball.and telling stories while dancing the night away. The celebrity list included: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Park, Mike Skinner, Brett Bodine, Shawna Robinson, Larry McReynolds, Ron Hornaday Jr, Randy LaJoie, Larry Foyt, Christian Elder, Lee McCall, Tommy Baldwin, Kevin Grubb, Tony Lambert, Shane Hmiel, Kelly Denton, Andy Santerre, Matt Yocum, Josh Richeson, Ron Hornaday III, and Jason Small. 450 fans from all over the US came down to join their favorite.personalities involved in Motorsports for a getaway after an exhausting season. Photos and recaps can be read on www.beachbash2002.com.(12-4-2002)

    (12-3-2002)

  • Different number and manu? hearing the #60 NetZero Haas CNC Racing Chevy team may become the #0 NetZero Haas CNC Racing Pontiac team for driver Jack Sprague in 2003?? #0 for Net’Zero’.(12-3-2002)
  • 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)
  • Stewart Meets With the President Monday UPDATE: President Bush is honoring NASCAR champion and auto racing’s reigning bad boy Tony Stewart, adding a sport with a prized voter profile to the list of winners who get his White House treatment. Last year’s NASCAR champ, Jeff Gordon, got no presidential honors. But “NASCAR dads” became the demographic du jour in the last election. They are white, working-class men who admire Bush but who can often be persuaded to vote Democratic if the issues are right. NASCAR is particularly popular in the South and Midwest, two regions that generally favored the president in his 2000 election and that he must protect for his re-election. Stewart secured the title Nov. 17 by crossing the line at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and just two weeks later, Bush was paying him tribute today in the Oval Office. By contrast, the National Hockey League champion Detroit Red Wings had to wait five months for their White House visit. Bush invariably reminds sports champs who are invited to the White House about their responsibilities to the young people who idolize them. He told the Red Wings last month, “It’s one thing to be the champion on the ice; it’s another thing to be a champion living your lives.” With Stewart, Bush was honoring a champion with a history of violent confrontations. Stewart was placed on probation after punching a photographer in August. He was fined $10,000 by NASCAR and $50,000 by his sponsor, Home Depot, and underwent anger-management counseling. He apologized for bumping another photographer on the eve of his championship victory last month. The White House invited photographers, but not reporters, to the get-together. That meant Bush planned no speech honoring Stewart.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(12-2-2002)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart kicked off his Champion’s Week in grand fashion Monday as he visited the White House and met President George W. Bush. Stewart, the 31-year-old from Rushville, Ind., met with President Bush for about 15 minutes and signed and presented one of his Home Depot racing helmets. “It was quite humbling,” Stewart said following his visit. “It was a very grateful feeling in that short amount of time with the President. He made us feel like one of the guys – except that he has a lot of power. I was a lot more nervous going to the big red (NASCAR) trailer than making the trip to the Oval Office. It was very flattering to have the private time he spent with us.” Stewart was joined on the visit by his girlfriend, Jaime Schaffer; team owner Joe Gibbs and his wife, Pat; crew chief Greg Zipadelli and his wife, Nan; and The Home Depot President/CEO Robert L. Nardelli. “It was an awesome experience standing in the Oval Office, and we were very fortunate to be in the same room as the President,” Gibbs said. “All of us were very impressed by how approachable he was. We were all excited, especially Tony.”(FoxSports and see images there)(12-3-2002)
  • Congrats Big Ed Watkins, jackman at Evernham Motorsports for #19 of Jeremy Mayfield, got married during Thanksgiving, the bride is Vonda Duke of Atlanta, GA.(12-3-2002)
  • More Mikey Stuff: Michael and Buffy Waltrip, owners of the #99 BGN Aaron’s Dream Machine, held a fundraiser titled, “Party with the Posse,” in an effort to raise money for four local charities. Waltrip refers to the crew that makes up Michael Waltrip Racing as the, “Sherrills Ford Posse.” The first annual Posse event, held the first week in October around the UAW-GM Quality 400, raised over $73,000 benefiting the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire & Rescue, Victory Junction Gang, the Busch Series Ladies Association, and Michael Waltrip Incorporated (MWI) employee, Randall Bradford. The idea for this event first came together when Waltrip vowed to assist Bradford, a long-time MWI team member with medical expenses which have built up during his continuing battle with cancer. The afternoon’s events were highlighted with an auction and a three-hour autograph session with appearances by Michael and Darrell Waltrip (“DW”), Sterling Marlin, Steve Park, Ken Schrader, Johnny Benson, Harry Gant, Busch Series Champions Greg Biffle and Randy Lajoie, and many more NASCAR favorites. Waltrip kicked off the auction by asking his older brother Darrell to join him in auctioning off a chrome “DW”-autographed helmet, as well as helmets belonging to and signed by former Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Sterling Marlin and Waltrip donated their personal helmets worn themselves at Talladega Superspeedway the weekend before the auction.(Champion Sports Group PR)(12-3-2002)
  • Bodine not back at Phoenix? hearing that Phoenix Racing (#09 Ford in 2002) will run a Dodge in a few selected Cup races in 2003 and Geoffrey Bodine will not be back with the team. Supposedly Bodine has a 12-20 race sponsorship from Miccosukee Indian Gaming, no word on what team he may run for.(12-3-2002)
  • Hometown Tribute to Earnhardt More Than A Place to Visit: Cabarrus County, the “racing side of Charlotte,” just 15 minutes north of Lowe’s Motor Speedway has a new destination with special meaning to Dale Earnhardt, Sr. fans. Earnhardt’s hometown of Kannapolis unveiled their 9-foot, 900-pound, bronze statue of Earnhardt and four wall-sized murals by motor sports artist Sam Bass in October 2002. Fans will find that the Kannapolis Tribute is more than just a place to visit. Through participation in the sponsorship program, fans can help build the Tribute. The Dale Earnhardt Tribute Steering Committee and the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau launched the sponsorship program at the same time as the unveilings. Fans can order an engraved brick for a contribution of $75 or sponsor a perimeter garden area for $250, a bench for $500, a welcome column for $750, a legend garden space for $1,000, a section of the seat wall surrounding the statue for $2,000 or a section of the steps leading up to the statue for $5,000. Both elements of the Tribute are located in Cannon Village, Kannapolis’ downtown. Dale Earnhardt Plaza is on Main St. The Dale Earnhardt Tribute Center by Sam Bass is located a block away in the Cannon Village Visitor Center on West Ave. Work on the Kannapolis Tribute began in March 2001 when Kannapolis was visited by thousands of fans after Earnhardt died. They came to Kannapolis to feel a connection with their hero. The decision was made to fund the Tribute through private donations. In all, over $115,000 has been raised and an additional $74,000 in services contributed.(see more at the City of Kannapolis Site)(12-3-2002)
  • Sad News: Legendary Canadian drag racer Herbie ‘Go-Fast’ Rodgers passed away recently after complications from a long and courageous battle with cancer. Rodgers campaigned the ‘Flying Glass’ Alcohol Funny Car for many years with a great deal of success, the most notable being the big win at the IHRA Empire Nationals in New York in 1993. Rodgers was also invited by NHRA to attend the Suzuka circuit in Japan in the mid-1990’s as a Canadian competitor. Rodgers’s last runs were at the Featherlite Can-Am Nationals at St. Thomas Dragway last June 29 & 30 where he recorded two six second passes at over 200mph. Rodgers is survived by long-time wife and best friend ‘Toots’ (real name Elaine) and daughters Jackie and Stacey. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Logan Chapel at 371 Dundas St. in London. Visitation will be held Monday from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 with the funeral Tuesday at 11.00am.(Drag Race Canada)
    AND Services for Bill Hielscher, who was synonymous with North Texas drag racing from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, will be at 11:00am Wednesday at Highland Meadows Christian Church, 2600 Hall Johnson Road in Colleyville. Mr. Hielscher died Thursday from complications of lung disease at Baylor Medical Center at Grapevine. He was 67. While Mr. Hielscher was a Hall of Fame racer who operated racetracks in eight states, he is best known to many as the owner of Green Valley Raceway in North Richland Hills. The track and its owner became icons of radio advertising for the high-energy promotions announcing events coming “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday” during their heyday. Mr. Hielscher twice set a speed record for a Corvette at the Bonneville Salt Flats, once early in his career and once in retirement. During his career, he won 37 American Hot Rod Association championship races, nine of them in one year, set 110 AHRA records for the quarter-mile and eighth-mile courses, and won the AHRA World Points championship seven times. From 1968 to 1972, he raced under the name of Mr. Bardahl. He raced for 6 ½ years before buying Green Valley Raceway in 1972. The drag strip became a haven for high school kids testing their street rods, as well as the site of championships for the AHRA and the National Hot Rod Association. Daredevil Evel Knievel performed a record motorcycle jump at the track for a national live broadcast of ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Memorials may be made to The Racers Chapel, Texas Raceway, P.O. Box 690, Kennedale, TX 76060.(Dallas Morning News)(12-3-2002)


    (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)
  • Ford to Test at Kentucky: Ford Racing has scheduled Winston Cup testing at Kentucky Speedway tomorrow. The track doesn’t say which teams are expected to be on hand, but Ford has signed a two-year deal that gives its teams a chance to test there every Tuesday. While the session is not open to the public, the track’s Web site says fans can watch from the front of the visitor center, located in the corner of turn three.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-2-2002)
  • Crew Moves: hearing [not a big surprise] that many of the crew of the #22 Bill Davis Racing Team are laving and moving to the #7 Ultra Motorsports team where former crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr is now working, others going to different teams.(11-27-2002)
    UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin, the new crew chief for Jimmy Spencer [not officially named yet] in Jim Smith’s Ultra Motorsports #7 car, has kind of cleaned the walls of people. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, I don’t know how many and I don’t know who, but I hear a substantial amount of guys that worked with him on the #22 car have moved to Bill Davis Racing to work with him. It’s not highly unusual because it’s almost like when a head football coach changes teams, a lot of times a lot of his assistants go with him.(FoxSports)(12-2-2002)
  • NASCAR College Tour hits the road: The NASCAR College Tour presented by the Coca-Cola Company will kick off Tuesday with a visit to North Carolina A&T. The tour, which is designed to build awareness about the motorsports industry and its exciting career opportunities, will visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions. Dr. Marcus Tillery, chairman of North Carolina A&T and head of the manufacturing systems department, will serve as host. “The NASCAR College Tour presented by the Coca-Cola Company will allow North Carolina A&T students to meet leading industry representatives and learn more about these careers from an insider’s perspective,” Tillery said. œWe’re excited they chose to kick-off the tour here.” Tomorrow’s panel includes the following NASCAR Diversity Council members: Dora Taylor, NASCAR Senior Manager of Diversity Affairs, NASCAR; Bill Lester, who drives the #8 truck in the CTS; Tinsley Hughes, co-owner of #54 BH Motorsports -an African American owned NASCAR Winston Cup team with the National Guard as their sponsor; Odis Lloyd, Director of Automotive Aftermarket, NASCAR; and Wayne Clapp, Executive Director, Association for Minorities in Motorsports (AFMIM). The NASCAR College Tour presented by the Coca-Cola Company will also be visiting additional schools in 2003.(NASCAR PR)(12-2-2002)
  • Atwood Released: NASCAR Winston Cup team [#9,#19,#91] owner Ray Evernham has informed driver Casey Atwood he is free to seek other employment options for 2003. An Evernham Motorsports spokesperson Monday said Evernham, who plans to field a two-car Winston Cup team next season for drivers Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield, indicated he would sit down with Atwood after the holidays and discuss the resolution of the final year of Atwood’s contract. Atwood, 22, drove Evernham’s #19 Dodge in 2001. This season, he drove Jim Smith’s #7 Dodge, in which Evernham became a partner to facilitate Atwood’s continued development. After Atwood struggled through 34 races, with a best finish of 11th and in 33rd in the driver standings, Smith released him and Evernham and Smith dissolved their partnership. BGN [#27, #37] owner Clarence Brewer, for whom Atwood won twice in 1999 and in 2000 before he went to Evernham Motorsports, has said he would like to rehire Atwood pending the resolution of his deal with Evernham.(NASCAR.com)(12-2-2002)
  • Martha Earnhardt Christmas Parade Grand Marshal: The annual CTC Kannapolis Christmas Parade is coming up Tuesday, Dec 3rd, beginning at 4:00pm/et. Martha Earnhardt, mother of the late racing legend Dale Earnhardt, will be the parade’s grand marshal. More than 135 participants will be marching in this year’s parade. Floats and other parade participants will be judged in four categories — church, school, civic and equestrian. A $1,000 prize will be awarded to the best band in honor of Charles A. Cannon. Next year, the winning band will lead the parade.(Independent Tribune)(12-2-2002)
  • Cope to Chevy: from the Derrike Cope site – Derrike [Cope] will be driving Chevrolets in the 2003 season. Regarding the change Derrike commented, “We have made the switch to Chevrolet after considerable evaluation. We have our first super speedway car in our facility and are undergoing final preparation. All in all, we believe that this is the right move for us at this time. On the sponsorship front things are progressing nicely. We expect to be able to release some specific information during December.”(Derrike Cope Site), doesn’t say if this is for the #37 Quest Motorsports team [which was Ford] or if Cope will still be driving for #49 BAM Racing [Dodge] in 2003.(12-2-2002)
  • 2003 Chevy’s fast at testing? Sources say the #18 Chevrolet, driven by Bobby Labonte, was quickest during the two-day testing session at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where several teams shaved more than a second from the lap times they ran during the Winston Cup season finale there. GM motorsports director Doug Duchardt received a lot of positive comments about the balance of the new cars. The 2003 GM [Monte Carlo and Grand Prix] models will make their debuts in February at the Daytona 500.(Sporting News)(12-2-2002)
  • New #97 Car Chief: #97 Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig moved quickly to replace veteran car chief Shawn Parker, who left Roush for Robert Yates Racing [#38] at the end of the season. Fennig lured chief mechanic Mike Kelly from the #19 Evernham Motorsports crew. “His knowledge of racecars is incredible,” Fennig says of Kelly. “He’s a racer’s racer and is tuned in to both chassis and aerodynamics, which should help us a lot with next year’s rules.”(Sporting News)(12-2-2002)
  • New Crew for the #25: Expect a new look on pit road for the #25 (Joe Nemechek) crew. After Homestead, crew chief Peter Sospenzo released his entire squad and hired seven new members. Now that shop foremen Ed Guzzo has returned to the traveling team as chief mechanic, former crew chief Billy Woodruff will take over the shop foreman’s role for the #25 team(Sporting News)(12-2-2002)
  • #21 looking for crew members: The #21 Wood Brothers team need a new rear tire changer and tire carrier because Jay Guaneri and Troy Prince have joined Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew for 2003.(Sporting News)(12-2-2002)
  • #17 Crew Changes? hearing that the tire changers [Phil Drye and Dave Smith] for the #17 DeWalt Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Championship title team have left [Smith to the #24 and Drye to the #8 team], supposedly replaced by current #17 Front Tire Carrier Justin Nottestad and Jeremy West [from the #2 Truck team](12-2-2002)

    WINSTON CUP BANQUET 12/6/2002

  • TV on TNT 8:00-10:30pm/et of Friday, Dec 6th, Radio coverage of MRN or XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio – Channel 144. Have seen NO (none, nada, zip) info on any Re-Air date on TNT or Speed Channel.
  • Fan Friendly Area Set Aside for Awards Ceremony: Fans can see drivers before the Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony on December 6 in New York City. There will be an Oscar-like “Red Carpet Arrival” to the Hammerstein Ballroom from 6:00-7:30pm/et. The Hammerstein Ballroom formerly was known as the Manhattan Opera House, which was built in 1906 by composer Oscar Hammerstein. It’s in the Manhattan Center, located in Midtown, on West 34th Street near the theatre district and Madison Square Garden. In addition to drivers, other celebs on hand that night will be: actor James Woods, Master of Ceremonies and musician Sheryl Crow, who will perform two songs during the evening. Multi-platinum rock group Third Eye Blind will also perform. The group is currently working with NASCAR to include their new single, “Faster,” in NASCAR’s “How Bad Have You Got It” campaign. If you’re not able to make it to the Big Apple, the ceremony will be broadcast live on TNT from 8:00 to 10:30pm/et.(Racing Milestones)(12-2-2002)
  • Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor James Woods, Grammy Award-winning musician Sheryl Crow and multi-platinum rock group Third Eye Blind have been secured by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) to perform at the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony, Friday, Dec. 6, 2002, in New York City. The 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Ceremony will be held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City and televised live on TNT from 8-10:30pm/et. The ceremony will celebrate and crown Tony Stewart as the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion, and recognize the top 10 NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers and the NASCAR Raybestos Rookie of the Year Ryan Newman.
    Sheryl Crow will perform two songs during the ceremony.. During the past season, Crow served as Grand Marshal of the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway in April and performed a short concert during the first live NBC pre-race show at Talladega Superspeedway in September.
    Third Eye Blind will also perform. The multi-platinum rock band is currently working with NASCAR to include the new single “Faster” from their upcoming album “Crystal Baller” in NASCAR’s “How Bad Have You Got It” image campaign.
    NASCAR has also hired Joe Bolster as the writer for the Ceremony. Bolster’s writing credits include “The 69th Annual Academy Awards,” The ESPY Awards and E! Entertainment Television’s “Talk Soup”.(NASCAR PR)(11-27-2002)
  • Cup Award Ceremony Moved: The storied and spacious Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City’s Manhattan Center will serve as the site for this year’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series 2002 awards ceremony, set for the evening of Friday, Dec. 6. The annual season-ending ceremony, which honors the NASCAR Winston Cup champion and the rest of the season’s final top 10 drivers, was previously held since 1981 at the Waldorf-Astoria, another New York landmark. In 1981, the ceremony took place in the historic hotel’s Starlight Roof. In 1982, the ceremony was moved to the Grand Ballroom. The Waldorf-Astoria will continue to serve as headquarters for NASCAR’s week-long stay in New York that leads up to the awards, and once again will host the annual NASCAR Press Luncheon and the National Motorsports Press Association/Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast. Also, immediately following the awards ceremony, the “Champion’s Party” will be held in the Waldorf’s Grand Ballroom. NASCAR’s unprecedented growth in popularity, reflected by increasing attendance and media coverage at the year-end awards ceremony, has necessitated the move to the Hammerstein Ballroom. The 20,000 square-foot facility will boost seating for the ceremony to approximately 1,600. Red carpets will greet guests at the Hammerstein’s elegant entrance, part of what promises to be an Academy Awards-type of atmosphere. The Manhattan Center is located in Midtown, on West 34th Street near the theatre district and Madison Square Garden. The Hammerstein Ballroom formerly was known as the Manhattan Opera House, which was built in 1906 by composer Oscar Hammerstein, who envisioned it as competition to the Metropolitan Opera House. Throughout its history, the facility has hosted giants of the entertainment industry. The 2002 awards ceremony will include theater-style seating, with doors to the Hammerstein Ballroom opening at approximately 7:00pm/et. The ceremony will be televised live on TNT and broadcast live by MRN. NBC also will televise portions of the ceremony on a tape-delayed basis at a later date.(NASCAR PR)(5-18-2002)

 


(12-1-2002)

 

  • Tony Stewart wins USAC finale at LVMS: Tony Stewart won both the USAC Midget and Sprint car finales at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday night. In the 40-lap Midget car race, Stewart started fifth and took command on lap 19 from Dave Darland. Stewart took the checkered flag followed by Darland, J.J. Yeley and Ron Gregory. Darland won the USAC National Midget title, while Robby Flock won the USAC Western States Midget championship after a sixth-place finish. In the 40-lap Sprint car race, Stewart started sixth and took command on lap 20 from Jeff Gardner. Stewart took the checkered flag followed by Gardner, Tracy Hines and Brian McClish. Rick Hendrix won the USAC Western Sprint car championship after a 12th-place finish. “This car was awesome all night,” Stewart said. “I was just riding around behind Gardner and I knew that I was faster, but I didn’t want to abuse the tires. I saw lap traffic coming and I knew where we were stronger than he was. The timing worked out right and I caught him at the spot where we were strong.”(LVMS PR)(12-1-2002)