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PAST NEWS FEBRUARY 1997


(2-27-97)

  • I hear Bruton Smith is trying to buy Phoenix and Las Vegas and plans on putting an oval track up at Sear Point and are spending millions on it to bring it up to FIA standards to possible host an F1 race on it, in addition to the Winston Cup race(2-21-97) A local sports anchor in Vegas has spoken to the owner of LVMS, Richie Clyne, over the last couple of days and was told that the race track is NOT for sale. Speculation is that NASCAR is increasing interest to keep Smith/SMI from gaining too much power(2-22-97). Have heard that negotiations have broken off between the owners of the Phoenix track and Smith and they won’t sell(2-27-97)
  • It was reported here that Randy MacDonald would be with his new team at the Atlanta testing on 2-25-97, well I hear they are still grouping and still might be at the Atlanta race, they have also purchased a road course car from the Bobby Allison team(2-27-97)

    (2-25-97)

  • Heard a rumor that Mike Wallace will be let go as driver of the #91 car and Spam is looking elsewhere, possibly the #15, but might just exit as a sponsor. I hear the #9 team is out of consideration as Melling wants nothing to do with them?(2-25-97). On ESPN2 this morning(3-1-97) after missing another race (because of the rain) Wallace said that Spam is behind the team and the team is focused. Also said other teams talked to Spam trying to get the sponsorship, including the #9 team?? Doesn’t sound like he thinks the team is in trouble(3-1-97)
  • The rumor about Rick Mast being let go from the #75 ride is totally false(2-19-97), I heard Mock fired him after the missed the race but reconsidered(2-25-97)

    (2-24-97)

  • From the USA TODAY. According to their published report, Bruton Smith offered NASCAR’s Bill France 4 million dollars to secure a second date at the new Texas Speedway . France replied it wasn’t going to happen and Smiths efforts were “futile “(2-20-97) Also just heard a rumor that Smith, who owned 1/4 of the Rock, has bought the whole thing and will take the Fall race to the Texas track??(2-24-97)
  • More wood to the fire on the second Penske car rumor: I read on speednet the possibility that Little Al might be at the brickyard in a Penske South T-bird, as well as the 1998 Daytona 500(2-24-97) Heard that the second Penske car will be for INDY and then a second team will be added for next year. No word on the driver(3-4-97)
  • A TV show on Lynchburg, VA’s WSET is reporting that because of his excellent run in his first Supertruck race at Orlando (started 32nd, finished 10th), that Stacy Compton’s primary sponsor Valvoline Quick-Lube will sponsor him in 5 Winston Cup races in 97, with the possibility of a full race sponsorship in 98. WSET-TV for several years was Stacy’s sponsor in local Late-Model series. He is rumored to be running on tracks in the area, such as Martinsville, Richmond, and Charlotte??(2-23-97). I got a confirming email from WSET-TV about this story(2-24-97)
  • Got some email telling me that they read in a local auto racing newsletter called Area Auto Racing News from Trenton, NJ, that Tony Stewart may run in the #12 with help from Ranier-Walsh in limited WC schedule.(2-23-97) Ranier/Walsh has already started to finish the construction on the old Team III building on Highway 29 in Concord (about 4 miles north of CMS) to be their complete shop. I hear the shop Allison is presently in will be bought by some unknown team?(2-24-97). Also have confirmation that Ranier is in the Allison shop leasing the equipment. Bobby is trying to work terms of the sale(2-24-97).

    (2-23-97)

  • Heard that USA Today ran a story that Penske might form a second NASCAR WC team after 6 or so races. The National Speed Sport News reports in Chris Economaki’s Editor’s Notebook that Penske South will look at forming a second team if need be after 6-8 races this year. They have the land so they can expand the current shop. Rusty doesn’t feel they are prepared to start a second team yet(2-23-97)
  • From email: Top story on 10:00 news 2/16/97 in Kansas City, Bill France seriously considering KC for 2 mile 125,000 seat oval. Flew several city officials down last week to Daytona to discuss. sent some people to KC to scout the area which he loves(2-23-97)
  • I hear the #78 team of Billy Standridge will go to the first ten races of the season with Diamond Rio/Hanes as sponsor. After that they are on their own.(2-23-97)

    (2-21-97)

  • Another rumor has Firestone returning to Winston Cup, but it couldn’t happen until 1999 due to NASCAR requiring testing at each track it races at before approval would be given(2-21-97)

    (2-20-97)

  • Heard that Rick Hendrick’s legal problems are indeed quite serious and the outlook is not that great. Supposedly, the effect on the race teams could be profound, more than people are letting on. Evidently, this is the scuttlebutt around the garage/Charlotte area. Nothing monumental about the case(separate from Rick’s health) should come down until August, at the earliest. So, the major rumor is that Jeff Gordon’s stepfather is ready either on his own or as the head of a group of investors to step in and buy the 24 team from Rick should anything happen. He has supposedly already made his wishes known to Rick.(2-20-97)
  • TV news out of Charlotte, NC reports that NASCAR is going to make some changes to the rules for races at Daytona and Talladega. These include raising the front air dams and changing the spoiler angles as well as the possibility of losing the restrictor plates(2-20-97)

    (2-12-97)

  • Here is a rumor for Bill Elliott fans: I hear BE will retire after the 1998 season when his McDonald’s sponsorship contract runs out. Supposedly plans are to have some sort of appreciation tour(2-12-97). If you have seen the the NASCAR Chat with Bill E, he expects to go another 3-4- years(2-15-97)

    (2-11-97)

  • Chris Trickle, who races in NASCAR’s SouthWest Tour Division, was found shot on the overpass just south of the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night. The 24-year-old nephew of Winston Cup regular Dick Trickle is hospitalized at University Medical Center with a bullet lodged in his brain. He was driving a Chrysler convertible on the overpass when he was apparently shot. The car left the roadway and crashed into a highway sign. While it is not directly WC news, I wanted to report this story out of respect for Dick Trickle(2-10-97). Trickle is in very critical condition at University Medical Center after surgery to remove a bullet in his head(2-11-97). Trickle has been upgraded to Serious from Critical(2-16-97). I hear Trickle is still in a coma(3-3-97)
  • I’m told that Randy MacDonald will testing a Winston Cup car at Atlanta on February 25th. He’ll be driving the #35 Ford owned by Gary Trout Auto Sports. There will be an announcement at that time by the primary and associate sponsors of the car(2-11-97)
  • Noticed during the 8pm(est) qualifying recap show on ESPN that Lake Speed and the #9 car had absolutely no sponsorship on the car. From what I hear, the car cannot carry the Nebraska logo due to NCAA regulations, so the car will not look like either of the images I have on my page. They are still trying to find corporations to funnel some back to University, it looks like if this unique sponsorship happens it will not be until mid-season(2-11-97)

    (2-8-97)

  • Saw in the Philadelphia Daily News where Steve Seligman was arrested recently and charged with multiple counts of selling and possessing cocaine in Lake County, Ill. He attempted to qualify in the following WC races in 1996: Daytona(both), Atlanta(1st), Talladega(1st), Charlotte(1st) and Indy. He failed to qualify for any of the six races. He drove the #57 Ford if I recall.(2-8-97)

    (2-7-97)

  • FYI: The Busch Clash does not include the Busch Series driver with the most poles anymore, instead they get a $20,000 award. The award used to be $7,500 and a spot in the Clash(2-7-97)
  • As everyone knows, Rick Hendrick has been indicted on federal charges, I won’t expand as that info can be found at many other sites, but what impact will it have on his race teams. NASCAR has pledged their support, but if he is found guilty, who knows what will happen. On 12-13-96 he pleaded Innocent. Also sad news: Rick Hendrick disclosed 1-27-97 that he has a rare and life-threatening form of Leukemia.(2-7-97)
  • Ron Barfield will attempt to run the 1997 Brickyard 400 with Bill Elliott Motorsports(BEM), no news on sponsor or car #. He will do extensive testing with the team also. Another rumor surrounding BEM is he will either buy or partner up with David Blair and the #27 team, which will probably not run in 1997(2-7-97)

    (2-6-97)

  • Robert ‘Buster’ Auton will be the NASCAR WC Pace Car driver in 1997, so much for the Bobby Allison and David Pearson rumors(2-6-97)