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February 2001 News Archives


 

  • (2-28-2001)
  • Daytona Announcer Ill: Bill Bowser, chief announcer for the Daytona International Speedway will be going to see a cardiologist this afternoon for apparent heart attacks. First reports indicate that Bowser suffered a mild attack right before he left for Daytona, and then again about two weeks into Speedweeks. Bowser has a long history in the sport of NASCAR, with over 30 years of having the microphone in his hand. He has been a MRN turn announcer, Daytona USA Fans Forum host (recently was the host for the Jeff Burton forum the Saturday before the 500), and has announced at numerous tracks(Catchfence), best wishes Bill(2-28-2001)
  • Hendrick News UPDATE: Congressional investigators were alerted Monday to a possible link between a contribution Bank of America made to Bill Clinton’s presidential library and a pardon Clinton granted to a Charlotte man weeks later. Rick Hendrick, one of the nation’s largest car dealers, pleaded guilty in a bribery scheme in 1997. He was pardoned by Clinton Dec. 22, less than three weeks after the Bank of America Foundation announced it would give $500,000 to Clinton’s library fund. Hendrick was awarded the pardon with the help of a reference letter from bank chairman Hugh McColl Jr. A prominent owner of stock car racing teams, Hendrick was on the board of directors of the bank’s predecessor, NationsBank(more at That’s Racin’). Hendrick owns the #5, #24, #25, #48 Cup teams, the #24 BGN team and the #17, #24 CTS teams(2-27-2001)
    UPDATE: Statement From John Arrowood Concerning The Pardon Application Of Rick Hendrick: “Mr. Hendrick followed to the letter all of the Justice Department procedures for applying for a Presidential pardon. Mr. Hendrick’s application was filed with the Pardon Attorney’s Office at the Department of Justice in July of 2000, not three months prior to the pardon being granted as has been reported by the media. Mr. Hendrick did write the President and the Department of Justice asking for prompt consideration of his application due to his leukemia and the uncertainty surrounding his prospects for long-term survival. Mr. Hendrick sought the support of Mr. Hugh McColl, former Gov. Robert McNair and Ms. Jill McGovern because of their standing and reputation in the community and his close personal relationship with all three. Neither Mr. Hendrick nor I were aware of the reported contributions by the Bank of America Foundation to the presidential library until it was reported in the media this week.”(HMS PR), also see a story at That’s Racin’(2-28-2001)
  • Problem with the #24? UPDATE 3 Loomis Statement: NASCAR inspectors found what was described as a “height problem” with Jeff Gordon’s #24 Dupont Chevy during post-race inspection at Rockingham. Gordon led the most laps and finished third in the Dura-Lube 400 Monday. All other cars passed inspection(SpeedVision)(2-26-2001)
    UPDATE: Jeff Gordon finished third, but NASCAR officials later said his #24 Chevy did not meet the minimum height requirements. The finish is expected to stand, but Gordon’s team probably will be penalized(AJC)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR officials announced they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Robbie Loomis for rules violations found in post-race inspection following Monday’s Dura-Lube 400 at the North Carolina Speedway. Loomis, crew chief for the #24 DuPont Chevy, was fined $25,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-T in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “…any car found to be under the specified height requirement after the completion of time trials or the race…”(NASCAR PR)(2-27-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Statement from Robbie Loomis: “I take full responsibility for what happened at Rockingham. An oversight in pre-race preparation led to a mechanical failure. A setscrew that secures a jackbolt loosened during the race – allowing the car to lower and become extremely tight. Unfortunately, I feel this incident also cost us a chance to win the event. My congratulations go to Steve Park and DEI for a great victory(HMS PR)(2-28-2001)
  • Chassis and TV: NASCAR Images will be shooting segments for the new TV show NASCAR Tech at the Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. facility in Denver, NC. Folks can see behind the scenes of the shoot by going to www.bodydynamicsracing.com and using their live web cams. NASCAR Tech is a new informational show that covers the technical side of the sport as well as the equipment and services of NASCAR licensed products and corporations. Ned Jarrett host the show which airs on Fox Sports Net(2-28-2001)

    (2-27-2001)

  • Dodson Fined: NASCAR officials announced they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Barry Dodson for rules violations (unapproved fuel cell check valve) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday’s Dura-Lube 400 at North Carolina Speedway. Dodson, crew chief of the #27 Pontiac, was fined $1,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform… or have not been approved by NASCAR…”(NASCAR PR)(2-27-2001)
  • Rules…Make the Windows Bigger? The safety furor among Winston Cup drivers and crews these last few days has been incredible, with a flood of safety ideas being raised for consideration. Drivers are calling for NASCAR to intensify the search for “soft-wall” technology, and they want more crushability in the nose of cars. They want NASCAR to look more seriously at the fire issue, allowing them to move fuel pumps to safer locations. They want a bigger window area, to make it easier to get out of the car in an emergency. NASCAR is considering ordering teams to enlarge the window opening before the race in Atlanta on March 10th. Drivers are also questioning NASCAR’s decision last year to increase the strength of the front-end roll bars from 93-hundreths to 125-hundreths steel. The stronger front-end bars could make the car less crushable. And there are complaints about crews being allowed to use chrome-moly alloy in the rollbars; that makes for stronger bars, but chrome-moly doesn’t bend as easily as other steel and can actually fracture. Plus if welding isn’t done just right, the welds can crystallize, crews say(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(2-27-2001)
  • NASCAR on Nightline: The death of Dale Earnhardt continues to generate media interest. Earnhardt, and NASCAR, was the subject of an entire episode of ABC’s ‘Nightline’ with Ted Koppel. The program featured interviews with fans, drivers and other journalists, and used the Dura Lube 400 race as it’s backdrop. While the focal point was Dale Earnhardt, the underlying theme of the program was NASCAR and it’s origins. Featured on the program, among it’s guests, was Dr. Jerry Punch, who added his own insight into the sport, and how it grew to be the multi-billion dollar industry it is today. “It all started when the first, big, corporate sponsor came to NASCAR in the early 70’s.” Punch said. On Dale Earnhardt, Punch recalled “He’s been a star for two decades… whether you liked or disliked Dale Earnhardt, you had to respect him for his ability.” Another guest, Liz Clarke, of the Washington Post, put it bluntly. “Dale Earnhardt was despised by many people. mBut he was a promoters dream” Mark Howell, an auto racing historian and another Nightline guest, said he believes that Earnhardt’s death may generate new fans who are curious about the sport that has been headlining the news for the past two weeks(Catchfence)(see my Dale Earnhardt Tribute of the Transcript Link)(2-27-2001)
  • Harvick to get Married: Kevin Harvick is getting married in Las Vegas (not at the track) on Wednesday to DeLana Linville, congrats!(2-27-2001)
  • TV Ratings: Fox Sports got a 7.0 overnight rating on Sunday’s telecast of the first 51 laps of the Dura-Lube 400 and the rain-delay programming. It was the highest rating for a sports telecast over the weekend and better than the ratings for three of the past seven Daytona 500s.(That’s Racin’)(2-27-2001)
  • Rookie of the Year: Richard Childress Racing has decided to enter Kevin Harvick in this season’s Raybestos rookie of the year program in the Winston Cup series. Harvick, 25, missed the season-opening Daytona 500, but since the program doesn’t count a rookie’s worst 15 performances, it should not affect his overall result. Harvick becomes the sixth member of the 2001 rookie class. He joines #14-Ron Hornaday, #01-Jason Leffler, #19-Casey Atwood, #96-Andy Houston and #97-Kurt Busch(That’s Racin’). See my Rookie of the Year(ROTY) page for info on how the award is calculated and a break down of the standings(2-27-2001)

    (2-26-2001)

  • Marlin’s Trailer: Despite security provided by the race track, Sterling Marlin’s souvenir trailer was defaced while on the grounds of North Carolina Speedway Saturday night. However according to Don Wade, driver of the Coors Light trailer to and from each NASCAR Winston Cup event, the comments — which were written in marker — “were all positive. Things like good luck, we know it wasn’t your fault … just stuff like that,’’ Wade said Sunday morning(Kingsport Times NewsAND ‘I’ll kill you Sterling’ scrawled on drivers’ trailer(2-26-2001)
  • Rules Changes? NASCAR officials are considering taking the roof spoilers and rear-spoiler ‘whiskers’ off race cars and go back to last summer’s Daytona rules, including the smaller 7/8ths-inch restrictor plate, for the race at Talladega in April, according to team sources. AND are they considering a rules break for Ford teams, who at Daytona had been asking for a smaller rear spoiler. According to one report, NASCAR plans a post-Vegas wind tunnel test next week of top finishers, and NASCAR officials are then prepared to give Ford teams some aero break, possible as soon as the Atlanta race(Winston Salem Journal)(2-26-2001)
  • Park wins at Rockingham: #1-Steve Park won a thrilling finish, just beating 18-Bobby Labonte. The second win for DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc) in a row (#15-Waltrip won the Daytona 500). Park drove around the track clockwise (the Polish Victory lap) holding a black #3 cap out the window. Waltrip stayed out on the track to high five Park. The win is Park’s 2nd career win in Winston Cup and first on an oval(Park won at Watkins Glen last August). Parks car ran out of gas on pitroad coming in and had to be pushed into victory lane. Park was very emotional in Victory Lane and jumped into his crew arms. #32-Ricky Craven, who finished 5th, had his first top five since he ran 3rd at Rockingham in Oct 1997 a span of 54 races, it was also the highest finish for a PPI Motorsports/Cal Wells owned car.
    See results at That’s Racin’ or NASCAR Online(2-26-2001)

(2-25-2001)

  • Cup driver to retire? UPDATE 2: many readers have emailed saying that Larry Woody from the Tennessean was on the radio(WKDF 103.3 in Nashville) this morning and said said that it is highly speculated that a top Winston Cup driver will be announcing his retirement soon and that the death of Dale Earnhardt was just too much for them, no names were mentioned. I had heard Ken Schrader and checked into that but team sources say that Schrader would not retire or leave the Cup Series(2-23-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing that Nashville TV Channel 4 WSMV reported during their 10:00pm newscast, that the driver retiring would be Rusty Wallace(checked their site and have not seen it there, listened to two video clips but neither mentioned it, about five readers reported seeing it on the news). Have found nothing to back this up and sources have not responded to my email and in a story on That’s Racin’: `We’re racers – It is what we do’by David Poole, Wallace says – “I’d be lying if I said I haven’t though about it (retiring),” Wallace said. “I don’t need to race any longer, I enjoy racing. Patti (his wife) would probably be just as happy if I didn’t race at all right now, but this is what I do for a living. I’ve been pretty fortunate my whole life and have been real successful on the track and off the track. So I am going to continue on.”
    UPDATE 2: been told through Wallace’s PR folks that Nashville TV Channel 4 WSMV did not report that Wallace was retiring and comments from Wallace thru Ford Qualifying Notes: WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT NOT DRIVING AGAIN? “No, not really. There are spurts that go through you when you think about it occasionally. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it. Yeah, I have thought about it. I don’t need to race any longer. I enjoy racing. Patti would probably be just as happy if I didn’t race at all right now, but this is what I do for a living. I’ve been pretty fortunate my whole life and been real successful on the track and off the track, so I’m gonna continue on. I’ve probably got three to four years left in me before I don’t want to do it. I just hope when I quit that I quit on a high note and that’s it. I hope I don’t get hurt or mangled or something stupid happens to me.”(2-25-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Wallace is now leading the Winston Cup Points standing, I doubt he is going to retire(2-26-2001)
  • Chassis and Traction Control and? Most of the talk centers around HANS devices and safety belts alleged to have been ripped apart. The one-word description of what likely killed Dale Earnhardt seems to have been lost in the shuffle. Rigidity. Specifically, rigidity in the front of the cars, and it has been officially cited as a cause of death in the past. One racing insider, Ken Barlow, was so incensed by Earnhardt’s death that he decided to go public with his suspicions. Barlow, a resident of northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., has owned cars that were entered in Busch Grand National races. According to Barlow, he has built traction-control systems that were illegally used by Winston Cup teams. In fact, the reason he has nothing to lose is that NASCAR officials caught him using traction control at a local short-track race. “They condoned it at the Cup level,” Barlow said, “but they didn’t want traction control getting into the short-track level.” NASCAR officials will obviously contest Barlow’s credibility because he has been disciplined by the ruling body, but when two different mechanics with Winston Cup teams were queried on Saturday about his allegations, both agreed that what he had said could be true. Neither would say so, however, except on the condition of anonymity. One problem, Barlow said, is the increasingly widespread use of something called chrome moly box tubing. Chrome moly is a treated variety of steel that is considerably harder than normal steel. It will break before it bends. Barlow does not know whether the car that Earnhardt died in used chrome moly box tubing, but he said he believes it was built using something called “cross triangulation.” Barlow said the cars in which Earnhardt, Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin were killed all used triangulated motor mounts, another method used to increase rigidity. Barlow said that most manufacturers refuse to build chassis with chrome moly box tubing because they do not consider it safe. That is one reason why, Barlow believes, in recent years many of the leading Winston Cup teams have begun building their cars completely in-house. Some suspicion exists in the garage over NASCAR’s contention that Earnhardt died because a safety belt broke. For one thing, it was only one of five straps holding the driver in place. For another, the original description of Earnhardt’s condition at the time of his death made reference to the driver having “no external injuries,” yet when the broken seat-belt explanation was issued Friday, officials commented that Earnhardt, who wore an open-face helmet, had had his head thrown against the steering wheel. On Friday, Dr. Steve Bohannon, one of the attending physicians, referred to Earnhardt as having had an abrasion of the chin, presumably one that was not originally noticed. This is only part of the story, see the full story at the Gaston Gazette AND from the Winston Salem Journal, a comment by Ken Schrader – Schrader is one of the few drivers offering specific safety suggestions this weekend. He said one of NASCAR’s top priorities should be rules requiring cars with more “crushability.” “I think you’re seeing more drivers go in to talk to NASCAR about some of the car construction,” Schrader said. “The teams have been making these cars more and more rigid, by adding roll bars, to make the car handle better. But what we’ve done is take a tremendous amount of crush out of the framework of the car. And the force is being relayed to the first thing that can give…. the driver.”(2-25-2001)
  • Rules Change at ‘Dega? #99-Jeff Burton said he believes there will be some sort of rules changes by the time the Winston Cup circuit goes to Talladega Superspeedway for the Talladega 500 on April 22. Burton said the crashes in the IROC and Winston Cup races at Daytona — both of which were run under the aerodynamic rules that have been put in place for races at Daytona and Talladega — should be enough to convince NASCAR to make a change(AJC)(2-25-2001)
  • Childress to take a lap? UPDATE 2 No: Rumor has it in the garage that Cup team owners (#3 and #’s 29,30,31) Richard Childress could take a lap in the black #3 Chevy at some point this weekend(NASCAR Online Buzz)(2-23-2001)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt’s black #3 Chevrolet will make its final lap around the race track before being retired. According to Earnhardt team sponsor and “Realtree Outdoors” owner Bill Jordan, the trademark black car driven by “The Intimidator” will make its final appearance at Rockingham, NC, this weekend. The car will be driven for one final tribute lap around the track prior to Sunday’s DuraLube 400. Childress would like to drive the car himself. But if the emotion of driving it becomes too much, he’ll have driver Dave Marcis of the Realtree team handle it. Earnhardt’s black car color scheme is to be retired after the tribute lap(Charleston Gazette)
    UPDATE 2: it was decided not to run the #3 car on a parade lap around Rockingham as the Earnhardt family didn’t feel they were ready to see it on the track so soon(ESPN2’s RPM 2Day)(2-25-2001)
  • Rock Fact: Michael Waltrip will try to become only the third driver in history to win the first two races of the season. Jeff Gordon accomplished the feat in 1997 and David Pearson turned the trick in 1976. Only two drivers have ever won the Daytona 500 and went on to win the first race at North Carolina Speedway — Richard Petty (1974) and Gordon (1997). (WRAL/Sports Network)(2-25-2001)
  • Earnhardt License Plate News: On the morning of Dale Earnhardt’s death on the last lap of the Daytona 500, the racing legend’s staff and West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles officials were finalizing details for filming a March promotional video, featuring the NASCAR icon and Gov. Bob Wise. The March shooting appearance was to take place at Earnhardt’s Charlotte, N.C., racing headquarters. A 30-second television spot was planned to boost sales for the DMV’s NASCAR series of custom license plates and collectors’ plates, and a similar, minutelong tape was to be played on video monitors in DMV customer services offices. Following Earnhardt’s death, DMV officials contacted the racing legend’s business partners and family members at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Richard Childress Racing, to determine the most appropriate course to take concerning the sale of the plate. See more at the Charleston Gazette: Earnhardt plates still available (2-25-2001)

    (2-24-2001)

  • Drivers Meeting: Winston Cup drivers, reacting to the death of Dale Earnhardt and the deaths of three other NASCAR drivers in the past nine months, have planned a safety meeting this weekend, Todd Bodine said yesterday. Although Bodine offered no details of the meeting – when it would be or where, or what specifically might be discussed – he said that drivers clearly needed to organize a safety committee. Bodine said the safety committee may be being organized here this weekend(Winston Salem Journal)(2-24-2001)
  • Hill Bros to sponsor two cars? UPDATE: Hills Bros full time sponsor of the #90 Ford driven by Hut Stricklin, has plans to sponsor Kenny Wallace’s #27 Pontiac as well in a few races. Not at Rockingham but at Las Vegas, where Wallace is a candidate for the No Bull 5. Hills Bros. sponsored Wallace during the Daytona 500 after Stricklin failed to make the race(NOL’s Buzz)(2-21-2001)
    UPDATE: Sara Lee Coffee & Tea will sponsor two teams in the Cup race next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The first entry is Hut Stricklin’s #90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford, which is fielded by Junie Donlavey. The #90 Ford has carried the brand’s logo since 1999. Kenny Wallace will drive the second entry – the #27 Pontiac. Fielded by Eel River Racing, the car will don a paint scheme featuring the 100% Columbian blend of Hills Bros Coffee. Wallace is one of four drivers eligible for the “No Bull 5” bonus, which is awarded to the winner of the race at Las Vegas. Wallace’s #27 Pontiac will sport a different paint scheme to promote the Hills Bros Coffee Columbian blend. The front half of the car will be the same Ferrari red as the #90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford, but it will fade to black toward the rear of the car. The “television panel” will display the Hills Bros Coffee 100% Columbian blend logo(Keystone PR)(2-24-2001)
  • Earnhardt Lawsuit: Volusia County has been barred from releasing autopsy photos of Dale Earnhardt, the famous NASCAR driver who perished on the last lap of Sunday’s Daytona 500. Circuit Court Judge Joseph G. Will granted the temporary injunction banning release of the photos after Earnhardt’s wife, Teresa, filed a lawsuit against the Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday. Daytona Beach attorneys representing Teresa Earnhardt filed the complaint seeking a temporary and permanent injunction after the coroner’s office released photos to the media that were taken inside her husband’s No. 3 Chevy a day after the crash. The court order prevents anyone from obtaining autopsy photos of Earnhardt’s body, Judge Will said. (Speed Magazine)(2-24-2001)
  • Fans Show Class(thanks): Fans saw an opportunity to demonstrate their class(today at Rockingham). Rather than resenting Richard Childress Racing for putting the car back on the track and Harvick for driving it, they gave the rookie a standing ovation. Many fans also stood to applaud Sterling Marlin. Marlin received several lowball threats from several lowlife callers this week because his car and Earnhardt’s touched before Earnhardt’s death. To show Marlin they understood the accident was in no way his fault, many fans removed their caps and waved them as he sped past(in part from That’s Racin’)(2-24-2001)

    (2-22-2001)

  • NASCAR Thunder TNN is closing its 11 NASCAR Thunder Stores in the next 1½ months. TNN has run the stores, mostly in the Southeast, under a NASCAR license since May 1996, selling NASCAR clothing and memorabilia. About 60 people will lose their jobs, TNN spokeswoman Cheryl Daly said Wednesday. (CBS Sportsline/AP)(2-22-2001)

    (2-21-2001)

  • Safety in the Pits: Cal Wells (owner of the #32 and #96) has ordered his over-the-wall pit crew to wear new lightweight helmets during pit stops this season. Jack Roush tried that a year ago and learned that crewmen didn’t feel that comfortable in the helmets. But Bill Simpson, a veteran safety innovator, has come up with new versions. As frequently as crew men are hit on pit road, NASCAR should order all teams to add that piece of safety equipment(Winston Salem Journal)(2-21-2001)
  • Hall of Fame: Dale Earnhardt must wait five years for consideration by the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, like every other driver. “He’ll be eligible for induction in 2006, and he’ll obviously get in on the first ballot,” Hall of Fame executive director Jim Freeman said Tuesday. “But our feeling was that to waive the five-year rule would, in a sense, downgrade all the other people we made wait five years. It’s not something we wanted to do.” The Hall of Fame is near Talladega, Ala., and honors drivers from all sides of racing, not just the stock car circuits. More than 80 drivers have been inducted into the Hall, which holds a ceremony each year to add new honorees. Freeman received numerous calls asking that Earnhardt be enshrined immediately, given his stature as one of the top drivers in NASCAR history. The Hall of Fame board met Monday to discuss the issue, and decided not to stray from its original guidelines(Gaston Gazette)(2-21-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel and NASCAR: While NASCAR passed on a post-500 trip to the Lockheed wind tunnel – Dodge teams had asked NASCAR for a second wind-tunnel test because they said something fishy went on in the tunnel last week – NASCAR is expected to be hauling down-force cars to the wind tunnel in the next week or so, either after Sunday’s race at Rockingham or the following Sunday stop at Las Vegas(Winston Salem Journal)(2-21-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel – teams: hearing Chip Ganassi Racing was at the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta, GA on Tuesday and #92-Melling Racing will be there on Wednesday(2-21-2001)
  • Track Stocks: International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc. shares fell Tuesday in the wake of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt’s death. After a rocky day of trading, however, the stocks recovered and closed only moderately lower. Early Tuesday, the shares of International Speedway, the owner of Daytona International Speedway and other Winston Cup tracks, dropped as much as 7.2 percent. Shares of Speedway Motorsports, the other major track owner, fell as much as 10 percent(News and Record/Bloomberg News)(2-21-2001)

    (2-20-2001)

  • Earnhardt Killed UPDATE 2 – AUTOPSY: Seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, 49, was killed in a last-lap wreck involving Ken Schrader on the backstretch while a car that he owned, driven by Michael Waltrip, won the race. He was pronounced dead at Halaifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. See my Dale Earnhardt Tribute page with the news, some images, and many story/column links
    UPDATE AUTOPSY: An autopsy on race car legend Dale Earnhardt conducted Monday morning revealed he died of blunt force trauma to the head, county officials said. Dave Byron of the Volusia County Communication Division said Earnhardt’s death was being treated as a “motor vehicle accident.” Byron said toxicology was not expected to be involved.(CNN/SI)(2-19-2001)
    UPDATE 2: more results from the Autopsy – Monday, Earnhardt’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office for a routine autopsy after he was pronounced dead at the hospital. His personal belongings – a pair of black socks, a racing suit, black gloves, his helmet, underwear and racing boots – were returned to his wife, Teresa. The report showed that when his race car smashed into a concrete wall at an estimated 180 mph, it broke eight ribs, his left ankle and his breastbone. There were several scrapes on his body. He had blood in his ears and chest and partially collapsed lungs(That’s Racin’) and Earnhardt had a skull fracture that ran from the front to the back of his head, according to the autopsy. The impact also fractured his sternum, eight ribs on the left side and his left ankle. The report said there was a blow to the back of the head, but did not indicate any broken neck vertebrae. The final autopsy report will not be available for several weeks, pending the completion of routine blood and toxicology tests. Earnhardt’s body was released to the family on Monday afternoon after going to a local funeral home(AJC)(2-20-2001)
  • Marlin Speaks: #40-Sterling Marlin believes he did not cause the wreck that killed Dale Earnhardt in the final lap of the Daytona 500 last Sunday and resents those who label him the culprit, Marlin said in an interview with The Tennessean this afternoon. Marlin also said he had been contacted by members of Earnhardt’s race team as well as NASCAR officials “and all of them say, ‘Man, you didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t let it bother you,” Marlin said. See full story at the Tennessean(2-20-2001)
  • Dale Jr will race at the Rock as will Stewart: Dale Earnhardt Jr., still coping with the death of his father in last Sunday’s Daytona 500, will race this weekend at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC, the Dale Earnhardt Inc. team announced Tuesday. Tony Stewart, who suffered a mild concussion and a bruised left shoulder in a 19-car accident earlier in the race, also will race a spokesman for Stewart said.(ESPN)(2-20-2001)
  • Plane Goes Down: Four men returning home from the Daytona 500 auto race were missing after their plane crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Georgia coast, the Coast Guard reported Monday. The Beechcraft Bonanza was flying parallel to the coast when the Federal Aviation Administration lost radar contact at 8:17 p.m. Sunday. The Coast Guard said there was no distress call from the plane before it crashed. Aboard the plane were pilot William Pritchett of Windsor, N.C., his brother John Pritchett, of Chesapeake, Va., and Ray and Ken Chapman of Virginia Beach, Va., said Coast Guard spokesman Dana Warr.(Dallas Morning News/AP)(2-20-2001)

    (2-19-2001)

  • Drivers Order the HANS: On the day after Dale Earnhardt’s death, several NASCAR teams ordered a safety device designed to protect drivers from head and neck injuries. The Head And Neck Support (HANS) device was designed to lessen the pressure on the most vulnerable part of the body — the neck and base of the skull — in the type of crashes that killed Earnhardt and three other NASCAR drivers in the past year. On Monday morning, several NASCAR teams contacted the Hubbard/Downing Inc. in suburban Atlanta to place orders for the brace, said Ken Adams, a plant manager. There was a call from Roger Penske’s team, which has Rusty Wallace and Jeremy Mayfield as its drivers, and defending Busch series champion Jeff Green. Adams said the plant was producing only three devices a week just a few months ago. The output has been increased to four or five a day, and the company had 35 orders just hours after Earnhardt’s death.(AP/ESPN). What is the HANS Device? See my Safety/HANS page(2-19-2001)
  • Daytona 500 TV Ratings: Fox’s coverage of Sunday’s Daytona 500 race earned an 8.4 rating and 19 share, the highest overnight rating for the NASCAR race since 1986. The rating was an increase of 11 percent over last year’s 7.6 and 18 share when the race was shown on CBS. The previous high ratings for the event were 7.9 in 1992, 1994 and 1999(Washington Post/AP)(2-19-2001)
  • Compton’s Best: #92-Stacy Compton’s 10th place finish at the Daytona 500 was his best career finish and first top ten(2-19-2001)
  • Stewart OK: Tony Stewart, who was involved in the largest accident during Sunday’s Daytona 500, was taken to Halifax Medical Center and received a precautionary CT scan of his head and neck and an X-ray of his left shoulder. All scans showed no serious injury, although Stewart was diagnosed with a mild concussion. He was expected to return to his Charlotte-area home late Sunday.(That’s Racin’)(2-19-2001)
  • Daytona USA Celebration Postponed: The traditional induction at the Daytona USA attraction of the car driven by the winner of the Daytona 500 has been postponed, in light of the death of Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt in Sunday’s race. Michael Waltrip, who was driving a car owned by Earnhardt, won Sunday’s 500 and was planning to meet members of the media Monday morning, then proceed to Daytona USA, where his #15 Chevrolet would be inducted and held until next year’s race. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s director of operations, said Sunday the ceremony would be rescheduled at a later date(That’s Racin’)(2-19-2001)

(2-18-2001)

  • The Daytona 500 Winner: Michael Waltrip wins his first ever Winston Cup points race. His first win in his 463 Winston Cup race (the most races ever run before a driver won their first race). #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr was 2nd, #2-Rusty Wallace was 3rd, his best career finish in the Daytona 500. 4th was #28-Ricky Rudd and 5th was #9-Bill Elliott. See unofficial results at That’s Racin’(2-18-2001)
  • Engine Teardowns: NASCAR officials are considering full engine teardowns of today’s top finishers to weigh parts, which would be a replay of last summer’s engine teardowns after complaints about the use of exotic metals and lightweight parts by some teams(Winston Salem Journal)(2-18-2001)
  • #75 Owner in Daytona: Darwin Oordt, whose #75 Winston Cup team is in limbo as he tries to find a sponsor, is in Daytona as a spectator. He declined comment on a breach of contract suit filed by his driver, Wally Dallenbach. According to printed reports, Dallenbach’s contract called for him to be paid a $1 million salary this season, a promotional fee of $600,000 and half of the team’s winnings, which last season came to $1.16 million. Oordt said he hopes to secure a sponsor and join the circuit at its third stop, March 4 at Las Vegas. Dallenbach has said he can’t afford to wait. He wants to be freed from his contract to seek another driving job. What, if any, compensation he is seeking has not been revealed(Tennessean)(2-18-2001)
  • Dodge Clock: The infamous Dodge countdown clock was broken with a sledgehammer by Ray Evernham on Saturday morning at Daytona International Speedway. The clock was started at 500 days and was set to end with the start of today’s 500. Evernham, who guided Dodge back into Winston Cup, got the jump on the calendar(Speed Magazine)(2-18-2001)

    (2-17-2001)

  • #27 Sponsor? UPDATE it’s Hills Bros: hearing the #27 Eel River Racing team will have a sponsor for the Daytona 500. No word yet on who the sponsor is. Could be one of the sponsors who missed out when their drivers failed to make the race, such as Kmart(but has #26 Spencer in the race), Hills Bros, K&N Filers (was on the #37 of Cope), Realtree(but is on the #3 as an assoc) or could be someone else. Also the #51 is looking for a sponsor for the race(2-16-2001)
    UPDATE: Hills Bros Coffee will sponsor the #27 Eel River Racing Pontiac and driver Kenny Wallace for the Daytona 500(Kenny Wallace Racing Site)(2-17-2001)
  • Graves to Sub: Andy Graves, team manager at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will replace suspended crew chief Kevin Cram on the #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T after the running of the Daytona 500. Kram is scheduled to begin a four-race suspension, and will remain on seasonlong probation, after NASCAR officials found an illegal substance in the car’s fuel cell last week. Cram, who also has been fined $10,000, will resume his duties at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25(Star Telegram)(2-17-2001)
  • Chassis Dyno UPDATE: Following Thursday’s Twin 125’s, NASCAR officials took several cars from each race and tested them on a chassis dynometer, which tests rear-wheel horsepower. The cars of #40-Sterling Marlin, #9-Bill Elliott, #25-Jerry Nadeau, #26-Jimmy Spencer, #3-Dale Earnhardt and #96-Andy Houston were tested after the first qualifying race. From the second race, the cars of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #32-Ricky Craven, #2-Rusty Wallace and #22-Ward Burton were examined(That’s Racin’). What is a Chassis Dyno? See my Racing FAQ for a brief explanation(2-16-2001)
    UPDATE: Rusty Wallace’s Ford pulled 423 horsepower at the rear wheels, according to NASCAR sources. (The sanctioning body didn’t release official figures.) But tghe #2 Ford was just a couple of horsepower better than the #22 Dodge whose motor was overheating late in the race, past 260 degrees. Eight cars tested were within 10 or so engine horsepower. But the #3 Chevy was so far off the pace on the dyno, pulling only 400 horsepower, that car owner Richard Childress ordered a second run to see what was wrong, and said that a valve problem was the culprit.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2001)
  • Injured #20 Crewman Returns From 2000 Pit Road Accident: Seven months and 14 days. That’s how long Mike Lingerfelt was sidelined from his tire changing duties on The #20 Home Depot Pontiac after a pit road accident in last year’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. The 24-year-old Lingerfelt suffered a fractured left femur when he attempted to retrieve an errant tire on the fourth pit stop of the day on lap 157. The front tire changer from Marietta, S.C., was immediately taken to the infield care center where doctor Mark Gillespy made the diagnosis. Lingerfelt was then transported by ambulance to Halifax Medical Center where he underwent surgery. “They cut me open through my hip, going through all the tissue and the hip joint, and put a 15 and a half inch titanium rod down through the center of my femur,” recalled Lingerfelt during some down time prior to Thursday’s Gatorade 125 race. “The area where they put the rod in and went though all the tissue still gives me a little bit of trouble, but not enough to stop changing tires – especially here.”(PR via Speedway Illustrated)(2-17-2001)

    (2-16-2001)

  • Petty Crewman Arrested UPDATE: A mechanic for NASCAR driver Kyle Petty was arrested after a city traffic accident seriously injured an off-duty beach patrol officer. Jeremy Lee Upchurch an engine tuner for Petty’s #45 Dodge, was arrested and charged Monday night with aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash with injuries, culpable negligence, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving(That’s Racin’/AP)(2-14-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kyle Petty visited Halifax Medical Center on Wednesday night to apologize for a wreck police say was caused by one of Petty’s mechanics, a wreck that badly injured a Volusia County Beach Patrol officer. But family members and friends said Thursday that they wouldn’t let Petty see Alan White, who at the time didn’t know the circumstances that left him with multiple skull fractures, two cracked vertebrae and other injuries. They said White was too weak to see Petty. Also, Upchurch was fired from Petty’s team and was not with the pit crew for Thursday’s Twin 125 races. See the full story at the Orlando Sentinel(2-16-2001)
  • #92 Assoc Sponsors: Stacy Compton’ front-row qualifying effort for the 43rd annual Daytona 500 has helped Melling Racing solidify two new associate sponsors PSI by Johnson Controls and SPX Service Solutions. Johnson Controls and SPX Service Solutions will partner with Melling Racing for the 2001 Cup season, beginning with Sunday’s Daytona 500. Other sponsors on the car for 2001 are Kodiak, Dodge, Autoliv, Worldcom and Duckhead Footwear. The Johnson Controls PSI mirror is a tire-pressure monitoring system that uses radio frequency (RF) technology to deliver timely and accurate pressure information within one pound per square inch (psi). SPX Service Solutions is a fully-integrated family of global brands providing special service tools, advanced diagnostic and shop equipment and technical information for vehicle servicing and maintenance.(Melling Racing)(2-16-2001)
  • TV Money: As originally announced, the new TV deals were to be worth $2.8 billion over six to eight years, with Fox’s contracts running six years and NBC’s eight. That works out to an average, as originally declared, of about $400m a year. Actually, the money is arranged on a scale, with about $257m due from the two networks this season, to increase in subsequent years. That’s up from about $110m under last year’s individual track contracts. As has been the case for 20 years, the money is divided thus: 65% to the tracks, 25% to the competitors (via the posted awards) and 10% to NASCAR for administration, etc. That means the racers should expect $64.25m through purses and other distribution this year, up from about $27.5m last year — a difference of $36.75m, which should be the increase noted in 2001. Owners and drivers are examining the matter closely to see a) whether the announced money is being paid, and b) how it is being distributed.(See full story by Ben Blake at SpeedVision, much info there)(2-16-2001)
  • Donlavey Streak Ends UPDATE: Virginia car owner Junie Donlavey(#90 Hills Bros Ford) had had a car in every Daytona 500 since 1979 until Thursday, when driver Hut Stricklin failed to make the field thanks to 22nd-place showing in the second 125-miler(Gaston Gazette)
    UPDATE: actually Donlavey has fielded a Ford in every Daytona 500 since its relocation to Daytona International Speedway from the beach in 1959(Keystone Marketing PR), probably a type from the Gazette but there was no Donlavey car listed in the 1970 Daytona 500 results either(2-16-2001)


    (2-15-2001)

  • New Sponsor for the #3: Earnhardt, team owner Richard Childress and representatives from Sonic made it official today when they affixed the Sonic logo to the lower rear quarter panel of the #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevy. The three-year agreement will position Sonic as a major associate sponsor of the team and marks the company’s most significant sponsorship in its 48-year history. Sonic, which specializes in made-to-order fast food, is known for its specialty menu items and quality customer service. One of Sonic’s unique characteristics is the Carhop, a member of the Sonic crew who delivers food directly to customers’ cars.(RCR PR)(2-15-2001)
  • Missing Graphics: Fox Sports wasn’t able to fulfill its pledge to show sponsor logos for all cars in today’s Daytona Twin 125-mile qualifying races. For five cars, the decision was understandable: those teams did not have a primary sponsor. But Fox said it wasn’t able to provide graphics on seven other cars — including those backed by major companies such as Kodak and Conseco — because it didn’t receive the necessary information from the teams in time to put together the graphics. The sponsored drivers who didn’t have logos for today’s telecast were #14-Ron Hornaday (Conseco Pontiac), #4-Robbie Gordon (Kodak Chevrolet), #50-Rick Mast (Midwest Transit Chevrolet), #77-Robert Pressley (Jasper Engines Ford), #71-Dave Marcis (RealTree Chevrolet), #72-Dwayne Leik (RealTree Chevrolet) and #84-Norm Benning (SoBe Chevrolet).(Newsday/AP)(2-15-2001)
  • Roush to honor Ford: This weekend, Jack Roush and Kurt Busch will step into a special place in Ford Motor Company’s storied racing history. Roush Racing has agreed to help Ford celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Ford Racing by outfitting the #97 Roush Racing Ford Taurus with a special edition paint scheme for Thursday’s Gatorade Twin 125 qualifying race and Sunday’s Daytona 500. The special edition 100th anniversary paint scheme, intended for competition during Speedweeks only, depicts Henry Ford, race car builder Oliver Barthel, and Ford’s original 1901 “Sweepstakes” race car which won “the race that changed the world” on the hood. The image of the 1901 car is highlighted by a graphic Ford Racing, 100 Years, and a cream and red ribbon flows front to rear over a blue base background.(Ford PR), see an image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery(2-15-2001)
  • Adam’s car buried: Kyle Petty says the car in which his son, Adam, was killed at Loudon last year hasn’t been destroyed, as car owner Sabates did with the car in which Kenny Irwin was killed. Petty won’t say where the car is, but hints it may be buried somewhere near Level Cross, to keep souvenir hunters at bay.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-15-2001)
  • More on Winston Sponsorship: One way or another, expect R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to continue its support of NASCAR’s top division, as it’s done since 1971. The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based tobacco company must drop all but one of its branded sports sponsorships as part of a master settlement agreement it signed with several states back in 1998. That agreement has led to speculation in recent weeks that RJR could drop its sponsorship of Winston Cup. But Rick Sanders, president of RJR’s Sports Marketing Enterprises, said Feb. 8 that isn’t the case. RJR will be allowed to keep one branded sponsorship – Winston Cup, for example – but it also will be allowed to have one or more sponsorships that carry its corporate name, just not a brand name of a cigarette. In theory, that would allow the company to stay involved in a number of sports and series.(in part from the Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to view online) See past news on the sponsorship on my Past NASCAR News page(2-15-2001)
  • a Presidential Appearance? President George W. Bush has been invited to Sunday’s Daytona 500 and NASCAR sources say he could come in Saturday afternoon(Winston Salem Journal)(2-15-2001)
  • NASCAR R and D: NASCAR will open a research and development facility in Hickory, N.C., later this summer, according to sources close to the situation. The new office will house about 15-20 employees initially, including Winston Cup Director Gary Nelson and other technical personnel. The new site will allow NASCAR to perform a variety of R&D work, including safety testing. Sources familiar with the project said it will not include an on-site wind tunnel, but will have a chassis dyno, which will allow NASCAR to perform engine testing. Expect the facility to open in June or July, sources said(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to view online)(2-15-2001)
  • Reggie Speaks: Carolina Panther and future NFL Hall-Of-Famer Reggie White addressed the entire Joe Gibbs Racing Organization on Wednesday February 7th. White spoke on the subject of “What it takes to be a Champion.” Following the speech, White and Gibbs shared many former stories with the group about their battles when White was with the Philadelphia Eagles and Gibbs with the Redskins.(TOTAL Sports Marketing)(2-15-2001)
  • Earnhardt back to the Rolex 24? Dale Earnhardt expects to compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona again in 2002. He also thinks many more of Winston Cup colleagues to be present. Earnhardt teamed with three other drivers(including his son, Dale Jr) to bring a Chevrolet Corvette home fourth in the Feb. 3-4 race(Gaston Gazette)(2-15-2001)

    (2-14-2001)

  • #25 Crew Chief: Gordon Gibbs will be the crew chief for Jerry Nadeau in the upcoming weeks. Tony Furr begins serving a four-week suspension next week at Rockingham, NC. Furr altered the suspension system on his car, earning a $10,000 fine, the suspension and a year’s probation(Times Dispatch)(2-14-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel Trip UPDATE 3: NASCAR will take the top finishing manufacturer in the Bud Shootout to the Wind Tunnel in Marietta, GA for aero testing. The cars chosen were: #20-Stewart, #3-Chevy, #2-Ford and #9-Dodge(the only Dodge in the race-finished 12th)(Fox Sports Coverage)(2-11-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing it was reported on FSN that the Dodges had a substantial advantage in the arep tests in the wind tunnel, the Pontiacs and Chevys were very close in numbers and the Fords were at a slight disadvantage
    UPDATE: ESPN2’s RPM 2Night reported that it’s sources say Dodge had the best numbers in the wind tunnel, the reading(the lower the number, which means drag horsepower, the less drag on the car):
    Ford 522
    Chevy 509
    Pontiac 506
    Dodge 471(2-13-2001)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup Director Gary Nelson would not comment on the results, saying only that the information was still being evaluated, but other sources said the drag number for Dodge was .392 compared to .431 for Ford. Drag registers how smoothly air flows over the car. The more the shape of the car hinders air flow, the higher the drag numbers.(in part from the Lakeland LedgerAND NASCAR wants to see how well the Fords perform Thursday in the Twin 125 qualifying races before considering changes to the car’s aerodynamics package. NASCAR technical director Gary Nelson said Wednesday that the sanctioning body could order some changes after the twin 125-mile qualifying races. But he said wind-tunnel tests Monday were inconclusive and there were no plans to make changes unless needed. He said NASCAR will not release its numbers. But he said the sanctioning body might send cars back for additional testing next week(USA Today/AP)(2-14-2001)
  • #14 In trouble: NASCAR Online Buzz is reporting: Rumors circled throughout the garage Wednesday that the #14 A.J. Foyt Racing Pontiac team had shut down. A team spokesman said it was totally untrue. The report says the team was overstaffed and had released fabricators, motor room personnel and body hangers(NOL Buzz). Had not heard this at all(2-14-2001)
  • #36 Special Paint Scheme: #36 Ken Schrader will run a special Pedigree Dog Food paint scheme at Atlanta on March 11th. Pedigree Foods will donate $10.00 for every Winston Cup point Schrader earns in the 2001 Cup season(up to $50,000) to Homeward Bound, a charity organization that encourages responsible pet ownership as well as pet adoption. The car will also run at a few other unnamed races in 2001(from the RCCA catalog). See my Paint Scheme Gallery for an image of the car(2-14-2001)
  • No More STP: been asked many times, why is there no STP decals on the Petty Cars? as it was announced last year they would remain as an associate sponsor. Have heard from sources that STP will not be an associate sponsor on the Petty cars (#’s 43,44,45) and there is no sponsorship money being provided to the race team except for payment for Richard Petty to make occasional promotional appearances. Also,the STP name has also been removed from the sponsorship of the Daytona 500(was the Daytona 500 present by STP)(2-14-2001)
  • #28 in the wind: the #28 Texaco team was testing the #28 Ford at the Lockheed Wind Tunnel in Maretta, GA on Tuesday. No idea if they were testing a Daytona car or something else(2-14-2001)
  • No Bull 5 News: The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco folks have added a yet another perk to their annual Winston No Bull 5 promotion and that’s already made Rodney Mims of Clanton, AL a winner. Mims’ name was one of the five drawn for the first 2001 No Bull 5 event, the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas on March 4. And since his was the first name drawn in the lottery, Mims and 24 friends will get to meet one of the No Bull 5-eligible drivers at a party in Birmingham, AL on February 21. The eligible drivers are Dale Earnhardt, Kenny Wallace, Joe Nemechek, Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte — the top five finishers in last October’s Diehard 500 at Talladega. Which one will make an appearance will be a secret until party time(Anniston Star)(2-14-2001)

    (2-13-2001)

  • Sponsors Not Shown nor Mentioned UPDATE Fox Relents: getting a ton of email on this, so let’s cover it here so I don’t get anymore email on it: as anyone noticed during Fox’s coverage of the Budweiser Shootout, when an image was showed of a car that had a sponsor that was not advertising during the broadcast, the car was shown in it’s colors, no sponsor decals. Also the announcers, Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds(who all did a nice job) only mentioned the cars by number and manufacturer, like the #3 Chevy, etc. For years CBS and TBS did the same by not mentioning the sponsor, never noticed the ‘blank’ cars on CBS. In fact the blank cars seemed to stick out more then the cars that were showed with it’s decals (#’s 8,9,20,28 for instance, their sponsors had ads during the race)
    As for NBC – That’s Racin’ reported a few weeks ago: Mike Wells, the director for the NBC and Turner broadcasts in the second half of the season, said there is no list of sponsor names that his announcers will be prohibited from mentioning because they haven’t paid so-called “mention money” to NASCAR. He said cars will continue to be identified as they always have been during broadcasts, and that if mentioning a sponsor’s name is the best way to call attention to a particular car, then that’s how it will be done.
    and from ESPN’s RPM site: At the beginning of Sunday’s Budweiser Shootout telecast, a series of graphics was used to show the starting lineup. The graphics showed a head shot of the driver along with a graphic of the car. The same was done in the postrace rundown. However, many of the cars shown in the graphics did not include any sponsor logos or identification. Sponsors who purchased advertising time with FOX did receive identification on the graphics. Joe Gibbs, team owner for Tony Stewart’s winning car in the Budweiser Shootout, was surprised to hear that his sponsor’s logos were not used on the graphic while others were(actually Home Depot was shown on the graphics but Interstate Batteries were not). And NASCAR president Mike Helton also expressed surprise with FOX’s decision to show logos only for those who purchased advertising AND see a story at the Richmond Times.(2-12-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Fox has relented agreed to show the logos of all cars competing in NASCAR races even if they are not network sponsors. After meeting with NASCAR officials on Monday, Fox said it would use all the logos in its graphics beginning Thursday with the Gatorade 125s(ESPN/AP)(2-13-2001)
  • TV Stuff: The Fox broadcast of the Budweiser Shootout earned a 4.2 overnight rating and a 10 share, the best rating since 1998 for the event(Times Dispatch)(2-13-2001)
  • #01 tampered with? Felix Sabates, minority owner in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #01 and #40 Dodges, said he has a “gut feeling” that someone outside the team put something in the fuel tank of driver Jason Leffer. On Monday, NASCAR officials disallowed Leffler’s first round qualifying speed from Saturday, suspended crew chief Kevin Cram and fined him $10,000 for use of altered fuel. “I believe (the fuel additive) came from some other team,” Sabates said. “I have a pretty strong suspicision, but you can’t accuse somebody without proof. I don’t have proof, but my Cuban belly button is telling me that something is there that ain’t kosher.”(That’s Racin’)(2-13-2001)
  • Labonte Wins: Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte was given the ESPY for Driver of the Year at the annual ESPN awards show last night(Times Dispatch)(2-13-2001)
  • New #10/36 Digs: After Daytona, the Johnny Benson’s #10 Valvoline Pontiac team will move all of its employees to the new 40,000-square-foot race shop at the Concord, N.C. airport with teammate Ken Schrader’s. MB2 Motorsports team is now based in Mooresville, NC. Valvoline and MB2 Motorsports own Benson’s team and MB2 solely owns Schrader’s team.(MBV PR)(2-13-2001)
  • Hall of Fame: Marvin Panch, 1961 Daytona 500 winner, was inducted into the Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame, an event sponsored by the Oceanside Rotary Club. Two other racing pioneers inducted Monday night were Bill France Jr., International Speedway Corp.’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and retired Grand National and Winston Cup driver Donnie Allison. The festivities took place at the Hilton Daytona Beach Resort. Panch drove stock cars for 11 seasons, winning 17 winston Cup races. He retired from race car driving in 1966 but continued to work for a company that serviced brakes at the Speedway. Currently, he teaches a mechanics class on airbrakes and administers a test for federal certification in that field. Donnie Allison, 61, the 1967 NASCAR Grand National Rookie of the Year, was introduced by his brother Bobby, a 1991 Hall of Famer. Jim France stood in for his brother, Bill France Jr., to accept the Hall of Fame membership. Bill, 68, is recovering from a serious illness and could not attend Monday night’s dinner(Speed Magazine)(2-13-2001)

    (2-12-2001)

  • No Changes in the Restrictor Plate UPDATE 3: NASCAR president Mike Helton said Monday that its unlikely NASCAR will give Winston Cup cars a larger restrictor plate – with 1-inch openings instead the 15/16ths of a inch the cars tested with last month – once Daytona 500 preparations begin. Ray Evernham said over the weekend that he suspected the larger plates might be used if speeds aren’t a little higher than those in the 182 mph range seen in testing. ALSO, NASCAR does not plan to put restrictor plates on the trucks that will race at Daytona on Feb. 16th. That could change, however, if the trucks go faster than they’re expected to in practice and qualifying(That’s Racin’)(2-6-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials, sources say, will announce tomorrow(Friday) the use of larger restrictor plates for Winston Cup cars at the Daytona 500(Toronto Sun)(2-8-2001)
    UPDATE 2: ESPN2’s RPM 2Night reports that NASCAR won’t make any changes to the restrictor plate until after the Budweiser Shootout on Sunday (Feb 11th 2:00pm/et), using the race as a test for the courrent rules….BUT from Speed Magazine – Team owner Ray Evernham mentioned that NASCAR might change the size of the holes in the restrictor plates this weekend at Daytona. NASCAR president Mike Helton said he had no intentions of changing the size of the holes, currently at 15/16 of an inch, to a 1-inch hole. “I don’t know where that came from,” Helton said. “We’re pretty happy with the package. It’s unlikely (we will change). It’s not out of the question.” Helton also said that restrictor plates won’t return to New Hampshire, where NASCAR used them for the first time last year. “We’ve got some other things we’re looking at to do in general on the race cars,” Helton said without elaboration(Speed Magazine)(2-9-2001)
    UPDATE 3: NASCAR’s Gary Nelson has ruled out any change in restrictor plates before the Daytona 500(Winston Salem Journal)(2-12-2001)
  • Winston and NASCAR – Sponsorship UPDATE 2: Look for R. J. Reynolds to announce by mid-season whether it’ll remain as title sponsor of the Winston Cup. R.J. Reynolds presently enjoys sponsorship deals with the NHRA and the Vantage senior golf tournament. Under terms of the tobacco settlement, Reynolds and the other manufacturers can have just a single brand sponsorship after 2001. The company has been in discussions with NASCAR officials. It might not be the slam dunk deal it appears. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who has close ties to NASCAR, said racing officials have led him to believe that R. J. Reynolds probably won’t return and there’ll be a new sponsor for what is now the Winston Cup series.(CNN/SI)(2-3-2001)
    UPDATE: Under terms of an agreement made with several states’ attorneys general, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company must choose one cigarette brand sports sponsorship to continue beyond the end of this year. It now sponsors Winston Cup racing and National Hot Rod Association)NHRA) drag racing with its Winston Brand and a Senior PGA Tour tournament in Winston-Salem through Vantage. Winston Cup is by far its most visible, but company officials will say now only that, while they are considering the options, RJR’s relationship with NASCAR remains strong(That’s Racin’)(2-6-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Rumors that R.J. Reynolds might pull its Winston sponsorship from NASCAR’s top series are premature. The Master Settlement Agreement, signed by the tobacco companies with the states in 1998, requires each company to limit itself to one brand sponsorship in non-age-restricted events beginning in 2002. Expect the Winston name to stay with NASCAR(Sporting News)(2-12-2001)
  • RCR Crewman Ill: Mike Hawkins, an engine man with Richard Childress Racing, will be flown home today to be treated for kidney stones. The team hopes Hawkins can return for Sunday’s Daytona 500(Speed Magazine)(2-12-2001)
  • Musgrave: what happened to Ted Musgrave’s #90 Ford that made him come down pitroad as the green flag waved to start the Budweiser Shootout? because a wheel on the #90 Ford was loose(That’s Racin’)(2-12-2001)
  • #98 Team Done? MacPherson Motorsports won’t field a Winston Cup team this year from the building it has had under construction in Concord. Instead, the 54,000-square-foot building will be leased or sold when it’s complete. The building is to be completed in the summer, construction has been halted for a week, however, with only the concrete slab complete. MacPherson, an Atlanta developer, couldn’t find a sponsor. In September, MacPherson Motorsports brought 4 acres in West Winds Business Park with plans to move the race team from a former Cale Yarborough facility near Harrisburg, NC. The $3 million building was to have been finished by spring, in time for part of the NASCAR season. Last season, MacPherson drivers raced in three events with temporary sponsors. Driver Jeff Fuller was to have raced the #98 car in Winston Cup races, beginning with this month’s Daytona 500. But a permanent sponsor couldn’t be signed. An operation that builds engines for other teams is profitable and will remain in the former Yarborough shop(Charlotte Business Journal)(2-12-2001)
  • Pole Slowest since and Dodge facts: #9-Bill Elliott’s pole speed Saturday for the Daytona 500 is the slowest since Ramo Stott won the pole in 1976 with a lap of 183.456mph. Elliott also has the fastest pole speed at Daytona, 210.364mph, set before restrictor plates were mandated to slow the cars.
    The last time a Dodge won a pole was by Neil Bonnett at Bristol on April 1, 1978.
    The last time a Dodge won the pole at Daytona was by Buddy Baker in 1973.
    The last Dodge Daytona 500 victory was by Richard Petty in 1974.
    The last time a Dodge competed in the Daytona 500 was by Rick Baldwin in 1983(Roanoke Times)
    Last Dodge Daytona victory was by Richard Petty in July 1975.
    Last all Dodge front row at the Daytona 500 was when Buddy Baker and Bobby Isaac did it in 1969.
    Last Dodge to run in Winston Cup was #76-Phil Good at Pocono on June 8, 1985.
    Last Dodge to win a Winston Cup race was #5-Neil Bonnett at Ontario, CA on Nov 20, 1977.(2-11-2001)
  • an interesting point: When NASCAR officials decided to disallow Jerry Nadeau’s qualifying time yesterday, it raised an interesting question. With the Winston Cup series having only one round of qualifying the rest of the season, what happens if an unapproved part is found? According to NASCAR, drivers no longer have to post an official qualifying time to use a provisional, they only have to practice. So a driver could have a penalty on a qualifying issue but still have access to one of the seven provisionals for the race(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-11-2001)
  • #92 Body and…: Qualifying runs at Daytona International Speedway ended with Stacy Compton and the #92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T earning a front row position for the Daytona 500. Compton posted a lap of 182.682mph, the second-quickest time turned in by a Dodge. Stacey Compton and the Melling Racing team qualified with a car outfitted with a Dodge Intrepid R/T racing body fabricated by Body Dynamics Racing Bodys AND www.NBC6.com just launched a new addition to their web site. They have partnered with www.bodydynamicsracing.com to bring live fabrication web cams to their “ON TRACK”, motorsports portion of their web site. Now race fans around the world can get up to date NASCAR information, watch archived video footage of the “On Track” motorsports show and now via live web cams, see how professional racecars are fabricated, prepared and painted. Go to www.nbc6.com to see them(2-12-2001)
  • NASCAR issues a Bunch of fines and 2 suspensions: NASCAR Officials announced today the suspension of two NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chiefs for rules violations discovered in pre- and post-qualifying inspections for the Daytona 500.
    Tony Furr, crew chief of the #25 Chevy, received a four-race suspension and a $10,000 fine for not meeting the minimum height specifications following Saturday’s qualifying at Daytona. The team’s qualifying time was disallowed. Furr was penalized under Section 12-4-T in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book, “Any modification that permits the lowering of a race car while in competition…” Furr was fined an additional $2,500 for fuel cell violations prior to Saturday’s qualifying. Furr was penalized under Section 12-4-U, “Any violation of fuel cell or fuel cell container specifications…” Both of these violations place Furr on probation until the end of the year. Along with the above-mentioned penalties, Furr was issued another $250 fine for adjustable braces and penalized under Section 12-4-Q, “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform: adjustable braces…” Furr’s suspension begins on Friday, Feb. 23rd at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC.
    Kevin Cram, crew chief of the #01 Dodge Intrepid, received a four-race suspension and a $10,000 fine for fuel violations during Saturday’s qualifying. The team’s qualifying time was disallowed. Cram was penalized under Section 12-4-AA, “Use of altered fuel or fuel other than the official fuel at the event…” Cram’s suspension will begin on Friday, Feb. 23rd at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC.
    Gary DeHart, crew chief of the #5 Chevy received a $5,000 fine and placed on probation for the year for roof air deflector violations prior to Saturday’s qualifying. DeHart was penalized under Section 12-4-Q: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform: roof air deflectors.” DeHart also received an additional $1,000 fine for fuel cell violations prior to Saturday’s qualifying. He was penalized under Section 12-4-U, “Any violation of fuel cell or fuel cell container specifications…”
    Additional fines were levied against the following crew chiefs for rules violations prior to Saturday’s qualifying for the Daytona 500 at Daytona:
    Joe Garone, #96-Ford, Thin control arm,$2,500
    Mike Ford, #9-Dodge, Thin control arm, $2,500
    Robbie Loomis #24-Chevy, Unapproved fuel cell check valve, $1,000 and Unapproved air deflecto $250
    Royce McGee #31-Chevy, Unapproved underpan, $1,000
    Paul Andrews #1-Chevy, Fuel cell check valve violation, $1,000 and Oversize fuel cell container $250
    Chris Carrier #33-Chevy, Oversized fuel cell containers(2) $500 and Windshield template violation $250
    Larry Carter #66-Ford, Fuel cell check valve violation $250 and Adjustable braces $250
    Frankie Stoddard #99-Ford, Oversized fuel cell container $250
    Stan Hoover #80-Ford, Fuel cell check valve violation $500
    Tim Brewer #7-Ford, Adjustable braces $250
    Patrick Donahue #19-Dodge, Adjustable braces $250
    Robin Pemberton #2-Ford, Adjustable braces $250
    Kevin Hamlin #3-Chevy, Oversized fuel cell container $250
    Barry Dodson #27-Pontiac, Oversized fuel cell container $250
    Lee McCall #40-Dodge, Adjustable braces $250
    (NASCAR PR)(2-12-2001)
  • Nadeau’s Run Disqualified UPDATE 3 Penalty soon? Furr Suspended?: #25-Jerry Nadeau’s second-place time was disqualified due to an unapproved shock absorber and spring shackle discovered in post-qualifying inspection. So Nadeau’s speed of 182.763 mph has been disallowed and it moves #92 Dodge driver Stacy Compton into the front row. Elliott and Compton are the only drivers locked in their starting positions for the Daytona 500(ESPN)(2-10-2001)
    UPDATE: #92-Stacy Compton inherited the outside spot on Row 1 when Jerry Nadeau’s second-fastest lap at 182.763 mph was disallowed. Nadeau’s car failed to meet the minimum height requirement in post-qualifying inspection. There’s also the matter of further potential penalties and, almost certainly, fines for Nadeau’s #25 Hendrick Motorsports team. NASCAR officials, meanwhile, were working on figuring out the parts they confiscated from the rear suspension of Nadeau’s Chevy. “We have disallowed his time,” said Gary Nelson, Winston Cup Series director. “The height of the roof was more than a half-inch low in inspection. Some of the suspension parts we have in our possession … and we are holding these parts for further study. We will decide what further action to take.” Nelson said Nadeau will “most likely” be allowed to make a second-round qualifying run on Monday to post a speed that could help him make the Daytona 500 field if he doesn’t finish in the top 15 in Thursday’s second 125-mile qualifier.(That’s Racin’)
    AND Because Nadeau ran timed laps in practice, he would not need to requalify, NASCAR garage chief Gary Nelson explained, although Nadeau could try again in Monday’s second round in order to establish a fast time. Nelson would not be more specific, although he indicated further penalties were possible. Nelson, accompanied by Nadeau crew chief Tony Furr, was seen walking to the NASCAR office carrying a spring shackle/wedge bolt assembly. There also was word that the car’s rear shocks had been confiscated, although rear shocks at Daytona and Talladega are sealed units handed out by NASCAR(SpeedVision)(2-11-2001)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR president Mike Helton said any further penalties as a result of questionable suspension parts found on the Chevrolet of Jerry Nadeau will likely be announced Monday(That’s Racin’)
    UPDATE 3: hearing crew chief of the #25 UAW-Delphi Automotive Chevy, Tony Furr, will be suspended for four races (Rockingham thru Darlington) and fined $10,000(2-12-2001)
  • Leffler also DNQ’d? UPDATE yes: hearing from sources at the track that #01-Jason Leffler’s 1st round speed will be thrown out as there is some irregularity found in the cars fuel system possibly an additive in the fuel
    UPDATE: Two days after the fact, NASCAR announced Monday that #01-Jason Leffler has been disqualified for use of questionable fuel in Saturday’s first round of Daytona 500 time trials. Analysis of a routine fuel sample revealed what NASCAR called “discrepancies”, and Leffler’s time was disallowed. Leffler had been 36th-fastest in the opening session. Immediately after qualifying, NASCAR disallowed the time of Jerry Nadeau, who had been second-fastest, for failure to meet minimum height requirements. Parts from the car’s rear suspension were confiscated, and penalties are expected. Penalties had not been announced in either case as of midday, although NASCAR said it intends to announce its actions Monday. Last year, questionable fuel was found in the car of Jeremy Mayfield. The result was a $50,000 fine, subtraction of 151 championship points, and a four-week suspension for crew chief Peter Sospenzo. Leffler, like Nadeau, will be shown with no time and will start his 125-mile qualifying race Thursday at the end of the field. He would have started 18th in the second 125(SpeedVision)(2-12-2001)

 

  • (2-11-2001)
  • More Safety and the HANS: in part from That’s Racin’: Saturday morning at an oceanfront hotel in Daytona Beach, Ford brought in people who make their living studying how the human body reacts to the kind of impacts seen in auto racing crashes. These true experts were there to conduct for the media a seminar similar to one Ford presented to the its drivers during a testing session here in January. Paul Stanecki, the aerodynamics manager for Ford’s racing program who also coordinates the racing program’s various safety efforts, brought video presentations of computer models generated from data collected during crashes in CART racing and applied to typical crashes seen in NASCAR. The video was dramatic. It showed clearly that a test dummy was subjected to far less potentially damaging stresses when protected by a HANS device. Dr. Robert Hubbard, a professor of biomedical design research and the man who invented the HANS device, was there, too. He said that he believes that if Petty or Irwin had been wearing his device, they could have survived their crashes at New Hampshire last year(See full story at That’s Racin’ – Safety vs. media hype)(2-11-2001)
  • TV Guide Covers..again: TV Guide will feature four collector’s covers with Cup drivers for its Feb.17 issue. Kyle Petty and Matt Kenseth will be featured alone on covers. Defending champion Bobby Labonte and teammate Tony Stewart will share a cover as well as Dodge teammates Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood. All covers will be on newsstands Monday(Roanoke Times)(2-11-2001)
  • Why No NOL Live Scoring? Turner Sports Interactive has re-launched NASCAR.com, with a new design. However, Turner apparently overlooked maintaining maybe the most important function of the Web site: real-time updates of practice sessions and time trials. When ESPN ran the Web site last year, ESPN had a connection with NASCAR’s computers to provide live updates from practice, qualifying and races. Turner did not have the same technology in place for Friday’s Daytona practices and Saturday’s qualifying. It was doubtful the real-time scoring would be available in time for today’s Bud Shootout(AJC), sources tell me plans are for the live-scoring to be functional by the Twin 125’s(2-11-2001)
  • Newman Wins ARCA Race: Ryan Newman, the protege of Winston Cup veteran Buddy Baker and soon-to-be teammate to Rusty Wallace and Jeremy Mayfield at Penske Racing, won his first race at Daytona International Speedway, capturing a victory in Sunday’s Discount Auto Parts 200. Newman’s win was his fourth in just six starts in the ARCA series, but his first on a superspeedway. Newman held off ARCA veteran Bob Strait by .210 seconds for the win. Frank Kimmel was third, pole winner Kirk Shelmerdine fourth and Stuart Kirby fifth(That’s Racin’)(2-11-2001)
  • Interesting Challenge at Las Vegas – Drivers: Thanks to The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, drivers who race in both the NASCAR Winston West event at the Bullring and the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race will compete for three nights of luxury at the Strip resort in The Venetian Challenge. Officials at The Venetian have agreed to offer any driver who can finish in the top three in both the Feb. 28 NAPA 300 and Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 the following:. a three-night stay in the hotel’s Penthouse suite and the driver’s spouse or significant other will receive a $20,000 shopping spree in the Grand Canal Shoppes.(LVMS PR). So far Brendan Gaughan
    is the only one I know of who will attempt both(2-6-2001)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip has committed to compete in the Feb. 28 NAPA Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Winston West Series event at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Waltrip, who drives the #15-NAPA Chevy for Dale Earnhardt in Cup, will make his first NASCAR Winston West starts since he won at Pikes Peak in July of 1997. Waltrip will be driving a car prepared by Orleans Racing and will be a teammate of defending series champion Brendan Gaughan and NASCAR veteran Herschel McGriff. Waltrip and Gaughan are scheduled to compete in both the NAPA Auto Parts 300 and the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Winston Cup event on Sunday, March 4. As part of The Venetian Challenge, they both will be eligible for a special bonus from The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. If either driver places in the top three in both races they will receive a three-day stay in The Venetian’s penthouse suite and their wife or significant other will receive a $20,000 shopping spree in The Grand Canal Shoppes(LVMS PR)(2-8-2001)
    Hornaday Added: #14-Ron Hornaday has decided to compete in the NAPA Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Winston West Series event on Feb. 28 at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hornaday, who will be competing in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 4, will be driving a car prepared by Las Vegas’ Bobby Pangonis. Hornaday has six career wins in the NASCAR Winston West Series, but his last win came in 1996 at Colorado National Speedway in Erie, Colo. One of his wins came in 1994 at the old Las Vegas Speedway Park, which was the forerunner of the Bullring. Hornaday joins Michael Waltrip and Brendan Gaughan in The Venetian Challenge. “That is awesome,” Hornaday said. “We.re going to win that deal and enjoy it. I’ll even take the money and give it to charity.”(LVMS PR)(2-11-2001)
  • More Parts: NASCAR inspectors collected another batch of unapproved parts during pre-qualifying inspections on Saturday. Several springs were confiscated from the teams of #1-Steve Park, #88-Dale Jarrett, #11-Brett Bodine, #10-Johnny Benson, #92-Stacy Compton (two), #84-Norm Benning, #19-Casey Atwood (two) and #80-Morgan Shepherd. In addition, the roof spoiler was confiscated from #72-Dwayne Leik(That’s Racin’)(2-11-2001)

    (2-10-2001)

  • RCR Announcement UPDATE a new sponsor: Richard Childress Racing Enterprises who run the #3 and #31 Cup team and the #2 and #21 BGN teams, have a Major Sponsorship Announcement on Friday, February 9th in Daytona Beach(RCR PR)(2-2/9-2001)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) announced that America Online (AOL) will be the primary sponsor of 2000 BGN Rookie-of-the-Year Kevin Harvick’s limited Cup program in 2001. Harvick, 25, will debut the #30 Chevy at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 11th. He is also scheduled to compete at Texas(April 1), Lowe’s (May 27), Sears Point (June 24), Chicagoland (July 15), Bristol (Aug. 25) and Richmond (Sept. 8). The seven-race schedule will be Harvick’s first foray into Winston Cup competition. The new team will be the third Winston Cup program, and fifth overall, run out of the RCR shops in Welcome, N.C. RCR also fields the NASCAR Winston Cup teams for seven-time champion #3-Dale Earnhardt and #31-Mike Skinner, as well as the BGN teams for #2-Harvick and #21-Mike Dillon.(RCR PR), NOL has an image of the car(2-10-2001)
  • Winston Gives to award more $$: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and its Winston brand have increased the annual Winston Cup points fund by more than $2 million for the 2001 season. Last season, went to $10 million, with $3 million going to the series champion, Bobby Labonte. The 2001 points fund now amounts to $13,020,000, with $3.6 million being paid to the series champion and $1.35 million to the second-place finisher. An additional $360,000 is available to drivers this season through the Winston Cup leader bonus, which pays $10,000 each race to a driver who wins and leads the points race as a result. If the bonus is not paid during a weekend, it rolls over to the next race(That’s Racin’)(2-10-2001)
  • The Winston Stays the Same: No changes are planned for this season’s running of The Winston all-star race, May 19 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The race will continue to be run in three segments, of 30 laps, 30 laps and 10 laps. As was done last season, the winner of both The Winston Open and the No Bull Sprint will transfer into the field for The Winston. There are now 21 drivers eligible for The Winston. Winners from the 2001 season are Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Ward Burton, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Jeremy Mayfield, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Steve Park and Jerry Nadeau. Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte are eligible as former Winston Cup champions; Michael Waltrip is eligible as a past winner of The Winston; and drivers John Andretti and Joe Nemechek are eligible as qualified drivers from the 1999 season. Should a nonqualified driver win a race before the event, that driver would be added and the 1999 winners, Andretti and Nemechek, would drop out.(That’s Racin’), see my 2001 The Winston page for rules and drivers(2-10-2001)
  • Bad Parts: NASCAR inspectors collected several unapproved parts from Winston Cup teams before the day’s first practice on Friday. Four teams, those of #24-Jeff Gordon, #1-Steve Park, #80-Morgan Shepherd and #66-Todd Bodine, had unapproved check valves in their fuel systems. Seven teams, those of #01-Jason Leffler(actually team source tells me it was the #40 Dodge, not the #01), #66-Bodine, #19-Casey Atwood, #2-Rusty Wallace, #25-Jerry Nadeau, #32-Ricky Craven and #7-Mike Wallace, had unapproved adjustable braces. Also confiscated were A-frames from the cars of #9-Bill Elliott and #96-Andy Houston; the roof spoiler and unapproved filler material from the car of #5-Terry Labonte; fuel cell containers from the teams of #27-Kenny Wallace, #33-Joe Nemechek, #99-Jeff Burton, #3-Dale Earnhardt and #1-Steve Park’s fuel cell from his Bud Shootout car. The rear windshield from Nemechek’s car was also confiscated for not conforming to the NASCAR template(That’s Racin’)(2-10-2001)
  • Squier at Fox: Fox has now added longtime CBS commentator Ken Squier to its television team. Squier has been named “pre- and post-race essayist.” Apparently, his role will be similar to the role played by Jack Whitaker in coverage of Triple Crown thoroughbred races(Gaston Gazette)(2-10-2001)
  • Engineer Leaves Petree: Terry Satchell, one of the sport’s top chassis engineers, surprised his long-time car owner, Andy Petree, last month when he said he wanted to leave. Satchell added an even bigger surprise when he showed up at Daytona in a Ford cap. Petree, a Chevy man, is upset, particularly since he says Satchell has a year on his contract. Satchell is now working for Ford doing research and has signed a contract with Ford(Winston-Salem Journal)(2-10-2001)

    (2-9-2001)

  • New Associate for the #12: Sony Electronics will team with Penske Racing and the Mobil 1 Taurus team of driver Jeremy Mayfield as an associate sponsor beginning in 2001. Sony has selected the award-winning FD Trinitron WEGA(pronounced .VAY-Ga.) television line to be represented on the race car. Throughout the season, the WEGA logo will appear on the associate sponsorship capacity on the upper-front rear quarter panel of Mayfield’s Mobil 1 Taurus, as well as on his uniform. Sony will also continue the Sony Tech Pit, which made its debut last season at Winston Cup tracks. The Sony Tech Pit is a 60-by-80-foot mobile road show engineered to give fans a front-row seat for an interactive look at the latest products in home entertainment, digital imaging, car audio and personal computers. It features a fast.moving sensory experience, giving fans the opportunity to interact with Sony products, and present the many ways to assemble their own home entertainment system, and enjoy the thrills of WEGA televisions and home theater demonstrations in Dolby Digital surround sound. The exhibit will also include computer-simulated races, a Sony showcar and feature personal appearances by Jeremy Mayfield at selected events(Williams Company), see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery(2-9-2001)
  • TMS 2nd Date Argument increases: Bruton Smith on Friday disputed Bill France’s claim that NASCAR had never promised Smith a second Winston Cup series date for his track in Fort Worth, Texas. During media activities Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, France, chairman of NASCAR’s board of directors, said Smith was never promised a date and that Smith had “told the story so many times, I think he believes it himself.” Bruton, whose Speedway Motorsports Inc. also owns tracks at Atlanta, Charlotte, Sears Point, Bristol, Las Vegas, said France’s claim was “simply not true.” Smith said time was “long overdue” for Texas Motor Speedway to be given a second stop on the Winston Cup series schedule.(That’s Racin’)(2-9-2001)
  • #27 gets help….by a fan: When Devin Birmingham, vice president of Eel River Racing(#27 Pontiac), opened the mail last week he got a little surprise from one of Kenny Wallace’s fans – a note with a check for $15. With the #27 team still searching for a primary sponsor, Navy Chief Petty Officer William Downs wanted to do his part to see his favorite driver in the Daytona 500(That’s Racin’)(2-9-2001)
  • Johnson’s Plans: Jimmie Johnson, who is scheduled to run for Winston Cup rookie of the year with Hendrick Motorsports(#48 Team) in 2002, will hold off on the Cup series for now as he attempts to improve his BGN performance. Johnson will probably run four to six Cup races, but none before the August race at Michigan Speedway(Gaston Gazette-Nuts and Bolts)(2-9-2001)
  • Bill France Appearance: Bill France Jr., chairman of the board of NASCAR, made a surprise visit Thursday to media day activities at Daytona International Speedway, one of his few public appearances of the past several months. France, who has battled cancer over the past year, showed up at the Daytona Club following the announcement of the lineup of Sunday’s Budweiser Shootout. France walked to the lectern and started a brief question-and-answer session with the following announcement: “I’m kind of getting back, as you can see. I’m not kicking ass yet, but I am taking names. The rest will come later,” he said.(That’s Racin’)(2-9-2001)
  • Dodge at Daytona: With Dodge in the mix, Daytona will be exciting. Chevrolet has won seven of the last 12 Cup races at Daytona. The other five were won by Ford cars and Ford won the last three. Word from the shops is that Dodge might have a difficult time at Daytona – but will pick up steam after that(RaceWarrior)(2-9-2001)
  • Petty and RCR Settle: Petty Enterprises has reached agreement with Richard Childress Racing to buy out the contract of a former RCR employee. The fabricator, Ricky Johnson, had been an RCR employee since May 1999. He signed a contract in February 2000 and resigned Oct. 6, 2000.(That’s Racin’)(2-9-2001)
  • New #2/Wallace sponsor(assoc): Expect to hear Rusty announce a new relationship with Learjet in the upcoming weeks(RaceWarrior)(2-9-2001)
  • #85 Associate? hearing the #85 Mansion Motorsports Team and driver Carl Long will have an associate sponsor, Noopco, for the Daytona 500(Mansion Motorsports Unoff Site)(2-9-2001)
  • Sadler Buzz: According to Hermie Sadler, he was all set to partner with WWF superstar Dwayne Johnson(The Rock), on a full time Winston Cup operation known as Rock Racing. But WWF owner/president Vince McMahon told Johnson that he wouldn’t allow use of the name or likeness of The Rock character. Thus, the deal was nixed, and Sadler was forced to renege on prior plans to purchase equipment, cars, tools and even personnel from Joe Bessey Motorsports(NOL), see the past rumor/news on that at the #60 Team News and Links page. Being told from sources close to Sadler that he has not been contacted by the #48 BGN team as reported in the Buzz and that he is still looking for a ride(2-9-2001)
  • New NASCAR Online(NOL) UPDATE it’s up and running and some of the BUZZ: In stock-car racing terms, nascar.com gets a new paint job Friday (Feb 9th). But if the site lives up to what the crew chiefs at Turner Sports are promising, a new look won’t be what makes the site truly different. Right now, says nascar.com executive vice president and general manager Drew Reifenberger, you have to visit five or six different sites to get what he calls a “complete NASCAR experience.” Turner Sports president Mark Lazarus says that fans want “the buzz, the rumors, the hard news. Our mission was to become the definitive site for NASCAR fans, period.” Most leagues take an active role in determining what goes on their site. But Paul Brooks, NASCAR’s vice president of broadcasting, says NASCAR decided to give its new Internet partner the same independence it gives television partners. The new nascar.com will feature news stories from Turner’s corporate sibling, cnnsi.com, and a “rumors” area put together by Turner Sports employees. The rumors area was inspired by jayski.com, a fan-produced page that has become NASCAR’s equivalent of the Drudge Report. Jayski founder Jay Adamczyk got a few feelers from nascar.com to work for them, but nothing ever materialized. Embracing hard news and rumors on its own site will be an interesting experiment for NASCAR, which always seemed extra-sensitive to media criticism.(in part from the USA Today)(2-6-2001)
    UPDATE: Turner Sports Interactive will re-launch NASCAR.com, the official site of NASCAR, on Friday, Feb. 9 with a new look, improved navigation and some ground-breaking new elements. Through NASCAR.com, Turner Sports and NASCAR will work together to provide unprecedented editorial coverage of the sport, enabling NASCAR fans to find original, breaking news, colorful anecdotes and insider access to the always-churning rumor mill in an area called “The Buzz.” NASCAR.com will also debut other exciting new features, such as videostreaming of race highlights, expanded garage cameras and photo galleries, archives of past races, live and taped audio, as well as traditional NASCAR features and stories by some of NASCAR’s most highly regarded television analysts. Racecast will complement the TBS Superstation, NBC and FOX telecasts with live timing, real-time statistics, scoring and in-car cameras and audio during all Cup and BGN races. The new site will also continue to offer NASCAR fans all the popular content and features they currently enjoy, including important news and notes from all of NASCAR’s drivers, teams and tracks, audio feeds, official up-to-the-minute point standings and chats with NASCAR personalities. NASCAR.com will also provide users with some of the industry’s best information resources through AOL and CNN/SI.(NASCAR PR)(2-9-2001)


    (2-8-2001)

  • #50 Gets News Engines: #50 Midwest Transit owner, Hal Hicks has contracted Pro-Motor Engineering for his teams GM engine program in 2001. Since the deal was just struck, the team will lease their Daytona engines from another source. Pro-Motor Engineering will start at Rockingham and continue throughout the rest of the season(Pro-Motor Engineering)(2-8-2001)
  • No Points Change: After careful consideration, NASCAR officials have decided against changing the Winston Cup point system for 2001. Bobby Labonte won the 2000 championship by 275 points over Dale Earnhardt, clinching the title with one race remaining. For the fifth time in seven years, a point system designed to produce a close battle resulted in one that lacked drama. NASCAR director of operations Kevin Triplett said in November that there could be tweaks to the system for 2001, including bonus points for leading at certain points of races and more points for winning. But changes to a format that has been in place since 1975 have been ruled out for now(Dallas Morning News)(2-8-2001)
  • #75 Galaxy Motorsports delay’s 2001 start UPDATE Dallenbach sues team: Darwin Oordt, #75 team owner, yesterday announced that he won’t have a car in the Daytona 500 but said he hopes to re-join the Winston Cup circuit by its third race, March 4 in Las Vegas. Oordt has met with a sponsor and feels optimistic that things will work out. Wally Dallenbach, who drove for Oordt last season, is still under contract, but whether he will return or not remains unresolved(Tennessean), more info on the team via my #75 Team News and Links page(2-6-2001)
    UPDATE: Frustrated over several issues with his car owner, Wally Dallenbach took his grievances to court by filing a breach of contract suit in North Carolina this week. The suit, filed in Mecklenburg County in the Charlotte area on Monday, charges Galaxy Motorsports and owner Darwin Oordt with failing to meet certain obligations in Dallenbach’s driver contract. Dallenbach said filing the suit was a last resort option since he is bound by contract to drive for Galaxy.(Speed Magazine)(2-8-2001)
  • Leitzinger to run at Watkins Glen: Cicci-Welliver Racing will return to this year’s Global Crossing@the Glen Winston Cup race in August with accomplished road racer Butch Leitzinger. The team’s first choice would have been road race specialist Ron Fellows, who won last year’s Lysol 200 BGN race at Watkins Glen. Fellows had already committed to return to the Glen with Joe Nemechek’s team. Boris Said, another road race veteran, was also not available. Cicci-Welliver chose Leitzinger, who finished a close second to Fellows in the Lysol 200. The two-time world sports car champion and three-time 24 Hours of Daytona winner will drive the #34 Chevy owned by Frank Cicci Jr., and cousins Scott and Jeff Welliver. They had considered gambling on other road racers who were inexperienced in NASCAR racing, such as Champ Car(CART) driver Max Papis. Cicci said they are still negotiating for a sponsor to complete the deal. It is likely that the New York State Tourism bureau will return as the primary sponsor with its “I Love New York” campaign. Leitzinger, of State College, has made only a few NASCAR appearances, all on road courses. He has three Busch North Series wins: two at Line Rock Park, Conn., and one at the Glen. He finished 20th in his last Watkins Glen Winston Cup race in 1996 in the No. 29 Cartoon Network Chevy. Todd Bodine had been Cicci-Welliver’s primary Winston Cup fill-in driver at Watkins Glen, competing twice in the past, including last year. In 1997, Bodine and Cicci-Welliver Racing earned the pole qualifying spot. Bodine is now competing full time in Winston Cup with the #66 Haas-Carter team(Elmira Star Gazette)(2-8-2001)
  • Foyt gets cars back: Two cars from the A.J. Foyt-George Snider race team that were stolen about a mile from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in September were recovered by police. The alloy steel frames of the cars had been cut up and disposed. The two cars driven by Eddie Carpenter and J.J. Yeley for the Foyt-Snider race team in the U.S. Auto Club Silver Bullet series were valued at about $45,000 each(That’s Racin’/AP)(2-8-2001)
  • Atlanta Testing: Cup and BGN testing will occur at Atlanta Motor Speedway Feb 20-21st. Fifteen drivers from the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series are expected for two intensive days of testing in preparation for the March 9-11 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 weekend. Drivers expected to test are former NASCAR Winston Cup champion #88-Dale Jarrett, #28-Ricky Rudd, #15-Michael Waltrip, #11-Brett Bodine, #77-Robert Pressley, #33-Joe Nemechek, #66-Todd Bodine, #19-Casey Atwood, #14-Ron Hornaday, and BGN drivers #2-Kevin Harvick, #1-P.J. Jones, #33-Tony Raines, #21-Mike Dillon, #?-Jason Jarrett, #?-Bobby Hillin Jr., #14-Larry Foyt and #61-Tim Sauter.(AMS PR)(2-8-2001)

    (2-7-2001)

  • #77 and Hotjobs.com: Jasper Motorsports will team up with HotJobs.com, a leading Internet recruiting solutions company, to run a co-primary sponsorship package on the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford driven in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series by Robert Pressley.  The marketing partnership will encompass all on-track activities during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, FL. HotJobs.com will share the hood, decklid, lower quarter panel and C pillar with Jasper Engines & Transmissions during all of Speedweeks 2001, including the running of the Gatorade Twin 125 race as well as the 43rd annual Daytona 500 on February 18(Jasper Motorsports PR)(2-7-2001)
  • #97 Sponsor? have heard no sponsor yet for the #97 Roush Racing Ford and driver Kurt Busch, but the Roush Racing site only has ads for their truck sponsorships, not for the #97 Ford or the #9 BGN Ford(as they had in the past) who are supposedly without a 2001 sponsor(2-7-2001)
  • #4 Sponsor: CD-2 Automotive Performance Products, a division of Turtle Wax, Inc., has renewed its relationship with #4 Kodak Robby Gordon and extended sponsorship to the Morgan-McClure Motorsports team and its #4 Kodak Chevy. CD-2 and it¹s unmistakable neon logo will adorn the rear quarter panels and television panel of Gordon¹s Monte Carlo as a major associate sponsor for 2001. CD-2 Automotive Products is comprised of a wide range of engine-related additives. Robby Gordon¹s affiliation with CD-2 dates back to 1999; since that time Turtle Wax has repositioned the classic brand with a whole new look and impactful new product offering.(Co-Pilott PR)(2-7-2001)
  • New Wind Tunnel: The new ARC (Auto Research Center) is a joint effort between Raynard and Penske Racing and located right next door to Penske South in Mooresville, NC. This new aerodynamics facility allows teams to test 50-per cent scale models of their cars on a moving ground plane, inside a wind tunnel. Add to this the ability to yaw the car from side to side and the possible test data gets long and important. It may not replace the conventional tunnels now widely in use, but it will be on every serious Winston Cup teams schedule shortly. See full story at Speedway Illustrated(2-7-2001)
  • IROC to honor champs: There have been 16 past champions of IROC and all of them will be honored during the year with their names on the practice cars. The four drivers that will be recognized in Round 1 at Daytona are Bobby Allison, Mark Donohue, Mario Andretti and Dale Earnhardt. Daytona USA will also feature two of IROC’s classic cars in a special exhibit. The exhibit will have a Camaro that was wheeled by Dave Marcis and a Porsche piloted by the late Donohue, who won the inaugural series. Marcis is now IROC’s lead test driver(Speed Magazine)(2-7-2001)
  • Stewart to Sub in IROC? UPDATE: hearing that Tony Stewart was offered yesterday afternoon to fill-in for Gil deFerran at Daytona in the IROC race due to deFerran injuries in a recent CART practice/test session. Stewart supposedly accepted the offer, but will have to get out of his deal to do TV for the IROC Daytona race(Matt Yocum/FoxSports)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart will replace 2000 CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran in the first round of the 2001 True Value International Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway. De Ferran had two incidents in recent Champ car test sessions resulting in injuries to his shoulder and ribcage. The 2001 CART testing schedule requires teams to do all testing out of season, concluding March 8th, which complicates Gil’s injury situation. Tony Stewart, a two-time veteran of the True Value IROC Series, finished sixth in the final 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup points standings. Regarding de Ferran’s replacement Signore said, “Tony is next in line according to the points standings and already in place at Daytona for the 500. We’re grateful for his enthusiasm and proud to have him back in the series.”(IROC Racing PR)(2-7-2001)


    (2-6-2001)

  • Winston and NASCAR – Sponsorship UPDATE: Look for R. J. Reynolds to announce by mid-season whether it’ll remain as title sponsor of the Winston Cup. R.J. Reynolds presently enjoys sponsorship deals with the NHRA and the Vantage senior golf tournament. Under terms of the tobacco settlement, Reynolds and the other manufacturers can have just a single brand sponsorship after 2001. The company has been in discussions with NASCAR officials. It might not be the slam dunk deal it appears. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who has close ties to NASCAR, said racing officials have led him to believe that R. J. Reynolds probably won’t return and there’ll be a new sponsor for what is now the Winston Cup series.(CNN/SI)(2-3-2001)
    UPDATE: Under terms of an agreement made with several states’ attorneys general, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company must choose one cigarette brand sports sponsorship to continue beyond the end of this year. It now sponsors Winston Cup racing and National Hot Rod Association)NHRA) drag racing with its Winston Brand and a Senior PGA Tour tournament in Winston-Salem through Vantage. Winston Cup is by far its most visible, but company officials will say now only that, while they are considering the options, RJR’s relationship with NASCAR remains strong(That’s Racin’)(2-6-2001)
  • Daytona – Big Payday: In the first Daytona 500 in 1959, Lee Petty pocketed $19,050 in prize money for taking the checkered flag. Second-place finisher Johnny Beauchamp earned $7,650. The purse for the race totaled $67,760. How times have changed. This year’s 43rd annual running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 will award the winner an estimated $1.3 million, with the race’s entire purse totaling $11 million, an estimated increase of $2 million from last year. The second-place finish in the Daytona 500 will be awarded more than $900,000. Tickets are still available for Speedweeks and the Daytona 500(see the Daytona Speedway Site)(2-6-2001)
  • PPI and Safety: In an effort to improve safety for its NASCAR Winston Cup athletes and personnel, PPI Motorsports will implement several new and continuing initiatives for its Tide Racing(#32-Ricky Craven) and McDonald’s Racing(#96-Andy Houston) teams this season. The team’s safety measures, which will be developed and used throughout the season, include the following components:
    Testing and development of pit safety helmets for over-the-wall crews
    Required use of race day fire suits by all pit support personnel
    Utilization of the HANS device by drivers #32-Ricky Craven and #96-Andy Houston
    Installation of six-point safety harnesses, foam bead seat liners, pedal-activated throttle safety switches and cable-activated throttles in the team’s Tide and McDonald’s Fords.
    PPI Motorsports began testing and using the HANS device, six-point safety harnesses, foam bead seat liners and throttle mechanisms last season with positive results. The team’s new measures – pit safety helmets and fire suits – extend the initiative beyond the drivers to include other at-risk personnel. See the PPI Motorsports site for details and more info(2-6-2001)
  • Hass-Carter, New look in 2001: Haas Carter Motorsports teams have two new paint schemes, one new driver and two slightly modified car names for the event. Both teams will be a little lighter this season, as Big has been dropped from both cars. The #26 team now is simply the Kmart Ford Taurus. The hood and rear deck lid sport a big red K on a solid white background. Three shades of blue striping compliment the red and white #26 on the sides and top of the Haas Carter Ford. A solid red background from the hood to rear decklid will adorn the #66 Route 66/Kmart Ford for the 2001 season. The sides are white with a burnt orange stripe around the entire base of the car. Jimmy Spencer returns to pilot the #26 car for Haas Carter Motorsports. Todd Bodine joins the operation as driver of the #66 Route 66/Kmart Ford Taurus for the 2001 season(Haas-Carter PR). See an image of the cars on my Paint Scheme Gallery(2-6-2001)
  • Pruett Contract situation UPDATE 2: Scott Pruett, recently released from the #32 Tide Winston Cup Ride at PPI Motorsports is running a GTS Saleen S7R, in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Pruett still has two big-money years remaining on a contract Pruett signed last winter with PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells. Wells, a longtime Indy-car owner, jumped into NASCAR’s Winston Cup wars last year and convinced Pruett, a veteran Indy-car driver, to come along for the ride. The first year was a predictable struggle. The team failed to qualify for seven of the 34 races, there was just one top-10 finish. Beginning Monday Pruett will continue trying to get out of his contract with Wells. Wells, who still owns Pruett’s services for the next two years, signed off on allowing Pruett to run here this week. Pruett wants unconditional freedom, but that doesn’t come until he’s out of the Wells deal. Naturally, Pruett would like for Wells to simply buy out the remainder of the contract, while Wells would hardly agree to such a “compromise,” considering that me might use Pruett in NASCAR’s two road-course races later this year.(in part from Speed Magazine)(2-2-2001)
    UPDATE: …. there is interest from the Kelley Racing camp in running a third car for Indianapolis with Pruett serving as a teammate to Scott Sharp and Mark Dismore. Kelley Racing general manager Jim Freudenberg said last week that his team would consider a third car, but was under the impression that Pruett was not available since he is technically still under contract with PPI(SpeedVision)(2-5-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Pruett has joined ESPN2’s RPM2 Night show and appeared on the show during it’s first 2001 weekday show on Monday(2-6-2001)
  • Former World Champ Visits: Phil Hill, the 1961 Formula One World Champion, got a first-hand look at NASCAR racing when toured the Richard Childress Racing complex on Monday. Hill, the first American to win the F1 World Championship (the second being Mario Andretti in 1978), is North Carolina on assignment for Road & Track. He will be climbing behind the wheel of a current #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevy on Tuesday at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway(bring it back….) to do a then-and-now track comparison with Junior Johnson and his 1963 #3 Chevy Impala(RCR Racing PR)(2-6-2001)
  • Kenseth’s BGN Run: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 DEWALT car will compete in 20(not 21 and not 19) BGN races in 2001. Nineteen companion events with Winston Cup races and then run one at Milwaukee in July.(Roush Racing PR x 3)(2-6-2001)
  • More NASCAR License Plate News: The payment of royalties to NASCAR for racing-theme license plates does not violate the state’s(West Virgina) constitution, a Kanawha Circuit judge ruled Wednesday. Wildlife enthusiasts brought suit in November against the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the NASCAR. That lawsuit was filed after another judge threw out a nearly identically worded lawsuit the month before. It was argued that paying royalties to NASCAR violates the state constitution, which allows money from the sale of the plates to be used only for administrative costs. They argued that royalties are not administrative costs, but Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr. disagreed. The plaintiffs are concerned the NASCAR plates will hurt the sale of wildlife plates. Proceeds from the wildlife plates go into the Division of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife and Natural Heritage Program(Charleston Gazette). More info on NASCAR license plates, New York, West Virgina and Virgina on my Collectible Links page(2-6-2001)
  • Safety Comments from Larry Woody of the Tennessean: All the talk and attention that swirled around the issue of NASCAR safety last year seems to have cooled. Unfortunately. It shouldn’t take another racetrack tragedy to re-focus attention on the matter. Efforts shouldn’t lag in trying to find ways to build safer track walls, reliable ways to prevent stuck throttles, dependable helmets and harnesses. What were sizzling issues in the wake of last year’s driver fatalities seems to have been all but forgotten amid the excitement swirling around the start of a new season and the attendant Daytona 500 dazzle. Here’s three painful reminders why the safety issue should not be neglected: Adam PettyKenny IrwinTony Roper.(Tennessean)(2-6-2001)

    (2-5-2001)

  • Another Petty? Many readers reported that during the telecast of the Rolex 24 on Speedvision, announcer Bob Varsha revealed that Kyle Petty mentioned that Austin Petty, Kyle’s second son, was planning on being a race driver. Seemed odd, as most reports in the pasted noted that, Austin had stated that he had no interest in racing(2-5-2001)
  • Rolex 24 at Daytona – NASCAR drivers do ok: The winning car, shared by Americans Chris Kneifel and Johnny O’Connell, Canadian Ron Fellows and Frenchman Franck Freon, gave Corvette its biggest sports car win. It also was the first time Chevy has won the overall title in America’s most prestigious road race since Roger Penske’s Chevrolet-powered Lola won in 1969 with Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons driving. A lot of the attention before and during the race was focused on Team Corvette’s second entry, co-driven by road racing veterans Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins and NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt and son Dale Jr., both making their first sports car start. The No. 3 ‘Vette hung in gamely, overcoming transmission problems and a series of spins on the wet track to finish fourth, two laps behind the GT class Porsche GT3RS of Wolfgang Kaufmann of Germany, Ciril Chateau of France and Lance Stewart and 14 laps behind the winners. Kyle Petty came in 7th; Butch Leitzinger came in 14th; Boris Said was 39th,;Lyndon Amick and Bill Lester were 40th; Paul Gentilozzi, John Miller, Scott Pruett, Anthony Lazarro were very deep in the field(CNN/SI/AP)(2-5-2001)
  • Schrader at Phoenix UPDATE: Ken Schrader, driver in the Winston Cup series (#36 M&M’s Pontiac), kicked off the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring season by capturing the pole for the NAPA Auto Parts Winter Heat event presented by BOSCH at Phoenix International Raceway. Schrader toured the one-mile oval in 27.324 seconds, averaging 131.752 mph to top Bud Pole Qualifying. Featherlite Southwest Series veteran, M.K. Kanke wound up second to Schrader in qualifying. The 42-car starting field was closed out following two qualifying events won by Kevin Vernon and Jim Petit II. The 100-lap event will take the green flag at noon on Sunday(PRI PR)(2-3-2001)
    UPDATE: At the finish, it was Ken Schrader taking the win ahead of M.K. Kanke and Greg Pursley. Darrell LaMoure notched his best PIR finish with a fourth place and Rick Carelli was fifth. Schrader’s win was his second in Featherlite Southwest Series cars during the month of February. It was also his 10th win at PIR since 1980, making him the hands-down winningest driver in PIR’s storied history(PIR)(2-5-2001)

(2-4-2001)

  • Restrictor Plate Change? Ray Evernham said Saturday he believes NASCAR is exploring the possibility of using a larger restrictor plate for Winston Cup cars at the season-opening Daytona 500. Evernham called the speculation “rumors” he has been hearing for several weeks and said the move may be prompted by the lower-than-expected speeds the new aerodynamic package has produced during preseason testing at Daytona. A restrictor plate with a larger air hole would theoritically increase speeds(see my Restrictor Plate page for the history of it). NASCAR officials could not be reached for comment Saturday night. The aero package, which includes higher rear spoilers and a roof spoiler, was first used in last October’s Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and designed to be used with a 1-inch plate(That’s Racin’)(2-4-2001)
  • Evernham News? UPDATE: hearing that Evernham Motorsports engine builder, Ron Vacarro, has left the team(2-3-2001)
    UPDATE: from a Dodge/Evernham Teleconference Transcript: “We started a new engine shop this year, and Ron Vacarro did a great job helping me put that together. As we got closer to getting ready to race, Ron and I decided together that it would be best to make a change. Ron is going to be opening up his own business down in Georgia. We’re going to go off in our own direction. Starting an engine shop and people say why do you want to start a team and you’re going to do two teams and do development for Dodge and start an engine shop, too. I felt the only way to build a program that would be on a solid foundation two to three years from now or five years from now, if you don’t do your own engines, sooner or later you’re going to have to stop and do them. We decided to bite the bullet now and start our own engine program, knowing we’d have to fight hard and we are. I’ve got to tell you honestly, I’m very, very proud of the people that are over there doing that program. They have done a great, great job. They’ve not only done a great job getting plenty of engines done for us, they’ve done a great job making parts and pieces. You’ll see a lot of Evernham Performance parts and pieces on other peoples engines, so I’m very proud of them. I feel like the job Dodge paid us to do last year was help develop a car and an engine where for all of their teams, and I feel like we’ve done that. If we go to Daytona and there are other Dodge teams that are faster than mine, I think that proves that. Actually it was a mutual parting of the ways, and that happened about two or three weeks ago. We haven’t actually replaced him (Vaccaro) yet. I think Bill Davis’ group is looking really good. I’m very proud of them. They’ve been very strong, and they’ve done a great job.”(2-4-2001)
  • TV Stuff for Sunday: Steel Thunder, a one-hour edition of Goin’ Deep on Fox Sports Net Sunday, Feb. 4 at 9:00pm(not at 1:00pm/et as previously reported) local time (check local listings) is dedicated to NASCAR. Tom Murray hosts the special from the Daytona International Speedway, site of the Daytona 500(Check local listings). Looks like the announced time of 1:00pm has been changed to 9:00pm. Also, been getting a ton of questions on this: The Daytona 500 is scheduled to START at 1:00pm/et on Feb 18th. At 12noon/et there will be a one-hour pre-race show on Fox.(2-4-2001)

    (2-3-2001)

  • Cope and #37 news – sponsor: Regarding sponsorship, Quest Motorsports continues to actively seek major and associate sponsors for the season as well as a one-race deal for Daytona. They hope to announce all of their sponsors for the Daytona 500 shortly. In addition, they are working to develop funding options that would permit the team to run a limited schedule.(Derrike Cope Site)
    AND the good news – Driver Derrike Cope has obtained a sponsor that will allow his new #37 Quest Motorsports team to compete at the season-opening Daytona 500. Cope announced Friday that K&N Performance Filters would sponsor his #37 Pontiac at Daytona in a race Cope won in 1990. Cope had performed well during the General Motors preseason test session at Daytona in January and was hoping to return to run the race. Cope and drag racing icon Warren Johnson formed the team in 2000 and are trying to find additional support for the balance of the 2001 Winston Cup season.(That’s Racin’)(2-3-2001)
  • Mast almost went to Childress: seems that Rick Mast came close to being Dale Earnhardt’s teammate. “A multiple championship owner came to me and said he was thinking about starting a third team, and he was real strong about it. He asked if I would be interested.”, Mast said. Mast refused to identify that owner other than to say he was “a top-three owner.” Winston Cup sources reported it was Richard Childress, who owns seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt’s #3 ride, and has Mike Skinner driving for his second, #31 team. Mast agreed to the #50 ride three weeks ago. Ricky Craven was in the Hicks car last season, but left for the #32 Cal Wells-owned Tide car. There have been reports that the Midwest Transit team doesn’t plan to run a full schedule, but Mast said Hicks’ “full intent, right now, is to run all of them” and the team recently landed an associate sponsorship from WorldBestBuy.com. There were off-season reports that Mast might go with longtime CART owner Chip Ganassi, making his debut with the #01 car in concert with Felix Sabates. But it never happened and Jason Leffler got the ride(Roanoke Times)(2-3-2001)

    (2-2-2001) Ground Hog Day

  • Special Wood Bros News: Next week Wednesday will mark a very special occasion for the founding member of the Wood Brothers Racing dynasty – his 50th wedding anniversary. Glen and Bernece Wood will celebrate their anniversary week together as they have pretty much every year since their wedding February 7, 1951, at the races. As Wood Brothers Racing enters it’s 51st season in racing, Glen and Bernece are travelling separately to Florida for the sport’s 43rd running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Fifty years ago the newly weds spent their honeymoon in Daytona Beach. Some years the couple couldn’t be together at all on their anniversary. With three children Bernece was busy at home while Glen pursued first his own driving career and then went on to become the owner of one of the most famous and successful teams in the sport. So on February 7, 2001 the Woods plan a quiet celebration of their marital milestone – dinner out with close friends. The following day Glen will go down to Daytona with the boys, Eddie and Len, for the start of Speedweeks. Then a week later Bernece will go down with daughter Kim for the Twin 125’s and the 500. As Jon Wood enters his first Winston West race in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend, his team will run a special logo on the rear quarters of the #50 Ford Taurus. Wood’s #50 will have doubly special meaning this week, as it celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Jon’s grandparents, Glen and Bernece Wood, who were married on February 7, 1951. Coincidentally, the number 50 is the first number that Glen used in his racing career. Glen began racing in 1950, when he paid $50 for his first car and then numbered it 50. Also, the Wood Brothers Racing Team just celebrated being in racing 50 years during the 2000 Winston Cup Racing season.(Wood Bros PR)(2-2-2001)
  • Kenny Wallace not to run BGN: Rensi Motorsports and Kenny Wallace have decided not to run the #52 unsponsored BGN car due to the fact that a sponsor has not been acquired at this time. Therefore, Tony Lambert has decided to part ways with Rensi and pursue other interests. Due to his Winston Cup obligations, Wallace was not going to run the full BGN schedule, so at this time, focusing on a limited season with the unsponsored #52 car just doesn’t make sense. That’s not to say that if in the future something sponsor-related comes up, Rensi Motorsports will field a second BGN(Team Rensi)(2-2-2001)
  • Shepherd to attempt Daytona 500: Morgan Shepherd will attempt to make the Daytona 500 in the #80 Hoover Motorsports Ford. The car was purchased from the Wood Brothers. The team is looking for sponsorship for the 500. Shepherd will also drive the #21 Truck in the CTS race at Daytona where he tested as high as 3rd fastest during testing there. Shepherd will NOT drive in the ARCA race at Daytona(2-2-2001)
  • Rock News: North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham has revised its schedule for the second weekend of the Winston Cup season, eliminating a Friday afternoon practice for Winston Cup teams. Winston Cup cars will now go onto the track for the first time on Saturday, before a single round of qualifying at 10:30am/et. Only Grand National cars will be on the track on Friday(That’s Racin’)(2-2-2001)
  • McGriff still rides: Hershel McGriff, the oldest winner of a major stock car race in NASCAR history, has landed a full-time NASCAR Winston West ride for the first time in several years. McGriff was 61 years, 4 months old when he won a Winston West race in 1989 at Bakersfield, CA. On Sunday, should he successfully qualify for the NAPA Auto Parts NASCAR Winter Heat race at Phoenix, McGriff will be 73. McGriff has been around from nearly the beginning of NASCAR. McGriff won five Winston Cup races and was selected one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest racers(Arizona Republic)(2-2-2001)
  • Worker dies in accident at Chicagoland: A construction worker fell some 70 feet to his death Thursday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway, plunging from a scaffold into the mezzanine seats. The unidentified man fell about 3 p.m., said Joliet police Lt. Dennis Goron. The man, an independent contractor with Bovis Lend Lease, reportedly was installing windows in skyboxes at the raceway, a 75,000-seat facility under construction off Laraway Road. Joliet firefighters responded to the emergency call and located the man about 120 feet up in the mezzanine level of the stadium. Paramedics called in the University of Chicago Aeronautical Network helicopter, and the injured man was airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, IL. He reportedly died sometime after rescue workers loaded him onto the helicopter. The racetrack’s director of public relations, Brian Crichton, had no information about what transpired prior to the accident. He said the man was working as an independent contractor, but Crichton did not know what his duties entailed. The workman’s death was the first fatal accident at Chicagoland Speedway.(Herald News)(2-2-2001)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 4: #10-Johnny Benson’s new Valvoline colors were flying during Thursday’s test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Benson turned a lap at 173.376mph to establish the best testing time by any of the 25 Cup teams who have tested at LVMS this week in preparation for the March 4 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. Benson’s speed, though unofficial, eclipsed Ricky Rudd’s track record by a stock car of 172.563mph set a year ago. #7-Mike Wallace was the only other driver to test a Winston Cup car Thursday running a lap of 169.114mph. No NASCAR Winston Cup teams are scheduled to test on Friday(LVMS PR)(2-2-2001)
    TESTING SCHEDULE: (Thursday and Friday) – BGN Drivers – #1-P.J. Jones, #38-Christian Elder, #43-Jay Sauter, #46-Ashton Lewis and #98-Elton Sawyer.(LVMS PR), see the Day 1 thru 3 speeds on my Past Testing News Page(1-25/2-2-2001). See test pictures/images at the LVMS site and at Stooges Racing


    (2-1-2001)

  • Mayfield Extends with Penske: Jeremy Mayfield will stay behind the wheel of Penske Racing’s #12 Mobil 1 Taurus well into the new millennium. Terms were not released but in making the announcement Penske Racing LLC President Walter Czarnecki said the agreement would keep Mayfield under the Penske banner for several years. The new contract extended what was already a multi-year agreement.(Williams Company)(2-1-2001)
  • Musgrave in the #90 for the Shootout: Winston Cup driver Ted Musgrave found a car to drive in the Feb. 11 Bud Shootout at Daytona, and it will have Hills Bros Coffee decals and Junie Donlavey’s familiar #90 on it, Donlavey announced today. Musgrave was the fastest second-round qualifier for the Pennsylvania 500 in July at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. Musgrave and the rest of the fastest second-round qualifiers were part of a drawing for one starting spot in the Bud Shootout, and Musgrave’s name was drawn. Musgrave plans to drive the 2001 season for Ultra Motorsports in the CTS with Mopar Performance Parts as his sponsor. Musgrave spent the 2000 season driving for Bessey Motorsports, Fenley Moore and Team Sabco. He drove for Team Sabco following the death of Kenny Irwin(Keystone Marketing)(2-1-2001)
  • Robinson to run Cup at Talladega in Oct UPDATE: When Shawna Robinson returns for “White Knuckle Weekend” in October at Talladega, she’ll leave the ARCA car at home and bring her Michael Kranefuss-owned NASCAR Winston Cup Series Ford Taurus instead. The second half of the year, the team will compete in seven Winston Cup Series events. Robinson will begin the season in the #8 M.K. Racing Ford in the ARCA Re/Max Series event in Daytona. Robinson was among a handful of racing teams concluding a two-day test session at Alabama’s 2.66-mile tri-oval on Monday. On Monday, Robinson’s focus was on her ARCA car. Instead of attempting to pull double duty at Talladega in October, Robinson will only run the Winston Cup car. Joining Robinson and the M.K. Racing team at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday were: Matt Hutter with Phoenix Racing’s (#51)Winston Cup car; Rick Mast with Midwest Transit Racing’s #50 Winston Cup team; Todd Bodine with Buckshot Racing’s #00 BGN team; Mike McLaughlin with Innovative Motorsports’ #48 BGN team; and Brian Reffner with Team Menard’s #3 CTS team.(Talladega PR in part)(1-29-2001)
    UPDATE: Robinson’s seven scheduled Cup stars are: Michigan in August, Richmond and Kansas in September, Charlotte/Lowes and Talladega in October, Homestead and Atlanta in November(Shawna Robinson Site). Also, see story at SpeedVision: Shawna Robinson To Try Limited Winston Cup Effort. Have not seen an assigned car number for Robinson yet(2-1-2001)
  • Testing at Talladega UPDATE: hearing there will be testing at Talladega today and Thursday, Feb 1st. Three Cup teams (no idea who…yet), three BGN teams (no idea who…yet) and four CTS teams including #43 Carlos Contreras(1-31-2001)
    UPDATE: #44-Buckshot Jones was at Talladega Superspeedway Wednesday for the first session of a two-day test with the Dodge Intrepid with the “Talladega Trim” that will be used in the season-opening events at Daytona International Speedway. Joining Jones was fellow Petty Enterprises drivers #45-Steve Grissom(BGN car) and Carlos Contreras (CTS #43). Also testing were #90-Hut Stricklin and BGN drivers #28-Brad Baker and #17-Clay Rogers(Talladega PR) – Also, Ganassi Racing had #40-Sterling Marlin and #01-Jason Leffler testing their Daytona cars at Talladega on Tuesday and Wednesday. The same cars that they had in the Martin Marietta Wind Tunnel over the weekend. The #01 Dodge and Jason Leffler will test at Rockingham on Thurday and Friday(2-1-2001)
  • #28 Rare Feat: Michael McSwain, crew chief for the #28 Ford driven by Ricky Rudd, has achieved something very rare in Winston Cup Series racing. He has had no employee turnover during the off-season(National Speed Sport News)(2-1-2001)
  • Get Well: former Cup team owner, Chuck Rider, is battling colon cancer. Rider co-owned the #30-Bahari Racing from 1987-99, fielding cars for Michael Waltrip from 1987-95, Johnny Benson 1996-97 and Derrike Cope 1998-99. Rider sold the team in late 1999 to Jack Birmingham. The team is now known as Eel River Racing and is #27(Winston Cup Scene)(2-1-2001)
  • Andretti a Spokeman: NASCAR Winston Cup driver and CARQUEST Store Owner John Andretti will be an official spokesman for CARQUEST Auto Parts in 2001. Andretti, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Enterprises Dodge Intrepid, recently concluded filming a CARQUEST Auto Parts TV advertisement that will debut during the Daytona 500 pre-race show on Fox TV. Andretti will be featured in CARQUEST advertising, along with carry a CARQUEST logo on his driving suit’s sleeve. Andretti is co-owner with Rollie Helmling of a CARQUEST Auto Parts Store in Vincennes, Indiana. Andretti and Helmling also own the CARQUEST Silver Bullet team, which competes with driver Bud Kaeding in USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series(CARQUEST PR)(2-1-2001)
  • Pardus in the #91 UPDATE no: hearing that Dan Pardus will attempt to make the Daytona 500 in a #91 LJ Racing Chevy for a one race deal(1-29-2001)
    UPDATE: The rumor was true but a little early on the release date. With sponsor commitments in hand, Jim & Judie Motorsports and LJ Racing agreed to explore the possibilities of entering the Daytona 500. A LJ Racing Chevy was brought to the JJM shop for inspection and modifications. Getting ready for the Daytona 500 requires more than just an oil change and battery charge. Some of the new rule changes for this year’s race require changes in the rear spoiler and modifications to the hood area to fit new templates. Adding time for the necessary engine prep and testing, all agreed there was not enough time to field a competitive entry. Dan and Jim are grateful to Joe Falk. Another time, another race, it could still happen(Pardus PR)(2-1-2001)
  • Airplane has quite an Experience: The Richard Petty Driving Experience, based just behind the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC, had unexpected guests just after 10:00 PM last night. A small plane, bound for Charlotte Douglas airport, ran out of fuel and made a crash landing, glancing off the roof of the Petty building and landing against the inside of the surrounding fence. Fortunately, the occupants of the plane suffered only minor injuries and were treated and released from a local hospital. There were no injuries on the ground(Speedway Illustrated)(2-1-2001)
  • Spencer BGN team in trouble: If Jimmy Spencer isn’t able to land sponsorship for his full-time BGN team within the next 10 days or so, he may be forced to close the doors on his shop in Mooresville, NC. Schneider Trucking and full-time driver Dick Trickle left at the end of last season, as did Zippo, which had backed Spencer in a limited schedule on the tour. Several crew members have already been released. About six crew members remain in the shop, down from about 20 during the season(Winston Cup Scene – need a sub to read)(2-1-2001)