February 2003 News Archives


  • (2-28-2003)

  • Special Elliott/Mayfield schemes? UPDATE 2: hear there will be some sort of special #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jermey Mayfield schemes, some sort of special Dodge program, but not sure what or where yet.(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing it could be a Simpson’s (TV Show and Jayski Fave) scheme, not sure what for or when.(2-22-2003)
    UPDATE 2: not the Simpsons, but a promotion scheme for the movie, “2 Fast 2 Furious”.(2-28-2003)
  • France’s on the list: In its 17th annual ranking of the world’s richest people, Forbes magazine says NASCAR and International Speedway Corp’s Bill France and Jim France tie for 427th with $1 billion each.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-28-2003)
  • Rudd and Wood Brothers tour Nellis Air Force Base: Ricky Rudd, and Eddie and Len Wood were guests of the United States Air Force Thursday afternoon at Nellis Air Force Base just north of Las Vegas, NV. While at the base, the three toured an F/A-22 Raptor aircraft housed at Nellis for the purpose of training service personnel who will service the airplane once it becomes part of the U.S. military arsenal of fighting equipment. This plane incorporates the newest in cutting edge technology, with stealth and supercruise abilities that are a critical component of America’s Global Strike Task Force. See full story and quotes at the Wood Brothers Racing site.()(2-28-2003)
  • Stooges scheme? this would be cool, haven’t seen a Three Stooges [a Jayski fave] scheme since Phil Barkdoll’s team ran the #73 Three Stooges Beer car a few years ago at Daytona with Ken Bouchard, am hearing Michael Waltrip will run a Three Stooges scheme in a Busch Series race.(2-28-2003)
  • Auto Racing is #2….. No. 2 on USA TODAY’s 10 hardest things to do in sports is driving a race car at megaspeeds around the track and not getting hurt. Here’s why it’s so hard, from a scientific perspective, from an expert athlete’s and from an average joe’s.(USA Today)(2-28-2003)
  • No Indy 500 for Busch: #97-Kurt Busch said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of driving a CART car at Sebring International Raceway as a guest of Ford Motor Company and Team Rahal, he flatly denied that he one day would like to drive in the Indianapolis 500. “There’s no dreams, no aspirations, no thoughts of ever even running the Indianapolis 500,” Busch said Thursday. “I’ve never been intrigued by open-wheel racing. I’ve never had a chance to go to the Indianapolis 500 because I’ve been busy Stock cars is where I’ve found a great home — it’s what I grew up in and it’s what I’ve watched in May instead of the (Indianapolis 500) — I always watched the Coca-Cola 600.” That said, Busch already is angling for another invitation to test-drive one of the Champ Cars.(Las Vegas Sun)(2-28-2003)
  • Billy Ray Cyrus Pays Tribute to Earnhardt: Billy Ray Cyrus will pay tribute to the late race car driver Dale Earnhardt in an upcoming episode of “Doc.” He said Earnhardt, who was killed in a last-lap crash at the Daytona 500 two years ago, was king in his house. Cyrus said his stepfather was such a fan of the Intimidator that he requested in his will to be buried in his Dale Earnhardt T-shirt, something the family honored. The Earnhardt tribute episode, which Cyrus called “emotional” to make, will air in May. He hopes a lot of people who loved Earnhardt tune into the show because it was “an honest effort at paying tribute to the man.” “Doc” is on PAX.(Yahoo/AP)(2-28-2003)
  • Hicks Honored: In its first award announcement of 2003, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission named 19 individuals from throughout the United States and Canada as recipients of the Carnegie Medal. The bronze medal is given to persons who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Two of the awardees died in the performance of their heroic acts. The announcement brings to 8,685 the number of persons honored since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. One of the 19 award winners honored on Thursday night was Larry Hicks, the man who saved the life of Jack Roush. The Commission gave the following description: “Larry J. Hicks saved Jack E. Roush from drowning, Troy, Alabama, April 19, 2002. Unconscious and badly injured, Roush, 60, remained restrained in a seat of the open-cockpit, light airplane he had been flying, after it crashed into a small lake. The plane, inverted and nose down in the eight-foot-deep lake, leaked aviation fuel into the water. Hicks, 52, conservation enforcement officer, was at his home nearby and witnessed the accident. He immediately responded to the lake, then took a boat to where parts of the plane were protruding from the water. Although somewhat weakened by effects of cancer treatment, Hicks dived into the water to search for occupants of the plane, finding Roush on the second dive and freeing him on the third. Surfacing, Hicks resuscitated Roush, who remained unconscious. Rescue personnel responding by boat towed Roush to the bank, Hicks helping to support him. Roush required hospitalization for treatment of numerous injuries, and he recovered. Hicks sustained first-degree chemical burns about his upper body, which required hospital treatment and from which he recovered, and related injury.”(MotorsportsTV)(2-28-2003)
  • Racing Weather 101: About 20 members of the American Meteorological Society are expected to breeze into Atlanta Motor Speedway on Thursday for a few quick lessons, such as the effects of barometric pressure on tire pressure. Racing’s crew chiefs and drivers have long known the correlation between weather and speed, but these local meteorology enthusiasts are still learning the ropes. They will learn more this week as ARCA driver Doug Stevens and his team owner Mark Wallace describe the effects of weather on racing conditions. Stevens has competed in two ARCA events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finishing 11th and 10th. Stevens is also a graduate of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thursday Thunder Legends Racing Series, where he won the Pro series championship three straight years. Wallace, who lives in Griffin, is the co-owner of Stevens’ ARCA ride and also co-owner of the #77 Winston Cup car driven by Dave Blaney. Wallace also competes in the Thursday Thunder summer racing series, in the Masters (over 40) division.(AMS PR)(2-28-2003)
  • Advertisors spending more: Nielsen Media Research says advertisers spent 54.2 percent more on televised NASCAR events last year than they did in 2001, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The report pegs last year’s spending at $419.6 million ($311.4 million on network broadcasts and $108.2 on cable). Advertisers spent the most on NFL broadcasts ($2.017 billion), followed by sports commentary, the Olympics, the National Basketball Association, golf, college basketball, college football, NASCAR, Major League Baseball and tennis.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-28-2003)
  • AMW Motorsports teams up with TV Shows to help find kids: America’s Most Wanted Motorsports, NASCAR This Morning, Totally NASCAR and Body Dynamics team up once again for 2003 to assist in the recovery of missing children. Through their combined efforts, starting this Sunday, they will display a picture of little Sofia Juarez, a five year old girl Missing from Kennewick, WA on the hood and TV Panel of the America’s Most Wanted Motorsports/Body Dynamics racing car, housed in the studios where NASCAR This Morning and Totally NASCAR are broadcast from. She has not been seen since February 4, 2003 and they are working together along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Kennewick Police Department and America’s Most Wanted to assist in the recovery of Sofia. Please tune into NASCAR This Morning and Totally NASCAR and see if you have seen Sofia Juarez. This will be the first new case of 2003 for this group, every month they will feature a new missing child as to assist as many families as possible.throughout.the year. The children’s decals will once again be provided by The Decal Source, which has been a great supporter of these efforts. Also in combination to the child’s picture being on the car, they will be featured on www.bodydynamicsracing.com and www.amw-racing.com.as well. For more information on Sofia’s case please visit www.amw-racing.com.
    AND Body Dynamics Racing Bodies has named Miller Welders to be their exclusive welding partner through Miller’s Motorsports division and they will join such drivers and organizations like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and DEI, Dale Jarrett and RYR, Mark Martin and Roush Racing, and Bill Elliott and Evernham Motorsports just to name a few who have chosen to do the same. The partnership will include exclusive use of Miller Welders and associated products by Body Dynamics while supplying Miller Welders Motorsports with a showcar, website placement on www.bodydynamicsracing.com and an extensive marketing platform. Service and support for this partnership will be provided by a combined effort between Andrew James of James Oxygen and Andy Weyenberg, Motorsports Representative of Miller Motorsports. This partnership adds to the other sponsors that are currently involved with Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. such as, Sherwin Williams Paints, KAR Products, and The Decal Source to name a few. This partnership is currently in place and Body Dynamics is beginning to receive their new Miller Welders and the Miller Welders showcar is scheduled to be on display as early as March.(AMV Motorsports PR)(2-28-2003)


  • Buckshot back? UPDATE 2: hearing Buckshot Jones will test at Atlanta towards the end of February, could be a possible ride Michael Waltrip in the #00.(2-3-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing that Jones will not test at Atlanta but will run the race in the #00 Chevy.(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: hearing the sponsor will not be Charter Communications and that the new sponsor will be announced soon. AND Jones is entered in the MBNA Bass Pro Shops 500 in a car owned by Winston Cup driver Michael Waltrip. It’s the same car Jones brought to AMS last fall, only to see rain wash out qualifying and rob him of a chance to earn a starting spot. Jones, who hasn’t raced since he drove the #44 Dodge last April in Martinsville, hoped to run some practice laps at AMS next week, but that’s not going to happen. Since NASCAR changed the body rules after the 2002 season, it has been difficult for a part-time team to find someone to re-skin the car. “We had hoped to get the people at Dale Earnhardt Inc. to hang the body, but they’re pretty busy with their own cars,” Jones said. With little hope for a full-time ride, Jones has turned to developing residential subdivisions in and around Gwinnett County. Jones said he’d like to resume his racing career, but the odds of getting a front-running car are slim.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-22-2003)
    UPDATE 2: been told that since the car was not ready to test, it has been decided that Bickshot Jones will NOT run at the MArch Cup race in Atlanta, but plans are to run at Atlanta in Oct.(2-27-2003)
  • Rusty softens ‘cheating’ comments: At Rockingham last Friday, #2-Rusty Wallace was quoted in a Dodge news release as saying, “I don’t know why they (Chevrolets) were so good at Daytona. Four or five of them were cheating really, really hard and didn’t get caught. The NASCAR guys know it, and they’re out for them when they get to Talladega.” Wallace didn’t single out any specific teams or drivers, but many in the Chevy camp are wondering why Wallace is alleging that others were cheating when his own team was busted for using an unapproved carburetor in a pre-Daytona 500 qualifying race. Asked to clarify his comments this week, Wallace said, “I’m not making comments about any Chevrolet team. I want to put that on the record. I just thought there were a lot of peculiar things going on, and NASCAR has informed me they’re going to be looking for everybody at Talladega.”(USA Today)(2-27-2003)
  • Buschwackers at Las Vegas: Nine Winston Cup regulars are scheduled to drive in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 Busch Series race at LVMS including the most recent Busch race winner, Jamie McMurray [#42 in Cup, #1 in Busch]. Other Cup drivers attempting to make the 43-car field on Saturday are Steve Park [#1 and #8], Jeff Burton [#99 and #9], Matt Kenseth [both #17], Kevin Harvick [#29 and #21], Tony Raines [#74 and #33], Joe Nemechek [#25 and #87], Todd Bodine [#54 and #92] and Michael Waltrip [#15 and #99].(Las Vegas Sun)(2-27-2003)


  • Atlanta Testing: five Winston Cup drivers — #42-Jamie McMurray, #31-Robby Gordon, #38-Elliott Sadler, #11-Brett Bodine and #57-Jeff Fultz tested on Wednesday for the March 9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Sadler set the fast time during Wednesday’s test, posting a lap of 187.551mph [last March’s pole was 191.542 by Bill Elliott]. The speeds:
    Car#, Driver, Speed
    #38-Elliott Sadler, 189.150
    #42-Jamie McMurray, 189.086
    #57-Jeff Fultz, 184.186.
    #31-Robby Gordon, 182.789
    #11-Brett Bodine, 181.414.(AMS PR)(2-26-2003)
  • #77 Team wins McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Crew Challenge at Rockingham: The crew of Dave Blaney, the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford, won Round 2 of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Sunday’s Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway. Blaney’s crew spent 223 seconds in the pits to edge the crew of Kurt Busch by four seconds to earn the weekly $20,000 prize.(NASCAR PR)(2-26-2003)
  • USG to be the primary sponsor of the #01 at Las Vegas and three other races: USG Corporation, a leading manufacturer of building materials for the construction and remodeling industries, has reached an agreement with MB2 Motorsports to be a primary and associate sponsor for the 2003 season. The agreement calls for USG to be a season-long associate sponsor as well as the primary sponsor at four races on the MB2 #01 Pontiac Grand Prix, driven by Jerry Nadeau. The first of the four-race USG primary sponsorship package with the MB2 Pontiac will be Sunday (March 2) in Las Vegas. The three other events where USG and its flagship brand Sheetrock will adorn the MB2 Pontiac will be at Chicago (July 13), Watkins Glen (Aug. 10) and Talladega (Sept. 28). The U.S. Army, which will be the primary sponsor of the MB2 #01 Pontiac for a minimum of 27 races, will be an associate sponsor during the four USG races. The agreement also calls for a USG season-long associate sponsorship with MB2’s teammate, the #10 Valvoline Pontiac, driven by Johnny Benson and owned by MBV Motorsports.(USG PR/Site), see the Paint Scheme Gallery for an image of the car. USG sponsored the #91 Evernham Dodge last year at Rockingham in Nov with Hank Parker Jr driving.(2-26-2003)
  • USG takes over awards from True Value: Along with its sponsorship involvement with MB2/MBV Motorsports, USG’s NASCAR involvement in 2003 includes:
    * Official Building Products Supplier of NASCAR * USG Person of the Year – The award is designed to honor NASCAR drivers for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. For the purpose of determining the NASCAR USG Person of the Year award, the program will be divided into four quarters in which drivers are nominated for their off-track charitable efforts. An elite group of panelists will select one of the quarterly finalists as the USG Person of the Year. The award will be presented in New York during the NASCAR Winston Cup banquet.
    * USG Driver of the Race – The program will award the driver, who has the best finishing position of the race and displays the USG decal on his/her car. The award will be split between the driver and the driver’s selected charities.
    * Dodge NASCAR Weekly  Racing  Series “USG Night at the Races” – USG will sponsor “USG Night at the Races” at 20 local race tracks that are part of the Dodge NASCAR Weekly Series. The events are intended to provide customers and USG employees an opportunity to enjoy an evening of stock car racing.
    USG Corporation, based in Chicago, is a Fortune 500 company with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their key product groups: gypsum wallboard, joint compound and related gypsum products; cement board; gypsum fiber panels; ceiling panels and grid; and building products distribution. For more information about USG Corporation, visit the USG home page at www.usg.com.(USG PR), True Value used to award the Person of the Year and Driver of the race, you can see the USG logo on the front fender of the cars where True Value used to be.(2-26-2003)
  • NASCAR on the cover of Mad Magazine: “NASCAR Stripped Bare” the headline on the cover of Mad Magazine, with a drawing of Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr featured standing with Alfred E Neuman and a few columns (see my Article/Columns links page for links).(2-26-2003)

  • Winter Storm Hampers Haulers: A severe late-winter ice and snowstorm throughout the central United States has all but paralyzed some transportation hubs — and has delayed several NASCAR Winston Cup transporters trying to make it across country from the Carolinas to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Teams have a couple options to travel across the country, including Interstates 40 and 20, from their bases near Charlotte, NC, to reach the site of this weekend’s Winston Cup UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and Busch Series Sam’s Town 300. But Roush Racing transporter driver Bart Starr, who hauls driver Mark Martin’s Viagra Fords, said while on I-40 in Western Arkansas he altered his trip plans to account for the weather — which had Dallas locked Tuesday in an ice storm while it snowed further to the north. Starr was driving in a convoy with Roush teammate and usual traveling partner Fred Swim, who transports Matt Kenseth’s DeWalt Fords. He said he was not aware of any trucks that had gone near Dallas, but if they had that they might be trapped by ice. Reportedly, Robert Yates Racing’s haulers had planned to take the southerly route while Tuesday afternoon Jasper Motorsports’ hauler was outside Alabama on I-20. An entourage from Richard Childress Racing was caught in the ice storm. Kevin Harvick’s transporter driver Jim Baldwin was stuck for some three hours near Terrell, Texas, east of Dallas. But by Tuesday afternoon they were all moving again, albeit at only 15 mph due to the conditions. Busch Series haulers are due to enter the garage at Las Vegas on Thursday morning. Winston Cup trucks are not scheduled to enter until Friday morning.(more to the story at NASCAR.com)(2-26-2003)
  • Craven could be honored in hometown: A bill before the transportation committee would allow the state to put signs up in Newburgh, Maine, honoring the town as the home of the NASCAR driver. Lawmakers on the transportation committee are being asked to authorize roadside signs honoring Ricky Craven in his hometown of Newburgh. Craven was Winston Cup Rookie of the Year in 1995, and since then has staged a couple of comebacks. Craven finished fourth in the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway on Sunday.(wlbz2.com)(2-26-2003)
  • #15 Team wins McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Crew Challenge at Daytona: NASCAR announced last week that the #15 NAPA race team had won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Crew Challenge Fueled by POWERade contingency award. The #15 Chevrolet pit crew topped off an amazing performance with three pit stops measuring less than seven seconds in speed. The NAPA squad posted times of 6.45 sec for a right-side two-tire change, 5.67 sec for a left-side two-tire change and a 3.91-sec for a gas-and-go stop. The McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Crew Challenge Fueled by POWERade contingency award focuses on the pit crews’ performances during each race. NASCAR takes the aggregate time each team spends on pit road. That time, which is recorded by NASCAR using the same transponders that record the cars as they cross the start/finish line, begins the moment the car enters pit road and stops once it has left. The team who spends the least amount of time on pit road during the day wins. After each Winston Cup points race, the crews will be ranked in order of aggregate time on pit road. Forty-three points will be awarded to the top finisher and one point will be awarded to the last-place team. These points will be used to determine a championship crew at the end of the year.(DEI Site), no word on who won Rockingham.(2-26-2003)
  • Dune Duggy Races: Robby Gordon and Greg Biffle are scheduled to compete in a dune buggy race in the sand dunes outside Las Vegas this week.(Roanoke Times)(2-26-2003)
  • More on the ‘Cheating’ stuff; #15 decklid problems at Daytona? Team fined?: Pandora’s Box was recently opened in the NASCAR Winston Cup garage when Rusty Wallace publicly used the C word [Cheating] on the record — instances of competitors blatantly calling each other cheaters being as rare as a scone with tea in the garage. In less than demure fashion, Wallace said, “I don’t know why they [Chevrolets] were so good at Daytona. They had more power and a little less coefficient of drag. Four or five of them were cheating really, really hard and didn’t get caught. The NASCAR guys know it, and they’re out for them when they get to Talladega.” There’s no doubt that rumors fueled the subsequent chatter at Rockingham, NC regarding what NASCAR might have found in post-race inspections on the #15 NAPA Chevrolet. Additionally, Dale Earnhardt Inc. staff vehemently deny any wrong doing in connection to any of their Daytona 500 entries. Nonetheless, two aerodynamic issues quickly became the focus. Firstly, the rear decklid of Michael Waltrip’s race winning car. DEI’s chief technical personnel admitted to one garage crew chief that there was a problem with the decklid of their car and NASCAR levied a heavy fine on his team [have heard no report on the fine]. Winston Cup director, John Darby confirmed to www.teamfordracing.com that there was indeed a problem with the #15 car. However, he specified it was a non-performance-enhancing item. The problem, as described by Darby, dealt with one of the lock pins that holds the decklid closed, which had vibrated loose during the race. The second issue dealt with alterations to the underside of the car before it went on display in Daytona USA. Darby said there was no issue beyond the loose decklid pin. “From our inspection process during Speedweeks we didn’t see anything in pre- or post-race [inspections] that was a factor.” Darby added the camera shell removed early in the Speedweeks inspection cycle by NASCAR, like the decklid pin, had no performance enhancing properties, and therefore was not subject to penalty. “We’re always looking and learning to try to stay up with everything that’s going on,” Darby said regarding the inspection process. “The great thing about that is that [the] garage is a real valuable tool in helping us with that.” Any grumbling in the garage calling for Wallace to receive a point deduction for the illegal carburetor found after his Gatorade 125 qualifying race was quashed considering the race was a non-point event. He was penalized a qualifying position for a qualifying infraction. This spotlight on the inspection process doesn’t have Darby looking to Talladega Superspeedway’s event with special considerations. “I won’t say that we’re ready for anything, or laying the weeds looking for something in particular. But every event we run we learn more and we’ll continue to apply whatever procedures we need to.”(Ford Racing)(2-26-2003)


  • Fultz to attempt Atlanta: Jeff Fultz might not be a name that race fans instantly recognize, but he’s hoping that will all change at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he attempts to make his Winston Cup debut in the March 9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Fultz will also attempt to make Saturday’s ARCA 400. Fultz was at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday testing the #57 Team CLR Ford. The full-time fabricator and test driver for Jasper Motorsports [#77] is running a limited ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2003 for Jim Craig Racing.(AMS PR)(2-25-2003)
  • Atlanta Testing: five Winston Cup drivers — #42-Jamie McMurray, #31-Robby Gordon, #38-Elliott Sadler, #11-Brett Bodine and #57-Jeff Fultz tested on Tuesday for the March 9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Bodine set the fast time during Tuesday’s test, posting a lap of 187.551mph [last March’s pole was 191.542 by Bill Elliott]. The speeds:
    Car#, Driver, Speed
    #11-Brett Bodine, 187.551
    #31-Robby Gordon, 186.040
    #38-Elliott Sadler, 185.853
    #42-Jamie McMurray, 185.729
    #57-Jeff Fultz, 178.781.
    Atlanta race fans are still welcome to attend the Wednesday, Feb. 26 free open test session and cheer for the drivers on hand.(AMS PR)(2-25-2003)
  • BAM Racing gets a sponsor for Vegas: dakota imaging, inc. will sponsor Ken Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge team in this week’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The company is a leading provider of high-volume transaction processing systems and services (more info about the company on their website: www.dakotaimaging.com). “dakota imaging was with us as a sponsor some last year, and it’s great to have them back with us,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. “With a nationwide audience on FOX and over 100,000 people in a sold out Las Vegas track, this should be another good experience for them, and for us.” The team tested at Las Vegas and was one of the fastest cars there. “We have been impressed with the ability to showcase our brand and drive sales through the unique business to business aspect of the BAM Racing opportunity,” said Sandeep Goel, President and CEO of dakota imaging. “We’re really looking forward to this Las Vegas weekend.” BAM Racing is owned by Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau of Coral Gables, Fla. The successful investors, who have fully funded the team for the complete 2003 season run, have built the BAM (Beth Ann Morgenthau’s initial) team from the ground up. dakota imaging provides turnkey systems and Business Process Outsourcing services for high-volume paper, electronic and Internet transaction processing applications. Their ready-to-use solutions include automated data capture, document imaging, OCR, COLD, Imagine/EDI document archival and Web based self service software for on-line referrals, authorizations and eligibility. Founded in 1989, the company is based in Columbia, Md., and has offices in Atlanta and Dallas.(Williams Company PR)(2-25-2003)
  • Add another to the Petty Family: Harrison Ridge Moffitt – son of Rebecca and Brian Moffitt – was born at approximately 8 a.m., Monday, February 24.. He weighed in at 8lbs. and is 21 inches long.. Mother and child are doing fine and we be in Women’s Hospital in Greensboro until Friday. Brian is Vice President of Marketing for Petty Marketing. Rebecca is the daughter of Richard and Lynda Petty. Harrison Ridge is their 12th grandchild.(Williams Company PR)(2-25-2003)
  • Geoffrey Bodine on cover of Guideposts magazine: Geoffrey Bodine is on the cover of the latest copy of Guideposts magazine and has the featured article, entitled: The Best Example – This NASCAR driver just wanted to be the man his dad was and a good brother. Guideposts is a Christian motivational/positive thinking magazine. They have a website, hsowever the article is not online for viewing, you can see the table of contents at www.guideposts.com.(Stock Car Gazette E-zine)(2-25-2003)
  • Darlington Testing for McMurray: #42-Jamie McMurray will test at Darlington Raceway on Tues and Wed, March 4th and 5th.(Darlington PR)(2-25-2003)
  • Army Jumpers Injured UPDATE 2: Three members of the Army Special Operations Command parachute team, part of Sunday’s prerace show for the Subway 400 Winston Cup race at North Carolina Speedway, were injured in their landing attempts. High winds, with gusts upwards of 40 mph, made it difficult for the eight jumpers to make their way to their planned landing spot on the infield grass on the frontstretch. Three jumpers appeared to land cleanly inside the track. One landed on the track on the frontstretch; three landed in or near the Winston Cup garage area; and one landed outside Turn 1 of the track. One jumper, who landed in the garage, was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte for evaluation. Two others were taken by ambulance to Womack Army Hospital in Fayetteville for treatment of minor injuries. The remaining five were seen and released from the track’s infield care center. The Army public affairs office declined to release the names of those injured.(Thatsracin.com)(2-23-2003)
    UPDATE: Three Army skydivers were injured Sunday when strong wind knocked them to the ground before a NASCAR race. A group of eight jumpers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command parachute team from Fort Bragg came sailing into the track area, trailing red smoke as part of the pre-race activities for the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway. With wind up to 40 mph, one jumper was carried away from his targeted landing on the track and into the infield, where he appeared to bounce off the top of a tractor-trailer before landing on the ground, his chute caught on the antenna of a van. He was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where he was in good condition Sunday night, a nursing administrator said. The hospital did not provide the soldier’s name. Another jumper sailed into the garage area and bounced off the top of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hauler. He landed between race team trucks and a fence. That jumper, as well as a third who landed hard on the asphalt of the track, were taken to Womack Army Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. At least two jumpers nailed their landings on the front stretch of the race track. Another skydiver never made it to the track, landing outside the Turn 1 grandstands. Maj. Gary Kolb, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said a jump team goes through a safety checklist before a jump. Weather conditions are included in that checklist. The jumpers make the final decision whether to make a jump, he said. He said there is a limit on wind speed for jumps, but he wasn’t sure what the limit is. “These guys have had probably in the neighborhood of several hundred freefall jumps,” he said. “They’re very well experienced and know what they’re capable of.” Kolb said one of the men has a broken leg and the others are bruised.(Fayetteville Observer)(2-24-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Three military skydivers injured during an exhibition before a weekend Winston Cup race were released from hospitals Monday. One is still hospitalized. Col. Leonard H. Kiser, a senior Army National Guard adviser for the Army’s Special Operations Command, remained in good condition at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, hospital spokesman Scott White said. Sgt. 1st Class Stuart J. Goodall, Maj. Anthony C. Dill, and Air Force Capt. Jesse L. Peterson were released Monday from Fort Bragg’s Womack Army Medical Center and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-25-2003)
  • Officers face inquiry in stop of Tony Stewart: Ormond Beach police have started an internal investigation into the Feb. 9 traffic stop of NASCAR bad boy Tony Stewart. Police are investigating whether two officers involved in Stewart’s early morning traffic stop let him off too easily because of his superstar status, Ormond Beach police spokesman Sgt. Mark Walker said. Stewart, the defending Winston Cup champion, was pulled over in a yellow Ferrari just before 1 a.m. Feb. 9 after Patrol Officer Anthony Zimmerer saw the car fly past him on the Granada Bridge, Walker said. Zimmerer said another passing vehicle prevented his radar from accurately clocking Stewart’s speed, Walker said. Stewart was stopped by patrol officer Michael Bakaysa. Then he got a warning, rather than a ticket, from Zimmerer. Stewart’s spokesman, Mike Arning, said Monday he could not confirm or deny reports that Stewart discussed the traffic stop on a local radio show Feb. 12.(Daytona Beach News Journal), NOTE: yes it was discussed on a radio show.(2-25-2003)
  • Kentucky Testing Wiped out again: A seemingly endless pattern of snow, rain and ice has suspended NASCAR Winston Cup testing for a second straight week at Kentucky Speedway, which has become a favorite among teams preparing to race at Las Vegas.. Those who may have gained an edge for this Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup event in Las Vegas are those of Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Ricky Craven, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallaceand Dave Blaney, Elliott Sadler and Ryan Newman. The first six drivers visited Kentucky Speedway in late January. The latter two tested in November. More than 24 NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers, including 2002 champion Tony Stewart and 2002 race winner Sterling Marlin, tested at Las Vegas from January 27-30.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(2-25-2003)


  • Rockingham TV Ratings increase: Fox earned a 6.3/13 overnight Nielsen rating for its coverage of yesterday’s Subway 400 Winston Cup race at North Carolina Speedway, an 11% increase over last year’s 5.7/13, according to the Sports Business Daily. The race, which saw Dale Jarrett victorious over Kurt Busch after a late-race battle, was the top sports event on television this weekend, well ahead of the 5.1/10 that ABC drew for its final-round coverage of the PGA’s Nissan Open. Fox’s pre-race coverage drew a 4.2/10 to rank third.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-24-2003)
  • Toyota News: The lead engine builder for the new Toyota program, according to Detroit sources, will likely be Larry Wallace. Larry Wallace decided not to renew his contract with Penske Racing at the end of last season, and Wallace is reported to have moved back into his former shop, not far from Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Meanwhile, Toyota’s first wind-tunnel runs with its NASCAR Truck didn’t go well, according to NASCAR sources, who report that Toyota engineers didn’t tie the Truck down tightly enough during the runs at the Langley (VA) wind tunnel a few weeks ago. The Truck tore loose from its moorings and did serious damage to the facility, forcing it to close for two weeks for repairs. No word on how much Toyota had to pay for damages.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-24-2003)
  • SAFER Update: NASCAR’s Managing Director of Competition Gary Nelson said researchers at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility in Lincoln, NE, are hoping to complete a critical test of the Steel and Energy Foam Reduction [SAFER] barrier later this week. The SAFER system will be tested on a replica of a Richmond International Raceway wall, and positive results could lead to the installation of the barrier at RIR this season. The “soft-wall” technology made a successful debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year [and also at Talladega on some of the inside walls].(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-24-2003)
  • So..what is up with John Kernan? a coulmn from the Roanoke Times about ESPN’s John Kernan who used to host the now defunct [WEEKLY] RPM 2 Night auto racing show [but still airs on weekends with Kernan], some info in part from the article: In 1996 Kernan rode NASCAR’s growing popularity all the way to the weeknight anchor’s chair of RPM 2Night, a racing news and features show that ESPN promoted as “a 30-minute answer to every gearhead’s dream.” Although the show also included highlights, analysis and behind-the-scenes features from the CART, Indy and Formula One series, its main focus was on Winston Cup racing. In 2000, Fox and NBC outbid Disney, ESPN’s parent company, for NASCAR’s television rights in a deal that eventually sent ESPN’s relationship with NASCAR into the Turn 1 wall. Shortly after the Fox deal was announced, NASCAR decided RPM 2Night could no longer use Winston Cup or Busch series race footage, nor would it allow the “feature show” to send its cameras onto the track. So Kernan wasn’t blindsided when ESPN informed him last August that it was pulling the plug on the weeknight version of RPM 2Night after the 2002 Winston Cup season. “I could see it coming a couple of years ago,” said Kernan, who signed off on the final RPM 2Night weeknight show last November following the season-ending Cup race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I was very disappointed, but I wasn’t shocked,” he said, adding that he harbors no bitterness toward NASCAR or Fox. “I fully understand where they are coming from. It’s strictly a business decision.” ESPN is keeping Kernan busy in the final year of his contract. He serves as host for the Sunday edition of RPM 2Day, which airs an hour before every Winston Cup race, and RPM 2Night, which airs at 10:30pm. He also serves as host for RPM Now, a weekly two-hour syndicated radio show. Kernan plans to be at the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway in April.(Roanoke Times)(2-24-2003)
  • Jackman OK: Big Ed Watkins, Jackman for the #19 of Jeremy Mayfield, is doing OK after being hit during a pit stop in.the Subway 400 at Rockingham. He suffered injuries to his right foot and ankle.(2-24-2003)
  • Top Tens: Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson are the only drivers to go two-for-two in top-10 finishes to open the season.(ThatsRacin.com)AND Kurt Busch is the only driver who has finished both races in the top five – with two 2nds.(2-24-2003)
  • Some Book and Magazine News: Brassey’s, Inc. has just published Monte Dutton’s (of the Gaston Gazette) new book: Postcards from Pit Road: Inside Nascar’s 2002 Season, a week-by-week look at the 2002 season, with reports by Monte from each and every race out there.. It talks about all the plots and subplots, from Jack Roush’s accident and recovery, to Tony Stewart battling his critics — and Mark Martin — down the stretch.
    AND A new racing novel, authored by Clyde Bolton, former motorsports writer for The Birmingham News, hits the bookstores this week. Bolton’s book, Turn Left on Green: A Novel of Stock Car Racing, tells the tale of a female sportswriter, covering racing for The News, who falls in love with a driver.
    AND a new quarterly racing magazine, GenerationSPEED Magazine, will debut in March 2003, it covers everything about SPEED including NASCAR. More info at their website: www.mosaicpublishing.net. Many more racing books, magazines, videos and music CD’s can be dound at my Racing Bookstore page (proceeds to charity)(2-24-2003)
  • Some 2004 News – Not NASCAR: Motorsports 2004, the 19th annual edition of the highly successful fan and racer motorsports extravaganza will return to the huge Fort Washington, PA Expo Center, January 16-18, 2004. The 2003 edition of the popular show attracted more than 40,000 people. It was also announced that he will present the second annual Boardwalk Indoor Midget Auto Racing Show at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Motorsports 2004 organizer Len Sammons brought indoor auto racing back to the East Coast gambling paradise last January for the first time since the early eighties. The event attracted more than 100 racers and close to 7,000 fans [including Jayski – who had a great time and saw some super racing]. The indoor auto racing events are tentatively planned for January 23 and 24th, 2004. All that needs to be done is sign the contracts at present. Additional plans for the second annual three quarter midget race events will be announced in the near future. Motorsports 2004 will cover close to 300,000 square feet and offer just about everything imaginable in motorsports.(Open Wheel Racing)(2-24-2004)
  • Team Testing Helps Jarrett win: Dale Jarrett and crew chief Brad Parrott say teammate Elliott Sadler’s February test at Rockingham provided their team the data it needed to set up Jarrett’s winning Ford. “They handed their book over to me,” Parrott says. “And that won us the race.” Because practice was rained out last Saturday, Sadler’s notes were invaluable for establishing the baseline setup on Jarrett’s #88. Sadler finished ninth.(Sporting News)(2-24-2003)
  • Home Depot named title sponsor of All-American Soap Box Derby: The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, today announced that it signed a multi-year agreement to become the title sponsor of the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), a youth racing program for youngsters competing in gravity-powered race cars. In addition, the Company will donate 200 sanctioned race car kits to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (B&GCA), allowing more children an opportunity to compete in this year’s All-American Soapbox Derby races. As part of the newly created alliance, Home Depot will supply 20 race car kits to local Clubs in ten select cities throughout the United States including New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Washington D.C.; Atlanta; Detroit; Houston; Seattle; Orlando; and Charlotte. TEAM Depot associates in those markets will devote several hours to the respective regional races to guide participating children through the race car building process. TEAM Depot, an organized volunteer force, was developed in 1992 to encourage volunteer activities within the stores’ local communities. Home Depot assumes sponsorship duties from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the title sponsor since 1999. Goodyear will continue as a Derby sponsor in another role. Additionally, earlier this year, AASBD entered into a partnership with NASCAR to promote one another’s respective racing programs. Last July, more than 400 boys and girls between the ages of nine and 16 from 43 states, Washington, D.C., Germany, the Philippines and Japan, earned the right to compete in the 65th All-American Soap Box Derby championships at the Derby Downs racing facility in Akron. As part of the comprehensive sponsorship, Home Depot will grant $15,000 each year to an annual scholarship fund managed by the AASBD and receive national media exposure and logo space on all helmets and signage at every sanctioned event.(PR)(2-24-2003)
  • Pruett Wins wins Trans-Am race: former Cup driver, Scott Pruett became the only Trans-Am driver to win twice in St. Petersburg. But it took him 16 years to earn that honor. Pruett, driving a Jaguar XKR, led 53 of the 54 laps to win the BFGoodrich Tires Cup race Sunday, holding off a determined Boris Said by 1.3 seconds.(Tampa Tribune)(2-24-2003)
  • Ramblings: We went to Rockingham today….and racing broke out. We saw cars actually get side-by-side, and even some passing! Dale Jarrett and Kurt Busch staged a ding-dong battle to the finish, and when the dust settled (and there was a lot of that with all that wind) it was DJ standing in Victory Lane to give Brad Parrot his first ever Winston Cup victory as a crew chief. Jarrett’s second win at the Rock (he won here in October of 2000) was the 31st of his Cup career….he’s 19th on the all-time win list. Ricky Craven (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Lowes Motor Speedway last May.
    STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 7 Top-10’s in a row. Mark Martin has 7 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Jimmie Johnson (+29), followed by Jeff Burton (+26), and Kurt Busch (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Sterling Marlin (-36), followed by Bill Elliott (-27), Dale Earnhardt Jr (-21), and Kenny Wallace (-21).
    Wild and crazy moves in the point standings….as you’d expect early in the season. Ricky Craven (25th to 8th) made the best move forward, while Mike Wallace (who was not entered this weekend) fell the most spots (9th to 35th).(Stockcarfans.com)(2-24-2003)
  • Clay Henry: One of Subway’s most famous spokespersons, Clay Henry, served as grand marshal for Sunday’s race, the Subway 400. Henry has been featured in several commercials since losing 130 pounds on a diet that included Subway sandwiches.(Morning News)(2-24-2003)
  • No Winner from the pole..again at the Rock: The pole winner hasn’t won the Cup race at Rockingham in the last 17 races, dating to Jeff Gordon in the spring of 1995.(Daily Press), Sunday’s pole sitter, #77-Dave Blaney finished 10th.(2-24-2003)




  • Jarrett wins at the Rock: #88-Dale Jarrett wins the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway, his 31st overall Winston Cup win, crew chief Brad Parrot’s first win. The win makes it 11 years in a row that Jarrett has won at least one race. #97-Kurt Busch was 2nd for the 2nd race in a row, and takes over the Winston Cup Points lead.
    Result Links at: JayskiThatsRacin.comNASCAR.com or Motorsports One.(2-23-2003)
    UPDATE when the Official Results came out today for the Subway 400, many finishing positions were changed between 14th and 28th. #7-Spencer was dropped from 19th to 28th, 13 positions were changed [no idea why, looks like some lap counts were off, that is why I wait until the official results to do most of my stats pages].(2-24-2003)
  • Fukuyama testing at Vegas? UPDATE 2 to attempt an ‘ABC’ schedule, mostly Cup: hearing that Hideo Fukuyama is testing Monday and Tuesday [Feb 10-11] at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the #66 Travis Carter Ford and that Gary Cogswell is the crew chief.
    UPDATE: using a Japanese online translator and some help from a reader, converted a PR from a Japanese Hideo Fukuyama site announcing that Fukuyama will run 23 (but has since cancelled Rockingham as he didn’t get to test so it is 22) Cup races, 7 BGN and 6 ARCA races (or games as they call it) in the #66 Travis Carter Ford (or as Penske Racing made famous with Newman a few years ago, the ABC – ARCA, BGN and Cup). Mentions “Corporation HFRP” or “Hideo Fukuyama Racing Project. The translation was rough to say the least, check this out “we would like to convey the charm of the most radical American stock car race to also the Japanese motor sport fan in the world”. A 2nd PR on the site, mentions that the Las Vegas Cup would be attempted.(2-11-2003)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Kikkoman Soy Sauce will be the sponsor on the car at Las Vegas, see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-23-2003)
  • Gordon to take flight: Diecast dealers have begun taking pre-orders on a Jeff Gordon paint scheme for Charlotte in May. The scheme is a tribute to the “Wright Brothers 100 years of Aviation.”(Gordonline)(2-12-2003)
    UPDATE: see a diecast image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery, supposedly the official announement will occur in March at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(2-23-2003)
  • Hermie Sadler announcement on March 19th: Hermie Sadler, driver of the #02 car is enthused about his 2003 agenda which will include a busier schedule for his South Hill, VA based Winston Cup team. “I’m excited, man,” Sadler said. “This is my first full-time (Busch) ride in four or five years, and I’m anxious to see where we are at once we get all our fleet of cars built up.” Sadler also counting down the days until March 19. “That’s the day we are going to make our announcement at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond about my Winston Cup program,” Sadler said. “We are planning to do about 12 races. And some of those races will be with help from Toys R Us. The first race for that program will be at Bristol. So obviously Bristol is going to be a big weekend for us. Right now, we just want to focus on Rockingham.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(2-23-2003)
  • Autopsy Photo Fight in NC now: An Iredell County legislator who represents Dale Earnhardt’s family in the N.C. House filed a bill last week to remove autopsy photographs as public records. But officials at the N.C. Press Association promise to oppose the legislation. Under the bill sponsored by Rep. Karen Ray, R-Iredell, court officials, investigators and family members of the deceased would have access to autopsy photos, videos and audiotapes. But others would have to ask a judge for a court order to release photos or tapes or allow copies. Ray said that the bill was prompted by the furor two years ago when newspapers and other media outlets asked for photos from the autopsy in Florida of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt after his fatal wreck at the Daytona 500. Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa Earnhardt, was on the steering committee for Ray’s campaign last year in a Mooresville-based district that is heavily populated by NASCAR drivers, team members, crews and companies. Ray says that protection in the bill extends beyond NASCAR drivers. The bill would make it a felony to illegally provide a photo or recording from an autopsy to an unauthorized official. But Teri Saylor, the executive director of the N.C. Press Association, said that her group of newspaper publishers is likely to oppose Ray’s bill, just as it did a similar bill that died in the 2001 legislature. Saylor said that information such as autopsy photos can be critical to a newspaper’s watchdog role. Saylor said that many newspapers have strict guidelines about photos. Some newspapers provide links to autopsy reports on their Web sites, but not to autopsy photos, Saylor said. Florida’s legislature removed autopsy photos from the state’s public records after the flap over the Earnhardt photos. But John Bussian, a lobbyist for the press association, said that Florida voters passed a ballot proposal last year that requires a two-thirds vote in the legislature to remove items from the state’s public-records law.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-23-2003)
  • Inspection Taking Time: Inspections were once again quite detailed this weekend for Winston Cup teams, with NASCAR opening up its tech line at noon Thursday and working until nearly 8 p.m. clearing cars for Friday’s activities. Several cars were late getting to the qualifying line Friday afternoon, too, as the rain-delayed session pushed toward nightfall. Teams seem to be having the most difficulty building cars that meet new interlocking templates being used by NASCAR this year. The templates measure, for instance, a car down its length as well as across its width at the same time, and very little deviance is accepted.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-23-2003)
  • Concern about Fire Extinguishers: Fire is one of the most frightening things for a driver, so in-car extinguishers are standard, either 21/2 pounds or five pounds. But now there are questions being raised about the 1211 Halon aerosol being used in the NASCAR extinguishers. Halon has long been considered one of the safest chemicals for extinguishing fires. But the EPA has been trying to phase out Halon because of ozone issues, and new production isn’t allowed. And there is some question about the ability of a driver to breathe inside the car if the concentration of Halon is at too high a level. There is enough Halon in a 21/2-pound bottle to flood the interior of a race car with 50 percent concentration, which some in the Winston Cup garage worry might be high enough to suffocate a driver, particularly if he’s unable to crawl out of his car. Halon is usually required to be used only in unoccupied spaces, with warning alarms designed to give anyone in the area 30 seconds to get out before the Halon is released.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-23-2003)
  • Third Roof Flap? A third roof flap that NASCAR is studying, probably wouldn’t have kept Ryan Newman’s car from getting airborne in last Sunday’s Daytona 500, a series official said. “I don’t think that anything shows us that if two of them didn’t open that the third one would have opened in that case,” said Joe Garone, director of NASCAR’s research and development center. Each car has two roof flaps that are intended to flip up and keep the car from getting airborne when it gets turned around. Garone said unique circumstances led to Newman’s car getting in the air. After Newman hit the wall, the right rear wheel came off, allowing air to rush under the car. As that happened, Newman’s car slid down the banked track. The front half of his car was on the flat apron as the back end was on the 18-degree tri-oval. Also, Garone said Newman’s car did not turn around enough to trigger the roof flaps.(Roanoke Times)(2-23-2003)
  • 30 Millions Bucks: Terry Labonte joined the $30 million club last weekend at Daytona. After earning $238,053 in purse money during Speed Weeks at Daytona, the two-time Winston Cup champion surpassed the $30 million mark in career winnings. He is eighth all-time with $30,018,986 earned, behind Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt.(Daytona Bach News Journal)(2-23-2003)


  • Hendrick sends backups home: The unliklihood of any Winston Cup practice on Saturday prompted Hendrick Motorsports to send two of its teams’ backup cars back to Charlotte. The backup cars the teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson taken to Rockingham this week are the primary cars both teams expect to use next weekend at Las Vegas. Bad weather canceled Saturday’s final Cup practices, so Hendrick team officials decided to load up Gordon and Johnson’s backup cars and take them back to team headquarters for final preparations for next weekend’s race.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-22-2003)
  • Chevy Cheating? UPDATE: Rusty Wallace fanned the flames of suspicion yesterday when he insisted that Chevy teams were fudging: “Four or five of them were cheating really, really hard and didn’t get caught. The NASCAR guys know it, and they’re out for them when they get to Talladega.”(Winston Salem Journal and Roanoke Times)…yikes…
    UPDATE: The grumblings have started between the different car makes, with most teams thinking the Chevrolets are at a decided advantage and Rusty Wallace even making allegations of cheating. Monte Carlos from Dale Earnhardt Inc. won four races during Speed Weeks and Richard Childress-owned Chevys won the fifth race and the pole for the Daytona 500. “I don’t know why (the Chevys) were so good at Daytona,” said Wallace. “They had more power and a little less coefficient of drag. Four or five of them were cheating really, really hard and didn’t get caught. The NASCAR guys know it, and they’re out for them when they get to Talladega.”
    Ty Norris, general manager at DEI, rolled his eyes at claims of cheating. “He must be talking about somebody else,” Norris said. “Our guys put a lot of effort into it and don’t get complacent about our plate racing.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-22-2003)
  • NASCAR defends decision to red flag Daytona 500: Fans and drivers weren’t the only ones disappointed with the rain-shortened Daytona 500. As it turns out, NASCAR also wasn’t thrilled with the early end to its biggest race of the season. “It’s our Super Bowl, too, and the way it ended was personally disappointing to me,” Winston Cup director John Darby said Friday. “After watching the race that long, it had just reached a point where it was all starting to come together and was about to get interesting.” Michael Waltrip won Sunday’s race when NASCAR called it after a second hour-long rain delay. The event ended 91 laps short of its scheduled 200. Because 109 laps had been completed, the race had passed the halfway point and was considered an official event. With no evidence that the rain would let up, NASCAR officials determined it would be impossible to resume on Sunday. Coming back on Monday to finish it was not considered an option because the event was already official. “The general practice that we’ve always been pretty solid about, that’s no big secret and is not going to change, is that if we get past halfway and you can’t complete it that day – that’s it,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said. Darby said NASCAR made the only decision it could, based on the rule book. “As bitter and disappointing as it might seem, our decision is in black and white,” he said. “If we make an exception because it is the Daytona 500, then later in the season when we are in the middle of 20-straight weeks of racing, we’ve opened up a can of worms when we try to come back on a Monday to finish a race that is already official.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-22-2003)
  • New Assoc for Gibbs UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Advair, an asthma maintenance treatment, an associate sponsor on the team’s #18 and #20 cars. Driver Bobby Labonte, who has asthma, will be a spokesman for the program and will encourage fans to visit an educational trailer to be located trackside at NASCAR events.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-24-2003)
    UPDATE: Bobby Labonte’s car will switch from green to purple for the Food City 500 at Bristol next month. The color-scheme change is being used to promote Advair, an asthma treatment that Labonte has started using. Labonte’s primary sponsor, Interstate Batteries, is taking its name off the car for that race to let him promote the medication. “It’s helping me get off the quick-relief (inhalers),” Labonte said of Advair. “I was racing a car at Martinsville, Va., and saw a guy beside me that had quick-relief taped to his helmet in case he had to use it. I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, that guy’s got it worse than I do.'” Part of Advair’s season-long promotion includes testing for lung problems at most of the race tracks. Stan Hull, a representative of GlaxoSmithKline, which makes the product, said that more than 1,400 people underwent lung testing during Speed Weeks.(Fayetteville ObserverAND the #18 Chevy will also have Advair on the hood for the races at Rockingham, Atlanta, The Winston, Dover, Chicago, Pocono, Darlington, Kansas and Phoenix. See images of both schemes on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-22-2003)
  • The Hulk scheme(s): looks like #18-Bobby Labonte will run a Incredible Hulk scheme at Michigan in June to help promote the movie ‘The Incredible Hulk’, supposedly this will be a 3-4 car promo, with other cars part of it, like the Muppet’s/Looney Tunes last year. See an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-22-2003)
  • #21 Tractor? and a #50 tractor…..in the Navy: A tow tractor painted as a replica of professional race driver Ricky Rudd’s race car: At sea aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) — Capt Kendall Card (center), Commanding Officer, along with Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Chris Elmore (far left) from Salt Lake City, Uah, Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Noe Munoz (kneeling left) from Van Nuys, Calif., Aviation Support Equipment Technicians 2nd Class Jason Eslinger (center left) from Keizer, Ore., Gary Jaeckin (center right) from Norwalk, Ohion, George Matthies (right) from Oakland, Calif., and Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Mario Maciasplaza (kneeling right) from Los Angeles, Calif., are shown here displaying their tribute to NASCAR; a tow tractor painted as a replica of driver Ricky Rudd’s #21 race car. Lincoln and Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW-14) are conducting operations in support of Operation Southern Watch. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Daniel C. Johnson.(see image at the Navy Newstand.(2-21-2003)
    and #50 too: At sea aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) Dec. 19, 2002 — Jon Wood, professional driver of the Wood Brothers, Roush Racing F-150 racing truck, sits in the driver’s seat of a “souped-up” support equipment tractor rebuilt by the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Division Four (IM4) Sailors. IM4 Sailors stand behind Wood and their tractor. The Norfolk, Va.-based carrier is returning home from a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Janice Kreischer.(see image at the Navy Newstand.(2-22-2003)
  • Daytona 500 Telecast Most Valuable To Sponsors in NASCAR History: The Daytona 500 airing on Fox last weekend provided corporate sponsors with more exposure value than any other U.S. motorsports broadcast in history, as 271 brands accumulated some $251.4 million of exposure value — nearly 10% more than last year’s Daytona total of $228.7 million. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates’ Sponsors Report — which has documented exposure received by corporate entities during national television broadcasts of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for the last 19 seasons — sponsors garnered more than seven hours of on-screen time and 250 verbal references during the live 4.5-hour Fox telecast.. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the amount of time each sponsor appears clear and in-focus, as well as all mentions of sponsors, to the cost of purchasing a commercial during the network’s broadcast. Budweiser was the biggest exposure winner among the sponsors during the season-opening telecast, as the beer brand collected more than 27:00 of on-camera time and 20 mentions, bringing about a comparable value of $16.1 million.. Meanwhile, race winner Michael Waltrip’s main sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts, finished a close second in the battle for exposure after collecting $15.5 million. As a group, brands functioning as primary team sponsors averaged $2.1 million in comparable exposure value, or nearly the estimated cost of eight, 30-second commercial spots during the Daytona telecast. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Sponsors Report conducts in-depth studies of sponsor exposure monitored during more than 2,300 nationally televised event programs annually.(Joyce Julius and Associates PR)(2-22-2003)
  • Buckshot back? UPDATE: hearing Buckshot Jones will test at Atlanta towards the end of February, could be a possible ride Michael Waltrip in the #00.(2-3-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing that Jones will not test at Atlanta but will run the race in the #00 Chevy.(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: hearing the sponsor will not be Charter Communications and that the new sponsor will be announced soon. AND Jones is entered in the MBNA Bass Pro Shops 500 in a car owned by Winston Cup driver Michael Waltrip. It’s the same car Jones brought to AMS last fall, only to see rain wash out qualifying and rob him of a chance to earn a starting spot. Jones, who hasn’t raced since he drove the #44 Dodge last April in Martinsville, hoped to run some practice laps at AMS next week, but that’s not going to happen. Since NASCAR changed the body rules after the 2002 season, it has been difficult for a part-time team to find someone to re-skin the car. “We had hoped to get the people at Dale Earnhardt Inc. to hang the body, but they’re pretty busy with their own cars,” Jones said. With little hope for a full-time ride, Jones has turned to developing residential subdivisions in and around Gwinnett County. Jones said he’d like to resume his racing career, but the odds of getting a front-running car are slim.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-22-2003)
  • Special Elliott/Mayfield schemes? hear there will be some sort of special #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jermey Mayfield schemes, some sort of special Dodge program, but not sure what or where yet.(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing it could be a Simpson’s (TV Show and Jayski Fave) scheme, not sure what for or when.(2-22-2003)


  • Blaney wins his first pole: #77-Dave Blaney won the pole for the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway, with a speed of 154.683. It is Blaney’s first ever Bud Pole (and first ever front row start). Blaney joins Davey Allison (1987), Kyle Petty (1990) and Hut Stricklin (1995) winning their first career poles at the Rockingham, NC track. Outside pole went to #10-Johnny Benson (who won at the Rock in Nov 2002). #99-Jeff Burton spun on his attempt and has to use a provisional as does the Daytona 500 pole sitter, #30-Jeff Green. All 43 drivers make the race and those who used provisionals, will not be charged one. See the speeds, who used provisionals, pole progression, rookies, lineup links on my Rockingham Qualifying Page.(2-21-2003)
  • Some facts about the Rock: In the last five NASCAR Winston Cup races at North Carolina Speedway, the winner has come from 21st or deeper in the field. Last season, #17-Matt Kenseth won the Subway 400 from the 25th position and #10-Johnny Benson won the Pop Secret 400 from 26th. The last driver to win the Subway 400 from the pole was Jeff Gordon in 1995. There have been eight different winners in the last eight races at North Carolina Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(2-21-2003)
  • David Hill Says FOX Had No Say in NASCAR Decision: Fox Sports Chairman David Hill was perturbed at suggestions that Fox contributed to NASCAR calling Sunday’s rain-delayed Daytona 500 after 109 of the 200 scheduled laps in order to ensure the network’s prime-time shows would run in their normal times. “To suggest we went to NASCAR and had them call the race because of our prime-time schedule is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard,” Hill said. “We were in a commercial when NASCAR called the race. And we lost more than $2 million in commercials that we’ll have to make up on future races.”(USA Todayvia MotorsportsTV)(2-22-2003)
  • Fines and Suspensions? UPDATE 2: Rumor has it that NASCAR will pass out some fines — and possibly suspensions — for indiscretions that occurred during Speedweeks 2003. The penalties could come as early as Thursday morning. The fines could rival Speedweeks 2001, when more than $36,000 in fines and two suspensions were passed out. After Bud Pole Qualifying for the 2001 Daytona 500, 18 crew chiefs were fined a total of nearly $40,000 for a variety of infractions. It was — and still is — the largest number of individuals NASCAR has ever fined at once. Tony Furr, then crew chief of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, received a four-race suspension and $12,750 in fines for being too low, a fuel cell violation and “illegal adjustable braces.”(NASCAR.com’s Buzz)(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE: nothing was announced Thursday and the ‘announcement’ may come Friday as a Techincial Bulletin.(XM Satellite – NASCAR Radio; need radio and subsciption to listen to)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR has levied fines against seven Winston Cup series crew chiefs for infractions during last week’s Daytona 500, officials said Friday. They are:
    – Peter Sospenzo, crew chief for the #25 car of Joe Nemechek, was fined $2,000 for two rear coil spring mounts that did not meet NASCAR specifications.
    – Dennis Connor, crew chief for the #0 car of Jack Sprague, was fined $1,000 for external probe heaters that did not conform to NASCAR rules.
    – James Ince, crew chief for the #10 car of Johnny Benson, was fined $500 for underpans that did not meet NASCAR specifications.
    – Chris Carrier, crew chief for the #4 car of Mike Skinner, Mike Beam, crew chief for the #30 car of Jeff Green, and Anthony Gibson, crew chief for the #1 car of Steve Park, were each fined $500 for fuel filters that did not conform to NASCAR rules.
    – Raymond Fox, crew chief for the #38 car of Elliott Sadler, was fined $250 for adjustable fender braces that did not meet NASCAR specifications.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-21-2003)
  • Nissan in the Truck Series too? Nissan, gearing up to launch a full-size pickup truck later this year, may race in a top pickup truck league of NASCAR, in an effort to promote the truck. Larry Dominique, chief product specialist for Nissan’s full-size pickup truck and sport-utility vehicles, said NASCAR has contacted and asked Nissan whether the Tokyo auto maker is interested in taking part in its Craftsman Truck race series. Though there are some obstacles, including a sizable investment needed to develop race-ready pickup trucks, Dominique said Nissan told NASCAR it wanted to keep the dialogue open and learn more about the series.(Yahoo Biz via WSJ)(2-21-2003)
  • TV Note: The History Channel will air the documentary ‘Scott’, about Wendell Scott, the only African-American driver/owner to compete full time in NASCAR’s top series, at 10:00am/et on Feb. 23.(see a article about Scott at Wendell Scott overcame the odds…… at the Daily Herald)(2-21-2003)


  • Gordon and Sesame Street team up again: Jeff Gordon and The Jeff Gordon Foundation are again teaming up with Sesame Street to raise money for charity. The Jeff Gordon Foundation, established in 1999, and Sesame Street, created by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization, are in the second year of a multi-year partnership. The 2002 program featured therelease of the “Jeff Gordon Foundation-Sesame Street Elmo” diecast car designed by renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass. This season, the special edition diecast features another Sesame Street favorite, Cookie Monster, and is again designed by Sam Bass. Once more, this specially designed collector’s car will not be raced. Action Performance Companies will produce the diecast replicas of the “2003 Jeff Gordon Foundation-Sesame Street Cookie Monster” car, which will be released for sale in June of this year.(NASCAR.com)(2-21-2003)
  • NASCAR VP Says FOX, NBC Equal: While many perceive Fox to better NBC when it comes to NASCAR Winston Cup coverage, NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting Paul Brooks doesn’t share that assesment. “Perception is not always reality, and I feel that each of our broadcast partners brings a unique and valuable presentation of our sport that serves our total audience,” Brooks told the Sports Business Daily. “The unique presentation each broadcaster brings to the sport keeps our race season (the longest season in sports) fresh and exciting.”(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-21-2003)
  • Martin named Grand Marshall of Rockingham Busch race: Roush Racing’s Mark Martin will serve as the Grand Marshal for Saturday’s Rockingham 200 Busch Series race. Martin, who won 11 Busch races at Rockingham and captured six poles, will give the command to start engines. Martin holds virtually every record for the 200-mile event of which he competed on 25 occasions, finishing inside the top five 16 times and in the top 10 on 20 occasions, before retiring from the Busch series after the 2000 season. “It’s an honor to be recognized for something that you accomplished in your career,” said Martin. “We had a lot of good Busch races at Rockingham over the years and a lot of other people were responsible for that as well. Still I do appreciate the honor and look forward to it on Saturday.(Roush Racing PR via J-Mar Newsletter)(2-21-2003)


  • Bodine gets a side gig: Brett Bodine, owner and driver of the #11 Hooter’s Ford NASCAR Winston Cup machine, will trade his helmet for a radio headset during the March 1-2 NASCAR weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bodine will serve as an analyst for the Performance Racing Network’s coverage of the Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 1, and the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 NASCAR Winston Cup event on Sunday, March 2. “I am excited and looking forward to working with PRN,” said Bodine, who is competing in only selected Winston Cup events this season. “I think I can bring added insights from both a driver and owner’s perspectives and relay that to the listening audience.”
    “We are excited about working with Brett in the booth,” said Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of PRN, who will co-anchor the broadcasts with Mark Garrow. “Brett brings an intimate knowledge of NASCAR that will be an asset to the broadcasts.”
    “If I can improve my broadcasting skills, it may be something I can pursue when I hang up my helmet,” said Bodine, who has prior experience as a television broadcaster. PRN’s broadcasts air on 450 affiliate radio stations across the country as well as on XM Satellite Radio and NASCAR.com. Rice and Garrow co-anchor the broadcasts with Brett McMillan, Steve Richards and Pat Patterson reporting from pit road. Chuck Carland and Rob Albright cover the action from the turns.(PRN PR)(2-20-2003)
  • Yankee’s Scheme: hearing Christian Fittipaldi will run a New York Yankees scheme Winston Cup car sometime this year, probably at Watkins Glen with the #44 Petty Dodge.(2-20-2003)
  • Labonte looking to extend contract thru 2004: Terry Labonte, a two-time champ, is negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports for a one-year extension of his contract to drive the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet.(Sporting News)(2-20-2003)
  • Dale Jr in Drakkar ads: Drakkar Noir is racing back into television advertising for the first time in nearly a decade, launching a new campaign that features Drakkar Noir spokesperson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his #8 race car. Building on the unprecedented and successful 2002 initial year of the partnership between prestige fragrance Drakkar Noir and the fast-paced world of Winston Cup Racing, the new TV spot brings last year’s print ad to life. It blends the power, passion, performance and sensuality of the fragrance with Earnhardt Jr. and the speed and intensity of racing. The new ad will launch on February 20 on the Speed Channel with four to six ad flights planned for 2003. The ad will also be seen in regional markets through department store ad buys. Supporting the TV and print campaigns will be personal appearances by Earnhardt Jr., a traveling show car program at retail outlets in more then 25 markets across the U.S., and other retail outreach including special offers of Drakkar Noir/Earnhardt Jr. items including collectable die-cast cars. As part of the partnership, the Drakkar Noir logo is prominently displayed on the uniforms worn by Earnhardt Jr., his team, and the lower quarterpanel of his #8 Chevrolet.(Yahoo Biz)(2-20-2003)
  • Inside Cat is back: Last year’s publication of Inside Cat Racing 2002 was such a success that a 2003 edition has just been released. The magazine-format issue includes photographs and lots of information about Ward Burton and Bill Davis Racing. Inside Cat Racing is available at the Cat Merchandise Centre on Adams Street in Peoria or at www.insidecatracing.com. The 2002 edition also may be ordered on the Web site.(Peoria Star)(2-20-2003)
  • Hamilton Jr to run Atlanta UPDATE: Bobby Hamilton Jr tested a Winston Cup that Team Rensi (his BGN team) plans to run at Atlanta in March.(FSN’s Totally NASCAR)(2-19-2003)
    UPDATE: It’s been almost two years since Bobby Hamilton Jr. ran a Winston Cup race, but he believes there is no better place to make his initial 2003 Winston Cup start than Atlanta Motor Speedway. In order to prepare for his return to Winston Cup, Hamilton Jr. tested Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, posting a top speed of 185.853 mph before packing up just before lunch on Wednesday. Although he is the full-time driver of the #25 Team Marines Ford for 2003 in the BGN, Hamilton Jr. has the opportunity to run a limited Winston Cup schedule this year. So when it came time to choose the tracks where he would run, Atlanta was an easy choice.(AMS PR)(2-20-2003)
  • Fuel Injection in NASCAR? Whatever Detroit is selling on the NASCAR tour this season, it’s certainly not cars, and it’s certainly not engines. NASCAR’s common-template creation has almost nothing in common with anything on the street. Every piece of a Winston Cup car now is specially made. And when was the last time anyone bought a [New] passenger car with a 358-c.i. engine with a carburetor? Nevertheless, Detroit’s presence in NASCAR is huge. And if the men in the suits in the suites of America’s car capital are really paying attention to what’s going on down here, and not simply laying out new full-page ads celebrating victory in USA Today, then Detroit’s presence may soon be getting bigger. Why? Toyota.
    So is that why Ford’s Robert Yates is suddenly so interested in pushing NASCAR to approve a new, exotic race engine? Yates, the legendary engine builder and #38/88 car owner, is talking about NASCAR’s need for a new-generation engine. The two current designs used on the Winston Cup tour are based on the 1955 Chevrolet V-8 small block and the 1969 Ford 351 small block. What Yates has been working on would be radical departure from those carburetor motors: A four-valve, double-overhead cam 4.6 liter. One of his motors just ran in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and, Yates said, “These things would do fine right here today,” referring to the Winston Cup tour. “They make all the horsepower we need or more, at considerably less cost. And it’s been enlightening for me to work on them,” Yates said. “We felt proud in the 1960s and early 1970s that some of our technology went back to the manufacturers. But since then we’ve really sort of disconnected. There’s not much stock about our engines. I feel like we’re just working on dinosaurs. There is a lot of technology we use on the engines today, and I don’t want anybody to think we’re running with 1955 technology. But I just think we can accomplish the same thing with something that’s built by the manufacturer. That’s when the price comes down. Despite the expected dubious reaction from NASCAR executives to such an exotic piece, Yates said, “It would actually give them better control over what’s going on.” Yates said he talked with NASCAR officials last month during the 24 Hours, and he says he felt he sold Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s director of competition, on part of the concept. Yates suggests that NASCAR might consider approving the engine for the tour’s four restrictor- plate races, “because that’s an engine program of its own. It would be a good place to introduce this engine.(Full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(2-20-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic Organizers Donate Money to CVAN: The Inaugural Dale Jr. Grappling Classic was such a huge success that organizers were able to donate $2,000 from the proceeds of raffles and auctions held throughout the Jiu Jitsu tournament on January 25th at the Cabarrus County Arena to CVAN, a domestic violence service for women. The planning committees are currently working on the plans for any future events. “We’re happy with the results from the first tournament,” Kelley Earnhardt, of JR Motorsports said. “There are some things that we need to change for next year, but we think this inaugural event went off without any major snares.. Everyone pitched in and did a great job working the event.” Dale Jr., who brought along his posse of friends to see the action, enjoyed the event from the suites above the grandstands at the Cabarrus Arena. Earnhardt Jr, also had the privilege of meeting several of the competitors that afternoon while watching the action live from beside the mats on the floor area. “There was a lot more involved in this competition that I had ever thought,” Earnhardt Jr., said. “It was cool to see first hand what these guys, women and children have to do to make it through one of these tournaments. The children wanted to win just as bad as the adults did. Some of the fights went on and on because the competition was so close. The fans would go wild in the stands yelling for their favorite grappler. All in all, the event went well.. We enjoyed watching the stiff competition and the superfights at the end of the night.
    Many of the competitors stayed around until late into the night to observe the superfight competition.. The results of the superfight are as follows:
    · Saulo Ribeiro defeated Todd Margolis
    · Daniel Moraes defeated Jorge Gurgel
    · Mark Laimon and Marcelo Clemente was determined a draw.
    Check www.dalejrgrapplingcalssic.com for future details about upcoming events.(PR)(2-20-2003)
  • Newman testing at Atlanta UPDATE 3: Ryan Newman will test his No. 12 Alltel Dodge Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the March 9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Newman comes to Atlanta as a real threat to win the pole. In his first trip to Atlanta, a test session with Penske Racing, Newman set the fastest laps of the season’s tests. During his next visit, with the BGN, Newman shattered the BGN qualifying record en route to the pole. In his two Cup starts last year, he started second and sixth – and both were huge disappointments. Tickets start at just $59 for a three-day weekend package and just $25 for Sunday’s Winston Cup race. Call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office now to reserve your seats at (770) 946-4211.(AMS PR)
    UPDATE: #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr also was at AMS testing his BGN car, #21-Ricky Rudd was to test but the team couldn’t make it due to heavy snow in Virginia, the home of the Wood Brothers team.(XM Radio Satellite – NASCAR Radio)
    UPDATE 2: Newman ran in the 190.500mph range on Tuesday.(FSN’s Totally NASCAR)(2-19-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Ryan Newman continued testing Wednesday at Atlanta. Newman unofficially turned in a top lap 191.503mph when clocked by Atlanta Motor Speedway’s amateur timers. His lap just a fraction shy of Bill Elliott’s March 2002 winning pole speed of 191.542mph.(AMS PR)(2-20-2003)


  • #600 for Rusty: #2-Rusty Wallace will be looking to make his 600th career NASCAR Winston Cup start this weekend at Rockingham. He is 14th on the NASCAR all-time starts list, two behind 13th-ranked James Hylton.(2-19-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing there may be a special paint scheme or decal to commemorate this.(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: didn’t see any special scheme on the car during qualifying, in fact when interviewed, Wallace said he didn’t even realize it was his 600th start.(2-22-2003)
  • Halfway to Rusty: #43-John Andretti will reach a milestone at Rockingham, set to make his 300th career Winston Cup start.(2-19-2003)
  • No Petree Team at the Rock: #33/55 team owner Andy Petree’s 2003 Winston Cup program extends only a few races beyond the Daytona 500. And the next is four months — not four days — away. “What next?” Petree asked rhetorically, with a wry smile. “That’s a good question (and) I was just thinking that, as I was walking over here. I don’t know — we’ve got a few things we’re going to do: Busch racing, Truck racing, some ARCA races.” After cutting back to one full-time [#55 Chevy with Bobby Hamilton] team in 2002 realized he needed more funding from the other backer to continue even a single team in 2003. He had one hoped-for merger, with NFL owner Jerry Jones, fail to come to fruition and he continues to seek sponsorship or a partner to continue his Winston Cup operation on some level. His deal with Monaco Coaches, which is centered on several Craftsman Truck Series events, included only the Daytona 500 in Winston Cup. Petree is looking ahead to several announcements and getting back to his shop complex to get his remaining employees back to work on race vehicles for all three of NASCAR’s national series. “We’ve got about 25 guys and we’ve got enough to do to keep them all busy,” Petree said. “We’ll be working hard, but it will be hard not to be at all the Winston Cup races like we’ve been in the past.” Petree said he would drive the next race for APR, in a Monaco-sponsored Chevy truck at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, CA. That program encompasses four races, and Petree said he would also reprise his successful outing — at least in qualifying — in the Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. He said he also had a fully sponsored program for a “young driver to run some Busch, Truck and ARCA races, though not a full season.” “That will enable us to keep our core group of employees together while we try to build for 2004,” Petree said. “Our next Winston Cup race is at Sears Point, and we got another young driver that we can’t announce yet, for there.” Petree acknowledged he was pleased at the performance of former CART Indy car driver Christian Fittipaldi, who made only his second Winston Cup start in the series’ biggest race.(see full story and quotes at NASCAR.com)(2-19-2003)
  • Waltrip’s Top Ten on David Letterman: Top Ten Highlights Of Yesterday’s [Sunday’s] Daytona 500 as presented by 2003 Daytona 500 champ, Michael Waltrip [As done by Waltrip via Satellite on Monday night’s show]:
    Top Ten Highlights Of Yesterday’s Daytona 500 as presented by 2003 Daytona 500 champ, Michael Waltrip
    10. I drove all 272-and-a-half miles while eating a roast beef sandwich
    9. Tiger Woods finishing a respectable third place
    8. When I pulled in for a tire change and my pit crew threw an early surprise birthday party
    7. Thanks to the Chevrolet President’s Day sale I got a nice new car for the race
    6. Well, the part where I won was sorta cool
    5. Beating the other drivers at our rain delay game of Scrabble
    4. Win the Daytona 500, you get 500 bucks!
    3. The hour delay during lap 23 because of rubbernecking
    2. I listened to a Dr. Phil book-on-tape and it changed my life
    1. I was warm and toasty in my car while you losers were up to your asses in snow
    (David Letterman site), a little side note: Waltrip was propped up in the booth where you always see his brother Darrell where they broadcast the races. He was up there looking down on victory lane in his firesuit. Dave asked him to put on his fire suit as he wanted the whole effect and basically between Michael and Letterman they just came up with the top ten list, they came up with it together. Michael changed a few things. Snow prevented Waltrip from actually going to NYC on Monday to do Letterman so he did it by Satellite.(XM Radio Satellite – NASCAR Radio)(2-19-2003)
  • Congrats to the Nadeau’s – now a Family of 3: Jada and Jerry Nadeau welcomed their daughter, Natalie Kate Nadeau into the world on Monday, February 17 at 12:30pm/et. Natalie weighed in at 8 lbs 1oz and has a full head of blonde hair. Everyone is doing well.(Jerry Nadeau Site)(2-19-2003)
  • TV Show Changes Name: Beginning in 2003, the NASCAR automotive licensing program and its 30-minute weekly television show will take on a new look and new name, changing from NASCAR Tech to NASCAR Performance. The name change will more clearly define for NASCAR fans and television viewers that NASCAR Performance is the place to go behind the scenes of NASCAR cars and crew members and learn how race teams’ performance on the track can be applied to street vehicles. The revamped show will air Wednesdays on SPEED Channel at 6:00pm/et, beginning Wed., Feb. 19, leading into SPEED Channel’s [and Fox Sports Net’s] nightly NASCAR news show Totally NASCAR. Veteran NASCAR announcer John Roberts serves as the weekly host for NASCAR Performance with Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and other NASCAR personalities appearing on the program. Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of competition, will examine a series of rules and how they are defined in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Kenny Wallace will instruct viewers on how to perform simple maintenance on their car.(Speed Channel PR)(2-19-2003)
  • Cup Testing At KentuckySpeedway Hindered By Weather: A weather system producing snow, freezing rain and ice delayed scheduled testing for Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates Racing and Robert Yates Racing scheduled at Kentucky Speedway for Monday and Tuesday, February 17-18. Temperatures are expected to creep into the 40s by midweek which may allow Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Evernham Motorsports to hold their scheduled tests on Wednesday, February 19.(Kentucky Speedway PR)
    UPDATE: all testing for this week has been canceled or postponed.(XM Radio Satellite – NASCAR Radio)(2-19-2003)
  • GM Card signs on as a sponsor for the #30: The GM Card announced that it has signed a sponsorship agreement with the #30 America Online Racing [AOL] Cup team, whose driver, Jeff Green of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), won the pole for the Daytona 500. Under the terms of the agreement, the #30 AOL car will be outfitted with highly visible decals from The GM Card, as will Green’s helmets and hats, the team car’s transporters, team members’ uniforms, and crew team uniforms and fire suits. In October, Green will drive a car primarily branded by The GM Card in the Georgia 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The sponsorship is a continuation of the relationship between RCR and General Motors. GM, through the GM Goodwrench brand, has been a primary sponsor of RCR’s #3 and #29 NASCAR Winston Cup teams since 1988 and all five of its teams compete in Chevy Monte Carlos.(Business Wire)(2-19-2003)
  • Waltrip on the go: Michael Waltrip will go straight to Rockingham without going home and is in New York City now. From his PR person (heard from an XM Radio report). “He is in New York this morning. He started out at WNBC in New York on their morning show – he got to wake up New York City with his bright shiny voice and eyes and got to basically got to tell the world that he’s going to back in July and back in February to be the three time Daytona 500 Champion. He’s not settling for two time although he’s pretty satisfied with it right now. Right now standing in the lobby of the Fox building and he’s going to say hello to the nation and be on fox and friends and we’re going to run over to the stock exchange and he’s going to ring the bell at the stock exchange this morning. Then it looks like he’s going to do some one on ones over at NASCAR’s PR firm at Allen Taylor he’ll be there a couple of hours enjoy lunch over at Smith and Walinski and then he’ll be off to do Gretta Van Sustern [Fox News – On the Record] and a couple of other radio shows and [ESPN] Dan Patrick and one of the Chicago radio stations. He’s not even going to make it home before he goes to Rockingham. We’ve still got tomorrow morning (Thursday) he’s got Regis and Kelley in the morning and then he goes to Philadelphia to do a QVC show – kind of like Tampa Bay did their deal after they won the Superbowl.” Note: PR advice had Mike and Buffy pack an extra “New York” bag just in case they won….and they are now taking advantage of the smart thinking.(XM Radio Satellite – NASCAR Radio aired at 10:30am/et and will be througout the day)(2-19-2003)
  • Earnhardt Remebered: Dale Earnhardt fans from near and far gathered Tuesday at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in Mooresville to pay their respects on the second anniversary of the racer’s fatal accident at Daytona International Speedway. At dusk, a crowd of about 150 people, many of whom were clad in Earnhardt-related gear, stood outside the front doors of DEI with lighted candles for a quiet time of reflection. Behind the glass doors sat the black #3 Chevrolet which Earnhardt made so famous. Hanging from the ceiling was an oversized photo of the late seven-time Winston Cup champion wearing a tuxedo and sporting his trademark grin.(see full story at the Independent TribuneAND The “Fire & Ice Ball” held at the old Cabarrus Bank building in Cannon Village Friday netted approximately $3,000 that will go toward the completion of Dale Earnhardt Plaza. The invitation-only event, held in conjunction with the recognition of Valentine’s Day, was coordinated through the efforts of the Kannapolis Business Council. “We were able to sell about 85 percent of the tickets,” said Patti Rader, past chairwoman of the business council. “We probably had close to 160 people there.” Tickets were $100 per couple, and a large portion of the money raised went toward the catering, open bar and entertainment. The Jerry Goodman Orchestra, which cost $1,700, had folks dancing the night away with it’s horn-driven melodies. The event served as a showing of the council’s continued effort to help make Dale Earnhardt Plaza a reality. The Kannapolis Business Council, which serves as a liaison between the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce and businesses in Kannapolis, was founded last March. Through the three events it has held thus far, the council has raised approximately $13,600 for Dale Earnhardt Plaza.(Independent Tribune)(2-19-2003)

    A picture taken in front of DEI during the candle light vigil on Feb 18th, 2003
    thanks to Debbie for the picture (yes I noticed the ‘3’ on the front of the building)

  • Greg Ray to drive in BGN: Former IRL champion Greg Ray is trying to finalize a deal to run several Busch series races this season as a teammate to Matt Kenseth at Reiser Enterprises. Robbie Reiser, the crew chief for the Winston Cup car Kenseth’s drives, owns a Busch team and wants Ray to drive a second Busch car for them if the sponsorship can be worked out. “We should know something on that by March 1,” Ray said. “If we can finalize things, my first Busch race will be March 29 at Texas Motor Speedway.”(Dallas Morning News – need to register to read)(2-19-2003)
  • Knights Inn hotel to sponsor Kerry Earnhardt: The Knights Inn hotel chain announced it will sponsor driver Kerry Earnhardt in the BFN and select Cup races in 2003 as an associate sponsor. Tthe chain will have its logo featured on the #12 Chevy of FitzBradshaw Racing that Earnhardt will drive in the BGN and on the #83 Chevy in which he will drive in a few select races in 2003.(Yahoo)(2-19-2003)
  • Baldwin’s father to race Hooter’s Cup: NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour veteran, Tom Baldwin, will drive a second entry for MJ Motorsports in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series event on September 13th at Hickory Motor Speedway. Tom is the father of Tom Baldwin, Jr, Crew Chief for Jimmy Spencer’s #7 Sirius Satellite Dodge in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The Virginia Motor Speedway and Sunoco Race Fuels will sponsor Baldwin, who has won over 250 races in his modified career. MJ Motorsports is owned by Mike Calinoff, Spotter for NASCAR’s Matt Kenseth, and will field a full time effort for David Stover, who will compete for Rookie of the Year honors this season.(MJ Motorsports PR)(2-19-2003)


  • Toyota to Launch Truck Ad Campaign: Toyota won’t wait until it’s actually competing next year to begin supporting NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series, according to this week’s issue of Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. Senior writer Bill King says the company plans to begin advertising during the truck races on Speed Channel this year. No details about the ad campaign were disclosed.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2003)
  • Last Daytona 500 winner to win the Cup: The winner of the Daytona 500 has gone on to win the Winston Cup championship in the same season just once since 1979, when Jeff Gordon did it in 1997. Three others who won both in the same year are Lee Petty (1959), Richard Petty (1964, ’71, ’74 and ’79) and Cale Yarborough (1977).(St Petersburg Times)(2-18-2003)
  • The Military and NASCAR: While the Army has the broadest, deepest and most expensive program, each of the services will spend at least $1.5 million and all will dispatch show cars to make stops at schools from Bangor to Bakersfield.
    The rundown:
    The Air Force will put about $2.25 million into an associate sponsorship with a Winston Cup team. That will buy placement on the rear corners of a car driven by popular veteran #21-Ricky Rudd throughout the 38-week season, along with a primary position for three races.
    The Marine Corps will spend about $2.25 million as primary sponsor of a team in the Busch Series [#25 Bobby Hamilton], where it has found fertile recruiting ground since 1999.
    The Navy will spend about $1.5 million as a primary sponsor of a Roush Racing team in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck series [#50 Jon Wood]. Its sponsorship differs slightly from the others in that it is funded mostly from a retention budget, rather than a recruiting budget.
    The Army National Guard will sponsor a Winston Cup entry, putting its colors on a [#54] car driven by Todd Bodine. The Guard would not discuss its spending, but industry insiders estimated it was one of the lower team deals in Winston Cup, likely worth $5 million to $6 million for the season.
    Together, the armed forces will spend about $28 million in the sport this year. All have similar goals: raising awareness, generating recruiting leads and retaining those already in uniform. The resources allocated to achieve those goals are substantial. The service branches will spend about $600 million on advertising this year, with much of it paying for time during network sporting events and other programming that draws young male viewers. The four active branches together must sign up about 200,000 recruits this year, more hires than any U.S. industry. Together, the active and reserve branches of the armed forces will spend $1.4 billion on recruiting, advertising and examining this year, according to Defense Department budgets.(see full story at the Business Journal). Also, not mentioned, the Civil Air Patrol sponsors the #46 BGN car of Ashton Lewis, no idea what they spend.(2-18-2003)
  • Busch to make VISA adds: Roush Racing driver Kurt Busch is set to join Penske Racing South driver Rusty Wallace in a 2003 VISA Card national advertising campaign. Both are schedueld to take part in a photo shoot today and a commercial shoot on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. Roush Racing says Wednesday’s commercial part of the shoot will feature the team’s No. 97 Ford and a pit crew. Busch jokes that he hasn’t yet received one thing he sought in return for his work: “I asked for a million-dollar credit limit. They said they’d get back to me.”(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2003)
  • Newman’s Car Impounded UPDATE: Ryan Newman’s dramatic flip down the frontstretch was eye-catching, particularly for NASCAR officials, who were not pleased to see all those parts and pieces flying off the car. So NASCAR inspectors impounded Newman’s car for further inspection, to try to figure out why the car appeared to simply shatter when it hit the ground.(Winston Salem Journal)
    HOWEVER After safety workers reached Newman’s car Sunday, he climbed from his window and waved to the cheering crowd. Finding faster ways to get drivers out of their cars — especially taller, or bigger, drivers — is high on NASCAR’s agenda. “NASCAR has been working for over a year on what we call bigger ‘greenhouses,’ which translates to more room in the cockpit for the drivers, especially bigger drivers such as Michael Waltrip,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s corporate vice president of communications. “One of the possibilities is to have an exit section in the roof of the car where they can extract a driver through a bigger opening in the top rather than through the window.” Hunter said NASCAR officials kept Newman’s car for “well over an hour” Sunday to analyze it for future research and development. “The fact he walked away from this crash is a testament to the way our guys build their cars,” Hunter said. “Even though Ryan’s Dodge was demolished, the protective roll cage surrounding him in the cockpit did what it was supposed to do.”(Flordia Today)(2-18-2003)
  • Hammond expects rule change after Vegas IF Chevy’s continue to dominate: If the Chevrolets continue to have a lopsided advantage after Rockingham and Las Vegas, I’d [Jeff Hammond] look for the powers that be to make an adjustment. The change would have to be in the front end because that’s where Chevrolet seems to have a better balance and a touch more front downforce than the other cars. Ford and Dodge haven’t told [Hammond] what they’re working on, but [Hammond] believes that both camps are already looking into a rule change in the front headlight area to create just a little bit more downforce. Of the 329 laps raced in the two 125-mile Winston Cup qualifying races, the Busch race and the Daytona 500, Chevy led all but seven or two percent of the laps. During Speedweeks, it was pretty clear that Chevrolet was the class of the field.(FoxSports)(2-18-2003)
  • Daytona 500 TV Ratings: Sunday’s rain-shortened running of the 45th Daytona 500 still captured 29.4 million viewers, the event’s fifth-biggest audience ever, according to Nielsen Media Research. Despite televising approximately two-hours and ten minutes of race coverage during a four-hour and 38-minute broadcast, the Daytona 500 on FOX scored an impressive 9.8/21 preliminary national household rating/share, and ties the 1987 race as the fourth highest-rated Daytona 500 ever. At any given time, the 2003 race averaged 16.8 million viewers, the third highest in history. Even with Sunday’s rain delays, the Daytona 500 still posted the highest rating of any sporting event since Super Bowl XXXVII, and easily beat events such as the NBA All-Star Game and NFL Pro Bowl. The Daytona 500 also retains its title as the top event in motorsports. Sunday’s 9.8/21 out-rates the last 10 Indianapolis 500s. One national ratings point represents 1 percent of the 106,700,000 million estimated television households in the United States (1,067,000).(Fox Sports)(2-18-2003)
  • Ganassi announces new sponsorship program for all teams: Chip Ganassi Racing is proud to announce an innovative new sponsorship program that includes several of the world’s top technology companies. Through their long-standing partnership with Target Corporation, Chip Ganassi Racing has finalized sponsorship agreements with Microsoft, Dell, EMC, Syntel and Avaya. The technology consortium will become the official technology partners to Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the Indy Racing League with drivers Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon, and for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with drivers Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, and Sterling Marlin, and will benefit the programs of team primary sponsors Target, ChevronTexaco, and Coors Brewing Company. The alliance marks the first time that major IT companies have united to work together with a racing team in the U.S. In addition to dedicated intellectual capital, as part of the sponsorship Microsoft will provide consulting services and software solutions based on their .Net platform, Dell Corporation will provide computer hardware, EMC will provide data storage solutions, Syntel will provide customized software development and Avaya will power TCGR’s converged communications network and wireless infrastructure.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(2-18-2003)
  • #43 Berry Scheme UPDATE: John Andretti is scheduled to run a Cheerios Berry Scheme at the Winston Open and Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, this is a very cool looking scheme, see the Paint Scheme Gallery for an image.(2-5-2003)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises and sponsor Cheerios joined forces Thursday morning, Feb. 13, prior to the “Great American Race” to unveil a special paint scheme for the legendary #43. The paint scheme celebrates Berry Burst Cheerios, the first-ever pairing of wholesome Cheerios with great tasting real berries right in the box. Petty Enterprises and sponsor Cheerios will race the new paint scheme in July, when the NASCAR Winston Cup teams come back to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. The two new products – Berry Burst Cheerios Strawberry (with real sliced strawberries) and Berry Burst Cheerios Triple Berry (with real sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and.whole raspberries) – provide the taste and experience of fresh fruit through the process of freeze-drying. The #43 Berry Burst Cheerios Dodge will have John Andretti behind the wheel in the July race at Daytona.(Williams Company PR)(2-18-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt Memorial Planned AND: Dale Earnhardt Incorporated [DEI] plans to remember the life and career of Dale Earnhardt with a memorial on Tuesday, February 18th. The memorial will begin at dusk at the headquarters of DEI. Mooresville, NC is home to the race shops of the DEI Teams, however on this evening the Earnhardt family of fans will come from all across America. Last year fans signed messages of support and lit candles in his honor while video’s of his racing career highlights played in the lobby. Hundreds of fans passed through the Earnhardt complex throughout the day culminating in a memorial candle lighting at dusk.(Stock Car Fans)
    AND Every February 18th, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will honor and pay special tribute to its fallen leader by hosting a Silent Candlelight Tribute on the grounds of the facility that Dale and Teresa Earnhardt created and enjoyed. It was two years ago today that we lost Dale on the last lap of the Daytona 500. The outpouring of emotions that followed had fans from all over the country and world paying respect to the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion in the form of flowers, cards and flags flying at half staff around the country. Here at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on Tuesday, the flag poles looked just like they did two years ago. The American, North Carolina State flag and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. flag are all flying at half staff. And, right under the corporation’s flag is a checkered flag to salute Michael Waltrip and the No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy team for their 2003 Daytona 500 victory. This year’s Silent Tribute on the corporate ground will begin at dusk where fans remembering Dale will have the chance to get candles and commemorative decals honoring their visit to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to partake in the ceremony. Each fan will be encouraged to stand in silence on the facility grounds to remember Dale’s spirit. Signature boards will also be made available for those who wish to express their feelings in words on this day. At 8:00pm/et, Motorsports Outreach Chaplain Dale Beaver will offer a few words of inspiration before the Silent Tribute ends at 9:00pm/et. For fans that are unable to attend, Teresa Earnhardt has asked they light a candle in their homes, or wherever they are, as their own personal Silent Tribute to remember Dale’s remarkable spirit.(DEI PR)(2-18-2003)


  • The Shortest ‘500’: The Daytona 500 has never been rained out, and Sunday’s 109-lap race was only the fourth in history not run to 500 miles. Here’s the history of the abbreviated events:
    1965 – 332.5 miles – Rain – Fred Lorenzen
    1966 – 495 miles – Rain – Richard Petty
    1974 – 450 miles – Shortened due to U.S. energy shortage – Richard Petty
    2003 – 272.5 miles – Rain – Michael Waltrip.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-17-2003)
  • Crew personnel getting too expensive? In the escalating battles among car owners to hire away crewmen from rivals, Richard Childress says the bidding war in the NASCAR garage for aerodynamicists, engineers, fabrication specialists and pit crew men is getting way out of hand. Anyone is fair game in this struggle. DEI just hired two key pit-road men from the Woods; RYR hired away a key aerodynamicist from Childress; and Childress just hired an excellent fabrication-shop guy away from DEI. “Hey, this is a major-league sport,” Greg Zipadelli, Tony Stewart’s crew chief, says. “You’ve got to take care of your players.”
    “It’s bad, and we’re our own worst enemies, because the salaries have been pushed sky-high,” Childress says. “Some salaries have skyrocketed, because of someone trying to hire someone else. Everybody is after the (fabrication) guys now. When you lose somebody, you’ve got to replace them, and it usually winds up costing you more. The price of this sport keeps going up.”(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2003)
  • BGN TV Ratings: Fox got a 3.6 overnight rating for its coverage of Saturday’s Koolerz 300 Busch race, up 24 percent from the Fox broadcast in 2001. Last year, the Busch race was on TNT cable and got a 2.9. Saturday’s race got a 7.7 rating in Charlotte.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-17-2003)
  • Plate Problems? Some Winston Cup crew chiefs are critical of NASCAR’s new system for pre-race selection of the crucial carburetor restrictor plates. Ever since NASCAR went to the air-choking plates to cut speeds at the tour’s two biggest tracks some 15 years ago, drivers and crews have at times questioned just how fair that selection process might be, with rumors frequently rampant about a particular driver getting just the right plate. That issue is once again being raised in the garage, with the lack of randomness of the selection at particular issue.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2003)
  • Worried about Toyota? GM and Ford teams are both worried that when Toyota comes into Winston Cup racing, it will raise the financial stakes considerably, and that GM and Ford executives in turn will have to cut back on the support they give their own teams if they have to start matching Toyota’s expected surge of TV ads.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2003)
  • Waltrip the Eighth: Michael Waltrip is just the eighth driver to win the Daytona 500 more than once. He joins Richard Petty (7), Cale Yarborough (4), Bobby Allison (3), Dale Jarrett (3), Bill Elliott (2), Jeff Gordon (2) and Sterling Marlin (2) on the list.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-17-2003)
  • Rusty’s Carb: NASCAR put Rusty Wallace’s controversial carburetor on display yesterday for teams to examine. The specific alteration that Wallace’s crew had made to the carburetor was to the walls of the four venturi, to alter the air flow to make it more effective.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-17-2003)
  • Mikey’s Car to Daytona USA: On Monday at DAYTONA USA, the #15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy, Michael Waltrip’s winning car from Sunday’s 45th annual Daytona 500, was inducted into the official attraction of NASCAR. The car will rest inside Gatorade Victory Lane at DAYTONA USA for one year and will be returned to the team before the start of the 46th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, 2004. The car is in the same condition as it was when it left Victory Lane and bears the signatures of all of the crew members including Waltrip. Waltrip, who also won the 2001 Daytona 500, participated in a fan forum along with his crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe and DEI executive vice president Ty Norris. Speedway President Robin Braig presented all three with Daytona 500 leather jackets while Gatorade presented the 2003 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from last night’s Victory Lane celebration. Waltrip, who’ll continue handling media obligations of a Daytona 500 winner in the next few days including an appearance via satellite on tonight’s Late Show with David Letterman, visited with the reporters before the induction ceremony and fan forum. He said he spent last night celebrating with the team on Teresa Earnhardt’s yacht. He also got a warm welcome from family, friends and fellow drivers such as Elliott Sadler, Dale Jarrett and Ken Schrader outside his motor home. “I thought it was fun to get to party with (Teresa) and just enjoy her company,” Waltrip said. “I had a lot of good folks over. We went back to the motor home. I didn’t do anything crazy. I just enjoyed the family and friends.”(DIS PR)(2-17-2003)

    Michael Waltrip’s #15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy being inducted into Daytona 500 (DIS Photo)

  • Rumblings – Daytona: Mikey’s win moves him into a tie for 76th on the all-time win list, and was worth a cool $1,410,706 from the over $14M in posted awards. It also puts the 15 team on the Winners Circle program for 2003…we’ve still got another wild-card spot available on that contingeny program for this season. Jimmie Johnson (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Dover last September. Kevin Harvick (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol last August. Robby Gordon (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Watkins Glen last August. Jeremy Mayfield (8th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond last May. Mike Wallace (9th) had his best finish since he was 2nd at Phoenix in October of 2001. Kyle Petty (13th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Darlington last September. Jack Sprague (14th) had his career-best finish today (albiet only 7 races). His previous best was 23rd at Phoenix in October of 1996. Todd Bodine (18th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond last September.
    STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 6 Top-10’s in a row. Mark Martin has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: The Operator of the Week is Kurt Busch (+34), followed by Kevin Harvick (+27), Mark Martin (+21), and Johnny Benson (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Green (-38), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-34), John Andretti (-22), and Ward Burton (-21). For new readers, this category is determined by the net change from start to finish position.(Stock Car Fans)(2-17-2003)




  • The Daytona 500 is OVER: after 109 of 200 laps, the race has been called due to rain and #15-Michael Waltrip has been declared the winner. Waltrip is the 8th driver who has won the Daytona 500 two or more times. #97-Kurt Busch was 2nd. Pole sitter #30-Jeff Green was involved in an accident and failed to finish the race. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr had electrical problems and ended up 36th, a lap down. For my race rundown, note and cautions, see my Daytona 500 Race Info Page.
    Race Re-air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, Feb 19th, 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, Feb 20th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Results: see my Daytona 500 Results page or my 2003 Results Page for links.(2-16-2003)
  • NASCAR close to toxic-gas solution: Today’s 45th Daytona 500 likely will be the last one ever run with a silent, invisible enemy of NASCAR drivers: carbon-monoxide poisoning. A solution is near for a problem as old as stock-car racing itself, in which toxic fumes from front-mounted engines can turn enclosed driver compartments into gas chambers, especially if exhaust systems are damaged in crashes. Now, NASCAR chief technical officer Gary Nelson thinks technology is about to eradicate carbon-monoxide exposure. Nelson is hoping to have a device approved and ready to recommend to drivers for use in the spring. He said the system acts like a catalytic converter, which reduces emissions from passenger cars, but operates at a lower temperature so as not to increase heat in the driver compartments. Application of the technology is the result of studies begun last fall both at racetracks and at NASCAR’s new research and development facility near Charlotte. At least five drivers will be tested before and after today’s Daytona 500, according to Nelson, though he wouldn’t name them.(Orlando Seninel)(2-16-2003)
  • More on the Twin 125’s Dyno Tests: The total number of cars NASCAR tested on the chassis dyno came to an even dozen according to the NASCAR dyno sheet. The numbers, which are highly suspect due to the wide variance, cover a range that spans 384 – 360 horsepower. Topping the charts was Jack Sprague’s #60 Pontiac, which carried a Hendrick motor. At the bottom of the list was Ray Evernham’s #9, which measured 24 horses short of the best. Falling between the two were engines from the following cars: Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin, Todd Bodine, Rusty Wallace, Kirk Shelmerdine (in Junie Donlavey’s Ford) Jeff Green and Ricky Rudd. Calling the numbers into questioning by many was the Rudd’s Motorcraft Ford performance, which performed well beyond what the dyno sheets indicated woud occur. However, the chassis dyno is not really the ultimate tool for measuring a car’s horsepower levels. So many external influences can affect the readings. Parasitic drag in the drivel line can vary by a great deal with temperature as well real wheel traction to the dyno drums with ambient air and relative humidity changes. While the chassis dyno does give NASCAR a hint of what’s going on, in the most general of terms, true comparisons could only take place in a fixed dyno cell where all environmental and operating conditions can be tracked.(Ford Racing)(2-16-2003)
  • Mike Wallace the first UPDATE: When #09-Mike Wallace starts the Daytona 500, he will become the only driver in the speedway’s history to race in Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Saturday’s Busch Series race and Sunday’s main event for the Winston Cup Series. He finished sixth in the truck race and fourth in the Busch Series race. He starts 18th today.(Augusta Chronicle)
    UPDATE: not only was Wallace the first to do this, but he finished in the top 10 in all three races.(2-16-2003)
  • Nemechek OK: Joe Nemechek, who stepped out of his pole-sitting BGN car Saturday while battling a 24-hour flu bug, said Sunday morning he felt “like a million-and-a-half bucks.” Nemechek is scheduled to start 15th in the “Great American Race” at Daytona, but gave up the seat in his own Cellular One Pontiac for Saturday’s Koolerz 300. “I feel good,” Nemechek said after exiting Sunday’s pre-race drivers’ meeting. “Yesterday I got my butt kicked by some sort of bug or virus or something — but I feel really good today.”(NASCAR.com)(2-16-2003)
  • ‘Yellow-line’ rule clarified, stiffened by NASCAR: During Sunday’s pre-race drivers meeting, NASCAR President Mike Helton announced a revision to the sanctioning body’s “yellow line” rule, which is enforced at Daytona and Talladega. Under the rule, drivers are black-flagged if they drive below the yellow line to advance their position on the track. The line marks the end of the racing groove. Beginning with Sunday’s Daytona 500, a driver who forces others to go below the yellow line in an effort to prevent a pass will also be subject to a black flag. “Now what we are beginning to see happen, and we saw it yesterday (in the Busch race), is some of you have figured out to protect your spot, you can move down against the yellow line to prevent someone from going on your inside,” Helton said. “That is OK. But if you do it while that guy is trying to get around you and you move him down there while he has a quarter-panel or fender alongside of you, if you make him go down there, then you are subject to a black flag, too.” The announcement received a round of applause from the drivers, crew chiefs and car owners in attendance. Helton also announced a policy adapted for Saturday’s Busch race regarding the use of the red flag to ensure a green flag finish, would be used in Sunday’s Daytona 50 as well. If a caution comes out with less than five laps remaining in the race, the race will not be restarted under green.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-16-2003)


  • Teresa Earnhardt Interview: In an interview aired Friday night on “Dateline NBC,” Teresa Earnhardt recounted how she came to find out about the death of her husband, racing legend Dale Earnhardt, and spoke of her efforts to prevent the publication of his autopsy photos and preserve his legacy. Dale Earnhardt, a seven-time Winston Cup champion, was killed in a last-lap wreck in the Daytona 500 two years ago. In the interview, NBC’s Katie Couric asked Teresa Earnhardt what she was thinking when her late husband’s accident unfolded. Earnhardt said she did not think anything serious at first. “I know the cars are safe,” she said. “And in racing, things happen so quick that there’s no time to like dwell on anything.” Asked why she became so deeply involved in the efforts by the Florida legislature to prevent the publication of her husband’s autopsy photos, Earnhardt replied: “I just think it’s a privacy issue, and a dignity issue. And it should never have even been an issue. But it was.” Earnhardt went on to explain her efforts to preserve her husband’s legacy through the creation of a foundation that will work to further causes her husband held dear. “I hate it so bad, feeling bad, that I just turn it off. I mean, I miss him, and I always will,” Teresa Earnhardt said. “Just terribly. But I’m not going to feel bad about it. I’m going to feel glad about what I had.”(Thatsracin.com) and see a article on MSNBC: Days of thunder with video links. No idea if this will be re-aired.(2-15-2003)
  • Red Flag ‘rule’: NASCAR has implemented a new procedure to help guide its use of the red flag to ensure green-flag finishes in its BGN and Cup series. In Saturday’s BGN race at Daytona, if a caution had been with less than five laps remaining in the 120-lap event, the race would not be restarted under green. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said the procedure would also be used in Sunday’s Daytona 500, and likely with the same five-lap rule in effect. “As with any new procedure, NASCAR will evaluate its use and effectiveness and decide how best to implement it in the future,” Zizzo said. The new procedure was adapted to attempt to remove the complaints about the random nature of how the red flag is used to try to ensure green-flag finishes, Zizzo said. NASCAR’s Truck series requires a green-flag finish. If there is a late-race caution races in that series are extended in two-lap segments until a green-flag finish is achieved.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-15-2003)
  • To The Back: Two drivers have had to go to back up cars for the Daytona 500. #6-Mark Martin after a cut right front tire caused him to hit the frontstretch wall after taking the checkered flag in the second Gatorade 125-mile qualifying race (was 28th) and #10-Johnny Benson hit the wall during Friday’s practice, pancaking the right side and damaging the rearend, Benson was to start 40th. The three drivers who used backups in the Twin 125’s do NOT have to fall to the rear of field, #4-Skinner, #38-Sadler and #99-Burton as it was before qualifying was over (the Twin’s are treated as qualifying).
    AND add #41-Casey Mears [Happy Hour practice wreck] and #29-Kevin Harvick [unapproved emgine change](2-15-2003)
  • Some Fun Facts: No Daytona 500, except the inaugural event, has been won by a driver making his first 500 start. Junior Johnson, Mario Andretti and Pete Hamilton won the Daytona 500 in their second start. Tony Stewart finished last in the 2002 Daytona 500 and went on to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, repeating a feat accomplished by Cale Yarborough in 1976. Yarborough then came back in 1977 and won the 1977 Daytona 500, the only time that a Daytona 500 was won by a driver who finished last the previous year. Yarborough also won the championship in 1977 (and 1978). Two of the last four 500s have been won by the reigning champion, Jeff Gordon (1999) and Dale Jarrett.(Nashville City Paper-Jack Flowers)(2-15-2003)
  • Mears wrecks in Happy Hour, to a backup: #41-Casey Mears, scheduled to start 29th in the Daytona 500 and 4th fastest in Happy Hour, wrecked in Happy hour, damaging the right front end quite a bit. Mears will have to go to a backup car for the Daytona 500 and will start at the rear of the field.(2-15-2003)
  • #29 Team to change engines: the #29 team of Kevin Harvick will change engines after Happy Hour and have to fall to the rear of the field before the green flag of the Daytona 500. Teams were allowed one engine change after the Twin 125s, so i guess they had changed engines as have most teams.(2-15-2003)
  • Toyota in NC: Toyota officials said yesterday that they plan to build a major Southeastern racing center in the Triad of North Carolina. Toyota announced plans to step up to NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck series next year, and there is intense speculation that it will step up to the Winston Cup tour by 2006.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-15-2003)
  • More on the Brooke Subpoenas: Ray Evernham, Felix Sabates and Chip Ganassi did not have to give depositions Friday in the Gordon divorce case. The three Winston Cup team owners had received subpoenas — Evernham got his at Daytona International Speedway (Sabates and Ganassi on a Yacht in a local harbor) — from lawyers for Brooke Gordon. They filed motions to quash the subpoenas in Palm Beach County on Friday. Brooke Gordon lawyer Terry Young said only the owners of the car driven by Johnny Benson were not served. The owners have objected to the subpoenas because they do not want to give information about how much they pay their drivers and the value of their teams in general.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-15-2003)
  • Sad News UPDATE: MRN’s Barney Hall was missing from the Twin 125’s coverage on Thursday as Hall’s mother passed away. Alan Bestwick filled in for Hall. Condolences to family and friends….(2-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Mrs. Cindy Mazie Shumate, mother of veteran Motor Racing Network (MRN) announcer Barney Hall, passed away Thursday morning at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital in Elkin, NC. Mrs. Shumate was 87. Mrs. Shumate was born in Wilkes County in 1915. She is survived by her son Hall of Elkin and special friend Karen Carrier of Jonesville, two brothers Ed (Alice) Hall of Elkin, Arcus (Geneva) Hall of Ronda, one sister Ella Garris of East Bend and a host of loving nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held Saturday, 11:00aam, Feb. 15 at Johnson Funeral Home Chapel in Elkin. Flowers may be sent to the Johnson Funeral Home Chapel at 615 West Main Street, Elkin, NC. Barney Hall is the co-anchor of MRN Radio’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series broadcasts and is one of the network’s original announcers. He has been in attendance and worked, in some capacity, at every Daytona 500, including the 1959 inaugural race.(DIS PR)(2-15-2003)
  • Ford Commercials: A sneak preview of pair of Ford television commercials was granted to www.teamfordracing.com at Daytona Beach, today. If you are a Ford NASCAR fan that you are in for a treat! The commercials feature all of Ford Racing’s top drivers with a bit of an attitude in commercials that are hip beyond the norm for Ford Motor Company. The commercials, which will first air during Sunday’s Daytona 500, have a little bit of an edge, a little attitude as they show off the product in an energized setting. The aggressive pieces represent a major shift in advertising approach for the Blue Oval brand. The commercials depict the Oval’s 15 NASCAR championships and 500-plus wins with cut away shots between drivers offering the facts with a “you’re messing with the best when you tangle with the Oval” tone. The rapid fire cuts between the drivers with each saying “Ford” should bring goose bumps, unless you’re a Bowtie Kool-Aid drinker. The ending of one of these two gems shows a close up of Mark Martin’s face. With the camera set close to the target and wearing a true race face Martin says, “Fear is looking in the rearview mirror and seeing one of us.”(Ford Racing)(2-15-2003)
  • Kodak making a larger push: Eastman Kodak Company announced plans to broaden the marketing push behind its NASCAR sponsorship, including joint promotional activity with key customers and a wider representation of new products on Kodak car #4. Beyond the consumer film products on which the Kodak brand has been built, the car will promote such products as the EasyShare consumer digital camera system and Vision2, the company’s premier line of motion-picture film. Logo space on the car’s trunk will be devoted to such key customers as Kroger, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers. The Kroger logo will adorn the trunk for the Daytona 500, known as the “Great American Race.” Kodak will launch a section on its own website devoted to the racing team. The site, www.kodak.com/go/racing, will include information about the owner of the car, Morgan-McClure Motorsports, the driver of the Pontiac Grand Prix – Mike Skinner, and Kodak #4 car racing performance. With the website, fans will have a single place to keep up with the Kodak Racing program and to access Kodak Racing merchandise, promotions and sweepstakes. As part of this effort, Kodak will build an additional “Show Car” that will travel the country with the Kodak Picture Planet, a mobile, 53-foot educational and entertainment vehicle that allows consumers to experience a variety of Kodak products and services.(Business Wire)(2-14-2003)
  • Dodge Ads: Dodge NASCAR drivers Bill Elliott, Sterling Marlin and Rusty Wallace, as well as racing legend Richard Petty, take a break from their day jobs to star in a new TV ad for Dodge and its line of SRT performance vehicles. The spot, titled “Race Inspired,” features Elliott, Marlin and Wallace continuing their competition off the track as they jostle to be the first to leave the garage following a race. The pushing and shoving ends with each jumping into one of Dodge’s new SRT vehicles; Wallace into the SRT-4, Marlin into the Ram SRT-10 and Elliott into the Viper SRT-10. Speeding out of the track, they pass Petty, standing next to his 1971 Dodge Charger race car, who says, “Sweet,” expressing his opinion of these new performance machines. The voiceover concludes, “Introducing the new SRT series. Race inspired. Street legal.” The 30-second spot, created by BBDO Detroit, will debut during Fox’s live broadcast of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 16. A 60-second version of the spot, including the single “Velocity Shift” by the group Overseer, will air exclusively on Yahoo.com after the race until February 20 on the site’s sports page. On February 17, the spot and the song will be available to viewers on Yahoo’s home page and the sports page.(Dodge Motorsports PR)(2-15-2003)
  • Cars to be Dyno’d UPDATE 2: NASCAR is expected to put today’s top finishers of the 125’s on its chassis dyno to compare effective horsepower at the rear wheels of cars fresh off the track. NASCAR is also expected to chassis dyno Sunday’s top finishers. Drivers will be using their qualifying motors in the 125s, changing to new motors for the 500.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Following the Twin 125 qualifying races for the Daytona 500, NASCAR impounded eight cars for testing on the chassis dyno. The cars were called out on pit road and taken to the BGN garage, where NASCAR inspectors measured horsepower readings at the rear wheels. The Ford cars of #88-Dale Jarrett and #21-Ricky Rudd were selected from the first race while #54-Todd Bodine’s Taurus was tabbed from the second event. GM’s SB2 piece was represented on the dyno by the cars of #30-Jeff Green and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. along with #20-Tony Stewart. One Dodge from each race was tested with #40-Sterling Marlin’s culled from race one and #2-Rusty Wallace’s from race two. Breaking down the engine builders, Robert Yates was tested in his #88 and with a lease customer (#54). Jack Roush was represented with a lease in the Wood Brothers car. GM’s engines were built by Richard Childress Racing (#30), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (#8) and Joe Gibbs Racing (#20). Dodge’s offering came from Ernie Elliott (#40) and Roger Penske (#2). There are times the NASCAR dyno numbers will float out into the garage, but with this being a new year and new NASCAR Winston Cup competition department things could well have changed.(Ford Racing), no idea why no Pontiac were chosen.(2-14-2003)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR, in addition to the cars they pulled from the line for mandatory dyno testing, ran a number of volunteer cars on the dyno. And while www.teamfordracing.com doesn’t have the results, yet, the high and low end numbers were aquired with the high end of the cars tested measuring at 380 hp while the bottom end was at 366 hp. It’s believed that it was a Joe Gibbs Racing motor on the top and that it was very likely that it was Ray Evernham’s at the bottom.(Ford Racing)(2-15-2003)
  • McDonald’s, Powerade Join Forces To Reward, Recognize NASCAR Pit Crews: McDonald’s, the official Drive Thru of NASCAR, and POWERade, the official sports drink of NASCAR, have teamed to sponsor an award program that celebrates the unsung heroes in NASCAR’s three major racing series – Cup, BGN and CTS. The McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade will offer prize money in excess of $1.2 million during the 2003 season, making it the largest monetary contingency program in NASCAR history and the first season points championship for pit crew teams. The program will award $20,000 per week to the top-performing NASCAR Winston Cup Series pit crew.  In addition, results will be tabulated throughout the season to determine the program’s championship crew, which will take home $200,000. During each 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points event, the participating crew whose car spends the least amount of aggregate time off the race track will be named the weekly winner provided their driver took the green flag at the beginning of the event and checkered flag at the conclusion of the event.  The winning crew each week will receive $20,000 and a traveling trophy to proudly display during the next event. Following every race, participating crews will be ranked in order of pit performance, with 43 points going to the top finisher, descending to one point for the last-place team. The crew with the highest cumulative score at season’s end will win the annual championship and take home a $200,000 prize. NASCAR will measure times using the official scoring transponders that monitor the cars on the track.  A timing line at the entrance and exit to pit road will trigger the transponders and record the total time each car spends off the race track. Fans can keep track of their favorite crew’s performance during Winston Cup television broadcasts, which will feature a pre-race recap of the previous week’s competition and review of official standings, a mid-race update and a post-race announcement.  The McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade also will be adapted to benefit crews in the BGN and CTS.  Weekly winners will earn $5,000 per race in the BGN and $3,000 in the CTS.  Annual champions will take home $25,000 and $15,000 respectively.  The criteria for scoring the NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck programs will differ from the NASCAR Winston Cup level because the transponder-based timing system is not available for those series. Points determining weekly and year-end awards will be based on a combination of qualifying position, pit stops and finishing order.(PR)(2-15-2003)


  • Rusty to the back? Bad Carb? UPDATE 3 – Rusty’s Twin 125 finish disqualified and crew chief fined: hearing from sources that #2-Rusty Wallace will be sent to the rear of the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500 after NASCAR found an illegal carburetor in inspection after today’s qualifying race. Inspection will continue through the evening. It will not affect who will make the Daytona 500 lineup.(2-13-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR inspectors said late Thursday afternoon there was a “potential problem” with the carburetor on the #2 Miller Lite Dodge that Rusty Wallace drove to a fourth-place finish in Thursday’s second Gatorade 125. NASCAR said inspections would continue through the evening and into Friday before any potential sanction against Wallace’s team would be announced. It also said the outcome would not change which 43 cars will be in the starting lineup for Sunday’s Daytona 500.(ThatsRacin.com)
    UPDATE 2: the news is that there was a template infraction on the carb and a decision is supposedly to be announced 11:30am to 12:00noon/et timeframe today.
    as of 4:00pm/et, Speed Channel reports that NASCAR will announce a decision on the #2 team around 5:00pm/et.
    UPDATE 3 – announcement: per a NASCAR press conference heard on XM Radio – Channel 144: the #2 Miller Lite Dodge was disqualified from the Twin 125 it ran and crew chief Bill Wilburn has been fined $10,000. The fine is appealable, the disqualification is not. Will have a revised lineup soon, Wallace will have to use a provisional. Once I see how NASCAR handles this, I will post what I find.
    OK here is my understanding how this MAY work.
    #2-Wallace is disqualified from the 2nd Twin 125;
    #45-Kyle Petty who made the Daytona 500 field per speed and was to start 32nd moves up to 15th (from 16th) in the 2nd Twin and this goes into the 30th starting spot in the 500;
    then #97-Kurt Busch who was to start 37th using the first provisional, moves to 36th as he would had been the next fastest driver to get a spot with speed;
    #12-Ryan Newman, who was to start in the 2nd provisional spot (38th) moves to 37th;
    and #2-Rusty Wallace gets the 2nd provisional spot. This is still unofficial, but it makes sense. Actually this is the way NASCAR has done it many times in the Busch series and how it has worked for years.
    See my Daytona 500 Starting Grid page for an unofficial lineup.
    Rusty Wallace Commnets on NASCAR Penalty: “I’m OK with the penalty. I just hate it happened. NASCAR knows there was no intent on our part. We were 12 horsepower off the best car because of the carburetor. We just had one of the wrong carburetors on the truck. We didn’t check it and we’re paying for it now. Our engine guys feel real bad about it. We’re going to start at the back of the field now, but I think we’ll run even better with the right carburetor on the car. A rule’s a rule. We’re just embarrassed about the whole thing. Roger Penske is embarrassed. It’s our first race with Dodge and Miller is doing a big promotion. We’re embarrassed for our sponsors. I’m proud how we ran in the race based on what we found under the hood. It apparently was a test carburetor we’d been using on our unrestricted stuff. It was just a dumb mistake. We weren’t trying to pull anything off on anyone and that’s why NASCAR penalized us the way they did. Mentally, I’m a little down right now. I think we had an outstanding race in the Gatorade 125. The pit crew did an outstanding job. We were really hauling the mail. I think we could have passed the 54 car and challenged the 15 and 8 for the win, but I didn’t want to do anything crazy. It is a little upsetting. I started in the back last year and was running fourth after 30 laps. I started last in the Pepsi 400 last year and finished second.” Wallace and Penske are still trying to get to the bottom of it. “We’re still in disbelief that it happened. That carburetor cost us 12 horsepower, so that’s probably the only good thing that came out of it. We weren’t going to practice today anyway. We didn’t want to sacrifice the car and take a chance on something stupid happening. We’ll be there at 9:30 in the morning and our Daytona 500 engine will be in the car. I think we’ve found a couple more horsepower, so now we’re going to work like crazy on fuel mileage. I think it’s going to come down to a fuel mileage race. I’m real confident about the Daytona 500. We were a little tight in the 125, so we want to make sure we’ve got the setup right. We’ve got a couple of front shocks we want to try and make sure we’re loaded for bear on Sunday.”(2-14-2003)
  • No Free Beer? UPDATE: Miller Lite’s plans to celebrate a Rusty Wallace victory in the Daytona 500 by handing out coupons for free six-packs of Miller beer have been foiled at every point so far by Daytona officials. First, they were told it wouldn’t be allowed to hand out anything inside the track. Then it was told it couldn’t hand out anything on any speedway grounds. And then Miller officials got a letter from the Daytona Beach police warning them not to do anything to impede pedestrian traffic.(Winston Salem Journal), see the initial story and info on the #2 Team News and Links page.
    UPDATE: When the green flag waves to start Sunday’s 500-mile stock car season-opener in Daytona Beach, Fla., Rusty Wallace will be looking for his first win in the world¹s most prestigious stock car race ­ and looking to make race fans in attendance winners too. In order to make it ‘Miller Time’ for everyone in attendance at the track, Wallace will have to guide his #2 Miller Lite Dodge stock car through the field and take the checkered flag after 200 laps around the 2.5-mile track. If Wallace is able to do that and capture his first win in Daytona Beach, all legal drinking age race fans in attendance will receive a coupon for a free six-pack of Miller Lite. If Wallace is the first driver to cross the finish line Sunday, Miller Lite will distribute coupons following the race by company representatives. Easily identified Miller Lite representatives will distribute the coupons in areas outside the track and off of track property.
    If Rusty Wallace wins the stock car season-opener at Daytona Beach — Miller Lite will give all adult fans in attendance at the race a coupon for a free six-pack of Miller Lite.
    The coupons will be distributed following the race by Miller Lite representatives, who will be easily identified ­ stationed outside the track and off of track property.
    Coupon is valid in Florida, through February 28, 2003.
    Coupon is good for $4.99 off of a Miller Lite six-Pack, or larger Miller Lite package.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-14-2003)
  • DW, Mikey, Tide and a few truck races – Boogity! Boogity! Boogity!: Darrell Waltrip will drive the Micahel Waltrip owned #17 Tide Chevy truck at Martinsville in April and at IRP in August in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Jeff Hammond is the “Interperator”; Bobby Kennedy the crew chief; Larry McReynoldsis the spotter. Martinsville will be Tide with Bleach paint scheme, IRP race will feature the “Give Kids The World Village” paint scheme. Speed Channel is going to mike up DW, Larry and Jeff
    AND Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip is strapping in for two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events in 2003 and SPEED Channel is taking viewers along for the ride. Waltrip, a regular on SPEED Channel’s Trackside program, will be wired for sound and his #17 Chevrolet, sponsored by Tide, will be equipped with extra cameras. FOX broadcast partners Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will get in on the act, with Larry serving as DW’s spotter and Hammond taking position on the pit box. Both will have live mics as part of the SPEED Channel broadcasts from the spring race at Martinsville and the August NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. “It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel Sr. VP/Executive Producer. “DW behind the wheel, Larry Mac as our eye in the sky and Hollywood Hammond interpreting it all on the pit box. With Darrell using kid brother Michael’s truck as well as his NASCAR Busch Series pit crew, these will certainly be great events for SPEED Channel and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.”(Allwaltip.com)(2-14-2003)
  • $100 Million? The latest update on the R.J. Reynolds-NASCAR front: According to one very highly placed source, NASCAR officials are looking for a sponsor willing to commit to a 15-year contract for $100 million a year. According to several corporate sources, there is no American company willing to make that kind of commitment. It remains unclear if NASCAR executives have been trying to get Reynolds officials to commit to the $100 million contract.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-14-2003)
  • Donlavey Plans Up in the air: Junie Donlavey’s #90 Ford team missed qualifying for the Daytona 500 for the third consecutive season yesterday. Kirk Shelmerdine started 24th and finished 23rd in the second 125-mile qualifying race at Daytona. Shelmerdine needed to finish at least 15th, and Donlavey estimated his #90 Ford needed to be a half-second faster per lap to have a shot at making the field. “We just didn’t have what we needed,” he said. “This was a week of ‘Let’s go down and test and see how far off we are.’ ” The team has no plans to attend any upcoming Winston Cup races, but Donlavey will keep his shop open and continue to hunt for sponsorship. He left open the option of returning this year.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-14-2003)
  • More on the ISC moves: If Bill France’s latest in-house move – promoting his brother, Jim, to take over his role as CEO of the family’s International Speedway Corp. and promoting his daughter, Lesa, to president of ISC – is part of a broad plan to prepare this sport for his eventual retirement, then the next big question is what Bill France might have planned for the NASCAR half of the operation. Bill France is chairman of a five-man board of directors of NASCAR, including George Pyne, the chief operating officer; Mike Helton, the president, and Lesa and Brian France. Pyne has been taking an increasingly important role within the organization over the past two years. (Winston Salem Journal)(2-14-2003)
  • NASCAR IN CAR on iNDEMAND Free Preview Sunday: There will be a NASCAR IN CAR on iNDEMAND free preview on Sunday for the Daytona 500. It is only available to digital cable subscribers. You can vote for your favorite driver to be one of the drivers covered on iN DEMAND from 5:00 p.m. Thursday through 5:00 p.m. Friday each week.(MotorsportsTV)(2-14-2003)


  • Wimmer to run some Cup..later in 2003: Scott Wimmer, who is among the preseason favorites to challenge for the BGN championship this season at Bill Davis Racing, also plans to enter some Winston Cup events. “Whatever we do it probably won’t be until the end of the year. Bill wants us to get this Busch team rolling,” Wimmer said. “Midway through the year we want to be in the lead in points or right near the leader. We don’t want to take anything away by concentrating on some Winston Cup races.” Wimmer made three Cup starts last season with BDR, with his best finish 17th at the October race at Talladega.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-13-2003)
  • Atwood still Looking: Casey Atwood sat on a folding chair in the Daytona International Speedway garage yesterday, glumly watching the bustle of activity swirling around him. Three years ago the 22-year-old racer from Nashville was one of the hottest young prospects in NASCAR. Now he is a spectator. When Atwood signed to race in Winston Cup for Ray Evernham, many felt that Evernham would do for Atwood what he had done for Jeff Gordon — mold him into a Winston Cup champion. But the dream ride turned into a nightmare for Atwood, who was dumped by Evernham at the end of last season. Atwood now is not only out of Winston Cup, he doesn’t even have a ride in any of NASCAR’s lower divisions. ”It’s been pretty rough,” said Atwood, who is a garage guest of some of his former Busch Series associates. ”I guess I’ve been given a lesson in reality.” Atwood said he has no immediate driving prospects, ”because by the time Ray officially let me go all the rides were taken. There wasn’t anything left. But I’m not giving up. I’ll definitely get back in racing at some point.” Atwood said he doesn’t know why he was released. He was showing great progress toward the end of his rookie season in 2001 (”I almost won two of the last five races,” he said) but was suddenly demoted to a non-competitive third car. He struggled terribly last season and by October Evernham hinted that Atwood would not be back.(Tennessean)(2-13-2003)


  • Finch moving North: James Finch has bought Buckshot Jones’ shop in Spartanburg, SC, and plans to move his full-time BGN [#1 Yellow Freight Dodge] and part-time Winston Cup [#09 Dodge] operations from their present location in Lynn Haven, FL, in the next few months. Finch, who is teaming with Chip Ganassi to field Dodges for Jamie McMurray and David Stremme this year, says he will go for the Busch Series championship in 2004.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-12-2003)
  • Elliott Withdraws UPDATE Vote for the NMPA Most Popular Driver: #9-Bill Elliott is expected to announce today that he’s withdrawing his name from the circuit’s Most Popular Driver contest. Elliott has won the honor 16 times. So many that the National Motorsports Press Association, which runs the contest that allows fans to pick the winner, already has decided that whenever Elliott retires, the award will be renamed the Bill Elliott Trophy.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
    UPDATE: Online voting for this year’s Grands!® Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award will officially open on Thurs, Feb 13th with the launch of www.mostpopulardriver.com. But the site is missing something. Sixteen-time winner Bill Elliott’s name isn’t on the ballot. With Elliott out and the Web site now available, fans should start voting because the 2003 Most Popular Drive Award is anyone’s race. At a press conference this afternoon, Bill Elliott announced that he is removing his name from the ballot for the 2003 season. Fans have voted Elliott the Most Popular Driver more times than any other driver. Last year, he edged out Dale Earnhardt Jr. to mark his 16th victory. Grands! Biscuits is building on the fan enthusiasm for NASCAR and getting the word out about voting. The Web site, www.mostpopulardriver.com, is available for Internet voting Thursday, Feb, 13th through Monday, Nov. 17, 2003, at 11:59am/ct. Additional voting guidelines are accessible on the Web site. The official Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver of the Year Award trophy will be presented to the winning driver during the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards festivities.(Williams Company PR)(2-12-2003)
  • Toyota in the CTS in 2004: Toyota announced today at the Chicago Auto Show its historic plans to begin participation in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004. Toyota Tundra Trucks will make their racing debut at Daytona International Speedway in February 2004.(Autoracing1.com need subscription to view/read article, also on NASCAR.com), Toyota has assembled the full-size Toyota Tundra exclusively at its Princeton, Ind., plant since its debut in 1999. Beginning with the 2004 season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona, as many as six Toyota Tundra race trucks may be entered for competition. Team affiliations will not be determined until a later date. Toyota Racing Development (TRD), U.S.A. will design, develop, and build the Craftsman Truck Tundra V8 to NASCAR specifications in its Costa Mesa, Calif., facility, see my CTS Site for an image.(2-12-2003)
  • Benning Will Not Run: #84-Norm Benning, who has unsuccessfully tried to make the Daytona 500 for the past 14 years, didn’t get a chance this year. In the past several years, Benning hasn’t made a qualifying run and has simply tried to make his way into the field through the 125-mile qualifying races. But to start one of those races, a driver must reach a minimum speed of 172.000mph in practice. Rain wiped out qualifying Sunday, leaving drivers with only one round, and Benning was told late Monday that since he didn’t reach his speed before the end of qualifying, he couldn’t run in the qualifying races. “I’m devastated,” Benning said. “I feel like they changed the rules. I don’t know what I did to deserve this. I want to be a part of the NASCAR family, like they say, but I feel like I’ve been thrown out of the family.” Winston Cup director John Darby said Benning had to reach the speed before the end of qualifying, since practice Tuesday was devoted to getting ready for the qualifying races. “It’s a process we follow,” Darby said.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(2-12-2003)
  • Texas Testing: Several teams {not sure which exact teams/driovers] will be testing at Texas Motor Speedway over the next few weeks. Bill Davis Racing (#22 and #23 – March 3) and Joe Gibbs Racing (#18 and #20 – March 4) are the first Winston Cup teams scheduled to test. They will be followed by Roush Racing (#6, #16, #17, #97, #99 – March 17) and Hendrick Motorsports (#5, #24, #25, #48 – March 18). Test sessions are closed to the public.(TMS PR)(2-12-2003)
  • Busch Should be Happier: After a string of outbursts last season over different racing incidents, Roush Racing sent driver Kurt Busch to a management training seminar to learn to deal with people better.(Roanoke Times/AP)(2-12-2003)
  • Home Depot not interested in stepping up to replace RJR: Home Depot doesn’t plan to increase its commitment to NASCAR, even though the organization is seeking a new title sponsor for the Winston Cup Series. “We enjoy the relationship we have with NASCAR today,” said Bob Nardelli, chairman, chief executive and president of Home Depot. “It’s at the appropriate level.” The Atlanta-based retailer sponsors driver Tony Stewart, the 2002 Winston Cup champion. Former Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs is Stewart’s team owner. Last week, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which makes Winston cigarettes, and NASCAR confirmed that talks have taken place about a change in the title sponsorship. Limits on advertising by cigarette makers and the weak economy have R.J. Reynolds thinking about ending the partnership that started in 1971.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-12-2003)
  • Park has 2 months? AutoRacing1.com (need subscription to view) is reporting that #1-Steve Park has two months left to prove his worth to DEI. Park has been given through April to show he deserves to remain in the #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet past the 2003 season. How big is the deal at Chance2 to run a limited BGN and Winston Cup schedule? Big enough they could have run a full Winston Cup schedule suggests one team insider.(AutoRacing1.com/Stan Creekmore)(2-12-2003)
  • Gordon to take flight: Diecast dealers have begun taking pre-orders on a Jeff Gordon paint scheme for Charlotte in May. The scheme is a tribute to the “Wright Brothers 100 years of Aviation.”(Gordonline)(2-12-2003)
  • Gas Cans Getting Looked at: on Tuesday NASCAR inspectors began checking closely cans the teams use to shuttle gas from the fuel pumps to their pit stalls. The maximum they’re supposed to hold is 11 gallons each. With 13.5-gallon fuel cells in the cars at Daytona, however, teams were getting creative in making one can hold enough gas to fill up a car in an effort to save time on pit stops. “There are ways to very cleverly allow a drop can to hold 13.5 or 14 gallons,” Winston Cup series director John Darby said. “In appearance, there is not enough change in the can to notice a difference. So we’re inspecting and sealing all cans that will be used.” Darby said several cans had been sent back to various teams for “repair for various infractions.” He said some teams are being forced to have different cans shipped to Daytona from their shops in time for Thursday’s 125-mile qualifying races.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-12-2003)
  • Evernham subpoenaed by Brooke: #9 and #19 car owner Ray Evernham was subpoenaed in Jeff Gordon’s divorce case Tuesday, accepting the papers from a sheriff’s deputy outside Daytona International Speedway. Brooke Gordon’s lawyers want to look at the contracts NASCAR car owners have with their drivers and sponsors to determine what Gordon is worth as a car owner. The four-time Winston Cup champion owns a stake of Hendrick Motorsports. The car owners fought original subpoenas they received over the past month at their home offices, but the lawyers have been trying to serve them during preparations for Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500 to get them to appear in a Florida court. NASCAR turned away a process server attempting to get into the track last week, and Evernham said officials from the sanctioning body asked him to go outside of the track on Tuesday to accept the papers. “NASCAR asked me to do it and to not make a scene about it,” Evernham said. “So I did it because I care about this sport, unlike Mrs. Gordon, who is trying to make a circus of the Daytona 500.” Evernham, who won three Winston Cup titles as Gordon’s crew chief, was the best man at the Gordons’ wedding. The subpoena orders Evernham to appear in court this Friday, but he said he would not be showing up. “I have 150 employees to worry about and two race cars to get ready for the biggest event of the year,” he said. “I’m not stopping to go to court.” Car owner Chip Ganassi said he was not served before he left Daytona on Monday to return to his home in Pittsburgh, but was told a deputy had been looking for him where he had been staying when he first arrived for the race. Roush Racing general manager Geoff Smith said his organization had not received an order to appear in a Florida court.(FoxSports/AP)(2-12-2003)
  • Burton returns to IROC broadcast team: #99 Roush Racing driver Jeff Burton will join Bob Jenkins and Scott Goodyear in the announcers’ booth for the 2003 IROC Race Series. Burton, who made his broadcasting debut with the series last year, will return to help call the 27th season of the series, which is to be aired on ESPN.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-12-2002)
  • Hornish wrecks in IROC practice UPDATE Draw today: Indy Racing League driver Sam Hornish crashed in practice for the opening round of the International Race of Champions series.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
    UPDATE: The IROC drivers will draw starting position at 1:30pm/et today. In practice Tuesday, IRL driver Sam Hornish spun and hit the wall. He was treated and released from the infield medical center.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-12-2003)


  • Fukuyama testing at Vegas? UPDATE to attempt an ‘ABC’ schedule, mostly Cup: hearing that Hideo Fukuyama is testing Monday and Tuesday [Feb 10-11] at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the #66 Travis Carter Ford and that Gary Cogswell is the crew chief.
    UPDATE: using a Japanese online translator and some help from a reader, converted a PR from a Japanese Hideo Fukuyama site announcing that Fukuyama will run 23 (but has since cancelled Rockingham as he didn’t get to test so it is 22) Cup races, 7 BGN and 6 ARCA races (or games as they call it) in the #66 Travis Carter Ford (or as Penske Racing made famous with Newman a few years ago, the ABC – ARCA, BGN and Cup). Mentions “Corporation HFRP” or “Hideo Fukuyama Racing Project. The translation was rough to say the least, check this out “we would like to convey the charm of the most radical American stock car race to also the Japanese motor sport fan in the world”. A 2nd PR on the site, mentions that the Las Vegas Cup would be attempted.(2-11-2003)
  • Teresa Earnhardt to be on Dateline – Feb 14th UPDATE: Teresa Earnhardt will give her first interview since the death of her husband, racing legend Dale Earnhardt, to Dateline NBC, a producer for the show said Tuesday. Producer Matt Lombardi said Teresa Earnhardt will be interviewed by Katie Couric on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., and the taped segment is expected to air in mid-February. The interview “will most likely look at how she and Dale met, their years together and how she has taken over much of the responsibility of running Dale Earnhardt Inc.,” Lombardi said. The segment also will touch on Teresa Earnhardt’s fight to restrict access to autopsy photos, he said.(Orlando Sentinel)(1-16-2003)
    UPDATE: Katie Couric’s exclusive interview with Teresa Earnhardt will air on NBC’s Dateline at 9:00pm/et on Friday, February 14th.(MotorsportsTV)(2-11-2003)
  • Drivers to be Featured in USA Weekend UPDATE: Four-time Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, 1999 champ Dale Jarrett and rising star Jimmie Johnson are featured on the cover of USA Weekend magazine for the Daytona 500 weekend of Feb. 14-16. The trio also is featured inside in a round-table discussion and a two-page poster.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-9-2003)
    UPDATE: In a major exclusive USA Weekend Magazine presents the very top 3 drivers of three generations of NASCAR in an autographed collectible poster. Featured drivers in the 2/16 issue are, Dale Jarrett; Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. The column will be posted online at the USA Weekend Magazine. Some highlights: What they think of the fans…
    Jeff Gordon: When somebody shows me his tattoos, and I can see my car, face and name all over their back. That’s when I call security. [Laughs.] Just kidding. It’s cool. But, it’s unreal too. Jimmie Johnson: To me, the coolest thing is when a fan has taken a room in their house and dedicated it to you. They have all these jackets and other stuff of ours decorating it. I mean, the money they spend- there’s no way any other sport can boast that kind of passion. What they think appeals to the fans…
    Johnson: Everybody can do it. Not everyone grows up with the ability to play basketball, football or baseball. But, some time or another; your going to drive a car. And, you’re going to break the speed limit. Dale Jarrett: Plus, TV puts fans in the driver’s seat. You feel like you’re right here. That’s unique to our sport.(2-11-2003)
  • France talks about RJR AND: NASCAR chairman Bill France says that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s announcement that it has given NASCAR permission to look for a new Winston Cup Series sponsor was Reynolds’ way of being “a good partner.” But, he says, “We have a five-year agreement with them. They’ve just given us the opportunity to throw our fish line out in the water and see what’s out there.” Possible sponsors include Coca-Cola, Budweiser, UPS, McDonald’s and FedEx.(Sporting News)(2-10-2003)
    AND – Things to be worked out with RJR? NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. believes something can be worked out with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company [RJR – Winston], which may end its association with NASCAR when its contract runs out in 2007. The series has been called the Winston Cup since 1971. “We’ll get that worked out,” France said. “They’ve been a great partner.”(Florida Today)(2-11-2003)
  • ISC Changes: NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. chairman William “Bill” France Jr., announced several changes to the ISC infrastructure Monday. France, 69, will relinquish his role of ISC’s chief executive officer. France’s brother Jim France, 58, will inherit the position. Jim France has served as ISC’s president and chief operating officer since 1987. ISC executive vice president Lesa Kennedy, 41, will become president. John Saunders, senior vice president of operations becomes senior vice president and COO. “We need to start making moves,” Bill France Jr. says. “My father was here for a while, and he’s not here anymore. One of these days I won’t be here.” Bill France Sr. founded NASCAR in 1948. Bill France Jr. assumed the title of CEO in 1981. ISC owns and operates 12 of the NASCAR racetracks including Daytona International Speedway.(Sporting News)(2-11-2003)
  • Nothing Confiscated from the #8: NASCAR’s John Darby denied reports that his inspectors had taken some parts – the carburetor and some rear springs – from #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s winning car Saturday for further inspection. “Negative on that,” Darby said.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-11-2003)
  • 76 Gasoline Gone at the end of 2003 in NASCAR UPDATEs: ConocoPhillips, owner of the 76 gasoline brand, said on Tuesday it will end its more than half century-long relationship with NASCAR auto racing at the end of the year. The familiar 76 gasoline logo — an orange ball with the number 76 in blue at its center — has been a fixture at NASCAR as “the official fuel of NASCAR.” But 76’s Houston-based parent company said it will end the sponsorship deal of more than 50 years by Dec. 31. ConocoPhillips said 76 will fulfill all of its contractual obligations, including supplying racing fuel at all Winston Cup events and at NASCAR’s other circuits — the BGN and CTS — before returning its official fuel rights to NASCAR at year’s end.(Forbes.com/Reuters)(1-28-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Statement Regarding ConocoPhillips: NASCAR and ConocoPhillips continue to enjoy a strong working relationship and look forward to another great season in 2003. NASCAR has enjoyed its longstanding relationship with the company and wishes it all the best in the future. While we will be saying goodbye to ConocoPhillips, we look forward to welcoming a new official fuel supplier to NASCAR in 2004. We are already in the process of identifying the new official fuel supplier and will make an announcement regarding that supplier at the appropriate time.(NASCAR PR)(1-29-2003)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Exxon-Mobil is getting set to announce that Mobil will become the official fuel and lubricant/oil supplier of NASCAR.(1-30-2003)
    UPDATE: The debate now is whether those advertising balls will be painted ExxonMobil red-and-white or Shell yellow. Those are the two companies expected to make the biggest offers to NASCAR for the marketing rights. Why would ConocoPhillips [76], the nation’s third-largest oil company, give up NASCAR rights? Company officials say it’s because they plan to continue to market regionally with their various brands, not nationally.(Winston Salem Journal), more on 76’s departure on my NASCAR Past News page.(2-11-2003)
  • Races will go on: NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. said Monday it is likely the sport would continue racing even if the United States finds itself at war, but admitted there are certain circumstances that could affect the sport. “It depends on how far away it is, what’s the inconvenience to the spectators — can we buy fuel, for instance,” France said Monday. “But I remember during World War II, President Roosevelt wanted to have baseball continue on because he thought the country needed recreation, needed to take some time to where they could get their mind off what their job was at the time. They advocated sports and movies and that sort of thing. Like I said, it depends on the extent of the hardships. If people can’t buy gas to go where you’re going to go and they can’t get there, and you can’t collect enough money to pay the purse, I guess you’d have to call it a day.”(Florida Today)(2-11-2003)
  • Remember those old Two Division rumors? The possibility of two Winston Cup divisions in the future, effectively doubling the number of races NASCAR could run over the course of a season. “We did a focus group on that a few years ago and it wasn’t really feasible,” he said. “I don’t know if television would be in favor of it. This is a different ballgame now. With the revenue they’re putting into the sport, we’ve got to pay attention to them.”(Tampa TribuneAND A proposal made by [Bruton] Smith to split NASCAR into two divisions to create more race dates has been deemed unworkable by the sanctioning body and likely would be rejected by its TV partners.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(2-11-2003)
  • No Mears for Finch: Owner James Finch has scaled back on his driver armada to pilot his #1 Dodge in the BGN this season. Winston Cup rookies Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears and last year’s ASA rookie of the year David Stremme were to share time in the car. This week, the driver rotation was scaled back to just McMurray and Stremme, who together will run the entire schedule. McMurray will debut in the car in Saturday’s season opener at Daytona. Stremme, an Indiana native, finished fourth in points in ASA in 2002, ending the season with two wins and three poles. Finch’s team is receiving technical and engine support from Chip Ganassi Racing this season.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-11-2003)
  • Toyota Announcement Soon? NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. said Monday that he expects an announcement soon about the involvement of a new manufacturer [Toyota?] in one of the racing organization’s top three series. Toyota, which already competes in NASCAR’s Dash series, is said to be ready to announce that it will compete in the NASCAR truck series in the coming years. Although NASCAR’s rules prohibit foreign-made cars, France pointed out that Toyota actually “manufactures” some of its cars in the United States.(in part from the Orlando Sentinel)(2-11-2003)
  • Brooke Gordon lawyers try to serve subpoenas at Daytona: Jeff Gordon’s divorce case spilled over to the race track Monday when attorneys for his wife tried to subpoena several car owners at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR officials did not allow process servers into the track. Most of the top teams have been subpoenaed at their home offices in the past month, and all have refused to open their books to Brooke Gordon and her lawyers. Because the divorce is being heard in Florida, her lawyers want the car owners to have to fight new subpoenas in a local court. Terry Young, an Orlando-based attorney representing Brooke Gordon, said a process server was turned away Friday when NASCAR teams reported to the track to prepare for Sunday’s Daytona 500, so the papers were sent again Monday with Volusia County sheriff’s deputies. Young did not know if the deputies had gotten into the track, but a NASCAR official said they did not allow the subpoenas in. Gordon, the four-time Winston Cup champion, was aware of what was happening at the track. “It’s out of my control, but I think it’s really disgusting,” he said. “It’s a real shame that they are trying to drag all these other guys into this because to me, there are other ways for them to get what they are looking for. This is just harassment.” Gordon had to turn over papers in November that estimated his worth at about $48.8 million and that he earned more than $18 million in 2001. Brooke Gordon has asked for exclusive use of their Highland Beach, Fla., mansion, valued at $10.2 million, as well as alimony, two cars and periodic use of their boats and an airplane. She also wants him to continue to pay the salaries of their housekeepers, maintenance workers and chef. The racer has countersued, saying he should not have to equally split the couple’s estate because he risked his life to collect it. Florida law requires assets amassed during a marriage to be split evenly.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-11-2003)
  • Pizza and NASCAR: Domino’s has signed a five-year deal to become the first official pizza of NASCAR, according to this week’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. Sources told the publication’s Terry Lefton that Domino’s will support the sponsorship “with at least $30 million in media, promotions and rights fees over the life of the deal, with additional marketing support anticipated from local Domino’s franchises.” Domino’s first TV ad, which was produced by J. Walter Thompson and features driver Michael Waltrip and his family, will air this week.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-11-2003)
  • No Benning in 1st round: NASCAR.com reports that 50 cars will make a run for the Bud Pole Award for the Daytona 500 on Sunday at 1:15pm/et on Fox. #84-Norm Benning’s car was at the speedway but was never approved to get on the track. Benning will have to make an attempt in second round qualifying Monday.(2-8-2002)
    UPDATE: since 2nd Round qualifying was canceled due to first round being postponed until Monday, Benning will not be allowed to race in the Twin 125’s unless he reaches a NASCAR-determined minimum speed in practice on Tuesday or Wednesday (not sure what that speed is)(2-11-2003)
  • Real Horsepower: Greg and Donna Griffith have combined their love of thoroughbred and auto racing in a unique manner: naming some of their young horses for their favorite NASCAR drivers. The Griffiths, who breed and train 75 horses at their D & G Thoroughbreds, Inc., in Ocala, FL, plan to attend Sunday’s Daytona 500 and hook up with 2001 winner Michael Waltrip. The reason: to give the driver an update on a 2-year-old colt they named Sherrillsfordposse. Waltrip lives in Sherrills Ford, NC, and his crew is known as Sherrills Ford Posse. A walk along the shedrow at Griffith’s farm is like a trip along pit row for Daytona. Among Sherrillsfordposse’s stablemates:
    Harvick 3-year-old colt named for Kevin Harvick.
    J. Gordon 3-year-old colt named for Jeff Gordon.
    Dirtymoposse 2-year-old colt named for the close circle of friends of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
    Steveneedsaposse 3-year-old colt named for Steve Park.
    Coddle Creek – 2-year-old filly named for the road in Mooresville, N.C. on which the Dale Earnhardt Inc. headquarters is located.(Boston Globe/AP)(2-11-2003)
  • NASCAR Celebrates Black History Month: In celebration of Black History Month this February, NASCAR will participate in four upcoming activities that include:
    Feb. 22 – NASCAR will serve as the title sponsor for the Association of Minorities in Motorsports Awards Celebration honoring minority pioneers in the motorsports industry.
    Feb. 25 – NASCAR will serve as a sponsor for the National Consortium for Academics and Sports 5thAnnual Giant Steps Award Banquet. Jackie Joyner-Kersee [remeber she attempted to start a Cup team a few years ago], considered by many to be the greatest female athlete of the 20th Century, will be inducted into the NCAS Hall of Fame.
    Feb. 27 – NASCAR will be the title sponsor and assist with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Charity Golf Classic at Duke Universityin Durham, NC.
    NASCAR, and the entire industry, continues to take important steps to expand diversity in the sport. These include the NASCAR Diversity Council; the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program; the NASCAR College Tour presented by the Coca-Cola Company; partnership with the NASCAR Technical Institute; Scholarships to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions; and support of the Urban Youth Racing School.(NASCAR PR)(2-11-2003)
  • Trackpass Free for Speedweeks but NOT the Daytona 500: This year NASCAR.com is providing fans RaceCast, along with TrackPass with Pit Command free for the 2003 NASCAR Speedweeks, Feb 7 – 16, in Daytona Beach, FL, BUT been told it does NOT include the Daytona 500, sorry for the mis-information. More info at NASCAR.com.(2-11-2003)


  • Wilburn to Change tires: Bill Wilburn, second-year crew chief for Rusty Wallace, will pull double duty the next few weeks as he returns to his role as front tire changer. “It’s the only option we have right now because no one in the shop wanted to do it,” Wilburn says. Dennis Terry, who had inherited the position after Wilburn became chief, resigned after last season.(Sporting News), AND got the Pit Crew Chart Pagedone, with the over the wall people and crew chief/car chief/spotters listed of the full time teams. plus for news and links see my Pit Crew Info/Championship Page.(2-10-2003)
  • Security at the Daytona 500/Speedweeks: Come early. Take cameras out of carrying cases. Bring clear plastic bags and soft-sided coolers. These are tips officials at Daytona International Speedway are giving race fans who plan to attend this week’s races and avoid long lines. Security concerns stem from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the possibility of new attacks as the nation prepares for war with Iraq. The Bush administration placed the nation on a heightened state of alert Friday by raising the threat level from the yellow, or “elevated,” level to the orange “high” level based on “specific and credible” threats indicating al-Qaida terrorists were planning large-scale attacks. Last year, law enforcement and Speedway officials tightened security in response to the 2001 attacks. “It’s the same drill this year. Nothing has changed,” said Glyn Johnston, the Speedway’s director of communications. Johnston and law enforcement officials said they had no information about threats to the area during Speed Weeks, which brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors and concentrates them in a confined area leading up to Sunday’s Daytona 500. But like their counterparts in other areas of the country, officials don’t want to take any chances. “We realize nothing is impossible within the warped mind of a terrorist,” said Terry Sanders, a captain with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office who works with special events. Officials declined to release specifics of their security plans, except to say plans would involve multiple agencies — including the Daytona Beach Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — and resemble last year’s plan. Last year, hundreds of officers helped patrol track grounds and direct traffic. They guarded gate entrances, checked car trunks and truck beds and poked mirrors under vehicles. The Federal Aviation Administration restricted the airspace last year to one nautical mile around the Speedway. Officials are restricting what a person can bring into the Speedway: one soft-sided bag or cooler no larger than 6 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, and one clear plastic bag no larger than 18 inches by 18 inches by 4 inches. People can still “bring cameras, scanners and binoculars, as long as they’re not in bags,” Johnston said. He advised people to arrive at least an hour early for the race. Officers also rely on spectators and race fans for security, said Sgt. Al Tolley of the Daytona Beach Police Department. “We rely on people who see something suspicious to give us a call,” Tolley said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-10-2003)
  • RIR SAFER test delayed: A critical test of the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction barrier slated for this week has been delayed by cold weather in Lincoln, NE. NASCAR Competition Director Gary Nelson said researchers at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility have completed preparations and are waiting only “until the ice melts” to test the barrier on a replica of a Richmond International Raceway wall. If the tests are successful, the energy-absorbing barriers, which have been constructed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in the past year, could be installed at RIR for the NASCAR weekend May 1-3. Nelson said researchers, led by Dr. Dean Sicking, are optimistic about completing the test within the next few weeks. “Everything is ready,” Nelson said. “It’s just a matter of weather. I told them, ‘Call us, and we’ll be there in four hours.'” Crash tests already have been completed on the wall to gather data to compare against a barrier test. Because Sicking designed the barrier for the 2.5-mile track at Indianapolis, the system wasn’t readily adaptable to the 0.75-mile layout at RIR. The Indianapolis version had been modified to fit the model of Richmond’s wall. “The biggest thing is the radius,” Nelson said. “The steel tubes are bent, where at Indianapolis, they were straight sections stuck on the wall.” A test car has been donated by Hendrick Motorsports.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-10-2003)




  • TV Ratings from Saturday night: CBS claimed its usual place at the top of the ratings on Saturday night, taking a 6.3 rating/11 share in households, ahead of FOX, 5.1/9. NBC was third with a 4.8/8, while ABC brought up the rear with a 3.8/7. Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 3.3 rating; NBC, 2.4; ABC, 2.2; and CBS, 2.0. FOX took the eight o’clock hour with NASCAR averaging a 5.4/10 for the hour, ahead CBS’ “Touched by an Angel,” 5.3/10. NBC was third with “Law & Order,” 5.1/19, while ABC gave its night over to the movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” 3.2/6. At 9 p.m., CBS moved up to the top spot with “The District,” 7.1/12. FOX slipped to second with NASCAR, 5.4/10. NBC aired a repeat of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” 5.2/9, and ABC’s movie remained in fourth.(Zap2It.com)(2-9-2003)
  • Some news on Petree and Melling: Two years ago, spirits could not have been higher at Andy Petree Racing. The team employed more than 100 people who built engines and cars that were competitive in NASCAR’s top series. It was part of a research and development alliance that also included Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc [RAD]. It placed its two cars in victory lane within the span of one season, despite an operating budget nearly half of those of larger Winston Cup teams. Despite winning a pair of Winston Cup races, team owner Andy Petree has lost both his primary car sponsors over the past two years. He has one-race deal that will allow him to compete in the Daytona 500, but his operation’s future is uncertain beyond that. Petree’s efforts to find sponsors to replace the ones he lost have proven futile. Now, the shop employs only about 30 people. The team has signed a one-race deal with the Monaco motor coach company so it can compete in next week’s Daytona 500. Beyond that, when Andy Petree Racing will return to the track is unclear. Those two, breakthrough victories in the 2001 season now seem like a distant memory. “We never foresaw this at all,” said Steve Barkdoll, the team’s executive vice president and general manager. “We keep asking ourselves, how did we get into this position? It’s just a tough market out there right now.” Petree is without a sponsor despite a track record that includes two race wins, 53 top-10 finishes, and over $16 million in winnings in six years as a car owner. NASCAR operates a New York office with a primary purpose of helping its teams secure sponsorship. The office recently arranged a meeting between Andy Petree Racing and a potential sponsor, helping the team built its presentation and offering data on how other companies have been able to build their business through sponsorship. NASCAR representatives even attended the meeting “to help back up their sport,” Barkdoll said. Some teams are able to recover quickly when a sponsor leaves. Others aren’t. Either way, it makes for an unsettling time for Winston Cup car owners, whose budgets run into the tens of millions of dollars and who need corporate sponsorship to survive. A few lower-tier operations, like Donlavey Racing and Melling Racing — both fixtures in the sport for decades — have had to shut down because of a lack of sponsorship. But the past two years have proven that even teams capable of winning poles and races are not immune from sponsorship difficulties. “So many companies were go-go-go,” said Lake Speed Jr., team manager for Melling Racing, which suspended operations in December after being without a primary sponsor for the full 2002 season. “Once they saw the economy slowing down later in 2001, that ended, and it’s never come back. Before that, people wanted to spend more than the next guy. It was escalating. If one guy spent $8 (million), it was, ‘What can I get for 10?’ After 9-11, it was, ‘How cheap can I get it?’ There’s no safety net in NASCAR, nothing to protect a team owner,” Melling’s Speed said. “Any kind of (corporate) scandal, any kind of freak deal, it could affect anybody. On the business side, you’ve got to work twice as hard for every dollar as you did before. Other teams have had to scramble. Maybe they’re not to the point where we are, but nobody is safe.” The teams most directly affected by the sponsorship drought of the past few years are hoping to make comebacks. Melling, Speed said, is “riding out the storm” until economic conditions improve. Andy Petree Racing has received some help from Petty Enterprises, which has supplied a driver for the Daytona 500 (Christian Fittipaldi) as well as some sponsorship leads. The Petree shop is also hoping for better days ahead. “We won’t be running a full season this year,” Barkdoll said. “But we’re very optimistic that we’re going to put something together, and be back in 2004 with a full Winston Cup program.”(MUCH more to this story at the Charleston Post and Courier)(2-9-2002)
  • No Wind Tunnel? Traditionally NASCAR has tested at least one of each make in a wind tunnel following the Daytona 500. This year that might not be the case, at least according to well-placed NASCAR sources. The tunnel time is scheduled, but the sanctionin body believes with what they’ve seen so far there probably will be no need to keep the reservation. Asked if the annual visit to the Lockheed tunnel after the Atlanta race is still on www.teamfordracing.com was told by the NASCAR source: “I think it’d be comforting to know that after the race at Atlanta that we’d be heading straight home.”(Ford Racing)(2-9-2003)
  • Leffler plans to run the Indy 500 too: CTS and former Cup driver Jason Leffer plans to attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in May. Leffler, former USAC Midget and Silver Crown champ, drove in 2001 for Chip Ganassi [#01 Cingular Dodge] and retreated last year to the CTS with Ultra Motorsports [#2 Dodge]. He’s back in Ultra’s #2 Trucks this year. Leffler and team officials revealed Friday night that he would try to make at try at the 500, with details not yet clear, such as whose car he might drive or what sponsorship is available. #43-John Andretti and #31-Robby Gordon also have been given permission to run in the 500, with Gordon running the past two years there in cars co-owned by Cup car owner Richard Childress. Neither Andretti nor Gordon has made clear exactly what the plans are. Andretti says he wants to race at Indy because his cousin Michael will be making his final drive at the Speedway before retiring.(Speed Channel)(2-9-2003)
  • #54 to honor Columbia: The #54 Army National Guard Ford driven by Todd Bodine during the NASCAR Winston Cup Series events, the Budweiser Shootout and the Daytona 500 will honor the memory of the seven astronauts who lost their lives onboard the space shuttle Columbia. The #54 Army National Guard Ford will feature the STS 107 mission flight patch on the car’s hood, and B-pillars. The presence of the decal represents the voice of 350,000 National Guardsmen who are acknowledging the efforts of Columbia’s commander Rick Husband; pilot William McCool; payload commander Michael Anderson; mission specialists David Brown, Laurel Clark and Kalpana Chawla; and Israel’s first astronaut, payload specialist Ilan Ramon. “It will be an honor to carry this important message,” said Bodine. .œOur thoughts and prayers are with these fallen heroes and their families. ..We will never forget them.”(Cox Marketing PR)(2-9-2003)
  • Racer Magazine Previews NASCAR: the February issue of RACER has a NASCAR Season Preview alongs with articles like How common templates will change the Winston Cup equation.(SpeedChannel/Racer)(2-9-2003)


  • Earnhardt Jr wins the Budweiser Shootout: the finishing order:
    #8-Earnhardt Jr (13 laps led)
    #24-Gordon (31 laps led)
    #17-Kenseth (6 lapss led)

    #49-Schrader (1 lap led)
    #48-Johnson (4 laps led)

    #97-Busch (11 laps led)
    #54-T Bodine

    #6-Martin (4 laps led)
    #88-Jarrett (why so poor of a finish? fluid on the windshield made it hard for Jarrett to see)
    #11-G Bodine out-vibration.
    NOTES: #11-G Bodine thought he had a tire rub on lap 3 and brought the car in and it ended up being a vibration and he went to the garage. #2-Wallace cut down a tire on lap 18 was able to stay on the lead lap and change the tire during the 10 minute break. On lap 50 ALL the drivers came in to pit, all took 2 right side tires, except #48-Johnson took 4 tires who flatspotted his tired when he locked the brakes up coming on pit road and #6-Martin, #21-Rudd, #54-Bodine and #49-Schrader who all only took fuel. Earnhardt Jr started last, 19th, the fartherst a Bud Shootout winner has ever came from. For results and money won, see ThatsRacin.com and for a column: Dale Earnhardt Jr. impressive in Budweiser Shootout win(2-8-2003)

  • A few parts seized at Daytona: NASCAR inspectors gave Winston Cup cars a thorough going-over Friday, with the garage finally closing at 10:02pm/et. Despite the slow process, only four items had been confiscated from teams and displayed on the NASCAR hauler. Unapproved underpans were taken off the #10 Pontiac driven by Johnny Benson; unapproved springs wwere taken off Michael Waltrip’s #15 Chevrolet and Norm Benning’s #84 Chevrolet. A plastic gas container was taken from the team of David Green’s #60 Chevy. Late last year, NASCAR banned the use of plastic containers to transport or store gas.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-8-2003)
  • Kenseth and Smirnoff Ice? UPDATE: hearing #17-Matt Kenseth will race either 8 Cup or 8 BGN races with Smirnoff Ice as the sponsor, the BGN thing makes sense, since he is running 15 races with Bayer/Alka Seltzer, not sure about the Cup part of the rumor.(1-25-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing this is for 8 Cup races, with at least one Richmond race to be part of it.(1-27-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Smirnoff Ice Triple Black will sponsor Roush Racing driver Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford in a limited program of 2003 Cup races, beginning with The Winston all-star race in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The program includes at least co-primary sponsorship of Kenseth’s Ford Taurus, whose five wins in 2002 led the series, for eight races and secondary status for the balance of the season. The partnership includes driver appearances, the use of show cars and image rights, a large hospitality program and an extensive social responsibility agenda. A Smirnoff spokesperson said an advertising program was in the works featuring Kenseth, who said that was one of the “coolest” aspects of the program. Kenseth will drive the Smirnoff Ice car at The Winston, Pepsi 400 at Daytona, Brickyard 400, Southern 500, Richmond (Sept), Talladega (Sept) and Atlanta (Oct). The race at Texas on March 30 is a co-primary event with Dewalt Tools.(NASCAR.com, see an image of the car there – do NOT email it to me)(2-8-2003)
  • Red lights signal start of new access policy: NASCAR’s new garage access policy went into effect for the first time Friday when officials cleared the garage of guests and fans lacking proper credentials 30 minutes before the cars went on the track. A half-hour before the cars scheduled to take part in Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout went out for the first on-track appearance of 2003 for Winston Cup cars, red lights [made by Whelen, sponsor of the #31 BGN car] above each entrance and affixed to several of the team haulers in the garage area began to flash. About a dozen security people and police made a sweep through the garage compound, but there were few people without the required “hot passes” or NASCAR season credentials.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-8-2003)
  • #28 Number News: The #3 is unofficially retired and the #28 won’t be around this season. Change sweeps through Winston Cup racing in many ways, but perhaps none so dramatically as those missing numbers. No one has raced the #3 in Cup since Dale Earnhardt died on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. This year, the #28 won’t be competing. Robert Yates Racing had the #28 but will switch to the #38 for Elliott Sadler this season. At one point it appeared the number might go with sponsor Havoline to Chip Ganassi Racing and the car driven by rookie Jamie McMurray. Those plans changed, leaving the number in limbo. “My first reaction was, ‘There’s no way under the sun,'” Yates said of allowing the number to move to another team. “I was allowing everybody to have their wishes, but I wasn’t gonna let them have the 28. I’ve got 15 years tied up in that, so, no way, I wouldn’t even consider it. I laid awake at night and talked to [wife] Carolyn about it and … she said, ‘It’s not a bad idea just to get a good, fresh start and start over.’ So I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ They then came back to me later and said, ‘Why don’t you just keep it [the 28],’ and I was like, ‘No way, we’re gonna make this new package work. We’ve got a great number on it and I wouldn’t go back to that. We can have all the good memories of that 28 car, but yet we’re starting a new package with the 38.” Ricky Rudd, who drove the #28 car the past three seasons, says he’s sorry to see the number disappear this season. “It’s a pretty sad deal that the 28 is not out there any longer,” said Rudd, who took that number to Victory Lane three times while with Yates. “That car has a tremendous following and the fans are the ones who deserve to see the 28 run around the race track.”(Roanoke Times)(2-8-2003)
  • Exxon-Mobil to be new official fuel of NASCAR? The battle now over “the official fuel of NASCAR” is reported to be between Mobil and Exxon. Unocal’s declining markets, primarily on the West Coast, has lessened that company’s promotional viability, and last week NASCAR, after years of negotiating, finally bought out the contract. Unocal, when it was still Pure Oil, was one of the first major sponsors for NASCAR, and Unocal helped provide the financial backing for the France family to build Talladega.(Winston Salem Journal), NOTE: Exxon and Mobil merged a few years ago, so there is no ‘battle’, maybe a decision within the company, but rumor has Mobil being tagged.(2-8-2003)
  • Junie Donlavey Targets Daytona 500 UPDATE 2: Junie Donlavey, owner of the #90 Ford, doesn’t possess a driver or a sponsor, but he does hold the will to bring his Richmond-based Winston Cup team to Daytona International Speedway this week to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. An offseason search for financial backing has proved fruitless, but the team decided to finish preparing a superspeedway car and make the trip.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-2-2003)
    UPDATE: Kirk Shelmerdine will run the #90 Freddie B’s Ford fielded by Donlavey Racing at the Daytona 500. Freddie B’s is in Winston-Salem, NC. See a drawing of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(2-3-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Junie Donlavey has hired a driver who is well known for his accomplishments in the Winston Cup Series but not for what he’s done behind the wheel. Kirk Shelmerdine, who helped guide Dale Earnhardt to four Winston Cup championships between 1986-92, will attempt to qualify Donlavey’s #90 Ford for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16. Shelmerdine retired as a crew chief in 1992 and since has driven part time in several series, including Cup, CTS, BGN and ARCA. Shelmerdine contacted Donlavey last Friday, and a deal was worked out Saturday. Shelmerdine is bringing sponsorship to the Richmond-based team from a restaurant in Winston-Salem, NC. Donlavey, who missed nearly all of last year’s second half, received a steady stream of well-wishers while standing at the back of his hauler yesterday. “It’s good to be back,” said Donlavey, who is attending his 53rd Daytona 500 as a car owner. “I’ve met so many nice people doing this, and they’re worth more to me than all the money in the world.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    AND Kirk Shelmerdine has a one-race deal to run for car owner Junie Donlavey, with quarterpanel sponsorship from the Sioux Indian Tribe of Minnesota and Freddie B’s Sports Bar in Winston-Salem.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-8-2003)
  • Update on the Petty movie: If all goes well, Disney’s movie on Richard Petty and the Petty family should be filmed this year and be in theatres sometime in 2004, said Bill Scott, executive vice president at Petty Enterprises. Disney got involved in November. Dennis Quaid originally was set to play Lee Petty but now is expected to play Richard. Scripts are being rewritten to include more of the Petty family story than just the relationship between Lee and Richard. “This has been a project that has been ongoing; I personally have been working on this for four years,” Scott said. “I really believe it’s going to happen this year.” Scott said he’s not sure where filming will take place but says he’d “be surprised” if it was done outside North Carolina “based on our conversations.”(Roanoke Times)(2-8-2003)
  • Larry Mac and Wally Team could still happen: According to Larry McReynolds his pending deal to form a team with Wally Dallenbach is still alive and well. Furthermore, the two have been talking regularly about potential sponsors and various scenarios. The pair hope to put together a part-time effort for the second half of the season that will have Dallenbach driving Busch and perhaps truck series entries while McReynolds provides technical expertise and management services. The deal is largely dependant on the duo finding sponsorship dollars. McReynolds said, “A deal isn’t a deal until all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed and the ink is dry.”(Ford Racing)(2-8-2003)
  • Spencer Suing Ganassi UPDATE: Attorneys for Jimmy Spencer have filed a lawsuit in Mecklenburg County Superior Court seeking damages from Chip Ganassi, Spencer’s former Winston Cup car owner, for breach of contract and interference with Spencer’s racing career. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, seeks $600,000 for the difference between the salary Spencer says he was to be paid for 2003, the second year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing, and what he is to make this year as the driver for Ultra Motorsports. Spencer drove the #41 Dodges owned by Ganassi last season, but says he was told over the telephone on or about Nov. 5, 2002, that he was fired. Casey Mears will drive the #41 cars in the 2003 season. The lawsuit also charges that Ganassi made an agreement to monetarily assist James Finch, the owner of a Busch series team for which Spencer drove 23 races last year, with fielding Finch’s Busch team for 2003. Part of the terms for that agreement, the lawsuit alleges, was for Finch not to employ Spencer as a driver this year. The suit seeks damages of no less than $10,000 for Spencer for his lost opportunity for employment with Finch. It also seeks payment of money Spencer says he is owed for souvenir and collectibles sales for the third and fourth quarters of 2002. Ganassi said he had neither read nor seen the lawsuit and would not comment on it. Spencer referred questions to Bill Diehl, his Charlotte attorney. The lawsuit offers a rare glimpse at the details of a Winston Cup driver’s contract, spelling out the terms of Spencer’s employment with Ganassi’s team. In 2002, Spencer’s base salary was $1 million payable in 12 monthly installments of $83,333.33. He also received 45% of the prize money earned driving the car. Additionally, the team was to pay up to $35,000 per year in premiums for disability insurance for Spencer. Spencer’s salary would have gone up to $1.1 million this year. Spencer, the lawsuit says, will make a $500,000 as driver of the #7 Dodges at Ultra Motorsports. The contract also included bonuses of $25,000 per race victory, $12,500 per second-place finish, $6,250 per third-place finish and $5,000 per pole. Spencer would have earned $25,000 bonuses for winning either the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, the Texas 500 or Las Vegas 500 or the pole for the Brickyard 400. He also could have earned an additional $100,000 bonus for winning four races in a season or for winning the Winston Cup championship.(Charlotte Observer)(2-7-2003)
    UPDATE: Spencer is referring all questions to his North Carolina attorney, but according to Felix Sabates, who is a partner in Ganassi’s Winston Cup operation, Spencer has no contract that covers the 2003 season; and that the team’s obligations to Spencer were fulfilled at the conclusion of the 2002 season. “We don’t have a contract with Spencer. He never signed it,” Sabates insisted. “He’s got no argument with us. He never signed the contract.”(Ford Racing)
    AND Reacting to the allegations in a lawsuit filed this week by Jimmy Spencer, team owner Chip Ganassi said the driver has no valid claim. “`It’s ridiculous, we never even had a signed contract,” Ganassi said. “We kept bartering back and forth during our original negotiations and we never got to a final agreement. I don’t owe him anything and he knows that.”(Tampa Tribune)(2-8-2003)
  • Last season for Dash? NASCAR does not plan to sanction the Goody’s Dash series after this season, so its future is in question. Hooters, which owns the Myrtle Beach, SC-based United Speed Alliance Racing circuit [Hooter;s USAR Pro Cup], has expressed interest in running the series. A long-time NASCAR touring division based in the Southeast, the Dash series features small sedans with six-cylinder engines. Johnny Chapman, the 1991 Goody’s Dash series champion, captured the pole for Sunday’s Goody’s 150 – a race that may be the Dash series’ final appearance at Daytona with a speed of 162.784mph.(Tampa Tribune)(2-8-2003)
  • A Buc at the Daytona 500: Tampa Bay Bucs guard Kerry Jenkins, an avid NASCAR fan, has been invited to attend the Daytona 500 as NASCAR’s guest. NASCAR officials made the offer after reading a story in The Tampa Tribune about Jenkins’ interest in stock car racing. Jenkins followed the sport while growing up in Alabama and attending Troy State University. As with many celebrity guests, Jenkins will be given a tour of the garage area and pits and will attend the pre-race drivers meeting. He’ll have a seat in a NASCAR suite.(Tampa Tribune)(2-8-2003)


  • NASCAR makes minor changes in substance-abuse policy: Among the responsibilities NASCAR has prior to the 2003 season openers for its Winston Cup, Busch and Truck series next week, is collecting releases from drivers and crew members, who must agree to abide by NASCAR’s substance-abuse policy. The policy has undergone several changes over the past 10 years, but remains for the most part as it was in 2002. Last season, NASCAR tested fewer than a dozen competitors in its top-three series, said Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s managing director of business operations. The policy outlines NASCAR’s prohibition of illegal drugs at any time in any amount; bans the use of alcohol on the day of an event; and warns of the effect of certain prescription and nonprescription medications. The release entitles NASCAR to test anyone who signs it at any time for any reason during the season. Typically, Triplett said, NASCAR tests only those who it has a “reasonable cause” to believe might have violated its policy. Some parts of the policy are stricter than state laws regarding the consumption of alcohol. For instance, a blood-alcohol level of .02 percent is considered “under the influence of alcohol” under NASCAR’s policy. A .08 finding is considered driving while impaired in North Carolina, for example. “This is a pretty dangerous sport,” Triplett said. “You have people working around machines and heavy equipment.” Triplett said he has never encountered a situation where a driver or crew member has refused to sign the release.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-7-2003)
  • Andretti gets OK to run double – Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600: John Andretti has received permission from Petty Enterprises to return for the first time since 1994, when he became the first to run both races on the same day. This year’s race is particularly significant to Andretti because his cousin, Michael, has said it will be his last. “I want to be in that race against Michael,” John said. “The thing we’ve always said about the Andrettis is, ‘He who gets hurt last, wins.’ Well, Michael always lost because he always got hurt, and I want to give him one last chance.”(Indianapolis Star)(2-7-2003)
  • Hmmm….beer UPDATE 2 yes: When the green flag waves to start this year¹s Daytona 500 stock car race on Sunday, February 16th, it will truly be OMiller Time¹ for everyone in attendance at Daytona International Speedway. Today, Miller Lite announced that should Rusty Wallace win his first Daytona 500, all legal drinking age race fans in attendance will receive a coupon for a free six-pack of Miller Lite. Wallace, the 1989 series champion and a former series rookie-of-the-year, has recorded 54 career NASCAR Winston Cup wins and 36 pole positions during his career. In his last five Daytona 500s, Wallace has registered three top-five finishes, including a career best third-place finish in 2001. During his stock car career, Wallace has made 40 starts at Daytona International Speedway, including a best-ever second-place finish last July in the Pepsi 400.(Tom Roberts PR)(1-29-2003)
    UPDATE: Coors Light is the official beer of Daytona International Speedway, but that doesn’t necessarily stop Anheuser-Busch from sponsoring a race here (or a car, of course). But it reportedly cramps the style of everyone who recently became Rusty Wallace fans. Wallace’s sponsor, Miller Lite, had announced that if Rusty wins his first Daytona 500 on Feb. 16, every adult in attendance would receive a coupon for a free six-pack of the primary sponsor’s product. That, however, constitutes marketing, and without track approval (and a waiver from Coors, no doubt), Miller won’t be allowed to give away anything “on property.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)
    UPDATE 2: Rusty Wallace/Miller Lite Daytona Promotion Specifics:
    -If Rusty Wallace wins the stock car season-opener at Daytona Beach — Miller Lite will give all adult fans in attendance at the race a coupon for a free six-pack of Miller Lite.
    -If Rusty Wallace wins the race: Coupons will be distributed following the race.
    Coupons will distributed OFF track property. (Coupons will NOT be distributed on the track grounds.)
    Coupons will be distributed by Miller Lite representatives, who will be easily identified — surrounding the track after the race — but not on track grounds.
    – Coupons are being distributed in this manner to respect the track’s relationships with other breweries.
    – Coupon is valid in Florida.
    – Coupon is valid through February 28, 2003.
    Coupon is good for $4.99 off of a Miller Lite six-Pack, or larger Miller Lite package.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-7-2003)
  • New Assoc for Kenseth: GE Plastics, a leading worldwide producer of engineering thermoplastics and a division of General Electric Company announced a one-year sponsorship of the #17 DeWalt Ford, driven by Matt Kenseth. GE Plastics is the manufacturer of LEXAN resin, a material that has long played an important role in NASCAR safety and stock car performance. LEXAN resin is one of the toughest and most versatile polymers in existence and can be found in everything from the bullet resistant canopies on fighter jets to camping equipment, computers, cell phones, CDs and DVDs. 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of GE Plastics’ invention of LEXAN polycarbonate. The company is celebrating this important milestone with events and activities throughout the year. For more than 15 years, LEXAN polycarbonate technology has contributed to driver safety and is a critical component to the sport of NASCAR. Most NASCAR stock cars feature front windshields composed of LEXAN resin. The LEXAN resin is then coated with a patented GE polycarbonate adhesive film that can quickly be peeled away during a race when it is soiled by oil, grease, and other race debris, revealing a new, clean windshield. LEXAN resin is also used in the shells of drivers’ helmets because it is lightweight and impact resistant.(Business Wire – need to register to read)(2-7-2003)
  • IROC needs a series sponsor too: The International Race of Champions [IROC] announced today it would seek a replacement Title Sponsor for 2004 due to the departure of True Value from auto racing at the conclusion of the 2003 season. The departure of TruServ from auto racing is due to realignment of the corporation’s marketing investments. The Specialized Marketing Group, Inc.. (TSMGI), headquartered in Deerfield, IL, who currently handles licensed product relations for the IROC Series, has been retained to pursue sponsorship and manage sponsor relations and event activities. IROC is hopeful for other changes in 2004.. “We’re looking to move the series forward in our search for a new Title Sponsor, in addition to our search for car manufacturer support, ” said, Signore. “Our goal is to start anew in 2004 and with the right sponsorship package we could pursue ways to diversify the current format, which we have been locked into due to scheduling and economics. The strength of the IROC Series as a marketing platform has been clearly defined by the long-term relationships encompassing its 26-year history and we are looking forward to continuing that tradition with new long-term partners.”(IROC PR)(2-7-2003)
  • Robby Gordon to run Indy 500? from a question on Robby Gordon’s Mailbag on CNNSI.com, will Gordon run the Coca-Cola 600 and Indy 500 this year? “I’d love to do the Double on Memorial Day weekend again, so I’m working on getting a sponsor for the Indy 500 right now and I think I’m getting close. Cingular Wireless sponsored me in the Double last May when I competed in the Indy 500 and then flew to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600. That was a blast but it was also a lot of work and an exhausting day. I finished eighth at Indy and brought home a 16th-place finish in the Winston Cup race. If I get the chance to do it again, I’ll make sure I take the IV fluids between the races and work out a little more leading up to the race. It takes a lot of stamina to make 1,100 miles.”(CNNSI)(2-7-2003)
  • PRN honored: Performance Racing Network (PRN – www.goprn.com), a leading producer of motorsports radio programming, claimed six of the seven radio broadcasting awards presented recently by the National Motorsports Press Association. Among the honors was the prestigious Barney Hall Award, recognizing excellence in motorsports broadcasting, which went to Mark Garrow, host of PRN’s “Garage Pass” and co-anchor of the network’s NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series race broadcasts. “Winning six of the seven awards presented by the National Motorsports Press Association for radio broadcasting is a major achievement,” said Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of PRN. “It is very rewarding when our staff’s dedication to excellence is recognized by such a prestigious organization.” The network swept the Radio Spot News category, claiming the top three positions. “The Bouts at Bristol,” a segment that aired following the spring Winston Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, earned first-place honors. “The Point is the Points,” a series of shows covering the season-ending championship battle, garnered second-place while the network’s coverage of the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway earned the third-place trophy. PRN also claimed second- and third-place honors in the Radio Features category. “The Life, The Legend of Dale Earnhardt,” a special broadcast that aired on the one-year anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death, earned runner-up recognition while PRN’s Steve Richards claimed third-place honors for “Sam Goes to Ground Zero,” a segment he produced about a member of Ward Burton’s crew who worked at Ground Zero in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.(PR)(2-7-2003)
  • NASCAR TV Guides hit stand Feb 10th: In its February 15 issue (on newsstands Monday, February 10), TV Guide magazine offers its 2003 NASCAR preview issue, which features three different moving-image collector’s covers. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon are each featured on one of the special covers. In the issue, TV Guide previews the Daytona 500 and the 2003 NASCAR season. Earnhardt Jr himself talks about what makes him tick. Also in the story, Gordon speaks about the effect his highly-public separation from wife Brooke had on him last season, in which he finished fourth. As for 2002 Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart, he talks about tempering his attitude. A complete set of all three NASCAR TV Guide covers is available online at www.shoptvguide.com.
    AND After the successful launch last year of its first-ever sports-themed standalone magazine, NASCAR 2002, TV Guide has rolled out its second-annual NASCAR preview magazine, TV Guide Winston Cup 2003. On newsstands now, the full-size publication (as opposed to TV Guide’s customary digest size) is a comprehensive preview of the upcoming 2003 season. Targeted at the millions of NASCAR faithful, it also serves as the perfect primer for the many recent NASCAR converts. TV Guide Winston Cup 2003 features two different collectible covers, one with 2002 Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart and the other featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr., along with teammates Steve Park and Michael Waltrip. Each issue also includes a full-size poster of either Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Gordon. Fans will also find one of two sets of collectible trading cards: one set features the top stars of Winston Cup racing, the other is a set of commemorative Dale Earnhardt tribute cards.(TV Guide PR)(2-7-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert news: Sheryl Crow, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney and Alabama are the first four acts booked for the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert to be held June 28 at Daytona International Speedway. The concert, a fund-raiser for the Earnhardt Legacy Foundation, will be the first non-racing event in the track’s history. Tickets will be sold beginning March 3 to premium level subscribers to the Dale Earnhardt Inc. website to be launched next week, then will be sold to the public through Ticketmaster outlets beginning March 22. Reserved grandstand tickets will cost $55 and stage level tickets will be $65. Other premium level ticket packages will also be sold at $333 and $1,000. Kraft, the presenting sponsor of the concert, donated $500,000 to the Legacy Foundation.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-7-2003)
  • Little gets gig on TV: Chad Little will be joining FOX Sports Net and the Speed Channel as the driver analyst on each network’s Sunday NASCAR programs; NASCAR This Morning and NASCAR Victory Lane. Little will be joining host John Roberts and technical analyst Barry Dodson for the broadcasts each week providing a driver’s perspective of the racing action. In addition to his duties for Fox Sports, he continues his efforts to procure sponsorship for the 2003 season and beyond [to drive in BGN or Cup].(RAMM Enterprises PR)(2-7-2003)
  • Shawna gets a ride for Daytona…in ARCA: Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership announced a one-race partnership with PBM Racing of Feeling, MI for the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA series race at the Daytona, Saturday, February 8, 2003. Veteran driver Shawna Robinson will pilot the #65 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the 200-mile event. The Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 starts at 4:00 PM Saturday, February 8 and will be televised live on SpeedChannel.(Aaron’s PR), Robinson qualified 13th, some other’s of note: Christian Fittipaldi starts 7th, Deborah Renshaw 10th, Frank Kimmel 15th, Rick Carelli 27th and Greg Sacks 30th.(2-7-2003)


  • Geoffrey Bodine draws the pole for the Budweiser Shootout: In a special-event race sponsored by Budweiser, with the starting order determined by a glorified video game, Dale Earnhardt Jr. figured to have a good shot at success in Thursday’s draw for the Budweiser Shootout starting lineup. So much for that. Earnhardt Jr. will start 19th – last – in the field for Saturday night’s 70-lap event that marks the first competition of a new NASCAR season. He was the fifth driver to pick his starting spot by pressing a bottle cap from the sponsor’s product hooked to a computer spinning numbers one through 19 on a screen. Earnhardt Jr. will have plenty of fast company in the back half of the field. Jeff Gordon starts 18th, Ryan Newman 15th and two-time defending Shootout champion Tony Stewart 12th. The pole position, meanwhile, lasted until the very end of the draw. With only two drivers – Geoffrey Bodine and Terry Labonte – left to pick their starting spot, Bodine pushed the button and got the pole in the #11 Ford that his brother, Brett [not Todd], owns and will drive in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16. That left the 17th starting spot for Terry Labonte, the remaining driver. Jimmie Johnson, who won the pole for the Daytona 500 last year in his rookie season, will start on the outside of Row 1, with Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd on Row 2, and Matt Kenseth and Ricky Craven on Row 3. Dale Jarrett, Todd Bodine, Mark Martin, Ward Burton, Ken Schrader, Stewart, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, Newman, Kevin Harvick, Labonte, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. round out the field. Fifteen of the eligible drivers won poles during the 2002 season and the other four are past winners of this event. Nine of the entrants are former Bud Shootout winners. The total purse for the event is $966,000, with the winner getting $205,000. The non-points event, being held under the lights for the first time this year, will be run in two segments. There will be a 10-minute break after the first 20 laps, during which teams may work on their cars without losing track position. The cars will start the final 50-lap segment in the same order they finished the first segment. With the 13.5-gallon fuel cells being used at the 2.5-mile Daytona track this year, teams will not be able to complete the final 50 laps without making another stop for fuel. If the caution flag is out on Lap 70, the race will be extended until there’s a green-white-checkered finish, so that also must be factored into fuel strategies.(ThatsRacin.com) and see ThatsRacin.com for The lineup for Saturday night’s race (2-6-2003)
  • Bud Shootout/Daytona 500 fact: Only five times in the 24 year-history of the Shootout has the winner of the race gone on to victory in the Daytona 500 the same season: Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1987) Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000) and Jeff Gordon (1997).(ThatsRacin.com)(2-6-2003)
  • Waltrip, Kenyon among the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America: Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Darrell Waltrip, sports car driver and teacher Bob Bondurant, midget car veteran Mel Kenyon, motorcycle ace Gary Nixon and driver safety pioneer Bill Simpson head a class of eight racing legends who will inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on June 12, the organization announced today. Posthumous induction honors will go to drag racing engine builder Ed Donovan, hydroplane racer and designer Ted Jones and dirt track sprint car king Tommy Hinnershitz. The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is located in the Novi Expo Center in the Detroit suburb of Novi.(Indianapolis Star)(2-6-2003)
  • New fantasy racing game launches: ThatsRacin.com has hit the switch on a new fantasy racing game. It went live Wednesday and boasts a number of features that put it up front among free racing fantasy games online. The late lock-in time for player selections – 15 minutes before the green flag falls on race day- is among the favorite features, say those already familiar with the game, UPICKEM RACING from Baseview Products. Another plus is the automatic e-mail that alerts players whenever their drivers fail to qualify for a race. More info at thatsracin.autoracing.upickem.net, also see info on more leagues, free and pay at my Fantasy Leagues/Games/Sims Links.(2-6-2003)
  • SAFER Close: Dr. Dean Sicking was hoping his SAFER barrier would be ready for use this month in the Daytona 500, two years after Dale Earnhardt’s death in the race. A few bugs in the testing process made that goal unachievable, but the delay is only a temporary setback. The University of Nebraska scientist said a variable form of the collapsible barrier could be ready for use at every Winston Cup track later this season. “We knew all along that it was a long shot for the barrier to be ready for Daytona this month,” Sicking said. “Everything would have had to go perfectly in testing and development for that to happen. A testing failure caused us to make some adjustments, but that’s part of the process. We’re very close to reaching our goals.” Sicking’s goal, with the support of NASCAR and the IRL, is to see the barrier in place at every major oval-track event. There isn’t a set timetable for reaching that goal, but the end of the 2004 season seems reasonable. The SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) wall was used for the first time last season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400. The improvement was obvious immediately, dramatically reducing the G-forces of crash impacts in practice-session accidents. The problem was that particular design of the barrier wasn’t applicable for high-banked ovals or smaller, tight-radius tracks. The length and shape of the barrier sections needed to be customized for various track configurations. By midsummer, Sicking hopes NASCAR and the IRL will recommend that track operators consider installing the barrier at their facilities. Richmond International Raceway, a .75-mile oval, is expecting to become the first short track to use the barrier later this year. Other tracks will follow, and the dangerous paper clip-shaped oval at New Hampshire should be near the top of the list. (Dallas Morning News – may need to register for free to read). see more info on my Safety: Soft Walls page.(2-6-2003)
  • Busch to test a CART UPDATE: many sources are reporting that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid Ford for Roush Racing, will tests the #9 Team Rahal Gigante Champ Car during Spring Training testing at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, FL.
    UPDATEs: Kurt Busch is set to drive one of Team Rahal’s cars, today, at Sebring International Raceway. Yes, that is an open wheel car from the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford series. Set to arrive late this morning at the track he plans to meet with Michel Jourdain Jr. and the engineers from Team Rahal. Next, he’ll get his seat fitted and go through a debriefing with the engineers. Of course he will be fitted with a Head and Neck System device. He’ll spend some time watching the second practice session scheduled at 1:15-4:30pm. Then, Busch will have the track to himself for an hour.(Ford Racing – need to register for free to read)
    AND This rumor is upgraded to ‘fact’ today. We have confirmed that indeed Kurt Busch will test a Champ Car today for Team Rahal. 2/4/03 – Rumor has it that Ford flew NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch from Daytona to Sebring Tuesday for his first test drive in an open-wheel car. However, we have yet to spot him.(Autoracing1.com – need subscription to read)
    AND 2: Kurt Busch, third in NASCAR Winston Cup driver points last year, will test a CART Champ Car World Series car today at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Busch, a member of the Roush Racing team, will jump into a 700-horsepower, open-wheel machine for a spin around the 1.4-mile road course. The opportunity comes during CART’s spring training session at Sebring, which ends Thursday. Busch, 24, will drive a Ford-Cosworth/Lola owned by Team Rahal. The car will be driven by Michel Jourdain Jr. of Mexico this year. A fan of open-wheel racing, Busch, who is from Las Vegas, has said in the past that he would like to to start one day in the Indianapolis 500.(Detroit Free Press – an yep it is Free, no registration needed)(2-5-2003)
    UPDATE: Kurt Busch turned 18 laps at Sebring International Raceway in Michael Jourdain Jr.’s Champ Car. Busch, who drives a Ford Taurus for Roush Racing in NASCAR’s Winston Cup series, was invited by Team Rahal to give its Ford-powered Lola a spin around the 1.669-mile short course during CART’s annual spring training test days. “It was an experience I could not pass up,” Busch said, grinning. “But I’m going to stick to my day job, racing on Sundays and driving Winston Cup cars.” The 24-year-old racer from Las Vegas had never sat in a Champ car before climbing into the open-cockpit Wednesday under the watchful eyes of CART veteran Jourdain, who earlier gave Busch a quick tutorial during a ride around the track in a rental car. Busch’s only previous experience in an open-wheel car was in a much less powerful Formula Ford at a racing school about four years ago. When all was in readiness Wednesday, the crew cranked up the 700-horsepower Ford Cosworth turbocharged V-8 engine at the back of the Lola and cleared a path for Busch to leave the pits. Busch stalled the engine after traveling about 10 feet. The car was pulled back and restarted, and Busch was able to pull away this time, squealing the tires as he left his pit. As he approached the second turn of his second lap, the car skidded sideways and spun to a stop just short of a low concrete wall. After being towed back to the pits and getting a tire change, Busch started to find the groove. His first timed lap was just over 61 seconds – about 103 mph. After that, Busch’s time came down steadily, finally getting down to 54.72 – about 110 mph – before a second spin ended his adventure. By comparision, rookie Patrick Lemarie was the slowest at 53.44 seconds, 112.424 mph in CART’s final session of the day, which ended just before Busch took to the track. Sebastien Bourdais, another rookie, was fast in the session at 50.95 seconds, 117.920 mph.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-6-2003)
  • No Sadler Racing at Daytona: For the first time since it was formed in 1983, Nashville-based [#95] Sadler Racing will not have a car entered in at least one division at Daytona. Over the years Sadler’s cars have competed in divisions from ARCA to Winston Cup. The team is searching for a driver to replace Steadman Marlin, who moved to North Carolina to join another Busch Series operation. Team owner Earl Sadler, 80, expects to name a driver soon and said he will have a car on the track early this season. Sadler’s son, Check, oversees the team’s day-to-day operation.(Tennessean)(2-6-2003)


  • RJR/Winston leaving? No Winston Cup? UPDATEs – denied, then maybe confirmed: A spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco said Tuesday night that there’s no validity to an [ESPN] Internet report saying the company is considering ending its sponsorship of NASCAR’s top series after the 2003 season. An ESPN.com story quotes an anonymous source as saying RJR, which has the name of one of its brands of cigarettes on the Winston Cup series, “would walk away if a suitable replacement could be found.” But Denny Darnell, senior manager of media relations for Sports Marketing Enterprises, the division of RJR that directs the NASCAR program, said the company isn’t looking to leave. “We have just signed a multi-year deal with NASCAR to continue our long-running partnership,” Darnell said. “We’re looking forward to the 2003 season and beyond.” Winston began its sponsorship of NASCAR’s top series in 1971 and has spent millions in bonus and points fund money since.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-5-2003)
    UPDATE 2 – But: Ned Leary, president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s Sports Marketing Enterprises arm, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon confirming discussions with NASCAR about RJR ending its sponsorship of the Winston Cup series. “Winston and NASCAR have been partners for over 30 years. We signed a five-year contract for the NASCAR Winston Cup series sponsorship last July,” Leary said. “Since that time, our business dynamics have changed dramatically. In our ongoing conversations with NASCAR, we have discussed the potential of their exploring a new series sponsor at some time in the future.” Leary did not say how serious the talks were or provide a timetable for a possible such changes. “We have always worked with NASCAR and others to do what was in the best interests of this great sport. As the series sponsor, we will continue our work to grow this sport,” he said. The statement comes one day after an Internet report claimed RJR was considering ending its sponsorship of NASCAR’s top series after the 2003 season. An ESPN.com story quoted an anonymous source as saying RJR, which has the name of one of its cigarette brands on the Winston Cup series, “would walk away if a suitable replacement could be found.” Denny Darnell, a spokesman for SME, had said Tuesday that night the company looked forward to a long relationship with NASCAR. Darnell said Wednesday he was not aware of a meeting between RJR and NASCAR officials on the subject when he had said that.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND from NASCAR.com: The Winston Cup in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series may be gone after 2003. The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company said it has talked with NASCAR about the possibility of the sanctioning body finding another company to become the title sponsor of stock-car racing’s top division. Last July, RJR signed a five-year agreement to continue as the backer of the Winston Cup Series. But times have changed, said Ned Leary, president of Sports Marketing Enterprises, the arm of RJR that handles NASCAR sponsorship. The news is a bombshell in the NASCAR world. RJR has been the title sponsor since 1971, when the company came into the sport as manufacturers were leaving. Many have considered Winston to be a saving grace to NASCAR, establishing a points fund and pumping millions of dollars into the sport. Winston Cup has become synonymous with NASCAR in the years since. Last week, Winston announced an increase in its season-ending points fund to $17 million, with the Winston Cup champion getting $4.25 million. But on Jan. 6, perhaps a sign of things to come, RJR announced it was discontinuing the No Bull 5 program that could have handed out a $1 million bonus to a driver and fan at one of five selected races. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., the parent company of RJR, announced last week losses in the fourth quarter of 2002. The company lost $59 million in the final three months, as opposed to an $89 million profit in the same span of 2001. The company blamed increased spending on promotions on the losses, saying it needed to spend more to compete with other tobacco companies both large and small. The company also had a $224 million restructuring charge for the elimination of 635 jobs and the proposed sale of two businesses, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. RJR also had a loss in the first quarter of 2002, and profits for the entire year were down compared to 2001. Leary set no timetable for when Winston could leave the sport. “We have always worked with NASCAR and others to do what was in the best interest of this great sport,” Leary said. “As the series sponsor, we will continue our work to grow this sport.”(NASCAR.com)(2-5-2003)
  • Changes to the Winston: NASCAR and R.J. Reynolds officials on Wednesday confirmed changes to the format of the 2003 Winston all-star race, including a record $1 million payoff for the winner. The race, scheduled for May 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, features race winners from the 2002 and 2003 seasons as well as past winners of the event. Then-rookie Ryan Newman won the 2002 Winston and its then-record $750,000 purse. The race, entering its 19th season, has been hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway since 1987. The Winston will continue to be run in three segments for a total of 90 laps. However, several changes have been in thoses segments and to The Winston Open, a race among drivers not already qualified for The Winston. Among the changes:
    – The first segment will consist of 40 laps, during which teams must make a mandatory green-flag, four-tire pit stop. If there’s a late-segment caution, efforts will be made by NASCAR to ensure a green-flag finish. The top-20 finishers advance to the next segment.
    – Following a 10-minute break, during which teams may work on their cars without losing track position, the second segment of 30 laps will be held. Only the top-14 finishers will advance to the third segment.
    – Following another 10-minute break, the final segment of 20 laps will take place. The starting order will be inverted from positions three through 10 following a random selection process during the break. Only green-flag laps will count toward the total.
    The winner of the final segments receives $1 million. The winner of the first two segments – as well as the pole winner – receives $50,000.
    – The Winston Open, which included opportunities for two drivers to advance to The Winston the last two years, will return to one race in 2003. However, the race will consist of two segments – of 20 and 10 laps – and only the top-14 finishers from the first will advance to the second. Only green-flag laps will count in the final segment and only the winner will advance to The Winston. The Winston weekend will also feature the debut of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, with the inaugural Hardee’s 200 set for May 16.(ThatsRacin.com), see my The Winston 2003 page for info on the race and who is in it.(2-5-2003)
  • UPS and Harley? UPDATE: hearing the Harley Davidson scheme will run on the #88 UPS Ford with driver Dale Jarrett in 2003, no word on which race(s).(2-4-2003)
    UPDATE: just been told, the UPS/Harley program will not happen.(2-5-2003)
  • Common Engines? Expect NASCAR to explore the use of common engines. The manufacturers initially had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the common template approach, and they could react the same way to the possibility of common engines. But that certainly would make Toyota’s entrance to Winston Cup easier.(Sporting News)(2-5-2003)
  • Jeff Gordon speaks at Boys & Girls Club: Approximately 1,000 people gathered Tuesday evening at the new Cabarrus County Boys & Girls Club to take part in the organization’s 14th annual Steak & Burger Dinner. Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon served as the keynote speaker for the fund-raising event, which raised a record high $83,600 in proceeds that will go to the club. Last year’s event netted $59,000. Gordon addressed the crowd for about a half hour — much of which was spent answering intuitive questions that were posed from youngsters. One child wondered which drivers Gordon considers to be his friends. Gordon responded with a bit of a chuckle and said, for the most part, he gets along with everyone on the NASCAR circuit. While tempers may sometimes flare between drivers on Sundays, that’s usually as far as it goes, he said. As a sidenote, Megan Baker was named the recipient of the local Boys & Girls Club’s 18th annual Mariam Schramm Award. Evan Carpenter was awarded with the club’s Boyce Sherrin Award. George Liles Jr. was awarded the Boys & Girls Club of America Volunteer Service Award.(Independent Tribune)(2-5-2003)
  • Special Scheme for Martin in the Shootout: #6-Mark Martin will be making a record 15th straight start in the Budweiser Shootout, when the green flags drops on this year’s all-star event. This year’s Shootout will be run on Saturday night (Feb. 8, 2003). Martin will be at the helm of the #6 Kraft Ford Taurus in this year’s event. Martin, who did not win a pole in 2002, won the Bud Shootout in 1999, and will start his 16th shootout via a past-champions provisional.(Roush Racing), see an image my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-5-2003)
  • Gibbs on TV: #18 and #20 team owner. Joe Gibbs, along with Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller, will be appearing on a.special race/product promotion on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), Wednesday. Feb 5th at 10:00pm/et. Matt and Laurie Crouch host, Joe Gibbs, Norm Miller, Pastor Ed Young, Jr. & Randy Phillips (of Phillips Craig & Dean) and The Awakening.(2-5-2003)
  • Bodine turns herself in: The wife of NASCAR driver Brett Bodine has been charged with making harassing phone calls and threatening a Loganville woman she suspected was involved with her husband, police said. Diane Bodine, 43, turned herself in to Walton County authorities Tuesday and was released on $6,500 bond. Her lawyer said she denies all the charges.(The Tribune/AP), see past news on this on my #11 Team News and Links page.(2-5-2003)
  • Hicks Honored: Larry Hicks, the ex-Marine who rescued Winston Cup car owner Jack Roush from near certain death in a lake outside Troy, AL last April, has been named the 2002 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA)/Pocono Spirit Award. The award each year recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Hicks was one of four quarterly winners singled out by the NMPA in 2002 for recognition. Other quarterly winners include Dave Marcis, Steve Park and Ken Schrader.(Danville Register and Bee)(2-5-2003)
  • Million Dollar Challenge again UPDATE: DeWalt’s is set to launch their Million Dollar Challenge promotion once again giving fans and end-users a chance to compete for one million dollars.(Roush Racing)(1-28-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing the #17 Ford will run the Million Dollar Challenge at the Budweiser Shootout and then at Phoenix, supposedly the same scheme as last year, with a few minor decal changes(2-5-2003)
  • #97 Schemes: hearing that Kurt Busch will run a #97 Irwin Tools scheme at Daytona in July, Chicago, Talladega in Oct and Lowe’s in Oct, and the Commercial Products scheme at the spring Richmond race, see my Paint Scheme Gallery for the images.(2-5-2003)
  • #43 Berry Scheme: John Andretti is scheduled to run a Cheerios Berry Scheme at the Winston Open and Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, this is a very cool looking scheme, see it on my Paint Scheme Gallery for the images.(2-5-2003)
  • Petty Experience News UPDATE: A participant at the Richard Petty Driving Experience was driving a car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and had a heart attack over the weekend. The car crashed, but the coroner ruled it was the heart attack that killed him. Condolences out to the family, no more info at this time.(2-4-2003)
    UPDATE: A man in town for a business convention died of natural causes while driving at a racing school named for Richard Petty. Philip Jerome Malarkey’s death at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was attributed to coronary atherosclerosis, a common cause of heart attacks, the coroner’s office said Tuesday. Malarkey, 58, of Arnold, MD, paid several thousand dollars to participate in the Richard Petty Driving Experience. After classroom instruction, Malarkey became unconscious while driving a race car similar to those used in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, said Brad Mark, driving school general manager. Mark called Malarkey’s death the first in 13 years at the race driving school. The maximum speed for the cars is about 160 mph, but Malarkey was not traveling at top speed when he became unconscious and his car scraped the wall on the 1 1/2-mile oval, officials said. His car did not hit any other vehicles.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-5-2003)


  • RJR/Winston Bailing? UPDATE 2: Robin Miller of ESPN.com is reporting that R.J. Reynolds [Winston] is seriously looking at ending its long and rich association with the stock car world after 33 years. This follows by just a few days Union 76’s announcement that it would cease its 50-year relationship as NASCAR’s official fuel and oil. A top-level source inside the tobacco industry and another source close to the situation said RJR is prepared to shut down this remarkable partnership and that NASCAR is already pursuing a replacement. “There are five years left on the contract, but RJR would walk away as the title sponsor if a suitable replacement could be found,” said the source, who requested anonymity. “With all the lawsuits and litigation surrounding the tobacco industry now, Winston feels like it’s time to step aside. And NASCAR is actively looking for a new title sponsor.” UPS, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are thought to be very interested in hitching their wagon to the marketing monster that has become NASCAR. “We just re-established our relationship with R.J. Reynolds and we look forward to continuing our long-standing and beneficial relationship,” said NASCAR vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter when asked about the possibility of losing NASCAR’s sponsorship. Asked if NASCAR had a waiting list of potential title sponsors in the event RJR did bail before its contract expired, Hunter said: “In a hypothetical world, if the need ever came, we think it’s a pretty good property.” Denny Darnell, senior manager of media relations for Sports Marketing Enterprises, denied the report had any validity. “That would be a shock in that we have a 33-year relationship with NASCAR and we have a multiyear contract with NASCAR,” said Darnell, whose agency handles all of RJR’s involvement with the series that has exploded into the national consciousness the past decade. The Winston name and logo has been synonymous with NASCAR for 33 years. “Our intentions are to continue to grow with NASCAR in the future.” Winston, which ended its sponsorship of the National Hot Rod Association and professional golf in order to comply with the Master Settlement Tobacco Agreement, dropped NASCAR’s No Bull 5 Program for 2003 after a five-year run. That was a bonus program that offered $1 million to a driver and a NASCAR fan in five selected events. RJR also continues to sponsor NASCAR’s Winston West stock car series.(ESPN)(2-4-2003)
  • New Shootout Format: There will be some slight modifications to the format to Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway – the “unofficial” start to the 2003 Winston Cup season. NASCAR officials confirmed Tuesday the 70-lap all-star event – which features pole winners from the 2002 season and past winners of the event – will be split into two segments. The first segment will consist of 20 laps after which a 10-minute intermission will be held. Teams may make pit stops and do other work that transpires during a normal pit stop during this time. The second segment will be 50 laps and must end in a green-white-checkered finish. Caution laps will count toward the total in both segments so the second segment may extend beyond the scheduled 70-lap total. In the event of a red flag, crews will be permitted to work on the cars; however, all work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. When the race is resumed, all cars must immediately be ready to return to competition. All re-starts will be double-file re-starts. All lapped cars will re-start at the rear of the field. The Shootout format was changed from a 20-lap race to two 10-lap segments in 1991. The move to a 25-lap event in 1998 marked the third format change of this prestigious event. The format was again changed in 2001, this time to a 70-lap event.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-4-2003)
  • New Book: The Sporting News Racetracks Book captures the excitement of the 26 past and present speedways where history has been made. Experience racing at these great tracks with panoramic shots and individual histories:
    *Walk through Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis.
    *Get an up-close look at the front straightaway at Talladega.
    *See just how sharp the corners are at Watkins Glen.
    *Check out the steep corners at Bristol, Daytona, Darlington & Dover.
    *Plus the newest tracks in Chicago and Kansas City.
    Hundreds of color photographs bring out the history of these tracks and their great races. Panoramic images cover each track, and the spots where history was made are pointed out in detail:
    * The Turn 4 wall where Dale Earnhardt tragically crashed and died at Daytona. *Picturesque Turn 6 at Watkins Glen, where dozens of races have been won, and lost, on passes.
    *Talladega Superspeedway and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum.
    The Racetracks Book presents all of the sights, sounds and even smells of America¹s stock car raceways. It¹s a nostalgic look at the history of each track, what transpired on them, as well as what it¹s like to watch racing there today. Regularly $34.95; Your price only $24.95 plus S&H. To Order, Toll Free 1-800-825-8508 (order Item #704) Dept. WY30127 or order online at sportingnews.com/books; see my Racing Bookstore (proceeds to charity) for many more Books, Magazines, CD’s and Videos.(2-4-2003)
  • What is up with Stricklin and Grissom? Nothing: Hut Stricklin and Stever Grissom are on the sidelines for now. “There’s not a lot out there. I haven’t been talking to anybody really,” Stricklin said. He declined an offer from a team on a shoestring budget for a one-race deal. “I’m not going to do that,” he said. “If and when I get back in it, I want to do it on my own terms.” Grissom also has nothing in the works. He is no longer with Petty Enterprises as a test driver after the operation scaled back on its research and development program.(Alabama Live)(2-4-2003)
  • New Cereral – Petty 43s: Having built a legend racing on ovals, Richard Petty understands that things eventually come full circle. That list will soon include cereal, as the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion goes from having his face on the Breakfast of Champions to having his own breakfast. General Mills on Tuesday will introduce Richard Petty 43s, a sweet rice-and-corn cereal shaped in 4s and 3s in honor of his No. 43 stock car. “I’ve had my face on a Wheaties box, but this is a whole new ballgame for me,” Petty said. “It tastes pretty good, though I’m a little prejudiced.” The limited-edition cereal features two collectible metallic designs of NASCAR’s winningest driver (200 wins). One has Petty with his 1970 Plymouth Superbird, the other with his 1984 Pontiac Grand Prix. The packages form a mural of his storied career. General Mills also will donate $43,000 to the Petty family’s Victory Junction Gang Camp, due to open next year in North Carolina.(USA Today)(2-4-2003)
  • Earnhardt Tribute official criticizes DEI: One member of the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Steering Committee says legal wrangling over the use of the late NASCAR driver’s name and image is holding up the progress of the tribute site. Committee member Jack Cuff says he’s frustrated with both Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa. Issues over the use of the trademarked Earnhardt name and likeness have put a kink in the group’s ability to raise money and finish the work that still needs to be done, Cuff said. Teresa Earnhardt has asked city leaders to stop using fliers and billboards bearing the race car driver’s likeness until the materials have been approved. Among the items in question is a card with Earnhardt’s picture on it, used to solicit donations for the tribute.(Independent Tribune)(2-4-2003)
  • Testing at Atlanta: #12-Ryan Newman will be testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 18-19, closed to the public. On Feb. 25-26, #41-Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray, #15-Michael Waltrip, #0-Jack Sprague, #38-Elliott Sadler and #10-Johnny Benson are scheduled to test, also, closed to public. Tickets still available to the AMS races in March and Oct, see their revamped site at www.atlantamotorpseedway.com.(2-4-2003)
  • Trickle in a Truck at Daytona? the Dick Trickle Fan Club newsletter is reporting that Dick Trick was contacted by a Craftsman’s Truck team, right before he departed for Daytona [to test and set up IROC cars], about the possibility of competing in the Daytona truck race. The team has limited sponsorship but has committed to the Daytona race. Trickle will be communicating with the team by phone, concerning their engine program, testing results, crew, etc. An actual decision may not be made until early next week, whether it by the team or Trickle.(Dick Trickle Fan Club Newsletter)(2-4-2003)
  • Sporting News NASCAR Preview: The Sporting News NASCAR 2003 season preview issue of the magazine hits newsstands Wednesday [Feb 5th]. It has Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Junior on the cover, and new this season, also includes Busch Series and Craftsman trucks coverage. Lee Spencer examines to the top stories/drivers to watch this and has driver reports on TSN’s top 10 Winston Cup drivers entering the season.(2-4-2003)
  • Andretti Testing in FL: hearing that #43-John Andretti will be testing at USA International Speedway in Lakeland Fl, on Tuesday February 4th and Wednesday February 5th.(2-4-2003)
  • No FX on C-Band: been told by many readers that FX will not longer be available on C-Band satellite transmissions, comments back from emails to FX: “FX will no longer be available to C-Band satellite customers after the move to digital. We apologize for any inconvenience.” I do not start petetions/campaigns, so folks need to complain to FX and your Satellite people. See my Media/Contact page for FX info.(2-4-2003)


  • Kenseth Re-ups with Roush? UPDATE: hearing it was reported on Wisconsin’s The LTN Hour radio show that Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 DeWalt Ford with Roush Racing, has signed a four(4) year extention to remain at Roush. His contract was due to run out at the end of the 2004 season.(2-2-2003)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing announced today that Matt Kenseth has been signed to new multi-year contract to continue driving for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. “The renewed commitments that Kurt and Matt have made to the organization, and the reciprocal commitments that Jack Roush has made to them, will help solidify the already strong momentum that Roush Racing has in the industry,” said Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president. “All Roush Racing drivers are now signed for long term periods, which will keep ‘silly season’ disruptions to a minimum this year and allow all of our teams to focus solely on racing and building sponsorship value,” Smith continued. Said owner Jack Roush, “The signing of Matt and Kurt, along with the agreements already in place with our other outstanding drivers, completes our competitive Winston Cup structure and provides us with an unmatched and quite remarkable line up for the next several years.”(ThatsRacin.com)(2-3-2003)
  • Geoffrey Bodine in the Shootout: Geoffrey Bodine will drive the #11 Hooters Ford in the Budwieser Shootout this coming Saturday night [8:00pm/et on Fox].(NASCAR.com)(2-3-2003)
  • Busch re-signs with Roush: Roush Racing announced today that #97-Kurt Busch has been signed to new multi-year contract to continue driving for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. “The renewed commitments that Kurt and Matt have made to the organization, and the reciprocal commitments that Jack Roush has made to them, will help solidify the already strong momentum that Roush Racing has in the industry,” said Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president. “All Roush Racing drivers are now signed for long term periods, which will keep ‘silly season’ disruptions to a minimum this year and allow all of our teams to focus solely on racing and building sponsorship value,” Smith continued. Said owner Jack Roush, “The signing of Matt and Kurt, along with the agreements already in place with our other outstanding drivers, completes our competitive Winston Cup structure and provides us with an unmatched and quite remarkable line up for the next several years.”(ThatsRacin.com)(2-3-2003)
  • Murry and a Cup deal? hearing that David Murry, who this past weekend finished third, overall, in the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car race, is reportedly speaking with a handful of Winston Cup teams relative to an R&D effort. Murry, a road course veteran, who has dabbled in Winston Cup racing over the years, apparently initiated talks, specifically, with Hendrick Motorsports a few weeks ago and it has led to a meeting in Charlotte. The Atlanta native is also in the process of trying to button up a deal with a soon-to-be announced new WC team to run both the Watkins Glen and Sears Point races.(2-3-2003)
  • Buckshot back? hearing Buckshot Jones will test at Atlanta towards the end of February, could be a possible ride Michael Waltrip in the #00.(2-3-2003)
  • Junie Donlavey Targets Daytona 500 UPDATE: Junie Donlavey, owner of the #90 Ford, doesn’t possess a driver or a sponsor, but he does hold the will to bring his Richmond-based Winston Cup team to Daytona International Speedway this week to attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. An offseason search for financial backing has proved fruitless, but the team decided to finish preparing a superspeedway car and make the trip.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-2-2003)
    UPDATE: Kirk Shelmerdine will run the #90 Freddie B’s Ford fielded by Donlavey Racing at the Daytona 500. Freddie B’s is in Winston-Salem, NC. See a drawing of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(2-3-2003)
  • Testing at the Rock: The following drivers will be at North Carolina Speedway Monday – Tuesday, February 3 – 4 testing for the upcoming NASCAR weekend February 21 – 23, 2003: #38-Elliott Sadler, #29-Kevin Harvick, #42-Jamie McMurray, #41-Casey Mears, #12-Ryan Newman, #32-Ricky Craven, #0-Jack Sprague. For the BGN: #25-Bobby Hamilton, Jr. Grandstand Gates are open 9:00am – 4:00pm/et and the general public is invited to view the test session from the grandstand.(North Carolina Speedway PR via Catchefence)(2-3-2003)
  • Schrader Captures Bosch Spark Plug 150 at PIR: Ken Schrader held off a late charge by rookie Scott Lynch to win the Bosch Spark Plug 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. It was Schrader’s second victory on the one-mile oval in NASCAR Winston West Series competition and his eighth win in the series overall. It was also Schrader’s 13th win at Phoenix International Raceway, dating back to his first victory in 1982 when he was still racing Midgets and Sprints. Jim Inglebright charged from his 11th starting position to finish third in the #20 Jelly Belly Chevy. Fourth went to Inglebright’s teammate Austin Cameron, the defending Bosch Spark Plug 150 champion, in the NAPA Auto Parts Chevy. Steve Portenga brought his King Taco Ford home in fifth. AND Bryan Germone, 1997 Featherlite Southwest Series champion, drove his Drivetech Racing School Chevy to win his first ever race at Phoenix International Raceway in taking the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series Phoenix 100. It was his eighth career victory, and first since the 1998 season. Starting from the ninth row and 17th position overall, Germone moved through the field steadily throughout the afternoon, topping Eddy McKean and Auggie Vidovich Jr., who placed second and third, respectively. Polesitter and veteran Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader led the 42-car field for the first 79 laps before suffering front end damage and falling back to eighth place.(PIR PR)(2-3-2003)




  • Dodge after the WInston Cup: Chrysler’s racing program is on a mission to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, and for at least the next two years that means there will be no factory effort to extend the Dodge Viper’s Le Mans success. John Fernandez, director of the company’s Performance Vehicle Operations, said that instead of a marketing-driven effort, the new [Cup] program will be more of a technical effort, yet there will be no more “science projects”; all engineering development will focus on the goal at hand. That goal, he added, looks far beyond a mere race-by-race view to a new yearlong strategy. He said Chrysler would start a serious driver-development program that focuses on finding and developing new talent behind the wheel. The program, he said, will follow the pattern established by Penske Racing, a recent and significant recruit to the Dodge program.(Autoweek)(2-2-2002)
  • Schrader on the pole at Phoenix for Southwest race, 2nd in Winton West UPDATE: Ken Schrader is one step closer to winning his 13th race at Phoenix International Raceway after winning the pole for Sunday’s 100-lap NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series race. Schrader was the fastest qualifier in his #99 Federated Auto Parts Pontiac, running his best lap at 130.364mph on his second trip around the track. When qualifying was over, that lap proved more than good enough as he bested second-fastest qualifier Benny Gordon (#85 Johnny’s Truck & Auto Sales Pontiac) by one-tenth of a second. Brandon Whitt qualified third with Eddy McKean fourth and Auggie Vidovich, Jr. fifth. NASCAR Winter Heat tickets are still available by calling (602) 252-2227, or at www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the track. The NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series Phoenix 100 gets the green flag at noon, with the NASCAR Winston West Series Bosch Spark Plug 150 scheduled to begin at 2:00pm, local time.(PIR PR), the Winston West race be seen on TV via Speed Channel on March 3rd at 8:00pm/et.(2-1-2003)
    UPDATE: Scott Lynch, 22, who is majoring in communications at the University of Utah when he’s not inside a NASCAR Winston West Chevrolet Monte Carlo, won the pole position for today’s NASCAR Winter Heat race, narrowly holding off 47-year-old NASCAR Winston Cup veteran Ken Schrader by an eyelash. It wasn’t a total loss for Schrader. Earlier, he captured the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series pole with a lap measured at 130.364 mph, a half-mile an hour faster than outside front row starter Benny Gordon (129.880 mph). Schrader reached 127.325 mph in Winston West qualifying, barely missing toppling Lynch (127.528 mph).(Arizona Republic)(2-2-2003)


  • Bodine to run Daytona CTS race: Geoffrey Bodine plans to compete in the CTS race at Daytona on February 14th. Bodine will be driving the #36 Ford owned by A.L. Thompson, powered by a Robert Yates engine, with Walter Giles as Crew Chief. The South Carolina based team is currently seeking sponsorship. Geoffrey may also drive the #36 at Darlington on March 14th.(Geoffrey Bodine Fanclub)(2-1-2003)
  • Interesting….CORRECTION: The Fox News network show The Pulse will include a feature on “NASCAR and online services” on its February 13 show. The show airs at 9:00pm/et on the Fox News channel..(MotorsportsTV). What is The Pulse? from FoxNews.com: About The Pulse – It’s the only magazine show with FOX attitude… The Pulse brings you hard-hitting stories as only the people of FOX News can. AND3 Time Winston Cup Champion Darrell Waltrip will be part of the Feb. 13th episode of the Pulse. DW’s segment was filmed last week at his Charlotte offices.”(1-31-2003)
    CORRECTION: The Fox network show The Pulse is a news magazine show which will air three independant and separate segments on February 13, 2003: (1) “American Idol” finalists interviewed; (2) Online services exposed; and (3) NASCAR. There is no connection between the “online services” segment and the NASCAR segment.(2-1-2003)