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January 2001 News Archives


 

  • (1-31-2001)
  • #11 Sponsor News: Brett Bodine Racing is pleased to announce that RedCell Batteries is joining Ralphs Supermarkets as a co-sponsor of the #11 NASCAR Winston Cup Ford. RedCell Batteries began their NASCAR program last year and will expand their involve- ment through this sponsorship and by partnering with Ralphs in the marketing and promotion of “The New Power In Batteries”. RedCell Batteries is the national brand of RedCell Canada, Inc., a subsidiary of Redmond Capital Corporation based in Vancouver, British Columbia. RedCell offers a full line of non- automotive batteries, including alkaline, cordless phone, hearing aid, photo, watch, and coin cell batteries.(Brett Bodine BR)(1-31-2001)
  • #75 No Sponsor UPDATE 7: See original story, UPDATEs 1 thru 3 at the #75 Team News and Links page
    UPDATE 4: on TNN’s Raceday, it was reported that Wally Dallenbach, currently the driver of the #75 Galaxy Motorsports Ford in Cup, may end up with Panther Racing in the IRL(1-21-2001)
    UPDATE 5: Wally Dallenbach is in racing limbo as he is under contract to Darwin Oordt’s Galaxy Motorsports and is not allowed to talk to any other teams. Dallenbach has said he has an opportunity in the IRL, but is prohibited from leaving the Galaxy team as long as he’s under contract. “People have been jumping to conclusions about me running in the IRL,” Dallenbach said Jan. 19. “I have nothing in place and I can’t do anything because of my contract. I haven’t talked to anybody in Winston Cup, Busch, IRL, trucks – nobody.” Dallenbach says he doesn’t know if Oordt plans to enter the Daytona 500(Winston Cup Scene-sub required to read)(1-25-2001)
    UPDATE 6: #75 owner, Darwin Oordt said if he can’t land a sponsor by this weekend, he won’t be able to field a car this season. Even if he can’t re-enter Winston Cup this year, Oordt vows to continue his varied racing interests – tracks and car-building – and maybe at some point make another Cup try(Tennessean)(1-26-2001)
    UPDATE 7: Murfreesboro’s Darwin Oordt missed last weekend’s self-imposed deadline for landing a sponsor for his Winston Cup team, but said yesterday that he still has not ruled out racing this season and may have something “in the works”.(Tennessean)(1-31-2001)
  • #55 Scheme: #55-Bobby Hamilton will run a ‘lightning’ paint scheme similar to the scheme Kenny Wallace ran on the car a few times at some of the night races. Hamilton is scheduled to run the scheme at all the Winston Cup night races(APR)(1-31-2001)
  • #33 – Charlie Daniel’s Scheme back: Joe Nemechek will run the #33 Oakwood Homes/Charlie Daniel’s scheme that he ran at Talladega in Oct 2000 in the Budweiser Shootout on Feb 11th. The team it was fitting that they run the same scheme that they won the pole with at Talladega in the Shootout(APR). To see images of the car, see the 2000 Cup page from my Paint Schemes Gallery(1-31-2001)
  • Raceday News: TNN and Wheeler Productions have announced that broadcasting veteran Ralph Sheheen will be the new host of Raceday. Sheheen, who was born in Utica, N.Y. and raised in Sacramento, Calif., resides in Charlotte, NC, where Raceday is produced. Sheheen started with TNN in 1990 as a pit reporter on ASA telecasts. Patti Wheeler, President of Wheeler TV, will serve as executive producer on Raceday. Mark Smith is the show producer. Bob Dillner and Sean Pragano remain with the show as feature reporters(MotorsportsTV)(1-31-2001)
  • Goodyear Test? a bit into the near future, but hearing Goodyear will have a tire test at Kansas Speedway on May 15-16th(1-31-2001)
  • #43 Testing? hearing that John Andretti was in Lakeland, FL Tuesday, testing the #43 Dodge at USA International Speedway, a 3/4 mile track(1-31-2001)
  • Fox TV: As the FOX family prepares to embark on its ambitious 2001 NASCAR programming schedule, Fox Sports Net telecasts a special, one-hour edition of GOIN’ DEEP on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 9:00pm local time to begin its coverage. Tom Murray hosts Steel Thunder from the Daytona International Speedway, site of the Daytona 500. In STEEL THUNDER, Murray explores four areas of the NASCAR phenomenon: history of NASCAR, from moonshining to the beaches of South Florida; the money and marketing of NASCAR; NASCAR technology and what it’s like behind the wheel as correspondent George Ciccarone learns firsthand at the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Las Vegas. Among the personalities appearing in this special are: 2000 Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte, and fellow drivers John Andretti, Kyle Petty and Casey Atwood plus NASCAR Chairman Bill France, Jr. Additionally, Murray also tours Joe Gibbs 120,000 square foot racing facility that builds cars for Labonte and his teammate Tony Stewart.(Fox PR)(1-31-2001)
  • Wallace Honors Driver: Helping induct Larry Phillips into the Ozarks Area Racers Association Hall of Fame was more than just a commitment fulfilled for Rusty Wallace. It was an honor, Wallace said. Phillips won five Winston Racing Series titles and more than 2,500 races as a driver. His proteges fill the Winston Cup garages. An estimated 3,000 people turned out Saturday at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield, MO to see Wallace and honor Phillips and nine other inductees. See full story at the Kansas City Star(1-31-2001)
  • GM News: GM Racing has named Alba Colon as NASCAR program manager for Team Monte Carlo.  Colon is one of few women in a managerial role in motorsports. Both appointments are effective immediately. Colon began her career with General Motors in 1994 after graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, where she studied mechanical engineering. Colon’s original assignment at GM was data acquisition engineer for the Oval Track Group (NASCAR Winston Cup, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, ASA and Busch Grand National). She then took a position as the engineer responsible for the maintenance and testing of the GM Racing Pi data acquisition systems in NHRA.  She was named Pro Stock Truck program manager in 1998 and became program manager for all of NHRA drag racing in 1999.  Colon has been a part of five manufacturer’s titles and five driver’s championships.(in part from a GM Racing Communications PR)(1-31-2001)

    (1-30-2001)

  • NASCAR and Safety: …..when the safety issue blew up big time with the deaths of three NASCAR drivers last summer (NASCAR President Mike) Helton found himself in the middle of a very contentious debate: how should NASCAR deal with safety issues, should NASCAR order tracks to install softer walls, should NASCAR order teams to add crushable materials to the race cars, should NASCAR add a travel medical team to its support staff….. When drivers’ complaints reached a fever-pitch Labor Day weekend as they contemplated a return to Loudon, N.H., where Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin were both killed, in accidents in part blamed on sticking throttles, Helton ordered special soft-wall testing at New Hampshire. When he was unsatisfied with those tests, he ordered drivers to race that weekend with restrictor plates. As this season opens, it’s still uncertain what Helton might order for Loudon’s races this year, if anything. Through it all, Helton has been unusually quiet on the safety issue, preferring to focus on the strengths of NASCAR’s safety philosophies and rules, not the weaknesses. What specifically they(NASCAR) might be doing to prevent that(another driver getting killed) isn’t clear. The buck appears to be passing to the Detroit car makers (possibly because of liability issues), and during this month’s testing in Daytona Beach, Ford and Dodge held special safety meetings with drivers. Safety? Helton said nothing is coming along that line in the next few weeks at least. ‘`But we are working on different technologies, on different parts and pieces on the race car, getting input from drivers and car builders. We are not in a position today to make any changes. The biggest thing is for us to make sure the cure isn’t worse than the disease. We are looking at soft wall technology every day, and we are experimenting with things. We just haven’t seen anything yet that’s not got something with it that gives us concern. But we are continuing to work on it.” Helton said he has no plans to create a traveling medical team, saying he’s quite confident that the current medical plan, which relies on local doctors at each track, works very well(in part from a long column on PitNow)(1-30-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel News: hearing that the #26 Travis Carter team has four Fords at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center/ODU Wind Tunnel located in Hampton, VA today(1-30-2001)
  • Snowmobile Ride Helps Out: The fourth-annual Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity, held this past weekend at Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine, raised an all-time high of $82,310 for five selected charities: The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network, the Marrow Foundation, the Travis Roy Foundation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The event’s founder and annual host is Maine native and #32 Tide Ford driver, Ricky Craven. Approximately 450 participants, 300 of whom were riders, took part in Saturday’s (Jan. 27) event. The day began with an 87-mile snowmobile ride around Moosehead Lake in Maine, followed by a drawing for prizes and an autograph signing session with Craven. With a significant increase in the amount of funds raised each year, the Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity has contributed more than $262,400 to charitable causes since 1998. Contributions are raised through entry fees ($125 per person), door prize tickets and event sponsors, including this year’s two primary partners: Arctic Cat, a snowmobile manufacturer, and New Hampshire-based financial consultancy Wallace & Associates(PPI Racing/Ricky Craven PR)(1-30-2001)
  • More Vegas News – Aero Changes? Drivers participating in Monday’s NASCAR Winston Cup testing session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway were finding out late in the afternoon that they might be using a new aerodynamics package when they return to the speedway for the March 4 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. NASCAR president Mike Helton and Winston Cup director Gary Nelson were talking with drivers and team owners late in the day about trying some of the sanctioning body’s ideas today, the second of five consecutive testing days at the speedway. Some of the series’ top drivers probably will be asked to attach some items to their cars in a research and development mini-session(Las Vegas Review Journal)(1-30-2001)
  • Gaughan to attempt Las Vegas: Brendan Gaughan(#62 team), was making his first laps in a 2000 Chevy that his Orleans Racing Team has leased from Richard Childress Racing. Gaughan also secured Childress engines for testing and qualifying. If the defending Winston West stock-car champion becomes one of the 43 to start the Las Vegas Cup race, he’ll use a race engine from Childress. The first adjustment the team had to make to the car was in the steering, which was originally set up for Earnhardt. Gaughan said he had never driven a car so loose(Las Vegas Review Journal)(1-30-2001)

    (1-29-2001)

  • Sad News: Tommye Economaki, wife of Chris Economaki, died Sunday morning following an extended period of declining health. Tommye Economaki is survived by her husband Chris, editor emeritus of National Speed Sport News, two daughters – Tina Riedl and Corinne Economaki – and grandchildren Alexis and Christopher Riedl. Viewing is scheduled for Monday evening, between 4:00 and 7:00pm/et at Feeney Funeral Home, 232 Franklin Street, Ridgewood, N.J. The funeral Mass will be held at 9:30am/et Tuesday at The Church of the Nativity on Prospect Avenue in Midland Park, N.J. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Tommye’s name to the Foundation at Bergen Regional Medical Center, 230 East Ridgewood Ave, Paramus, N.J. 07652(SpeedVision)(1-29-2001)
  • #50 Sponsor News: International Brands, parent company of internet retail supersite WorldBestBuy.com (www.worldbestbuy.com) has extended its associate sponsorship of the #50 Midwest Transit Racing team for the 2001 and 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup seasons. Midwest Transit Racing will campaign a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with veteran Rick Mast behind the wheel(McClellan Motorsports Marketing PR)(1-29-2001)
  • Pruett News: Scott Pruett, recent released from the #32 Tide/PPI Motorsports Ride in Winston Cup, Anthony Lazzaro will drive the #5 Rocketsports Racing HomeLink Saleen S7R with Paul Gentilozzi and Johnny Miller in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Grand American Road Racing Ass’n event at Daytona. They will be competing in the GTS Class(National Speed Sport News)(1-29-2001)
  • One Dodge: Bill Elliott is the only Dodge driver eligible to run Feb. 11 in the pre-season Budweiser Shootout. The special Daytona non-points race features pole winners from last season and past winners of the event that had been called the “Busch Clash” until 1998 when it was the Bud Shootout from 1998-2000.(CNN/SI). See my Budweiser Shootout page for info(1-29-2001)

(1-28-2001)


(1-27-2001)

  • #77 at the Wind Tunnel, no Dodge UPDATE: hearing that Jasper Motorsports is testing a #77 Daytona car and a Intermediate car in the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center/ODU Wind Tunnellocated in Hampton, VA today. Also, Dodge was scheduled to test some Cup cars this weekend, but canceled(1-26-2001)
    UPDATE: The ODU Wind Tunnel test was scrubbed but Ganassi Racing is instead taking a Dodge to the Martin Marietta Wind Tunnel in GA, today for a full day of testing(1-27-2001)


    (1-26-2001)

  • Whatever Happened to..Rick Wilson: Rick Wilson, last seen testing Cups a few years ago, is supposed to field a SARA Late Model Sportsman for SpeedFest 2001 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL – Feb 1-4th. See the USA Speedway site for more info(Lakeland Ledger)(1-26-2001)
  • Jesse Jackson and NASCAR? UPDATE 2: Jesse Jackson and Dr Pepper to Announce Major Sponsorship of African-American NASCAR Team: Friday, January 26, 2001 at 10:30 am, Rev. Jesse Jackson, president & founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and Jack Kildoff, president & COO, Dr Pepper, will hold a press conference to announce Dr Pepper’s sponsorship of the first African-American owned NASCAR racing team and driver combo in NASCAR history. The conference will be held at the New York Sheraton Hotel and Towers, 811 Seventh Avenue at 52nd St. in the Imperial Ballroom. Rainbow Sports, a division of Rev. Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Project, initiated the sponsorship discussion with Dr Pepper and helped broker the agreement. Also attending the announcement will be the racing team owners and driver, as well as Charles S. Farrell, director of Rainbow Sports, Greg Calhoun, a diversity consultant to NASCAR and advisor to Rainbow/PUSH and Andrew Feit, V.P. of Marketing, NASCAR.(Catchfence)(1-25-2001)
    UPDATE: A press conference will be held in New York today to announce a new African-American owner-driver team that will compete in the NASCAR Racing Series Late Model Stock Division. Dr. Pepper will be sponsoring driver Morty Buckles and owner Leonard Miller Jr. The team is planning to compete out of a shop in Concord, N.C. Buckles previously owned a separate team, and his wife, Maria, worked as his crew chief. Both are engineers. NASCAR has worked with Jesse Jackson’s group, the Rainbow Coalition, to develop more minority involvement in the sport. This, however, is not the first minority owner/driver pairing to compete in a NASCAR series.(Times Dispatch)
    UPDATE 2: The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Dr Pepper will sponsor a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series team this season featuring a black owner and black driver. Morty Buckles of Stone Mountain, GA, will drive a Pontiac for Philadelphia-based Miller Racing Group, the team said Friday. This team will race out of Concord, N.C. In an announcement that was part of the fourth annual Wall Street Project Conference in New York, the companies said they would work together to develop minority NASCAR drivers(ESPN/AP)(1-26-2001)
  • Why No IROC for Martin? been asked, here is why: The official entry list for the 2001 IROC series does not include four-time champ Mark Martin. The field of 12 announced by IROC includes Gil de Ferran and Kenny Brack from CART, Buddy Lazier, Eddie Cheever, Scott Goodyear and Mark Dismore from the IRL, and Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd and Jeff Green from NASCAR. According to sources close to IROC, they chose to select the top five in points in Winston Cup and then extend invitations to more open-wheel racers. (In recent years, participation in the series has been dominated by stock-car drivers.) As a result, Martin did not receive an invitation(J-Mar Express Newsletter)(1-26-2001)
  • Racecar Stolen UPDATE 2 Another Theft: the #70 Star Nursery car normally driven by Greg Pursley in the Winston West series was stolen recently outside of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It’s a 2000 Chevy Monte Carlo owned by the father of the late Chris Trickle(Dick’s nephew – see my Tribute Page about Chris). See full story with ways to contact the team with info at the Racing West site(1-23-2001)
    UPDATE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway is offering a $15,000 reward(up from $5,000) for information leading to the conviction of whoever stole the #70 Star Nursery Southwest Series car(1-25-2001)
    UPDATE 2: While Andy Belmont and Rick Skinner were ARCA testing at Talladega, Skinners Ford Van, Trailer with all of his race equipment(Pit guns, jacks, tools, pit carts, generator, helmets, driving suits, tire cart) was stolen. Any info/questions can be emailed to Jack Stanton(1-26-2001)
  • TV News: Race car driver Terri O’Connell, a woman who was a man named J.T. Hayes until a sex change operation in 1992, will appear on the talk show Exhale on Oxygen TV. The show will air at 8:00pm on Tuesday, February 6th. As the man J.T. Hayes, Terri/J.T. made one Winston Cup start as Ernie Irvan’s teammate with car owner Junie Donlavey in 1990 at Rockingham. Exhale is hosted by Candice Bergen(MotorsportsTV). Hayes started the #91-Ford 38th and finished 38th running 10 laps(1991 UMI Press Guide)(1-26-2001)
  • NASCAR Official Injured UPDATE: Carl Wolf, chief engine inspector, was injured in a traffic crash in late November, apparently in the Charlotte area, and remains in Carolinas Medical Center. Apparently, Wolf is in bad shape and requests “no visitors, flowers or phone calls at this stage of his treatment.” SpeedVision reports that a fax asks for donations of blood in Carl’s name at Red Cross offices(SpeedVision/Insider Racing site)(12-14-2000)
    UPDATE: NASCAR official Carl Wolf was hospitalized in late November of last year. Wolf was injured in an automobile accident in Concord, NC and was listed critical condition at that time and according to Winston Cup Communications manager, Danielle Humphrey, Carl Wolf is still in a Charlotte hospital and still in critical condition(Insider Racing site)(1-26-2001)
  • Catch Behind-the-Scenes Action Today and: Watch as the Fox Sports Net film crew works their special effects magic. Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. state-of-the-art paint booth is being used to film a new opening segment for the “NASCAR This MORNING” television show. You can watch the process live on Body Dynamics Racing Bodies “Body Shop Cam”, go to the Body Dynamics Racing Bodies site and click on the camera
    UPDATE: The #43 BGN Chevy, fabricated by Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc., turned the 2nd fastest time at 184.438mph in BGN testing at Daytona(#1-P.J. Jones was the fastest at 184.649mph). Also turning in the most consistent performance over the two days, #92-Stacey Compton and the Melling Racing team chose to do most all of their testing in just one of the two cars the team had brought to Daytona which was the fastest Dodge and the car was outfitted with a Dodge Intrepid R/T racing body fabricated by Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. See full stories at the Body Dynamics Racing Bodies site(1-25/26-2001)
  • Labonte Day: On January 18th, Bobby Labonte was presented a special recognition award honoring him for “bringing world class recognition to the community” of Ttinity City, NC. Also the City Council proclaimed Friday, January 26th, to be “Bobby Labonte Day”(1-26-2001)

    (1-25-2001)

  • Mast to the #50? UPDATE 3: hearing Rick Mast is talking to the #50 MidWest Transit team about driving for them in 2001 as Ricky Craven has left the team (to go to the #32 Tide ride). Other possibilites include Hut Stricklin and Kevin Lepage
    UPDATE: Rick Mast looms as odd man out as the final pieces fall into place for the 2001 Winston Cup season. After being told last fall he wouldn’t return to the A.J. Foyt-owned #14 team, Mast was in line for the Jim Smith-owned #7 team and the #01 team of Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. But Smith announced late last week that Mike Wallace will be his new driver(Daily Press)(12-22-2000)
    UPDATE 2: #50 Team Mgr, Charley Pressley’s first impression was right when it came to finding a replacement for driver Ricky Craven, who announced on Dec. 15 that he was leaving the team. Queried Pressley that day: “You know the guy that I’m surprised doesn’t have a ride? Rick Mast.” That’s the driver Pressley went out and got, too, announcing Tuesday that Mast has agreed to drive for the Midwest team in 2001. “All that’s left to do is dot the i’s and cross the t’s,” Pressley said. “As soon as Ricky announced his deal, I called Rick and asked him if he didn’t have anything going, would he consider us? He said he would, so he sat down with (team owner) Hal (Hicks) and talked about it. Now it’s just a deal of hopefully finishing it up and getting the contracts signed.” Pressley and Mast worked together on Richard Jackson’s Skoal-sponsored team in the early ’90s. Owner Hal Hicks plans to run no less than 26 Cup races in 2001 and his team is gearing up to run the entire slate if an associate sponsor can be found who is willing to kick in $1-2 million.(FoxSports)(1-4-2001)
    UPDATE 3: A few weeks after entering negotiations to drive the #50 Midwest Transit Chevy, Rick Mast has finally – officially – said yes to Hal Hicks’ team. “We kind struck an accord around Christmas,” Mast said, “and we’ve finalized it all now, so we’ll just head on down the road and see what we can do with this thing. I’m pretty good at helping start-up teams or teams that need a boost, so I think I can help Hal and his guys.” The Midwest team’s engine plans for 2001 remain unsettled, which is “kind of dictating when we can test,” Conner said. “We’ve been testing different people’s motors in the car on our chassis dyno, so we’ve been doing a lot of in-house, in-shop testing.” Conner hopes the team will get another chance to test its car prior to the Daytona 500. The team’s cars for the ensuing three races – Rockingham, Las Vegas and Atlanta – are “ready to go,” Conner said(1-25-2001)
  • Dodge News: Chrysler is losing more than $1 billion a quarter and over about three years, as many as 6,000 of Chrysler’s 30,000 white-collar jobs, 10,000 to 15,000 of its 95,000 manufacturing workers, and about six of its 41 plants will be shut down, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 22. However, Dodge Motorsports officials maintain DaimlerChryler’s new head’s decisions won’t affect its racing program(Winston Cup Scene-sub required to read)(1-25-2001)
  • #98 Info: While a team spokesman could not be reached Jan. 22, a source indicated MacPherson Motorsports will not go to Daytona. The team is continuing to search for sponsorship, but has just a skeleton crew at its shop in North Carolina(Winston Cup Scene-sub required to read)(1-25-2001)
  • Talladega Testing UPDATE: On Sunday/Monday(1-21/22), #96-Andy Houston tested at Talladega, turning laps in preparation of his rookie campaign in Winston Cup. The test session – which concluded Monday – was the first opportunity for Houston to drive a Winston Cup car at Talladega Superspeedway. Last season, he tested at Talladega with the Truck Series. Houston said the biggest news that has come out of the two-day Talladega test session is the improvements made by the #96 McDonald’s PPI team. Others concluding the two-day test session were Loy Allen, Mike Swaim Jr., Matt Hutter and P.J. Jones(not sure if they were in Cup, BGN, or ARCA cars)(Talladega PR)(1-23-2001)
    UPDATE: #96-Andy Houston tested at Talladega Monday in PPI Ford Racing. Testing at the track Tuesday and Wednesday were #27-Kenny Wallace, who is still looking for a sponsor for his Eel River Racing team; #7-Mike Wallace; #31-Mike Skinner; #33(or #87 BGN)-Joe Nemechek; #59-Rich Bickle(BGN); #11-Brett Bodine; and BGN drivers #2-Kevin Harvick and #21-Mike Dillon(Anniston Star)(1-25-2001)
  • Park adds to his Daytona Schedule: MTI Racing announced that Steve Park, driver of the #1 PENNZOIL Chevy will be driving the MTI #98 C5 Chevrolet Corvette in the 2-hour Motorola Cup season opener to be held at Daytona on Friday Feb. 2 during the Rolex 24 Hour week. This announcement means a large part of the Earnhardt Racing Team has made the move to C5 Corvettes for the Rolex 24 and Motorola Cup races. Dale and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be driving the #3 GM Factory Racing C5-R Corvette in the Grand American Rolex 24 Hour race, and now Park will be driving the #98 production-based C5 Corvette in the season opener 2-hour Motorola Cup(RaceWorks/Pennzoil PR)(1-25-2001)
  • More Penske Wind Tunnel: hearing that Penske South Racing has two #2 Fords in the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today. Supposedly they are Las Vegas/Intermediate cars with…..the Talladega/Daytona Aero Package(1-25-2001)

    (1-24-2001)

  • Texas Aero Test UPDATE 2: A speed-reducing aerodynamic package similar to one introduced at Talladega last fall is scheduled to be tested at Texas Motor Speedway(TMS) in conjunction with a tire test booked by Goodyear Racing on Jan. 22-23. Cup regular Steve Park is the only driver currently scheduled to run laps. If successful, NASCAR could implement the package before the Harrah’s 500 on April 1st(Star Telegram)(1-12-2001)
    UPDATE – Plates at Texas? on Tuesday, Winston Cup driver Steve Park(#1 Pennzoil Chevy) was helping NASCAR conduct aerodynamic testing at the track. TMS GM, Eddie Gossage said there was a good chance that some form of restrictor plates, similar to those at Talladega(and Daytona), would be used at Texas(ESPN/AP)(1-24-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Steve Park tested the so-called Talladega/Daytona aerodynamic package at TMS on Monday under NASCAR supervision and wasn’t impressed. Park, still at the track Tuesday for a two-day Goodyear tire test, said the changes either slowed the car too much or made it off-balance. TMS general manager Eddie Gossage and promoters of several other tracks have been lobbying NASCAR to implement the alternate aero package because it made for a thrilling race last October at Talladega. But the changes – including a taller spoiler, air deflector on the roof and more clearance under the front air dam – may not be appropriate for a midsize super speedway like TMS(Dallas Morning News)(1-24-2001)
  • TNN Motorsports Website gone? hearing that the www.country.com Motorsports site will soon cease operations. Shame they had some great stats, stories and a nice Prior Season Result section(1972-2000)(1-24-2001)
  • Qualifying: Rockingham and Darlington are the only tracks which so far have confirmed Saturday qualifying for their Winston Cup races, although NASCAR also is urging Dover to move its Cup trials to Saturday. NASCAR revealed in December that qualifying at all races this year, with the exception of the season-opening Daytona 500 — will be condensed into one round from the traditional two rounds. Also, Pocono Raceway officials revealed that its single round of qualifying, scheduled for Friday in both cases (June 15, July 27) will be two laps instead of one(like Daytona and Talladega).(SpeedVision). See my Daytona 500/Speedweeks Info page for the ‘different’ Daytona 500 qualifying rules(1-24-2001)
  • Wallace testing: Kenny Wallace and Eel River Racing are testing the #27 Pontiac in Talladega on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. They will also be testing in Las Vegas on Monday and Tuesday next week in preparation for the Winston No Bull race(1-24-2001)
  • #12 in the Wind Tunnel: hearing that Penske Racing LLC is testing a new #12 Ford at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(1-24-2001)
  • Morgan Shepherd News UPDATE: Winston Cup veteran, Morgan Shepherd, will drive the #80 Hover Motorsports Ford at Daytona in the ARCA Race on Sunday, Feb 11th. The car will feature the Screaming Eaglelogo, signifying the 101st Airborne. The 101st Airborne Division’s Screaming Eagle logo will fill Shepherd’s hood while sponsorship from Classic Scents Air Fresheners and Gulf State Sales(ARCA Racing Series), no word on any Winston Cup plans for Shepherd in 2001
    UPDATE: not sure where the ARCA site got the info, but am being told that Shepherd is not running the ARCA race in Daytona but that he is concentrating on the Truck race and is trying to hook up a Winston Cup ride(1-24-2001)
  • #12 News? UPDATE 2 more changes: hearing that #12 General Manager Marty Gaunt has left Penske Racing, no word on a replacement or Gaunt’s plans(1-22-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the replacement will be Jeffrey Baker who has been with the team for a few years(1-23-2001)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing that Dr. Eric Warren, chief aerodynamicist for the #12, has left the team. No word on a replacement(1-24-2001)
  • Compton and the trucks UPDATE: #92 Melling Racing driver, Stacy Compton said that he’s trying to put together a deal to drive in the season-opening truck race at Daytona. Compton would likely drive for Impact Motorsports, the team he drove with before moving to Winston Cup last year(Winston Cup Scene)(1-11-2001)
    UPDATE: Melling Racing and Stacy Compton were hoping to become the first team(with the same driver) to run a Dodge in two of NASCAR’s three premier divisions, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.  That goal will not be reached, yet, as the team has decided not to compete in the truck race at Daytona. “After the truck test last week, we just weren’t confident that were going to be a contender in the race,” said driver Stacy Compton.  “We realized that we had a lot more work to do on the truck, and with all that’s going on with the new Dodge Winston Cup program, we weren’t going to be able to give the truck a 110 percent effort.  We don’t want to run it unless we can do it right and have a sure shot at winning.  We’re going to work hard to get the truck ready to be a contender at Martinsville (April 7).” Melling Racing will field the #92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid in the 43rd annual Daytona 500.(Melling Racing PR)(1-24-2001)


    (1-23-2001)

  • TV/Fox/Technology: Beginning with this year’s Daytona 500, the spotlight is on NASCAR like never before. When more than 30 million expected viewers tune in to the Daytona 500 on Feb 18th, they will see something never before seen on a race track: The race cars of their favorite drivers will be glowing as they circle the track. Sportvision, the same company that brought you the superimposed 1st and Ten line in football(for the first down), will be debuting their new Racef/x technology at this year’s Daytona 500. Racef/x is similar to the hockey puck tracking technology that Fox used in its television coverage of National Hockey League games. That puck-tracking system uses the television cameras to track the hockey puck on the ice rink, making it appear to TV viewers that the puck is glowing. Sportvision plans to do the same thing to the cars. As a viewer watches the race on TV, they will be able to choose a car. For more info on this, see the site: How Stuff Works(1-23-2001)
  • #91 News: the #91 LJ Racing team. owned by Joe Falk, that has run in Winston Cup for the last few years, will run in the ARCA race at Daytona with Blaise Alexander behind the wheel. No word on Cup plans or future BGN or ARCA events. The team is still looking for a primary sponsor for the race, Superior Logistics Service will be an associate sponsor. The team presently has 9 cars and 13 motors, ready to race. The only thing holding the team back is sponsorship(LJ Racing Site)(1-23-2001)
  • Wood Bros to the West: Jon Wood and Wood Brothers Racing announced that they will race in the NASCAR Winston West race in Phoenix on February 4, 2001. Wood will sport car #50, the same number his legendary grandfather, Glen Wood, donned when he made his first NASCAR sanctioned race more than a half century ago. Although Wood has yet to finalize his plans for the 2001 season his intentions are clear: to run some NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series or Busch Series races this season. Wood is currently seeking sponsorship for the race and feels the resources he has available for his West Coast debut will prove valuable to potential sponsors(Wood Bros Racing/Cox Marketing)(1-23-2001)
  • TV News: Mike Massaro formerly of TNN has moved to ESPN as the Winston Cup Reporter for RPM 2night and SportsCenter(1-23-2001)

    (1-22-2001)

  • #27 still looking for a sponsor UPDATE 3: Kenny Wallace, whose #27 Eel River Racing team also currently has no sponsor, came to the preview with a silver frame with the words “Sponsorship Search Continues – Cross your fingers” on a piece of paper in the frame. Wallace said his team also expects to hear a decision from a potential sponsor by midweek(That’s Racin’)(1-6-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the decision from the potential sponsor was no, so that deal fell thru, but I hear the team will still attempt to run the full 2001 season
    UPDATE 2: see a full story and Wallce’s quotes at the Winston Salem’s PitNow: Racing Notebook(1-17-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Kenny Wallace quote – “Hi everyone, I thought I would give you an update on how things stand at Eel River Racing. I am sure you all read in Jayski that the last sponsorship deal didn’t pan out like everyone wished. This is true, but I can tell you right now everyone on the team is going forward like they would with a sponsor on the car. You can’t really tell when you look at the preparation and testing that we don’t have a sponsor yet. But don’t get me wrong WE NEED A SPONSOR! One of the biggest reasons is to simply get everyone off our backs. Nobody ever asks how the new team is doing, how good we are doing in testing, all they ask is ‘Do you have a sponsor yet?’ We need to talk more about the race car and what we can accomplish in our first 5 races and in the NO BULL at Vegas. I also want to mention all the people out there that are helping us find a sponsor. People like my brother Rusty, groups like NASCAR, RJR. Nobody out there want to see an un-sponsored car in the NO BULL in Vegas, including me! It comes down to people are starting to hold their money more then they did last year. Corporations are a little upset about the stock market and how things have changed in the last 6 months and they simply are not as willing to take as big a risk as they were last year. That’s where we are stuck at. We are going to weather the storm and in the long run give some Sponsor the ride of their life. The cars are great! The sponsor is a burden on the team with all the people asking, once we get around that problem the whole team will focus on what I think is going to be the BEST year for Kenny Wallace and Eel River Racing. I can feel it! Thanks everyone, I say it a lot but I mean it. I have the best fans in NASCAR, I know that, and I want to thank them for hanging in there and backing me. I tell you this. When we do find a sponsor we can all relax and enjoy a great racing season.”(Kenny Wallace Racing Site)(1-22-2001)

(1-21-2001)

  • #11 Testing: Brett Bodine will test Talladega on Jan 23-24th and Rockingham on Jan 29-30th in the #11 Ralphs Ford(1-21-2001)
  • Leffler in the Indy 500? Jason Leffler doubts he will run the Indy 500 this year as he wants to concentrate on his new #01 Ganassi Racing Winston Cup ride – per TNN’s Raceday(1-21-2001)

    (1-20-2001)

  • Bodine, Todd that is …. news: hearing Todd Bodine will drive the #00 BGN car at the BGN race in Daytona and may drive other races for the team but that has yet to be determined. No sponsor has been named yet(1-20-2001)
  • Labonte in Texas: Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte will spend part of Monday in Dallas at Interstate Batteries, visiting with employees of his primary sponsor of his #18 Pontiac(Dallas Morning News)(1-20-2001)

    (1-19-2001)

  • #17 Special Scheme: With a year of Winston Cup experience and the 2000 Raybestos Rookie of the Year(ROTY) crown under their belts, the only thing “rookie” about Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Racing team in the year 2001 will be the paint scheme of the #17 Ford Taurus. In honor of last season’s well-deserved title, the #17 car will feature yellow paint with the Raybestos Rookie of the Year logo on the hood. The paint scheme will be featured at Daytona, Rockingham and Las Vegas. In addition to the Rookie of the Year paint scheme, DEWALT Industrial Tools is launching a new product line for 2001 which is expected to be larger than their original launch in 1992. To market the new tools, DEWALT has decided to use the #17 car to help create excitement about the launch. Kenseth will have four new paint schemes throughout the season to compliment DEWALT’s new power tools(DeWalt Racing PR). See images of the car at my Paint Scheme Gallery(1-19-2001)
  • #24 Car for sale: The Hendrick Motorsports DuPont team is selling the #24 “NASCAR Racers” car body to make space in the racing shop for 2001 race needs, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to charity. For more info, see my Racing Charities page(1-19-2001)
  • Blaney to run in the BGN: Dave Blaney, driver of the #93 Amoco/Siemens Dodge Intrepid in NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition, has agreed to join DIRT Modified owner Bryan Goewey in a limited BGNeffort for the 2001 season with veteran owner/crew chief Mike Greci directing the program. The agreement marks the second time that Blaney, the 1995 World of Outlaws champion, has driven for Goewey. The Busch Series deal with Blaney is the second NASCAR effort as an owner for Goewey, a former DIRT Modified and NASCAR Featherlite Busch North Series driver, who is entering his 15th season as a modified owner with Team Goewey. Goewey ran a limited Busch North Series schedule as an owner/ driver in 1994, with a best- finish of fourth at Watkins Glen with Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli—now Crew Chief for WC standout Tony Stewart. The team—which will use engines prepared by Bill Davis Racing and Head Busch Engine Builder Brad Thrower—will operate out of the Team Goewey race-shops in Latham, NY where Goewey’s trio of DIRT Modified cars are housed. The BGN Team is starting with a plan to run five races—including both races at Charlotte—and then go from there. In an unusual move, Goewey is offering up visibility to potential sponsors on his Busch cars—which will be Chevrolets—but also on his DIRT Modified entries as well as the #10 World of Outlaws team owned by Blaney and driver by Dale Blaney, Dave’s brother and the seventh-place finisher in last year’s WoO standings. Team Manager/Crew Chief Mike Greci, most recently served as Team Manager/Crew Chief in the Busch Series for Innovative Motorsports, which whom he won the July, 1999 race at Pikes Peak International Raceway with 1998 Rookie-of-the-Year Andy Santerre(BDR PR). No word on Car #.(1-19-2001)
  • Petty’s on TV: Beyond the Glory, a feature/documentary show on Fox Sports Net, will devote the entire show to the Petty family in February’s show. It will debut on February 18th. It looks like the show will air at 8:00pm/et locally in most markets, check local listings for air times(MotorsportsTV)(1-19-2001)
  • Sad News: not NASCAR but…former CART onwer Carl Hogan died Sunday in New Hampshire, he was 71. Hogan’s tenure as a team owner in CART started in 1992 with driver/part owner Bobby Rahal winning the CART championship. In 1996, Hogan entered a partnership with Roger Penske, with Emerson Fittipaldi as driver. Hogan formed his own team in 1997 with Dario Franchitti as driver. Hogan’s driver in 1999, his final season as an owner, was Helio Castro-Neves. Hogan, who spent millions of dollars financing his teams, got out of racing after the 1999 season and retired to New Hampshire(KC Star/AP)(1-19-2001)
  • Education: Educators at Concord’s Cannon School will host Motorsports Engineering Day Friday in an effort to help students better understand the wide variety of job opportunities in the motorsports industry, as well as the tremendous impact auto racing has on area communities and their economies. The program includes brief presentations by professors and students from UNC Charlotte’s motorsports engineering department, as well as presentations by Cannon School family members involved in the motorsports industry. The Motorsports Engineering Day program will be held at the Cannon School in Concord, NC on Friday, Jan. 19th begining at 9:15am/et. Cannon School is a private pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school serving the Charlotte/Mecklenburg and Concord/Cabarrus areas. A variety of racing show cars will be on display and Lug Nut, the Lowe’s Motor Speedway mascot, will entertain students. Among those scheduled to participate in the Motorsports Engineering Day program are NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Jeff Burton, John Andretti, Ricky Craven, Steve Grissom and Ernie Irvan. Former crew chief and current television analyst Larry McReynolds, along with NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director Gary Nelson; television executive Patti Wheeler and H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, are also scheduled to be in attendance(LMS PR)(1-19-2001)

    (1-18-2001)

  • Testing at the Rock: #27-Kenny Wallace and #10-Johnny Benson are scheduled to test Thursday and Friday at North Carolina Speedway(the Rock, located in Rockingham, NC). #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to test Sunday and Monday. #5-Terry Labonte and #25-Jerry Nadeau are scheduled to test Monday and Tuesday. PPI Motorsports drivers, #32-Ricky Craven and #96-Andy Houston plan to test there on Jan. 23-24. #19-Casey Atwood and #92-Stacy Compton are scheduled to test Jan. 30-31 and #93- Dave Blaney is set to test Feb. 5-6.(Roanoke Times)(1-18-2001)
  • #5 Seeks Assoc Sponsor: The Hendrick operation says it has opened its doors to talks with associate sponsors about teaming up 2-time Cup champ, Terry Labonte. A new associate sponsor’s logo would appear on the deck lid and in the tire area in front of the rear wheels. The sponsor’s logo also would be featured on the team’s transporter as well as on driver and crew uniforms. In addition to exposure at Winston Cup events, a sponsor would gain access to the car and driver for advertising and promotional needs throughout the year. See the Hendrick Motor Sports site for more info(1-18-2001)
  • Testing at Atlanta: #9-Bill Elliott, #33-Joe Nemechek, #88-Dale Jarrett, #28-Ricky Rudd and #19-Casey Atwood are scheduled to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb 20-21st. On Feb. 27-28, #45-Kyle Petty, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #96-Andy Houston and #32-Ricky Craven are scheduled to test their Cup cars there(Roanoke Times)(1-18-2001)
  • Earnhardt Jr on Turn Ben Stein: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. brakes for Ben Stein to talk about the perils and perks of life in the fast lane. Date: February, 15th, 2001 on Comedy Central – see local listings in your area(1-18-2001)
  • Exide PR Update: Chris Dirato, who handled the PR for Exide’s Winston Cup and Craftsman Truck Series programs the last two years, apparently is still looking for any public relations opportunities which may remain in NASCAR’s three major series. While the agency he works for, Kermish-Geylin Public Relations, has been in contact with a number of teams/organizations, nothing concrete has surfaced. Interested parties may still contact Dirato via email at cfd@kgpr.com.(1-18-2001)
  • Sporting News and NASCAR UPDATE: When Joe Gibbs made his first big public splash, The Sporting News weekly magazine covered it every step of the way as his Washington Redskins marched to the Super Bowl 17 championship. Now they’ll cover Joe Gibbs again. The Sporting News will be covering Gibbs, along with all the other owners, drivers and pit crews, when TSN becomes the only national sports magazine to cover Winston Cup racing every week of the year. The Sporting News coverage will feature the same kind of incisive, analytical approach as it does with other sports and will be anchored by a top-notch racing insider who will write a weekly column and an inside dish to get readers behind the scenes at the track and in the garage. The magazine will also report on the trends, the people and the top races the circuit has to offer. Their website address is www.sportingnews.com and their e-mail address for Winston Cup fans is racing@sportingnews.com.(paraphrased from the cover letter in the 2001 Sporting News Stock Car Racing Preview – available in stores now)(1-15-2001)
    UPDATE: see the new section of the Sporting News site: www.sportingnews.com(1-18-2001)
  • Fuller News: Jeff Fuller, formerly the driver for the #27-Viagra car(now unsponsored with Kenny Wallace as the driver), did a Viagra commercial last week and apparently Fuller is becoming a Screen Actors Guild member. He got his card due to doing a bunch of high-speed driving and a jump. Pfizer(makes Viagra, now the sponsor of Mark Martin’s #6 Ford) loved his work. The commercial is scheduled to first appear during the Budweiser Shootout.(Catchfence)(1-18-2001)

    (1-17-2001)

  • Daytona 500 Pace Car UPDATE: Pontiac continues its tradition as the supplier of the Daytona 500 Pace Car in 2001 with a specially modified Aztek. Seeking something new, fun and exciting to usher the competitors around the track, the Daytona International Speedway selected Aztek to pace the Feb. 18 race. The Aztek Pace Car has a 340-horsepower engine with a supercharger and intercooling(Pontiac Insider, Marketing Udate)(1-14-2001)
    UPDATE: DIS announced today that the Pontiac Aztek will serve as the official pace car for the “Great American Race.” “This will be the 34th year that Pontiac has paced the Daytona 500, the world’s most prestigious race,” Daytona International Speedway President John Graham said. The version of the Aztek that will pace the field of the most watched motorsports event in the world has been enhanced in a number of areas to better its performance as a pace vehicle. It features a Magnuson supercharged powertrain by Vrbancic Brothers with headers done by Doug Thorley and Mike Cook. The supercharged engine, which has enlarged exhaust valves and Manley rods and pistons, will turn out 330 horsepower – an increase of 145 horsepower over its 3.4-liter V6 showroom counterpart. Additional ride and handling enhancements include stiffer bushings, springs and shocks, and the vehicle has also been lowered(DIS PR).(1-17-2001)
  • IROC Drivers? UPDATE 3: hearing the following will be the 2001 lineup of IROC drivers: From NASCAR Winston Cup: already announced Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Jeff Burton along with Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte. From the IRL: already announced Eddie Cheever Jr, Scott Goodyear, Buddy Lazier along with Mark Dismore. From CART: Gil de Ferran and Kenny Brack. From the Busch Series: Jeff Green. For more info on the series, see my IROC 2001 page(1-3-2001)
    UPDATE add Green: Jeff Green is the latest driver named to the 2001 12-driver IROC field. He joins fellow NASCAR drivers Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Rudd who compete in the Winston Cup Series. Open-wheel veterans Eddie Cheever, Buddy Lazier and Scott Goodyear will also compete in IROC XXV(Talladega PR)(1-4-2001)
    UPDATE 2: add Jarrett and Labonte – The last two NASCAR Winston Cup champions – Bobby Labonte (2000) and Dale Jarrett (1999) – will join four-time and defending IROC champion Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 line-up. The three top-ranking stock car aces join the seven previously announced invitees: Buddy Lazier, Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever Jr., and Mark Dismore from the Indy Racing Northern Lights Series; Winston Cup stars Jeff Burton and Ricky Rudd; and Busch champion Jeff Green. Who will get the other two seats? Four-time IROC champion Mark Martin, plus a number of CART FedEx Championship Series drivers are possibilities(SpeedVisionAND It’s apparent that IROC wants to diversify its lineup. Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett likely are in, meaning only last year’s top-5 made the cut. Among the notables left out: Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr. CART Indycar champion Gil de Ferran likely will be invited, along with CART star Kenny Brack. That’s a 6-6 split between stock car and open-wheel drivers, a far cry from recent years when NASCAR drivers dominated the lineups.(Daily Press)(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE 3: The 2000 CART FedEx Series Champion, Gil de Ferran and The 2000 CART FedEx Rookie of the Year, Kenny Brack will participate in the 25th running of the True Value IROC series. de Ferran and Brack’s invitation acceptance brings the field of 12 to six open wheel drivers versus six stock car veterans. They join previously announced IRL drivers, Buddy Lazier, Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever, Jr., and Mark Dismore. Also previously announced were NASCAR Cup drivers, Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd and NASCAR BGN, Jeff Green. 2001 will mark de Ferran’s first True Value IROC series. Brack was unable to compete in the 2000 True Value IROC series due to scheduling conflicts. Brack’s True Value IROC debut came in 1999 for his IRL Championship. The 25th anniversary season of the True Value IROC series begins on February 16 with race one at Daytona International Speedway. The race will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday, February 18 at 5:00pm/et(IROC PR)(1-17-2001)


    (1-16-2001)

  • #33 Crew Chief Change? UPDATE: hearing that #33 crew chief Danny Gill and APR have parted ways, hearing that Chris Carrier could be the new crew chief for Joe Nemechek and the #33
    UPDATE: With the 2001 racing season only weeks away, Andy Petree Racing has put the pieces of the puzzle together for a successful campaign for the #33 Oakwood Homes Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek. Chris Carrier has been named interim crew chief, and Richard Buck has been named Team Manager. Buck brings to the team a technology and leadership role that was developed in over 20 years of working in the CART series, much of it spent with Penske Racing. Over the last three years Buck was the Director of Racing Operations for PPI/Toyota Racing. Buck most recently worked with Robby Gordon in the Winston Cup Series(Williams Company)(1-16-2001)
  • #01 Test Driver UPDATE: hearing Greg Sacks will serve as the test driver for the #01 Ganassi Racing Dodge at Daytona testing on Jan 16-17th. No word on if he is a candidate for the 2001 #01 ride(1-15-2001)
    UPDATE: Greg Sacks will not test the #01 car since Leffler was released in time to test the car and of course, Leffler was named as the driver of the #01 for the next four year(1-16-2001)
  • Benjamin goes from TNN to SpeedVision: Rick Benjamin who was the host of TNN’s Motorsports program, Raceday, has left TNN to join SpeedVision and will serve as the play-by-play announcer for Speedvision’s coverage of Grand American Road Racing, U.S. F2000, USAR Hooters ProCup (Northern Events), and ARCA RE/MAX Series as well as being a regular contributor to Speedvision News RaceWeek(SpeedVision)(1-16-2001)
  • Inside NASCAR Winston Cup to return: SpeedVisions Monday night NASCAR show with Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson, Ken Schrader and Allen Bestwick will continue, but not from a studio but on the road in the city of the race. It is not know who will host or be on the show but that negotiations were on-going with NBC for the services of Allen Bestwick. The working name of the show is Inside Racing.(SpeedVision)(1-16-2001)

    (1-15-2001)

  • #01 Driver…for 2002 UPDATE 7 Leffler is it: BGN driver Jason Leffler confirmed Friday night that he will take over the driving duties of the #01 Dodges for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Winston Cup series beginning with the 2002 season. Leffler has agreed to a three-year deal, but will complete the 2001 BGN series schedule with Joe Gibbs Racing. Ganassi is still looking for a driver for the #01 for the 2001 season. Leffler said he could run a few Winston Cup races this season with Ganassi, but has not worked out the details(That’s Racin’)(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Leffler reportedly had a three-year contract with the Gibbs team, with 2000 being the first of the three. Leffler told the Charlotte Observer Friday night that he intends to drive Gibbs’ MBNA car in Busch this season. As for the 01 deal with Ganassi, Leffler told the paper, “It’s not official yet, but it’s what we’re planning.” Details are not clear. It is not yet known whether Leffler would drive the 01, per se, in 2002, or whether Ganassi would set up a third team to accommodate him. Another possibility is that Ganassi would hire a driver such as Kevin Lepage, then move that driver to a third team in 2002(SpeedVision)(1-6-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Leffler does not have a 3 year contract with Gibbs (as reported) but that Leffler’s contract is up at the end of 2001 and is free to do pursue other options(1-8-2001)
    UPDATE 3: hearing that Leffler went to his Busch shop on Monday and was asked to leave until after owner Joe Gibbs holds a meeting with his BGN sponsor(MBNA) on Tuesday(1-9-2001)
    UPDATE 4: It appears likely that Ganassi is going to name someone Friday to drive the #01 – Lepage or Leffler(1-11-2001)
    UPDATE 5: This season’s driver of that car could be named as soon as Friday morning when Ganassi is scheduled for a breakfast meeting on the media tour’s final day, which will be devoted to Dodge teams owned by Ganassi, Mark Melling, Petty Enterprises and Ray Evernham. Jason Lefler has signed to drive the #01 for three years beginning with 2002. Lefler was scheduled to drive an MBNA-sponsored BGN car for Joe Gibbs Racing this year, but those plans are in limbo after his decision to sign with Ganassi. Porter Cable has withdrawn as primary sponsor of a second Gibbs BGN team for driver Jeff Purvis. That leaves Gibbs with only the MBNA sponsorship next year, giving rise to suspicions that Purvis could be moved into that car in Lefler’s place(That’s Racin’)(1-12-2001)
    UPDATE 6: Although owner Chip Ganassi passed up an opportunity to make the announcement on Friday, Jason Leffler will be the driver of his #01 Dodge Intrepid this year. Leffler began negotiating with Ganassi over a week ago, and reportedly his Busch car owner, Joe Gibbs, found out Leffler was leaving by reading a newspaper account. It now appears as though Gibbs will cut back from two to one BGN teams, with Jeff Purvis moving into the #18 car being vacated by Leffler. Leffler was not present when Ganassi held a media briefing on Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s media tour. Ganassi’s other driver, Sterling Marlin, was on hand to answer questions(Gaston Gazette) and a story at That’s Racin’: Ganassi mum amid Leffler’s turmoil AND Have heard that Leffler could remain on as a test/back up driver with Gibbs for 2001. Have been told if Lefler is released, several drivers are lining up for the opportunity to drive the #18. Joe Gibbs Racing has also confirmed that they will be running both BGN cars in 2001. The team is seeking sponsorship for a sponsor for the #4 car. Have heard that the incentives for the prospective sponsor could include ties to the championship Cup team and truck program(1-13-2001)
    UPDATE 7: Jason Leffler, a three-time USAC Midget Champion, USAC Silver Crown Champion and former NASCAR Busch Series driver, signed a four-year contract today with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and will immediately take over driving duties of the #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Leffler, 24, ran in 31 Busch Series events last year in the #18 car with Joe Gibbs Racing(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(1-15-2001)
  • Dodge and General Mills: In celebration of Dodge’s upcoming return to NASCAR Winston Cup racing after a 15-year absence, General Mills is teaming up with Dodge for the “Dodge Countdown to Daytona” promotion. This promotion will give NASCAR fans the first opportunity to collect 1/64-scale die-cast replicas of eight new Dodge Intrepid R/T racecars. The General Mills “Dodge Countdown to Daytona” promotion will run from mid-January through February 2001, and will involve four food categories and more that 40 million packages, making it one of the largest package promotions ever assembled at General Mills. As part of the promotion, over 14 million specially marked packages of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Wheaties and Golden Grahams will feature one of five 1/64-scale Dodge Intrepid R/T die-cast racecars inside. The five replica cars include Bill Elliott’s #9, Casey Atwood’s #19, John Andretti’s No. #43, Kyle Petty’s #45 and Stacey Compton’s #92 Dodge Intrepid R/T and are featured in a “visible value” window on the package that will allow customers to see which car is inside. Bill Elliott, who will pilot the #9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T in 2001, is featured on the Wheaties package. Consumers will receive one of three “gold edition” 1/64-scale die-cast Petty Enterprises cars when three UPCs from Hamburger Helper packages are redeemed. The Petty Enterprises “gold edition” die-cast cars include John Andretti’s #43, Buckshot Jones’ #44 and Kyle Petty’s #45 Dodge Intrepid R/T. Other General Mills brands involved in the “Dodge Countdown to Daytona” promotion include Betty Crocker desserts, Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn, Chex cereals and Bugles. When three participating Betty Crocker dessert products are purchased, consumers will receive a free 1/64-scale die-cast of Ward Burton’s #22 Dodge Intrepid R/T. Consumers will receive a free die-cast replica of Dave Blaney’s #93 when two three-count packages of Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn are purchased and a free die-cast of Buckshot Jones’ #44 Dodge Intrepid R/T when two participating Bugles packages are purchased. Specially marked packages of Chex cereals will feature collectable trading cards of the Dodge Intrepid R/T drivers(Business Wire)(1-15-2001)
  • Fox Sports Show: John Roberts, a weekend sports anchor with WBTV (Channel 3) in Charlotte, NC, is joining Fox Sports. Roberts, who has been at WBTV for fiveyears, will host “NASCAR This Morning” from 10:30a.m. to noon on Sundays on Fox SportsNet and “NASCAR Prime Time,” 9 to 10p.m. on Sundays. Both will begin Feb 11th.(Charlotte Observer)(1-15-2001)

(1-14-2001)

  • Derrike Cope News UPDATE: Sources indicate that Derrike Cope may drive the full Craftsman Truck Series schedule for Impact Motorsports this year, while running a limited Winston Cup schedule with the team he’s started in conjunction with drag racer Warren Johnson. Impact Motorsports fielded three full-time teams in 2000, but has yet to announce any sponsors or drivers for 2001(Winston Cup SceneAND from the Derrike Cope Site(in part): Cope will test at Daytona during the GM testing on Jan 11th-12th. Crew Chief Joey Knuckles and the crew have put in a string of long days and have prepared the team for the testing session. The team recently completed their initial in-house chassis-dyno tests and were pleased with the results of the testing and the data obtained. On the sponsorship front, Cope says they continue to have on-going discussions with potential sponsors and continue to work toward securing sponsorship for the entire season. However, they are also working with several entities to put together associate sponsorship and limited race sponsorship packages. Also see images of the new Quest Motor Racing shop and the testing at the Derrike Cope Site(1-11-2001)
    UPDATE: Derrike Cope has been signed to drive the new #86 Impact Motorsports Ford in the opening race of this year’s CTS on Feb. 16 at Daytona. The race will mark the third time Cope has driven for Impact Motorsports. He piloted Impact’s #86 RC Cola Dodge in the final two races of the 2000 season, in Texas and California(Impact MS Site)(1-14-2001)
  • NASCAR, TV and Canada: After years of bringing up the rear, Canadian NASCAR fans are going to find themselves in the television fast lane this season. Because to the new NASCAR broadcasting deal, coupled with TSN and CTV Sportsnet’s response to the sport’s growing popularity in Canada, NASCAR fans will get better service than ever when the season starts. Virtually every race will be seen live for the first time in Canada, with one or two races tape-delayed. But what about races carried exclusively on FX, which is not available in Canada? Those races have also been picked up(Toronto Star)(1-14-2001)

    (1-13-2001)

  • Safety News: NASCAR is conducting safety meetings during each manufacturer’s test at Daytona this month to provide Winston Cup drivers with data about safety issues and devices that may consider running in their cars. Ford teams had their meeting on Tuesday during a luncheon break on their second day of testing. General Motors teams are scheduled to have the same meeting Friday and one is also planned during the Dodge test next week. Ford drivers interviewed during Thursday’s stops on the UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour said that a consultant talked with them about changes they may want to consider in their seat belt systems and about the head-and-neck restraint system commonly called the HANS device. Ford has offered to pay the bill for any driver who orders a HANS device for his car(That’s Racin’) and a story at The State(1-13-2001)
  • RPM2Night Dissed? UPDATE: hearing that ESPN2’s RPM2Night will not be on location for the Daytona 500 as they are not being granted credentials for track access, so ESPN supposedly decided not to send the whole crew to Daytona to cover the event if they are not allowed access. RPM2Night, the weeknight version, debuted at Daytona during Speedweeks of 1996 and has kicked off each of its five seasons at Daytona. RPM2Night will still continue to air each weeknight and on the weekend on ESPN2 during the season(1-3-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials have recently denied credentials for Daytona Speedweeks to two weekly motorsports television shows, TNN’s “Raceday” and ESPN2’s “RPM 2Night.” Several of those officials familiar with the situation say the move was made at the behest of Fox, the network that will televise the Daytona 500. The requests were denied on the grounds that the shows were termed “magazine” rather than “news” shows and because of Fox exclusivity clauses relative to live coverage. A TNN official confirmed that the cable network would also not be provided race footage for “Raceday” and that TNN, in order to receive such footage, would be required to enter into a NASCAR licensing agreement and pay a substantial fee(Gaston Gazette) and see a story at PitNow: Racing Notebook – ‘Feature’ shows could get boot during SpeedWeeks. NOTE: wish to complain? See my TV/Media page for email addresses, website info and phones/address for contact(1-13-2001)
  • Rudd Tests at Atlanta: #28-Ricky Rudd tested the #28 Texaco Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway today(1-11-2001)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd became the first competitor of the new year to turn laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway, concluding a two-day Goodyear Tire test on Wednesday. Rick Campbell, Goodyear’s team leader for stock car tire development, said the session was used to test several different compounds in hopes of improving consistency and wear rates AND With an eye toward reducing speeds and increasing competition, NASCAR president Mike Helton announced this week that NASCAR was experimenting with a new aerodynamic package for several tracks, including Atlanta Motor Speedway. Helton said the aerodynamic changes would be similar to what NASCAR used at last fall’s Talladega race – including a rear damper and roof strips, but no restrictor plate.(AMS PRs)(1-13-2001)
  • Nelson News: Gary Nelson may indeed have other duties in the organization by next year, NASCAR officials say. Nelson was rumored last fall to be on the way out, but NASCAR President Mike Helton insisted in December that Nelson would stay in place for the time being. Darlington Speedway’s John Hunter said Friday, however, that Nelson’s duties would change and perhaps expand, possibly by the end of this year, noting that Nelson would remain with the company in some unspecified capacity. Asked about successors, Hunter agreed that present BGN director John Darby is a likely candidate, and that others not currently in NASCAR, or in NASCAR garage roles, also are on the radar(SpeedVision)(1-13-2001)

    (1-12-2001)

  • #19 and Mountain Dew? UPDATE 4: hearing Mountain Dew, a Pepsi soda product, may be the sponsor of the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge that Casey Atwood will drive in 2001. Motorola may also stick around as a major associate(10-3-2000)
    UPDATE: now hearing Mountain Dew will be part of a rotating sponsorship package of some sort, not sure what other companies or brands may be involved(10-4-2000)
    UPDATE 2: from what I understand, there will some sort of rotating sponsorship between the seven original Dodge teams, Evernham Motorsports(#’s 9 and 19), Bill Davis Racing(#22 and #93) and Petty Enterprises(#’s 43,44,45), sounds pretty unique
    UPDATE 3: as known, many of the new Dodge drivers are Coca Cola drivers, how this will affect them or how it may work is unknown. It may only include some of the sponsors and some of the drivers. Anyhow, something unique seems to be happening in regards to sponsors with some of the Dodge teams(10-5-2000)
    UPDATE 4: Pepsi-Cola Company, makers of Mountain Dew, announced a multiyear agreement with Evernham Motorsports to sponsor the over-the-wall crew of Atwood’s #19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T Winston Cup race team. The crew will be known as the “Dew Crew.” Mountain Dew also picks up associate sponsorship of Atwood’s Dodge Intrepid R/T. The car will race in a special Mountain Dew-branded paint scheme for one race in 2001. The last time Mountain Dew was this involved in NASCAR, it was the lead sponsor on Darrell Waltrip’s Winston Cup Champion car in 1981 and 1982.(in part from a Pepsi PR)(1-12-2001)
  • Walker to drive for Evernham: Tyler Walker was announced as signing a deal with Evernham Motorsports to run a full season in the USAC Silver Crown Series. Walker will run the lone Mopar engine in the Silver Crown ranks and will partner with long-time sprint-car ace Johnny Vance in the effort(SpeedVision)(1-12-2001)
  • Marcis Plans: #71-Dave Marcis, who’ll cut back to a partial schedule and do more testing, says Daytona, Talladega and Darlington are on his schedule for sure and Indianapolis and the new Chicago race are probable. “We’re probably going to do 10 or 12 events and hope that we can be more competitive like we were at Talladega last fall,” Marcis said, referring to the Alabama superspeedway where he qualified ninth and raced competitively until an engine failure. “We worked hard on that car after we missed a race with it in July until we went to Talladega in October and it showed that the car had a lot of time and effort put into it.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-12-2001)
  • Melling Assoc: Autoliv ASP Inc., the largest supplier of automotive safety systems, announced that they have teamed with Melling Racing(#92-Dodge and driver Stacy Compton). The sponsorship will provide Autoliv the opportunity to develop, validate and implement additional protective technologies. The rigorous conditions of NASCAR racing could also facilitate the development of new safety technologies for production vehicles(Racin.net)(1-12-2001)
  • Whatever Happened to….D.K. Ulrich: who was a Winston Cup driver/owner in the 1970-1980’s? The former Winston Cup driver competed in 273 races, never won a pole, never flirted with a championship and retired with official winnings of $682,000. Now 57, Ulrich has turned his years of flying around speedways into a flying business of his own, a charter air service that he runs out of Statesville. His personal best day on the track was a fourth-place finish at Dover in 1981. Ulrich started Raceday Express in 1992, with various teams and racing related businesses using his service. They fly out on Sunday morning and get home later that same day. He doesn’t personally fly the Raceday Express, but will taxi people down to his island in the Bahamas(Pittstown Point Landings on Crooked Island). Yes, he owns an island with a lighthouse and exclusive guesthouse on it. He also owns a hotel on a nearby island and has deep-sea fishing, bone fishing and other water-related activities for his guests. Ulrich also owns helicopters and a fleet of 10 planes he uses for his charter business. He still attends about 10 races a year, but no more than that because he has been to so many of them.(see full story by Tim Packman at NOL)(1-12-2001)
  • #7 in the Wind: hearing that the #7 Nations Rent Daytona Ford is testing at the N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center wind tunnel, located in Hampton, VA today(1-12-2001)
  • Not a Joke: a few days ago it was reported in many stories about Dale Earnhardt Jr saying he dreamed he would win the 2001 Daytona 500 that his father Dale, recently had a piece of metal removed from his head, ya know, the Ironhead nickname, many took it as a joke(me included), but from a story in today’s Tennessean: During a recent checkup, Earnhardt’s doctor discovered a piece of iron lodged in his head. “I wasn’t even aware of it until a lump came up,” Earnhardt said. “The doctor cut it out and I’m fine now.”(Tennessean)(1-12-2001)
  • Wallace and Utz: Utz Quality Foods announced a sponsorship partnership with Rusty Wallace(#2 Miller Lite Ford) for the 2001-2002 racing seasons. Because of Wallace’s love for the Utz product, he approached Utz about forming a partnership, which led to Utz’s first entry into NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series(Catchfence)(1-12-2001)
  • Miller Fired: The sometimes acerbic, usually comical, and almost always right-on-target racing writer for the Indianapolis Star, Robin Miller, has been fired after 33 years with the paper (Indianapolis Star and Speedvision). ESPN still plans for him to be a big part of RPM 2Night, reflecting his popularity with the viewers(MotorsportsTV)(1-12-2001)
  • Tire News: Goodyear, the exclusive tire supplier for NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series, will be cutting back on the number of rubber compounds it uses in its racing tires this season in an effort to make them more consistent from track to track(Speed Magazine)(1-12-2001)
  • ESPY’s: Driver of the Year ESPY nominees: CART Champ – Gil de Ferran; NHRA Funny Car Champ – John Force; Winston Cup Champ – Bobby Labonte; IRL Champ – Buddy Lazier(ESPN)(1-12-2001)

    (1-11-2001)

  • Bruton and the President-elect: President-Elect George W. Bush has invited Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith and Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Eddie Gossage to the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20. Smith and Gossage will attend the inauguration to witness the swearing-in ceremonies of the former Texas Governor. They will also attend a “Black Tie & Boots Ball” honoring Bush the evening before the inauguration. Smith and Gossage will view the Presidential Parade following the inauguration from a balcony along the parade route as guests of the Vinson & Elkins law firm and then will attend one of the inaugural balls(TMS Site)(1-11-2001)
  • CUP testing at Vegas UPDATE: Nearly every Cup team and many NASCAR Busch Series teams will participate in preseason practice at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Jan. 29 through Feb. 2, fans will be able to attend each of those sessions at no charge(LVRJ)(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will ask some of the teams testing at Las Vegas later this month to test aerodynamic packages aimed at disturbing the air moving over their cars at that track. Similar tests were done last year at Talladega before changes were implemented for the Winston 500 at that track in October. Those rules are also planned for use in this year’s Daytona 500. The test at Las Vegas would be aimed at finding a combination to make competition closer at that 1.5-mile track, which hosts the season’s third race on March 4, and that also might work for other races later this year(That’s Racin’)(1-11-2001)
  • Some TV Info: Representatives of Fox, NBC and NASCAR said Wednesday that fans not only will receive all the coverage they were accustomed to under the former TV package, but will also enjoy week-to-week broadcast continuity for the first time and subtle graphical enhancements. Coverage of qualifying and “Happy Hour” practice will not be reduced, and the end of rain-delayed races will be shown on some network. NASCAR will not exercise editorial censorship of the announcers. This was stated strongly by NASCAR vice president for broadcasting Paul Brooks and NBC lead announcer Allen Bestwick, a veteran of Motor Racing Network, a radio company owned by NASCAR. The announcers will not be precluded from mentioning a car sponsor’s name if that sponsor doesn’t purchase a commercial or pay the network a fee(Dallas Morning News)(1-11-2001)
  • Spanish Radio: The April 1 Harrah’s 500 at Texas Motor Speedway will be broadcast in both English and Spanish by the Performance Racing Network, which broadcasts several NASCAR races. The Spanish broadcast will be the first in NASCAR history(Dallas Morning News)(1-11-2001)
  • #92 In the Wind: hearing a #92 Melling Dodge is testing at the Lockheed Wind Tunnel in Marietta, GA today(1-11-2001)
  • Mast to test the #50 but: Rick Mast will be testing the #50 Midwest Transit #50 in Thursday and Friday’s GM test at DIS. BUT Mast still remains unsigned for the up coming season… at this time. The #50 team will be using Claude Queen motors during this session, Rick and Claude worked together when both were with Richard Jacksons team(Mastfans.com)(1-11-2001)
  • Evernhams New Digs: Evernham Motorsports has moved into the Statesville, N.C., shop formerly owned by Bill Elliott, the driver of Ray Evernham’s #9 team(Winston Cup Scene)(1-11-2001)
  • Compton and the trucks: #92 Melling Racing driver, Stacy Compton said that he’s trying to put together a deal to drive in the season-opening truck race at Daytona. Compton would likely drive for Impact Motorsports, the team he drove with before moving to Winston Cup last year(Winston Cup Scene)(1-11-2001)

    (1-10-2001)

  • Johnson is #48: Hendrick Motorsports also will field a fourth Winston Cup car out of the #24 team’s shop for four events in 2001. Driving the #48 car will be 25-year old Jimmie Johnson, who last year competed in the BGN, driving the #92 Alltel Chevrolet for Herzog Motorsports. The rookie finished 10th in the point standings, claiming six top-10 finishes. Hendrick has plans to field the #48 car in a full schedule in 2002(HMS Site), for past news see my #48 Team News and Links page(1-10-2001)
  • Names on Uniforms: Winston Cup teams will be pushed to put the names of pit crew members on the backs of their uniforms this year to help promote the idea that racing is a team sport, NASCAR president Mike Helton said Tuesday. Helton, speaking to journalists on the UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway, said that NASCAR eventually plans to make the names a mandatory part of the crew uniforms. Lowe’s Motor Speedway president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler proposed a few years ago that pit crew members wear numbers and their names on the backs of their uniforms for the same purpose(That’s Racin’)(1-10-2001)
  • #28 has a spot: Robert Yates Racing has a major associate sponsorship opportunity available with the #28 Texaco Havoline Ford team. Raybestos, Coke and Fleetwood RV will continue as associates and they have re-positioned UPS and Mac Tools therefore providing an opportunity with the #28 team and Ricky Rudd. See my Team Address page for contact info(1-10-2001)
  • TV Money: NASCAR president Mike Helton also announced that as many as 31 different team owners could get at least a share of the money from stock-car racing’s new television deal. Part of the TV money will go into race purses, the vehicle by which all TV money has been distributed in the past. Another part will go into the points fund. But a third part will go into a new plan that will pay car owners equal shares of that portion per each race entered. No car owner will get more than two shares in this plan, even those who list their spouse or some other relative or friend as owner on the entry blank for each race. Helton said a formula based on performance over the past three seasons makes as many as 31 car owners eligible to participate in this plan. Not all of them will own Winston Cup teams in 2001, but those who do would get a share of the money set aside for each race entered(That’s Racin’)(1-10-2001)
  • Roush Recovering: Roush Racing owner Jack Roush has been walking around the garage area at Daytona with his left arm in a sling. He underwent surgery in mid-December to repair a damaged tendon in his shoulder. Roush originally suffered the injury while celebrating the victory by Jeff Burton’s team in the World Pit Crew Championship last October at Rockingham(That’s Racin’)(1-10-2001)

    (1-9-2001)

  • #24 Pepsi Car unveiled: For the first time since 1983, NASCAR fans could see a Pepsi car in a Winston Cup winner’s circle. Beginning this spring, Jeff Gordon will race the #24 Pepsi/DuPont car in two races – the spring race at Talladega on April 22 and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona on July 7. In addition, DuPont Automotive has developed a special pearlescent blue paint for the car so fans won’t miss it. For the past four years, Pepsi-Cola has enjoyed a successful relationship with Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports, highlighted by its associate sponsorship of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet in the Cup Series and its two-year title sponsorship of Gordon’s #24 Pepsi Chevrolet on the BGN. But now, the Pepsi car graduates to the Cup, where a Pepsi car has not been seen since Darrell Waltrip’s Pepsi Challenger finished second in points in 1983(actually Ernie Irvan ran a few cars with Pepsi on the hood in the late 1980’s). Last June, Pepsi extended its relationship with Gordon through 2005 and will continue to include him in promotional activities. Pepsi serves its products at 18 of the 23 Winston Cup Series tracks and is the title sponsor of NASCAR Winston Cup Series races in Daytona, Fla. (Pepsi 400), Brooklyn, Mich. (Pepsi 400) and Darlington, S.C. (Pepsi Southern 500).(in part from a Pepsi-Cola Company/Millsport PR). See the image of the car in my 2001 Cup section of my Paint Schemes Gallery(1-9-2001)
  • #01 Sponsor: Cingular WirelessSM today announced that we will become the primary sponsor of the #01 car with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Cingular have not named a driver for the #01 car yet, but plan to make an announcement within two weeks. With BellSouth’s wireless business now part of Cingular Wireless it was decided to transition the racing program to Cingular(in part from a BellSouth Internal Memo)(1-9-2001)

    (1-8-2001)

  • Dodge Test at Vegas UPDATE 2: Hearing there is a private Dodge test scheduled for this Sunday and Monday(Jan 7th-8th) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Drivers scheduled to test are #22-Ward Burton and #93-Dave Blaney of Bill Davis Racing, #40-Sterling Marlin for Chip Ganassi Racing, #92-Stacy Compton for Melling Racing, #19-Casey Atwood and #9-Bill Elliott for Evernham Racing and #43-John Andretti, #45-Kyle Petty and #44-Buckshot Jones for Petty Enterprises. The test is closed to the public(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing Dodge’s two-day test was cut short because of rain that wiped out the afternoon session on Monday. Unofficially Stacy Compton was fastest on Sunday and Sterling Marlin was fastest on Monday. There were 11 drivers here testing including Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood (Evernham Motorsports), Marlin (Ganassi), Compton (Melling), John Andretti, Steve Grissom, Kyle Petty, Buckshot Jones (Petty), Ward Burton, Dave Blaney, Scott Wimmer (Bill Davis). Richard Petty visited the track briefly on Monday and Jimmy Vasser, who lives in Las Vegas, was hanging around the Ganassi team on Sunday. There were no incidents and most seemed to feel it was a pretty successful test(1-8-2001)
  • Same Rules at Daytona UPDATE – slight change for Fords: NASCAR has told teams the same aerodynamic and engine package used in last fall’s race at Talladega will be used in testing(the next two weeks for Ford, GM, Dodge at Daytona). Those rules helped create 49 lead changes and a spectacular finish. Dale Earnhardt went from 18th to first in the final five laps to win. The engines will have 15/16 of an inch restrictor plates, which reduce the airflow to the carburetor and reduce horsepower. The aerodynamic changes include roof strips, increased rear spoiler angle, increased front air dam clearance and a forward-facing flange on top of the rear spoiler(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE: NASCAR made one slight aerodynamic change for the Ford Taurus in preparation for the Daytona 500 – a change the 20 Ford teams who arrived Monday for the manufacturer’s test implemented right away. Each Ford team needed to slightly alter its roof spoiler. The original strip for all car makes was set at 1 and 3/8ths of an inch across the full width of the roof, but the curved shape of the Taurus’ roof created more square inches of spoiler area compared to the flatter-roofed Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Ford officials were pleased with the change, saying the move would make the Taurus more in line with other makes as far as the amount of drag the car creates on the superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega(That’s Racin’). As for the race? I guess we’ll see after testing(1-8-2001)
  • #01 Driver? UPDATE for 2001: now hearing the driver for the #01 BellSouth Dodge may be Kevin Lepage, former driver of the #16 Roush Racing Ford(12-30-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing it’ll be Lepage in the #01 BellSouth Dodge (at least for 2001). But I hear he wasn’t at Las Vegas testing with the other Dodges over the weekend(1-8-2001)
  • Melling Reorg: Mark Melling, owner of the #92 Kodiak Dodge, borrowed the tag line from Dodge’s ad campaign when he planned his team’s transition to the manufacturer’s Winston Cup program. “We simply had to do something different,” explained Melling. “Being competitive in 2001 is not an option, so we made a number of significant changes to our team over the off-season. Those changes began with the hiring of crew chief Chad Knaus last October. Melling then restructured the management team, and empowered Knaus to reorganize the chain of command in the shop. Melling and Knaus also addressed staffing issues. “We had to adjust our staff to fit our objectives,” explained Knaus. “We outsourced some departments, and we added manpower to other departments. We’ve got a lot of new guys in the shop, and the changes have greatly increased productivity. Plus, the guys are just learning how to work together.” Driver Stacy Compton likes what he sees already. “It’s a night and day difference from before,” said Compton. “There’s no comparison. It’s closer to a brand new team than the old #9 team. As a driver, I’ve never been more excited. I’m ready to go.” And his team is working hard to be ready to go. The Melling team sold off most of their Fords, and they’re building a fleet of brand new Dodges. The shop is full of new chassis waiting for bodies(Melling PR)(1-8-2001)
  • Labonte Receives Award: NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte completed his run through the 2000 major auto racing awards Sunday by accepting the National Motorsports Press Association Richard Petty Driver of the Year award. Voted on by writers, broadcasters and photographers who cover NASCAR racing, the award is named for the Winston Cup series’ all-time victory leader and seven-time champion. As Labonte pointed out at the award ceremony, both he and his wife, Donna, now have received awards in which Petty played a significant role. Petty was a judge in 1984 when Donna was named Miss Thomasville (N.C.) High School.(Greenville Times)(1-8-2001)

(1-7-2001)

  • Fellows back with Nemechek: Road Course ace Ron Fellows hopes to run the Watkins Glen and Sears Point Winston Cup Road Course races in a Joe Nemechek-owned Chevrolet as he has done the past few seasons(along with others in the BGN and CTS). “I really want to win a Winston Cup road race before I get too old or too slow, not necessarily in that order,” said Fellows. “I really enjoyed working with Joe Nemechek’s team. Right now we’re tentatively talking about Sears Point and Watkins Glen and the Busch race at Watkins Glen.” Fellows keeps hoping to do a Winston Cup oval race but he hasn’t found the time in his schedule just yet(Speed Magazine)(1-7-2001)
  • Wix Renews: WIX Filters, a leading manufacturer and distributor of filtration products, today announced that it has renewed its associate sponsorship of the Joe Gibbs Racing teams. The multi-year agreement provides for WIX Filters to remain the Official Filter of NASCAR’s top team and to be identified on the Joe Gibbs Racing team cars and the uniforms of 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion driver Bobby Labonte(Racin.net)(1-7-2001)

    (1-6-2001)

  • Dodge Lives…..: been many questions speculating on Dodges demise before it even hits the track next month. So with that in mind, from a column at CNN/SI: Look for Daimler-Chrysler to kickoff a huge advertising campaign trumpeting the return of Dodge to NASCAR Winston Cup racing in the coming days. Everything is in place for the debut at Daytona, from the engineering and track tests to the selection of the drivers and the approval from NASCAR to go racing. Now, Dodge is ready to roll out what a company spokesman boasts will “probably be the single biggest marketing program in America this year.” Full story at CNN/SI’s NASCAR Notebook – Dodge to unveil massive ad campaign around Cup return AND in a story at the St Louis Post Dispatch, it is mentioned: ….that even though there have been some cutbacks in the automobile industry as a whole in recent months, the Dodge venture back into NASCAR has not been affected. “We’re committed to this program, and any talk of cutbacks has not been an issue here in engineering. This is a major event for Dodge.”(1-6-2001)
  • #27 still looking for a sponsor: Kenny Wallace, whose Eel River Racing team also currently has no sponsor, came to the preview with a silver frame with the words “Sponsorship Search Continues – Cross your fingers” on a piece of paper in the frame. Wallace said his team also expects to hear a decision from a potential sponsor by midweek(That’s Racin’)(1-6-2001)
  • Earnhardt/Park News: Dale Earnhardt, scheduled to attend Chevrolet’s mid-afternoon news conference Friday at Daytona International Speedway, instead stayed away with a virus that has been dogging him all week. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said his father was seeking help from local sports physician Michael Fulton. AND: Steve Park has joined his car owner, Dale Earnhardt, and the other NASCAR stars here for the sportscar testing at DIS, possibly looking to compete in a Rolex 24 support race. Park is testing in a Corvette, this one entered by MTI Racing, which is vying for Motorola Cup honors awarded on the Friday before the Rolex 24 at Daytona(Speed Magazine)(1-6-2000)
  • Kyle in the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona too UPDATE: Kyle Petty will join Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Grand American Road Racing Association’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona on Feb. 3-4. Petty will drive a brand-new GT-class Porsche GT3RS fielded by Rodger Hawley’s Orbit race team, a long-time entrant in road racing competition. He will be joined in the entry – appropriately wearing No. 43 – by Leo Hindery (former president of TCI Cable, Global Crossing and a business partner of Richard Petty), Gian Luigi Buitoni (former president of Ferrari of North America) and Peter Baron. This will not be Petty’s first foray in the Rolex 24, as he co-drove a Ford Mustang for Roush Racing at the classic enduro in 1986 with fellow NASCAR drivers Bill Elliott, Ricky Rudd and Ken Schrader.(SpeedVision)(1-4-2001)
    UPDATE: story at Speed Magazine – Petty is latest to bid for around-the-clock race by Godwin Kelly(1-6-2001)
  • Craven signs another deal: Hawk Sports Management announced Wednesday that they signed Ricky Craven to a multi-year agreement. This comes following the announcement that Craven will drive the PPI Motorsports #32 Tide Ford in 2001(Speed Magazine). The offical press release in part – Hawk Sports Management announced that they have signed NASCAR Winston Cup Driver, Ricky Craven to a multi-year agreement. This comes following the announcement that Craven will drive the PPI Motorsports #32 Tide Ford in 2001. “The existing relationship between PPI Motorsports and HSM makes the agreement with Ricky a natural fit,” said Don Hawk, President of HSM. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to represent Ricky.” HSM will handle Craven’s personal endorsements and business and will seek out sponsorship opportunities as it relates to his position as the driver of the PPI Motorsports #32 Tide Ford. Hawk Sports Management was formed in 1998. During the 2000 SpeedWeeks in Daytona, it was announced that Don Hawk would leave DEI to dedicate all his time to his own consulting company. His involvement of the sport began in 1987 while assisting Alan Kulwicki and the Wood Brothers in developing sponsorship programs. He joined Kulwicki fulltime in 1992 and in 1993 joined Dale Earnhardt, Inc. where he helped to build one of the most successful business entities in motorsports history(1-4/6-2001)

    (1-5-2001)

  • TV Stuff: Jeff Gordon will be Regis Philbin’s co-host on the Jan. 15 edition of “Live with Regis.” Dale Earnhardt Jr will be featured on Fox Sports The National Sports Report, Friday Jan. 5th(check Local listings)(1-5-2001)
  • #91 News: The sponsorship hunt continues for the Chesapeake, VA native Joe Falk, who owns the #91 LJ Racing Winston Cup team. It was this time last year that Falk was closing up on a sponsorship deal that had Andy Hillenburg behind the wheel for the Daytona 500. This year, Falk is trying once again to seal up a sponsorship deal (either in the Cup or Busch Series) for his driver Blaise Alexander, who last year attempted a few races at the end of the season with Falk(Catchfence)(1-5-2001)
  • Lowes to stay on the #31: Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse will continue its primary sponsorship of the #31 Richard Childress Racing team for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. RCR president Richard Childress said he is looking forward to a strong season from driver Mike Skinner & Company with Lowe’s backing.(RCR PR)(1-5-2001)
  • Penske Cars in the Wind Tunnel: hearing that Penske South racing/Penske Racing LLC is testing four restrictor plate cars at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.’s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(1-5-2001)
  • Nadeau to DIRT: Jerry Nadeau, driver of the #25 Delphi Automotive/UAW Chevy in Cup, has agreed to drive a dirt modified car owned by R & C Motorsports Ventures of Harrisburg, NC in three to five races during the DIRT series season. His first appearance will be April 7 at The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway(Gaston Gazette/SpeedVision)(1-5-2001)

    (1-4-2001)

  • Mast to the #50? UPDATE 2 Looks like Mast: hearing Rick Mast is talking to the #50 MidWest Transit team about driving for them in 2001 as Ricky Craven has left the team (to go to the #32 Tide ride). Other possibilites include Hut Stricklin and Kevin Lepage
    UPDATE: Rick Mast looms as odd man out as the final pieces fall into place for the 2001 Winston Cup season. After being told last fall he wouldn’t return to the A.J. Foyt-owned #14 team, Mast was in line for the Jim Smith-owned #7 team and the #01 team of Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. But Smith announced late last week that Mike Wallace will be his new driver(Daily Press)(12-22-2000)
    UPDATE 2: #50 Team Mgr, Charley Pressley’s first impression was right when it came to finding a replacement for driver Ricky Craven, who announced on Dec. 15 that he was leaving the team. Queried Pressley that day: “You know the guy that I’m surprised doesn’t have a ride? Rick Mast.” That’s the driver Pressley went out and got, too, announcing Tuesday that Mast has agreed to drive for the Midwest team in 2001. “All that’s left to do is dot the i’s and cross the t’s,” Pressley said. “As soon as Ricky announced his deal, I called Rick and asked him if he didn’t have anything going, would he consider us? He said he would, so he sat down with (team owner) Hal (Hicks) and talked about it. Now it’s just a deal of hopefully finishing it up and getting the contracts signed.” Pressley and Mast worked together on Richard Jackson’s Skoal-sponsored team in the early ’90s. Owner Hal Hicks plans to run no less than 26 Cup races in 2001 and his team is gearing up to run the entire slate if an associate sponsor can be found who is willing to kick in $1-2 million.(FoxSports)(1-4-2001)
  • Petty and horses: Montgomery Lee Petty, Kyle Petty’s daughter, is featured on the cover of the Quarter Horse Journal, the story is not online but there is an image of the cover for those interested at AQHA Online(1-4-2001)
  • Talladega Testing UPDATE: The first test session of 2001 at Talladega Superspeedway will involve the defending Busch Series championship team as well as the team that put Joe Nemechek and the #33 Chevy on the pole in last October’s Winston Cup Series Winston 500. The test session starts Wednesday, Jan 3rd. Andy Petree Racing’s #33 Winston Cup Series Chevy joins several BGN teams, including the #10 PPC-owned car which took Jeff Green to his first Busch Series championship. Racing teams in the Busch Series will be challenged with new rules for 2001, including a larger engine that will provide more horsepower. Scheduled to join Andy Petree Racing and Green at Talladega is the PPC-owned #57 driven by Jason Keller. Also scheduled is the Carroll Racing #26 Chevy driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr. and the Lewis Motorsports #46 Chevy driven by Ashton Lewis. In the next 37 days, 25 of those days will hold test sessions for Cup, BGN or IROC cars(Talladega PR)(1-3-2001)
    UPDATE: Jeff Green’s PPC #10 Ford team was among 10 racing teams at Talladega Superspeedway Wednesday for the first day of a two-day test session. Joining Green at Talladega Wednesday were fellow Busch teams Carroll Racing #26 Chevy driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., the Lewis Motorsports #46 Chevy driven by Ashton Lewis and Green’s teammate, Jason Keller in the PPC-owned #57 Ford. Bobby Hamilton and Mike Dillon were testing the Andy Petree-owned #55 Winston Cup Chevy. Also on hand was the Hamilton-owned #18 Dodge from the Craftsman Truck Series, driven by Joe Ruttman(Talladega PR)(1-4-2001)
  • Earnharts to test at Daytona – for the 24 hours: Grand American Road Racing Association competitors will begin an extensive three-day test session today at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Rolex 24. Grand Am officials expect at least 60 sports cars for this last shakedown run before the twice-around-the-clock endurance race begins Feb. 3. The grandstand area behind Daytona USA will be open for spectators. There’s no admission to watch the test session. Among those expected to shake off some of the winter racing rust are Grand Am rookies Dale Earnhardt and his son Dale Jr., who will be wheeling a front line Corvette C5-R with teammate Andy Pilgrim, a veteran road racer. The three-day session includes a unique night driving session from 6:00 – 8:00pm/et Friday. (Speed Magazine)(1-4-2001)

    (1-3-2001)

  • Craven to the #32? UPDATE 7 It’s Official: hearing from very good sources that Ricky Craven will leave the #50 Midwest Transit team and take over the wheel of the #32 Tide Ford at PPI Motorsports. No word on who will drive the #50 Chevy in 2001 AND see story at the Fayetteville Observer: Craven looks for Winston Cup ride by Thomas Pope(link updated). Doesn’t mention the #32 ride but says Craven is leaving the #50. The #01 is still open, the #7 is filled and like I said, I hear he will drive the #32 Tide Ford(12-16-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing Craven will announce his 2001 plans on Wednesday, Dec 20th(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE 2: while sources continue to tell me Craven will drive the #32 Tide Ford in 2001, it looks like no official announcement will be made for a week or two(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Less than a month ago Ricky Craven said he planned on being behind the wheel for the Midwest Transit Co. team for the 2001 Cup season. On Friday, Craven changed his mind and resigned as the driver of the team in order to pursue other driving interests, he confirmed on Tuesday. “It was absolutely a matter of being fair to everyone,” Craven said of his decision to leave the #50 team and try to iron out a deal with an undisclosed race team. My intention is to compete full time in Winston Cup next year and so it was a decision that was made with that in mind,” Craven said. Industry rumors point to Craven as a potential driver of the #32 Tide car owned by Cal Wells and the Precision Preparation Inc. Motorsports team. Craven wouldn’t “speculate on … speculation” on Tuesday, but admitted that he was close to ironing out a deal that would give him the security he seeks. “I am hoping that things can be finalized soon and an announcement made before we leave for Christmas,” Craven said.(Bangor Daily News)(12-21-2000)
    UPDATE 4: hearing that it was reported on WMTW, a local Maine ABC affiliate that Ricky Craven will announce his new deal with the PPI #32 team at the Winston Cup Preview January 6th.(12-23-2000)
    UPDATE 5: Ricky Craven, who resigned from his duties as driver for the #50 Midwest Transit Racing team owned by Hal Hicks on Dec. 15, is in line to drive the #32 Ford owned by Cal Wells, according to published reports. WMTW-TV in Maine reported Saturday that Craven will announce a deal with Wells on Jan. 6 at the Winston Cup Preview show in Winston-Salem, N.C. Wells has said that driver Scott Pruett is still under contract for the 2001 season.(USA Today)(12-24-2000)
    UPDATE 6: Cal Wells, owner of PPI Motorsports, has scheduled a teleconference for 3:30pm/et on Wednesday, January 3rd, to make what the announcement calls team/driver announcements. The teleconference should answer questions surrounding the #32 Winston Cup team for which Scott Pruett drove in the 2000 season. There has been speculation that Pruett will be replaced in that ride, perhaps by Ricky Craven, for 2001, but the team has officially said only that Pruett was under contract for 2001(That’s Racin’)(1-2-2001)
    UPDATE 7 – Craven to the #32: PPI Motorsports announced the following new team appointments in a reorganization of the company’s two-car entry in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series: Ricky Craven, 34, of Concord, N.C., has been named driver of the team’s #32 Tide Ford. Mike Beam, who recently joined PPI Motorsports’ senior management team, will serve as crew chief for Craven and the #32 Tide Ford. Joe Garone, current NASCAR program manager for PPI Motorsports, has been named crew chief for the #96 McDonald’s Ford driven by Andy Houston. Scott Houston, who had been serving as crew chief for the Tide Ford since the October Charlotte race, has returned to his duties as project coordinator for PPIM’s engineering department. Pat Smith, crew chief for the McDonald’s/PPI Motorsports Busch and Cup efforts last season, has been named car chief for the #96 McDonald’s Ford. Nick Harvey, PPI Motorsports’ Atlantic program manager for the past four years, will take on administrative duties for the team’s two-car Winston Cup effort in support of Garone’s more focused role.(PPI Motorsports), from NOL: Pruett remains on the PPI payroll and could drive for the team again at some point in the future(1-3-2001)
  • #75 Sponsor/Crew Chief News UPDATE 4: #75 Galaxy Motorsports owner Darwin Oordt has his fingers crossed for a very merry Christmas. He is confident that a meeting this week will produce the signed sponsorship contract with Pizza Hut that will keep the team rolling for somewhere between three and five years. The Galaxy team has also signed an Internet-related associate sponsor whose debut on the #75 Fords is scheduled for midseason 2001(FoxSports)(12-22-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing that Pizza Hut did indeed sign with Oordt last week and that the team has hired a new General Manager to replace Mike Beam (who went to PPI Motorsports): former Cup crew chief – Brad Noffsinger(12-29-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Holidays stall Pizza Hut deal. Galaxy Motorsports will have to wait until after the holidays to get final approval on the Pizza Hut sponsorship agreement. Team spokesman, Gus Larkin said, “We had a great meeting with Pizza Hut in late December but we were unable to iron out some details before entering into holiday scheduling conflicts. We have agreed to address some issues after the first of the year in a meeting that will hopefully bring closure to the deal”. Larkin added, “If we are not able to secure Pizza Hut as a full time primary sponsor Galaxy is prepared to continue the sponsorship strategy we successfully launched last year in which a number of marketing partners rotate as the primary sponsor. We feel the Galaxy program offers a cost effective opportunity for sponsors to utilize a NASCAR Winston Cup marketing platform with a Primary role on our racecar”. Galaxy Team Update: Jim Long replaces Newt Moore as Crew Chief for Team 75. Galaxy Motorsports announced today that Jim Long will take over the Crew Chief duties for the 2001 season. Team owner Darwin Oordt said, “We feel that Jim will give Galaxy the ability to satisfy certain performance expectations I have established for the team”. When asked about the status of Newt Moore, Oordt said, “Newt added stability to our race package during a difficult rookie season but I’m looking to improve the chemistry of the Galaxy team so we agreed that was best that Newt explore his options elsewhere.”(Galaxy PR)
    (12-30-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Noffsinger has been hired to replace Mike Beam as GM. Moore will help get Jim Long up to speed and then leave the team(1-2-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Darwin Oordt, owner of the #75 Galaxy Motorsports team, has yet to secure a sponsor for the upcoming season and yesterday said time is running out. Oordt said he remains optimistic that something will develop, and is making plans to go to Daytona soon to begin testing. Wally Dallenbach will return as Oordt’s driver if a sponsor is secured. Oordt says they have some prospects and a possible sponsor who is interested in joining the team for a half-season, the 2nd half. There have been reports that Oordt is close to securing a sponsorship with Pizza Hut. Oordt said his immediate objective is to secure at least a temporary sponsor which will allow his team to start the season next month at Daytona(Tennessean)(1-3-2001)
  • RPM2Night Dissed? hearing that ESPN2’s RPM2Night will not be on location for the Daytona 500 as they are not being granted credentials for track access, so ESPN supposedly decided not to send the whole crew to Daytona to cover the event if they are not allowed access. RPM2Night, the weeknight version, debuted at Daytona during Speedweeks of 1996 and has kicked off each of its five seasons at Daytona. RPM2Night will still continue to air each weeknight and on the weekend on ESPN2 during the season(1-3-2001)
  • a NASCAR Cafe Closes: Three years after opening, the owner of the NASCAR Café has closed the Nashville, TN theme restaurant, citing parking expenses and declining tourist traffic. Knoxville-based H&C Racing Inc., which owns the chain of four ongoing restaurants, announced the closing yesterday. Its last night open was New Year’s Eve. In its place, H&C said it is looking to develop a new, smaller version of the restaurant in the Nashville suburbs about one-third the size of the current downtown venue(Tennessean)(1-3-2001)

    (1-2-2001)

  • #60 – Sadler announcement and ‘The Rock’ – UPDATE 7 Fell Thru: Crew chief Jim Long has left Bessey Motorsports, leaving the NASCAR Winston Cup team without a crew chief as well as a sponsor. The group, owned by Joe Bessey, fielded the #60 Power Team Chevy in 2000. Power Team, however, has announced that it would not return as a sponsor for the upcoming season. Long, 43, served as crew chief for the team and driver Geoffrey Bodine in 1999-2000. He previously worked for owner/driver Ricky Rudd (’97-98), Lake Speed (’96) and Kyle Petty (’94). He left the group shortly after the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta(Kingsport Times News)
    UPDATE: hearing that Bessey Motorsports has been sold to BGN driver Hermie Sadler and WWF star “The Rock”. Supposedly Bessey is going to run at least Daytona in the BGN and then go from there as he has no sponsor(not srue if Bessey is the BGN owner or it is part of Sadler’s Cup team). No sponsor known for Sadler’s Cup team and supposedly Jim Long will be the crew chief(12-7-2000)
    UPDATE 2: World Wrestling Federation Superstar, “The Rock”, will make a major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 at 11:00am/et. The press conference will also be open to a limited amount of general public attendees. Where: Jillian’s at Concord Mills Mall, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, North Carolina 28027(Cox Marketing)(12-8-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Hermie Sadler is expected to purchase Bessey Motorsports and compete for 2001 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors. According to published reports, the car will be sponsored by the World Wrestling Federation. The WWF has scheduled a press conference for Dec. 19 in Concord, N.C., with “The Rock” to make a “major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement.” Bessey Motorsports spokesman Mike Twist had no comment on the reported sale.(Winston Cup Scene)
    UPDATE 3 – correction: Actually, The Rock has scheduled the press conference, not the WWF, who no involvement in the announcement
    UPDATE 4: Due to scheduling conflicts, “The Rock” NASCAR press conference for Tuesday, December 19 has been postponed until further notice. Once additional details for the re-scheduled press conference are available it will be posted(12-14-2000)
    UPDATE 5: not sure what happened yet, but am hearing the deal between Bessey Motorsports, Sadler and ‘The Rock’ fell thru(12-20-2000)
    UPDATE 6: World Wrestling Federation superstar “The Rock” apparently has put his plans to buy Bessey Motorsports on hold. The Rock planned to make a “major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement” on Dec. 19 at Concord, N.C., but he canceled those plans a day before he was expected to say he and NASCAR Busch Series driver Hermie Sadler were buying out Joe Bessey. Now that the sale has broken down, Bessey plans to compete at the season-opening Daytona 500, although insiders said the former Busch Series driver is close to closing the doors on his shop(Savannah Morning News)(12-23-2000)
    UPDATE 7 – Sadler, Johnson Dissolve NASCAR Partnership: The partnership between Sadler Motorsports and Dwayne Johnson (WWF Superstar, “The Rock”) has been dissolved according to Hermie Sadler. Sadler had planned to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series during the 2001 season. “For reasons I am not fully aware, Dwayne has decided not to follow through with our plans of having a Winston Cup team,” stated Sadler. “It’s impossible for me to do it alone. This has been very discouraging for me but I plan to look at what options are available in NASCAR for 2001 and go from there.”(Cox Marketing PR)(1-2-2001)
  • Sad News: Jim Gilmore Jr. died Sunday when his pickup truck slid on an icy road in his hometown of Kalamazoo, MI. Gilmore, 74, died after his pickup truck overturned in deep snow and slid into a fence, reported the Kalamazoo Gazette. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Gilmore sponsored the first of several Indy drivers before linking up with A.J. Foyt in 1972. Foyt, the winningest driver in the sport, was the first four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, the last one while driving a Gilmore Special(Evansville Courier). Foyt now owns an IRL team and NASCAR Winston Cup and BGN teams and has won the Daytona 500 as a driver(1-2-2001)
  • Heat for Kids: web-designs.net announces that it has agreed to be the primary sponsor of HEATFORKIDS.COM, a site dedicated to the Hasbro developed game called NASCAR Heat. The site is focused toward on-line racing enthusiasts under the age of 16, and is dedicated to the groups tag line of “Hooked on Racing, Not on Drugs”. The site features a dedicated game server to play the game, every Friday night during a typical NASCAR racing season, which runs from February until October. Children are assigned to racing divisions based on age grouping, with an ARCA division for ages 10 and under, a NASCAR BUSCH division for 11 to 13 year olds, and a NASCAR Winston Cup division for the 14 through 16 age bracket(BusinessWire)(1-2-2001)

    (1-1-2001)
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