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January 2003 News Archives


  • (1-31-2003)

  • ISA ceases to exist UPDATE 2 track to sue: hearing the new International Stockcar Alliance [ISA] (isaracing.com – the site is now down) which was supposed to start up and run in 2003, will either not exist or not run until 2004. The series, based and run in Canada was to feature a chance for a driver and a fan to team up and win a million dollars each at six of the ISA’s races. A few Winston Cup drivers were to run in some or all of the races: Johnny Benson, Dave Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler, Jeff Green, Kenny Schrader, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart.(1-31-2003)
    UPDATE: During a conference call this afternoon, several drivers that have been supporting the recently announced ISA collectively withdrew their support of the series. In reflecting on the past several months the drivers agreed that their initial decisions were founded on the information presented to each of them during random meetings last summer and fall. Since that time, each has expended significant time and money in the pursuit of what was believed to be their future of choice. The drivers believe that their involvement at the ground level could lend an important part to making Canadian racing better for the teams and fans. The drivers involved have become stronger and more respectful of each other, not only as drivers and owners of teams, but for their ability to put competition on the track aside and work towards a mutual business strategy for all teams to benefit. With the current factual information at hand, the decision was unanimous and the teams all plan to immediately re-focus their efforts on the CASCAR Super Series, and the first event scheduled for Delaware Speedway in London, Ontario May 16 to 18, 2003.(CanadianRacing.com) and been told that as of yesterday morning [Jan 30th], the ISA is insolvent.(1-31-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Just over three months after announcing grandiose plans to start up a new Canadian stock car series, the ISA, has decided against such a move. On Thursday, the ISA ceased operations. Sportsnet sources claim that the decision was made by ISA investors who had reportedly already spent $4 million (Cdn.) on the series. Attempts by Sportsnet to reach ISA President Mitch Mortimer, or anyone at the ISA offices, were unsuccessful.(sportsnet.ca)
    AND Kawartha Superspeedway will commence legal proceedings against the International Stockcar Alliance for breach of the Licensing Agreement and failure to meet important legal obligations and responsibilities. The International Stockcar Alliance had entered in to a ‘licensing agreement’ with Kawartha Superspeedway to use the facility for a series of stockcar races. Kawartha Superspeedway is not aware of the status of money paid to the International Stockcar Alliance by ticket purchasers. Individuals wishing to determine the status of their ticket money should contact the International Stockcar Alliance directly.(Kawartha Superspeedway site)(1-31-2003)
  • New Daytona 500 Movie Makes Debut At DAYTONA USA: DAYTONA USA rolled out the red carpet on Thursday as the remake of the “The Daytona 500” made its premiere in the Pepsi Theater inside the “Official Attraction of NASCAR.” “The Daytona 500,” which gives the race fan the ultimate Daytona 500 film experience as they watch their favorite drivers and teams prepare for the “Great American Race,” is all new. Mentor Films captured a good portion of its filming of the “The Daytona 500” during Speedweeks 2002. “The Daytona 500” is a large-screen format film presented on a screen 55 feet wide and almost three stories tall. With such a large screen, the fan can feel as if they’re in the driver’s seat. The film also runs at 24 frames per second for a remarkably clear picture and add to that DAYTONA USA’s exclusive ThunderRound-Sound. To view the new “The Daytona 500,” purchase tickets to DAYTONA USA online at www.DAYTONAUSA.com or at the gate.(DIS PR)(1-31-2003)
  • NASCAR Considering Test Ban At Non-Cup Tracks: NASCAR is toying with the idea of limiting Winston Cup testing at tracks that don’t have Winston Cup racing but do have other NASCAR events such as a Craftsman Truck or Busch Series race. Gateway, Nashville and Kentucky Speedways would fall under that catergory. NASCAR put a limit of five test dates for Winston Cup cars in 2003 but teams are finding a way around it by running at non-sanctioned tracks. One of the approved test dates have already been used by testing at Daytona the past few weeks.(Insider Racing)(1-31-2003)
  • DW looking to run two CTS races: from a Darrell Waltrip chat on FoxSports: Waltrip is going to be running a couple of truck races, probably the same two he ran last year, Martinsville and Indianapolis. In a Chevy [#17?] the name of the team? W2 Racing Team, with brother Michael. Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds will be involved like they were last year at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Tide may be the sponsor for one or both races.(1-31-2003)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 4 – Spencer fastest: #7-Jimmy Spencer turned the day’s fastest speed at 165.593mph. #74-Tony Raines was second fastest at 163.636, followed by #07-Ted Musgrave at 163.241, #23-Kenny Wallace at 163.142 and #02-Brandon Ash at 159.763. Thursday completed the four-day LVMS test. In all, 27 NASCAR Winston Cup cars and 18 NASCAR Busch Series cars participated in the test in preparation for the March 2 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race and the March 1 Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race.(Las Vegas Motor Speedway), see my Testing page for list of drivers testing and top five speeds for Days 1 and 2 at Las Vegas this week.(1-31-2003)
  • Bodine heads to Georgia to avoid extradition: Diane Bodine, wife of #11 NASCAR driver Brett Bodine, will travel to Walton County [GA] to face felony charges that she harassed a Loganville woman her husband met via his association with Hooters Restaurants. Capt. Ray Parker of the Walton County Sheriff’s Department said Bodine has offered to appear in Monroe on Feb. 4 with her attorney to avoid extradition. Walton County issued felony arrest warrants for Bodine based on harassing phone calls Bodine allegedly made to the Loganville woman Brett Bodine met through Hooters of America Inc., sponsors of his race car. The Sheriff’s Department in Volusia County, Fla., arrested Bodine Jan. 16 at her Daytona Beach home. Bodine had allegedly been placing harassing phone calls to the Loganville woman since July 2002 and had also made felonious threats according to police accounts.(Gwinnett Daily Post), see past news on my #11 Team News and Links page.(1-31-2003)
  • Special Scheme for the #21 at the Shootout: This year marks a very significant anniversary in the history of Ford Motor Company. The Dearborn, Michigan manufacturer is 100 years old. In honor of the occasion, the #21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus will carry a special paint scheme for the 2003 edition of the Budweiser Shootout. The car will be seen for the first time at the Winston Preview in Winston-Salem, NC. [see images on my Paint Scheme Gallery]. The design was created to promote and celebrate Ford Motor Company’s 100th anniversary. The #21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Taurus will feature a primarily silver paint scheme that incorporates the Ford 100-year logo and colorful arrays of centennial fireworks. Ford Motor Company was founded on June 16, 1903, and centennial festivities at the Henry Ford II World Center in Dearborn, Mich., take place June 12-16, 2003. More info on the centennial at www.celebrateford100.com.(Motorcraft Racing PR)(1-31-2003)
  • #19 and Mountain Dew: the #19 Dodge Dealers Dodge will once again run a Mountian Dew scheme at the Mountain Dew Souther 500 at Darlington Raceway on August 31st.(1-31-2003)
  • #48 scheme at Lowe’s UPDATE 2: hearing the #48 Lowe’s car will run a special scheme at Lowe’s in May, not sure what kind of scheme or for what.(12-11-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing it will be a Power of Pride Blue with silver stars.(12-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: being told it will run in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(1-31-2003)
  • Six Teams Test at Kentucky: Winston Cup Series drivers #6-Mark Martin, #99-Jeff Burton, #32-Ricky Craven, #21-Ricky Rudd and #2-Rusty Wallace had a full day of testing today at the Kentucky Speedway. Temperatures were in the low 30s. No speeds were announced. Both season and single-event tickets for 2003 Kentucky Speedway race events are on sale now. More info at their website: www.kentuckyspeedway.com.(1-31-2003)

    (1-30-2003)

  • Pemberton gets a gig: Greg Specht, Manager of Ford Racing Operations, announced today that former Winston Cup crew chief Robin Pemberton has been hired as Ford Racing’s NASCAR Field Manager. Pemberton, who assumes his new duties on Feb. 1, has signed a multi-year agreement and will be responsible for overseeing Ford’s development in the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. He will attend key test and wind tunnel sessions, in addition to being available at the race track on selected weekends. “This isn’t a new idea at all for us. We’ve been wanting to have someone in this Field Manager role for a couple of years, and we just wanted to make sure we had the right person for the job,” said Specht. “When Robin became available, we contacted him right away. “Having someone like Robin with 25 years experience inside the sport, working closely with NASCAR and with the teams … well, that’s just not something we can do as well on a regular basis from up here in Dearborn,”. added Specht.. “He’ll be able to go on our behalf to team shops to discuss pressing issues, or go to NASCAR and have meetings … and be able to do those things on a very regular basis.” The addition of Pemberton, a native of Ballston Spa, NY, reunites Ford with the man who played a major role in the development and success of Taurus. Pemberton and his Penske South crew did much of the aerodynamic work on what became the first full-time four-door entry in NASCAR Winston Cup. He led an effort that produced the first race Taurus ever built, and was rewarded when Rusty Wallace took the new car to Victory Lane in its inaugural race – the 1998 Budweiser Shootout. Pemberton comes to Ford after one year as a vice president at Petty Enterprises, the place where he started his NASCAR Winston Cup career as a mechanic in 1979. “I’m looking forward to this because it’s an opportunity to work with a number of different teams,” said Pemberton. “I’ve spent a lot of time through the years with Ford.. Between the five years I was with Jack (Roush) and the seven years I was with Rusty (Wallace), I’ve made a lot of friends and I hope that will help make this a win-win situation for everyone. From a team standpoint, what I think is going to help is that when I talk to them about an issue, I’ll be coming from a direction that they know and understand,” continued Pemberton. “I’ll have respect for the pains and the problems they go through because I’ve been there myself. Hopefully, that perspective will allow me to get the teams and Ford engineers working together in an efficient manner so everyone benefits.” Pemberton and his wife, Lisa, have two children – Bray (17) and Briggs (15) – and they reside in Cornelius, NC. He will be based in the Ford Racing Technology office in Mooresville, NC.(Ford Racing)(1-30-2003)
  • Hall of Fame Racing Plans: Former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach haven’t decided whether they will buy an existing Winston Cup team or start one from scratch. But Aikman, who attended Media Day at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday, said they are in the process of putting some of the key pieces together to do either one. Bill Saunders, who is the managing partner of Aikman and Staubach’s organization, Hall of Fame Racing, said they plan on choosing the car manufacturer within the next month and also form a partnership with an existing Winston Cup team in the next 60-90 days to probably use their facilities and technology. Saunders also said the team would hire a director of race operations that is “an existing NASCAR guru.” [Robin Pemberton? just a guess] The team, which Saunders hopes will total 50 employees by the time racing begins, also plans on announcing the main sponsor in the next three months, so that Hall of Fame Racing can begin testing the latter of this year and hopefully be ready to race in 2004.(Dallas Morning News – need to register to read)
    AND Troy Aikman believes ownership of a NASCAR Winston Cup team will fulfill the competitive urges remaining for the three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback-turned-broadcaster. “I have a competitive nature and have to find a way to solve that urge,” Aikman said Wednesday during the annual media day at Texas Motor Speedway. “Having money and time invested fulfills it tremendously. Broadcasting is tough, but when the game is over and you put down the headphones, you don’t care who won or lost.” Aikman has teamed up with Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys’ other two Super Bowl wins, as part owners of a racing team they hope to have ready for the 2004 season. Bill Saunders, a former Trans-Am driver, is the team’s managing partner. Saunders said Hall of Fame Racing hopes to have a sponsorship agreement within the next 60-90 days. “We have a legitimate, major-type sponsor interested,” Saunders said. “There is value added because of Troy and Roger,” Saunders and Aikman said a final decision hasn’t been made on whether the group will try to buy an existing team or put together one from scratch. Determining the driver or drivers will come later.(Fort Worth Star Telegram/AP)(1-30-2003)
  • 76 Gasoline Gone at the end of 2003 in NASCAR UPDATE 2: ConocoPhillips, owner of the 76 gasoline brand, said on Tuesday it will end its more than half century-long relationship with NASCAR auto racing at the end of the year. The familiar 76 gasoline logo — an orange ball with the number 76 in blue at its center — has been a fixture at NASCAR as “the official fuel of NASCAR.” But 76’s Houston-based parent company said it will end the sponsorship deal of more than 50 years by Dec. 31. ConocoPhillips said 76 will fulfill all of its contractual obligations, including supplying racing fuel at all Winston Cup events and at NASCAR’s other circuits — the BGN and CTS — before returning its official fuel rights to NASCAR at year’s end.(Forbes.com/Reuters)(1-28-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Statement Regarding ConocoPhillips: NASCAR and ConocoPhillips continue to enjoy a strong working relationship and look forward to another great season in 2003. NASCAR has enjoyed its longstanding relationship with the company and wishes it all the best in the future. While we will be saying goodbye to ConocoPhillips, we look forward to welcoming a new official fuel supplier to NASCAR in 2004. We are already in the process of identifying the new official fuel supplier and will make an announcement regarding that supplier at the appropriate time.(NASCAR PR)(1-29-2003)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Exxon-Mobil is getting set to announce that Mobil will become the official fuel and lubricant/oil supplier of NASCAR.(1-30-2003)
  • Kerry Earnhardt at Daytona? There’s speculation that Kerry Earnhardt might show up on the Daytona 500 entry list in a DEI Chevy. But Earnhardt says that probably won’t happen, but it has been discussed. Earnhardt plans to test and may change his mind.(Winston Cup Scene – subscription needed to view online)(1-30-2003)
  • Sadler Racing still in biz: Nashville’s Earl Sadler, whose team, Sadler Racing [#95 Team], has been fielding cars in NASCAR since 1983 and is searching for a driver to enter in a limited number of Busch and ARCA races this season.(Tennessean)(1-30-2003)
  • Brett Bodine’s Wife Arrested UPDATE 2: The wife of NASCAR driver #11-Brett Bodine is expected to be extradited to Walton County on charges of harassing and threatening a Loganville [GA] woman. The Loganville woman had reportedly befriended Brett Bodine through her job with Hooters of America, one of Bodine’s NASCAR sponsors. The woman has alleged she has been verbally threatened and harassed by Diane Bodine, 43, since last year. Diane Bodine was arrested last week at her Florida home by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department and was subsequently released on bond.(see full story at Walton Tribune)(1-25-2003)
    UPDATE: see a Toronto Sun column: Mrs. Bodine chomps on hand that feeds her(1-27-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The wife of Chemung [NY] native and NASCAR driver Brett Bodine has been given until Tuesday to appear in a Georgia court on charges stemming from her arrest in Florida last week, Sgt. Jeff Johnson of Georgia’s Walton County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday. Diane Bodine, 43, was arrested by police at her home in Daytona Beach, Fla., and charged with making harassing phone calls and terroristic threats and acts against a Loganville, Ga., woman who is reportedly a friend of Brett Bodine. Diane Bodine was released on bond. “We’ve been very accommodating,” Johnson said. “If she does not appear by (Tuesday), we’ll go ahead with the process of extraditing her.” Diane and Brett Bodine are legally separated.(Star-Gazette)
    AND Diane Bodine denied Jan 27th that she had threatened a Loganville, GA woman. “I have no idea what is going on, I have never met her or talked to her. I have never terrorized or threatened anyone. I don’t know this person”. On Jan 27th, attorneys for both parties were attempting to resolve the issue.(Winston Cup Scene – subscription needed to view online)(1-30-2003)
  • Scheduling Change For Daytona Inspections: Events playing-out at Daytona International Speedway during a 10-day grind, known as Speedweeks, it can present a real challenge for NASCAR. Top on that list is potentially Feb. 8, with both qualifying for the Daytona 500 and the Bud Shootout scheduled, not to mention the corresponding inspections. In prior years NASCAR would fill the labor-intensive inspection lines with both Shootout and Daytona 500 cars. But not this year. Winston Cup Director, John Darby has made the call to inspect the cars for the Shootout on Feb. 6 and then the Daytona 500 cars on Feb. 7, thus ensuring quality inspections for all cars. Inspections are vital as the teams try to improve their on-track chances with anything they can think of that’ll reduce drag by 10 drag-horsepower or increase the engine power by 10 horsepower.(Ford Racing)(1-30-2003)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 3 – Stewart fastest: #20-Tony Stewart turned the week’s fastest lap on Wednesday with a speedc of 168.750mph. Followed by #18-Bobby Labonte at 166.103 and #41-Casey Mears at 165.644. No other speeds were reported, 26 NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series teams tested. Eddy McKean, a NASCAR Winston West regular, brought out the day’s only caution flag when he spun and made hard contact with the wall in turn 4. McKean was uninjured, but his BGN car, which was the only one he had for the test, was destroyed.
    Testing will continue and conclude on Thursday beginning at 9:00am and runs until 5:00pm. The grandstands are open to the public free of charge and concession stands will be open during the test.(Las Vegas Motor Speedway), see my Testing page for list of drivers testing and top five speeds for Days 1 and 2 at Las Vegas this week.(1-30-2003)


    (1-29-2003)

  • NASCAR Racing at Phoenix this weekend UPDATE: The 2003 racing season begins this weekend as Phoenix International Raceway [PIR] hosts NASCAR Winter Heat, featuring races by the Winston West and Featherlite Southwest Series’ on Sunday afternoon. All the action starts on Friday night with a Go-Kart Challenge at the Speedway Raceway Indoor Karting facility in Phoenix. The event will feature T-Shirts and Trophies, plus the opportunity to battle wheel-to-wheel with many of the stars from the Featherlite Southwest Series, including: Darrell LaMoure, Eddy McKean and Craig Raudman. Following the races there will be a barbeque in the parking lot and an autograph session with the drivers. Gates at PIR will open at 8:00am on Saturday morning in preparation of practice and qualifying for the Winston West and Featherlite Southwest teams. The highlight of the day will be a 25-lap qualifying race by the teams of the Featherlite Southwest series at 3:30pm. PIR will open to spectators again on Sunday morning at 8 a.m., and fans are welcome for the annual Classic Car & Truck Show that starts the day off. An autograph session with all the Winston West and Featherlite Southwest Series drivers will be held at 9:30am, and the first race is scheduled to start at noon(PIR PR). Ken Schrader of the #49 BAM Racing tream is scheduled to compete in both the Winston West and Southwest Series races, other driver’s you may recognize from Cup, BGN or CTS who will race include: Jimmy Kitchens, Austin Cameron, Jim Inglebright and Steve Portenga.(1-28-2003)
    UPDATE TV: TV: Bosch Spark Plug 150 Winston West race will be televised on SPEED Channel (Tape Delay), March 3, 8:00pm/et with announcers: Rick Allen, Phil Parsons, Ray Dunlap (who will do the CTS races).(RacingWest)(1-29-2003)
  • Hmmm….beer: When the green flag waves to start this year¹s Daytona 500 stock car race on Sunday, February 16th, it will truly be OMiller Time¹ for everyone in attendance at Daytona International Speedway. Today, Miller Lite announced that should Rusty Wallace win his first Daytona 500, all legal drinking age race fans in attendance will receive a coupon for a free six-pack of Miller Lite. Wallace, the 1989 series champion and a former series rookie-of-the-year, has recorded 54 career NASCAR Winston Cup wins and 36 pole positions during his career. In his last five Daytona 500s, Wallace has registered three top-five finishes, including a career best third-place finish in 2001. During his stock car career, Wallace has made 40 starts at Daytona International Speedway, including a best-ever second-place finish last July in the Pepsi 400.(Tom Roberts PR)(1-29-2003)
  • Schrader to driver in 13 CTS races with special enhanced video/audio: Speed Channel and NASCAR driver Kenny Schrader will bring CTS fans closer to the action with enhanced audio video onboard coverage in 2003. Schrader, a regular on Speed’s Inside Winston Cup, will be driving in 13 CTS events with his #52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet. Speed will place onboard cameras on his truck to catch all the side-by-side action. Wired with a microphone, Schrader also will be a part of the Speed broadcast team, beginning April 12 In Martinsville, allowing the veteran driver to provide his unique perspective directly to the Speed booth. Speed Channel, which has added nearly 24 million homes in the last two years, will air all 25 CTS races live in 2003. In addition to added pre- and post-race programming, Speed also will offer multiple replays of each race as well as CTS Fast Forward, a one-hour cut-down version of each race.(Speed Channel PR)(1-29-2003)
  • Harmon on the tube – Thursday: #93-Mike Harmon has been featured on several advertisements this week, promoting his upcoming appearance on ABC’s “Primetime Thursday.” Reporter Christopher Cuomo spent a lot of time talking with Harmon and his family to put together this piece. “Primetime Thursday,” featuring Mike Harmon, will air Thursday, January 30th, at 10:00pm/et on ABC. ABC is following up the broadcast with an online chat with Mike Harmon on Friday afternoon, January 31st, at 2pm Eastern. The chat link will become available in the right-hand corner of the Primetime page off of the ABCNews website in the Community box Wednesday afternoon (abcnews.go.com/Sections/Primetime/).(PR)(1-29-2003)
  • Elliott Dirt Trackin’: Officials at Golden Isles Speedway announced today that Winston Cup driver, Bill Elliott would be competing at Golden Isles Speedway on February 2nd for the $10,000 to win final leg of the Lucas Oil Products Late Model Triple Crown Series.(Victory Lane Communications)(1-29-2003)
  • Las Vegas Testing – Day 2 – Johnson fastest: For the second straight day #48-Jimmie Johnson led all drivers with a fast lap in race trim with a speed of 168.666mph. #24-Jeff Gordon was 2nd fastest at 168.010, #97-Kurt Busch at 167.681, #1-Steve Park at 167.053 #20-Tony Stewart at 165.776 mph). #16-Greg Biffle was involved in a minor incident in the morning session. Biffle had a tire go down, forcing him to hit the wall going into Turns 3 and 4. He was uninjured. Testing will continue Wednesday and Thursday as more than 22 teams are expected for Wednesday’s test. The testing begins daily at 9:00am and runs until 5:00pm. The grandstands are open to the public free of charge and concession stands will be open during the test.(Las Vegas Motor Speedway), see my Testing page for list of drivers testing at Las Vegas this week.(1-29-2003)
  • TNT films teaser at Las Vegas: Television partner TNT spent Tuesday morning prior to the test session shooting its “tease campaign” for the upcoming NASCAR Winston Cup Series season with #24-Jeff Gordon, #18-Bobby Labonte, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #97-Kurt Busch and #01-Jerry Nadeau. The tease had the group walking side-by-side with the illusion of heat coming off the pit road and another with a giant American flag behind them. The campaign will kick off in May, run through late June and be featured during the NBA playoff telecasts. The “tease campaign” will lead into “The Drama is Coming” promos for TNT race broadcasts that begin July 20 with the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(1-29-2003)
  • Biffle to use Kenseth backup at Daytona: #16-Greg Biffle said that the team plans to use a backup car from teammate #17-Matt Kenseth for the Daytona 500 rather than one of their cars following a poor test session during NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Daytona earlier this month.(NASCAR PR)(1-29-2003)
  • Gordon and fans help out: #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet driver Robby Gordon and his fans have teamed up to raise money for Victory Junction Gang. The charity drive began when Gordon’s fans posted messages on RobbyGordonFans.com urging each other to donate checks in the amount of $31 to Victory Junction Gang. Gordon agreed to match any total the fans collected. The fans’ drive closed last week at approximately $1,150 and a check was written to Victory Junction Gang, along with Gordon’s matching donation.(1-29-2003)

    (1-28-2003)

  • Two New NASCAR Series UPDATE No More Busch ‘Grand National’: NASCAR plans to add two divisions later this year, the Grand National and Elite. The Grand National will encompass top drivers from the Winston West and Busch North series and will have a series of races to crown one champion. The Elite will be made up of Northwest and Southwest series drivers.(Tampa Tribune)(1-22-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR has formed a new “feeder system” for its three national series, with the creation of two new racing divisions. The all-new NASCAR Elite Division and NASCAR Grand National Division will provide a clear path for local and regional racers to advance towards the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The NASCAR Elite Division will consist of four NASCAR-sanctioned series: the Featherlite Southwest Series, Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series and the newly renamed International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series (formerly the RE/MAX Challenge Series) and Kodak Southeast Series (formerly the Hills Bros. All Pro Series). The Elite Division will accommodate drivers who have recently been competing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge or at other local short tracks. At this level, competitors will compete on a variety of tracks before progressing to other NASCAR divisions. Once a competitor has gained experience in the Elite Division, the next logical step is the NASCAR Grand National Division, which will now consist of the Busch North Series and the NASCAR Winston West Series. Previously, these cars had different specifications – the Busch North Series cars are modeled after the NASCAR Busch Series cars while the NASCAR Winston West Series cars are designed after NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars. The NASCAR Grand National Division will represent NASCAR’s top regional touring series, where competitors will refine their skills before making the jump to one of NASCAR’s three national series.
    The “Grand National” designation has a long history in NASCAR racing. It was first used in 1949, when the first NASCAR Grand National Division races were held. This division evolved into the Winston Cup Series, and the “Grand National” moniker was passed to the NASCAR Busch Series in 1986. With this announcement, the NASCAR Busch Series no longer carries the name as it’s passed on to NASCAR’s top regional touring division.(More at NASCAR.com)(1-29-2003)
  • CAT Footwear: To celebrate the legacy of the Daytona 500 and commemorate Ward Burton’s 2002 victory at the famed race, CAT Footwear has developed a limited edition series of their best-selling Alaska work boot embossed with the esteemed NASCAR Winston Cup driver’s signature and his Bill Davis/CAT Racing car number (22). Of the 500 pairs that have been manufactured, each will be packaged with a letter of authenticity – 25 of which will be hand-autographed by Ward Burton and randomly placed into lucky consumers’ boxes. A limited number of the commemorative boots will be sold on the CAT FootwearWeb site [will be on the site Feb 10th] while the remaining will be available for purchase during race weekend (from a trackside tent) in Daytona Beach, February 13-16. Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit The Ward Burton Wildlife foundation, a charity created by the Daytona 500 winner to promote an awareness of the need for wildlife conservation, habitat enhancement, and proper stewardship of our natural resources through preservation and education. CAT Footwear creates shoes and boots designed for the active lifestyle of today’s youth. In addition to providing quality, durable men’s and women’s industrial boots and shoes, CAT Footwear strives to push the leading edge of casual footwear with specifically engineered offerings for men, women, and children. CAT Footwear is a division of Wolverine Worldwide(PR)(1-28-2003)
  • 24 Hours of Daytona News – Live Scoring: Lance Norick, who has 154 career starts on the Truck Series circuit and plans to run a limited BGN [#26 Dr Pepper car] schedule this year, will join the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports team in the Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend. Rob Morgan, the co-owner and co-driver for the team, knows Norick well — Morgan also fields a truck (#46 currently driven by Dennis Setzer) in the Truck Series.(Daytona Beach News Journal). Other drivers driving in the race with NASCAR background include: Kyle Petty, Derrike Cope, Kevin Lepage, David Donohue, Christian Fittipaldi, Chris Bingham, Justin Bell, Boris Said, David Murry, Rick Carelli and J.C. France (of the France family) plus 16-year-old USAC driver Tom Hessert III from Cherry Hill, NJ will run in the race. Speed Channel will carry 16 hours of live coverage starting on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 12:30pm/et and finishing with the checkered flag at 1:00pm/et and the Victory Lane celebration that follows. Also Grand American Road Racing Association will provide Zippo Live Timing & Scoring on its official website – GrandAmerican.com – throughout the entire 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona event weekend, January 30 – February 2.(1-28-2003)
  • More Money: NASCAR announced today that the Winston Cup point fund will be $17 million in 2003, an increase of $3 million over 2002. The NASCAR Winston Cup champion will receive a minimum of $4.25 million from Winston and NASCAR in 2003, a $500,000 increase over last year. Drivers finishing second through fourth will each receive more than $1 million at the annual awards ceremony in New York in December. The total point fund includes money from Winston, NASCAR and the tracks that host NASCAR Winston Cup Series events. 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Points Fund Distribution:
    1. $4,250,000
    2. 1,700,000
    3. 1,275,000
    4. 1,075,000
    5. 925,000
    6. 780,000
    7. 675,000
    8. 575,000
    9. 525,000
    10. 500,000
    11. 450,000
    12. 425,000
    13. 400,000
    14. $375,000
    15. 365,000
    16. 355,000
    17. 345,000
    18. 335,000
    19. 325,000
    20. 315,000
    21. 136,000
    22. 135,000
    23. 134,000
    24. 133,000
    25. 132,000
    Total Point Fund Distribution for Positions 1-25: $16,640,000
    NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus: $360,000
    TOTAL: $17,000,000 (ThatsRacin.com)(1-28-2003)
  • TV AD Campaign to Feature Dale Jr: This week’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports that the Drakkar Noir fragrance brand will launch a television ad campaign next month featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. Writer Noah Liberman says a print ad campaign featuring the Winston Cup driver last year helped the company increase sales by 9 percent at a time when the overall industry was dropping 11 percent. Lieberman says as much as half of the advertising will appear in morning and prime-time programming unrelated to sports. Up to 40 percent of the shots will be targeted at shows aimed at female audiences.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-28-2003)
  • Dillner now with Speed: Bob Dillner, former of TNN (covered motorsports, Cup, BGN and ASA) was recently signed by SPEED Channel to be their Winston Cup and Busch Series correspondent. Dillner will be at the majority of the races reporting for their Speed News program and any other SPEED Channel programs. Dillner, along with his brother Matt run the 51sportsracing.com site.(1-28-2003)
  • Million Dollar Challenge again: DeWalt’s is set to launch their Million Dollar Challenge promotion once again giving fans and end-users a chance to compete for one million dollars.(Roush Racing)(1-28-2003)
  • NASCAR on TV in the UK: been told that all 38 races of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season races will be shown live in the UK [United Kingdom]. Not free, but via subscription [like HBO in the US], N.A.S.N – North American Sports Network. N.A.S.N is currently available on channel 420, through the digital satellite network, SKY T.V. – (Owned by Fox owner R. Murdoch.), also hearing that Motors TV plans on showing 11 live BGN races this season in the UK.(1-28-2003)
  • 25th Daytona 500 for Terry Labonte: Terry Labonte will start the 2003 season with not one, not two, but three anniversaries to celebrate. With Speed Weeks at Daytona set to begin Feb. 7, Labonte is poised to make his 25th start in “The Great American Race.” He has three second-place finishes in the traditional season opener since making his first visit to Daytona in 1979. In fact, Labonte’s most recent runner-up showing was in 1997 when Hendrick Motorsports teammates swept the top three positions. Jeff Gordon won that race on Feb. 16, the very day on which this year’s 45th running of the stock car classic will take place. Labonte finished second and Ricky Craven placed third. February 16 also is the date of the team’s first Daytona 500 victory in 1986 with Geoffrey Bodine behind the wheel of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet that day. Labonte finished second and Jim Long, his current crew chief, was on pit road as Bodine’s chief mechanic. Today, Long is entering his second season at the helm of the Kellogg’s / got milk? Racing Team with high hopes for improvement over last year’s 24th-place finish in the point standings. Embarking upon his 10th season at Hendrick Motorsports, Labonte enters the new campaign eighth on the all-time money-winning list with more than $29 million and is a two-time series champion with 21 career victories. Kellogg, in its 14th year as a NASCAR team sponsor, has been an Official Status Partner of the sanctioning body since 1995 and is the “Official Breakfast Food of NASCAR” through 2004.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(1-28-2003)
  • Some TV Stuff: Totally NASCAR will once again air this year with 201 original episodes. This means that about half way through the year the show will mark its 500th episode. The show airs Monday through Friday beginning February 10 and going all the way through November 17. Fox Sports Net will air five Winston Cup qualifying sessions live: Rockingham, Las Vegas, Darlington, Bristol, and Texas. NASCAR This Morning is set for the 2003 season with 31 shows scheduled. The season premiere will be live from Daytona on February 16 at 10:30am on Fox Sports Net. Then they’ll return to the Charlotte studio for the rest of the season with 10:30am being the starting time through August 31. Once the NFL season starts, the show will air at 9:00am. There will be no show on the following dates: April 20, May 4, May 11, May 18, June 29, July 6, August 24, Sept. 7, Oct. 12.(MotorsportsTV)(1-28-2003)
  • Mike Joy to Host Hall of Fame Induction: FOX NASCAR anchor Mike Joy will take a break from his Daytona 500 preparation this Sunday and return to his racing roots. Joy will host the annual induction ceremony for the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame on February 2nd, at the LaRennaisance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT. Festivities will start at 11:30am/et, with a social hour preceding dinner. Tickets are $40 each, and reservations can be made by calling (860) 569-1299. Honorees include Bob Polverari, a five-time track champion; John Hoenig, who built America’s first asphalt paved oval track [Thompson Speedway]; Booker T. Jones, the Northeast’s pioneer African-American stock car racer, NASCAR North legend Stanley “Stub” Fadden; auto racing pioneer Richard “Moon” Burgess; sprint car/midget champion Joe Sostilio; Dick Watson, who drove the V-4 “Mystic Missile” to the 1965 Connecticut State Championship; and popular modified owner Bob Judkins, who helped bring about the “Pinto Revolution”; by debuting his pinto bodied 2x, the first NASCAR legal pinto bodied modified race car. These eight racing legends will bring to 57 the number of members in the NEAR Hall of Fame.. In addition to his duties as emcee, Polverari requested that Joy be his presenter for induction. Eligible because he has passed 65 years of age, Polverari is the first active driver to be named to the hall. Ticket information and news is available at www.near1.com. Joy’s race announcing career began 33 years ago at a 1/5 mile oval in Agawam, Mass. Joy and Polverari were among the last class named to Riverside Park Speedway’s Hall of Fame when the track closed in 1999 after 51 years of racing.(MotorsportsTV/NEAR Site)(1-28-2003)
  • IROC Cars stay another year: IROC will roll through another year with Pontiac Firebird bodies on its tube-frame stock cars, though it will do so again without any Pontiac support. “We’ve decided to hang with the car for another year,” True Value International Race of Champions series president Jay Signore said. “We’ll struggle for a year, but we’ve raced for the last two years without Pontiac support and I think we still put on an exciting show.” Signore said he has talked with GM, Ford and the Chrysler group about potential replacements for the Firebird, which no longer is in production. He suggested the series would be interested in again running with a “concept” body of an upcoming vehicle, much as it did in 1994 when it raced with Dodge Avenger bodies over its tube-frame cars. The Firebird replaced the Avenger as the IROC car in 1996. Signore said Chrysler expressed interest in IROC Vipers, but that the IROC series is “better off if we can run with a higher-volume car.” Signore would have liked approval to do a race version of Pontiac’s new GTO, but Pontiac officials told him the reborn muscle car is a limited-production vehicle.(Autoweek)(1-28-2003)
  • General Mills Offers A Dozen Different Die Cast Cars: To celebrate the kick-off of the 2003 racing season, General Mills offers fans of Petty Enterprises and die cast collectors a one-of-a-kind opportunity to collect 12 different 1:64 scale paint schemes on the various Petty Enterprises-owned Dodge racecars. Starting in February and continuing for a limited time, consumers will be able to get the cars free with certain General Mills purchases in grocery stores nationwide. Fans will find the die cast cars either inside or alongside General Mills products including select cereals, snacks, meals, baking products and refrigerated baked goods. Fans will find one die cast car free inside specially marked packages of five participating General Mills cereals. Brands and their featured paint schemes include: Cheerios and the 2003 Cheerios/Betty Crocker #43; Honey Nut Cheerios and the 2001 Honey Nut Cheerios #43; Wheaties and the 2000 Wheaties #43; Honey Nut Chex and the 2002 Chex Party Mix #43; and Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the 2002 Sprint #45. In the snacks aisle, fans will find the 2002 Pop Secret #43 available with purchases of Pop Secret microwave popcorn and the 2002 Georgia-Pacific #44 available with purchases of Chex Mix, Gardetto’s and Bugles snacks. The Meals category is cooking up three different die cast car offers – including a never-seen-before fantasy paint scheme. The 1998 Betty Crocker paint scheme makes its first appearance on the #43 through this promotion and will be available with purchases of Betty Crocker Complete Meals, Betty Crocker Specialty Potatoes and Betty Crocker Bowl Appétit! rice or pasta. Consumers can help themselves to a free 2001 Hamburger Helper #43 with purchases of Hamburger Helper Oven Favorites dinners. And, new to the Cheerios/Betty Crocker Racing family is the fantasy Old El Paso #43 available free with an Old El Paso brand purchase. Betty Crocker Baking Products races into the action with an exclusive paint scheme never previously offered nationally as a 1:64 die cast. With the purchase of Betty Crocker baking products including participating flavors of SuperMoist cake mix, select Betty Crocker brownie mixes and ready-to-spread frostings, consumers will be able to get the 2002 Box Tops for Education #43, a replica of the paint scheme that ran on track in August 2002 during the Brickyard 400. Racing excitement zooms into the refrigerated baked goods area with a special Pillsbury Grands! multi-pack and die cast offer. For a limited time only, consumers will find three packages of Grands! Buttermilk Biscuits packaged with the 2002 Grands! Biscuits #43 paint scheme on a 1:64 die cast car. Though the 2002 Grands! paint scheme has previously been available as a free mail-in offer, this is the first time the car will be available in grocery stores.(Elevation Motorsports PR)(1-28-2003)
  • Some Cup Testing at Kentucky….maybe: Kentucky Speedway became a hotbed for NASCAR Winston Cup Series testing near the end of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Testing scheduled for December 2002 and January 2003 has been limited by an arctic weather pattern that brought periodic snow and 10-, 20- and 30-degree temperatures to the Sparta, Ky., region. The last NASCAR Winston Cup drivers to test on Kentucky’s 1.5-mile tri-oval were Rusty Wallace and Casey Mears on December 20, 2002 and Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon on December 16, 2002. The severe weather pattern is scheduled to break later this week as 40-degree temperatures are predicted for January 30-31. NASCAR Winston Cup drivers #99-Jeff Burton, #32-Ricky Craven and #2-Rusty Wallace are scheduled to test at the track [Jan 30-31]. #88-Dale Jarrett, #6-Mark Martin, #21-Ricky Rudd and #38-Elliott Sadler are scheduled to test on Tuesday, January 28, however, rain and snow are predicted that day.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(1-28-2003)

    (1-27-2003)

  • Craven’s ride most successful yet: The 6th annual Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity raised a stunning $185,122 for the Children’s Miracle Network, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the National Marrow Donor Program, the Travis Roy Foundation and Give Kids the World. After checks totaling nearly $35,000 each were passed out to the charities, Craven also donated $1,000 to the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club and $10,000 to the Greenville [ME] school system.(Central Maine Daily Sentinel)(1-27-2003)
  • Stewart and Kid Rock? UPDATE 3 Looks like a NO at Lowe’s in May but: hearing that Tony Stewart will drive the #8 Kid Rock Chevy in the Busch/BGN race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.(1-23-2003)
    UPDATE: however, it has been reported that Steve Park will race the #8 BGN car at Lowe’s, so not too sure about this one.(1-24-2003)
    UPDATE 2: getting a bit more info, hearing now, the scheme will race at one of the BGN Richmond races, probably May as there are rumors that Dale Earnahrdt Jr will run all three races at Richmond in Sept (CTS/BGN/Cup) and Martin Truex Jr is scheduled in the #8 BGN car at RIR in May…so this rumor has some holes in it, unless it is a 2nd Chase2 car, what is posted here is all I have heard or know.(1-25-2003)
    UPDATE 3: been told that Tony Stewart will NOT be driving a #8 Kid Rock paint scheme in the May Charlotte BGN race. This is already scheduled to be a cheese nips car to be driven by Steve Park. But could show up elsewhere. However, many diecast sheets are showing the car running in Charlotte, so it could be the Fall race.(1-27-2003)
  • Eli Gold and the Arena League: former NASCAR broadcaster [with TNN] will be one of four play-by-play men who will help fans enjoy the Arena Football League when it debuts on NBC. Gold has spent the past few seasons calling play-by-play for AFL games for The National Network (TNN). But with NBC taking the reins of the sport solely for the first time, Gold was among four play-by-play men and four color analysts the network hired to cover the action. Gold is a four-time Alabama Sportscaster Of The Year winner as voted by his peers in the National Sportscasters And Sportswriters Association. He was twice selected Alabama Sportscaster Of The Year by the Associated Press and once earned the same honor from United Press International. The other networks have Gold’s 2003 calendar pretty much booked already. Gold is also anchor and pit reporter for “NASCAR Live.” And this fall, his Monday nights will be occupied as play-by-play man for NFL games aired by CBS Radio.(Arenafan.com)(1-27-2003)
  • Rusty and Harley ride again in 2003 UPDATE 2 um..nope: hearing #2-Rusty Wallace will run a Harley Davidson scheme in 2003, a 100th Anniversary scheme, not sure where…yet.(12-18-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing the scheme will run at the Brickyard 400 in Indy.(12-19-2002)
    UPDATE 2: been told that Rusty Wallace will not be driving a Harley 100th paint scheme in 2003.(1-27-2003)
  • Cut Downforce? Softer Tires? NASCAR’s George Pyne reiterated NASCAR’s plans to cut downforce on Winston Cup cars. Four years ago, a good car would generate 800 to 900 pounds of downforce, with its rear spoiler, nose and roof designs. This season, a good car will generate well over 1,400 pounds. The more downforce, the better a car sticks in the corners, but at the expense of a tremendous, dangerous increase in tire deformation. In response, Goodyear has gone to a much harder tire to prevent blowouts. But drivers have complained about the hard tires and have pushed NASCAR and Goodyear for softer tires, which they say would make for better racing. Goodyear, however, doesn’t plan to switch to softer tires until NASCAR can cut the downforce to back under 1,000 pounds, according to several teams. This year, NASCAR’s John Darby hopes to make at least two 1/2-inch cuts in the rear spoiler. Each cut would take about 50 pounds of downforce off the rear, and it is assumed that teams would then have to take another 50 pounds off the nose to keep the car balanced. Two such cuts would cut downforce back to 1,200 pounds, close enough to where Goodyear might provide somewhat softer tires.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-27-2003)
  • #8 MLB News UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr will run a MLB – Major League Baseball scheme at ChicagoLand Speedway in July to promote the MLB All Star game on July 15thm which will be held at Chicago’s Comisky Park, see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(Go Phillies)(1-24-2003)
    UPDATE: Action Performance Companies announced the release of a Dale Earnhardt Jr. special edition die-cast collectible featuring the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Major League Baseball [MLB]. Since 2001, Budweiser and MLB have emphasized their close association via an All-Star Game paint scheme, honoring the Mid-Summer Classic, featured on Dale Jr.’s #8 Budweiser Chevy during the July night race at Daytona. That same year, Earnhardt took a pearl-white colored Budweiser/MLB All-Star Game car all the way to Daytona’s victory lane. This year, Chicago sports fans will enjoy quite an action-packed July when both NASCAR and MLB descend on the Windy City. On July 13, 2003, Dale Jr. will showcase the latest #8 Budweiser/MLB All-Star Game paint scheme during the 400-mile NASCAR Winston Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. The following Tuesday night, July 15th, baseball’s best players and coaches will headline the 74thAll-Star Game being held at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. In cooperation with Dale Earnhardt Inc., Major League Baseball, Anheuser-Busch and Action Performance Companies again will produce the full line of die-cast collectibles and related memorabilia featuring the 2003 Budweiser/All-Star Game paint scheme.(Action Performance PR)(1-27-2003)
  • Gibbs, DEI testing: Joe Gibbs Racing and DEI, both Chevrolet teams trying to get a handle on the cars’ new bodies, added a stop at the proving grounds at Mesa, Ariz., before they were to take their downforce cars to Las Vegas earlier this week. Teams can test on a nearly perfect 5-mile circle and a 2.4-mile straightaway at Mesa.(Sporting News)(1-27-2003)
  • Kenseth and Smirnoff Ice? hearing #17-Matt Kenseth will race either 8 Cup or 8 BGN races with Smirnoff Ice as the sponsor, the BGN thing makes sense, since he is running 15 races with Bayer/Alka Seltzer, not sure about the Cup part of the rumor.(1-25-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing this is for 8 Cup races, with at least one Richmond race to be part of it.(1-27-2003)
  • Wendell Scott inducted into Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame: Wendell Scott was the first African American to compete in NASCAR’s Grand National Division (now Winston Cup) and he is the only African American to win a race in NASCAR’s top division. His life and accomplishments were celebrated Saturday evening at World of Sports in South Boston. Scott was inducted into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame, along with legendary NASCAR Modified driver Ray Hendrick. Scott was a racing pioneer, entering NASCAR’s top series in 1961 and winning his only Grand National race in 1963 at Jacksonville Speedway Park. “South Boston was his home track,” said son Wendell Scott, Jr. “In his old days he was hard to beat there.” Scott’s wife Mary accepted the induction honors.(Danville Register and Bee)(1-27-2003)
  • More Secure: NASCAR is hiring a director of security to work with each track to beef up security.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-27-2003)
  • Roof Hatch UPDATE: NASCAR is developing a roof escape hatch similar to those on drag racing Funny Cars. Larger drivers like Michael Waltrip, Jimmy Spencer and Dale Jarrett worry about escaping through driver’s-side window openings in a hurry. Research is ongoing at NASCAR’s new R&D Center near Charlotte.(Daily Press)(1-24-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is continuing work on the roof flaps, which keep cars from flying when they get turned around. A third roof flap has been proposed, along with a door flap. “And an alternate exit (through a 4-foot-square trap door), for big guys like Michael Waltrip,” NASCAR’s George Pyne said.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-27-2003)

(1-26-2003)

 

  • NASCAR looking into the Carbon Monoxide problem: NASCAR is studying catalytic converters that can turn deadly carbon monoxide into relatively harmless carbon dioxide. NASCAR’s R&D director, Gary Nelson, said that Rick Mast’s illness and Tony Stewart’s poisoning at Martinsville last fall triggered NASCAR to start a major investigation in to the carbon monoxide issue. In part of the NASCAR study, some drivers last fall gave doctors a balloon sample from their lungs after the race.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-26-2003)

    (1-25-2003)

  • Toyota and NASCAR ink deal? While it’s years from an official announcement, [Autoweek] have word that an agreement has been reached between Toyota and NASCAR for Toyota to race in Winston Cup in 2007. That’ll be three years after it starts in Craftsman Truck in 2004. Toyota engineers are working on the carbureted V8. It’s still on the computer at this point, but will soon come to three-dimensional form. One problem with the engine is casting it in iron. Most Toyota blocks are aluminum alloy, but engineers found a Toyota facility in Japan that still casts in iron. The Craftsman entry will feature a Tundra body and the Cup car will be a Camry, “whatever the Camry will look like then,” Toyota sources said.(Autoweek)(1-25-2003)
  • Got Milk: Hendrick Motorsports says the American Dairy Association is becoming an associate sponsor on its #5 Chevy driven by Terry Labonte in the Winston Cup Series. The team says the Got Milk logo from the association will be displayed on the hood, side panels and television panel of the car, which has primary sponsorship from Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. The dairy association will also be featured in special paint schemes for races at Richmond International Raceway in May and Chicagoland Speedway in July.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-25-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt Tribute gets nice donation: The Dale Earnhardt Tribute has received a $50,000 boost from the local tourism authority. The Cabarrus County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board donated the money to the city of Kannapolis — $30,000 to help put the finishing touches on the site and $20,000 to help create an event centered around the tribute. Most of the $30,000 will go toward finishing the walkways and brick walls that encase the statue, said Jennifer Woodford, Kannapolis public information officer. Some money would also be set aside for landscaping.(Independent Tribune)(1-25-2003)
  • Harvick and Ozzy? hearing Kevin Harvick will run an Ozzy Osbourne (a Jayski fave – Ozzy Rules! thanks Rocketman), probably at Richmond in one of the BGN or Cup races.(1-25-2003)
  • Elliott Dirt Tracking again: Bill Elliott participated in a private practice session at Golden Isles Speedway [in Waynesville, GA] on January 20th as a test session for his dirt car program. Elliott was joined on the 5/8-mile speed plant by dirt late model star, Ray Cook of Murphy, NC and Golden Isles Speedway owner/promoter Arlene Pittman, who aside from here promotional tasks at several South Georgia racetracks is also a competitor in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series. Elliott’s laps at the oiled dirt oval came as a part of his continuing enjoyment of some seat time in his dirt late model racecar.(Victory Lane Communications)(1-25-2003)
  • Brett Bodines Wife in trouble: The wife of NASCAR driver #11-Brett Bodine is expected to be extradited to Walton County on charges of harassing and threatening a Loganville [GA] woman. The Loganville woman had reportedly befriended Brett Bodine through her job with Hooters of America, one of Bodine’s NASCAR sponsors. The woman has alleged she has been verbally threatened and harassed by Diane Bodine, 43, since last year. Diane Bodine was arrested last week at her Florida home by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department and was subsequently released on bond.(see full story at Walton Tribune)(1-25-2003)
    and a story at the Toronto Sun:Mrs. Bodine chomps on hand that feeds her by Dean McNulty


    (1-24-2003)

  • Pit Crew Challenge: The Stock Car Racing Fan Fest Pit Crew Challenge is open to anyone who wishes to enter. Amateur teams/groups will compete from 12pm-6pm February 12th, 13th and 14th. For more info see the The National Association of Pit Crew Members Site.(1-24-2003)
  • ALLTEL extends with the #12 thru 2006: ALLTEL has extended its primary sponsorship agreement with Penske Racing South and the #12 Dodges driven by Ryan Newman through 2006. The communications and information services company’s current agreement with the 2002 roolkie of the year would have expired at the end of the 2004 season.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-24-2003)
  • MBV, MB2 and Morgan-McClure: The MBV (Benson) and MB2 (Jerry Nadeau) teams have formed a cooperative development arrangement with Morgan-McClure, the Abingdon, Va.-based team that is switching from Chevrolet to Pontiac.(Gaston Gazette)(1-24-2003)
  • Sony Expands Sponsorship Of Penske Racing And Ryan Newman In 2003: Sony Electronics announced it has expanded its associate sponsorship and has become a technology partner of Ryan Newman’s Penske Racing #12 Dodge. Sony’s industry-leading FD Trinitron® WEGA® television brand will be joined by the Digital Handycam® line of video cameras as Newman follows up his “rookie-of-the-year” campaign with an assault on the NASCAR Winston Cup championship. In addition to the sponsorship, Sony will provide technical assistance with their digital technology know-how to help develop tools for Newman’s engineering-based team. New to the racing program will be Sony Handycam, Sony’s digital video camera division. Handycam has been an industry leader and a household name since video cameras were introduced in the early 1980s. Handycam’s current digital technologies have led to a recent revolution in the quality of consumer video camera recording and there is even more yet to come. Sony will also continue the Sony Mobile TechPit, a 60-by-80-foot mobile road show designed to give fans a front-row seat for an interactive look at the latest products in home entertainment, digital imaging, and car audio and personal computing. The show features a fast-moving sensory experience, giving fans the opportunity to interact with Sony products and to enjoy the thrills of WEGA televisions and home theater demonstrations in Dolby Digital surround sound. The exhibit will also include a display of the full line of Sony Handycams, computer-simulated races, and a Sony showcar as well as personal appearances by Ryan Newman at selected events.(Co-Pilott PR / Sony Racing)(1-24-2003)
  • RIR Walls Next for SAFER? Richmond International Raceway is the leading candidate to be the next track to install the energy-absorbing walls first used in last year’s Indy 500. The latest tests at the University of Nebraska research center have been conducted with an exact model of the 0.75-mile Richmond track’s walls. Dr. Dean Sikking, who developed the SAFER barrier, is trying to determine what changes, if any, are needed for a track with tighter-radius turns than the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gary Nelson, director of NASCAR’s new research and development center in Concord, N.C., said testing is expected to be completed in the next three weeks. “One more test hopefully will give us the final sign-off and then we’ll start contacting tracks,” Nelson said. “You’ll see some quick movement once we can get past the point where we know the new wall will do no harm and can only improve the situation.”(Indianapolis Star)(1-24-2003)
  • Dodge helping out UPDATE: Dodge Motorsports will award 10 scholarships this year to the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C., as part of its pledge to diversify motorsports.(Augusta Chronicle)(1-23-2003)
    UPDATE: Minority candidates interested in pursuing technical careers in professional racing can now apply for scholarships sponsored by the Dodge Motorsports Diversity Scholarship Program. The program, in its third year of operation, aims to attract, recruit and train minorities for positions within the automotive and motorsports industry. “The Dodge Motorsports Diversity Program represents a guided pathway by which talented technical students can find their way to success as team members in one of the most exciting careers around – NASCAR racing,” said John Fernandez, Director – Dodge Motorsports Operations. “This program represents DaimlerChrysler’s true commitment to providing opportunities for all Americans.” Following an extensive screening process, up to 10 qualified scholarship recipients will be selected to receive NASCAR-approved training at the Mooresville, N.C., campus of the NASCAR Technical Institute (www.ntieducation.com). Scholarships will cover costs associated with tuition, fees, required books, supplies and housing for the one-year automotive/NASCAR technology program. Throughout the 19-phase, 57-week program, students will receive training in a broad range of technical disciplines including diagnostic analysis and mechanical and electrical systems. Upon successful completion of the training program, graduates may be invited to join Dodge racing teams as entry-level technicians. “Dodge and DaimlerChrysler have been very proactive in ensuring that our workforce is diverse,” said Bob Wildberger, Senior Manager – NASCAR Operations, Dodge Motorsports. “With the support that we’re getting from our teams, we’re able to see how effective a program like this can be in opening doors for aspiring motorsports employees.” In order to be considered for the scholarship, interested applicants must be age 27 or under and have completed at least high school. Applicants must belong to a recognized U.S. ethnic/racial minority group (i.e., American Indian, Alaskan Native, African American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian, Hispanic or Latino). All applications will be processed and evaluated by an independent agency. Scholarship recipients will be required to take the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) examination. Once enrolled in the automotive technology-training program students must maintain an average 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA). Program information, guidelines and applications may be downloaded from the Dodge website at www.dodge.com/motorsports. All application materials must be postmarked by April 1, 2003, in order to be processed. In 2002, the Dodge Motorsports Diversity Scholarship program placed its first three graduates into full-time engineering positions with three Dodge NASCAR race teams. Two graduates joined the No. 9 and No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid race teams of Evernham Motorsports in the Winston Cup Series. A third graduate joined the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram Craftsman Truck Series team of Ultra Motorsports.(Dodge Motorsports)(1-24-2003)
  • New Assoc for Gibbs: Joe Gibbs Racing has signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Advair, an asthma maintenance treatment, an associate sponsor on the team’s #18 and #20 cars. Driver Bobby Labonte, who has asthma, will be a spokesman for the program and will encourage fans to visit an educational trailer to be located trackside at NASCAR events.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-24-2003)

    (1-23-2003)

  • Brooke Gordon subpoenas Jeff’s competitors: Lawyers for Jeff Gordon’s wife have subpoenaed records from his competitors and NASCAR for use in their divorce case. Geoff Smith, general manager of Roush Racing, said the team planned to file an order Friday to block Brooke Gordon’s request in Wayne County Circuit Court in Michigan, where the company is headquartered. Roush does not want to make public the individual contracts it has with its drivers and sponsors. Those deals are highly sensitive in NASCAR, where each car owner works out separate agreements with every individual. Sponsor deals also are secret, lest a company should find out if it is paying extra for something another might get for free. NASCAR also has had records subpoenaed by Brooke Gordon’s lawyers, said series spokesman Jim Hunter. Gordon, a four-time Winston Cup champion, drives for Hendrick. Roush fields cars for Winston Cup drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle. Smith said other teams have also been asked to turn over contracts. Brooke Gordon’s lawyer, Jeff Fisher, did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press for comment. Jeff Gordon has unsuccessfully tried to get a Florida judge to require his estranged wife and anyone involved in his divorce to sign a confidentiality agreement. The request was denied and Jeff Gordon had to turn over papers in November that estimated his worth at about $48.8 million and that he earned more than $18 million in 2001. Brooke Gordon filed for divorce in March, citing “marital misconduct.” The racer has countersued, saying he should not have to equally split the couple’s estate because he risked his life to collect it. Jeff Gordon had to reveal his worth in an affidavit filed to comply with a Florida law that requires assets amassed during a marriage to be split evenly. Brooke Gordon has asked for exclusive use of their Highland Beach, Fla., mansion, valued at $10.2 million, as well as alimony, two cars and periodic use of their boats and an airplane. She also wants her husband to continue to pay the salaries of their housekeepers, maintenance workers and chef.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-23-2003)
  • Toyota in Cup – 2007? CTS in 2004 UPDATE: While it’s years from an official announcement, Autoweek has word that an agreement has been reached between Toyota and NASCAR for Toyota to race in Winston Cup in 2007. That’ll be three years after it starts in Craftsman Truck in 2004. Toyota engineers are working on the carbureted V8. It’s still on the computer at this point, but will soon come to three-dimensional form. One problem with the engine is casting it in iron. Most Toyota blocks are aluminum alloy, but engineers found a Toyota facility in Japan that still casts in iron. The Craftsman entry will feature a Tundra body and the Cup car will be a Camry, “whatever the Camry will look like then,” Toyota sources said.(Autoweek)(12-24-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR executives are interested in getting Toyota into the sport, and they have had a number of talks over the past few years. The discussions intensified last spring, with NASCAR hoping that Toyota might have a truck ready for this year’s SpeedWeeks. Now Toyota’s time frame appears to be for a 2004 Truck debut, followed by a step up to Winston Cup in either 2006 or 2007. If Toyota wants to run on NASCAR’s Truck tour next season, the Japanese car maker will have to first submit a Truck body for NASCAR to OK by July 1 and then submit a 358 V-8 by Sept. 1. NASCAR will go to a “common template” Truck next season, according to NASCAR sources, which would make the job easier for both Toyota and NASCAR. “We’re excited,” George Pyne, NASCAR’s senior vice president, said Wednesday. “I think Toyota is taking a long, hard look at NASCAR,” Pyne said. “But I don’t think any final decisions have been made. But I know they have been working diligently on looking at the Truck series. They’ve done a lot of due diligence in evaluating NASCAR as an opportunity. We have had a number of conversations with them, on the racing side and on the business side. Our competition department has had conversations with them about the engine and about the (body) fabrication and aerodynamics.”(Winston Salem Journal)(1-23-2003)
  • A New Stacker 2 Commercial and Info about Stacker 2: If you’ve seen the Stacker 2 TV commercials, featuring Winston Cup driver Kenny Wallace, you’ve seen the work of Belvidere native Karen Sweigert Finnuchio. Finnuchio, a member of Belvidere High School’s class of 1977, wrote and produced the zany ads for the diet product. Finnuchio is the marketing vice president for Stacker 2, which has its headquarters in Sussex County, N.J. She directed her company into NASCAR last year after a stint as a sponsor for World Wrestling Federation. Finnuchio put together the deal to have Wallace — the youngest brother of Rusty Wallace — sponsored by Stacker in the Busch Series. On top of that, a one-year sponsorship of the Busch race at Nazareth Speedway was in he cards. Finnuchio, Stacker and Wallace move to the big time this year. Wallace will drive the #23 Stacker 2-sponsored Dodge in the Winston Cup Series for owner Bill Davis. Wallace is teamed with Ward Burton, last year’s Daytona 500 winner. Wallace, known around the garages as “Herman,” said a new Finnuchio-written and produced commercial will be shot early next month at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “It’ll be the best one yet,” Wallace said. “There will be six or seven drivers in it, and maybe a surprise. It’s a real Hollywood production when we do it, and Karen pulls it all together and is still fun to work with.” Wallace said that despite being a wired, fun-loving person out of his car and in front of the TV camera, he’s all business behind the wheel.(Express Times)(1-23-2003)
  • Hunter on the mend: Former Darlington Raceway president and current NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter will be checking into the Mayo Clinic this week. Hunter, who appeared at the NASCAR Research and Development Center on Tuesday, will be getting tests and treatment for his back.(Florence Morning News)(1-23-2003)
  • Hillman back at BBR? hearing crew chief Mike Hillman, who recently left the #14 Foyt Racing team, has returned to #11 Brett Bodine Racing and that Jon Wolfe has left the team.(1-23-2003)
  • Medical Tests for Ganassi Drivers: Car owner Chip Ganassi is sending his Winston Cup drivers for a three-day medical test so his organization will have detailed health records in case of injuries. #40-Sterling Marlin spent 25 straight weeks on top of the Winston Cup standings last season before he was sidelined for the final seven races with a cracked vertebra in his neck. Now Marlin and rookies #42-Jamie McMurray and #41-Casey Mears are being sent in April to the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center in Ganassi’s hometown for “a baseline-operation program.” “It’s just one more tool for us to have, just in case things like Sterling’s injury happen again in the future,” Ganassi said. “I hope we don’t need the information, but it can only help.” Teams are constantly working on improving the safety aspects of racing, but Ganassi said he is not a pioneer in sending his drivers’ in for the test. “Everyone is always trying to be proactive, but this is something I read about somewhere else,” Ganassi said. “The Steelers do it, the Pirates do it. It can’t hurt for us to do it.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-23-2003)
  • Marlin tours The Hunley: Sterling Marlin first learned of the Civil War at the knee of his relatives in Tennessee. On Wednesday, Marlin touched a piece of Confederate history as he toured the recovered submarine H.L. Hunley [www.thehunley.com]. Marlin flew to Charleston, SC from Charlotte, N.C., after several days of interviews for the upcoming Winston Cup season. Marlin, his wife Paula and 12-year-old daughter Sutherlin spent about 2½ hours learning about the Confederate sub that became the first to sink a ship during wartime. The best part? “Probably, all of it. You say, ‘How they did things so well 130, 135 years ago,'” said Marlin, marveling at the watertight seals and smooth, machined edges on the fledgling sub’s remains. Marlin’s great, great grandfather, William Marlin, fought with the 32nd infantry in the Army of Tennessee, C.S.A. and young Sterling heard tales passed down through generations of growing up around Columbia, TN, and near the site of the Battle of Franklin. The Hunley rammed the U.S.S. Housatonic in Charleston Harbor on Feb. 17, 1864. While the Union ship was destroyed, the nine-man crew of the Hunley were also lost. After a presentation at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center about the Hunley’s history and recovery, Marlin’s family then stepped in the 12-foot deep holding tank clad in ankle-high galoshes for a hands-on experience. The Hunley was found beneath decades of sediment in 1995. Lasch’s group is raising funds for a permanent home for the submarine — which some estimate could cost up to $40 million — once the scientific salvage part is complete.(Greenville News/AP)(1-23-2003)
  • Childress, others to visit overseas troops UPDATE 2: Brendan Gaughan, Rick Crawford, Humpy Wheeler, Richard Childress, General Sadler and other NASCAR invitees will spend five days visiting overseas troops this month on the “Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve NASCAR Overseas Tour”. Stopping in Germany, Bosnia, Sicily and England, they will attend rallies on five military installations, talking to troops from the U.S. Army, Navy, Airforce and Marines. “This is an incredible honor,” say both Gaughan and Crawford. “Plus, it is a chance of a lifetime. We are both extremely honored and very excited about this opportunity.”(ThatsRacin.com)
    UPDATE: Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds will also be part of the group going.(1-14-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Brendan Gaughan of Las Vegas will join fellow CTS driver Rick Crawford and other NASCAR dignitaries for a goodwill tour next week in support of U.S. troops stationed overseas. Gaughan and Crawford will attend rallies at military installations in Germany, Bosnia, Sicily and England during the five-day tour scheduled to begin next Monday [Jan 27th]. NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and Lowe’s Motor Speedway president and general manager H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler also are scheduled to take part in the “Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve NASCAR Overseas Tour.”(Las Vegas Sun)(1-23-2003)
  • Cicci-Kelly team hopes to have sponsor soon, will run #34 and run the Watkins Glen Cup race: Frank Cicci Jr., who joined forces with former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly to form a BGN team, could have a sponsorship deal within the next week. “We’re getting real close to having sponsorship,” Cicci said Wednesday from his Mooresville, NC, race shop. Cicci said the manufacturing company would provide enough backing to compete in the BGN for the full season at a “proper level of funding.” He declined to name the company but said it has been a sponsor in racing previously. Cicci is also planning to enter August’s Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen — the Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen International — with a different sponsor that he said is associated with Kelly. Cicci has owned or co-owned Busch teams for 14 years. He partnered with Scott Welliver for 10 years before splitting from the team in August of 2001. Cicci returned to the Busch Series briefly last season as team manager for the Jimmy Spencer-owned Spencer Motorsport Ventures. He hooked up with Kelly in October. Kelly, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer, talked about his interest in racing in August of last year at Watkins Glen International, where he was the honorary starter for the Winston Cup race. “I brought Jim Kelly in as a partner to offer his services to a sponsor and help promote their product,” Cicci said when he announced the new team. “Kelly has been real instrumental in trying to secure this sponsor,” Cicci said. “It will be a rush to get to Daytona, but we can do it if we hear on the sponsorship by early next week,” Cicci said. Cicci, who still has to purchase cars and assemble a crew, has a race shop of 10,000 square feet as his only team asset. He said the team is ready to sign a young driver who has some experience in Busch and Hooters Cup racing. The team will use the familiar car #34, which Cicci has owned since he started in the BGN in 1987.(Elmira Star Gazette)(1-23-2003)
  • Graves off to Spain: Ganassi team manager Andy Graves left Wednesday for a four-day trip to Spain, where he plans to observe Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya during a test session. Graves, who became friends with Montoya when he headed his Indianapolis 500 winning team for Ganassi in 2000, plans to use his time in Valencia, Spain, learning as much as he can from the Williams team. “There are always new technologies that you can try to pick up and bring back to our program,” Graves said. “Juan had been asking me the past two years to come to a test and see what it’s all about, so I’ll go and watch how Williams performs and see what I can learn.” Montoya made his first visit to a NASCAR race in November’s season finale, when he spent the weekend in Homestead, Fla., as a guest of Graves and the Ganassi team.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-23-2003)
  • Dodge helping out: Dodge Motorsports will award 10 scholarships this year to the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C., as part of its pledge to diversify motorsports.(Augusta Chronicle)(1-23-2003)
  • 3 Doors Down and NASCAR: It’s fitting 3 Doors Down are releasing “The Road I’m On” as their next single, since the Mississippi band is on the road at least through February. 3 Doors Down are hoping to team up with NASCAR for the video, “as long as I get to drive a car,” Arnold joked in his thick southern accent.(MTV)(1-23-2003)
  • Geoffrey Bodine attends Sunoco Super Series Season Awards Banquet: The Sunoco Super Series Season Awards Banquet had a special unannounced guest, NASCAR Winston Cup veteran driver Geoffrey Bodine was in attendance as a guest of the Kauffman family. Bodine made a special trip from Charlotte, North Carolina to see Joel Kauffman receive his championship trophy. Bodine has been a friend of the family and has been a mentor for Joel Kauffman for several years. LaGrange, Indiana native Joel Kauffman was honored as the 2002 Sunoco Super Series Champion this past Saturday night at the 2002 Sunoco Super Series Season Awards Banquet held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.(Sunoco Super Series Site)(1-23-2003)
  • Newman tests at Nashville: #12-Ryan Newman was at Nashville Superspeedway working with his crew Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming Winston Cup season. Newman, last season’s rookie of the year, traveled to Nashville from his home near Charlotte, N.C., to continue making the adjustment from racing in a Ford to a Dodge. ”We lose time making the switch, but we’re trying to make time to try all the things that we want to try out through the year,” Newman said. ”We’re trying to figure out some things mechanically as well as aerodynamically and this seems to be a pretty good track for that. ‘At the same time we struggled a little bit on the concrete tracks last year like Bristol and Dover, so we’re trying to get a little grip on the tire and the surface.” Newman’s goal for this season is to win the points championship, so that was another reason for spending a cold day at the superspeedway. He said Nashville’s track is similar to the tracks in Las Vegas and Kansas City.(Tennessean)(1-23-2003)
  • New Wind Tunnel Proposed in SC: The first development on a proposed research park near interstates 85 and 385 in Greenville, SC is under way. Economic developers say that the Clemson University automotive-themed research center, which includes a proposed wind tunnel for aerodynamics testing, could create as many as 20,000 jobs in fields like NASCAR auto racing technology.(The Carolina Channel)(1-23-2003)
  • Nice Gesture: During the media tour stop at Richard Petty’s shop in Level Cross on Wednesday, former Times-News sports news editor Kenny Bruce presented a $4,000 check to Kyle and Pattie Petty for the Victory Junction Gang Camp for disabled children, which is under construction. Bruce presented the check on behalf of the National Motorsports Press Association He is the NMPA president and associate editor of Winston Cup Scene.(Kingsport Times News)(1-23-2003)
  • Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust Supports Victory Junction Gang Camp: The Victory Junction Gang Camp has been awarded a $250,000 grant by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust of Winston-Salem, announced Brian Collier, Executive Director of The Victory Junction GangCamp. In announcing the gift, Mr. Collier said, “It is a tremendous honor to receive a gift from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and we will use it to provide the most unique and empowering experience we can for the special children who will come to Victory Junction. Kate B. Reynolds is one of the most respected foundations in the country and their support is inspiring to everyone associated with Victory Junction.” The funds will be used to underwrite the cost of a camper cabin. The camp will have sixteen 2,300 square foot cabins capable of accommodating up to 10 campers and 10 counselors each session. During family weekends and specialized retreats, the cabins will accommodate 2 families per cabin. The maximum capacity for the cabins will be 160 during camper sessions or up to 32 families during the weekend sessions. The mission of Victory Junction is to enrich the lives of children with life threatening illnesses by creating camping experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun, empowering, physically safe and medically sound. When complete, the Victory Junction Gang’s summer program will consist of eight disease specific weeklong sessions for 125 children per session. Campers will range in age from 7 to 15 years. During the fall, winter and spring, Victory Junction will offer family and sibling weekend retreat programs. At no charge to the family or child, this permanent, year round camp will aim to accommodate young people with illnesses such as: Arthritis, Asthma, Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Genetic Disorders, Heart Disease, Hemophilia, Immunology Deficiencies/HIV, Kidney Disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Spina Bifida. In November of 2000 Kyle and Pattie announced that they were undertaking a $24 million campaign to build and operate Victory Junction. To date, the organization has raised over $11.5 million and construction began in September 2002. Victory Junction, recently named “A Proud Charity of NASCAR”, will be the seventh in the network of Hole In The Wall Gang Camps, founded for kids by Paul Newman, joining camps in Connecticut, Florida, New York, California, Ireland and France. The Camp will be located on 65 acres in Randleman, North Carolina, donated by Richard and Lynda Petty. The camp will consist of over 36 buildings and will have a “motor racing” architectural theme. Target date for opening is summer, 2004. The Kate D. Reynolds Charitable Trust was created in 1947 by the will of Mrs. William N. Reynolds of Winston-Salem. Three-fourths of the Trust’s grants are designated for use for health-related programs and service across North Carolina and one-fourth for the poor and needy of Winston-Salemand Forsyth County.(PR)(1-23-2003)

    (1-22-2003)

  • Rick Mast Retires: After suffering from acute and chronic exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning, veteran driver Rick Mast is retiring from Winston Cup racing, NASCAR Winston Cup Scene reports this week. Mast told reporter Rea White that he cannot risk further exposure to carbon monoxide. Mast, who was to announce his retirement at a news conference today, plans to work with NASCAR to help other drivers avoid suffering long-term effects from exposure to the invisible gas. Mast, a 45-year-old Virginian who began competing in the Winston Cup Series on a part-time basis in 1988 and a full-time basis in 1991, ran in nine races last year before being sidelined by the illness.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter and ThatsRacin.com), see Mast’s stats at MotorsportsOne.(1-22-2003)
  • Brett Bodine to run a limited 2003 schedule: Brett Bodine Racing announced that the #11 Hooters Ford will run a limited NASCAR Winston Cup schedule in 2003 (20-25 races). “Given the total funding of our current sponsorship package, we feel it is best to run a limited schedule this year.  We are a smaller team and this will give us an opportunity to test and do the things we need to stay on a competitive edge instead of struggling to get to all the races. I don’t look at this as a “half-empty” situation, but as a “half-full” one. It is great that Mr. Brooks and Hooters have given us this opportunity to cut back so that we can be more competitive at the races we do run and in return give Hooters and our other sponsors more exposure for their companies. This is going to be considered an improvement/building year for us,” said Brett Bodine.(Brett Bodine Racing PR)(1-22-2003)
  • Aikman to make announcment on Jan 29th at Texas: Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, partner in a new Winston Cup venture with NFL Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, will conduct his first NASCAR-related news conference during the Texas Tour 2003 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Jan. 29. Aikman and Staubach, another legendary Cowboys quarterback, have formed Hall of Fame Racing with the intention of joining the Winston Cup Series in 2004. The guest lists features Bruton Smith, chairman of the board of Speedway Motorsports Inc. and owner of TMS; four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon; and Sam Hornish Jr., two-time and reigning Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion (Star Telegram). For the initial news and more news and links on this subject, go to my New Teams page.(1-22-2000)
  • Dale Jr BGN team takes a Chance, plus three Cup races UPDATE: Teresa Earnhardt helped Dale Earnhardt Jr. unveil a new name for the race team they’ve formed to compete in the BGN this year. The team is called Chance 2. The original Chance Inc. was a company Dale and Teresa Earnhardt formed in 1994 to give Earnhardt’s children, Kerry, Kelly and Dale Jr., their first taste of racing. The company disbanded when Earnhardt Jr. started racing in the BGN for what has grown into Dale Earnhardt Inc [DEI]. Earnhardt Jr. will drive the #8 car in two BGN races at Daytona and one at Talladega. Steve Park will drive it in five races and Martin Truex Jr. will drive it in five more. The team will also enter a #81 car in three Winston Cup races. Jason Keller will drive it at Chicagoland Speedway and Ron Fellows will drive in the road-course events at Watkins Glen and Sonoma.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Keller’s run will be a one-shot deal under the sponsorship of Kraft Foods, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.(Greenville News)(1-22-2003)
  • N.C. 3 road signs honor Earnhardt [North Carolina] N.C. 3 road signs have been received by the N.C. Department of Transportation and are ready to be installed on the section of N.C. 136 between Kannapolis and Mooresville that will be renamed to honor the late Dale Earnhardt. “We do have the signs and we are ready to put them up,” said NCDOT Division Traffic Engineer Thomas Thrower, who is based in Albemarle. “We haven’t got a go-date yet.” He did say the signs will be going up in the near future. He said he’s heard about Iredell County politicians who are talking about having the signs installed March 3. That’s would be 03-03-03, a play on the number that Earnhardt made so famous during his driving days. Between 110 and 115 signs will be posted in Cabarrus County, Thrower said. Currently, he has about 150 of the signs at the NCDOT offices in Albemarle. Once the signs go up, he said there will be a threat that some overzealous fans will try to steal them. However, he said state officials are going to do everything possible to ward off those looking to make the signs into souvenirs. “We’re putting locknuts on them,” he said. He acknowledged there will likely will be the need to replace some signs. That’s why he has 150. If signs are stolen, it will come at the expense of the state’s taxpayers. Thrower said the signs costs about $25 each. However, once materials and the cost of installation are factored in, he said the amount spent to post each sign is approximately $50. Oct. 23, 2002, Gov. Mike Easley signed legislation that designated that the 28-mile stretch of N.C. 136 between Concord, Kannapolis and Mooresville would become known as Dale Earnhardt Highway. Thus the N.C. 3 signs were slated to be developed.(Independent Tribune)(1-22-3003)
  • Earnhardt Jr. says contract with DEI awaiting signatures UPDATE signed: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Wednesday he submitted a contract proposal to Dale Earnhardt Inc. [DEI] three weeks ago but company officials have yet to sign off on it. Once they do, Earnhardt Jr. said, he will sign as well. Earnhardt Jr. has not worked with an “official” contract since 1998, when he began driving for the team started by his late father. He worked under a handshake agreement until DEI proposed a “lifetime” contract last season. The new contract will be for five years and Earnhardt Jr. said and it includes a cap on the number of sponsor and team appearances he will make away from the track during the season. “Since drivers are contract labor, my primary focus is to drive for the team, so I sell my services to the team. So, I have allotted the team 40 appearances for whoever or whatever,” he said. “I had to put a cap on it. There was no control and nobody had hold of the reins. I just didn’t want to give away every free day I had.” Earnhardt Jr. said his team’s sponsor, Budweiser, was also interested in extending its deal with the driver and DEI. “The Bud deal is good and they are wanting to extend their end of it, but they are waiting on me to be signed for good so they get their eggs in their basket,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. signed a five-year contract with family-owned Dale Earnhardt Inc. Tuesday. Earnhardt, who has never had a contract at Dale Earnhardt Inc., is committed through 2007. Although there was never a serious prospect of him going elsewhere, Junior did say in recent months that he enjoyed driving Richard Childress’ Busch series car last year and wondered what it would be like driving for someone else full time. A sticking point in negotiations was that Earnhardt wanted his sponsor appearances limited to 40. “I got what I wanted,” he said, without discussing specifics.(Tampa Tribune)(1-22-2003)
  • Starr to make Cup debut at Texas: CTS driver [#75] David Starr plans to make his Winston Cup debut in the race at Texas Motor Speedway on March 30. “I can’t wait,” Starr said. “We are going to do a lot of testing at the track to make sure we’ll be ready to go when it comes time to qualify.” Starr will race a new Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was purchased by his uncle, Mike Starr, who owns the Team Texas Driving School at TMS. “We are going to do this the right way,” Mike Starr said. “We are going to have the best engines and the best equipment possible. And I can tell you the pit crew won’t be a bunch of guys from the driving school. It will be veteran NASCAR people.” David Starr is the driver of the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet in the CTS. Starr has raced many times at TMS in truck and Busch Series events, but this will be his first attempt at a Winston Cup race. He said TMS officials plan to help them secure sponsorship for the event. TMS plans to have a news conference to announce Starr’s plans.(Dallas Morning News – need to register to read)(1-22-2003)
  • Safety Issues; driver restraints, roof flaps, exit hatches, energy-absorbing barriers: NASCAR plans to study driver restraints, roof flaps on race cars, alternative exit hatches for drivers, side impact crashes and several other safety initiatives at the 61,000-square foot research and development complex it now occupies near the Concord airport in NC. Gary Nelson, managing director for competition, and Joe Garone, the director of the new facility, gave reporters a brief tour on Tuesday, showing off fabrication, engine development, engineering and machining capabilities NASCAR hopes to use in developing ways to make cars safer and help contain the costs of racing. NASCAR president Mike Helton said the sanctioning body is also continuing its research into energy-absorbing barriers for race track walls. Such barriers were installed in the outside of turns at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and on the inside of turns at Talladega Superspeedway last year. Helton said the barriers have not been added at any other tracks because Dr. Dean Sicking, the leader of the group doing the development at the University of Nebraska, still has concerns about its application on tighter-radius turns found at other tracks.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-22-2003)

    (1-21-2003)

  • Spencer to run limited BGN schedule: Jimmy Spencer announced plans to run a limited BGN schedule in 2003 for Spencer Motor Ventures, the team that Spencer and his wife, Pat have owned since 1995. In the late ninety’s, Spencer competed as an owner/driver in limited Busch events, where he posted three wins and finished in the top-5 in about 40 percent of those events. Spencer carried that same success over to the #1 Phoenix Racing team, driving a limited schedule where he posted four wins in the past two years. Spencer hopes to run fifteen BGN/Winston Cup companion events this season, pending sponsorship. The team is actively searching for corporations to fund this high-profile campaign. Spencer plans to run his first race of the season at Bristol on March 22, the same venue where he edged out Scott Wimmer for the win last year. “I love racing in the Busch Series,” said Jimmy Spencer.. “We have enjoyed a lot of success in Busch, and I plan to win more races, especially with my own team, like I did several years ago. Besides the talent we have here at Spencer Motor Ventures, I’ve got my Winston Cup team and crew chief, Tommy Baldwin to share data with, and that helps both teams. I can promise a sponsor, they will get their monies worth this season.”(Spencer Motor Ventures PR)(1-21-2003)
  • #54 Testing at Talladega this week UPDATE: While the teams learned a lot about setting up cars for qualifying during the Daytona tests, they still have to concern themselves with the race. Brand new BelCar Racing, which announced the partnership between Sam Belnavis and Travis Carter last week, is one team that expects to test at Talladega this week, and it’s possible Todd Bodine could be the driver. Carter was pleased with the progress made by the #54 Ford at Daytona, but he knows the team needs to find more speed. Carter appointed former chief engineer Derrick Finley crew chief. Finley worked with Philippe Lopez at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and moved with him to Carter’s in 1999. Billy Poindexter, formerly with Dale Jarrett’s team, has been hired as car chief.(Sporting News)(1-20-2003)
    UPDATE: other teams/drivers testing at Talladega this week include #33/#55-Christian Fittipaldi (will drive the #33 in the Daytona 500), #5-Terry Labonte, #17-Matt Kenseth in his BGN car and Andy Belmont in his ARCA car, #21-Ricky Rudd is also scheduled to test at Talladega this week.(1-21-2003)
  • Garage/Pit Access to be introduced UPDATE Announced: NASCAR is expected to talk policies, procedures and philosophies Tuesday, as more than 250 journalists on the UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour pay a visit to a new research and development facility in Concord, NC. New rules governing access to the garage area and pit road during times when Winston Cup cars are on the track will be outlined by NASCAR officials during the midday session. NASCAR and race tracks will this year begin issuing “hot” and “cold” passes granting garage area access. Fans with “cold” passes will be allowed to visit the track’s working areas when cars are not on the track. But during practice and qualifying sessions and races, only those with “hot” passes will be allowed in the garage or on pit road. Teams will have a limited number of “hot” passes to hand out to sponsors and guests, and tracks will also be limited in the number of “hot” passes they can hand out to local media, sponsors and guests.(ThatsRacin.com)
    NASCAR Announcement: NASCAR has instituted an access policy for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series garage and pit areas, designed to alleviate overcrowding and improve safety and security in the 2003 season and beyond. The policy, which goes into effect next month for season-opening events at Daytona International Speedway, is based on the designation of “hot” and “cold” times in the garage and pit areas and the requirement that some people have a “hot pass” allowing them garage and pit road access during “hot” times. NASCAR and its tracks will issue “hot passes” prior to and during a race weekend. Those passes must be accompanied by a normal NASCAR or track-issued paper credential for access during hot times. Those possessing a NASCAR season credential “ commonly referred to as a ‘hard card’ “ will not be required to have a hot pass. Accredited news media personnel will have the access they have been granted in past seasons.
    . Hot times for the garage will begin 30 minutes prior to any scheduled on-track race-car activity, and will end approximately 10 minutes after the on-track activity “ including practices, qualifying sessions and races “ concludes. At other times the garage will be considered œcold. In addition to the garage restrictions, pits will be designated as hot 30 minutes prior to the start of a race and will remain so until a race ends. “Our goal is to reduce the number of people in the garage and in the pits,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications. “We want to significantly reduce the number of people.”
    To help facilitate adherence to the access policy, large, red, strobe-like lights will be prominently positioned in the garage area to signify hot times. NASCAR reviewed the issue of allowing autographs in the garage area and determined the establishment of hot and cold times should inherently reduce the number of autograph-seekers.
    NASCAR will continue to monitor the new access policy as the season unfolds, and will make changes as needed. Said NASCAR President Mike Helton: “We’re constantly working to improve the environment for everyone involved with NASCAR Winston Cup racing. This policy is all about two issues “ safety and security. And this policy should improve the environment considerably.”

    NASCAR Winston Cup Series Access Policy Fast Facts:
    Q: What is a “hot” pass?
    A hot pass, which will be issued by NASCAR and track during a race weekend, allows the holder access into the garage area and pit area during “hot times.” A hot pass by itself will not allow the holder access; it must be accompanied by a credential issued by NASCAR or a track.

    Q: What is the difference between “hot” and “cold” times?
    A: A hot time for the garage area is defined as a period beginning 30 minutes before any on-track race-car activity, and ending approximately 10 minutes after that activity. All other times are considered cold. A hot time for the pits is defined as a period beginning 30 minutes before the start of a race, and ending when the race ends.

    Q: What is the reasoning behind the access policy?
    A: To significantly reduce the number of people who have access to the garage and pits during a race weekend and, in the process, increase safety and security in the garage and pits.

    Q: Will media be issued hot passes?
    A: Media members who have a NASCAR-issued season credential “ commonly referred to as a ‘hard card’ “ will not need a hot pass for garage/pit area access. Other accredited media members who do not possess a hard card will have to request a hot pass.

    Q: Will other “hard-card” holders be required to have hot passes for garage/pit area access?
    A: No. Those possessing a hard card will have access during hot and cold times.(NASCAR PR)(1-21-2003)

  • Haas CNC Racing to run Pontiac and the #0: Little old but here ya go (see past news on my #0 Team News and Links page): Haas CNC Racing announced today the team would field Pontiac Grand Prix racecars throughout the 2003 Winston Cup season. Jack Sprague, a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, will open the 2003 campaign behind the wheel of the #0 NetZero Pontiac at Daytona International Speedway, February 16, 2003. “Pontiac has had a long history of excellence in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, including winning the 2002 Winston Cup championship,” said Sprague on behalf of the team. “I’m extremely happy to be driving a Pontiac for Haas CNC Racing this year because I think it will give us the best opportunity to run up front on a weekly basis this season.”
    “Pontiac and GM Racing are eager to work with Jack Sprague and the NetZero team in 2003,” said Bob Kraut, Pontiac marketing manager. “Pontiac is proud of its history of racing championships and Jack certainly has proven himself to be extraordinary driver capable of winning on every level in which he has competed. We look forward to capturing yet another NASCAR title together.” The Pontiac brand has totaled 30 NASCAR Winston Cup victories over the last four seasons. Tony Stewart’s 2002 Winston Cup championship marked the 35th crown for General Motors since NASCAR began honoring its champions in 1949. General Motors, through its participation of its Pontiac and Chevrolet brands, is easily the most successful automobile company involved in NASCAR racing winning 25 of the last 30 Winston Cup championships. Sprague will be a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate this season. For more information about Pontiac’s involvement in NASCAR Winston Cup racing as well as other forms of Pontiac motorsports, please log on to www.pontiacracing.com. Information about Jack Sprague and the #0 NetZero Pontiac Grand Prix can be accessed at www.netzeroracing.com.(Close Finishes PR)(1-21-2003)
  • Former CART champ Jimmy Vasser to run partial BGN schedule: Jimmy Vasser, who won the 1996 CART series crown with Chip Ganassi Racing, will run a partial BGN schedule this season, beginning with his career debut in the season-opening Koolerz 300 at Daytona. Vasser, who will run fulltime in CART this season, is scheduled to run 10 races for Braun Racing [#19, #30] in the upcoming season.(NASCAR PR)(1-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 CART champion, didn’t test Monday but said he will attempt to qualify for Koolerz 300 at Daytona International Speedway in February, the first of 10 Busch Series races he hopes to run in a ride he will share with #30-Steadman Marlin for Braun Racing. (Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-21-2003)
  • UPS Extends thru 2006: Dale Jarrett, which on Monday announced it has extended its sponsorship deal with UPS for two years through 2006, took umbrage at a Charlotte Observer story last week saying that Ford’s hopes for winning the 2003 manufacturer’s championship depend largely on the performance of Roush Racing’s five teams. “I am going to give that story to our guys because they might take a little out of it,” he said. “I have to disagree with that. They have good teams up there at Roush, they have good drivers and nothing against them. But you’re going to see two cars right here that are going to make a huge difference for Ford and it’s quest for another manufacturer’s title. I can guarantee you that.”(ThatsRacin.com)(1-21-2003)
  • Skinner and #4 Team to film a commercial: Mike Skinner and the #4 Kodak Racing Team head west to Las Vegas on Wednesday, January 22, to begin filming a Pontiac Television commercial. Skinner and the entire over-the-wall Morgan-McClure Motorsports crew will be featured in the one of the commercials. The remaining team members will fly out to Vegas on Sunday to participate in a test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Monday, January 27 and Tuesday, January 28.(Morgan McClure PR)(1-21-2003)
  • Special #38 Schemes: the #38 M&M’s team will run five different paint schemes during the 2003 season, plus a Pedigree scheme at a race or two.(1-21-2003)
  • Cope to run Rolex 24: Archangel Motorsport Services has announced that it will again attempt the Rolex 24 with NASCAR veteran Derrike Cope, Chris Bingham, Brian DeVries and Larry Oberto. Archangel Motorsports Services, Inc., will field their #21 Nissan-powered Lola which won its class at the Rolex 24 in 2001 and finished second in 2002. “We’re very busy right now,” said team owner Mike Johnson. “We’re getting a little bit of a late start and are working very hard getting the car ready for the new SRPII rules.” In addition to his proven success running a championship sports car racing organization, Johnson is well known for his role as a cast member on MTV’s critically acclaimed “The Real World IV – London.” Cope, the 1990 Daytona 500 champion, will be Bingham’s coach and consultant for both his 2003 Busch Series and Winston Cup programs.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-21-2003)
  • More NMPA Awards: Richmond, VA TV and radio broadcasters Joe and Ruth Kelly received two awards from the National Motorsports Press Association this past weekend, taking first and second place in TV spot news.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    AND The Greenville News’ Mike Hembree has been named National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year for the fourth time. He received the George Cunningham Award, named in memory of The Atlanta Constitution’s late motorsports writer, at the association’s annual convention Sunday. No other writer has won the award more than twice. Hembree, a Spartanburg native and graduate of the University of South Carolina, has been at The News since 1978 and has covered motor sports for 20 years. “It is always a surprise when someone recognizes your efforts like this,” he said. “There are a lot of people on this beat who do an awful lot of good work.” Hembree was honored for his columns and for coverage of the Daytona 500.(Greenville News)(1-21-2003)
  • Another Parrott at Yates? If Brad Parrott has his way, he and his brother Todd won’t be the only Parrotts working at Robert Yates Racing this year. He’s talking to his father, long-time NASCAR veteran crew chief Buddy Parrott, about helping out, too. “Dad has been out of the sport for two years now. He never went to a race all last year, not one, and he’s eager,” said Brad Parrott, crew chief for Dale Jarrett’s team. “I’ve asked him for a little background help as far as looking at race films and pit crew films and he said he’d think about the possibility of doing that.” Todd Parrott, formerly Jarrett’s crew chief, is now the team’s director of competition.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-21-2003)
  • New Speed Show UPDATE BGN Qualifying: The Speed Channel will add a Grand National [Busch – BGN] version of its popular “Inside Winston Cup” show to its lineup this year. It will air on Wednesday nights before the rewind of the weekend’s Winston Cup race. Randy Lajoie and Hank Parker Jr. will be regular guests on the show, with a third panelist rotating each week. Allen Bestwick, who also hosts the Winston Cup show, will be the host.(ThatsRacinh.com)(1-12-2003)
    UPDATE – More Graphics and BGN qualifying: FOX announcer Mike Joy says the network has plans for added graphics and telemetry during qualifying to make that coverage more interesting for fans. FOX also plans to show Busch Grand National [BGN] qualifying. FOX and FX will broadcast the season’s first half in Cup and BGN before giving way to NBC and TNT.(News and Record)(1-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: SPEED Channel will take its popular Inside Winston Cup program format and host Allen Bestwick to the NASCAR Busch Series this season when Inside NBS debuts on Feb. 17 at 11:00pm/et. Two-time NASACR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie will team with fellow NASCAR driver Hank Parker Jr. on the set, with a third seat filled on a rotating basis. LaJoie and Parker will sit in with the popular Inside Winston Cup crew of Bestwick, Ken Schrader, Johnny Benson and Waltrip during SpeedWeeks, but LaJoie hopes the new program is quick to develop a personality of its own. And LaJoie is certain who his two toughest critics will be. In addition to coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series, Inside NBS will also have a regular segment on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. SPEED Channel plans to offer live or same-day coverage of NASCAR Busch Series qualifying and/or practice sessions at every race in 2003, the first scheduled for Feb. 12 at 2:30 p.m. from Daytona Beach.(SPEED Channel PR)(1-21-2003)


    (1-20-2003)

  • #49 BAM and Carrott Top UPDATE 2: yes that is Carrott Top and 1-800-CALLATT on the hood of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge that Ken Schrader will drive this year. Supposedly it is a 1/4 season deal (so far) for the Daytona 500 and the beginning of the season. Also, from a Winston Salem Journal article [in part]: Schrader’s plans to run for Andy Petree fell through when Petree’s sponsorship hopes were dashed. So Schrader is running for Beth Ann Morgenthau, a South Floridian who has been trying to get a foot in the NASCAR door. Schrader knows it’ll be tough, but he puts a positive spin on it. “But this year we’re running the full schedule, and we’ve got 1-800-Call ATT on it for the Daytona 500 and the first few races.” Schrader said. But Schrader, 47, will have to make the difference. “I don’t think I can screw them up too bad,” Schrader said with a grin. “Eddie Jones is the general manager, and he has been in the sport for years. Scott Eggleston, the crew chief, won the Daytona 500 a couple of years ago with Michael (Waltrip) and he brings a lot of experience. We’ve had a good Daytona test, and we’re going to Vegas with a lot of other cars. The people who own the car are very committed to the sport, and they’re working off their own money right, for a little bit. Hopefully just a little bit. We’re excited about AT&T, because it brings a little more credibility to our team. Everything is there. They’ve got a shop, they’ve got nice cars, they’ve got some depth as far as people in the shop, they’ve got good leadership. Joey Arrington (a key Dodge engine developer) building their motors.”(Winston Salem Journal)(1-19-2003)
    UPDATE: 1-800-CALLATT will be the primary sponsor on the #49 BAM Racing Dodge for seven (7) races in 2003 (doesn’t say which races besides the Daytona 500) and will be an associate sponsor for the remaining races, see images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(BAM Racing Site)(1-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The 1 800 CALL ATT primary sponsorship will make its first appearance on the car at the season-opening Daytona 500 and also the Budweiser Shootout. It will make future runs at Darlington; Bristol; Talladega; Martinsville; and the July race at Daytona.(Williams Company)(doesn’t say but assuming these are all the first races of the year at these tracks since it says the beginning of the season)(1-20-2003)
  • Frye to leave NASCAR for MRN? UPDATE: Hearing that Danielle Frye will leave her NASCAR PR position to become an MRN pit reporter. She would replace Jim Phillips who retired at the end of last season.(1-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Danielle Frye is leaving her position in NASCAR’s public relations office and will become a member of the Motor Racing Network’s broadcasting crew as a pit reporter.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-20-2003)
  • DW, Stewart, and Gibbs Appear on Fox NFL Pre-Game Show: Darrell Waltrip, Tony Stewart, and Joe Gibbs appeared on yesterday’s NFC Championship pre-game show on Fox. They were interviewed by Brown and Terry Bradshaw on the set on the Veterans Stadium field. James Brown referred to DW as “the handsome one” and introduced Terry Bradshaw as a “lovable redneck.” Bradshaw asked Gibbs if he ever thought he would have a lot of success in NASCAR. Gibbs responded, “I finally found something else I could do; stand there and watch cars go and pull for Tony and Bobby.” Gibbs also tried to collect $5,000 from Terry for something Bradshaw did when Gibbs was coaching a Pro Bowl. DW primed more of the NASCAR publicity machine. “Let me tell ya about NASCAR,” he said. “Let me just tell ya a little bit of NASCAR. We’re making movies. We got Britney Spears making movies. We got big Internets (sites) that are following our sport. We got Tony Stewart, our champion, running all over the country. Yeah, look at this guy. Everybody here, when he walked out on the field, they cheered ‘Yeah Tony.'” Gibbs also talked about the success of the #20 team and Stewart was asked about repeating as champion. Bradshaw also said to Stewart, “You’ve got to learn to be a nice guy, don’t you Tony?” The visit concluded with Brown thanking DW for the tips on his 1969 Camaro, which won the “Best of Show” award at Saturday’s World of Wheels show in Washington, DC.(MotorsportsTV)(1-20-2003)
  • Sad News: Flip Merwin, 28, of Wausau, WI, was killed during a qualifying race Saturday night at the 40th running of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby when his sled, traveling more than 70 mph, suddenly darted sharply to the right and into a fencepost on the front straightaway, off the oval’s fourth turn. Merwin became the second racer in less than a year to die as a result of an accident in the Eagle River Derby, the most prestigious event in the sport. Ed DeVault, of Cottage Grove, was involved in a two-sled wreck last January and suffered head injuries that led to his death in November. “We don’t know why the (Merwin) accident happened, and we may never know,” said Ted Otto, executive director of the United States Snowmobile Association. “Suspension parts are broken on the sled, but we don’t know if they broke in the crash or before. And we have no one to tell us.”(more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-20-2003)

 


(1-19-2003)

  • Hermie Sadler Cup news: #02-Hermie Sadler will make a sponsorship announcement in a few weeks about his Winston Cup team. Sadler was recently hired to drive a full BGN season for Rick Goodwin [#54 Toys-R-Us Chevy] but also plans to take his Cup team to 12 races.(Richmond Times Dispatch), Hermie Sadler will participate in some wrestling shows, see my Driver Appearances page for info.(1-19-2003)
  • GIC and Mixon merge: #44 BGN team owners Gregg and Denise Mixon of Davidson, NC have teamed up with #93 GIC Motorsports owner James Whitener of Shafter, California, in an effort to move the #44 team in a more positive direction. The team will be known as GIC-Mixon Motorsports with new race shop headquarters in the Mooresville, NC area which will house the #44 BGN and #93 Cup Series teams, with Mike Harmon behind the wheel of both. Mike Byrd of Clarksville, TN will assume crew chief duties for the team and has success in Winston Cup and Busch Series. He is looking forward to his new role with the team and believes he will put the team in a more competitive position in the series. The 2003 NASCAR schedule for the new team will have Mike Harmon competing in all-34 BGN races along with 4 to 5 Cup races which will be announced at a later date.(Catchfence thru a GIC-Mixon Motorsports PR)(1-19-2003)
  • McReynolds and Wally deal nixed? Fox analyst Larry McReynolds said he has investigated the possibility of becoming a co-owner of a NASCAR team with Wally Dallenbach, but the former crew chief said he is sticking to TV for the next two seasons.(Richmond Times Dispatch), see my Rumored News Teams page for past info.(1-19-2003)
  • Compton and Melling together for some Cup races in 2003? Stacy Compton, running the full BGN season in the #59 Kingsford BGN car, is on the outside trying to get back in. “We have two scenarios for Daytona: Mark Melling and I are talking about putting something together, for about 10 races. And our Busch owner has been talking with Mark about putting together five races,” he said. “So, best case scenario, we’re looking at 15 races. Worst case scenario, we’re not sure yet. “Mark is from Michigan, so I’m sure he’d like to go there. And Talladega has always been pretty good to us. Martinsville, Richmond, we’ve got some tracks in mind. And a little of it will be determined by what sponsors we have. If that comes through, hopefully we’ll know something pretty soon.” Compton missed Daytona testing and said he won’t be in the 500. “There’s no way at this point,” Compton said. “Mark had looked at trying to get a car ready, and up till two weeks ago it was still a go. But we just didn’t get everything put in place like we needed to.”(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(1-19-2003)
  • Joy/Wimmer Helps Out: Russ Lake hosted the Motorsports Charities Recognition Dinner on Jan. 10 to benefit Ranch Community Services which has raised more than $300,000 for the Ranch since he started the benefit 12 years ago. The Ranch is a Menomonee Falls rehabilitation center for developmentally disabled adults and children who suffer the effects of mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, emotional or behavioral problems, autism and brain damage. Prior to the 12th annual dinner, a lineup of auto racing celebrities, all wearing black tuxedos and red rose boutonnieres, autographed souvenir booklets for those attending. Honorary chairman of the event was #23 BGN driver Scott Wimmer and FOX-TV NASCAR analyst Mike Joy. Master of ceremonies at the dinner was David Hobbs, owner of David Hobbs Honda and past race car driver in events such as the Indianapolis 500, Road America and the SCCA Trans-Am series. Assisting him as co-emcee was Jim Tretow.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(1-19-2003)

    (1-18-2003)

  • Park – One or Two Year deal? In an interview reported on Florida Today (in part) – “It’s not really a big secret that this is a make-or-break year for Steve [Park],” [Dale] Earnhardt Jr. said after testing at Daytona International Speedway. “We put a lot of thought into what to do there. That was a real tough decision. We felt we needed to give Steve a good opportunity this year and I think we have put good people into position to really make a difference on that team. The team morale was really awful last year at the end of the season. Now that’s changed tremendously. So this season here, hopefully he can get some good finishes and get some confidence back, get the guys to get some confidence in him. We signed a two-year contract and hopefully he’s going to give us good reason to extend that.”(Florida Today)
    However: it was announced in August of 2002 that: Dale Earnhardt, Inc.[DEI] has signed Steve Park to a one-year contract extension to remain as the driver of the #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo through the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. “Steve is a talented race car driver and has continually shown his dedication and commitment to our sport, ” said team owner Teresa Earnhardt. “We look forward with anticipation and expectation that this continuity will ensure that the #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo lives up to its potential.” “I feel great that all we’ve put into re-signing with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Pennzoil has paid off,” said Park, Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s first Winston Cup driver. “I’m really happy that I’ll be in the #1 car for another season. Now that we have this behind us, we can concentrate on putting the #1 Pennzoil Chevy back in Victory Lane.” Park, 34, has driven for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. since 1996.(Steve Park Site and Letter from Steve Park)(8-16-2002/1-18-2003)
  • Schrader races next week in Arizona: Ken Schrader, driver of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge, will race at the Early Thaw 2003, a six-race series starting today at Central Arizona Raceway in Casa Grande, AZ. Because the Valley is one of the few venues available for winter racing, Schrader and several other out-of-state drivers already have entered. The series also includes two stops at Manzanita Speedway on Sunday and Tuesday. The series resumes Thursday at Central Arizona and a final two-day show worth $10,000 to the champion also is scheduled in Casa Grande on Jan. 25-26. Weekend shows start at 2 p.m., and midweek races begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $20 on Saturday and Sunday, and $15 for the Tuesday and Thursday races. A four-race winter series for International Motor Contest Association modifieds, pure stocks and bombers also begins today at Canyon Raceway. Racing starts at 1:00pm.(Arizona Republic)(1-18-2003)
  • Engine Rules at Daytona: The number of engines a team will be allowed to use will be limited at Daytona next month, said John Darby, Winston Cup series director. Last season, the series’ one-engine rule began after last year’s Daytona 500. This year, teams must run the same engine from Saturday’s first practice session (Feb. 8) through the twin-125 mile qualifying races (Feb. 13). If a team makes a change, then it must start at the rear of the field “at the minimum,” Darby said. After the twin 125 races, teams can make an engine change before the next day’s practice session. After that, they risk a similar penalty for changing engines.(News and Record)(1-18-2003)
  • #28 Crew Elected NAPCM 2002 Season Pit Crew of the Year: The National Association of Pit Crew Members has announced that the NASCAR Winston Cup Robert Yates Racing #28 Texaco Havoline Crew has been elected the NAPCM 2002 Season Pit Crew of the Year. The online election was held at the NAPCM website, www.napcm.com, during the 2002 season. Cambria Laveck Padgett, Director of Member Services for the NAPCM had this to say, “The #28 Texaco/Havoline Crew sure earned this award. It was a tough season for Ray, Bobby and the rest of the #28 crew yet they consistently performed sub 14 and 15 second pit stops. Those guys are always lightening fast and a great group of competitors.” In recognition of the award the #28 Crew will receive a NAPCM “Pit Crew of the Year” award packet including items from participating sponsor Mechanix Wear. To vote for the 2003 Season NAPCM Pit Crew of the Year or to learn more about the National Association of Pit Crew Members, visit the Pit Crew Club at www.napcm.com.(PR)(1-18-2003)
  • In Demand: The ‘NASCAR in Car on In Demand’ interactive TV offering debuted in June last year and, after a period of testing and refinement, the series is ready to market the product extensively to its fans. Despite the plug being pulled on a similar offering at Formula One after it failed to attract enough subscribers, NASCAR’s vice president for broadcasting Jeffrey Pollack outlined to sportbusiness.com his confidence in the property’s plans and expectations for its PPV service.(sportbusiness.com – need subscription to read)(1-18-2002)

    (1-17-2003)

  • UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour starts Monday: The International Union, UAW and General Motors Corporation announced they will be the presenting sponsor of the 20th annual UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. More than 200 motorsports journalists from 23 states and as far away as The Netherlands are registered to participate in this annual season-preview event which begins Monday afternoon, Jan. 20, and continues through Thursday evening, Jan. 24. The largest off-season media function in NASCAR racing, the UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour gives registered participants the opportunity to tour races shops, meet with drivers, crew chiefs and car owners, and discuss the latest developments and breaking news in motorsports with industry leaders. UAW-GM Motorsports is sponsoring the media tour for the seventh consecutive year. Joe Gibbs Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Hendrick Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing, Petty Enterprises, Evernham Motorsports, Roush Racing and Penske South Racing are among the teams scheduled to host media functions during the tour while NASCAR will welcome the media to its new Research and Development Center for the first time. UAW-GM Motorsports’ sponsorship of the tour is an extension of its involvement in NASCAR Winston Cup racing and commitment to educating the public and race fans. Since 1995, UAW-GM has sponsored the UAW-GM Quality 500 race every October at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(LMS PR)(1-17-2003)
  • NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated to release preview: NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated’s February issue is the largest in the publication’s history, at 264 pages. It is a complete and comprehensive preview of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season, featuring a beakout of the magazine’s selections as the drivers who will rank among the top 20 at the end of the year. Every driver scheduled to compete in 2003 is in the magazine, with their 2002 records, predictions on key races, keys to success, why they might win the championship and why they may not. Also there is a large section on fantasy racing, featuring complete statistics on every driver and their performances at every track. Full race reports from 2002 are included in the issue, along with previews of the BGN and CTS, 2003 schedules and more. The issue is highlighted by an in-depth and highly personal interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr. The February issue is on the newsstands or may be purchased by calling 800-883-7323.(1-17-2003)
  • NASCAR TV Guide Issues: After the successful launch last year of its first-ever sports-themed standalone magazine, NASCAR 2002, TV Guide is rolling out its second-annual NASCAR preview magazine, TV Guide Winston Cup. Hitting newsstands January 20, the full-size publication (as opposed to TV Guide’s customary digest size) is a comprehensive preview of the upcoming 2003 season. Targeted at the millions of NASCAR faithful, it also serves as the perfect primer for the many recent NASCAR converts. TV Guide Winston Cup features two different collectible covers, one with 2002 Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart and the other featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr., along with teammates Steve Park and Michael Waltrip. Each issue also includes a full-size poster of either Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Gordon. Fans will also find one of two sets of collectible trading cards: one set features the top stars of Winston Cup racing, the other is a set of commemorative Dale Earnhardt tribute cards. The 96-page, full-color magazine provides an exciting look at the season to come, with several features contributed by some of the nation’s top NASCAR journalists, including David Poole, Monte Dutton, Mike Hembree and Jim McLaurin. TV Guide predicts the top 25 finishers (Can Stewart repeat? TV Guide says yes) and provides comprehensive driver info and stats, schedules for all three series, as well as lineup and track information. A look back at the outrageously unpredictable 2002 season through some of the most memorable photos of the year. In addition to newsstands, fans can order the new publication online at the TV Guide Store. Also: On newsstands for its February 15 issue (on sale Monday, February 10), TV Guide magazine will publish three different special-process, moving-image NASCAR collector’s covers to highlight its regular 2003 NASCAR preview issue. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are each featured on one of these special covers of the nation’s top-selling weekly magazine.(TV Guide PR)(1-17-2003)
  • New Auto Racing Magazine: Dale Earnhardt Jr. graces this cover of Athlon’s inaugural Racing magazine which provides a comprehensive preview of the 2003 NASCAR season. Athlon Racing profiles and ranks the top 40 drivers, details each track on the Winston Cup circuit and takes a look at some of the burning issues in the world’s fastest growing sport. Athlon Sports has just launched a new magazine RACING. The magazine is edited by Charlie Miller, who also oversees Athlon’s other sports publications. More info at www.athlonsports.com.(1-17-2003)
  • Aikman and Staubach plan a Cup team for 2004 UPDATE 2: Former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach plan to become owners of a NASCAR Winston Cup team in time for the 2004 season, Aikman confirmed Thursday. Aikman, 36, retired after the Cowboys released him following the 2000 season. He led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl championships and was voted to the Pro Bowl six times. Aikman now is the lead color analyst for NFL broadcasts on the Fox network. He has been a regular visitor to Texas Motor Speedway since the facility opened in 1997, and has attended most of the NASCAR events at the track. Staubach, 60, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. He led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl titles and made the Pro Bowl six times. He won the Heisman Trophy while playing at Navy in 1963. Staubach now is the CEO of The Staubach Company, a diversified commercial real estate company headquartered in Dallas. Both Aikman and Staubach are discussing their plans with Winston Cup team owner Joe Gibbs, a former rival when Gibbs was the coach of the Washington Redskins. Gibbs will advise Aikman and Staubach on how to go about the process of starting a NASCAR team.(Dallas Morning News – need to register to read)(1-16-2003)
    UPDATE: Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach quarterbacked the same NFL team. Now they’re part owners of the same team – planning to enter a car in NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series in 2004. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks are partners in Hall of Fame Racing, which will be directed by former Trans-Am driver Bill Saunders, who will act as managing partner. “Roger and I have discussed this for a while, and all the pieces just came together. We’re not naive going into this thing. We recognize it will be a real challenge,” Aikman said in a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press. So far, Aikman said, the team has no shop, no equipment, no employees other than the three owners, no driver and no sponsor. The latter will be a priority, the three-time Super Bowl winner added. Aikman said Joe Gibbs, former coach of the Washington Redskins and now owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, which won Winston Cup championships in 2000 and 2002, has helped get the team off the ground. He also said it’s premature to be talking about a driver. The team will be headquartered in Dallas while maintaining a race shop in Charlotte, N.C., where most of the Winston Cup teams are based.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    UPDATE 2: The partners plan to tackle the Winston Cup schedule in February 2004 beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 — NASCAR’s Super Bowl — and a single-car team. A two-car team is planned for 2005 for an organization that will be headquartered in Dallas but operate out of the NASCAR hub of Charlotte, N.C. Hall of Fame Racing will spend this season hiring a director of racing operations, pursuing primary and associate sponsorships, courting manufacturers and compiling a list of prospective drivers and crewmen. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who pulled out of a deal that would have seen him buy into the Cup team owned by Andy Petree in August, is not involved in this venture. The partners have not decided if they will buy an existing Cup team, merge with one or start from scratch — as Gibbs did.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(1-17-2003)
  • Roush Guest of Honor: Jack Roush, multi-team NASCAR team owner [#6,16,17,97,99 in Cup, #9, #60 in BGN, #50, #99 in CTS], will be a guest of honor Saturday at the Michigan Automobile Racing Fan Clubannual awards banquet. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be held at the Imperial House Banquet Hall in Clinton Township. Stan Yee of Eastpointe, who has built cars for countless short-track drivers across the state, will be presented the lifetime achievement award. Thirty top Michigan drivers also will receive awards, as will 10 racetrack general managers. Club president Bill Barnhart said a half-dozen race cars, including an Indy car, midget, super late-model and Hooters Cup stocker, will be on display at the hall.(Detroit Free Press)(1-17-2003)
  • Mast Update: been told by some readers that Rick Mast [who last drove in the Cup series last May in the #90 Ford] was interviewed by WDBJ 7 on January 16th 2003. In the interview the News stated that Mast’s ailment was diagnosed in November of 2002. Mast stated that on a scale of 0% to 100% where 0% is dead and 100% is perfect health when he stopped driving, he was at 20% and he is now at 80%. Mast would not comment about his ailment, except to say that he has been working closely with NASCAR and a statement would be forth coming within a few weeks.(1-17-2003)
  • Sacks to race at Daytona…but: NASCAR Winston Cup veteran and former Pepsi 400 winner Greg Sacks has filed an entry for the Feb 8th ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway. Sacks is entered in a Bobby Jones Racing Jiffy Lube-sponsored Ford Taurus.(Greg Sacks Fans). No word on Sacks #05 Cup team, nothing has been mentioned about that team since summer of 2002.(1-17-2003)
  • Smaller Spoilers, Softer Tires in the works UPDATE: NASCAR Winston Cup Scene reports this week that NASCAR officials are moving toward smaller spoilers and working with Goodyear to use softer tire compounds, but the officials aren’t ready to say when the changes will be made. While drivers such as Rusty Wallace are urging the change as early as the season’s second race, the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, Winston Cup Director John Darby told the paper that the changes may not come that quickly. He said Goodyear has agreed to produce softer tires if NASCAR can reduce downforce, which Darby said the sanctioning body intends to do. The changes would make cars less dependent on aerodynamics and might make for more competitive racing by reducing the aero-push and increasing passing. “It’s going to take some time, and it’s hard to pinpoint how long that will be,” Darby said.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-2-2003)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup series director John Darby confirmed Thursday that NASCAR is moving toward cutting the height of rear spoilers and softening tires to help reduce the aerodynamic problems that have plagued the series in recent years. For the first time, Darby put somewhat of a timetable on addressing the problem. During preseason testing the past two weeks, such drivers as Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin have expressed their desire to see changes come sooner, rather than later. The primary complaint is that the dependency on aerodynamics of the cars, combined with the harder tire compound, have made passing extremely difficult and put more emphasis on pit stops during races. “Obviously, Goodyear will have to have a lot of notice. It’s easy to soften one tire, but they have to manufacturer tires enough for everyone to race on,” Darby said. “That process alone is likely a three-month lead time.” The tire change assessment itself indicates a change involving tires and spoilers would likely not be implemented before the second half of the season or even 2004.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-17-2003)


    (1-16-2003)

  • Shell and Yates? UPDATE yep: hearing that Shell Lubricants has signed a Exclusive Product-Technical Agreement with Robert Yates Racing, a multi-year product and technical agreement with Robert Yates Racing. As part of the sponsorship agreement, Shell Lubricants will supposedly be the exclusive lubricant supplier for the Robert Yates Racing teams.
    UPDATE: Shell Lubricants today announced a multi-year product and technical agreement with Robert Yates Racing. As part of the sponsorship agreement, Shell Lubricants will be the exclusive lubricant supplier for the Robert Yates Racing teams. The company’s alliance with Robert Yates Racing and its involvement in motorsports provide an opportunity for Shell Lubricants to further strengthen its brand, demonstrate the performance of its products and support its retailers and wholesalers. To highlight the relationship, the official ROTELLA T logo will be prominently displayed on the driver and team uniforms and on the racecars. The placement has the potential to reach 540 million people through races, television coverage and other special appearances. In addition to supplying specialty oil and greases to the Yates team, Shell will provide technical support including oil and engine part analysis in an effort to improve performance. Shell branded lubricants, including engine oils, transmission oil, gear box oils, greases and other products will be used in all Robert Yates Racing race cars. The sponsorship, which kicks off at the 2003 Daytona 500, provides numerous marketing, promotional and networking opportunities for Shell Lubricants as well as for its retailers and wholesalers.(Rotella PR)(1-16-2003)
  • Teresa Earnhardt to be on Dateline: Teresa Earnhardt will give her first interview since the death of her husband, racing legend Dale Earnhardt, to Dateline NBC, a producer for the show said Tuesday. Producer Matt Lombardi said Teresa Earnhardt will be interviewed by Katie Couric on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., and the taped segment is expected to air in mid-February. The interview “will most likely look at how she and Dale met, their years together and how she has taken over much of the responsibility of running Dale Earnhardt Inc.,” Lombardi said. The segment also will touch on Teresa Earnhardt’s fight to restrict access to autopsy photos, he said.(Orlando Sentinel)(1-16-2003)
  • Feisty France in better health, back at work: As stock cars roared around the track, a small black Volkswagen Jetta made a slow crawl through the Daytona International Speedway garage and pulled up to the NASCAR hauler. Bill France Jr. climbed out and gingerly walked the 10 steps toward the truck. At least a dozen crew members stopped and waved. A handful of officials asked if he needed any help. Nope, NASCAR’s chairman is just fine after recent health problems and back at work keeping a watchful eye over the family business. “I’m feeling better, a lot better,” the 69-year-old France said in an interview with The Associated Press. “My hip’s a little sore, that’s it. But the way I see it, things are good because I’m on the right side of the grass.” France, the oldest son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., broke his right hip in August when he fell after misjudging a step in a Daytona restaurant. Before he could be treated for that injury, doctors insisted he have heart bypass surgery. The long recovery and a setback – one lung filled with fluid in early December – kept him away from most NASCAR functions and led to speculation that the cancer he beat in 2001 was back. A recent checkup, though, gave him a clean bill of health, he said. France is determined to look his best when he plans to make his first official appearance of the 2003 season next week at a NASCAR function at the annual media tour [in Charlotte].(See full interview story at FoxSports/AP, includes quotes about minorities, women, autographs, driver benefits)(1-16-2003)
  • Petty Chairman: Richard Petty, the driver with the most wins in NASCAR history, will serve as chairman of the newly formed N.C. Motorsports Association. The association, which is based in Clemmons, was created last summer to promote the economic impact of the motorsports industry on the N.C. economy. “At a time when North Carolina is losing jobs in the manufacturing, agricultural and textile industries, the motorsports industry is creating hundreds of new jobs,” Petty says. Other association directors include Doug Stafford of Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Chris Browning with N.C. Speedway.(Charlotte Business Journal)(1-16-2003)
  • Friendly’s to Sponsor Cope: Friendly Ice Cream Corporation will sponsor Quest Motor Racing and the #37 Chevy of driver Derrike Cope in 2003. The announcement was made today. Friendly’s, a family restaurant company serving signature sandwiches, entrees and ice cream desserts, will sponsor Cope for the majority of NASCAR Winston Cup races this season, continuing a sponsorship which began last season. The first race will be February’s Daytona 500. “NASCAR and Friendly’s demographics are similar, becoming a sponsor and getting involved with NASCAR is a great fit for Friendly’s. This sponsorship fulfills a marketing objective for Friendly’s of increasing brand awareness. We believe Friendly’s and Quest Motor Racing make a formidable team and we look forward to a strong racing season,” stated Peter E. Bell, Senior Director, Marketing for Friendly’s. Cope is one of just eight active drivers to have won a Daytona 500, and one of just six since the start of the last decade. “A family sport needs family-type sponsors, and Friendly’s certainly is that,” Cope said. “No one in the sport is more cognizant of family than Friendly’s, and that is good for all of us in NASCAR racing.. Having a company like Friendly’s join us means a lot to me and to everyone at Quest Motor Racing,” said Cope, a native of Spanaway, Washington. “We are excited they are going to be part of our program in 2003, and we’re looking for a great year.” Additional information on Friendly Ice Cream Corporation can be found on the Company’s website (www.friendlys.com).(Williams Company)(1-16-2003)
  • Sirius Satellite May Face Bankruptcy UPDATE: Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. said it may be forced to file for Bankruptcy Court protection if the company, which offers more than 100 radio channels that can be heard across the U.S., can’t complete a refinancing by June.(Los Angeles Times – need to register for free to read), Sirius is the sponsor for the #7 Dodge that Jimmy Spencer will drive in 2003, no word on how this effects that sponsorship, esp since it may not happen until June. KMart and Conseco left the sport after declaring bankruptcy.(1-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. said on Wednesday that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved its application to transfer control of its radio licenses to its creditors, giving the broadcaster the go-ahead to restructure its debts. The satellite radio company, which suffered a severe funding crush after struggled with costly delays on the launch of its service, is in the process of a restructuring needed to extend its funding beyond the middle of this year. Sirius, which plans to swap almost $700 million in debt and all of its $525 million preferred stock for common stock, said it hopes to complete the restructuring this quarter. The swap would remove the company’s debts and provide it with funding until the middle of next year, Sirius said.(Yahoo Biz)
    ANDShares of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., which said Monday it may file for bankruptcy if its proposed restructuring isn’t completed by June, rose 73 percent since trading began yesterday, after a Salomon Smith Barney analyst changed his rating on the stock from “in-line” to “outperform.” None of the other eight analysts covering the company recommends buying the shares, according to Bloomberg analytics. The company will be in a stronger position if it completes its refinancing, because all debt will be eliminated, and i will have enough money “to operate close to break-even.” Sirius has lost more than $800 million since it was founded in 1990. In October, Sirius proposed a restructuring plan to avert bankruptcy that would leave current shareholders with 8 percent ownership, giving 92 percent to lenders, preferred stockholders and new investors. On Monday, Sirius said again in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it faces possible bankruptcy if its shareholders and lenders don’t agree to the company’s refinancing plan.(Detroit News)(1-16-2003)
  • More Toyota Stuff UPDATE: According to garage sources Toyota has placed at least one call to a third party engine casting company. The engine manufacurer is looking for support information and specifications for the V8 engine they’ll need if they want to go NASCAR racing in the future.(Ford Racing)
    AND Toyota is expected to join NASCAR next season with some factory-backed trucks on the Craftsman’s Truck tour, with the obvious aim of stepping up to the Winston Cup tour, probably by 2007. Toyota officials are working hard to recruit racing engineers from Detroit rivals for their NASCAR effort, and Toyota is seeking all sorts of proprietary engine information from Winston Cup engine manufacturers, according to Dodge sources. Toyota must submit a 358 c.i. V-8 to NASCAR for approval by Sept. 1, so the company should be quite far along in its development process. It is unclear which NASCAR operations might be helping Toyota with the project, although one unconfirmed report is that Robert Yates has an engine for testing.(Lap by Lap)(1-15-2003)
    UPDATE: folks at Robert Yates Racing IS NOT working with Toyota on engines or anything else in any way, shape or form and that RYR is very committed to Ford.(1-16-2003)
  • Racing tombstone raising eyebrows in small town: An 8-foot-tall, stainless-steel tombstone embossed with a race car has revved up a controversy in a tiny town southwest of the Quad Cities. The dispute has landed in the lap of the village’s cemetery board, which is mulling ways to make the memorial coexist with the cemetery’s more traditional grave sites. Brothers Dennis Begyn Jr. and Jesse Begyn hand-built the massive monument as a tribute to their father, Dennis Begyn Sr., who was killed last May when he lost control of his race car at an area drag strip. The brothers said they plan to add lights – a “Christmas tree” – like the ones that count down the start of a drag race.(ThatsRacin.com/Wires)(1-16-2003)

    (1-15-2003)

  • Earnhardt Jr. says contract with DEI awaiting signatures: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Wednesday he submitted a contract proposal to Dale Earnhardt Inc. [DEI] three weeks ago but company officials have yet to sign off on it. Once they do, Earnhardt Jr. said, he will sign as well. Earnhardt Jr. has not worked with an “official” contract since 1998, when he began driving for the team started by his late father. He worked under a handshake agreement until DEI proposed a “lifetime” contract last season. The new contract will be for five years and Earnhardt Jr. said and it includes a cap on the number of sponsor and team appearances he will make away from the track during the season. “Since drivers are contract labor, my primary focus is to drive for the team, so I sell my services to the team. So, I have allotted the team 40 appearances for whoever or whatever,” he said. “I had to put a cap on it. There was no control and nobody had hold of the reins. I just didn’t want to give away every free day I had.” Earnhardt Jr. said his team’s sponsor, Budweiser, was also interested in extending its deal with the driver and DEI. “The Bud deal is good and they are wanting to extend their end of it, but they are waiting on me to be signed for good so they get their eggs in their basket,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-15-2003)
  • Bodine and Hooters UPDATE 2 signs for 2003: #11-Brett Bodine, among the last drivers who own their cars, is working on a partnership with Bob Brooks of Hooters Restaurants. Bodine, 44, says the move should give him a better outlook. “We just haven’t been able to get ahead of things,” Bodine says. “The last few years, we were going backward.”(Sporting News)(1-13-2003)
    UPDATE: actually hearing that Brooks is not interested in Bodine’s team, not sure what this means in terms of the Hooter’s sponsorship.(1-14-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Winston Cup car owner/driver Brett Bodine said Wednesday he has secured sponsorship from Hooters for the 2003 season, but plans to have the restaurant chain’s owner, Bob Brooks, buy into the team have been put on hold. “Mr. Brooks and Hooters were very involved in purchasing Pace Airlines and then spinning off Hooters Air, so that’s taken up a lot of their time,” he said. “How we come out of this test was going to determine some decisions down the road. We’ve got to take everything we’ve got as far as information and try to make the best decisions for the race team.” Bodine said his team is behind in preparation for the new season and it brought just one new car to this week’s test. “We don’t have very many cars built and it’s going to be very taxing for us to be prepared for the start of the season,” he said. “We’ve got another car in the works, but I don’t know how or when it’s going to get done as far as testing at Talladega is concerned.”(ThatsRacin.com)(1-15-2003)
  • Frye to leave NASCAR for MRN? Hearing that Danielle Frye will leave her NASCAR PR position to become an MRN pit reporter. She would replace Jim Phillips who retired at the end of last season.(1-15-2003)
  • Fittipaldi to Petree? UPDATE: Jeff Hammond reported on Speed Channel’s Daytona Testing show [6:30pm/et] that is Andy Petree Racing finds a sponsor for the 2003 season, Christian Fittipaldi will drive the #55 Chevy the full season, with the Petty’s OK.(1-14-2003)
    UPDATE: after Christian Fittipaldi set the fastest time during the afternoon session, Petree said, “Hey, if he can do this, we can get a sponsor. He’ll be driving my car all year long.” That’s a big statement for Andy Petree to make because Fittipaldi was scheduled to drive cars for Petty Enterprises this year. According to Petree, though, Kyle and Richard Petty have said if Andy Petree Racing can get a sponsor for this young man, they’d love to see him drive full-time in Winston Cup.(FoxSports)
    AND no BGN? Fittipaldi said his plans with the Pettys are proceeding day by day. He said he does not expect to run Busch races, as originally planned. He will run the big-track ARCA races and will run various events (including the road courses) with the Pettys as he gains experience. The Pettys have two sponsored cars, the #43 Cheerios of John Andretti and the Georgia-Pacific #45 of Kyle Petty. Fittipaldi will run the #44, which at present has no full-time sponsorship, although Fittipaldi indicated that if sponsor presence is needed when he runs, Cheerios and/or Georgia-Pacific would provide paint and emblems.(Speed Channel)(1-15-2003)
  • More on the #54 and #66 Carter teams: Owners Points, Creww Chief, Owner and Hideo Fukuyama:
    Owners Points? Will This Be A Start-Up Team As Far As Owner Points Or Will You Be Able To Claim The 26? “No, it’s from the 26.
    Who Will Be The Crew Chief? (of the #54): “Derrick Finley, who has been the engineer for us the last four or five years, has taken that role as crew chief. We really haven’t made an official announcement about that, but we have now.”
    Can You Address The Hideo Fukuyama Situation Or The 66 Car? “I’m expecting to have a meeting in San Francisco with them next week about that, but, right now, it’s a little premature to predict what will happen. Not to detract from what we’re doing here, but dealing with that group is a little different. You kind of talk with them and expect certain things, and then you might not hear from them for four weeks and then they might just show up at your place the next day ready to do business. They take a different approach than we do.”
    Would Carl [part owner Carl Haas] Be Involved In That? “No, Carl wouldn’t be involved in that either. Carl is gonna take a hiatus for a year or two from Winston Cup, it looks like. I’ve got to be honest with you, Carl doesn’t want to forego his involvement in Winston Cup forever.”(Ford Racing)(1-15-2003)
  • Earnhardt street signs safe as DEI drives on with trademark dispute: Street and directional signs leading to the Dale Earnhardt Tribute likely won’t appear in ongoing legal discussions between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Kannapolis officials over trademark issues, say lawyers from both sides. DEI and widow Teresa Earnhardt recently have accused Kannapolis officials of violating the Dale Earnhardt trademark on promotional material and billboards promoting the tribute site by not getting her permission. However, when it comes to naming rights, street and directional signs seem to be in a different category.(Independent Tribune)(1-15-2003)
  • Childress Wine: NASCAR team owner [#29,#30,#31] Richard Childress and a business partner have announced plans to develop 70 acres for a winery, vineyard and hotel in Davidson County, NC. Childress said the initial investment would be from $6 million to $8 million. Childress and business partner Greg Johns of Greensboro plan to develop the land at the intersection of U.S. 64 and U.S. 52 west of Lexington. Plans include a 25,000-square-foot winery, a 25-acre vineyard, a hotel, restaurant and gift shop. Childress said construction on the winery could begin this year. It will likely be the spring of 2004 before the winery opens.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-15-2003)
  • Panasonic and DEI? hearing Panasonic could be an associate sponsor on one of the DEI [#1,#8,#15] cars in 2003.(1-15-2003)

    (1-14-2003)

  • Hillman leaves Foyt UPDATE Harrahs, Evernham, Dodge: crew chief, Mike Hillman, who worked most of the 2002 season at #14 A.J. Foyt Racing, left the team Monday. Team engineer Craig “Butch” Lamoreux, who had moved from Lewis Motorsports in the BGN [#46] at the end of last season, will assume the crew chief’s role Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway when rookie Winston Cup driver Larry Foyt opens a three-day test. Hillman, 45, made the decision to leave and his future plans are unknown, a team spokesman said. The Foyt team has been busy engineering a switch from Pontiacs to Dodge Intrepids for this season and will use engines from Evernham Motorsports. The team has scheduled a news conference at Daytona, where it is expected Foyt will announce his son’s plans to run for Rookie of the Year in 2003.(NASCAR.com)(1-13-2003)
    UPDATE: A.J. Foyt Racing has ended its engine program and will utilize engines from Evernham Motorsports this season. Team owner A.J. Foyt said Tuesday the alliance with Evernham is one part of a vast reorganization of his Winston Cup program, which includes a change from Pontiac to Dodge and the addition of his son, Larry Foyt, as the driver of the team’s #14 Dodges. “I needed to make some changes within my team because I wasn’t satisfied with the overall performance,” A.J. Foyt said. “We had some good races but we never found the consistency we needed to stay in the top positions. I believe the changes I’ve made will lead to much better performances and a much needed consistency throughout the season.” Larry Foyt spent the past two seasons in the Grand National series, where he struggled. In his rookie season, Foyt posted five top-20 finishes. Last year, Foyt had two top-10s and nine top-20 finishes. “At times I had some doubts about keeping my head above water,” Larry Foyt said. “But I got through it and I’m stronger and smarter for it, as a driver and a businessman.” Among the other changes, Mike Chase, a former driver and most recently a shock specialist in the Grand National series, has been hired as the team manager. Craig “Butch” Lamoreuz, a former chassis specialist with Evernham Motorsports, has joined the organization and may take over the role of crew chief before the season starts. Former crew chief, Mike Hillman, left the team on Monday.(ThatsRacin.com), see an image of the car at NASCAR.com(1-14-2003)
  • Conz Plans Changes: Brian Conz was recently informed by NASCAR that due to a rule change they have revoked Conz’s approval to enter and run in the Daytona 500. NASCAR has now told Conz that at this time he is approved to run in Winston Cup at the race tracks that are 2 miles or less in length. NASCAR has told Conz that after he has competed in the first two ARCA events in 2003 at Daytona and Atlanta he will then gain unrestricted approval to run in Winston Cup including the remaining races scheduled at Daytona in July and the April and October races at Talladega. At this time, Conz’s first Winston Cup event will be in Las Vegas. Testing for the #78 will begin tomorrow, Jan 15th with Mike Harmon stepping in for Conz in Daytona. Conz’s shop is located in Mooresville, NC on Performance Dr. And Steve Bird, four time BGN Champ crew chief has signed on as crew chief. NASCAR has assigned #78 as the car number for the 2003 Winston Cup season. Currently the team has five cars completed and several more in various stages of production.(Brian Conz Site)(1-14-2003)
  • Childress, others to visit overseas troops: Brendan Gaughan, Rick Crawford, Humpy Wheeler, Richard Childress, General Sadler and other NASCAR invitees will spend five days visiting overseas troops this month on the “Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve NASCAR Overseas Tour”. Stopping in Germany, Bosnia, Sicily and England, they will attend rallies on five military installations, talking to troops from the U.S. Army, Navy, Airforce and Marines. “This is an incredible honor,” say both Gaughan and Crawford. “Plus, it is a chance of a lifetime. We are both extremely honored and very excited about this opportunity.”(ThatsRacin.com)
    UPDATE: Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds will also be part of the group going.(1-14-2003)
  • Rolex 24 At Daytona on TV: Grand American Road Racing Association announced that it has reached an agreement with SPEED Channel to broadcast 16 hours of live coverage of the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona, Feb. 1-2. SPEED Channel’s live coverage of America’s great road race will begin on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET, with pre-race ceremonies. The green flag will fall at 1:00pm/et, and SPEED Channel will follow the action live into the night. Saturday’s broadcast will end at 9:00pm/et Live coverage will resume Sunday morning at 6:00am/et, where SPEED Channel will update race fans with what happened during the night and follow the final hours of racing live to the checkered flag at 1:00pm/et and the Victory Lane celebration that follows.(ThatsRacin.com) – NASCAR connection: Kyle Petty, Kevin Lepage and Christian Fittipaldi will drive in the race.(1-14-2003)
  • Evernham Motorsports Changes: Evernham Motorsports announced that several key personnel have assumed new duties within the organization. Effective immediately, Kenny Francis assumes the role of team director. Prior to accepting this position, Francis was race engineer for the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge driven by Bill Elliott. Derek Jones assumes Francis’ former duties in addition to his duties as senior engineer for Evernham Motorsports. Dr. Eric Warren, technical director, continues to oversee all engineering aspects related to the Evernham Motorsports Dodge Intrepids. Mike Shiplett assumes the role of lead mechanic for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. Shiplett comes to Evernham Motorsports from the #7 Dodge Winston Cup team. Josh Browne assumes the role of race engineer. His responsibilities include supervision of all engineering aspects specific to the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. “We have a lot of knowledgeable people working at Evernham Motorsports, and we decided to distribute that knowledge a little differently,” said Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. “These changes reflect our commitment to bringing the best possible product to the race track for the Dodge Dealers and all of our valued partners. Kenny has been an integral part of the success of our organization, and I know he will continue to do so in his new role. The addition of Mike Shiplett and the transition of Josh to the #19 team solidifies Evernham Motorsports’ commitment to using technological based decisions to enhance our on-track performance. We have restructured a little differently than the traditional Winston Cup operation, but this sport is growing in such monumental ways that sometimes traditional ways need to be updated.” In 2002, Evernham Motorsports announced that the #19 Dodge team would run under a new management system consisting of a team director, a lead mechanic and a race engineer. The #9 Dodge team assumes this structure as well and remains intact with Mike Ford as the director of operations, Bobby Foley as the lead mechanic with Jones as race engineer for the team.(Golin Harris PR)(1-14-2003)
  • DW’s Truck plans include ‘family’?…Mikey? will Darrell Waltrip run any CTS races in 2003? “I don’t think Jim Harris, who we [with Stacy Compton] both drove for this past year, is coming back this season. I drove the Duckhead Dodge at Martinsville and the Tide Dodge at Indianapolis Raceway Park for Jim, and he was tied with Melling Racing, which has closed its doors. That’s where Jim kept the trucks. I think he and Melling had an agreement of some nature so Jim called and said he probably wasn’t going to race any in 2003. It looks like we’re going to be able to put something together for a couple of races this year, and I think we’ll have an announcement very soon about what we’re planning on doing. We’re going to try to keep it in the family — just a little clue for you.”(FoxSports)(1-14-2003)
  • Gordon’s SNL Exposure Results: Jeff Gordon’s hosting stint on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend enabled his main racing sponsor Du Pont and 10 other Hendrick Motorsports sponsors to earn nearly $1 million of comparable exposure value during the live, 1.5-hour telecast. Additionally, five other NASCAR sponsors got in on the act during Gordon’s appearance, bringing about a cumulative exposure value of more than $1.8 million for the brands more commonly seen on Sunday afternoons at the race track. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates’ Entertainment Marketing Research Services — which specializes in documentation and analysis of exposure stemming from product placements in television programs and motion pictures — Du Pont was the most effective of the 16 corporate brands monitored during the “Saturday Night Live” broadcast, appearing for one minute, 48 seconds (1:48) and leading to a value of $405,000 when comparing the on-screen time to the estimated cost of a 30-second commercial during the telecast. Other Gordon-related brands sharing the spotlight during the driver’s foray into the entertainment world included Chevrolet, Delphi , Haas, Eagle/Goodyear, Fritos,. GMAC, Pepsi, Quaker State and Tyvek.. Additionally, Coca-Cola, Interstate Batteries, MBNA, Pontiac and Thermos also received some camera time. The majority of the exposure value resulted during Gordon’s monologue at the beginning of the show when a pair of would-be NASCAR fans, clad in Gordon and Bobby Labonte team jackets, shouted their support of the driver from the stands. The remainder of the sponsors’ exposure originated from still photographs of Gordon in his driver suit coming in and out of commercial breaks throughout the telecast.(Joyce Julius and Associates)(1-14-2003)
  • BH Motorsports dissolves But….and Todd Bodine news UPDATE 3: #54 BH Motorsports, which this season hoped to be the first black-owned Winston Cup team to run a full-time schedule, has dissolved, team officials confirmed Friday. The team was co-owned by Sam Belnavis, a native New Yorker and former director of sports marketing with Miller Brewing Co., and Tinsley Hughes, a former co-owner of #85 Mansion Motorsports, which has fielded cars in Cup on a part-time basis. Hendrick Motorsports was planning to assist the team with chassis and engines. BH Motorsports had also started a driver diversity program. The team attempted three Cup races with driver Ron Hornaday in 2002, but inclement weather canceled qualifying twice and Hornaday failed to make the field in the other. Hornaday did compete in the ARCA event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with the team, finishing second. Belnavis will remain in the sport. Within the next few weeks, he is expected to announce the formation of a new team, BelCar Racing – a partnership between himself and longtime Winston Cup car owner Travis Carter, ThatsRacin.com has learned. The new team will have sponsorship from the National Guard, which was initially signed with BH Motorsports, and will field Fords with driver Todd Bodine, utilizing Carter’s equipment. The car number has not been determined. Bodine drove Carter’s #26 Ford in 2002, but his future with the team was in doubt after the sponsor left at the end of the season. The new team will likely continue the driver diversity program began by the National Guard and BH Motorsports, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Travis Carter is close to announcing a new partnership with Sam Belnavis, former director of sports marketing with Miller Brewing Co., and the National Guard for a full Winston Cup season with Todd Bodine as driver. However, crew chief Donnie Wingo moved to Ganassi Racing [#42], so finding a crew chief and a new crew will be Carter’s first tasks once the deal is done.(Sporting News)(1-6-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Sam Belnavis and Travis Carter announced today the formation of BelCar Racing. The minority-owned organization will field the #54 Army National Guard Ford driven by Todd Bodine for the entire 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. Belnavis, the majority shareholder, intends on making a long-term impact with BelCar Racing by being the first minority-owned team in NASCAR’s 55-year history to run a full schedule in the series top division. “Our involvement in racing is focused on enhancing the diversity effort in NASCAR as well as increasing the recruitment efforts and retention rates of our primary advertiser, the Army National Guard,” said Belnavis, chairman of BelCar Racing. “The Army National Guard, along with our driver, Todd Bodine and the resources that Travis Carter brings with him, are helping us lay the groundwork for a successful future in Winston Cup racing.” Having been around motorsports for more than 20 years as an executive with the Miller Brewing Company, Belnavis has been involved in several significant industry sponsorships. The Charlotte, N.C., resident brought Miller into the world of racing signing NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Bobby Allison to run the #22 Miller High Life Buick. “I’m committed,” added Belnavis. “My background in sports marketing and motorsports has given me an understanding of what it takes to be a championship caliber organization. It takes a lot of hard work, the proper resources and dedication. That’s what BelCar Racing is all about.” Carter, who will oversee race operations, also boasts an impressive NASCAR resume. Carter’s 32-year career includes winning the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship in his rookie year as crew chief for Benny Parsons. After working as crew chief for drivers Bobby Allison, Harry Gant, Rick Mast, Cale Yarborough and Benny Parsons, he joined the owner ranks in 1989 and has amassed six pole positions and more than $18 million in career earnings. “Sam and I have a lot in common as we are both eager for success,” remarked Carter. “With our combined resources, I know we’ll achieve the goals set for BelCar Racing in 2003.” In preparations for the upcoming season, the #54 Army National Guard team will conduct test sessions at the Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and North Carolina Speedway. The track time has Bodine excited to get back to work. “I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity,” said Bodine. “I have driven for Travis for the last two years and know he has the equipment already in place to be competitive. Sam brings a new and valuable perspective to this team and I am looking forward to driving for BelCar Racing. The timing of this announcement is perfect. It gives us every opportunity to test and prepare for this season which will get us in better position to win.” BelCar Racing will operate out of the Travis Carter Enterprises complex located here.(Cox Marketing PR)
    NOTE: not sure yet, but assume the team will use the 2002 #26 Owers Points for provisionals to use for the first four 2003 races.(1-13-2003)
    UPDATE 3 – Geoffrey to practice: Todd Bodine met with Dr. Petty and Dr. Adamson on Monday, Jan 13th at Carolina Neurosurgery and has been released to drive. He and team owners decided to let his brother Geoffrey test at Daytona this week to give his back some additional time. “I feel great and have been increasing my strength and flexibility daily and could have gotten in the car for the test but with Geoffrey available there was not an urgency to get back in. We all feel two more weeks will be that much better. I will be at the test to help and have been working at the shop for the last couple of weeks fabricating and decaling and am excited about 2003. I will get back into a car at the Las Vegas test for my Cup and Busch cars at the end of the month.”(Todd Bodine Site)(1-14-2003)


    (1-13-2003)

  • DEI and Kannapolis at odds over Earnhardt tribute: Dale Earnhardt’s widow has asked city officials in Kannapolis to stop using the late driver’s name and likeness on materials associated with a statue and park until they get her approval. George Taulbee, an attorney representing Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Inc., said Monday he asked officials with the Dale Earnhardt Tribute to end all use of fund-raising fliers and billboards until the materials have been authorized. “We’re hopeful this can be resolved because everybody wants the statue and the park to be an appropriate memorial to Dale,” Taulbee said. “But materials that display his name and image require approval before they are used, and that approval has not been obtained.” Taulbee, of the Charlotte-based Alston & Bird, said Teresa Earnhardt and DEI support the statue and park but don’t want organizers of the tribute using new materials to promote it until she signs off on them. Taulbee most recently expressed the widow’s views in a Jan. 6 letter to Kannapolis leaders and Atlantic American Properties, which owns the site where the Dale Earnhardt statue and tribute center are located. At odds are materials such as a card soliciting donations for the planned park that shows a photo of the driver wearing sunglasses and a NASCAR uniform. Billboards along nearby interstate highways also use the Earnhardt image to advertise the tribute. City Manager Mike Mahaney said the city of Kannapolis has hired an attorney to help with the copyright and trademark issues.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-13-2003)
  • Harvick to run in the CTS and have team: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy for Richard Childress racing, announced that he plans to field trucks for 10-15 Craftsman Truck Series events in 2003. “We were really pleased with our truck efforts right out of the box,” Harvick said. “My goal was to establish a top-notch truck team, and I think we’ve proven that our team is capable of winning each time we show up to the track. “I’d like to run another year of trucks, move to the Busch Series for a couple of years and then be a Winston Cup owner,” continued Harvick.” Harvick plans to run the majority of the scheduled truck races in 2003, along with Ed Berrier, Harvick’s crew chief in the Truck Series, and Brandon Miller, a newcomer to the series. Berrier, who previously raced for Junie Donleavy in the Winston Cup Series and is a veteran of the BGN, will pilot the #6 Chevy for the season-opening event in Daytona. Miller, a 21-year-old resident of Bakersfield, CA, who has predominately raced Late Models on the West Coast will make his Truck Series debut at Mesa Marin Raceway in March. KHI’s 2003 Truck Series Line Up (Tentative): Berrier will run at: Daytona; Harvick at: Darlington, Martinsville (both), Bristol, Richmond, Lowe’s, Dover, NHIS, Phoenix and Homestead; and Miller at: Mesa Marin.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-13-2003)
  • Wally and Larry Mac teaming up? UPDATE: Current television broadcasters [NBC/TNT] Wally Dallenbach and [Fox] Larry McReynolds may become NASCAR team owners in 2003. Sources report the duo is negotiating to create a team which will field BGN and Winston Cup entires at selected events this coming season with Dallenbach handling driving duties. Dallenbach drove in several BGN races last season while also working as a member of the NBC/TNT NASCAR broadcast team. The former Winston Cup regular will return to the booth again this year with his driving schedule worked around broadcast duties. McReynolds is a member of the FOX broadcast team and also does work for its affiliate SPEED Channel. The former championship winning crew chief would assume similar duties for Dallenbach with the new team. Sources have told RacingOne the new entity is close to finalizing sponsorship details and that an official announcement could come in days. A BGN debut is expected to come in July at Daytona with a Winston Cup entry next August at Watkins Glen.(RacingOne)(1-9-2003)
    UPDATE: Fox Sports analyst and former crew chief Larry McReynolds is in discussions with NBC analyst and driver Wally Dallenbach to start up a new Busch Series team for the second half of the season. “We’d like to find an existing team and see if they’re interested,” McReynolds says. He says his ability to work on cars will enhance his value on the broadcasts.(Sporting News)(1-13-2003)
  • Museum Celebrates Racing History: High Point Museum [NC] supporters and racing fans celebrated the museum’s stock car racing exhibit with a gala at Bill Davis Racing Saturday night. The museum’s exhibit, “When Racing was Racing: Stock Car Racing in the Piedmont Triad,” ran from March through September last year. It highlighted the roots of stock car racing from the 1930s through the 1950s and focused on the local racing scene in that era. Barbara Taylor, the museum’s executive director, said Bill Davis Racing on Old Thomasville Road [NC] seemed like a logical place to hold the gala, since the owners donated some of the items for the exhibit. Taylor said that the race shop is a natural extension of the exhibit because fans can tour the facility. Gail Davis, wife of Bill Davis, said Ward Burton’s car, which won the Daytona 500 last year, will be on display at the shop after February.(High Point Enterprise)(1-13-2003)
  • Sporting News Names Power 100: The Sporting News has named its Power 100 in the world of sports. Here are some of the highlights for racing fans (top 40 ranked by number and the rest split into categories):
    8. Fox Sports Chairman David Hill – “Fox may lack ESPN’s omnipresence, but it’s darn close — there’s Fox Sports Net (nicely profitable in 2002), FX Channel and Speed Channel, plus a website and radio network. And Hill’s bold approach often gives Fox products a distinctive (albeit frequently crass) identity. Fox’s big spending on the NFL, MLB and NASCAR makes it the most important broadcast network. Of course, if Fox steps back, we may look back and say Hill and NBC’s thrifty Dick Ebersol (see No. 33) should have been flip-flopped. But for now Hill is paying and he’s a player.
    11. Bill France Jr. – “NASCAR keeps zooming toward (past?) the big three of sports. Only shaky health and the lack of day-to-day involvement keep France from the top 10.”
    18. Fox Sports President Ed Goren – Runs last broadcast powerhouse, which aired the World Series, Super Bowl and NASCAR in 2002 and garnered 11 Sports Emmy awards last spring — four more than the ESPN networks combined.
    21. NASCAR President Mike Helton
    33. NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol
    In the specific categories, Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch was named the #2 Emperor, NASCAR’s Brian France was named the #6 Sports Executive, Tony Stewart was the #6 Athlete, Turner Sports President Mark Lazarus was #2 and Fox Sports Net President Tracy Dolgin was #3 in the Media Executive rankings, and DEI chief engine builder Richie Gilmore was the #3 Technology Wonk.(MotorsportsTV)(1-13-2003)
  • Las Vegas Open Testing Roster: Jan.27-30 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
    #24-Jeff Gordon — Jan. 27-28
    #22-Ward Burton — Jan. 27-28
    #48-Jimmie Johnson — Jan. 27-28
    #25-Joe Nemechek — Jan. 27-28
    #16-Greg Biffle — Jan. 27-28
    #97-Kurt Busch — Jan. 27-28
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield — Jan. 27-28
    #49-Ken Schrader — Jan. 27-28
    #45-Kyle Petty — Jan. 28-29
    #18-Bobby Labonte — Jan. 28-29
    #20-Tony Stewart — Jan. 28-29
    #41-Casey Mears — Jan. 28-29
    #43-John Andretti — Jan. 28-29
    #42-Jamie McMurray — Jan. 28-29
    #01-Jerry Nadeau — Jan. 29-30
    #23-Kenny Wallace — Jan. 29-30
    #74-Tony Raines — Jan. 29-30
    #46?-Brandon Ash — Jan. 29-30
    #7-Jimmy Spencer — Jan. 29-30
    #07-Ted Musgrave — Jan. 29-30
    #0-Jack Sprague — TBA.(LVMS PR)(1-10-2003)
    #1-Steve Park — Jan. 27-28 (Steve Park Site)
    #10-John Benson — Jan 27-28(Johnny Benson Site)(1-13-2003)

(1-12-2003)

 

  • Some Daytona 500 stuff: According to Winston Cup Director, John Darby many of the pieces that NASCAR uses to control the cars at DIS will be just as they were when the tour last ran a restrictor plate race, which was October at Talladega Superspeedway. The cars will run a 7/8-inch plate as well as the smaller fuel cell, according to Darby. The restrictor plate, used to slow the cars from what might well be a 230 mph lap, if the cars ran open motors, should hold the DIS laps to about 185 mph. Atlanta, Texas, Michigan and California tracks will all boast pole speeds quite a bit quicker than the pole speed for the 2003 Daytona 500. The fuel cells once again will be in the 12-gallon neighborhood, versus the 22 gallons allowed at open motor tracks. The smaller cells, which led to pit stops during the close of October’s EA Sports 500, will be used, again. This will give NASCAR more information for possible future changes in the size of the fuel cans for the next plate race. Speaking about the fuel cells Darby told TFR, “Daytona’s a little different track length. We had an idea [with the smaller fuel cells] and only ran it one race. We’d like to watch it more than that [before we do anything with the cells].” (Ford Racing)(1-12-2003)
  • More Toyota: Ford Racing reports that it learned that the new Toyota stock car development shops are located in a sprawling new campus in Patterson, Calif. Those in the southern California shops are busily working toward having a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series truck on the track in ’04 or ’05 and a Winston Cup car in possibly ’06 or ’07.(Ford Racing)(1-12-2003)
  • Some Gordon/SNL highlights: NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon traded his helmet and logo covered flame retardant suit for a host of wigs, mustaches, outrageous costumes…and a boa constrictor when he hosted NBC’s Emmy Award-winning “Saturday Night Live” January 11. During his 90 minutes on the live broadcast, the four-time Winston Cup champ played numerous roles including an animal expert, a fighter pilot and a Blockbuster Video store manager. Gordon addressed the stereotypes ascribed to NASCAR fans in his opening monologue when he confronted a disruptive couple in the audience (SNL’s Chris Parnell and Rachel Dratch) only to expose them as a conservative couple from Connecticut just trying to fit in. Gordon donned a boa constrictor to match wits with recurring character “Brian Fellow” (Tracy Morgan) on another edition of “Safari Planet.” In addition, Gordon donned a mullet wig to play the cousin, cameraman and sole guest on the very low budget basement talk show “The Terrye Funck Hour” and played a fighter pilot showing up a carpet salesman dad (Seth Meyers) at an elementary school career day as well as playing a waiter contending with a rambling, incoherent Gary Busey (Jeff Richards) in a parody of the reality show “Star Dates.”(NBC PR)(1-12-2003)

  • New Speed Show: The Speed Channel will add a Grand National [Busch – BGN] version of its popular “Inside Winston Cup” show to its lineup this year. It will air on Wednesday nights before the rewind of the weekend’s Winston Cup race. Randy Lajoie and Hank Parker Jr. will be regular guests on the show, with a third panelist rotating each week. Allen Bestwick, who also hosts the Winston Cup show, will be the host.(ThatsRacinh.com)(1-12-2003)
  • Hamilton Retires from Cup? UPDATE No: Bobby Hamilton will run in the Truck Series full time in 2003 (see story on my CTS site), didn’t realize he was ‘retiring’ from Cup…: Nashville’s Bobby Hamilton, a former wrecker driver who became a NASCAR star with more than $15 million in winnings, yesterday announced his retirement from Winston Cup racing. ”We’ve all gotta face it sometime,” Hamilton said. ”It’s just a matter of time until we all step down.” Hamilton, 45, will remain active by driving one of the three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series trucks he fields out of his Mt. Juliet racing headquarters. But he said the big-league career he began in 1989 is over. See full story at the Tennessean: Hamilton out of Winston Cup.(1-8-2003)
    UPDATE: Bobby Hamilton is adamant about three things. He’s not taking a step down. He’s not retired from Winston Cup racing. And he, and his three-team Truck Series program, are taking a step toward the future. “I’m not looking for a Winston Cup car to try. I’m not retired from Winston Cup, as it was put out,” said Hamilton, a 12-year veteran of the Winston Cup ranks. “It was put out at home that I retired from Winston Cup. When I retire, that word retires means retired. It’s over with. It’s not a step back or a step down.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-12-2003)
  • Stewart to run in the Chili Bowl UPDATE 2: 2002 Winston Cup champ will run the 2003 Chili Bowl in Tulsa, OK. Two weeks after Christmas, the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals arrive. Emmett Hahn and Lanny Edwards are organizers of the four-night race meet since its 1987 inception. Stewart is scheduled to run on Friday night. Keep track of all the info for the race at www.chilibowl.com.(1-7-2003)
    or www.ilikeracing.com or listen via www.rsbn.net.(1-10-2003)
    UPDATE Stewart 2nd on Friday: Cory Kruseman [who ran some CTS races in 2002] was the third past Chili Bowl champion to visit victory lane in as many nights, as he led Tony Stewart to the checkered flag in Friday night’s 25-lap Cherokee Casino Qualifying Showdown main event Tulsa, OK.(www.chilibowl.com)(1-11-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Staying in the hunt throughout Saturday night’s 50-lap 17th Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals main event, Wisconsin’s Dan Boorse took advantage of Cory Kruseman’s ill fate to move into third on a lap 46 restart, then rode the cushion around Tony Stewart for second and then Jay Drake on the final round to claim his second Chili Bowl Nationals championship before a record crowd of 14,630. Stewart ended up 3rd. Stewart also ran the Ford Focus Race of Champions, won by Tim Crawley of Mabelvale, AR, Stewart ended up 7th(www.chilibowl.com)(1-12-2003)


    (1-11-2003)

  • Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame first inductees: The Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame will hold its first induction ceremony during the 2002 Big Daddy’s South Boston Speedway Awards Banquet, scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25 at the World of Sports in South Boston, VA. The first inductees will be Virginia motorsports legends, the late Ray Hendricks and the late Wendell Scott. Both men will be represented by their families at the induction. Hendrick, a legendary driver known for his hard-charging driving style, recorded hundreds of wins at South Boston during his storied career, many of them coming when he was piloting the famous winged #11 Modified coupe fielded by Jack Tant and Clayton Mitchell. The Richmond star won five track championships at South Boston, four of them while competing in the NASCAR Modified division and one in the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman division. Danville, VA, native Scott was the only African American driver to regularly participate in the NASCAR Grand National (now Winston Cup) series. On Dec. 1, 1963, he became the first and only African American driver to win a Grand National race, with the victory coming in Jacksonville, FL. In 1999, Scott was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, AL. The Speedway announced its plans for the establishment of the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame in early 2002 following Ward Burton’s Daytona 500 victory. Burton’s win marked the first time a Virginian had won the race. The activities of the Hall of Fame will surpass just the induction ceremony, including the establishment of a Virginia Motorsports Walk of Fame at South Boston Speedway. Throughout the year, the Speedway will initiate numerous fund-raising events, with the proceeds distributed to up-and-coming Virginia racers. The Danville Register and Bee will assist the Hall of Fame in its fund raising efforts. The advisory board of the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame includes four Virginia natives: Atlanta Motor Speedway General Manager Ed Clark; Barbara Bass of the South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History; motorsports artist Garry Hill; and legendary Winston Cup car owner Junie Donlavey.(South Boston Speedway PR)(1-11-2003)
  • Policy change will limit fans’ access to garages UPDATE 2: For the first time in its history, NASCAR will severely restrict admission to the garage and pit-road areas. Only ”working” personnel will be allowed in those areas during practice, qualifying and the race itself. Thousands of fans will be denied access under the new policy. Supposedly each race team will be issued 30 pit passes per race, and each track limited to 50 additional passes to be issued at its discretion. NASCAR will reserve an undetermined number of passes for distribution, and will continue to issue the annual ”hard-card” credential to national media that cover a large number of events. Tracks can use their discretion in issuing additional media passes. Details of the new policy have not been finalized but a new policy would be in place for the 2003 season that severely curtailed the number of people admitted to the working garage area.(in part and paraphrased frpm the Tennessean)(1-2-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing that NASCAR will install devices throughout the garage and pit area that flashes a yellow light. The light will come on precisely 30 minutes before practice, qualifying, and the race. At that point, security will begin making a sweep. The pits and garage then become “hot.” You must have a hot pass to accompany your hard card or track-issued credential. This is a change because in the past hard cards were considered to always be “hot.” No longer. Everyone all the way up to team owners have to pick up a “hot” pass each week to accompany their hard card. Each team will be given 30 passes (in addition to hard cards) per race.(1-6-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Being told the lights will be red LED’s not amber.(1-11-2003)
  • Engine stuff UPDATE 3: the word is that Dodge’s Ray Evernham may be supplementing his own in-house engine operation by signing up for a Penske engine leasing program with Penske’s engine man Larry Wallace..(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2002)
    UPDATE: Larry Wallace may be taking over command of the engine program for Ray Evernham’s three teams, according to Detroit sources. Wallace has been the Ford engine builder for years for Rusty Wallace (no relation), but his contract with the Roger Penske team is reported to be up at the end of this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-25-2002)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Larry Wallace has left Penske Racing, no word….yet…on where he many go…Evernham?(12-19-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Sources say Larry Wallace, who until recently was chief builder for Penske South, has been approached by Toyota, although that could not be confirmed.(Speed Channel)(1-11-2003)


    (1-10-2003)

  • Stewart Honor: Tony Stewart and former midget car owner Ralph Potter have been elected to the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans’ Hall of Fame.(Indy Star)(1-10-2003)
  • No Autographs in the Garage Area? UPDATE Drivers in favor: NASCAR is considering a plan to prohibit drivers from signing autographs in the garage area at tracks to reduce fan congestion. NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. said Wednesday the possible ban is part of the sanctioning body’s ongoing effort to restore order in the garage. “We need to get the garage area back to where the guys can work on the cars,” France said in an interview with The Associated Press. “So if we do this, when a fan asks a driver for an autograph, the driver will be able to say `NASCAR won’t let me.’ ” A sport that has long prided itself on the level of access that fans have with the teams, NASCAR in recent years has seen an overcrowding that has led to numerous complaints from drivers and crews, as well as injuries among spectators. So France said he’s proposed only allowing drivers to sign autographs in the area immediately around their hauler and organizing a period once a weekend where all 43 drivers would take turns sitting at a table to sign autographs in 10-minute increments. Punishment for signing autographs at any other time could be monetary – perhaps a $500 fine – although France said he preferred penalizing offending drivers by sending them to the back of the field at the start of the race. “Obviously, it would be a judgment call on when a driver would be punished for it, but we’ve got to do something because these guys can’t even walk around anymore,” he said. NASCAR plans to unveil the new rules for garage access later this month, France said. But its goal is to reduce the total number of individuals in the garage during competition by some 20 percent. Expected to be introduced this season will be special “hot” passes that will be given to team members, NASCAR officials and media that allow entrance into the garage while cars are on the track in practice, qualifying or the race. Without the pass, access to the garage won’t be granted. The rule is likely to be enforced on pit road during the race, but not during practice and qualifying. Teams and sponsors will receive an allotted sum of passes each week, ending the near limitless supply they used to have.(Fort Worth Star Telegram/AP)(1-9-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR drivers on Thursday supported a proposed effort to limit autographs in the garage area, stressing the importance of finding a way to clear up the current congestion. NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. has proposed outlawing autographs in the garage except for the areas immediately around a driver’s hauler and in designated spots at specified times. “We’ve got to educate the drivers and the fans on what’s appropriate and what is not appropriate,” Jeff Burton said during testing at Daytona International Speedway. “There is no autograph etiquette, there is no proper understanding of what to do and when to do it and how to do it,” he said. “I think to get an education process started, we’ve got to make some rules and just stick to them.” France said Winston Cup champions Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart both support his proposal, which would force the drivers to decline many autograph requests and blame it on the sanctioning body. NASCAR has always been fan friendly, giving the average spectator almost total access to its teams. But overcrowding in recent years has led to complaints from drivers and crews, as well as injuries among spectators. The sanctioning body plans to unveil new rules for garage access later this month, with a goal of reducing the number of people in the garage during competition by some 20 percent.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-10-2003)
  • Pemberton back to Roush? UPDATE: Where will Robin Pemberton, who recently split with Petty Enterprises, end up? Insiders are betting on his returning to the Jack Roush camp, where he once starred during Mark Martin’s early days on the tour.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-9-2003)
    UPDATE: Robin Pemberton’s surprising split with Kyle Petty earlier this week, apparently after Pemberton was overruled on two engineers [supposedly from Penske] he wanted to hire. Those men wound up at Joe Gibbs, but where Pemberton might go is unclear.(Winston Salem News Journal)(1-10-2003)
  • Rusty says no retirement…just yet: Rusty Wallace has no plans to stop racing any time soon. “I’m going to drive for at least three more years,” said the 46-year-old Wallace said. “I’m not looking for anything after three. I’ve always said the day I can’t be competitive and I’m just out there running, I don’t want nothing to do with it. But I’m not even close to that. I should have won a ton of races [in 2002]; we had great runs last year,” he said. “Everybody keeps talking to me about (retirement) for some reason. I guess when you get 46 years old, that’s a question you get asked. But I’m not close.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-10-2003)
  • Some No Bull Stuff: No one driving either a Pontiac or a Dodge has ever won the Winston No Bull 5 million.
    • Since R.J. Reynolds first got involved with NASCAR racing in 1971, they have spent more than $84,000,000. And to think it all started when Junior Johnson went to them to sponsor his race car. Johnson left the meeting knowing they wanted to spend a lot of money, so he called Bill France Sr. and told him they may want to sponsor the entire division.
    • One hundred and fifteen fans have been randomly picked in the “They Win, You Win” Winston sweepstakes. That’s where a fan gets pared up with a driver and if the driver wins the race then the fan wins a million dollars, too. Make that 114 fans, Johnnie Bowser from Charlotte has been picked twice. Sorry to say he didn’t win either time.(Caledonian-Record) The No Bull Five Driver/Fan program has been cancelled.(1-10-2003)
  • Nadeau still aching: #01-Jerry Nadeau, who injured his ribs and right shoulder in a go-kart accident late last season, said he feels nearly 100 percent but may one day still require surgery. “The right arm still hurts at times, but I think a lot of it is because I’ve been working out a lot and it seems like it may not be totally healed,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I’m going to have to live with. The only way I can get it back normal is if I had an operation.” Nadeau, who will drive the #01 US Army Pontiac for MB2 Motorsports this season, said he would re-evaluate the need for surgery at the end of the season.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-10-2003)
  • Spying on the Spies: A little bit of scanner chatter this afternoon provided some entertainment for those who happened to catch the action. The talk centered on a Hendrick Motorsports employee as observed by a Dale Earnhardt Inc. employee. The Hendrick employee, in street cloths, was taking pictures of competitors’ car noses and tails. The DEI employee dutifully reported each new location of the Hendrick employee as he moved through the garage. This week there’s been a lot of open talk regarding the rear bumper cap and rear-end styling of the DEI cars. There’s no doubt that there’s a visual difference in those areas between the DEI cars and the other Chevys. But NASCAR doesn’t inspect cars during these test sessions – unless requested – so, it wouldn’t matter how DEI, or any other team, trimmed any aspect of their car. The only true hit comes from lost test time, which is a valuable commodity with just four weeks until the Daytona 500.(Ford Racing)(1-10-2003)
  • Pardus back to Cup? Dan Pardus, who raced in the BGN for Jim and Judie Motorsports [#32] last year and competed in the 1998 Pepsi 400, has hooked up with Holzer Motorsports, owned by New Smryna Beach, FL’s Sonny Panholzer. The team is exploring its options for 2003, including BGN and Winston Cup events. If sponsorship can be finalized, the team could compete at Daytona International Speedway during Speed Weeks, said team vice president Vanessa Tyler-Thompson. Anyone interested in sponsorship may call Tyler-Thompson at (386) 428-9227.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-10-2003)

    (1-9-2003)

  • BACE Motorsports and Rains to run full Cup: BACE Motorsports announced they will compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in the 2003 season with Tony Raines as the driver of the #74 Chevy. Larry Carter has been named Crew Chief for the #74 Team in their first full season Cup effort. With BACE’s transition to NASCAR’s premiere division, the three-time BGN Champions are focused on continuing a tradition of excellence initiated over 10 years ago when the team was founded by owner Bill Baumgardner. “We’re excited to make the transition to the Winston Cup level with the No. 74 Team,” Baumgardner said. “Last season we made a strategic change in plan for the No. 74 by running a handful of races at the Winston Cup level. Now we are dedicating 100 percent of the focus of this team to continue building a competitive Winston Cup program. Since BACE was formed, we’ve been committed to a standard of excellence that has led our team to success. With the elements we currently have in place, having Tony as our driver and several personnel changes we made during the off season, we believe that this is the appropriate time to make the move to Winston Cup.” Raines joined BACE in 1999 as driver of the No. 33 Busch Series entry. BACE’s move to Cup completes Raines’ development through all three top touring series of NASCAR. Additionally, Raines will compete for Rookie of the Year honors in the Winston Cup Series, having already earned those honors in the BGN (1999) with BACE as well as the All Pro Series in 1990. He was the runner-up in that honor in the CTS in 1997. “Last year we were able to run seven races at the Winston Cup level,” Raines said. “Our goal when we started with my first race in June at Dover was to just qualify (Raines started 17th in his Winston Cup debut). As we ran additional races, our goals began to change. We didn’t just want to compete but to learn to be competitive. It’s a building process for any team starting out to be competitive in The Winston Cup Series. This is the top level in our sport so it’s natural to want to progress and run at that level. Bill and Brian (Baumgardner) have committed over 10 years to building a championship organization in the Busch Series and it’s an honor for me to be a part of this team as we begin a full-time Winston Cup effort at BACE.” Making the calls as crew chief for the No. 74 Team in 2003 is Larry Carter. Carter last served as head wrench in 2002 for driver Todd Bodine while working for his uncle, Travis Carter at Haas/Carter Motorsports. With 13 years of NASCAR experience under his belt, Carter holds over 110 career Winston Cup starts as a crew chief. Joining the BACE organization in December, Carter immediately realized a strong foundation in place for a Winston Cup organization. “When I started, I saw they have a lot of good systems and people already in place so I do not think that they are missing anything that they need to go Winston Cup racing,” Carter said. “Now, it’s just a matter of getting everything positioned in the right direction to be successful. A definite positive is that Tony and I hit it off immediately. Having spent time together on and off the track, our personalities seem to go together. I’m looking forward to working with him. Everything that I’ve seen of him on the track displays his talent and ability to get the job done.” Also assisting in BACE’s transition to NASCAR’s upper echelon is Michael “Dover” Kadlecik, crew chief for the #33 BGN entry last season. Kadlecik remains with the organization now serving as Head Engineer a throwback to his roots in Motorsports. BACE Motorsports has the distinction of being the only team to win the NASCAR Busch Championship over three consecutive years (1995, 1996, 1997). The team has 16 total victories, twice recorded Rookie of Year honors (1994, 1999) and has set 17 NASCAR Busch Series records.(BACE Motorsports PR)(1-9-2003)
  • Elliott Does Some Dirt Trackin’: Bill Elliott, driver of the #9 Dodge in Cup, visited Cleveland Speedway on Tuesday for a private practice session which he said was “mostly for fun.” Elliott arrived at the Speedway shortly after noon via helicopter. He ran the 1/3 mile dirt track in two different cars, describing Cleveland Speedway as “fast.” Bobby Turner and 17-year-old Bradley Central High School junior Todd Morrow joined Elliott on the track. The two drivers were used to “pace,” or compare, times with the NASCAR great. The practice session was kept private so work could be done. While Elliott admitted his main purpose was for entertainment, the dirt track was also good conditioning for the upcoming NASCAR season. Although he rarely gets time to visit them, Elliott said visiting smaller tracks like Cleveland Speedway is a hobby. Elliott’s visit to Cleveland was the first since he was a child.(Cleveland Daily Banner)(1-9-2003)
  • So what is up with Geoffrey Bodine? Geoffrey Bodine’s prospects for the 2003 race season have clouded since he returned from his goodwill tour of American Troop bases in the Middle East over the New Year’s holiday. Bodine, Winston Cup driver Jerry Nadeau, and three other drivers took part in the Armed Forces Entertainment Program’s “Operation Enduring Freedom.” They spent five days meeting troops in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. But since his return Friday, the Chemung native’s options for competing in next month’s Daytona 500 have all but disappeared. He finished third in that race last year. Bodine said he had talks with Andy Petree Racing about driving for that team, but Petree announced Monday that he hired Christian Fittipaldi for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16. Last week it was reported that Bodine’s sponsor during the past few years — Miccosukee Indian Gaming Casino — agreed to sponsor Mike Wallace in the James Finch-owned car in the Daytona 500 and four other races. Bodine has been unable to reach officials of the Florida-based casino, but she said the news wasn’t encouraging. Bodine is eligible for the Bud Shootout, which is Feb. 8 at Daytona. With his sponsorship up in the air and few, if any, cars with open seats remaining, Bodine doesn’t have any plans for that race either. For now, Bodine will test the Travis Carter Ford for youngest brother Todd on Jan. 14 and 15 at Daytona International Speedway. Todd is still recuperating after back surgery Nov. 22 to repair a ruptured disc. Bodine is also expected to offer some help to middle brother Brett during next week’s tests at Daytona. Geoffrey is still hopeful that he’ll hook up with the Cegwa Sport Daytona Prototype team for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on Feb. 1 and 2. John Shapiro, Cegwa Sport’s team manager, said Wednesday that he didn’t know what Bodine’s status was with the team, but Shapiro said there is a possibility Bodine could join the team. He said they have signed two of their four drivers so far.(Elmira Star Gazette)(1-9-2003)
  • Petty to be Honored: Richard Petty and The News-Journal’s motorsports editor Godwin Kelly will headline the Living Legends of Auto Racing’s 11th annual awards banquet at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12, at the Plaza Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach. Petty will be presented with the LLOAR’s Distinguished Driver award, while Kelly will receive the Russ Moyer Media Award. Banquet seating is $40 per person and tickets are available only in advance. For information contact Carol Peoples at (386) 441-3246.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-9-2003)
  • Head and Neck Restrait Update: NASCAR managing director of competitionGary Nelson said NASCAR consultant John Melvin has examined at least six new head-and-neck restraints products designed to protect the neck in crashes. Only the Hutchens Device and the HANS device are approved by NASCAR. NASCAR has not approved the use of any new energy-absorbing walls or head-restraint systems for the 2003 season. “Each one is unique and some offer benefits in some areas and less in other areas,” Nelson said. “Our job is to sort that out and make sure we do no harm by allowing something. We still are looking at the ones that have been submitted.” Nelson and Melvin were among the presenters Wednesday in a safety meeting with the drivers.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-9-2003)
  • ‘Softwalls’ Update: NASCAR has not approved the use of any new energy-absorbing walls for the 2003 season, NASCAR managing director of competition Gary Nelson said. Nelson said the wall developers want to do more research. “The people that designed it and invented it are asking us to hold off until they complete their testing.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-9-2003)
  • #2 Crew Member back..but: Earl Barban, crew member for Rusty Wallace’s #2 Dodge, fully recovered from the November motorcycle accident that occurred on his way to the Rockingham, N.C. event, but pre-season testing brought another hazard. The last time Barban was at the track was Homestead, Fla., and he appeared an ashen gray color from the pain he was enduring at the time. Barban suffered internal injuries and an injury to his leg in the crash. Fully recovered Barban was ready for testing. That is until he stepped off the truck at a wrong angle and twisted his ankle — severely. “Ya, I was in great shape — for the first 15 minutes of practice. Now I’ve got these things [crutches] again.”(Ford Racing)(1-9-2003)
  • Wally and Larry Mac teaming up? Current television broadcasters [NBC/TNT] Wally Dallenbach and [Fox] Larry McReynolds may become NASCAR team owners in 2003. Sources report the duo is negotiating to create a team which will field BGN and Winston Cup entires at selected events this coming season with Dallenbach handling driving duties. Dallenbach drove in several BGN races last season while also working as a member of the NBC/TNT NASCAR broadcast team. The former Winston Cup regular will return to the booth again this year with his driving schedule worked around broadcast duties. McReynolds is a member of the FOX broadcast team and also does work for its affiliate SPEED Channel. The former championship winning crew chief would assume similar duties for Dallenbach with the new team. Sources have told RacingOne the new entity is close to finalizing sponsorship details and that an official announcement could come in days. A BGN debut is expected to come in July at Daytona with a Winston Cup entry next August at Watkins Glen.(RacingOne)(1-9-2003)
  • Pressley to run three at Daytona? While Robert Pressley will not be behind the wheel of the #18 Dodge Truck for Bobby Hamilton Racing in the CTS this season, he has many options for 2003. Due to the fact that Hamilton was unable to secure a Winston Cup ride, he will be competing in the CTS, driving his own equipment. Pressley is now listening to a few deals for the 2003 season. Pressley is currently examining several options in Winston Cup, BGN, and CTS. He is eying a possible tripleheader at Daytona in February, returning to the Truck series to defend his season-opening win of 2002, along with competing in the BGN and Cup events as well. “I am extremely happy with the possible scenarios that could happen in the 2003 season,” said Pressley. “The idea of running in all three events at Daytona is very exciting.”(Robert Pressley site)(1-9-2003)

    (1-8-2003)

  • Stewart probably skiping the Indy 500: Tony Stewart indicated Wednesday he is likely to put on his hold his dream of winning the Indianapolis 500 so long as he remains in the Winston Cup series. Since joining Cup in 1999, Stewart has twice run the 500, which is held the same day as the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I’ve thought about it and I decided even before I left Homestead (last season) that I wasn’t even going to try it again,” said Stewart, who won the Winston Cup championship in 2002. “As much as my heart wants to do it, I need to take care of what I signed up for here.” Stewart, the reigning Winston Cup champion, said he had not received any pressure from team owner Joe Gibbs or crew chief Greg Zipadelli to end his INdy 500 quest. “It’s a strain on Greg and the guys on the team,” Stewart said. “Every day that I’m up there they worry about a tire blowing out or an engine blowing or something that is out of my control … (and) screw something up to where I can’t do my job here. This is what I do. I’m a stock car driver.”(ThatsRacin.com)(1-8-2003)
  • America’s Most Wanted Racing Update: RapidAlert.Net, a National Leader In Fundraising with the most generous offering of over 50% of every profile sold – has signed with America’s Most Wanted Racing (a subsidiary of Body Dynamics Motorsports) as a secondary associate sponsor, which assures the team the ability to generate substantial ongoing revenue to assist in their missing children’s motorsports program which will compliment their campaign while they negotiate a Primary Sponsor. RapidAlert.Net can help save abducted and missing children. Through RapidAlert.Net, families can quickly provide emergency personnel anywhere in the world with a current photo and physical description of the missing child. For more information visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(PR)(1-8-2003)
  • Johnson makes it 3 for IROC UPDATE and…all driver named: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Winston Cup #48 Lowe’s Home Improvement Chevrolet, accepted an invitation to participate in the 2003 International Race of Champions (IROC). The IROC Racing Series has featured drivers from NASCAR’s Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, World of Outlaws, International Racing League (IRL) and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Johnson is hoping that he can continue the NASCAR Winston Cup series’ dominance as of late. The four races that make up the 2003 IROC Racing Series will take place at Daytona International Speedway in February, Talladega Superspeedway in April, Chicagoland Speedway in July and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August.(Golin Harris PR)
    Add Harvick: Also Wednesday, sources confirmed that Winston Cup driver Kevin Harvick – who won the 2002 IROC championship – has accepted an invitation to defend his championship this season.(ThatsRacin.com)
    Add Martin, Busch, Newman, Biffle and Bliss: Other NASCAR participants include Busch Series champion Greg Biffle, Craftsman Truck Series champ Mike Bliss, Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Ryan Newman, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch. IRL drivers Sam Hornish, Helio Castroneves and Felipe Giaffone complete the IROC field.(NASCAR.com)(1-8-2003)
  • Evernham/Atwood Split: Evernham Motorsports and Casey Atwood today announced that Atwood is free to pursue other driving opportunities. “Casey is a good friend and a talented driver,” said Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. “We want what’s best for him and his career.”(Golin Harris PR)(1-8-2003)
  • Stewart Declines IROC Invite: For the second consecutive season, the reigning Winston Cup champion [Tony Stewart in 2002] has declined an invitation to participate in the International Race of Championsseries. Jeff Gordon, who won the 2001 champion, elected not to participate in last season’s IROC series, which features 12 drivers from various forms of motorsports competing in four 100-mile races in equally prepared Pontiac Firebirds. Stewart won the season opening IROC race last season and Winston Cup driver Kevin Harvick won the series title. “With all that goes on during any given Winston Cup weekend, the time to focus on the main job – driving (for my team) – becomes more and more valuable as our sport continues to grow. I’ve never been a Winston Cup champion before and I want to do it right – for my team, for my fellow competitors and for my fans. When you win one championship it makes you want to win a second that much more.”(ThatsRacin.com), so far only two drivers have been named to run IROC 2003, WoO drivers Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser. Usually it is the top five from Cup, the top drivers from the IRL, CART (is schedules match) and the BGN and sometimes CTS champ.(1-8-2003)
  • Hamilton Retires from Cup? Bobby Hamilton will run in the Truck Series full time in 2003 (see story on my CTS site), didn’t realize he was ‘retiring’ from Cup…: Nashville’s Bobby Hamilton, a former wrecker driver who became a NASCAR star with more than $15 million in winnings, yesterday announced his retirement from Winston Cup racing. ”We’ve all gotta face it sometime,” Hamilton said. ”It’s just a matter of time until we all step down.” Hamilton, 45, will remain active by driving one of the three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series trucks he fields out of his Mt. Juliet racing headquarters. But he said the big-league career he began in 1989 is over. See full story at the Tennessean: Hamilton out of Winston Cup.(1-8-2003)
  • Robby Gordon to run BGN: a quote from Team Gordon on some 2003 plans (besides his #31 Cup ride): “Our hope is to participate in some Busch Grand National events this season and beyond out of the Team Gordon Shop. Of course funding for the program must be adequate enough for us to put together wins. Right now there are a few companies interested in participating in a Busch program with an Indy 500 and Baja 1000 overflow, but nothing is concrete at this time. It’s a wait-and-see scenario.”(American Race Fan)(1-8-2003)
  • Restraint Refresher Course: In a safety seminar this morning at the speedway, the inventors of the HANS and Hutchens head-and-neck restraints are expected to give drivers a refresher course on the proper way to wear each device. There’s growing concern drivers have not been wearing the devices properly, possibly reducing their effectiveness in a crash.(USA Today)(1-8-2003)
  • $16 Million? The U.S. Army has committed $16 million to sponsor Jerry Nadeau in his renumbered #01 Pontiac this year. That includes team sponsorship, radio and TV ads, a mobile Army recruiting station at several tracks and “Army Night” at a number of Dodge Weekly Racing Series tracks.(Daily Press)(1-8-2003)
  • Petty’s back on TV with STP: After a 10 year hiatus from its advertising campaigns, race car legend Richard Petty is returning to TV on behalf of Clorox Co.’s STP brand. Petty, a seven-time Nascar Winston Cup champion, first appeared for STP in the 1970s. In recent years, however, he has limited his association with the brand to driving an STP-sponsored race car and serving as a spokesman for the brand in a public relations capacity. Michael Hoar, management director on the account at Omnicom Group’s DDB Worldwide, San Francisco, said the decision to bring Petty back for the campaign resulted from research that found that sons learn about car care from their fathers. The ads back the STP Fuel Additives line, which includes three products: Gas Treatment, Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner, and Complete Fuel System Cleaner. In the spots, titled “Dad’s Advice,” Petty’s son Kyle, a NASCAR Winston Cup driver, talks about the importance of cleaning a car’s fuel system as well as the engine’s oil. The younger Mr. Petty speaks to the camera, but when he slams down the hood of the car, his father is seen in the background wearing his trademark cowboy hat and glasses. “It’s the ultimate father handing advice to the ultimate son,” Mr Hoar said. The spots broke this week on NASCAR and sports programming. A print and in-store component also is included, along with public relations activities.(AdAge)(1-8-2003)
  • CW Smith to run some Cup races? Smith Brothers Motorsports is planning to run a number of races throughout the 2003 season in both the NASCAR Winston Cup series and NASCAR Busch Grand National Division. They are currently running in selected events with the goal being to add to their schedule and eventually run on a full-time basis. One event mentioned on their site is The Gatorade Twin 125 qualifying race for the Daytona 500. Pocono is another track they are considering.(Smith Brothers Motorsports site)(1-8-2003)
  • Cope to help out Howard: Shelby Howard will have additional expertise in his pits in 2003. The 17-year-old driver starts his second full year in the ARCA Series with Cup veteran Derrike Cope serving as a team consultant. Cope, the winner of the 1990 Daytona 500, will be on hand for all of the races that accompany the Winston Cup Series as well as a variety of test sessions. Team owner Shelby Howard III says that bringing Cope on board is being viewed by the whole team as a necessary step. In addition to the typical ARCA test sessions, Howard will also climb behind the wheel of Cope’s Winston Cup car to gain additional experience.(Shelby Howard Site)(1-8-2003)

    (1-7-2003)

  • Manufacturer Rules for the Daytona 500 in 2003: All Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Dodges and Fords will have the same 1.5-inch nose “kickout,” or the extension of the front air dam below the bumper. All four makes, which have to mount their bodies on the same reference point, will also use the identical rear spoiler package — 6.25 inches high by 57 inches wide at a 55-degree angle. Also downsized fuel cells, about 13.5 gallons (down from the standard 22-gallon cell used everywhere else) will be used at Daytona.(NASCAR.com), assume they will go back to the 22 gallon tanks for the non-restrictor plate tracks, it is not clear.(1-7-2003)
  • Restrictor Plate Track Weight Rules: NASCAR has implemented a new rule effective for the four superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega this season requiring the total rear weight of the right rear and the left rear to not exceed 50-percent of a car’s minimum weight. For example, a car required to weigh 3400 pounds must not weigh more than 1700 pounds across the rear wheels. Winston Cup series director John Darby said Tuesday the rule was adapted to prevent teams from circumventing the rear shock and spring requirements at Daytona and Talladega. Darby said NASCAR did not want to allow teams to chance compromising the safety advantage in rear crushability.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-7-2003)
  • No Bull Five News UPDATE No More: Changes are expected to be announced soon in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s No Bull Five fan-driver bonus program. The five-year-old program paid million-dollar prizes to drivers and fans at selected Winston Cup races. Drawings paired five drivers and fans at each race, and a victory won $1 million for the driver and his fan. RJR officials have discussed major changes in the program and, in the next few days, are expected to announce how the 2003 version will operate. “Some people think it’s served its purpose, and you either change it or look to do other things,” said RJR spokesman Denny Darnell. “We’ve looked at a couple of variations of the program.”(Greenville News)(1-5-2002)
    UPDATE: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. announced on Monday its Winston brand will not continue the Winston No Bull 5 program in 2003. The No Bull 5, a bonus program for both drivers and fans, was introduced in 1998 in celebration of NASCAR’s 50th anniversary. Five races were picked prior to the start of each season in which one of five drivers was eligible to win $1 million if he won the race. In recent seasons, fans were paired with the drivers, allowing a fan to win $1 million as well if one of the eligible drivers won the event. “The Winston No Bull 5 program was a very successful program for the Winston brand,” said Ned Leary, president of RJR’s Sports Marketing Enterprises. “However, we are constantly evaluating the allocation of resources. “For 2003, the decision has been made to deploy those resources in other areas.” Leary said the decision to end the bonus program did not affect the company’s sponsorship of NASCAR’s Winston Cup series, which RJR has sponsored the past 32 years.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-6-2003)
  • Hamilton to the Trucks? UPDATE 2 Yes with Square D: Bobby Hamilton, who parted ways with Petree at the end of last season, is contemplating his next move, which could be getting behind the wheel of a truck. Hamilton says if he decides to run for the title in the Craftsman Truck Series — in which he undoubtedly would be a weekly contender — he wouldn’t want to risk his health in a part-time Winston Cup role, even at the Daytona 500. “You’re at everyone else’s mercy,” Hamilton says of Daytona. “If one guy makes a mistake, it can take out half the field. That doesn’t happen at a place like Charlotte or Atlanta.”(Sporting News)(12-30-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing that Square D will be sponsoring Bobby Hamilton for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 2003 season. The #4 Dodge truck will sport Square D’s brand logo as well as a commemorative logo for the 100-year anniversary.
    UPDATE 2: Bobby Hamilton and sponsor Square D announced the two are combining forces for the 2003 CTS season. Square D will be the primary sponsor of the #4 Dodge displaying a commemorative paint scheme of the Square D brand’s 100th anniversary, and Hamilton has been named as the full-time driver. “This just makes sense for me,” Hamilton said.. “I’ve worked with Square D for the past two years and we have a tremendous relationship. When they talked about coming on board as a sponsor of our truck, I told them without hesitation, ‘If you sponsor it, I will drive it.'”.(Bobby Hamilton Racing PR)(1-7-2003)
  • Hughes still looking to field a team in 2003: Tinsley Hughes, who with Sam Belnavis, founded BH Motorsports last season – which they had hoped would be the first black-owned Winston Cup team running full time – still hopes to field a team this season despite Belnavis’ departure from the organization. Last week, team officials confirmed Belnavis, former director of sports marketing for Miller Brewing Co., had left, leaving Hughes as sole owner. In the coming weeks, Belnavis is expected to announce a new partnership with Winston Cup car owner Travis Carter and the formation of BelCar Racing. Hughes’ team continues to be incorporated under the name BH Motorsports, but will likely change names in the near future. “We’re alive and well and have not closed shop,” said Hughes, a former co-owner of Mansion Motorsports, which has entered Winston Cup events on a part-time basis. “We’re working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to continue this program.” The team is searching for a sponsor and has yet to name a driver. It will likely keep the No. 54, which BH Motorsports used in 2002.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-7-2003)
  • Irvan BGN/ARCA team: Retired Winston Cup driver Ernie Irvan will field cars for rookie Kevin Conway in 15 NASCAR Busch Series races and select speedway races in the ARCA RE/MAX Series where Conway first drove for Irvan last season. An announcement will be made at Daytona giving more details about the partnership. In his first and only ARCA RE/MAX Series start to date, Conway qualified Irvan’s Chevrolet in the 5th position at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2002. The rookie was in contention for the win when a flat tire put him down the order to a 13th place finish.(StockCarScene.com)(1-7-2003)

    (1-6-2003)

  • Ward Burton to to plug Virginia State Parks on radio, TV: #22-Ward Burton will appear in a series of radio and television announcements for Virginia’s state parks, Gov. Mark R. Warner said Monday. Burton, a Halifax County native and current Daytona 500 champion, will speak on behalf of the park system in the public service announcements that are slated to air on more than 80 radio stations and almost 30 TV stations. The ads will air as part of a long-term agreement between the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. Warner said Burton’s “popularity as a NASCAR personality and his lifelong commitment to the outdoors will be a tremendous benefit to promoting Virginia State Parks.” Burton is an avid outdoorsman and has established a foundation to promote wildlife conservation, the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation. The foundation manages land along the Staunton River and is raising funds to acquire an adjoining tract and to build an environmental education center.(Daily Press/AP)(1-7-2003)
  • Pemberton leaves Petty Enterprises? UPDATE yes: it was reported on Sunday’s LTN Network radio show that Robin Pemberton has left Petty Enterprises at Team Manager.(1-6-2003)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises will further restructure its competitive setup, as part of the earlier announcements regarding its two full-time NASCAR Winston Cup teams and the Winston Cup-Busch-ARCA team of driver Christian Fittipaldi. As part of that structuring, Robin Pemberton will not return in 2003. “We really appreciate the knowledge and experience Robin brought to our race teams, and wish him nothing but the best as he continues his career,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “We know he will be successful in anything he does, and we will continue working to bring that same type of success to all of our teams.”(Williams Company)(1-6-2003)
  • Petree has Daytona 500 sponsor, now needs a driver UPDATE 4 Fittipaldi to drive: NASCAR Winston Cup owner Andy Petree has secured a single-race sponsor for his #55 car in the Daytona 500. Andy Petree Racing, based in Henderson County, NC, has been scrambling in recent months to land a sponsorship after electrical distribution company Square D said it could no longer afford to run an entire schedule. The new sponsor’s name will be announced after the new year. Petree now must find another driver for the #55 after Ken Schrader signed up Friday with the BAM Racing Dodge next year. Petree had been trying to line up Schrader to drive #55, APR general manager Steve Barkdoll said. “Schrader had the opportunity to drive the BAM car full time, so we told him to take it,” Barkdoll said. First Petree was forced to lay off employees, now he’s looking for investors for his team. Times are tough for Petree, still scrambling to keep his Winston Cup team afloat. After laying off 25 employees last month, Petree is hoping an outside investor can step in and keep things running. He has enough employees left to send Schrader to the Daytona 500, but more money will have to appear before he can plan for any more races.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(12-22-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing the sponsor will be Monaco Coach, still no word on the driver.(12-24-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Now that Ken Schrader has signed with [#49] BAM, Mike Wallace would be the logical choice to drive for Andy Petree in the Daytona 500. Sources close to Andy Petree Racing say that Monaco Coaches has signed to be the primary sponsor for Petree’s #55 Chevy at Daytona and will remain with it as an associate throughout the year once major sponsorship has been found. Wallace had a solid 21st-place run for Petree last year at Daytona and will have the benefit of running the truck race for Schrader’s team before the 500. Wallace, 43, also will continue to drive in the BGN in the #4 Biagi Brothers Racing Chevy, but the team is searching for sponsorship to compete beyond Biagi Brothers’ 12-race commitment.(Sporting News)(12-30-2002)
    UPDATE 3: been told the driver will not be Mike Wallace or Geoffrey Bodine and an announcement should be made soon on the driver.(1-3-2003)
    UPDATE 4: Monaco Coach Corporation will sponsor Andy Petree Racing in 2003, beginning with next month’s NASCAR Winston Cup season-opening Daytona 500. The announcement was made today. Christian Fittipaldi, who is running for Petty Enterprises in a variety of series this season, will drive in the Daytona 500 for the team. Monaco will also sponsor APR in four CTS races in 2003. Petree is still seeking sponsorship for the full 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season and additional Truck series races. Monaco and Andy Petree have enjoyed a strong corporate relationship that has included a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory with Tony Stewart driving and associate sponsorships in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. “We’re excited to be in the Daytona 500 with a company like Monaco Coaches on the side of our car,” said Petree. “Monaco has a commitment to quality and a strong belief in working hard to be the best. We do too, and that’s the type of businesses both of us want to be associated with. We feel Christian Fittipaldi will add a lot to our effort. He is a rookie at the big ovals but with his Formula One and Indy car background, he is no stranger to going fast,” Petree said. “We’re looking for a very strong Speed Weeks.” Petree emphasized his team is still seeking full-season sponsorship for 2003. “We have a firm belief in NASCAR fans and a firm belief in Andy Petree Racing,” said Ed Kinney, Vice-President of Monaco. “One of the world’s fastest growing RV manufacturers taking a larger role in the world’s fastest growing sport is just a natural. We’re proud to be a part of NASCAR racing and a part of Andy Petree’s winning operation.” The Coburg, Ore., based corporation has become one of the world’s leading RV manufacturer since it was founded in 1968, and remains one of the fastest-growing in the industry.(Williams Company)(1-6-2003)
  • Policy change will limit fans’ access to garages UPDATE: For the first time in its history, NASCAR will severely restrict admission to the garage and pit-road areas. Only ”working” personnel will be allowed in those areas during practice, qualifying and the race itself. Thousands of fans will be denied access under the new policy. Supposedly each race team will be issued 30 pit passes per race, and each track limited to 50 additional passes to be issued at its discretion. NASCAR will reserve an undetermined number of passes for distribution, and will continue to issue the annual ”hard-card” credential to national media that cover a large number of events. Tracks can use their discretion in issuing additional media passes. Details of the new policy have not been finalized but a new policy would be in place for the 2003 season that severely curtailed the number of people admitted to the working garage area.(in part and paraphrased frpm the Tennessean)(1-2-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing that NASCAR will install devices throughout the garage and pit area that flashes a yellow light. The light will come on precisely 30 minutes before practice, qualifying, and the race. At that point, security will begin making a sweep. The pits and garage then become “hot.” You must have a hot pass to accompany your hard card or track-issued credential. This is a change because in the past hard cards were considered to always be “hot.” No longer. Everyone all the way up to team owners have to pick up a “hot” pass each week to accompany their hard card. Each team will be given 30 passes (in addition to hard cards) per race.(1-6-2003)
  • BH Motorsports dissolves But….and Todd Bodine news UPDATE: #54 BH Motorsports, which this season hoped to be the first black-owned Winston Cup team to run a full-time schedule, has dissolved, team officials confirmed Friday. The team was co-owned by Sam Belnavis, a native New Yorker and former director of sports marketing with Miller Brewing Co., and Tinsley Hughes, a former co-owner of #85 Mansion Motorsports, which has fielded cars in Cup on a part-time basis. Hendrick Motorsports was planning to assist the team with chassis and engines. BH Motorsports had also started a driver diversity program. The team attempted three Cup races with driver Ron Hornaday in 2002, but inclement weather canceled qualifying twice and Hornaday failed to make the field in the other. Hornaday did compete in the ARCA event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with the team, finishing second. Belnavis will remain in the sport. Within the next few weeks, he is expected to announce the formation of a new team, BelCar Racing – a partnership between himself and longtime Winston Cup car owner Travis Carter, ThatsRacin.com has learned. The new team will have sponsorship from the National Guard, which was initially signed with BH Motorsports, and will field Fords with driver Todd Bodine, utilizing Carter’s equipment. The car number has not been determined. Bodine drove Carter’s #26 Ford in 2002, but his future with the team was in doubt after the sponsor left at the end of the season. The new team will likely continue the driver diversity program began by the National Guard and BH Motorsports, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Travis Carter is close to announcing a new partnership with Sam Belnavis, former director of sports marketing with Miller Brewing Co., and the National Guard for a full Winston Cup season with Todd Bodine as driver. However, crew chief Donnie Wingo moved to Ganassi Racing [#42], so finding a crew chief and a new crew will be Carter’s first tasks once the deal is done.(Sporting News)(1-6-2003)
  • Army to be an official sponsor of NASCAR: The U.S. Army is becoming the first branch of the military to become an official sponsor of NASCAR and will spend at least $16 million as part of its deal with the sanctioning body, according to this week’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. The Army, which had already announced plans to sponsor driver Jerry Nadeau in MB2 Motorsports’ renumbered #01 Pontiac this season, is also working on media buys for NASCAR events on Fox and NBC. Reporter Terry Lefton says a deal with International Speedway Corp.’s 12 Winston Cup tracks is complete, and additional venue deals are being negotiated. The Army plans mobile marketing recruitment stations at all NASCAR races, along with “Army Nights” at NASCAR Weekly Racing Series events. The story says MB2 is changing the number of Nadeau’s car from #36 to #01 to reflect the service’s “Army of One” campaign.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-6-2003)
  • New Crew Members for the #48: Look for major changes on the #48 Lowes Chevy team this season. Crew chief Chad Knaus, who was a part of two championships as a tire changer for Jeff Gordon, wanted a more athletic pit crew after several miscues cost driver Jimmie Johnson and his team valuable positions on the track last year. Cory Quick and Ryan McCray, who formerly were with Jack Sprague’s BGN team, will pair up as the front tire changer and carrier. Ryan Pepe, who changed rear tires for the #36 [now #01] car last year, will take that position with the #48.(Sporting News)(1-6-2003)
  • Mayfield Gets Married: Jeremy Mayfield married Shana Sessions, whom he has been dating for almost four years, in a ceremony in front of a mixture of local family and NASCAR friends at the First Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach. Mayfield arrived for his Grand Strand wedding in a red stretch limo bearing his #19 trademark. The wedding capped a whirlwind romance that began after a chance meeting at Darlington Raceway. Sessions was at the race not as a fan, but as a recent Clemson graduate considering a career in sports marketing. The week-long honeymoon will be on the Turks and Caicos islands. The couple is scheduled to return on Jan. 12 – just two days before Mayfield must begin testing at Daytona International Speedway.(more and quotes at the Myrtle Beach Sun News)(1-6-2003)
  • Newt Back to Work: Newt Moore has signed on with Bobby Hamilton Racing and will be crew chief for one of Hamilton’s three truck teams.(Sporting News)(1-6-2003)

 


(1-5-2003)

 

  • Gordon to Host SNL UPDATE 2: #24 DuPont chevy driver and four time Cup champ, Jeff Gordon to be guest host on Jan. 11, 2003 ‘Saturday Night Live‘ on NBC at 11:30pm/et.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-27-2002)
    UPDATE – musical guest: NASCAR favorite Jeff Gordon zooms SNL into the New Year when he hosts the Emmy Award winning comedy show on January 11 with red-hot musical guest Avril Lavigne. Gordon is joined by one of 2002’s biggest pop stars Avril Lavigne who will perform selections from her multi-platinum smash “Let Go.” Her name has become synonymous with “Best New Artist” – winning the award at the MTV Video Music Awards and receiving a similar nomination at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards (along with a best pop female artist nod).(NBC PR)(1-4-2002)
    UPDATE: Gordon is scheduled to be in New York City Tuesday through Saturday night for SNL script meetings, rehearsals and the show itself. Gordon is scheduled to meet with the show’s cast and writers Tuesday night to discuss possible skits and his role in them, said Jon Edwards, Gordon’s spokesman. A “read-through” of selected skits is scheduled Wednesday, and rehearsals are scheduled Thursday and Friday.(Greenville News)(1-5-2002)
  • Donlavey at Daytona? UPDATE: hearing the #90 Donlavey Racing team has a new Ford Taurus ready to take to Daytona for testing the the Daytona 500, no word on a driver or a sponsor.(1-3-2003)
    UPDATE: Junie Donlavey is hoping to field a car in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16, but the Richmond-based team owner said he isn’t expect-ing to attend the upcoming test sessions at the 2.5-mile speedway. Donlavey’s #90 finished 42nd in the standings last season and would be slated to test Jan. 14-16 with teams that placed in the even-numbered positions. Donlavey hasn’t hired a driver for the car, which missed more than half of 2002 after losing its primary sponsor. The team still is hunting for financial support, and Donlavey said he is planning to meet with potential sponsors in a few weeks. “I’m not going to have someone drive it until I have a sponsor,” Donlavey said.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(1-5-2003)
  • New Series Planned: Don Nugent has a new racing series in mind. It’s called the Stock Car Challenge Series and Nugent plans to have it on track for six races this year. Two races are planned for paved short-track ovals – tracks like ones in Concord and Asheboro, N.C., or Myrtle Beach, S.C. Two races are planned for dirt tracks and two others will be on road courses – such as Virginia International Raceway. Cars will be 2000 or older NASCAR-approved chassis with 1999 to 2002 bodies. Sealed General Motors-built engines will be sold by the series for around $12,500. Races will be short enough to be completed on just one fuel stop and no more than two tires can be changed in any one stop and four tires in any race. “There are a lot of people who want to get involved in racing if they can do it in a relatively inexpensive way,” Nugent says. “We want to give them that opportunity.” Nugent plans to schedule his races to allow drivers competing in such series as the USAR Hooters Pro Cup series to compete. Each oval-track race would be a one-day Saturday show and all would be located with a four-hour drive of the Charlotte area. Nugent also believes there are a lot of people like himself, people who’ve been around auto racing for many years who are willing to share their knowledge and experience if given the opportunity. “I’m tired of seeing racing series throw its veterans away,” Nugent says. “There’s so much talent and wisdom out there.” Anyone interested in the series can contact Nugent at (704) 533-1184.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-5-2003)

    (1-4-2003)

  • Mike Wallace to run the #09 in slected 2003 races: Mike Wallace will drive the #09 Winston Cup car for James Finch and Phoenix Motorsports for five races and maybe more if sponsorship develops. The five races are both Daytona and Talladega races and Homestead. The car will be sponsored by a Indian tribe’s Casino in Florida and will run more races if more sponsors step up. All of this is in addition to the 12 BGN races Wallace will run for the Biagi Brothers in the #4 with Geico as their sponsor.(Mike Wallace Forum) hearing the sponsor will be Miccosukee Indian Gaming, no idea what is happening with Geoffrey Bodine for 2003.(1-4-2003)
  • Furr joins Morgan-McClure: Morgan-McClure Motorsports rings in 2003 with exciting new changes for the Abingdon, Va.-based team. The team, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary during this NASCAR Winston Cup season, welcomes not only new Pontiacs to the racing stables, but a new Competition Director, as well. Tony Furr, a 30 year racing veteran who began his Winston Cup career in 1989, joins Morgan-McClure to assist Tim Weiss-Team Manager and Chris Carrier-Crew Chief with the overall duties of bringing the Kodak Racing Team back to its winning form. Furr spend 2002 at the #25 Hendrick Motorsports team and the #7 Ultra Motorsports team as a crew chief. Furr is one more addition to the transitions taking place at the race shop located in the rolling Va. Mountains. The #4 car, which switches to Pontiacs following a 12-year stint filled with 14 wins with Chevrolet, will also change from a Kodak product car to a Kodak brand racer. Kodak will feature several of its brands on the car throughout the 2003 Winston Cup season, beginning with Kodak Picture Perfect Processing in Daytona. Various paint schemes will signify these changes on the car during the year.. It is the first time Kodak will vary from the traditional film or camera related sponsorship, which has been in place on the car for 17 years. Thus the team will change all of its apparel and signage from the Kodak Film Racing Team to the Kodak Racing Team. The Three-time Daytona 500 winners will arrive in Daytona for their first “official” practice session of 2003 on Tuesday, January 7. Mike Skinner, driver of the #4 Kodak Pontiac, and the team, which has thrashed all winter to get new Pontiacs prepared, awaits the annual test session with much anticipation.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(1-4-2003)
  • Long to test at Daytona: Carl Long will participate in the NASCAR Winston Cup test session next week at Daytona International Speedway. Long will be testing for Price Motorsports in a #59 Dodge Intrepid rented from Petty Enterprises. Long will test in the first session which runs from January 7th through January 9th, with the 10th as a rain date.(Carl Long site), see my Testing News page for the rundown of teams(1-4-2003)

    (1-3-2003)

  • It’s Official – Spencer to the #7 Ultra Motorsports ride: Jimmy Spencer will drive the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepids for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season, team owner Jim Smith confirmed today. Smith’s hiring of Spencer completes a total revamping of the Ultra Motorsports team, which included the addition of esteemed crew chief Tommy Baldwin in November. Baldwin was named crew chief of the #7 team on Nov. 19. The Bellport, NY, native is a three-time winning crew chief in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, most recently in the 2002 Daytona 500 with driver Ward Burton. “I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about being a part of this team,” Spencer said. “Jimmy Smith has been a NASCAR supporter for years. His truck teams have been very successful, and I expect the #7 team to be no different. I’m very excited about this opportunity with Tommy Baldwin as the crew chief, Mike Ege building the engines, and Sirius Satellite Radio sponsoring the car. We’ve got a chance to do big things this year.” The 2003 season will be Spencer’s 15th in the Winston Cup Series. With his two career wins also come four Bud Pole Awards, 27 top-five finishes and 76 top-10s.(Ultra Motorsports/Sirius Satellite Racing Team PR)(1-3-2003)
  • #17 Crew Changes? hearing that the tire changers [Phil Drye and Dave Smith] for the #17 DeWalt Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Championship title team have left [Smith to the #24 and Drye to the #8 team], supposedly replaced by current #17 Front Tire Carrier Justin Nottestad and Jeremy West [from the #2 Truck team](12-2-2002)
    UPDATE: Robbie Reiser, crew chief for Roush Racing’s #17 Ford driven by Matt Kenseth, has named two new pit crew members for the 2003 Winston Cup season. Reiser has named Justin Nottestad and Jeremy West to the squad that has won the last two Unocal 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competitions. Nottestad moves up from front tire carrier to the tire changer position with the team, while West, who is new to Roush Racing, will be the rear tire changer. They replace Phil Drye, front tire changer, and Dave Smith, rear tire changer. “We hated to see those guys go,” said Reiser. “But we understand that they made the decision to move to another team because they felt like that was what was best for them personally. I can appreciate and respect that. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to replace those two — they’re both really talented — but we have filled the positions, and we’re excited about next year.”(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-3-2003)
  • a new Sterlin and Marlin: The New Year’s first baby born in Roanoke, VA. will carry NASCAR Winston Cup driver Sterling Marlin’s first name, and the baby’s younger twin brother will be known by the racer’s last name, Marlin, according to a report on WSET-TV in the Virginia city. Gwendetta Jamison gave birth to Sterling at 12:21 a.m. on Jan. 1, and Marlin entered the world at 12:50 a.m. While Jamison loves racing, she told the TV station that it was the father of the twins who named the boys. Jamison’s grandmother, Linda, is a NASCAR fan herself and would have preferred the parents name the children “Kyle” and “Petty,” but she let her daughter go with her own name. WSET reported that Sterling weighed five pounds, 13 ounces, and Marlin came in at six pounds, one-and-a-half ounces.(FoxSports)(1-3-2003)
  • Petree has Daytona 500 sponsor, now needs a driver UPDATE 3: NASCAR Winston Cup owner Andy Petree has secured a single-race sponsor for his #55 car in the Daytona 500. Andy Petree Racing, based in Henderson County, NC, has been scrambling in recent months to land a sponsorship after electrical distribution company Square D said it could no longer afford to run an entire schedule. The new sponsor’s name will be announced after the new year. Petree now must find another driver for the #55 after Ken Schrader signed up Friday with the BAM Racing Dodge next year. Petree had been trying to line up Schrader to drive #55, APR general manager Steve Barkdoll said. “Schrader had the opportunity to drive the BAM car full time, so we told him to take it,” Barkdoll said. First Petree was forced to lay off employees, now he’s looking for investors for his team. Times are tough for Petree, still scrambling to keep his Winston Cup team afloat. After laying off 25 employees last month, Petree is hoping an outside investor can step in and keep things running. He has enough employees left to send Schrader to the Daytona 500, but more money will have to appear before he can plan for any more races.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(12-22-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing the sponsor will be Monaco Coaches, still no word on the driver.(12-24-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Now that Ken Schrader has signed with [#49] BAM, Mike Wallace would be the logical choice to drive for Andy Petree in the Daytona 500. Sources close to Andy Petree Racing say that Monaco Coaches has signed to be the primary sponsor for Petree’s #55 Chevy at Daytona and will remain with it as an associate throughout the year once major sponsorship has been found. Wallace had a solid 21st-place run for Petree last year at Daytona and will have the benefit of running the truck race for Schrader’s team before the 500. Wallace, 43, also will continue to drive in the BGN in the #4 Biagi Brothers Racing Chevy, but the team is searching for sponsorship to compete beyond Biagi Brothers’ 12-race commitment.(Sporting News)(12-30-2002)
    UPDATE 3: been told the driver will not be Mike Wallace or Geoffrey Bodine and an announcement should be made soon on the driver.(1-3-2003)


    (1-2-2003)

  • Smaller Spoilers, Softer Tires in the works: NASCAR Winston Cup Scene reports this week that NASCAR officials are moving toward smaller spoilers and working with Goodyear to use softer tire compounds, but the officials aren’t ready to say when the changes will be made. While drivers such as Rusty Wallace are urging the change as early as the season’s second race, the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, Winston Cup Director John Darby told the paper that the changes may not come that quickly. He said Goodyear has agreed to produce softer tires if NASCAR can reduce downforce, which Darby said the sanctioning body intends to do. The changes would make cars less dependent on aerodynamics and might make for more competitive racing by reducing the aero-push and increasing passing. “It’s going to take some time, and it’s hard to pinpoint how long that will be,” Darby said.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-2-2003)
  • Policy change will limit fans’ access to garages: For the first time in its history, NASCAR will severely restrict admission to the garage and pit-road areas. Only ”working” personnel will be allowed in those areas during practice, qualifying and the race itself. Thousands of fans will be denied access under the new policy. Supposedly each race team will be issued 30 pit passes per race, and each track limited to 50 additional passes to be issued at its discretion. NASCAR will reserve an undetermined number of passes for distribution, and will continue to issue the annual ”hard-card” credential to national media that cover a large number of events. Tracks can use their discretion in issuing additional media passes. Details of the new policy have not been finalized but a new policy would be in place for the 2003 season that severely curtailed the number of people admitted to the working garage area.(in part and paraphrased frpm the Tennessean)(1-2-2003)
  • Hamilton will not take one race deal: Andy Petree will soon announce a sponsor for a one-race deal for the Daytona 500, but has yet to find a driver. It probably won’t be his former driver, Bobby Hamilton, even though Hamilton has yet to find a ride for 2003. Hamilton told The Sporting News he would not risk a one-race ride at Daytona, ”because you’re at everyone else’s mercy. If one guy makes a mistake, it can take out the entire field. That doesn’t happen at places like Charlotte or Atlanta.” Hamilton appears destined to compete in the Craftsman Truck Series this season. He said earlier he would not accept a ”non-competitive” ride in Winston Cup.(Tennessean)(1-2-2003)
  • Atwood/Evernham still not resolved: Casey Atwood’s father has denied Internet reports that his son has been fired as a driver for Evernham Motorsports. Terry Atwood admitted it is highly unlikely that his son will drive again for owner Ray Evernham, but said, ”So far Casey hasn’t been told anything. We don’t know what’s going on. Our lawyers are still talking to Ray’s lawyers.” Atwood is not listed among the drivers scheduled for next week’s Daytona test sessions.(Tennessean)(1-2-2003)
  • Panch’s Celebrate at DIS: Bettie and Marvin Panch were able to celebrate their 50th anniversary Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway thanks in part to the efforts of Bill Wimble and Steve Petrasek. Panch greeted fans and signed autographs Wednesday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway, where he nearly lost his life four decades ago. Wimble and Petrasek, who sat with Panch at the head table Wednesday, were among a group of five men who risked their lives in 1963 to save Panch from a burning sportscar. Wimble was a race car driver and Petrasek worked for Firestone Tire’s racing division.(full story at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-2-2003)

    (1-1-2003)

  • NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway Champ Crowned: Eric Weithop of Birmingham, AL, has beaten out thousands of other competitors to be the top NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway simulator racer in the country. Weithop, who regularly races in the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway location in Birmingham’s Riverchase Galleria, won the “Bristol Challenge” competition that ended recently. Weithop received $2,000 after winning the finals competition held at the Concord Mills mall location of NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C. He won two 75-lap races and one 100-lap event to give him a sweep of the three segments of the finals. Brian Decker, a 13-year-old who races at the Albany, NY, location of NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, finished second in the finals competition and won $1,000, while Patrick Wyrick, representing the Universal City Walk location in Los Angeles, finished third and won $500.(SMSonline PR)(1-1-2003)