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July 2003 News Archives


 

  • (7-31-2003)

  • #74 to be the Aaron’s Dream Machine at Indy: Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership announced today a new partnership with BACE Motorsports and NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Raines.. This weekend the Atlanta-based corporation will transform the #74 BACE Chevrolet into the Aaron™s Dream Machine for The Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Outside of being one of the most prestigious races on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule, the Brickyard 400 is special to me as an Indiana native” said Raines. “It’s a great honor to drive the Aaron’s Dream Machine for BACE Motorsports this weekend at the Brickyard. Aaron’s has been a great sponsor and supporter of NASCAR and for them to take notice of our organization and join our team for such an important race is a compliment to what we’ve accomplished this season at BACE.” In the first 19 starts of his debut campaign, Raines has already claimed Winston Cup Rookie honors three times, via his 16th-place finishes at Talladega Superspeedway and Pocono and a 14th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway. In just seven Busch Series starts this season, Raines has driven to the front of the field in each event, finishing 2nd in the first Bristol event, posting a 3rd- place effort in Richmond, and grabbing another top-10 at Chicagoland. “Aaron’s has been watching Tony and the 74 car all season,” said Ken Butler, President, Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership. “Despite the fact that BACE Motorsports has been funded internally in 2003, they’re having an impressive season. Indianapolis has such a rich motorsports heritage, and to have the Dream Machine competing at the Brickyard will bring even more excitement to Aaron’s consumers who have followed our racing program. We look forward to having a great run for all of Tony’s fans in his home state of Indiana.”
    “As a NASCAR Team Owner, and as President and CEO of Staff America, when a company with Aaron’s history and understanding of the sport makes such a prominent investment in our team, it carries with it a badge of honor that we are proud to wear,” said Bill Baumgardner, Owner of BACE Motorsports. “We have dedicated the 2003 season to building the foundation for a successful Winston Cup program at BACE and we are starting to see rewards from the hard work and commitment of those involved.” For more information on Aaron’s visit www.shopaarons.com.(BACE Motorsports PR)(7-31-2003)
  • NBC Cams at Indy and more TV stuff: NBC’s coverage of the Brickyard 400 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets underway this Sunday with the “Discover Card Countdown to Green” pre-race show at 2:00pm/et followed by green flag racing from the Brickyard 400. TNT telecasts NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Indy [IRP], Saturday night at 8:00pm/et. “Daytona brought NASCAR racing to the fans,” said Bill Weber, NBC pre-race host and lead pit reporter. “The Brickyard brought fans to NASCAR racing, simply by the name Indianapolis and the history associated with this track. Usually it’s about the race, but on this weekend, it’s about the place.”
    “For a lot of people, Daytona is the biggest race, but you’d be surprised at the number of drivers who would tell you the Brickyard 400 is the biggest prize,” analyst Wally Dallenbach said. “To me and to a lot of other drivers who remember growing up here or in this track’s shadow, a win at the Brickyard is on the top of their list.”
    NBC Sports will deploy 79 cameras including cameras unique to Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Squash-Cam, Wall-Cams and the “Eye-Full Tower Cam.” An extra bank of 11 monitors will be added to the NBC Sports production truck to accommodate the additional cameras for the Brickyard 400.
    “Squash-Cam” is a lipstick-size camera buried in the grass just inside Turn 1. The camera often shows a car moving over or extremely close to the camera lens to give the audience the feeling of being “squashed,” especially on starts and restarts.
    “Wall-Cam” is a lipstick-size camera embedded inside the outside wall of Turn 2 and Turn 4. The cameras shoot cars in Turns 1 and 3 respectively and give the viewer the sense of speed of the cars when they drive past the cameras.
    The “Eye-Full Tower-Cam” is a robotic camera atop the scoring pylon 92-feet in the air overlooking the infield and providing viewers a sense of the magnificent spectacle of Indianapolis Motor Speedway with its “Canyon of Fans” in the grandstands on either side of the racetrack’s frontstretch.(NBC PR)(7-31-2003)
  • Hammond off to Finland: Trackside host Jeff Hammond will travel to Finland next week to get a first-hand look at World Rally Championship racing, providing segments to air during the Aug. 8 edition of Trackside on Speed Channel. “I love watching World Rally,” Hammond said. “World Rally demonstrates what we try to show our viewers in NASCAR. What unfolds between the co-driver and driver during the course of competition is the same communication that you see between a NASCAR driver and crew chief only the NASCAR driver doesn’t benefit from riding along. I am anxious to see how the two discuss how the car feels and how much influence the co-driver has on the actual set up. A long time ago, before all the safety issues, I rode with DW at Talladega,” Hammond added. “I sat behind him with only a helmet — no seatbelts — and rode over 200 mph for six to seven laps. I rode with the Thunderbirds and jumped out of an airplane, so I know I am the right guy for this mission.” Early plans call for Hammond to serve as a co-driver in a WRC car, examine activity in the Service Park (the pit area) and hang with race fans. Speed Channel is the only one to “cross breed” between the series that it broadcasts,” Hammond said. “We saw earlier this year the Gordon-Montoya Tradin Paint swap at Indianapolis and now this link from NASCAR to World Rally. I think it is great for the fans.”(Speed Channel)(7-31-2003)
  • Tony Stewart teach’s Today’s Matt Lauer to Drive Indy: #20-Tony Stewart is scheduled to teach Matt Lauer, of NBC’s “Today” show, how to drive on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval. The segment will air between 7:00-8:00am/et on Friday morning. Lauer said, “All the NASCAR people keep telling me how many horsepower this car has and what speeds it can reach. All I want to know is what kind of brakes it has, and how quickly it can stop!”(NBC PR)(7-31-2003)
  • #8 crew wins Pocono Pit Crew competition UPDATE: The weekly McDonald’s/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew at the Pocono 500. Earnhardt spent 240.375 seconds in the pits, the least amount of pit time among teams competing in the program. Michael Waltrip’s crew still leads the competition over Earnhardt’s second-place crew, while Robby Gordon’s crew overtook Bobby Labonte’s to move into third place by 12 points. In addition, the Mechanix Wear Pit Crew Championship second quarter voting took place last weekend with Raybestos Rookie candidate #74-Tony Raines team collecting the most votes. Matt Kenseth’s crew won the first quarter voting in the Mechanix Wear Pit Crew Championship. Both teams are now eligible to win the $75,000 year-end award.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
    UPDATE – Pit Crew For Earnhardt Jr. Wins In Pocono: The pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Sunday’s (July 27) Pennsylvania 500 at. Pocono Raceway. It was the third time this season the No. 8 crew captured first-place honors. The team’s other victories were at Las Vegas and Atlanta. Earnhardt’s pit crew remains in second place in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship standings with 687 points, 73 behind Michael Waltrip’s No. 15 pit crew. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus. Earnhardt’s pit crew captured the Pocono win and the $20,000 first-place prize as a result of the team’s Budweiser Chevrolet spending the least amount of time on pit road – 240.801 seconds. Second was Sterling Marlin’s No. 40 Coors Light Dodge (253.308) and third was Waltrip’s NAPA Chevrolet (260.860). “We’ve never been better on making the right calls and the right changes in the pits as we were today,” said Earnhardt following the Pocono race. “The yellow flags helped us on gas mileage, but we had a great day in the pits.” Earnhardt’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff Clark (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Jay Guarneri (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Bill Snyder (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Tony Eury and the car chief is Tony Eury Jr. For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(7-31-2003)

  • Some Techy Stuff: IBM and Dassault Systemes announced the signing of a contract for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions with Evernham Motorsports LLC, a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race team. IBM PLM Solutions, with CATIA(R) V5 for collaborative product development and SMARTEAM(R) for collaborative lifecycle management from Dassault Systemes, will allow Evernham Motorsports to develop high performance race cars through virtual testing rather than building costly, full-scale physical prototypes. Additionally, Evernham Motorsports will integrate the new PLM platform with its own inventory and maintenance programs. By linking with PLM Solutions from IBM and Dassault Systemes, Evernham engineers will make design modifications while accessing car building-material information, field usage statistics, and inventory all in one streamlined view, saving precious hours between races. This will allow Evernham Motorsports to gain efficiencies and focus more time on innovative ways to build faster, safer competition vehicles.(see full story at MCADCafe)(7-31-2003)
  • Yeley going for Stewart’s record, then NASCAR: J.J. Yeley, whom Ford is grooming for a NASCAR career, has won 19 USAC races in just 46 starts, a 41 percent clip that has him on pace to win 33 races. The leader of all three of the U.S. Auto Club’s national divisions — midgets, sprints and Silver Crown — is on a record-setting pace that could go unequaled. Yeley entered Wednesday night’s midget race at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway with 19 USAC victories this season, matching the achievements of A.J. Foyt (1961), Sleepy Tripp (1988) and Jay Drake (2000). “I’m on pace, but I still have to get it done,” he said Wednesday before the Anderson race. “My goal is to get between 26 and 28 (wins). If I can get to 30, that would be fine, too.” Yeley’s next chance at victory comes tonight. He has already won three of the six races in the series this season, including the IRP event in May. In pursuing Tony Stewart’s 1995 feat of winning all three USAC titles in the same season, Yeley is only three sprint-car victories shy of Tom Bigelow’s all-time mark (14 in a season, set in 1977). Yeley maintains his own sprint car, which is owned by Stewart.(Indianapolis Star)(7-31-2003)

    (7-30-2003)

  • Lots of $$ Availble to Kenseth: #18-Bobby Labonte claimed the previous record-high NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus at the Brickyard 400 in 2000 when he was awarded $190,000 by winning the race while also leading the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. Current NASCAR Top 10 leader Matt Kenseth, with a 232-point lead over Dale Earnhardt, Jr., has the only opportunity to take home the record bonus, which now stands at $210,000, following the Pennsylvania 500. The $10,000 bonus is available following every NASCAR Winston Cup race. If the point leader does not win the race, the bonus rolls over to the next week. The last driver to claim the bonus was #40-Sterling Marlin following his win at Darlingtonin March 2002, 51 races ago.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
  • New Scheme for Biffle: #16-Greg Biffle will be running a revised version of the primary Grainger paint scheme this weekend at Indianapolis. The front end of the race car has been changed to red from black and the car will run this way for the remainder of the season.(Roush Racing PR)(7-30-2003)
  • NASCAR to require Cup, Busch, Truck teams to add fuel cell area fire extinuisher: NASCAR officials announced today that all vehicles in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will require an additional fire-extinguishing cylinder solely dedicated to the fuel cell area, effective Aug. 13 but recommended immediately. An automatic, thermally activated discharge nozzle recommended by the manufacturer for this application must activate the cylinder, which is required to be made of DOT-approved metal. The automatic system may have a manual and/or pneumatic override from the driver-activated system. The cylinder must be mounted in the driver’s compartment and will attach to a steel bracket welded to the frame and/or roll cage of the vehicle. When discharged, the extinguisher releases Halon in the area of the fire. Halon, a proven and extremely effective fire suppressant, is a liquefied compressed gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion. A minimum of 10 pounds of fire extinguishing agent is required in the cylinder for the fuel cell area. In addition to the fire extinguisher cylinder being added for the fuel cell area, NASCAR has enhanced its requirements and specifications for the current on-board driver protection system as well as the fuel cell vent area. The cockpit extinguisher, a manually controlled push or pull knob that activates a fully charged fire-extinguishing pressurized cylinder, now must contain a minimum of five pounds of extinguishing agent. Should the cylinder also be used for fire extinguishing in the engine compartment, it must contain a minimum of 10 pounds of extinguishing agent. The cylinder also must be securely mounted to the frame and/or roll cage, and hose clamps, worm drive clamps and cable ties are not permitted. In addition, all discharge lines and fittings for the cylinders must be steel or steel-reinforced hose although the nozzles may remain aluminum. A maximum length for the neck of the fuel cell check valve vent hose has been set at three inches. By limiting length, it will make the component more impact resistant. The neck connects the fuel cell to the fuel cell vent hose and is located inside the trunk area of the vehicle. To accommodate the maximum neck length standard, fuel cell vent hoses will increase in length from 60 inches to a maximum of 66 inches.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
  • Roof Hatch to be tested on August 6th: NASCAR will conduct a test of its alternate exit, or more commonly known as the roof hatch, on Aug. 6 at the Midwest Roadside Facility in Lincoln, Neb. NASCAR, which is working closely with facility director Dr. Dean Sicking on this project, will conduct a crash test that will simulate a rollover-type accident. A successful test could lead to a recommendation of the safety component by NASCAR to teams in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series. This safety initiative will provide drivers with an alternate exit through a hatch in the roof of the car in the event of an emergency situation.(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
  • Penske Incentive: Indy Extra Incentive — 50th Stock Car Win For Penske:
    The count is at 49 with Ryan’s win Sunday at Pocono and a win this Sunday at Indy by Rusty or Ryan would reach that monumental 50th stock car victory for Penske Racing. Here is the breakdown entering the Brickyard 400 (driver & wins):
    Rusty Wallace – 36
    Ryan Newman – 5
    Bobby Allison – 4
    Jeremy Mayfield – 3
    Mark Donohue – 1 (the first win, which came in the 1/21/73 Winston Western 500 at Riverside, Calif. Donohue started 4th and led 138 of the 191 laps in a Penske Racing AMC Matador)(Tom Roberts PR)(7-30-2003)
  • Gibbs offers Stewart Contact Extension: Team owner Joe Gibbs has offered reigning Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart a long-term contract extension but isn’t sure whether Stewart will eventually sign the deal. “Obviously I don’t have the answer. But I would expect him to stay here,” Gibbs said during a teleconference Tuesday. “The most important thing for drivers is to have a place where they think they can win races. Our number one job as a race team is to make sure we’re in the forefront of what’s going on and that any driver would think he has a chance to win in our stuff.” Stewart’s current contract expires at the conclusion of the 2004 season, but Gibbs said he prefers to sign drivers and sponsors in his organization to long-term deals long before contracts expire. Already this season, Gibbs signed Stewart’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Bobby Labonte, to a contract extension and Gibbs apparently is close to announcing extensions for Stewart’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli and his team’s sponsor, Home Depot, sources said. Rumors have been rampant over the past several weeks about Stewart’s future. The most common scenario mentioned is Stewart moving to the Dodge camp and Chip Ganassi Racing. Asked Tuesday whether Dodge was involved in courting Stewart, John Fernandez, director of Dodge Motorsports Operations, said: “Actually we’ve got a great lineup of drivers that we’re working with today, and I don’t know if Tony is under contract with Joe Gibbs right now, so we’re not pursuing Tony at this point in time.” Stewart, himself, has denied looking at other teams. Tuesday, he said he had received the contract extension from Gibbs but had not reviewed it. Zipadelli said he hoped Stewart would remain with the Gibbs organization.(Thatsracin.com)(7-30-2003)
  • Ford Looking for Most Colorful Fan: Ford Racing fans in attendance at the Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day in downtown Indianapolis will have the opportunity to show off their Ford Racing spirit, which could earn them prizes. Join Ford Racing and Your Indiana Ford Stores at the RCA Dome [Thursday, July 31st] from 4:00-8:00pm CDT for Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day where the fan wearing the most exciting, colorful and cheerful Blue Oval gear will be selected to win a Ford Racing sweatshirt, Ford Racing electric sign and Rick Crawford autographed racing gloves. One fan in attendance will also have the chance to win a set of four race and pre-race hospitality tickets to Friday night’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The lucky winner will also serve as an honorary pit crew member for Crawford’s #14 Circle Bar Racing team. See more at the Ford Racing site.(7-30-2003)
  • Prior to his record-setting 700th-consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup start at Pocono Raceway Sunday, Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus, received a letter of congratulation from President George W. Bush. The letter to Rudd is as follows:
    July 25, 2003
    Mr. Ricky Rudd
    Concord, North Carolina
    Dear Ricky:
    Congratulations on your 700th consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup start. I join your family, friends, and race fans everywhere in recognizing this unparalleled accomplishment. In reaching this milestone, you have compiled an outstanding record of achievement. You have demonstrated skill, endurance, and determination over almost three decades, establishing yourself as one of the greatest stock car drivers in history. I applaud your hard work and commitment to excellence. Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for continued success.
    Sincerely,
    George W. Bush
    (Ford Racing PR)(7-30-2003)
  • TV Ratings – Pocono: Last Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway earned a 4.6 rating on TNT and was the top program for the month among adults in the 25-54 age groups. The race was also the highest-rated sports event on cable. (Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research).(NASCAR PR)(7-30-2003)
  • #25 Crewman Injured at Pocono: #25 Front-tire carrier Kevin Sigafoos was injured on Sunday at Pocono while repairing damage to the #25 Chevy’s left-front fender caused by a brush with the #41 car of Casey Mears. Sigafoos was taken to the infield care center where he received four stitches to his right ring finger. Despite the injury, Sigafoos plans to go over the wall this weekend at Indianapolis.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(7-30-2003)
  • Testing at the Glen on July 28th and 29th UPDATE Tuesday Speeds: Many drivers are scheduled to test at Watkins Glen International in preparation for the SIRIUS at The Glen, August 10th. Fans who have purchased tickets for the SIRIUS at The Glen, August 7-10, will be admitted free of charge both days. Fans should present their SIRIUS at The Glen tickets at the gate to gain free admission or pick-up a voucher at the ticket office if they have not received their event tickets.(Watkins Glen International PR)(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE: The fastest speeds on Tuesday were: #6-Mark Martin at 124.051mph; #16-Greg Biffle at 123.703; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 123.012; #24-Jeff Gordon at 122.978; #31-Robby Gordon at 122.858; #1-Ron Fellows at 122.671; #4-PJ Jones at 122.500; #35-Joe Varde at 122.483 [Team Amick]; #04-Johnny Miller at 122.330; #17-Matt Kenseth at 122.161; #01-Boris Said at 121.992; #44-Christian Fittipaldi at 121.924; #18-Bobby Labonte at 121.655; #41-Casey Mears at 121.655; #09-Scott Pruett at 121.655; #33-Paul Menard at 120.938; and #45-Kyle Petty at 120.657. The track qualifying record is 122.698mph. Tickets for the event start at $50 and are still available. Tickets for the SIRIUS at The Glen weekend, as well as the remaining 2003 racing season at Watkins Glen International, are now available by calling The Glen’s ticket office at 607-535-2481 or online at www.theglen.com.(Watkins Glen PR)(7-30-2003)
  • New Assoc Sponsor for Rudd and the #21 UPDATE: As if the celebration surrounding Rudd’s 700th career start wasn’t enough for the Wood Brothers, broadening the smile is the addition of a new associate sponsor to the famed race team’s effort, Team Ford Racing has learned that beginning with the Brickyard 400 that the Motorcraft Ford will sport an associate sponsorship from Rent-A-Center.(Ford Racing)
    AND jayski has been told by a source, that Rent-A-Center may be the primary sponsor for a race or two later in the season.(7-27-2003)
    UPDATE: Rent-A-Center, Inc. (Nasdaq: RCII), the nations largest rent-to-own company, will become an associate sponsor of the Wood Brothers Racing #21 Motorcraft Taurus, following the signing of a multi-year agreement that was announced today by team officials. Rent-A-Center, Inc., headquartered in Plano, TX, currently operates more than 2,500 company-owned stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico. The stores generally offer high-quality, durable goods such as home electronics, appliances, computers, furniture and accessories to consumers under flexible rental purchase agreements that generally allow the customer to obtain ownership of the merchandise at the conclusion of an agreed-upon rental period. “We are so pleased that Rent-A-Center has decided to join the Motorcraft/U.S. Air Force team, stated Eddie Wood, co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing. “With their paint scheme on the car for the Brickyard 400 it is a great opportunity for Rent-A-Center to showcase its service to a vast new audience. The Brickyard 400 is certainly one of the biggest events on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule, and we are happy that we could start our new association at this race.” The distinctive Rent-A-Center graphics will take a prominent position on the #21 Ford Taurus, both on the rear deck lid and on the rear quarter-panel area at the rest of the races this season. See www.rentacenter.com for more info on the company.(Ford Racing PR)
    AND hearing the 2nd race with the Rent-A-Center scheme could be at Watkins Glen AND also hearing they may be the new primary sponsor of the #21 and Rudd in 2004.(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Motorcraft is signed with the #21 Wood Brothers team thru 2005 with an option for 2006 and beyond. The deal with Rent-A-Center is like the Air Force sponsorship, a major associate and run a few races as the primary.(7-30-2003)
  • Kyle gets claws: Although the crewmembers at Petty Enterprises work hard to turn the team’s Dodges into tigers on the track, their newest race car has proved to be a real pussycat – thanks to motorsports designer Sam Bass. It was Bass who took the image of Garfield, the world’s most famous cartoon cat, and wrapped him around the wind tunnel-tested curves of Kyle Petty’s #45 Dodge Intrepid. Garfield, who celebrates a milestone 25th birthday this year, has loaned his mischievous, Cheshire-like grin to the front of Petty’s car, while the chunky feline’s trademark orange-and-black tail curls to the back, anticipating his next opportunity for lasagna. Garfield’s appearance on the Intrepid’s hood wearing Richard Petty’s cowboy hat, shades and Petty Enterprises crew jacket makes it clear he imagines himself to be the new King of stock car racing. The special paint scheme’s appearance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s August 3 Brickyard 400 is part of a celebration to honor Marion, Ind., native Jim Davis’ cartoon creation during the week of the race. “I like it,” commented Davis about the Bass design. “It’s fun, bright, colorful and captures Garfield’s wit. We should be able to see this car from outer space!”
    “It’s hard work to draw for a living,” Bass said about his and Davis’ occupations. “To create a comic strip character that is still being enjoyed a quarter-century later by readers of all ages, all around the world is an incredible accomplishment. I have been a fan of Jim’s work and creativity for a long time. It was so much fun for me to work on this project.” Bass has announced the release of a fine art poster commemorating Garfield’s 25th birthday that features the Petty car design. It will be available through the Sam Bass Gallery for $20 per poster. For more information about the Kyle Petty/Garfield car design, log on to www.sambass.com or phone 704/455-6915.(7-30-2003)
  • Hughes Looking to Increase Minority Participation in Motorsports: Tinsley Hughes, a longtime African-American NASCAR team owner is utilizing Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway as a foundation for his efforts to increase minority participation in motorsports. Hughes, founder and owner of BH Motorsports, has fielded cars in NASCAR Winston Cup racing off and on since 1989. Hughes formed the Motorsports Academy as a driver development program for BH Motorsports. The academy gives urban and inner city youth the opportunity to develop skills needed to eventually advance to NASCAR’s top level as drivers or crew members. “When you look at the top three NASCAR series, one thing is very obvious—the lack of diversity,” said Hughes. “It’s not that African Americans or other minorities do not have the desire to drive race cars or pursue a career in motorsports, it’s that adequate funding is an obstacle. Unlike most stick and ball sports, it takes significant capital in equipment to race. In addition, you’re not going to find a race track at your local community park next to the basketball goals and soccer fields, so it takes a serious commitment and effort to race at any level.” Hughes recognizes the need for a detailed plan and course of action to help young drivers in their quest to become future NASCAR stars. Participants in his development program gain valuable experience in driving, car set-up and other aspects of motorsports industry. This summer, Hughes Motorsports Academy is fielding two Thunder Roadsters in the popular Summer Shootout Series at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and at other tracks throughout the Southeast, including Atlanta Motor Speedway. Reggie Primus, a 32-year-old African American from Hartsville, SC, is currently piloting the academy’s #36 Thunder Roadster while 19-year-old Kyle Beattie of Concord, N.C., handles the #007 entry. As noted, Hughes is no stranger to the NASCAR Winston Cup garage area. Formerly involved as a principle in Mansion Motorsports, drivers such as Mike Skinner, Carl Long, Ron Hornaday Jr. and even three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip have driven Hughes’ cars. Last October, Hornaday drove a Hughes entry to a second-place finish in the ARCA RE/MAX season finale at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Information about BH Motorsports and Hughes Motorsports Academy is available online at www.bhmotorsportsonline.com or by calling (704)335-0770. See the full Press Release on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(7-30-2003)
  • Maxwell to drop the hammer in the #43 at Watkins Glen UPDATE: Toronto sports car driver Scott Maxwell has been signed to drive the #43 Cheerios Dodge for Petty Enterprises at the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen Aug. 10. The low-key Maxwell, who has a long and distinguished career in the sports car racing world, already has tested in the legendary #43 machine at Virginia International Speedway. Another test is planned for Thursday at Road Atlanta. Maxwell’s championship pedigree includes winning titles in Formula Vee (1984), Ontario Formula Ford 1600 (1985 and 1986), Showroom Stock (1992 and 1993) and GARRA Cup GSI (2002). The highlight for Maxwell’s career, however, came at Le Mans in 2000 when he took victory in the LMP 675 class for Multimatic Motorsports with John Graham and Greg Wilkins. Maxwell’s other major sports car triumphs include winning the LMP 675 class at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in 2001 as well as the Daytona Prototype victory at this year’s Daytona 24 Hour.(Toronto Sun), more info about Maxwell, see his bio at the panozmotorsports.com site.(7-29-2003)
    AND see more at Inside Track News.(7-30-2003)
  • NASCAR Changes Ad agencies: NASCAR is changing ad agencies, dumping the company that created the award-winning ‘How bad have you got it’ ad campaign and signing on with a company with ties to Nextel, NASCAR’s new series sponsor. Interpublic Group’s Martin Agency of Richmond, Va., will take over for Chicago’s Y& –R. An official at Y& –R said that NASCAR was cutting its ad budget and was getting tight on production, which NASCAR disputed. When the original contract was signed three years ago, it was worth $25 million to $35 million a year. The new contract is estimated to be worth $20 million.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-30-2003)
  • Craven to be honored in his hometown: Ricky Craven will return to his hometown of Newburgh, ME, Wed., July 30. Craven will be honored with signs that will be placed on the main roads around the town. The signs will read, “Welcome to Newburgh, Maine, hometown of NASCAR driver Ricky Craven.” State representative Brian Duprey, who introduced the legislation that secured permission to place the signs, says that Craven means a lot to the local area. Maine State Representative Brian Duprey: “Ricky’s a big hometown hero from a small town. He’s helped to put Newburgh on the map, and he’s never forgotten where he’s from. I’m sure this means a lot to him, but it also means a lot to the community. We’re proud to call him one of our own.” Ricky Craven: “I’m very humbled by this honor. I’m extremely proud of where I’m from. Even though I spend a lot of time in North Carolina, I keep ties to the area through my home on Moosehead Lake, my business and my charity Snowmobile ride. I’m just a kid from a small town who got lucky, so I try everyday to make the people of Maine proud.”(PPI Motorsports PR)(7-30-2003)
  • Brett Bodine gets sponsor for Indy: In its second season as a sponsor of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Brett Bodine, U.S. Micro Corp. is taking over as primary sponsor of Bodine’s #11 U.S. Micro Brick Car for the 10th running of the annual Brickyard 400, on Aug. 3. U.S. Micro, a national computer disposal, refurbishment, leasing and sales company, views the jump to primary sponsorship as a natural progression of its already successful NASCAR marketing plan. “As a pioneer among smaller NASCAR sponsor companies, we carefully weighed the benefits of NASCAR marketing before partnering with Brett’s team last year,” said Jim Kegley, president of U.S. Micro Corp. “Our sponsorship of Brett in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series has delivered everything we had hoped for: customer and prospect entertainment opportunities in all parts of the country; increased local and national exposure for our company through the media and the added marketing muscle of NASCAR; and enjoyable incentives and rewards for our employees. Based on those benefits, we embraced the opportunity to become Brett’s primary sponsor for the Brickyard 400, one of NASCAR’s most prestigious races.” For the 2002 and 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup seasons, U.S. Micro has been the official computer provider to the Brett Bodine Racing team, supplying laptops, desktop PCs, monitors, servers, networking equipment, printers, digital cameras and other hardware. The equipment is used in every phase of the team’s operation, from administrative functions to car engineering and testing. “Our relationship with U.S. Micro has enabled us to upgrade our computer equipment both at the shop and at the track, and we are very appreciative of their involvement with our team,” said Brett Bodine. “Small businesses like U.S. Micro are what the country and our sport were founded on and help keep us going.” In addition to U.S. Micro’s assuming primary sponsorship for the Brickyard 400, Brett Bodine Racing is offering a unique way for NASCAR fans to become a “personal sponsor” of Bodine’s car for this 10th running of the Brickyard 400. For $500, fans can purchase a “brick” decal with their name on it, to be integrated into the car’s paint scheme on the bottom half of the car. Each personal sponsor receives a die-cast model of the U.S. Micro Brick Car autographed by Brett Bodine, as well as a commemorative certificate suitable for framing.(Brett Bodine Racing PR), more info on U.S. Micro at : www.usmicrocorp.com(7-28-2003)
    SOLD OUT there were 85 bricks sold and they are now sold out.(7-30-2003)


    (7-29-2003)

  • #25 Looking for a sponsor in 2004? UPDATE UAW Will NOT Return: quote from DEI’s Ty Norris at the WSJ: ‘You have Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, DEI and Jim Smith … and somebody is going to be left out because we’re not even aware of two companies willing to spend that kind of money, let along four,’ Norris said. Norris is worried about finding someone willing to write a check for the $12 million to $18 million it takes to feed these monster teams. I don’t know if Rick Hendrick will run Joe Nemechek’s [#25] car white (UAW isn’t expected to renew)(Winston Salem Journal)(7-27-2003)
    UPDATE: Add Hendrick Motorsports to the growing list of Winston Cup organizations looking for new sponsors for next season. UAW, which along with Delphi co-sponsors Hendrick’s #25 Chevrolets driven by Joe Nemechek, has informed the team it will not return in 2004, ThatsRacin.com has learned. UAW’s decision is not based on team performance, sources said. Asked about the sponsor and driver contracts, Hendrick team spokesman Jesse Essex said Tuesday the team does not comment on contract negotiations.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-29-2003)
  • Labonte looking to extend contract thru 2004 UPDATE 3: Terry Labonte, a two-time champ, is negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports for a one-year extension of his contract to drive the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet.(Sporting News)(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Rejunivated Terry Labonte is in contract talks with Hendrick Motorsports. Labonte’s current contract runs out at the end of this year. An announcement is expected in the next few weeks for a three or four year deal.(Insider Racing News)(6-23-2003)
    UPDATE 2: #5-Terry Labonte, whose contract with Hendrick Motorsports expires after this season, said he plans to be back and has talked with the team about a contract extension.(Roanoke Times)(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Kellogg’s, which has sponsored Hendrick’s #5 Chevrolets and driver Terry Labonte since 1994, is expected to return next season with the start of a multi-year contract extension, sources said. Labonte, who is in the final year of his current contract with Hendrick, is also expected to return to the team for at least one more season, sources said. Asked about the sponsor and driver contracts, Hendrick team spokesman Jesse Essex said Tuesday the team does not comment on contract negotiations.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-29-2003)
  • Lepage and Team CLR team up for Indy: After successful testing in Indianapolis for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400, Kevin Lepage will be driving the #57 Ford Taurus for Team CLR Racing. Lepage last raced in the Brickyard 400 in 2000. Lepage said, “This is probably the best test I’ve had here with data. My team’s very knowledgeable as far as what this race car wants with this track.” Team CLR’s last race in Winston Cup was with Brett Bodine as driver in the Spring Darlington race in 2003. Even though Team CLR has not had a car on the track the team has kept very busy building cars, testing and pitting for other teams/drivers, including Kevin Lepage, Lance Hooper, Hermie Saddler, AJ Henriksen and others. Team CLR Racing is still looking for sponsorship for the Brickyard and beyond. The team has been able to sign as an associate sponsor for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400, LS Mold, Inc. of Beech Grove, IN. LS Mold is an EDM shop dedicated to exceeding industry standards for clients like Ford, MTM, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens. More info about sponsorship opportunities, see the Team CLR Site. The Brickyard 400 will be the Winston Cup debut for the “Over The Wall” crew as OTW Racing has formed a unique relationship in supporting the crew that goes over the wall for Team CLR Racing. OTW Racing will be on the crews helmets in all races that the team supports in Winston Cup, Busch, Craftsmen Truck and ARCA series races.(PR) – been told that the #57 CLR Ford is the car Lepage tested at Indy recently from his own shop.(7-29-2003)
  • Pressley to drive the #4 UPDATE: the Robert Pressley Site is reporting that Robert Pressley will drive the #4 Kodak Pontiac at the Brickyard 400, the quote: “I am really glad to have the opportunity to go to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the No. 4 car,” said Robert Pressley. “I want to thank Morgan-McClure Racing for the chance to compete in one of the biggest Winston Cup races of the season, the Brickyard 400. I hope that I can come in and do what I can to help this team overcome a few problems and get the car in the field. I am excited to be able to help out Morgan-McClure.” Supposedly David Reutimann will be in the #04 Kodak Pontiac for Morgan-McClure(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced two entries for the Brickyard 400 this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Veteran driver Robert Pressley will drive the #4 Kodak Pontiac, while David Reutimann will be behind the wheel of the #04 Kodak Grand Prix. “We are pleased to have two entries at the historic Brickyard this week. I feel confident with our driver choices. The team enjoyed working with David last week in the ARCA Series and looks forward to getting him in his first Winston Cup event. He drove a smart race and communicated well with the crew. Robert has been a favorite driver of mine for a long time. He is a good racer and we hope to have a great finish this weekend,” team owner Larry McClure said. While preparing for a busy weekend in Indy, the team also tested its road course cars at Watkins Glen on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Johnny Miller returned to test the #04 Pontiac after turning in a respectable effort for the team earlier this season at Sonoma. Testing the #4 Kodak Grand Prix was another road racing specialist, P.J. Jones.(Morgan-McClure PR)(7-29-2003)
  • Skinner in the #01 car, Wallace out? UPDATE done deal: hearing that Mike Wallace has been released from the #01 US Army Pontiac and replacing him will be Mike Skinner (I hear for the next three races, except for Watkins Glen where Boris Said will run)(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE: Mike Skinner has been named to drive the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac for MB2 Motorsports beginning with this weekend’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Skinner will take over driving duties from Mike Wallace who has substituted for the injured Jerry Nadeau since The Winston Open (May 17) at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Road racing specialist Boris Said, who drove the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac to a sixth place finish at Infineon Raceway, will take the wheel again at Watkins Glen International for the Aug. 10 road race. “Mike (Skinner) has agreed to drive for us at least through Darlington,” said Jay Frye, CEO/General Manager of MB2 Motorsports. “The team seems to have lost a little momentum since Sonoma, but hopefully Mike will help get us back on the right track. His record of success speaks for itself.”
    “I’m very excited that the team chose me to help them out,” said Skinner. “My goal, first and foremost, is to help Jerry’s recovery. We want him back in the U.S. Army Pontiac. Speaking from experience, though, getting back in the car before you are 100 percent isn’t the best thing to do for anyone. Hopefully, I can help take a little pressure off of Jerry so he can recover at his own pace. I want to get his team back on its feet, and maybe even give them a win — that would be an added bonus for all of us.”(MB2 Motorsports PR)(7-29-2003)
  • Bye-Bye Jesse: In response to pressure from a conservative legal watchdog group and racing fans, NASCAR is cutting off its funding of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. NASCAR has paid a total of $250,000 to an affiliate organization of the black advocacy group in recent years. But a person familiar with NASCAR’s internal decisions confirmed that the racing organization has not paid Jackson’s group any money in 2003 and doesn’t plan to. NASCAR is seeking more subtle ways to back Rainbow/PUSH without appearing as though they directly support the politically volatile Jackson. Said Charles Farrell, a spokesman for Rainbow’s sports division: “We have had no contact whatsoever with NASCAR that would indicate that they are changing the status of their support for Rainbow/PUSH.” Four months of media attention and fan backlash have prodded NASCAR into cutting ties with Jackson. At a Rainbow/PUSH conference in June, which was attended by NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne, one of the organization’s board members called NASCAR “the last bastion of white supremacy” in sports. (USA Today), see past news on this situation on my NASCAR Past News page.(7-29-2003)
  • Sadler in the booth: Winston Cup driver Elliott Sadler, driver of the #38 M & M’s car, will join Allen Bestwick and Benny Parsons to provide race analysis during TNT’s coverage of Busch Series racing from Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday, August 2 at 8:00pm/et.(Turner PR)(7-29-2003)
  • IDIOT ALERT UPDATE 2: some nimrod ran out of the infield, across the track and into the woods [maybe the line to the restrooms were too long?] supposedly the police are in pursuit of the fool.(TNT/MRN Race Coverage)(7-27-2003)
    UPDATE – the streak: In the midst of the running of the Pennsylvania 500, one of the more than 100,000 fans on hand bolted from the speedway infield, raced across the track in the face of an oncoming field of stock cars, vaulted another barrier and ran into a nearby wooded area. According to an eyewitness, what looked like a man, shirtless with his pants below his knees exposing part of his derriere, “streaked” across the lower end of the Pocono frontstretch as the field was circling the track at 65 mph behind the pace car. One source said Sunday’s “streak” was caught by one of the many television cameras on hand for the TNT production. The TV source said the feed was seen by people in production, but did not go over the air for public consumption. Regarding the Pocono incident on Sunday, track spokesman Bob Pleban said someone was apprehended in the woods outside the track’s first turn shortly after the incident by Pocono Raceway security. He was turned over to Pocono Regional Police. A woman who identified herself as Barb, but would give no last name, answered the phone at Pocono Regional headquarters. She said she knew nothing of the incident, but that regional police handle cases on the track grounds. “I have no idea,” she said. “We do have detectives at the track. You will have to wait until they issue a press release.” Pleban said there is a facility and a magistrate on the speedway grounds to handle cases of lawbreaking.(see full story at the Express Times)(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Pocono Regional Police say [a man, see story for name], 25, from Long Pond, Pa., was arrested on four misdemeanor counts when he sprinted across the racetrack course near Turn 1. #19-Jeremy Mayfield had to swerve to avoid [the man] during a caution period. “Somebody went across down by Turn 1, hopped over the wall and was quickly apprehended,” Pocono Raceway spokesman Bob Pleban said. “He’s in lockup right now.” After reviewing a videotape provided by TNT, which telecast the race nationally, Det. Jeff Bowman said [the man] jogged across the track, then exposed his buttocks before hopping over the outside retaining wall. NASCAR, which sanctioned Sunday’s race at Pocono, would not offer comment about the incident. [The man] was charged with disorderly conduct, open lewdness, public drunkenness and simple trespassing. But Bowman said the list of charges could grow and become more serious depending on Mayfield’s account of the incident. Pocono Raceway officials plan to review its security operations before hosting its next Winston Cup race during the 2004 season.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(7-29-2003)
  • Testing at the Glen on July 28th and 29th UPDATE Monday Speeds: Many drivers are scheduled to test at Watkins Glen International in preparation for the SIRIUS at The Glen, August 10th. Fans who have purchased tickets for the SIRIUS at The Glen, August 7-10, will be admitted free of charge both days. Fans should present their SIRIUS at The Glen tickets at the gate to gain free admission or pick-up a voucher at the ticket office if they have not received their event tickets. All other spectators can take in the action for only $5.00 each day at the gate. Gate 4 will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. both days.
    Scheduled drivers: #01-Boris Said; #09?-Scott Pruett; #1-Ron Fellows; #4-Johnny Miller; #6-Mark Martin; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.; #15-Michael Waltrip; #16-Greg Biffle; #17-Matt Kenseth; #18-Bobby Labonte; #24-Jeff Gordon; #31-Robby Gordon; #33-Paul Menard #40-Sterling Marlin; #41-Casey Mears; #45-Kyle Petty; #44-Christian Fittipaldi; #35-Joe Varde [Team Amick]; #88-Dale Jarrett
    Tickets for the races that weekd start at only $50 and are still available.(Watkins Glen International PR)(7-28-2003)
    UPDATE: #31-Robby Gordon at 122.858mph; #16-Greg Biffle at 122.398, #6-Mark Martin at 122.347; #1-Ron Fellows at 121.823; #4-PJ Jones at 121.790; #01-Boris Said at 121.773; #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 121.655; #17-Matt Kenseth at 121.471; #24-Jeff Gordon at 121.321; Bobby Labonte at 121.204; #41-Casey Mears at 120.822, #04-Johnny Miller at 120.706; #09-Scott Pruett at 120.377; #45-Kyle Petty at 119.593; #44-Christian Fittipaldi at 119.577; #33-Paul Menards at 119.351. The track qualifying record is 122.698mph. Tickets for the event start at $50 and are still available. Tickets for the SIRIUS at The Glen weekend, as well as the remaining 2003 racing season at Watkins Glen International, are now available by calling The Glen’s ticket office at 607-535-2481 or online at www.theglen.com. Testing concludes Tuesday and is once again open to the public.(Watkins Glen PR)(7-29-2003)
  • Kenny Wallace wins in NJ: After meeting with fans and signing autographs, the quartet of Winston Cup drivers, Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Steve Park and Kenny Wallace, battled in their own 30-lap main event at Wall Township Speedway in NJ. While Waltrip and Marlin took turns leading early, Kenny Wallace took control off a restart with eight laps remaining to grab his first ever Wall Township Speedway win by a half car length. Waltrip, Marlin and Park followed. “This is great! Not only can I say that I’ve raced at Wall, but I can also now say that I have won at Wall,” Wallace said. “I know all of us had a great time here today. The track is great and the people are real nice. We all had a lot of fun.” See more to the story at Jerseyracing.com.(7-29-2003)
  • A funny from Garage Pass: A funny thing happened Sunday morning at Pocono to Ford car owner Jack Roush on his way to the race track. His brand new ‘borrowed’ Chevrolet rental car ran out of gas on Mt. Pocono! Roush, who said he was unfamiliar with Chevy gas gauges, fortunately managed to drift the car into a nearby BP gas station. Unfortunately, the gas station’s computer didn’t like his VISA credit card, so Jack had to scrape together enough gas money to make it to the track. The car was refueled at the track so Roush could make it back to the airport after the race. Laughing about the ordeal Jack said, “Chevy’s must not come with a full tank¦I know Fords do!”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-29-2003)
  • Wimmer looking to move up to Cup in 2004: car owner Bill Davis is looking for a full Winston Cup sponsor, for Busch star Scott Wimmer, who won Saturday at Pikes Peak. Wimmer is scheduled to move up to Winston Cup next year. Mike Brown, Davis’ general manager, has said that the operation’s current lineup is up for review, because of lackluster results this season. Already there are rumors that Ward Burton could be under scrutiny from owner Richard Childress, if Childress chooses to make a driver change.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-29-2003)

    (7-28-2003)

  • Smirnoff and the #99? or to Penske? hearing that Smirnoff Ice/Triple Black could end up being the sponsor for the #99 Roush Racing team and driver Jeff Burton, either in a full time capacity or similar to what they are doing with #17-Matt Kenseth this year [seven races as a primary sponsor on the car], OR could re-up with Kenseth for another year OR could do a similar deal with #12-Ryan Newman [not sure how Miller Lite would like that] also being a sponsor on one of Penske’s IRL cars [who is losing Marlboro] with one of their hard liquior labels, which is allowed in the IRL but not in NASCAR. While mulling over this one, kmowing it looks like a sponsor will stick with NASCAR, check out their contest: Smirnoffice.com – Hang With Matt & The Crew [that Chris Brock seems fun to hang out with](7-28-2003)
  • The rumor that will NOT die: Stewart/Ganassi: According to Winston Salem Journal sources, car owner Chip Ganassi and sponsor Target are offering Tony Stewart five million dollars a year, plus bonuses. That would be nearly three times as much money as he’s making with car owner Joe Gibbs, according to sources close to the situation. Stewart has been noncommittal about the situation, but Cary Agajanian, his agent, confirms that a number of people are interested in hiring Stewart. And according to sources the proposed Ganassi-Target contract for Stewart is a five-year deal starting at $5 million the first year, plus bonuses, and a 20-percent increase each year, with a significant part of that salary paid by Dodge. The conventional wisdom is that Stewart is simply trying to driving the price up with Gibbs, but throughout the weekend, reports have been rampant that a Stewart-Ganassi deal is all but done. And in the Indy-car world, the word is it’s a done deal. Jimmy Makar, Gibbs’ general manager, said, ‘It’s obvious he hasn’t signed a contract (with Gibbs), but they’re negotiating and working through it right now. They just finished up Bobby Labonte’s a few weeks ago, and now they’re working with Tony. But that’s really between Tony and Joe. It can be a distraction, if you’re not careful. It hasn’t been in the past though.’ One question – if Stewart leaves Gibbs, would Home Depot follow? Sources say Gibbs and Home Depot officials have all but signed a new deal in the past three weeks.
    And there are unconfirmed reports that Gibbs is already studying the market to see who’s available if Stewart leaves, and rival owners expect Gibbs to make a run at Dale Jarrett if Stewart were to move. Jarrett once drove for Gibbs, and Jimmy Makar, Gibbs’ manager, is married to Jarrett’s sister, Patti. There are also unconfirmed reports that Gibbs is looking at Greg Biffle, and there is a push from the Indy-car world for Gibbs to take a look at Sam Hornish Jr. and even Sarah Fisher.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
  • UPS Not Happy? Robert Yates squelched rumors about selling his team, but buzz persists regarding driver Dale Jarrett and the UPS sponsorship. With a yearly investment of $16 million, UPS isn’t taking the recent turmoil on the #88 team lightly, and there has been talk that if Jarrett leaves Yates, UPS will go with him. That would make for an impressive package for an organization looking for a sponsor. Some believe Jarrett, the 1999 Winston Cup champion, will finish his career with Joe Gibbs Racing and team manager Jimmy Makar, his brother-in-law.(Sporting News)(7-28-2003)
  • Ward to the #30? Sources in the garage say the AOL ride is available next season and that the sponsor would like a mature driver capable of winning races. Sounds like the perfect fit for Ward Burton [who is signed with Bill Davis thur 2004]. Not only has he won at a variety of tracks, he would be a good hunting buddy for owner Richard Childress.(Sporting News)(7-28-2003)
  • Parrott to PE? maybe Roush? UPDATE 2: Sources in the garage say former Robert Yates Racing crew chief Todd Parrott could be coming out of retirement and headed for Petty Enterprises — if the Pettys can afford the seven-figure price tag it would take to retain him.(more ‘Dish’ at Sporting News)(7-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Earlier this year, Todd Parrott was released as director of competition at Robert Yates Racing. Earlier this week, there was a report that Parrott may wind up with Petty Enterprises, but a source told me Friday that Parrott could wind up at Roush Racing. We’ll keep you posted on that.(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(7-26-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Crew chief Todd Parrott is shopping for a job, and two places he’s applied are Petty Enterprises and Roush Racing. But sources say that Parrott won’t be offered a job with Roush. ‘Todd came to me, and I have talked with him,’ Jack Roush said, without further explanation.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
  • Shakeup at PE? Richard Petty is not happy with the shape of things at Petty Enterprises [#43, #44, #45], and a shakeup may be coming.(Winston Salem Journal), see above story.(7-28-2003)
  • Drivers for Rusty’s Busch team? Rusty Wallace is looking for a driver for his Busch team, and two men he’s considering are Billy ‘Catfish’ Parker, Hank Parker’s kid brother, and Burt Myers, the son of Bowman Gray racer Gary Myers. Chad Blount has been scratched from the list, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
  • New Enginer for the #2: Wallace’s team changed its engineer this week. Chief engineer Roy McCauley was with the team at the track for the first time this season.(Roanoke Times)(7-28-2003)
  • 1-800-jeffgoron? Among the innovative twists Nextel officials are looking at for fans next season is a 1-800 service to listen to drivers and crew chiefs, like 1-800-JeffGordon. What some Winston Cup team owners would like Nextel to do is help open up the European marketplace for possible sponsors. Nextel’s sports marketing company does handle the British Grand Prix, which offers a tantalizing opening. However, that Nextel subsidiary hasn’t done very well with that venture.(Winston Salem Journal), so, wondering outloud here, AT&T handles all the communications at the track now for NASCAR and nascar.com, which is run by Turner Broadcasting, what happens in 2004???(7-28-2003)
  • Gaughan and Evernham? UPDATEs: some sources say that Brendan Gaughan’s [#62 in the Truck Series] name has come up as an option for Evernham Motorsports if changes are made or they choose to run the third R&D car [#91 Dodge](3-22-2003)
    UPDATE: …..a mention of CTS driver Brendan Gaughan as a possible driver for on of Evernham’s three cars, brought this response from Gaughan: “I want to go to Winston Cup, we know that,” Gaughan said. “But I don’t ever want to hope that someone does bad. I’m rooting for all the other Dodge drivers. Right now I’m just worried about getting our team through this Craftsman Truck Series season. We’re third in points — two points out of second — and that’s right where we want to be at this point. I haven’t heard anything about the rumor, but it’s cool my name’s out there. That’s a bonus.” …(Las Vegas Review Journal)(3-28-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Brendan Gaughan, one of the hottest drivers on NASCAR’s Truck tour, is under consideration for a Winston Cup ride with Ray Evernham, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
  • Changes in the provisionals? Owners would like it: #89-Morgan Shepherd’s return to the stock-car tour in the past few weeks has provoked controversy because, under NASCAR’s rules, Shepherd has been able to get provisional entries into the field, even though he’s not running the full tour, while denying full-time rivals a spot because those rivals have been out of provisionals. Larry McClure’s #4 team was the latest victim. For next season teams are pushing NASCAR to change the rules to allow only full-time teams any provisionals. ‘If you’re not in the top 43 in points, you shouldn’t get any provisionals,’ car owner Bill Davis says. ‘Some of these part-timers wait until a regular is out of provisionals and then they show up and send home teams with full-time sponsors like Kodak.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
  • Get Well UPDATE: A [Nashville, TN] Fairgrounds Speedway driver was severely injured in a fiery crash yesterday afternoon as he practiced for last night’s feature race. Hartsville racer Dave Traini was taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for treatment of what track officials described as second-degree burns on 36% of his body. A later hospital report said Traini had third-degree burns on his arms, chest and neck. He remained in intensive care. ”Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Traini family,” Fairgrounds Speedway president Dennis Grau said. ”We will go to the hospital (today) and help out any way we can. We always are sad to see one of our drivers injured. It’s something that can happen any time you strap yourself into one of these cars.” Traini was practicing for the Late Model feature when he crashed into the first-turn wall and a fuel line apparently ruptured. When the race began, another fiery crash destroyed the car of Travis Trotter but the rookie from Lebanon bailed out without injury.(Tennessean)(7-27-2003)
    UPDATE: Hartsville race driver Dave Traini continued to undergo treatment yesterday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for severe burns suffered in a Saturday crash at Fairgrounds Speedway. ”Dave’s doing better,” said Fairgrounds Speedway president Dennis Grau, who visited Traini yesterday. ”He will probably remain in the hospital for five or six days, then has a lot of out-patient treatment ahead of him. It was a scary incident but thankfully he’s going to be OK.” A hospital spokesperson said policy prohibited issuing a report on Traini’s condition. ”The plastic visor on his helmet melted, along with the padding on the car’s roll bars,” Grau said. ”That’s what caused some of the more severe burns.’ ‘The one thing we will do starting this week is inspect each driver’s fire suit,” he said. ”Dave’s suit did its job — it prevented even worse injuries. But after those two crashes we want to double-check and make sure every one of our drivers has a proper fire suit.”(see more at the Tenneseean)(7-28-2003)

 


 

  • (7-27-2003)

  • Newman wins at Pocono: #12-Ryan Newman won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway in the Mobil One Dodge, his first ever win at Pocono, 4th win of the year [he leads the series in wins now] and 5th of his career. #97-Busch ended up 2nd, almost catching Newman. The Points leader, #17Kenseth finished 13th and keeps his big leads in the points standings. The unofficial top 10, lap leaders, out of the race, caution summaries and notes can be seen on my Pennsylvania 500 Race Info page.
    RACE RE-AIR: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, July 30th, 8:00pm/et and Thurs, July 31st, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    RACE RESULTS at Jayski’s Pocono July Race Results or
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.
    Points at Jayski’s Drivers/ Owners Points (after Pocono) page.(7-27-2003)
  • StockCarFans.Com: Rumblings – Pocono: Once again (for the 4th week in a row) fuel strategy and track position made the difference as Ryan Newman took two tires and fuel with 46 laps to go and made it last over Kurt Busch for the win in today’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.
    With the aide of a number of caution laps in the final 40 circuits, Newman grabbed his 3rd [actually his 4th] win of the season, the 5th of his Winston Cup career (he’s now tied for 58th all-time), and became the first driver to win from the pole twice this season (it’s only been done three times with Jeff Gordon winning Martinvsille earlier this year from the top-spot).
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Richmond in May.
    Michael Waltrip (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Las Vegas in March.
    Joe Nemechek (7th) had his best finish since he won the Richmond race in May.
    Todd Bodine (8th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond last September. His Top-10 gives us 39 drivers to reach that mark this season… last year’s number was 42.
    Dave Blaney (9th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Darlington in March.
    Tony Raines (16th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Richimond in May.
    Christian Fittipaldi (24th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 29th at Chicagoland two weeks ago.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Burton has 4 Top-10’s in a row. Ryan Newman has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is _Nobody_. It takes a 20 position move to make “The Shaft”, and we had 4 drivers who were +19. DOWN: The Big Dropper was John Andretti (-28), followed by Mark Martin (-27), Bobby Labonte (-26), Casey Mears (-25), and Jeremy Mayfield (-23).(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-27-2003)
  • Marlin stays with Ganassi: during an interview on Fox Sports Net’s NASCAR This Morning interview with Sterling Marlin, driver of the #40 Coors Light Dodge for Chip Ganassi. mentioned he has signed with the team for two more years [thru 2005] and the paperwork should about be done.(7-27-2003)
  • New Hot Wheels: Hot Wheels has come up with an unusual new 1:64 scale NASCAR die-cast which, when run under cold water, changes the car’s normal paint scheme to a test-car paint scheme. Running the car under warm water changes it back. Nine drivers are available.(Peoria Star Journal)(7-27-2003)
  • Site: Safety Guru, Bill Simpson, who just recently settled his lawsuit with NASCAR, has his new company, Impact Racing Products, website up and running, check it out at www.impactraceproducts.com.(7-27-2003)
  • #25 Looking for a sponsor in 2004? quote from DEI’s Ty Norris at the WSJ: ‘You have Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, DEI and Jim Smith … and somebody is going to be left out because we’re not even aware of two companies willing to spend that kind of money, let along four,’ Norris said. Norris is worried about finding someone willing to write a check for the $12 million to $18 million it takes to feed these monster teams. I don’t know if Rick Hendrick will run Joe Nemechek’s [#25] car white (UAW isn’t expected to renew)(Winston Salem Journal)(7-27-2003)
  • Not NASCAR but… Thurman Thomas has become the latest former NFL star — joining Terry Bradshaw, Jim Kelly, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman — to become involved in motorsports. The former Bills running back has formed a race team that will debut in the American Speed Association [ASA] next month.(Charleston Post and Courier)(7-27-2003)
  • Cool Points stuff from the Richmond Times Dispatch – Today is the 20th race of the Winston Cup season. Last year was the first time since 1992 that the points leader after 20 races didn’t win the championship. Since the current system was adopted in 1975, the leader after 20 races has won the championship 19 times [27 seasons].
    Since 1975, there have been 14 seasons in which at least one driver won more races than the champion. In 1984, Darrell Waltrip (7), Geoffrey Bodine (3), Bill Elliott (3), Harry Gant (3) and Cale Yarborough (3) all won more than champion Terry Labonte (2).
    Adding a 10-point bonus for winning a race would change the standings in a number of years and would change the champion three times since 1975. Jeff Gordon won 10 times to two for champion Terry Labonte in 1996. Gordon lost the title by 37 points. Darrell Waltrip won seven times to Richard Petty’s five in 1979. Waltrip lost the title by 11 points. Bill Elliott won five times to Alan Kulwicki’s two in 1992. Elliott lost the title by 10 points.(7-27-2003)
  • Yates Rumor Denied UPDATE and some more:…. the story of the day was Robert Yates, who denied reports that he is interested in selling his two Winston Cup teams. According to one report, Yates was talking with Chip Ganassi — according to another report, he was talking with Joe Gibbs. Yates laughed off the reports: ‘I’m going to stick to my deal. I haven’t gone there. Robert Yates-Bill Gates sounds pretty good, but other than that, I’m not interested I don’t think. I do have a race-team shop for sale, under the right conditions. Ricky Rudd’s old shop. And you know how rumors get started. Robby Gordon said he wanted to look at that, and I’m sure someone overheard that, and the next thing you know it went around that I was selling out. Robby was trying to buy Jimmy Spencer’s shop, but it got sold, and I heard that and told Robby, ‘How about coming by and looking at mine? So this wasn’t something that somebody dreamed up. But I’m not leaving. You sell after you win the championship, not before. Raymond Beadle taught me that.’ Ford executives didn’t put much credence in reports that Robert Yates might be calling it quits, pointing to a new five-year contract just signed with Yates in January and to UPS’ contract that runs through 2006. Jimmy Makar, Joe Gibbs’ team manager, said he was unaware of the Yates story until late yesterday and put no validity into a report that Yates was interested in a deal with Gibbs. There would be so many contractual entanglements as to make any Yates deal almost a non-starter. Chip Ganassi, for one, is a Dodge man — Gibbs, a GM man.(Winston Salem Journal), see the past rumor on my #88 Team News and Links page.(7-26-2003)
    UPDATE: So it may not be surprising that Robert Yates is reportedly ready to quit. Yates said he’s not trying to sell his two Winston Cup teams. But others in the garage have said there’s more to the story than Yates is letting on. Yates, a famous engine man and a car owner since 1988, has become increasingly disenchanted with the car-owner side of the business over the past year. While he and his son, Doug, still have one of the top engine programs, they’ve had numerous headaches as owners, and Robert has indicated for a year that he might like to fade out of the picture, perhaps to his beach house at Myrtle Beach.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-27-2003)
  • Pennzoil gone…may stay as an assoc UPDATEs: Dale Earnhardt Inc. officials are looking for a company to replace Pennzoil as the sponsor of the No.1 car after this season, a team official said Sunday. Pennzoil’s contract expires after the season, and the company will not renew that contract. Ty Norris, executive vice president of motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc., says that the group is talking to Pennzoil about remaining as an associate sponsor on the No.1 car along with those of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip.(Roanoke Times)
    AND DEI’s No. 1 team will lose Pennzoil after this year, and Kraft had emerged as a possible replacement. Kraft already has associate deals with the three DEI teams, but team president Ty Norris said he does not expect Kraft to go too far too fast. “They step up their program every year,” he said. “It’s one thing to take a step, and it’s another to take a running leap to a Winston Cup primary. We’ve talked to them about it. Right now they’re pretty happy with the program they have. It makes sense for them financially, and they’re comfortable with their level of spending right now.” As for anything DEI might have going for the 1 car as of now, Norris said, “You look at it cold, medium, hot, I’d say we’re pretty cold right now.”(Speed Channel)(7-14-2003)
    UPDATE the official release: Pennzoil Products will end a six-season primary sponsorship agreement with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and the #1 Chevrolet team at the end of the 2003 season. Pennzoil, a Houston, Texas-based petroleum products corporation, became Dale Earnhardt, Inc.’s first full-time NASCAR Winston Cup sponsor in 1998, backing driver Steve Park in the #1 Chevrolet. Pennzoil, a Winston Cup primary since 1991, claimed its only victories in NASCAR’s elite division with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., winning at Watkins Glen, N.Y. in 2000 and Rockingham, N.C. in 2001. Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the company founded by the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt, is optimistic that it can produce more victories for Pennzoil and attract a primary replacement before the end of the 2003 season. “Like Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Pennzoil has been through a lot of changes since we first signed our agreement in the fall of 1997,” said Ty Norris, Dale Earnhardt, Inc.’s Executive Vice President of Motorsports. “We promised to win races for Pennzoil, and we did. They promised to support Dale Earnhardt, Inc. through the growing pains of a new operation, and they did.. Pennzoil will always have a place in the history of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. We want to win before the end of the year and finish our great relationship on a high note.”(DEI PR)(7-26-2003)
    MORE: quote from DEI’s Ty Norris at the WSJ: ‘We’re very fortunate with Dale Jr. and Michael. They’ve been successful on track, and the sponsors are terrific, activating so well with all their promotions that they can justify it all. The way we’re going to market our third team is to leverage the association with Dale and Michael. We sell our company as a package.'(Winston Salem Journal lot of interesting stuff in this column – check it out)(7-27-2003)
  • Green doesn’t know: Jeff Green’s contract with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated runs out Sept. 1, but he’s not sure what is going to happen beyond that date. Green said Saturday at Pocono Raceway that he hasn’t spoken with DEI officials about his status in the #1 car beyond the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.(NASCAR.com)(7-27-2003)
  • Hutchens gets first win since 1985: Bobby Hutchens, the general manager and competition director for Richard Childress Racing, found his way back to the victory lane after an 18-year absence, winning last night’s 107-lap Modified race at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-27-2003)
  • In NYC? Lookout for Johnson: Jimmie Johnson is becoming more accustomed to his new celebrity world, and he’s added an interesting defense mechanism – an apartment in New York City, where he can be anonymous again. ‘I’m lucky when I can get up there,’ he said. ‘I was there last week, but for the first time in three months. It’s something more for winter, to enjoy New York, to try something different. It is colder than I want, but it’s a nice getaway. People laugh at me when I say I go to New York to get away — but when you’re walking the streets of New York they’re looking for movie stars, not race-car drivers. So it’s a lot more relaxed.'(WSJ)(7-27-2003)
  • Pre-race show looks at CART’s safety team POSTPONED: The CART Champ Car Simple Green Safety Team will be featured in a video piece to be aired as part of TNT’s NASCAR pre-race show leading up to the Pennsylvania 500 event at Pocono Raceway. The network’s color analyst and racer Wally Dallenbach Jr. (son of former Champ Car star and Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach Sr.) accompanied a film crew to the Molson Indy Toronto two weeks ago to find out what makes the Safety Team one of the best quick-response outfits anywhere in motorsports. The piece contains interviews with series Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Steve Olvey and series Chief Orthopedic Consultant Dr. Terry Trammell as well as with Director of Safety Lon Bromley and Champ Car World Series drivers Jimmy Vasser and Adrian Fernandez. The feature will air at 12:30pm/et on Sunday afternoon.(MotorsportsTV.com)
    POSTPONED the feature story was postponed until a later pre-race show as the starting time of the race was moved up and TNT is focusing on the stories at the track.(7-27-2003


    (7-26-2003)

  • Mears wins 1st weekend ARCA race; UPDATE sweeps and wins the bonus: #41 Cup driver Casey Mears began his long weekend at Pocono Raceway with a victory Friday in an ARCA series race. Earlier in the day, Mears qualified his Winston Cup car in 10th position for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500. He also will drive Saturday in another ARCA event [he starts 2nd]. The one ran Friday was postponed from last month.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    UPDATE: Giant Foodstores, the sponsor of the ARCA 200 race on Friday night, posted a $25,000 bonus for a driver who could sweep the Friday race, postponed from June, and the ARCA Pennsylvania 200, to start 1:00pm/et today [actually it is $12,500 for the drive and $12,500 donated to the Children’s Miracle Network]. Kyle Busch is on the pole. Busch and Christian Fittipaldi are favorites today but were not in the Friday field. With pole-sitter Casey Mears winning the Giant 200, outrunning runnerup Frank Kimmel to the finish, the Winston Cup rookie, who qualified 10th for the Pennsylvania 500, can pocket the cash with a win today.(Express Times)
    UPDATE 2 – Mears Sweeps ARCA at Pocono: Casey Mears made it two victories in two days at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, winning the back end of an ARCA series doubleheader at the 2.5-mile track. Mears had started from the pole and led virtually all the way in Friday’s race, which had been rained out in June. For Saturday’s race, he qualified second but had to start at the rear of the field after an engine change. He held off David Reutimann over the final laps to complete the sweep. ARCA points leader Frank Kimmel was third. “It’s awesome,” said Mears, who earned a $12,500 bonus from a chain of food stores for winning both races over the weekend. “We did this to gain experience and I’ve gained a ton. Hopefully, a lot of it will apply to tomorrow.” Mears will start 10th in Sunday’s Winston Cup Pennsylvania 500. Busch started from the pole Saturday and ran strong throughout the race until, with 24 laps to go, he was involved in a crash on the frontstretch. Busch, coming back through the field after a pit stop, went to the inside to make a pass when Ron Cox dove to block him. Their cars eventually made contact, sending Busch spinning and knocking him out of the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-26-2003)
  • Lowe’s team member injured: during the early stages of Happy Hour practice, #41-Casey Mears swerved to avoid another car in the garage area and ran over the right foot of #48 Team Lowe’s mechanic/windshield cleaner, Ryan Dubois. Dubois was put on a stretcher and taken to the infield care center at Pocono. Dubois was joking with Speed Channel’s Marty Snyder saying ‘it hurt bad’.(7-26-2003)
    Have not heard updates on Dubois.(7-27-2003)
  • Mayfield extension? hearing that Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the #19 Dodge Dealers Dodge is close to signing a contract extension with Evernham Motorsports. Should put to rest the rumors he is leaving or being booted.(7-26-2003)
  • #14 to #50: keep getting asked why the #14 Foyt Racing team and driver Larry Foyt changed to #50. Asnwered this last week and can be found on my #14 Team News and Links page….also some more: Car owner A.J. Foyt switched Larry Foyt’s car number from 14 to 50 the past two weeks. Why? Well, Foyt wants his son to make the Brickyard 400 next Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Thanks to NASCAR’s provisional system, Foyt’s No. 14 is down to one provisional.(Patriot News), it failed them last week as qualifying was rained out and the team had no attempts on the #50, so it missed the race when it would had made it with the #14. But this week at Pocono, it worked as the #50 had to use a provisional to make the race and still has 3 left on the #50. Also in this weeks Winston Cup Scene, Foyt says they may run both cars later in the season, so this gets them some owners points and attempts on the car, plus the #14 being so deep in owners points [42nd] it was no big advantage.(7-26-2003)
  • Netzero Stuff UPDATE Leffler in at Indy: hearing that Jason Leffler will drive the #0 Netzeo Pontiac at Indy in the Brickyard 400 and that Netzero may not be back as a sponsor in 2004 for the team.
    UPDATE: Jason Leffler will join Ultra Motorsports truck teammate Ted Musgrave [#07 Dodge] in the Winston Cup Brickyard 400 next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But while Musgrave will drive a second Sirius Dodge for owner Jimmy Smith, Leffler will pilot the #0 Pontiac for Haas CNC Racing. Leffler’s hoped-for 33rd career start reunites the 27-year-old with crew chief Tony Furr, with whom he worked for two races at the end of last season.(NASCAR.com and a full release at Speed Channel)(7-26-2003)
  • Tobacco to be banned too? After Winston’s departure as title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series this year, could tobacco join distilled liquor products and pornography on a list of sponsors excluded from the sport? “That’s an issue that’s on our radar for next year,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said Friday at Pocono Raceway. The series will be known as the Nextel Cup beginning in 2004 when that firm replaces R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. NASCAR’s deal with RJR kept other cigarette companies out of the sport for the 33 years of their relationship. But once RJR leaves, Helton said, the sport must decide if it will allow any other tobacco company’s products into the sport. “We’ve kept hard liquor and pornography, hard core and soft core, out of the sport on the morality issue,” Helton said. “The question we’re going to have to look at is whether we need to do that with tobacco.” Helton’s comments came during a conversation about his trip to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about NASCAR’s position on ephedra-based diet supplements. Earlier this year, NASCAR added ephedra to a list of drugs it looks for under a substance abuse policy that allows for testing if there is “reasonable suspicion” a driver or crew member is using banned substances. NASCAR also could have sponsorship issues to work out if the federal government moves to restrict ephedra-based products. Stacker 2 sponsors the #23 team owned by Bill Davis Racing and TrimSpa sponsors a Busch Series team and is the title sponsor of the Busch race being held this weekend at Pikes Peak.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-26-2003)
  • Finch may field Toyota truck team: The latest on the Toyota front: car owner [#1 Busch, #09 Cup] James Finch is expected to field a Toyota factory truck next season. No word on the driver. Finch is a Dodge business partner with Chip Ganassi this season, and Ganassi has been hotly rumored to be headed eventually to Toyota.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2003)
  • Waltrip, Gant Selected for NMPA Hall of Fame: Three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip and 18-race winner Harry Gant have been selected for induction into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in Darlington. The pair will be inducted Aug. 30. Waltrip, 56, won 84 races and Winston Cup titles in 1981-82 and ’85. “I have to admit, this is quite an honor,” Waltrip said. Gant earned nationwide recognition in 1991 when he won four races in a row at the age of 51. Nicknamed “Handsome Harry,” Gant finished in the top 10 in the points race eight times, including a career-best second in 1984. Regulations require that a nominee be named on a minimum of 65 percent of the ballots to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Waltrip and Gant each received 77 percent of the votes. Fellow nominee Tim Richmond was selected by 62 percent of voters, while Butch Lindley received 30 percent of the vote.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-26-2003)
  • Inspection Issues?? …..And if it’s a fuel-mileage race, crew chief Michael McSwain [#18 Chevy], with a nod toward the NASCAR inspection bay, said early yesterday morning, ‘It’s already over. It just happened. The inspection. If everyone had the same size gas tank, do you think there’d be an issue? Do you think Jeff Gordon would have finished 24th at Loudon if everyone had the same size fuel cell? Whoever got the best stuff through just now just won the fuel-mileage race.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2003)
  • Goody’s Dash Series News: BRDAYTONA, a Florida-based motorsports promotion company, will take over the sanctioning and operation of the Goody’s Dash Series at the conclusion of the 2003 racing season. BRDAYTONA, led by investors Randy Claypoole and Buck Parker, will assume all operations of the series effective Oct. 26, 2003 and is currently in negotiations with track operators and sponsors for the 2004 season. The Goody’s Dash Series has been a part of NASCAR since 1975 and was a training ground for such drivers as Michael Waltrip, Hut Stricklin, Shawna Robinson and Shane Hmiel. The Goody’s Dash Series features compact cars powered by six-cylinder engines. Approved models include the Chevrolet Cavalier, Ford Escort, Mercury Cougar, Pontiac Sunfire and Toyota Celica. Goody’s Dash Series cars have a wheelbase of 100 inches and weigh 2,750 pounds (2,950 pounds on superspeedways).(NASCAR PR)(7-26-2003)
  • Helton Testifies UPDATE: NASCAR President, Mike Helton, testified at a House Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington, DC on Thursday [along with many leaders of others sports], towards the end of the NY Times story……..Stock car racing also came under fire at the hearing. Representative Jan Schakowski , a Democrat from Illinois, asked why at least one ephedra company [Stacker 2] had been allowed to sponsor a racing team and promote its products at racetracks. Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, has set limits on how much ephedra was acceptable in tests of drivers. But he also said that the driving teams and tracks were owned by various individuals, and NASCAR could not set a blanket policy covering them as well.(New York Times and see more at energycommerce.house.gov and nascar.alanjones.us)(7-25-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR president Mike Helton testified before a Senate subcommittee this week in Washington, D.C. about the use of Ephedra. NASCAR has not banned the use of Ephedra but does test for it. Helton acknowledge that NASCAR may consider a more specific policy.(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR) and more info on the subject at nascar.alanjones.us: NASCAR ‘does’ have policy against ephedra(7-26-2003)
  • StockCarFans.com: Ramblings – Pocono: #12-Ryan Newman didn’t disappoint today as he took his 5th top-spot of the season (and 12th of his Cup career) at Pocono Raceway for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500. His time of 52.830 (170.358 mph) bested Jimmie Johnson and they’ll lead the field to the green on this unique triangle.
    #38-Elliott Sadler (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    #0-John Andretti (5th) has his best starting spot since he was on the outside of the front row at Phoenix last November.
    #88-Dale Jarrett (8th) probably wishes we ran 36 times a year here (would get kinda nasty in February, tho). He’s only had three Top-10 starts this season….but two of them are here.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 3 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Only 44 cars on hand this week….the Trouble Train is a lonely ride for Brett Bodine as he tried to qualify the #4 Kodak car. It’s the 2nd DNQ for that entry this season.
    We lost another important figure in NASCAR’s history this week….Bob Latford. Without he & Joe Whitlock (they came up with the current scoring system) there’s no telling what the face of Winston Cup racing would look like today. Throw in all of his PR work, and the sport owes him a debt of gratitude.(StockCarFans.com Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-26-2003)


    (7-25-2003)

  • Sad News – Services: NASCAR historian Bob Latford passed away Wednesday, July 23rd. At this time, no funeral arrangements have been announced. The family is considering waiting until next Tuesday to conduct the service to give the racing community time to return from this weekend’s event. Latford came up with the Winston Cup points system that is in use to this day. See a nice and informative column on Latford by David Poole at Thatsracin.com: Sport loses Bob Latford, originator of NASCAR’s modern points system. Latford was also the author of NASCAR: A Celebration.(7-23-2003)
    many articles/columns about Latford on my Articles/Columns/Story Links page.(7-24-2003)
    AND A statement from H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, concerning the death of longtime public relations practitioner and motorsports historian Bob Latford follows: Bob had a thorough knowledge and in-depth appreciation of our sport’s history. He was a valuable resource in retrospect of that history. As a public relations practitioner, he understood what the media needed and provided it in a concise, accurate manner. His passing leaves a giant void that connects our sport’s past to the present. My condolences go out to his wife, Leslie, and their family.”(LMS PR)
    SERVICES: Robert Graham “Bob’ Latford, 67, died July 23, 2003. Memorial service is 2 PM Wednesday, July 30 at Hartsell Funeral Home, Concord. Visitation is 7-8:30 PM Tuesday, July 29, at the funeral home.(Charlotte Observer)(7-25-2003)
  • Special Paint for Kyle UPDATE: #45-Kyle Petty will run a Garfield scheme in the Brickyard 400.(4-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway says the #45 Dodge that Kyle Petty will drive for Petty Enterprises in the Aug. 3 Brickyard 400 will sport a special paint scheme promoting the 25th birthday of the cartoon cat Garfield. An ice cream social and autograph session for fans is scheduled for Aug. 2 at the track with both Kyle and Richard Petty scheduled to be on hand from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter), see an image of the scheme on my 2003 Cup Schemes page #24-99.(7-25-2003)
  • ASA Breaks Out New Technology: The first-ever sound-based track warning system, known as The Audible Alert Track Warning System, will make a full-field debut in the ASA Racing Series on Saturday, August 2, with the Meijer 250 presented by BFGoodrich Tires at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich. It will mark the first time the system has been used by a nationally touring series. The Audible Alert Track Warning System, manufactured by Invader Technologies of Denver, Colo., sends a short audible tone to notify every driver of changing track conditions and associated flags at exactly the same time. The system utilizes three distinct different tones that can be used for a green, yellow and red flag condition. Once the drivers have heard the tones a few times they are able to easily identify which tone means what flag without any confusion. ASA will only use the system for yellow flag conditions.(ASA Racing PR)(7-25-2003)
  • Dave Discovers Pocono: TNT’s Dave Burns heads to Pocono’s infield during TNT’s coverage of Bud Pole Qualifying from Pocono on Friday to search throughout the NASCAR Nation for the sports best vehicles, biggest fans and best stories. The winner will be interviewed by Dave live during TNT’s pre-race show on Sunday, prior to the Pennsylvania 500. Fans can email nascar.com to let TNT know where Dave can find them and why they deserve to be on TNT.(PR)(7-25-2003)
  • Rusty’s Son back racin’: Stephen Wallace [Rusty’s son] will be back in late model action this weekend, running Friday night at Tri-County Speedway, the short track in Hudson, N.C., in a regular feature for the USAR cars.(Tom Roberts PR)(7-25-2003)
  • Roush Racing Gets Award: A few Roush Racing representatives recently attended Grainger Industrial Supply’s 16th annual CFQ1 Supplier Recognition Event on Monday, July 21, where Roush Racing received its fourth consecutive award for exceptional performance and commitment as a marketing services supplier. Each year Grainger invites its top performing suppliers to honor them for their “Customer Focused Quality” and their vital contribution to Grainger’s continued success in the maintenance, repair and operating supply business.(Roush Racing Site)(7-25-2003)
  • SMS Extends Five Years with NASCAR: Perfect Line, Inc. the operator of NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, has secured a five-year extension on its category exclusive NASCAR license and will now enjoy the benefits of being a NASCAR licensee through 2009. Perfect Line has extended its license agreement with NASCAR through December of 2009. Under the terms of the exclusive NASCAR license for location-based entertainment, Perfect Line also has the right to use the NASCAR bar logo within the Silicon Motor Speedway name and logo to brand each racing center, and to use for all marketing of the racing centers, use within collateral sales materials, on its website, on merchandise and within racing simulator software. The license renewal extends those rights to operator-assisted revenue-share locations such as entertainment centers and theme parks where NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway racing simulators are in use. Perfect Line operates the current 13 NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway locations.(Perfect Line PR)(7-25-2003)
  • Terry Labonte looking to tie his all time streak: #5-Terry Labonte now has a string of 25 consecutive races without a DNF dating back to last season, the second-longest current streak in the series, behind only Michael Waltrip (29). Labonte’s overall record for consecutive races without a DNF is 26, spanning the 1996 and 1997 Winston Cup seasons. He is one of only four drivers who have completed every race this year — the others are Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Michael Waltrip.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(7-25-2003)

    (7-24-2003)

  • Buy a Brick, sponsor a Cup car: Brett Bodine at Indy: Brett Bodine Racing wants to remind the fans that there are only about 4 days left to become a sponsor on the #11 Brett Bodine Racing ‘BRICK CAR” for the Brickyard 400. Check out Bodine’s website at www.brettbodine.com or on eBay. After the first day of testing at Indy – and his first time back behind the wheel since the MIS wreck – Brett Bodine was tired and a little sore, but happy with the results. “It felt good to be back, even though by the end of the day I was pretty whipped. We worked on our race set-up on Monday and were really pleased at the end of the day with the progress we made,” stated Bodine.(7-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Brett Bodine, whose Winston Cup team has been without sponsorship since the end of June, is still hoping to sign a multiyear deal with a company he has been courting for a while. “We are still hopeful the (sponsor) deal will come together,” team spokeswoman Carolyn Carrier said Wednesday. “Talks are continuing.” Bodine who hasn’t competed since breaking his collarbone in a practice accident at Michigan International Speedway in June, will make his return to racing in the Pocono 500 this weekend, joining his brother Todd [#54]in that event. Brett was asked to drive the #4 Kodak Pontiac for Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Bodine will return to his #11 Ford for the Brickyard 400 with partial sponsorship from his fans in the “Buy a Brick” promotion. Carrier said they’ve sold about 60 brick spaces so far at $500 apiece. That promotion, which was supposed to end Monday of next week, has been extended until race weekend, Carrier said. An additional one-race sponsorship deal for the Brickyard 400 could be announced as soon as today Carrier said.(Elmira Star Gazette) – Jayski bought a brick!(7-24-2003)
  • Yates to Gibbs? REWORDED: Charlotte’s WSOC-TV Channel 9’s Harold Johnson reported on Wednesday that Robert Yates Racing RYR #38/88] would merge with Joe Gibbs Racing or another organization. The report was taken so seriously by RYR that Robert Yates supposedly met with the team this morning to let them know there was NO truth to the rumor.(100% reported by XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(7-24-2003)
  • didja know? that 20 years ago today [when Jayski still had hair, was in the Air Force and had time on his hands] Late NASCAR Great, Tim Richmond won his first super speedway race [1 mile track or longer] at Pocono Racway, beating another NASCAR Great and a Boogity man, Darrell Waltrip. Richmond won $27,430 for win in the Like Cola 500 [ok, what the heck was ‘Like Cola?’ see Food of the Eighties, Products Beginning with L and why doesn’t Pepsi bring back Pepsi Kona].(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(7-24-2003)
  • Sad News: Huntsville Speedway [Alabama] legendary car builder and owner Charlie Chamblee died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. As a former stock car driver, speedway pit official, car builder and car owner at Huntsville Speedway, the Arab resident was considered one of the best ever at the quarter-mile track. Chamblee is survived by his wife Brenda, his son Chuck Chamblee and daughter Andrea Sokell. Visitation will be today from 6-8 p.m. at the Arab Memorial Funeral Home. Services will be Thursday at 2 p.m. at the funeral home.(Huntsville Times)(7-24-2003)
  • Hamilton back to Petty in 2004? the KFNS.com site reports: Among the Cup rides speculated to be available next year is the famed 43 car [Petty Enterprises], where [Bobby] Hamilton scored the first win of his career in Phoenix during that ’96 season. His name has come up as a replacement for John Andretti for 2004 (an ironic twist, since that’s how Hamilton got the ride in the first place) and Hamilton said he would not be against the idea. “My name has been in that (car) since forever, only because I was the fortunate one to be in it when the race team was as great as it was and I was able to have success,” he said. “I got labeled as the guy who gave it success and that wasn’t the case. You know as well as I do, Dale Jarrett can win races, but he ain’t winning right now…are you going to sit there and tell me that man forgot how to drive overnight? I was just the fortunate one who got labeled as being the successor at Petty Enterprises, when it was Petty Enterprises that made me successful. Now, would I drive it again or not? I don’t know,” he continued. “If they were to call or if they were interested, yeah, I’d sit down and talk to them, because I think the world of the family, but it would just be a business decision to be made at that time. My priority is what I’m doing right now and that’s to win a championship.”(KFNS.com)(7-24-2003)
  • From RJR to Nextel? Similar Colors? Changes are coming at R.J. Reynolds’ Sports Marketing division, with NASCAR’s switch to Nextel as the stock-car series sponsor, and, sources say that Rich Habegger, RJR’s well-respected operations manager for sports, is expected to move to Nextel to help in the transition. It is unclear how many of his employees may move with him. After so many years of red-and-white as the official colors of NASCAR, the possible new color scheme won’t be far off – maroon-and-white.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-24-2003)
  • More Indy Testing UPDATE Wednesday: Indianapolis Motor Speedway says #12-Ryan Newman, #99-Jeff Burton, #71-Kevin Lepage and #55-Jeff Fultz [APR car] are scheduled to test Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the 10th Brickyard 400 Winston Cup race on Aug. 3. The public can view testing for free from the South Terrace grandstands.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-22-2003)
    UPDATE: #99-Jeff Burton and #71-Kevin Lepage each topped 179 mph July 23 in the final day of testing for the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Burton’s top speed was 179.959mph, and Lepage turned a lap of 179.742. Both were making simulated qualifying runs. #12-Ryan Newman also tested but his top speed from the private test day was not released at the request of his team, Penske Racing. Lepage, who said July 22 that his independent Matrix team was focused solely on finding a solid qualifying speed, left the Speedway Wednesday morning after completing only nine laps. Newman and Burton tested all day and recorded 91 and 100 laps for the day, respectively. #48-Jimmie Johnson remained fastest overall during seven days of private testing this month at Indianapolis, turning a lap of 182.028 on July 15. #20-Tony Stewart’s track record, set during qualifying for the 2002 Brickyard 400, is 182.960.(Brickyard400.com)(7-24-2003)
  • More on New Hampshire NASCAR TV Ratings: The New Hampshire 300 finished last week as the most watched show on all of basic cable TV, even besting the prime time MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby on ESPN, Spongebob, and Law & Order. The race drew 4,030,000 households, according to Nielsen Media Research. The Home Run Derby on ESPN, in 2nd place, pulled in 3,755,000 households. In 15th place on cable for the week was the Discover Card Countdown to Green Winston Cup pre-race show, drawing 2,401,000 households. The #1 ranked show on all of cable TV was Sex and the City, drawing 4,413,000 households.(MotorsportsTV)(7-24-2003)

    (7-23-2003)

  • 2003 vs 2002 – Comparison:
    2003: #17-Matt Kenseth has 2848 points, 234 ahead of 2nd in the standings, #24-Jeff Gordon
    2002: #40-Sterling Marlin had 2604 points, 227 ahead of 7th place in the standings, #20-Tony Stewart, who won the Cup
    so there still is a chance with 17 races to go.
    Here are some Facts: Marlin lost the points lead at the Sept NH race, race #27, got hurt in race #29 at Kansas, Stewart passed him {3rd – Marlin 4th] in race #28 at Dover. Marlin was falling before he got hurt.(7-23-2003)
  • Air Force Honors Rudd’s 700th: As the primary associate advertiser on the #21 Motorcraft Ford Taurus, the Air Force will honor, Ricky Rudd on Sunday, July 27 as he starts his 700th consecutive NASCAR race. Gen. Donald G. Cook, commander, Air Education and Training Command, will present Rudd with a framed collection of coins, one from each of the 13 Air Force four-star generals, plus the Secretary and Under Secretary of the Air Force. After the singing of God Bless America, a formation of four A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft from the 111th Fighter Wing, Willow Grove, PA will fly over the track. As an additional salute to Rudd’s 700th consecutive start, a flyover after the national anthem will be performed by the Spirit of Florida, a B-2 Stealth Bomber, whose actual aircraft number is 92-0700.(Wood Borthers Site), see an image of the special scheme Rudd will run at Pocono at the Wood Brothers site.(7-23-2003)
  • Some Rudd Facts – 700th UPDATE special scheme by son: Ricky Rudd driver of the #21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus will make his 700th Consecutive Start at Pocono Raceway on July 27th. Rudd began his consecutive-race streak at Riverside International Speedway on January 11, 1981, where he started 3rd and finished 19th. It was his 88th career start, dating back to March 2, 1975 at North Carolina Speedway where in his first career Winston Cup race he started 26th and finished 11th. Rudd’s consecutive start streak will extend to 700 at Pocono Raceway on July 27 for the Pennsylvania 500 – Ricky’s 787th Winston Cup career start. Rusty Wallace is second with 608 consecutive starts. Pocono will be Wallace’s 609th consecutive start – over two and one third seasons behind Ricky. Rudd won his first career NASCAR Winston Cup race at Riverside in 1983 driving for Richard Childress Racing. It was his 161st career start. Rudd’s two biggest possibilities of the streak ending came in 1984 when he flipped violently while running in the Busch Clash at Daytona and in 1988 when he wrecked while competing in The Winston. Rudd has amassed 23 wins, 189 top fives and 358 top tens during his career.. He also has collected 28 pole positions and won over $30 million. Rudd is 24th on the NASCAR Winston Cup all-time win list and 11th on the NASCAR Winston Cup all-time pole list. During his 700 consecutive start streak, Ricky has finished in the top-10 46 percent of the races and during his career 45.6 percent of the races. Rudd has finished inside the top-10 in points 19 times since 1981. Total, Rudd has acquired 787 career starts (including the Pocono 500), placing him fourth all time behind NASCAR legends Richard Petty (1,177), Dave Marcis (882) and Darrell Waltrip (809). Rudd is one of 25 drivers to total 500 or more starts in their NASCAR Winston Cup careers. Only two other drivers, currently competing on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, have a career total of more than 700 starts – Terry Labonte (765 through Pocono) and Bill Elliott (715 through Pocono). Rudd surpassed Terry Labonte’s record of 655 consecutive starts that ran from January of 1979 to August of 2000 at the 2002 Coca-Cola 600 when he made his 656th Winston Cup start. During his career, Rudd has competed in NASCAR Winston Cup events at 28 different racetracks around the country and won at 14.. He ran at least one race at each of those tracks during the streak, except Ontario Motor Speedway. Rudd was the NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year in 1977. Rudd is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.(Motorcraft Racing PR), see Ford Racing: Rudd Recaps Career on Way to 700; plus from the Wood Brothers Racing site: Baseball Ironman Ripken Among Those Praising Racing Ironman Rudd.(7-22-2003)
    UPDATE: In honor of the occasion team sponsor Motorcraft commissioned an artist to create a special paint scheme for this weekend’s race. The predominately yellow, green and red design, highlighted with flames and a blue speed streak on the hood of the Taurus, came from the eight-year-old imagination of Ricky’s son Landon. The car will be shown on FSN’s “Totally NASCAR” Wednesday night.(Wood Brothers Racing site); and see an image of the car at the Wood Brothers site – photos.(7-23-2003)
  • Elliott’s crew wins New Hampshire Pit Crew competition: The weekly McDonald’s/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship was won by Bill Elliott’s (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) crew at the New England 300. Elliott spent 165.612 seconds in the pits “ the least amount of pit time among teams competing in the program. Overall, Michael Waltrip’s crew leads with 719 points, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew with 644. Robby Gordon (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet “ 621 points) is third, followed closely by Bobby Labonte’s crew (618).(NASCAR PR) — will have more when the PR is released.(7-22-2003)
    AND Bill Elliott’s No. 9 pit crew showcased its fast and accurate skill again – winning the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Sunday’s New England 300 in Loudon, N.H. It was the third time this season the No. 9 Dodge pit crew captured top honors and the $20,000 first-place prize that comes with winning the weekly McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship. The team’s other wins were at Bristol (March 23) and Talladega (April 6). The only other pit crew to win three times is Michael Waltrip’s No. 15 team. Elliott’s No. 9 Dodge, owned by Ray Evernham Motorsports, totaled 165.612 seconds on pit road Sunday, nearly three seconds ahead of Robby Gordon’s car (168.115). Kurt Busch’s Ford was third with 175.217 seconds. Elliott’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Todd Colburn (jackman), Nick Bailey (front tire carrier), Jim Pohlman (front tire changer), Eric Wakeland (rear tire carrier), Joe Kruschek (rear tire changer), Rodney Rhodes (gasman) and Mike Goins (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coach is Greg Miller. “These guys work hard every week,” said Elliott. “It’s a total team effort and that’s what you need these days with the competition so close. Every position on the track counts and being able to pick up spots on pit road is important. My guys are doing a good job, and I’m proud of them. It’s nice to see their efforts rewarded.” Despite not joining the program until the fifth race of the season, Elliott’s pit crew is ranked 11th in the season standings with 524 points. Waltrip’s No. 15 crew continues to have a comfortable lead with 719 points. Dale Earnhardt Jr’s crew is second with 644.(DMF Communications PR). For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(7-23-2003)
  • Sad News – Get Well UPDATE Now GOOD News: Austin Cameron will not compete as the driver of the #16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet in Saturday’s Pontiac Wide Track Grand Prix 200 NASCAR Winston West Series event at California Speedway. Cameron was diagnosed earlier this week with lymphoblastic lymphoma cancer. Final results late yesterday determined that Cameron should not drive in the race this weekend. He is beginning treatment today at Grossmont Cancer Center. For fans who wish to send cards or express their support to Austin, the team asks that those be sent to the team shop at: 3630 Cincinnati Ave., Suite B, Rocklin, CA 95765.(Racing West)(4-23-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Winston West Series driver, Austin Cameron, will be piloting the #16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet and defending his win from last year at the Irwindale Speedway in the “King Taco 200”. Cameron and the #16 NAPA team are looking to repeat their strategy from last year and start out front and finish at the front to give NAPA AUTO PARTS a win in the 2003 season. Cameron, who has been recovering from an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, is well on his way to victory over his cancer and has the checkered flag in sight. Recently, Cameron tested at Irwindale and showed he was ready to reenter the championship fight.(Racing West and see the team website at www.bmrww.com)(7-23-2003)
  • Watch: Watch as Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. repairs the #66 Winston Cup car of Travis Carter Racing live on their webcam and also see the michaelwaltrip.com for his team cam.(7-23-2003)
  • Soap Box Derby UPDATE add Stewart: #32-Ricky Craven and #25-Joe Nemechek will fly to Akron, OH, following the final practice session at Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon. The two drivers will attend the 66th-annual All-American Soap Box Championship at Derby Downs in Akron, where they will present trophies to the winners of the event. Craven and Nemechek will also take part in a special match race in adult-sized soap box racers.(PPI Motorsports PR), also for more info, see the All-American Soap Box Derby site.(7-22-2003)
    ADD STEWART: Following Saturday’s final practice for the Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, Home Depot Chevrolet driver Tony Stewart will fly to Akron, Ohio to participate in festivities surrounding the 66th running of the All-American Soap Box Derby. The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer and title sponsor of the All-American Soap Box Derby, invited Stewart to take a break from his Winston Cup duties to join the 430 youngsters competing for more than $50,000 in scholarship awards. “Soap Box racing is all about the kids,” said Stewart, who started racing go-karts at age seven and was a three-time karting champion.. “I’ve been in their shoes, where you’re doing all you can to be your best, and testing your hard work against a bunch of other kids who are doing the same thing.. Being in Akron is the payoff for all of their efforts, and I’m happy to share in the excitement with them.”(True Speed Communication PR)(7-23-2003)
  • Rudd tests at VIR: #21-Ricky Rudd tested at Virginia International Speedway on Tuesday in preparation for the Aug race at Watkins Glen, Rudd will dirve a special Air Force scheme there.(Wood Bros Racing site)(7-23-2003)
  • Mikey Not Happy: The #15 NAPA Chevy was black flagged with seven laps to go in Sunday’s New England 300 when NASCAR thought the rightside tailpipe was dragging. Was NASCAR’s decision legitimate? “That depends on what side of the fence your on, I guess,” said Waltrip. “My tailpipe wasn’t loose, just the strap had fallen off. NASCAR brought us in because they thought the tailpipe was going to fall off, but to black flag someone contending for a top-10 with seven laps to go, you’d like to think that NASCAR would use better judgement. Alternatively, I am the one who ran into the wall, so it is my fault. I just don’t think NASCAR had to make a call that was that harsh.”(PR)(7-23-2003)
  • More Indy Testing UPDATE Lepage is the fastest: Indianapolis Motor Speedway says #12-Ryan Newman, #99-Jeff Burton, #?71-Kevin Lepage and #?57-Jeff Fultz are scheduled to test Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the 10th Brickyard 400 Winston Cup race on Aug. 3. The public can view testing for free from the South Terrace grandstands.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-22-2003)
    UPDATE: Kevin Lepage’s hopes of bringing a competitive car to the 10th Brickyard 400 came closer to reality July 22 after posting the fastest lap of the day in testing, 178.638mph in the #71 Matrix Motorsports Ford. #99-Jeff Burton was second fastest at 177.386, and #55-Jeff Fultz was third at 176.318 in the Jasper Motorsports Ford. #12-Ryan Newman also tested but the team did not authorize the release of speeds during the private test. Testing continues from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST) Wednesday. The public can view testing free of charge from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2.(Brickyard400.com)(7-23-2003)
  • France up for International Motorsports Hall honor: The first round of voting for the Class of 2004 at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame could have a pair of “seconds”. Veteran drag racer Shirley Muldowney could become the second female inducted, and Bill France Jr. could become the second generation of sanctioning body executives, if they are chosen among the five individuals to be inducted at Talladega, Ala., next spring. Muldowney, who has won four Top Fuel championships and been named All-American five times, could join Louise Smith as the only two females in the 102-member Hall of Fame. France would join his father, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., who was inducted in the inaugural class in 1990. France and Muldowney led the first round of voting by an international panel of motorsports media. Twenty-two individuals will be on the final ballot from which the five-member class of 2004 will be selected.(Thatsracin.com)(7-23-2003)
  • More on Nextel and AT&T and now Verizon: AT& –T corporate officials are meeting this week to study the NASCAR land-scape and decide what they might want to do next season in terms of sponsorship on the Winston/Nextel Cup tour. And, the Winston-Salem Journal learned yesterday, Verizon and AT& –T Wireless aren’t giving up hope of playing the stock-car racing game, too, despite Nextel’s apparent exclusivity arrangement with NASCAR. It is not clear if any legal challenges might be forthcoming, but some industry sources consider NASCAR’s ‘partial exclusivity’ grant to Nextel, with Cingular Wireless and Alltel grandfathered in, possibly illegal. The next move on the AT& –T-Nextel front may come from Fox and NBC, because the networks may not be interested in giving up potential ad sales to AT& –T, even with Nextel coming in to pay perhaps $1 million a race for on-air mentions. The nation’s six wireless companies spend about $3 billion a year on advertising. Sources say that NBC is hot to get some of that money.(much more at the Winston Salem Journal)(7-23-2003)
  • Dale Jr. Fans Give Fifty Grand: The Dale Jr. Pit Board Charity is only seventeen months old, but in that short time, fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. have given over $50,000 in donations to various charities.  Those charities include the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, Motor Racing Outreach, Speedway Children’s Charity and many more. The way the charity works is simple, at the beginning of the year, a charity line up is formed and a charity is assigned to each finishing position.  The charity that matches Dale’s finishing position each week receives that week’s donations.   The Pit Board Charity also has special events where fans can get their hands on autographed memorabilia from Dale.   For the upcoming Brickyard, the PBC is giving away an autographed rear quarter panel from the #8 Bud Chevy. While Dale Jr. makes his mark on this sport, his fans are setting an incredible pace.  They are driven by Dale’s great talent as a race car driver and his benevolent personality.  NASCAR fans are known for their loyalty, the Pit Board Charity gives Dale Jr. fans a unique way to support their driver.  Every week, no matter where the Bud team finishes, a victory is won for a needy charity. The Pit Board Charity is a fan based, Internet driven organization.   They have a donor recognition program and online chats each Monday night.   The PBC also works with Elliott and Hermie Sadler doing various fundraisers for the Faison School of Autism, their next event is scheduled for the Bristol race. For more information, visit their website at www.dalejrpitboardcharity.com and more info about this and many other Racing Charities and events/appearances, see my Racing Charties Page.(7-23-2003)
  • Brittney Bails on NASCAR Movie UPDATE 2 um…nope, it is still on: Britney Spears says she ‘probably won’t be doing’ the proposed NASCAR movie, that was so hotly promoted last summer. The storyline was for Spears to play the daughter of a car owner who persuades an ex-driver to return to racing, and the contract with NASCAR was to use real racing footage.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-21-2003)
    UPDATE: A reliable industry insider tells [MotorsportsTV.com], however, that the rumor that Britney is not involved with NASCAR movie anymore is false. The project is still being developed with Britney Spears Productions and Britney is still very much involved.(MotorsportsTV)(7-22-2003)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR and Britney Spears Productions have confirmed that the NASCAR-themed movie starring Britney Spears is still on. “The film production company formed by Britney Spears with Larry Rudolph and Ann Carli — announced today that, contrary to recent rumors, their NASCAR themed feature film project is alive and well. The movie, titled Trading Paint, has been developed specifically for Spears. She is attached to co-star and also to produce. Ann Carli, who also produced Spears’ first film project Crossroads, expressed amusement at the rumors. ‘Britney herself was surprised to hear that she had allegedly said she would not be making the movie,’ said Carli. ‘We have a wonderful script by Jim Hart and we are concluding our financing. We’ll be announcing our choice of director shortly.’ Trading Paint was written by James V. Hart (Contact, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Tomb Raider, The Cradle of Life). Carli also says, ‘There was never a plan for Spears to play a driver. Her role has always been, as was announced last summer, to play the daughter of the head of a NASCAR racing dynasty.’ The story is about a NASCAR driver who drops out of racing under mysterious circumstances. Spears’ character uses her knowledge and experience in the family business to help him return to racing.”(MotorsportsTV)(7-23-2003)


    (7-22-2003)

  • TV Ratings for NHIS: Sunday’s New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway had a final rating of 4.7 on TNT. Over 4 million households tuned in, up 3% from last year’s broadcast. The race also produced the largest audience for a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race on cable this season and was the weekend’s most-watched sporting event on cable. (Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research).(NASCAR PR)(7-22-2003)
  • Robby Gordon FDNY scheme UPDATE 2: #31-Robby Gordon will run a special Cingular FDNY paint scheme in August at Watkins Glen.(4-25-2003)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and the #31 race team will field a race car at Watkins Glen, lauding some everyday heroes — New York City Fire Department (FDNY) personnel and Special Olympics athletes. Gordon’s #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy will incorporate an FDNY/Special Olympics paint scheme, designed to celebrate each organization’s commitment to service and personal heroics. For years, FDNY and Cingular Wireless have been ardent supporters of the Special Olympics, which promotes training and athletic competition in a variety of sports for individuals with mental retardation. Special Olympics provides opportunities for participants to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy by sharing their athletic skills in an enriching environment. Members of the FDNY community proudly contribute their time to various Special Olympics events, providing equipment set-up and support at athletic events.(Robby Gordon site)(5-6-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon on Monday unveiled a special paint scheme for Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 Chevrolet that will promote the Fire Department of New York and the Special Olympics in the Aug. 10 Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen International. With traffic temporarily stopped, Gordon drove the race car onto Second Avenue at 29th Street and turned donuts in the street. The car’s primary sponsor, Cingular Wireless, will donate $50 to the Special Olympics and $50 to FDNY for each lap Gordon completes at Watkins Glen and $500 to each organization for each lap Gordon leads. If Gordon takes the checkered flag, Cingular will donate $50,000 to each organization.(RCR PR) see image of car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(7-22-2003)
  • Ultra Motorsports needs a sponsor for 2004: Ultra Motorsports has been informed this week that the primary sponsor of its #7 Dodges driven by Jimmy Spencer in the Winston Cup series, Sirius Satellite Radio, will not return next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Sirius has sponsored the team since the start of the 2002 season. The team is actively searching for a replacement, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com), wonder if Sirius will return as title sponsors to Cup races at Michigan and Watkins Glen in 2004?
    AND SIRIUS will remain on the #7 car for the rest of the season — a year that has been somewhat of a resurrection for Ultra Motorsports’ Winston Cup team. Led by driver Jimmy Spencer and crew chief Tommy Baldwin, the team has registered seven top 20s, two top 10s and one top five. The team’s fourth-place finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (May 25) gave SIRIUS its best finish since its arrival in the Winston Cup Series in 2002, and the #7 team is already $5 million ahead of television exposure value than it was at this point last year, according to Joyce Julius reports. “This is an exciting time for Ultra Motorsports, because we finally have people in place to make this team a winner,” Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith said. “I think the excitement Jimmy brings to the track gives sponsors a considerable advantage, because he draws so much attention wherever he goes. Pairing him with Tommy Baldwin has produced immediate results, and there is no doubt in my mind we’re heading in the right direction with this race team. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our partnership with SIRIUS, and we will continue to promote SIRIUS satellite radios throughout the year. I feel both sides have benefited greatly in this relationship, and we’ve given fans a lot to talk about. We’ve improved remarkably since last year, and we’ve contended for wins. Had it not been for just bad racing luck, we would’ve had a win under our belt already. We hope to take SIRIUS to victory lane before this season ends.” Smith said he has already been contacted by several companies interested in sponsoring this revamped Ultra program.(Ultra Motorsports PR(7-22-2003)
  • Morgan-McClure Plans for next three races UPDATE:
    Pocono: the team has filed two entries for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway [#04 and #4 Kodak Pontiacs] but since David Reutimann didn’t make the Cup race at New Hampshire [qualifying rained out and no attempts] and didn’t get to test as planned at Pocono Raceway last week, team owner Larry McClure said, “I think we might enter David in the ARCA race at Pocono,” McClure said. “I don’t think it would be fair to put him in a Cup car there, when he’s never seen the place and would be making his first Winston Cup start. We may ask Brett Bodine to qualify our Winston Cup car and race it.”
    Indianapolis: After that, McClure expects to run Reutimann in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the driver was impressive in a test session last week. “At Indy we’re going to run two cars, David and somebody else,” McClure said. “Right now we hope it will be Robert Pressley.”
    Watkins Glen: Then, McClure said he would again use Tennessean Johnny Miller, who ran for the team at Infineon Raceway, at Watkins Glen International.(more notes at NASCAR.com)(7-21-2003)
    UPDATE Bodine in for Pocono: Morgan-McClure Motorsports will use Winston Cup veteran Brett Bodine as driver of its #4 Kodak Pontiac this weekend at Pocono Raceway. The 44-year old Chemung, N.Y.-native has one win which came at North Wilkesboro in 1990, 16 top-fives, 61 top-10s and five poles to his credit. In addition to the Winston Cup event, Morgan-McClure will also enter the ARCA race at Pocono with the #4 Kodak ARCA car and Busch Series driver David Reutimann. Reutimann, whose Winston Cup debut got rained out last Friday at New Hampshire, will gain valuable seat time at the 2.5-mile track. “The team is happy to have Brett Bodine drive the Kodak Pontiac at Pocono. Brett and I have known each other for a long time. He is one of the hardest working drivers and owners in the Winston Cup garage,” said team owner, Larry McClure. “We are looking forward to going to Pocono with David in the ARCA car as well. We hope to build on last week’s momentum.” Bodine is looking forward to his first race since he was injured in a practice session last month at Michigan. “I am looking forward to racing with Larry, Chris and all of the Morgan-McClure crew at Pocono. It will be my first race back since the accident. The doctors did a great job on the shoulder surgery and rehabilitation has been good,” Bodine said. “It was way ahead of schedule and the doctor cleared me to race. I tested at Indy last week and the shoulder felt great, as a matter of fact the right shoulder feels stronger than the left.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-22-2003)
  • New #54 Crew Chief UPDATE: Gary Cogswell has taken over as crew chief for #54-Todd Bodine, starting at New Hampshire this week. Former crew chief, Derrick Finley will supposedly remain on as an engineer. A replacement will be named later for #66-Hideo Fukuyama as they have plans to run Watkins Glen.(7-19-2003)
    UPDATE: BelCar Racing announced today that Gary Cogswell has been named interim crew chief for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series #54 National Guard race team. Derrick Finley, who served as driver Todd Bodine’s crew chief since the start of the 2003 Winston Cup season will remain employed with BelCar Racing. It’s always difficult to make changes in this competitive field, however, I want to try something different,” said Travis Carter, co-owner of BelCar Racing. “My goal is to improve the competition level of this race team, which will provide our advertiser, The National Guard, with a valuable marketing experience. I am very appreciative of The National Guard’s continued support of BelCar Racing and hope we can experience more success with them at our side in the future.” Cogswell joins BelCar Racing from Travis Carter’s other racing entity, Travis Carter Enterprises. Cogswell has worked as crew chief for driver Hideo Fukuyama and the #66 KIKKOMAN team since the start of the season. The 48-year-old native of Eaton Rapids, Mich., is a veteran crew chief in the NASCAR Busch Series ranks scoring 11 victories with drivers like Matt Kenseth, Johnny Benson, Mike McLaughlin, Chad Little and Hank Parker, Jr. .Two of Cogswell’s wins came with Bodine when they scored back-to-back victories in 2001 at North Carolina Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(Cox Marketing PR)(7-22-2003)
  • Soap Box Derby: #32-Ricky Craven and #25-Joe Nemechek will fly to Akron, OH, following the final practice session at Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon. The two drivers will attend the 66th-annual All-American Soap Box Championship at Derby Downs in Akron, where they will present trophies to the winners of the event. Craven and Nemechek will also take part in a special match race in adult-sized soap box racers.(PPI Motorsports PR), also for more info, see the All-American Soap Box Derby site.(7-22-2003)
  • Garrow on NBC: PRN’s Mark Garrow will make his network debut with NBC at Pikes Peak [Busch Race] this week, in a roster shuffle at the network. It’s part of a three-race deal that NBC and TNT have with Garrow, a veteran radio man who is considered one of the best in the business.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-22-2003)

    (7-21-2003)

  • Testing at Kentucky: Several NASCAR Winston Cup teams including Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Evernham Motorsports, Petty Enterprises and Richard Childress Racing are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway this week. #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #15-Tim Fedawa in for Michael Waltrip [who was busy doing Inside Winston Cup] and #9/19/91-Hank Parker, Jr., are scheduled for Monday, July 21, #45-Kyle Petty is scheduled for Wednesday, July 23, and #29-Kevin Harvick is scheduled for Wednesday July 23 and Thursday, July 24.(Kentucky Speedway PR), also per team PR’s add #32-Ricky Craven on, Wed., July 23rd.(7-21-2003)
  • Wimmer to run Bristol Cup race. . in a Chevy: Scott Wimmer said Monday on Speed Channel’s Inside NBS that he’s planning to enter the Cup race at Bristol in August. Bill Davis Racing has two [#27] Chevrolets back in the shop for him and he’s planning on testing soon [supposedly tested at Dover in May too].(Inside NASCAR Busch Series on SPEED via BGNRacing.com)(7-21-2003)
  • More on NASCAR, Nextel and AT&T UPDATE: NASCAR’s Nextel dealings continue to have repercussions throughout the Winston Cup garage, and some car owners are increasingly worried about what appears to be NASCAR’s new aggressive stance in defining sponsorship categories, such as telecommunications. At the start of the season every driver and car owner must sign a contract with NASCAR agreeing to abide by a number of rules, including limits on sponsorships and marketing. No sign, no drive. With the Nextel-AT& –T furor, some car owners fear that NASCAR may expand those limits.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: heard that Nextel has been deluged with letters, emails and telephone calls from race fans, asking them to reconsider their decision to now allow AT&T to sponsor Ken Schrader. The reason NASCAR had to say something was to take the heat off of Nextel, and NASCAR agreed to say it was their decision, even though it obviously is Nextel’s. If the sponsorship is going to come through for Schrader, Nextel will have to agree to allow it to happen. If fans want to write, see the address on my NASCAR Sponsors Page [the end of the Winston/Nextel news](7-21-2003)
  • Sad News: Longtime Dixie Speedway official Corey Haney was killed after he was hit by a race car under caution. Haney, 42, was working the crossover gate on the backstretch Saturday night when he was hit. He was airlifted to Grady Medical Center in Atlanta and died there. “Our prayers go out to Corey’s entire family,” track owner Mickey Swims said in a statement posted on the track’s Web site. “May God grant them peace and comfort during this difficult time.” A Southern All-Star Race scheduled for Sunday night at Rome Speedway, also owned by Swims, was postponed until Aug. 3.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(7-21-2003)
  • Fittipaldi to race ARCA too at Pocono: Christian Fittipaldi will compete in the ARCA series at Pocono Raceway next weekend [the Saturday race, there are two as the June race was rained out and postponed to July 25th]. The car will be prepared by his Petty Enterprises team. The Brazilian, who joined Winston Cup full time last month as the replacement for John Andretti in the #43 Dodge, will be racing in ARCA for the first time this season.(Richmond Times Dispatch) – actully Fittipaldi ran the ARCA race at Daytona in Feb 2003, starting 7th and finishing 10th, other drivers who have run in Cup this season running in one of both of the ARCA races include: #9-Hideo Fukuyama [both races] and #77-Casey Mears [both, pole for the make up]. Also former Cup driver Greg Sacks is entered to run Saturdays ARCA event.(7-21-2003)
  • 37 Races in 2004 [yikes!]? Thirty-seven races on the 2004 Winston Cup schedule? That was the word coming out of Bill France’s annual beach getaway with select owners and drivers earlier this month. However, Series director John Darby denies a race will be added to the current 36-date schedule. The possible extra race wasn’t the only schedule talk floating around. It already has been announced that California will gain a second date next season, and there has been talk the schedule will lose the current off-weekend between the race in June at Infineon Raceway and the race in July at Daytona, with the second half of the season running 26 straight weeks. Richard Childress was among the owners who proposed racing for 36 straight weeks and working the all-star events (the Bud Shootout and The Winston, which likely will be renamed) into the existing race weeks. “That way, when we’re done, we’re done,” Childress says. “Then we could spend the rest of the time working on cars for the following year.” And owner Jack Roush wouldn’t mind racing 40 weeks a year. If the schedule were to grow to 37 or 38 races, speculation is Texas Motor Speedway finally would get a second date. But the searing summer weather probably would rule out a late June date — even with the television networks’ push to move the starting times for many Cup races to 6:00pm/et on Sundays [please. . no. . .](more ‘Dish’ at Sporting News)(7-21-2003)
  • Blount to test for Penske at Kentucky, no shake-up coming, more on Rusty’s Busch team: Chad Blount, who is under contract with Roger Penske for uncertain duties, will test at Kentucky next week for Penske and Rusty Wallace, fueling rumors that Blount, 23, has a bigger future, perhaps as the next Ryan Newman. And Wallace’s proposed Busch team, according to sources, is a possible Winston Cup team. But crew chief Bill Wilburn dismisses rumors about a shakeup looming in the Penske camp, though he recognizes pressure from sponsor Miller’s new owner, South African Breweries, the second-largest beer company in the world. ‘As far as I know, Chad Blount is testing for us, and that’s it,’ Wilburn says. ‘He has no commitments to race anything. He has no commitments to drive a Busch car for Penske Racing, other than we might provide a engine or build a car. He’s not going to be racing any Penske-owned car. He is not driving any Miller car. Rusty has his own Busch team going, and he’s going to lease engines from Penske Engines, and he’s got a couple guys he’s looking at as drivers for 15 races.'(more at Winston Salem Journal)(7-21-2003)
  • Parrott to PE? Sources in the garage say former Robert Yates Racing crew chief Todd Parrott could be coming out of retirement and headed for Petty Enterprises — if the Pettys can afford the seven-figure price tag it would take to retain him.(more ‘Dish’ at Sporting News)(7-21-2003)
  • Rusty’s Car to get new fire-suppression system: #2-Rusty Wallace’s crew will be laying out a new in-car fire-suppression system today, with a new engine-compartment extinguisher and a high-tech-foam extinguisher in the trunk. The foam should be more effective than standard Halon. However, NASCAR has been reluctant to OK the special foam agent, even though it would be safer for a driver than Halon (which is toxic in such close confines), because foam might make the track more slippery.(full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(7-21-2003)
  • Shepherd Scuffing Tires for other teams: The NASCAR control tower called one of its pit road inspectors early in the New England 300 to inquire why #89-Morgan Shepherd, who was in his first start of the season, was making repeated pit stops [as noted in my race breakdown from what was reported on MRN Radio during the race]. The call back on the radio revealed that Shepherd, who has raced this season in Winston Cup, Busch and the Craftsman Truck Series, was scuffing tires for another team [doesn’t say which one]. Shepherd ended up 43rd due to a brake problem that sent him to the garage after the 43rd lap.(NASCAR.com)
    AND Can you drive in a Winston Cup race and run a business at the same time? Morgan Shepherd can. Shepherd, who finished dead last in Sunday’s race but still collected $48,500 for showing up, seemed to be making a little extra on the side. The veteran driver pitted every two or three laps and replaced all four tires each time. He must have made four or five pit stops because NASCAR officials got wise to his business venture. Shepherd was reportedly scuffing tires and selling them to other drivers. He didn’t set any pit stop records, either. One pit stop was clocked at 55 seconds.(Nashua Telegraph)(7-21-2003)
  • Stewart and Gibbs talking contract: #20-Tony Stewart’s car owner Joe Gibbs has started renegotiating with him. There are 18 months remaining on Stewart’s contract, but Gibbs would like to put the issue to rest and eliminate rumors. Gibbs has re-signed crew chief Greg Zipadelli.(more ‘Dish’ at Sporting News)(7-21-2003)
  • Stewart and the HANS: #20-Tony Stewart used a Head And Neck Support (HANS) device during a race for the first time in Sunday’s New England 300, team officials confirmed. Stewart was among the few drivers who had not used one of the two approved head and neck support devices before NASCAR mandated them in the fall of 2001. He said claustrophobia made it difficult for him to feel comfortable to use the HANS, and when the restraints became required he opted to use the less restrictive Hutchens device until Sunday.(Thatsracin.com)(7-21-2003)
  • #400 for Chevy: #48-Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s Monte Carlo, won the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway and gave Chevrolet its 400th victory of the modern era (1972-present) in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. Chevrolet’s 400th victory of the modern era began with Bobby Allison’s win at Atlanta International Raceway [now Atlanta Motor Speedway] on March 26, 1972. His car owner at that time was Richard Howard, and his team manager that season was Junior Johnson. Allison’s victory at Atlanta was the first for a Chevrolet on a superspeedway since Johnson won at Charlotte in October 1963.(GM Racing PR)(7-21-2003)
  • Drivers Ticked off with each other after NHIS: lots of skirmishes at New Hampshire on Sunday for the New England 300. The first one started right off the bat, 9 laps into the race: #0-John Andretti [yep. .I put a #43 first] and #7-Jimmy Spencer – Andretti was incensed with Spencer, who hit Andretti on Lap 9 of 300 and severely damaged Andretti’s #0 Pontiac. “When we went down in Turn 1, he hit me once and then a second time and got me all the way around,” Andretti said. “The last time he hit me, it was like it was to get me out of the way” While Andretti’s team worked on the car in the garage, members of the team took large pieces of the car, including the rear deck lid, a damaged tire and hub, and dumped them on the lift gate of Spencer’s team’s hauler.(ThatsRacin.com)
    Biffle and Gordon: #16-Greg Biffle ripped into #24-Jeff Gordon following Sunday’s New England 300 for reneging on an agreement to allow Biffle to return to the lead lap during the race while Gordon was the race leader. While the race was under caution and preparing to go green on Lap 108 of 300, Biffle said Gordon’s spotter suggested an agreement in which Biffle would not race Gordon hard on the restart and Gordon would allow Biffle back on the lead lap if another caution came out. Biffle agreed and let Gordon go on the restart. When a caution came out on Lap 110, however, Gordon refused to allow Biffle pass him to get his lap back. Irritated, Biffle ran Gordon high on the track, which NASCAR officials didn’t like. He was called into the hauler [the Big Red Truck] after the race to discuss the incident. Gordon and his crew chief, Robbie Loomis, had left the track by the time Biffle’s meeting with NASCAR was over and were unavailable for comment. Biffle said he had more respect for Gordon than “just about any other driver in the garage,” but called Gordon’s actions “two-faced.” Biffle managed to return to the lead lap on his own later in the race and finished 10th [while Gordon faded and finished 24th].(ThatsRacin.com)
    Plus #01-Mike Wallce was torqued at #22-Ward Burton; #2-Rusty Wallace was mad at #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.; #20-Tony Stewart being annoyed by #2-Rusty Wallace.(7-21-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings: New Hampshire: For the third race in a row it was fuel mileage that determined our winner, and we seldom have three of those a season. Today, it was #48-Jimmie Johnson proving to outlast #29-Kevin Harvick for the win at New Hampshire International Speedway in the New England 300. Johnson’s win was his second of the season (he prevailed at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May) and the fifth of his Winston Cup career (he’s now in a 6-way tie for 58th place on the all-time win list). It was also the 113th victory for Hendrick Motorsports.
    #88-Dale Jarrett (7th) had his best finish since he won at Rockingham in February.
    #30-Steve Park (8th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Talladega in October of last year.
    #77-Dave Blaney (13th) had his best finish since he was 13th at California Speedway in April.
    #41-Casey Mears (16th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Las Vegas in March.
    #4-Johnny Sauter (23rd) had his career-best (albeit only his second start) today. . but it would have been much better had he not run out of fuel on the final lap.
    #37-Derrike Cope (35th) had his best finish since he was 29th at Las Vegas in March (only 6 races).
    STREAKIN. . Jeff Burton has 3 Top-10’s in a row.
    The Rookie Report: Greg Biffle (10th) is the leading freshman runner for the 8th time this season. We’ll see if his little visit with NASCAR post- race has any chilling effects. He was followed by Casey Mears (16th), Tony Raines (33rd), and Jamie McMurray (40th). Larry Foyt was a DNQ this week.
    This Week’s Elevator. . UP: Operator of the Week is Steve Park (+26), followed by Dale Jarrett (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper is Sterling Marlin (-29), followed by Michael Waltrip (-23). Not a lot of action in the shaft, but that might be because we lined up by points, huh?
    Matt Kenseth tacked 69 points onto his margin this week. . it’s now at 234 over Jeff Gordon. We could be able to post our first “magic number” of the season next week, as well as our infamous “mathematically eliminated” line.
    Jeff Burton (13th to 10th) and Ryan Newman (16th to 13th) made the best moves forward in the points this week. In the negative direction, Sterling Marlin dropped 5 spots (10th to 15th).(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-21-2003)

 


(7-20-2003)

 

  • Johnson wins the New England 300 at New Hampshire Intl Speedway. It is Johnson’s 2nd win of 2003 and the 5th of his career. #29-Kevin Harvick finished 2nd. #16-Greg Biffle was the highest finishing rookie and #30-Steve Park got his first top 10 with the #30 team. The featured 12 cautions and it seemed the drivers could pass all over the track. Even with all the cautions and wrecks, only three care didn’t finish the race. #24-Jeff Gordon led the most laps but faded at the end and ended up 24th, dropping to 234 points behind #17-Matt Kenseth who finished 3rd. See my New England 300 Race Info page for my race rundown, the top 10, lap leaders, cars out, caution summeries and notes
    Race Results at Jayski’s New Hampshire Race Results page and see drivers standings at Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Standings page
    other results links on my 2003 Results Page.(7-20-2003)
  • Kyle all black: #45-Kyle Petty will have his all black #45 Dodge at New Hampshire, a schemes he has run at the track since his son Adam was killed at NHIS back in 2000 in a Busch Series practice wreck.(7-20-2003)
  • Skinner? Unser Jr.? Speculation on FSN’s NASCAR This Morning mentioned Mike Skinner or Al Unser Jr. as possible drivers in the #0 NetZero Pontiac at Indy for the Brickyard 400 [Andretti has a commitment with DEI to run at Indy], also could be David Green.(FSN’s NASCAR This Morning)(7-20-2003)
  • Spencer wins: At the end of the 25-lap exhibition race on the three-eighths mile at Waterford Speedbowl oval, Jimmy Spencer passed Dave Blaney on turn 4 of the last lap to win before about 5,000. Former Ellington resident Steve Park finished third and Sterling Marlin fourth. The drivers borrowed equally prepared cars from track regulars. There wasn’t much time for schmoozing before returning to Loudon for today’s New England 300, but Park ran into old friends and spent time in the pits offering advice to younger drivers. Park started fourth but dominated the first 10 laps. He passed Spencer on the third lap and Blaney on the fourth. On the eighth lap, he went low in turn 2 to pass Marlin and led until the race was stopped after 10 laps to invert the field. That put Spencer in the lead. He and Blaney ran even much of the final 15 laps, Spencer on the inside. On the final lap, Spencer got hung up in turn 1 but came back to pass Blaney in turn 4.(Hartford Courant)(7-20-2003)
  • Fire Safety Ideas: #01 crew chief Ryan Pemberton said he likes the proposed in-trunk fire extinguishers. “And we need to do something about these fuel pumps, put them in a different area,” Pemberton said. “We’re probably the only racers still running stock mechanical fuel pumps.” Pemberton said NASCAR should change to electric fuel pumps, and crew chief Chad Knaus said he agrees. “When a fire erupts under the hood, it’s usually because somebody has hit the wall and knocked the fuel pump off,” Knaus said. “So I think we should go to electric fuel pumps to keep that from happening. Production cars have fuel pumps that shut off automatically when you crash or turn upside down, and we can do the same.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-20-2003)
  • Sprague’s Choice to leave the #0? Jack Sprague’s decision to split with [the #0 Haas Racing team] was sudden and surprising — at least to those on the outside. On the inside, Sprague had become increasingly disenchanted with the Winston Cup tour, just six months into his rookie season after pushing for a Cup ride for several years.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-20-2003)
  • Former NASCAR Official May Head to Politics: Former NASCAR Official, Kevin Triplett, of Abingdon, VA said he is exploring a candidacy, the 9th District congressional seat currently held by 21-year Democratic incumbent Rick Boucher. Triplett recently resigned as managing director of business operations for NASCAR. Boucher, who is from Abingdon, has won his races handily in recent years. He supports gun rights and has worked hard to bring industry to the economically depressed district. Triplett recently bought a home in Abingdon. He is from Clintwood and his wife is from Bristol. Triplett is a former sportswriter for the Bristol Herald Courier and a former publicist for the late driver Dale Earnhardt. He joined NASCAR in 1994 and resigned from the organization June 1 to move back to Southwest Virginia from Charlotte, NC.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-20-2003)

    (7-19-2003)

  • Kurt Busch to run Busch race at Homestead? Cup driver Kurt Busch mentioned on Speed Channel’s Trackside show Friday night that he may run in the Homestead Busch Series race in November to get more seat time at the newly reconfigured track since drivers will have very little time to get accustomed to the track that weekend.(BGNRacing.com)(7-19-2003)
  • New #54 Crew Chief: Gary Cogswell has taken over as crew chief for #54-Todd Bodine, starting at New Hampshire this week. Former crew chief, Derrick Finley will supposedly remain on as an engineer. A replacement will be named later for #66-Hideo Fukuyama as they have plans to run Watkins Glen.(7-19-2003)
  • No Money in the Settlement: Attorneys representing NASCAR and safety equipment manufacturer Bill Simpson confirmed Friday there was no financial settlement to the deal they announced Tuesday. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Simpson, of Avon, Ind., had insisted on receiving an apology from the sanctioning body before he filed an $8.5 million defamation lawsuit in federal court in Indianapolis. NASCAR linked the seat belt of Simpson’s former company to the death of seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500. Simpson insisted that Earnhardt had the belt installed at an angle unapproved by the manufacturer.(Indianspolis Star) and see past news on lawsuits on my Lawsuits Page.(7-19-2003)

    (7-18-2003)

  • More on AT&T and Nextel: The future of AT&T’s involvement in NASCAR remains in question, although it appears #49 BAM Racing has lost most hope in securing the company as a primary sponsor for its Dodges and driver Ken Schrader [who is NOT retiring]. NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne confirmed Friday that NASCAR made the decision not to allow an expansion of AT&T’s sponsorship of BAM Racing in light of the sanctioning body’s new 10-year deal with Nextel Communications to sponsor what is now the Winston Cup series beginning in 2004. AT&T’s 1-800-CALL-ATT division, which has served as a primary sponsor on BAM’s #49 in several races this season, was among the sponsors that would be allowed to continue in the sport under a “grandfather clause,” Pyne said. However, NASCAR drew the line on any expansion of AT&T’s involvement, particularly the use of any logos that would promote AT&T Wireless, a direct competitor of Nextel. “It is part of our responsibility to look out for the interests for our teams and our sponsors,” Pyne said. Audrey Schaefer, director of corporate communications for Nextel, said NASCAR was the “final arbiter” for all sponsor decisions. She said Nextel had no objection to AT&T’s continued involvement in the sport so long as it fell within the confines of Nextel’s agreement with NASCAR. The use of AT&T’s trademark “globe” logo has been the sticking point on most of the discussions involving the possible full-time sponsorship of BAM’s team. NASCAR has also had AT&T as an “official sponsor,” but that agreement concludes at the end of the season, Pyne said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-18-2003)
  • 2004 Ford Taurus to be unvieled: From the Team Ford Racing site: You’ve supported your favorite Ford Racing drivers and teams all season long, and now it’s time for us to say ‘Thank You’ to you, the fans. Join Ford Racing and Your Indiana Ford Stores at the RCA Dome, in downtown Indianapolis, on July 31 from 4:00-8:00pm/ct for Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day, where the excitement of racing is brought to you. Fans will have the opportunities to participate in Q&A and autograph sessions with NASCAR drivers Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett, Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Brett Bodine, Kasey Kahne, Rick Crawford, Jon Wood, Carl Edwards and Terry Cook. Attendees will also be able to see the unveiling of the 2004 Ford Taurus stock car and 2004 Ford F-150 truck during a special presentation with Edsel B. Ford II, member of the Ford Motor Company board of directors and chairman of Team Ford Racing. There will also be show car, car club, USAC and Ford production vehicle displays, as well as the Ford Racing merchandise trailer, pit crew demonstrations and interactive displays for adults and children. Tickets are free of charge and available at Your Local Indiana Ford Dealers. Each autograph session is limited to 350 autographs per driver. Entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Schedules for driver Q&A and autograph times will be available when the event begins. All Q&A and autograph sessions are subject to change.(Ford Racing)(7-18-2003)
  • DEI and Andretti firm up Indy plans: John Andretti, who accepted a two-race deal this week to drive Haas CNC Racing’s #0 Pontiacs for the next two races, has also agreed to drive a Dale Earnhardt Inc. entry in the Aug. 3 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Andretti tested a DEI car at Indy last week with good results. The Indy race replaces one originally scheduled for Chicagoland, in which Busch driver Jason Keller failed to qualify. “We are really confident he can qualify in the top 10 or 15 and run competitively all day,” said Ty Norris, DEI’s executive vice president for motorsports. “John wanted to be sure we were committed because he thinks he can go up there and be a factor in that race with that car. That gave us a lot of confidence.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-18-2003)
  • No Hornish to DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has given up on trying to put two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. in a stock car. DEI executive vice president Ty Norris said Hornish, whose contract with Panther Racing expires after this season, was never more than mildly interested. “I think he’s real comfortable in his open-wheel career,” Norris said. “We’ve moved on, and so has he.” DEI and Panther, which share Pennzoil as a sponsor, had discussions last year about Hornish running a limited number of NASCAR Busch Series and Winston Cup events. Panther co-owner John Barnes was against the idea. “We couldn’t get the release, so we dropped it,” Norris said. “But I think when Sam thought about racing almost 40 weekends a year, plus 10 or 12 tests, he was happy to stay where he’s at.” Hornish, however, has not ruled out a shot at NASCAR in 2004. He said his future will be clear next month. Panther plans to test several drivers in September, at the least searching for a second driver to complement Hornish. Barnes said the list will include Dave Steele, Ed Carpenter, Mark Taylor, Tomas Enge and “a couple of drivers in CART.” Panther also will be looking at IRL veteran Billy Boat, Barnes said(Indianapolis Star)(7-18-2003)
  • #14 or #50? noticed something on NASCAR.com’s New Hampshire Entry List. Larry Foyt is now listed in the #50 car, NOT the #14 car, which is no longer in the list. Did the team change numbers? Is it a mistake? Are they gonna run a 2nd car? No idea and have found nothing about it.
    UPDATE: been told it was AJ Foyt’s choice and that is all that is being said.
    UPDATE 2 – sort of: A.J. Foyt Racing’s Winston Cup entry will run with the No. 50 on the Dodge that Larry Foyt will drive in this weekend’s New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, according to the entry lists posted on several Web sites. Jayski.ThatsRacin.com reports that team owner A.J. Foyt decided to use the number instead of the No. 14 that has been used throughout this difficult season that has seen rookie Larry Foyt stuck in 42nd in the Winston Cup standings with no top-10 finishes in his 12 races to date.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)
    Speculation has that Foyt doesn’t want to use the one (1) provisional left for the #14 car and save it for Indy in two weeks, if they ran the #14 this week and was not in the top 36 in speed, they would be charged a provisional, it is NOT their choice to use it or not. So the team supposedly is using the #50, which has been used by the team in the past [last year for instance] and probably will use it at Pocono.(7-18-2003)
  • More ‘final’ TV Ratings for Chicago: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show that NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Tropicana 400 Winston Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway drew a 5.4 rating and a 14 share, today’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The numbers climbed sharply from the 4.9/11 overnight figures thanks to a boost from smaller markets and bettered last year’s final figures of 5.3/14.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-18-2003)
  • #99 Bassmaster Scheme Back: The #99 CITGO Ford, driven by Roush Racing’s Jeff Burton, will display a special paint scheme during Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup race at the New Hampshire International Speedway. In preparation for the upcoming CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer, Burton’s machine will feature the CITGO Bassmaster Classic logo on the front hood. The Classic is scheduled for August 1-3, in New Orleans, La. The CITGO Bassmaster Classic tournament is the world championship of professional bass fishing. It has a 33-year tradition of intense competition among anglers. Winning a Classic championship is the high point of an angler’s career. This year’s 61-angler field will vie for the $200,000 championship purse. The overall payout is $700,000. For complete coverage of the CITGO BASSMASTER Classic log onto www.bassmaster.com.(Cox Marketing PR)(7-18-2003)
  • Toyota still has a lot to do: Toyota has submitted its Tundra race truck to NASCAR for approval to compete in the Truck series in 2004. The design for the new truck was started more than a year ago by Toyota Racing Development, with the help of Swift Engineering in California. “We have a wealth of experience and talent at TRD in creating an engine from scratch, but in developing the Tundra chassis and body we went to industry experts with the know-how in NASCAR-type equipment,” said Jim Aust, president and CEO of TRD. “It’s been a great learning experience and a very gratifying journey,” Aust added. “But we know a lot of the hard work is yet to come. We’re working diligently to prepare our Toyota NASCAR V-8 for submission in a few months.” The Tundra truck submitted to NASCAR will undergo final aerodynamic evaluation by the sanctioning body, along with the other manufacturers’ trucks. On-track testing of the Toyota truck is scheduled to begin this summer and continue into the fall.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(7-18-2003)
  • Former F-1 champ, Jacques Villeneuve, to NASCAR? doubtful but…: Canadian Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve could return to British American Racing next season, his manager said Friday. Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula One champion, is in the final year of a five-year contract with BAR and his future is one of the most hotly debated topics in the series. Villeneuve was once wildly popular, but his star has faded with BAR. He’s had just one podium finish with the team – none since 2001 – and his BAR-Honda has been unreliable all season with a string of mechanical failures. Pollock ruled out a return to the struggling CART series, but said the driver might listen to offers from NASCAR teams.(Yahoo Sports)(7-18-2003), don’t see this happening,it would be a HUGE paycut.
  • Johnson signs with an agency: Wilhelmina Artist Management has signed Jimmie Johnson, driver of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Chevrolet in the Winston Cup Series, to its growing list of athletes, today’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. WAM spokesperson Danielle Rausch told The Daily that the company will meet with Johnson next week to determine specifics of a marketing plan. Other athletes represented by WAM include the NFL’s Eddie George, NBA players Stephon Marbury and Matt Harpring and PGA Tour player Matt Kuchar.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-18-2003)

    (7-17-2003)

  • Reggie White Accuses Jesse Jackson of Wasting NASCAR’s Money: Reggie White, one of the National Football League’s greatest defensive players of all time, has accused Jesse Jackson of taking “a quarter of million dollars from NASCAR and not do[ing] anything with it. “It’s really disappointing to me that Jesse and his organization would take a quarter of a million dollars from NASCAR and not do anything with it to try to get black drivers into the sport,” White said in an interview on FOX News Channel’s Fox & Friends Wednesday morning. NASCAR has reportedly given at least $250,000 to Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition as part of an effort to increase the number of minority racers in the sport.(see full story at CNSNews.com)(7-17-2003)
  • Marcis Racing to make 2003 debut at NHIS: #71-Marcis Racing just launched a brand new web site at www.marcisracing.com [same address as the old site]. The site contains news, pictures, stats, FAQs, and souvenirs, and it also has a section called “Dave’s Stories”. This section will be updated periodically with racing stories of his career, as told from Dave Marcis. Marcis Racing will be fielding a car at New Hampshire this weekend with 2000 ASA champ Tim Sauter driving. It’s a brand new car, and the engine is coming from Richard Childress Racing.(PR)(7-17-2003)
  • Nice Gesture by DW: Darrell Waltrip earlier this week donated 30 children’s car seats to the Martha O’Bryan Center. The seats went to children of needy families who live in the James A. Cayce Homes.(Tennessean)(7-17-2003)
  • Stewart Wins: Fans poured into Thompson International Speedway Wednesday to see reigning Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart put on an exhibition match race with fellow driver Jimmy Spencer. But they got much more than a match race. Stewart surprised the crowd by entering the regularly scheduled 30-lap NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series SK Modified feature. Starting from the back of the field, Stewart put on a clinic, using racing lines that most wouldn’t dare on his way to winning the SK feature.(Hartford Courant)(7-17-2003)
  • Paul Andrews son to run Busch North race: The #0 Penfold Motorsports Team will have a new face behind the wheel in this weekends New England 125 NASCAR Busch North Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. One of this years top rookie of the year contenders, Tim Andrews, has been named to drive the teams car at the Magic Mile on Saturday. Bob Harrison will serve as Andrews crewchief and Penfold will be on hand as a consultant. Penfold plans to return to driving duties at Watkins Glen in August. No word yet on any further events scheduled with Andrews in the Penfold Motorsports car.(North East Racing), Andrews is the son of #99 crew cheif, Paul Andrews.(7-17-2003)
  • Brickyard 400 Testing part II – Tuesday News and Speeds: A second round of NASCAR Winston Cup Series private testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets underway Monday, July 14 [and 15th]. Drivers scheduled to test are: #0-Jack Sprague, #01-Mike Wallace, #02-Hermie Sadler. #07-Ted Musgrave, #2-Rusty Wallace, #4-David Reutimann, #5-Terry Labonte, #7-Jimmy Spencer, #9-Bill Elliott, #10-Johnny Benson, #11-Brett Bodine, #21-Ricky Rudd, #30-Steve Park, #31-Robby Gordon , #37-Derrike Cope, #38-Elliott Sadler [15th/16th], #42-Jamie McMurray, #43-Christian Fittipaldi, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #49-Ken Schrader, #54-Todd Bodine, #57-Mike Skinner, #79-Billy Bigley Jr. #81-John Andretti and #88 Dale Jarrett [15th/16th]. NASCAR.com is reporting that the #88 team decided not to test and headed back to North Carolina.(7-11/14-2003)
    UPDATE – Fittipaldi wrecks: #43-Christian Fittipaldi’s car crashed today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during testing for next month’s Brickyard 400. Fittipaldi hit the outside wall of turn 2 on the 2-1/2 mile oval, track officials said. He was taken to the track hospital for an examination, after which he was released and cleared to drive. The crash did extensive damage to the right side of Fittipaldi’s car. #54-Todd Bodine, fastest Monday, also crashed, but was not injured.(Indianapolis Star)(7-16-2003)
    UPDATE 2: #25-Joe Nemechek turned the fastest lap on an extra day of NASCAR Winston Cup Series testing July 16 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, circling the legendary 2.5-mile oval at 181.029mph. #2-Rusty Wallace was second fastest at 180.989, while Nemechek’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, #48-Jimmie Johnson was third at 180.157. Johnson remained fastest overall among the 38 drivers that have taken part in private test sessions at IMS on either July 8-9 or 14-16, after recording a lap of 182.028 on July 15. #20-Tony Stewart’s track record, set during qualifying for the 2002 Brickyard 400, is 182.960. Persistent thundershowers and storms washed out all but 37 minutes of practice July 15th, so NASCAR granted teams another day of practice. Weather conditions today were sunny with light winds and a high temperature in the mid-80s – more to the liking of teams and similar to what drivers will encounter when they return for the 10th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 1-3. The only accidents to take place during 2003 NASCAR testing at IMS occurred approximately 30 minutes apart in the morning. At 9:40am/et, Petty Enterprises driver Christian Fittipaldi was approaching the apex of Turn 2 when the #43 Cheerios Dodge veered right and made hard contact with the SAFER Barrier. Fittipaldi was unhurt, and despite the incident, he was pleased with the team’s progress. “We don’t know exactly what happened,” he said. “Either something broke on the car or a tire blew as I was coming through the turn. Then suddenly, the car just went straight, just washed out from underneath me, and I hit the outside wall. I hadn’t even (considered) that I hit the SAFER Barrier. It was still pretty hard. As long as it works, if you guys say, it’s safer, I’ll take it. It was still pretty hard. “Since we arrived the first day we only got better and better, today we’re running race runs with 15 lap tires on it, and it wasn’t bad. We’re just getting more and more competitive. We learned a good amount of stuff from the first day to today.” Thirty minutes later, #54-Todd Bodine hit the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1. “Blew a right front (tire),” Bodine said. “No warning, no nothing. Don’t know if we ran over something, or what.” Bodine said he believes the Speedway’s SAFER Barrier, the Speedway’s energy-absorbing barrier system that was installed in May 2002, saved him from injury. “Hallelujah – Tony George, thank you,” Bodine said of Speedway President and CEO George. “That hit should have hurt, and I don’t even have a headache. Nothing. I feel like I just climbed out from practice. Thank you, Tony George, that’s all I can say.” #38-Elliott Sadler and the Robert Yates Racing team will test Thursday. Drivers scheduled to test next week include #99-Jeff Burton (July 21-22) and #12-Ryan Newman (July 22-23). Reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Brickyard 400 remain available.(Brickyard 400 site)
    The top five overall after five days of testing are:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 182.028
    #81-John Andretti, 181.246
    #0-Jack Sprague, 181.235 [no longer with the team, no word on who may drive – David Green?]
    #25-Joe Nemechek, 181.191
    #2-Rusty Wallace, 180.989
    See Wednesday’s speeds at Brickyard400.com – Wednesday Speeds
    See All speed [so far] at Brickyard400.com – July Speeds.(7-17-2003)
  • Hamilton Jr in the #7? UPDATE: haven’t heard this, but read it: ….And Bobby Hamilton Jr. could be in the #7 Winston Cup car before the season is over.(Danville Register and Bee)(7-16-2003)
    UPDATE: been told the Hamiltion Jr. to the #7 car is off base and will not happen as Bobby Hamilton Jr. is 100% focused on winning 2003 Busch Series title.(7-17-2003)
  • Craven Remembering a Friend: #32-Ricky Craven will honor the memory of a friend this weekend at New Hampshire International Raceway. The visor of Craven’s helmet will carry decals reading “In memory of Allen Brann 1943-2003.” Brann, who passed away from a heart attack in January, was the track photographer for many years at Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine, and was the vice-president and co-founder of the Maine Vintage Race Car Association. Ricky Craven: “Allen was a great guy. He was one of the few individuals with such a wonderful loyalty to the sport of auto racing. I remember him well from the first days of my racing career and have always admired and appreciated him. This is just a small way of remembering him and his contributions to the sport.”(PPI Motorsports PR)(7-17-2003)
  • Ernie Irvan at Hickory Motor Speedway: On Thursday night July 17th, Winston Cup racing great Ernie Irvan and Garrett Dyer Ford of Hickory are bringing the USCS “Thunder in Carolina” to Hickory Motor Speedway for the first time ever. The special weekday evening show will serve as leg one of a three race swing for the 700 Horsepower winged Outlaw style sprint cars that will continue on to Ace Speedway on Friday and Southern National Speedway on Saturday. “The greatest spectacle in short track racing” as USCS founder Pete Walton has dubbed the United Sprint Car Series “Asphalt Thunder” tour will be joined at Hickory by the HMS Super Truck and Mini Stock divisions. Ernie Irvan will serve as the events Grand Marshall and will meet and greet fans from 6:30 to 7:30pm.(Hickory Motor Speedway site)(7-17-2003)
  • Sad News: Dick Trickle’s father Leo Trickle, passed away on Monday, June 16, 2003. He had been hospitalized for many years and had recently become more ill. The funeral was held in Wisconsin Rapids, WI with many friends and family gathering in Rudolph, WI, Dick’s hometown to spend time with the family. Dick wants to pass along that the family is doing well and that they know now that he’s resting in peace.(Dick Trickle Fanclub Newsletter)(7-17-2003)
  • Names on the Decklid of the #77: As part of a special promotion, over 100 people donated $50 or more to the American Diabetes Association to have their name appear on the decklid of the #77 Jasper Ford during the Winston Cup Race on July 20 at the New Hampshire International Speedway. Joe Kane, whose stepdaughter Katherine has diabetes, was the spark plug for this fundraising event. Joe e-mailed Doug Bawel, team co-owner and President of Jasper Engines & Transmissions in Indiana, hoping to reach Dave Blaney, an old high school friend, who now drives the #77 Jasper Ford in NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition. Bawel also has a young son with diabetes and was eager to help. The result of their collaboration has been dubbed, “Katherine’s Cure.” For every $5 raised for “Katherine’s Cure,” Jasper Engines & Transmissions contributed $1, up to a maximum of $20,000. Thanks to the generosity of Jasper Engines & Transmissions, racecar enthusiasts and friends of the diabetes communities throughout New England will have the opportunity this weekend for their names to join Blaney in competition at NHIS. Sponsors also will receive a glossy photo of the car displaying all the names, signed by Blaney. Attendees at this weekend’s New England 300 at NHIS will also have the opportunity to register for the New Hampshire and Maine walks, visit with ADA staff and receive current information on ADA research, information and advocacy programs. Katherine Dearden, Mr. Kane’s stepdaughter, is an adorable and articulate young lady, who also happens to have diabetes. During her interview for the Youth Chair position for America’s Walk for Diabetes in Augusta, Katherine was asked what is the one thing that diabetes interferes with. She said, “Nothing.” Simply because she and her family won’t let it. Katherine enjoyed, among other activities, the abundance of snow in Maine this past winter, as she is a cross-country ski enthusiast. She will join all the participants at the NHIS event this weekend.(Jasper Motorsports Notes)(7-17-2003)
  • Spotters Team Doing Well: NASCAR Spotter Mike Calinoff (for Matt Kenseth-Cup & Jason Leffler-Truck), along with his fiancé Jenn, own MJ Motorsports which field cars in the Hooters Pro Cup Series and on Wisconsin’s Super Late Model circuit. In the past two weeks, 18-year-old Kelly Bires has won back to back features at The Dells (WI) Motor Speedway, including the 100-lap North America Cup event. He is second in the point standings. This Tuesday night, Bires will compete along with NASCAR Winston Cup stars Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch in the Miller Lite Nationals at Slinger (WI) Superspeedway. Team ASE, CARQUEST and Snap-On Tools sponsor the team.(PR)(7-17-2003)
  • Sprague Released from the #0 ride, Andretti in UPDATEs: The Sporting News has learned that rookie Winston Cup driver Jack Sprague has been released from his ride with Haas/CNC Racing, and he will be replaced by John Andretti, who himself was released by Petty Enterprises a month ago. Andretti, 40, will take over for Sprague this weekend at New Hampshire and also next weekend at Pocono. However, because of a prior commitment to race the #81 for Chance 2 Motorsports at the Brickyard 400, Andretti will not be in the #0 for that race. Haas/CNC has yet to name a fill-in driver for the Indy race. Haas/CNC Racing also has not named a replacement beyond the Brickyard 400. Andretti has won two Winston Cup races in his career, the last coming at the 1999 Martinsville spring race. Andretti has a history with #0 Crew Chief, Tony Furr, winning the Pepsi 400 at Daytona while with the #98 Cale Yarborough team. No word on Sprgaue’s plans.(Sporting News)(7-16-2003)
    UPDATEs and comments: Haas CNC Racing, which fields the #0 NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and Jack Sprague announced a mutual decision to part ways effective immediately. “Gene Haas gave me a great opportunity to move into the Winston Cup Series this season,” said Sprague, who has driven the NetZero Pontiac since the start of the season. “Unfortunately, being a rookie team with a rookie owner, rookie crew chief and a rookie driver, and not having a great deal of Winston Cup knowledge, we started off behind the eight ball. Haas CNC Racing made changes along the way to try to make the team more competitive, but we never really got a handle on it. After eight years of winning races and championships, this year’s been very frustrating for me, and I’m sure it has been equally as frustrating for them. That said, we decided to part ways and try to find success apart.” The Haas CNC Racing team posted its best qualifying effort of the season when the NetZero Pontiac lined up in fifth place at Lowe’s (Concord, N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. The team’s highest finish of the season was a 14th-place effort in the season opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February. “The Haas CNC Racing team hasn’t achieved the goals we set for ourselves prior to the start of the season,” stated Joe Custer, General Manager. “Everyone involved with this organization has high expectations for success. Jack Sprague is a talented race car driver, but we thought it would be in everybody’s best interest to make a change at this stage of the game. We feel confident we can continue to build this race team into a winning organization. We appreciate all that Jack Sprague has done for the NetZero Racing Program,” commented Brian Woods, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for NetZero. During our three years together in this sport we have experienced the kind of success that most only dream about. We understand that it’s the team’s prerogative to do what it thinks will enhance the success of its organization. We wish Jack and his family success in all their future endeavors and look forward to future accomplishments with Haas CNC Racing.”(NetZeroRacing)
    AND Haas CNC Racing announced that veteran John Andretti will take over driving duties for the upcoming Winston Cup events at New Hampshire International Speedway and Pocono Raceway. “We are thrilled that there was someone available to us of John Andretti’s caliber, with his vast amount of Winston Cup experience,” stated Joe Custer, Haas CNC Racing General Manager. “We’re excited that he has agreed to come on board for the next couple of races. Following the races at New Hampshire and Pocono, we’ll evaluate how things are going and move forward from there.” Andretti, who hails from Indianapolis, Indiana, has been racing full-time in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1994. He has scored four pole positions and two Winston Cup victories during his career, the last of which came in Martinsville in 1999 with Petty Enterprises. He and Haas CNC Racing crew chief Tony Furr have a history together, winning the 1997 Pepsi 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. “I feel really good about being reunited with Tony Furr,” said John Andretti. “The Haas CNC Racing team is an excellent organization. I look forward to being behind the wheel of the No. 0 NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac for the next couple of races.”(NetZeroRacing)(7-17-2003)
  • ESPY’s NASCAR goes 1 for 2: EPSN’s annual awards show, the ESPY’s aired Wed, July 15th on ESPN. Some NASCAR related nominations include:
    Best Breakthrough Athlete nominees: with Jimmie Johnson going against LeBron James, Yao Ming, Clinton Portis and Alfonso Soriano.
    Best Driver: Tony Stewart is up against Gil de Ferran, John Force, Sam Hornish, Jr., and Michael Schumacher.(7-16-2003)
    UPDATE – results 1 for 2:
    Best Driver was won by Tony Stewart
    Best Breakthrough Athlete was won by baseball player Alfonso Soriano. See more at EPSN’s ESPY’s Page, see story at Foxsports(7-17-2003)


    (7-16-2003)

  • #29 Fined, Penalized and Loss of Points: NASCAR officials announced today that Todd Berrier, crew chief of the #29 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, has been fined $25,000 due to a rule infraction discovered last week at Chicagoland Speedway following the Tropicana 400. In addition, NASCAR has penalized the team’s driver, Kevin Harvick, 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship driver points and team owner, Richard Childress, 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship owner points. During the event’s pre-race inspection process, the rear suspension of the #29 Chevy was found to have an unapproved travel limiting device, a violation of Section 12-4-Q of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book (parts and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing).(NASCAR PR)(7-16-2003)
  • Nadeau at Loudon this weekend: The United States Army NASCAR team will have a special visitor at this weekend’s New England 300 here at New Hampshire International Speedway. The visitor, whose appearance will most likely offer an added inspiration to the team, will be Jerry Nadeau, driver of the black and gold #01 U.S. Army Pontiac. The 32-year-old Danbury, Conn. native is currently on a recovery path from a May 2 accident at Richmond International Raceway where he sustained head, lung, shoulder and rib injuries. Nadeau’s appearance at Loudon will be his first race since the accident. “We’re all proud of Jerry,” said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. “He has worked so hard in therapy to get to the level where he can attend a race. His presence will definitely give us a big lift.” Mike Wallace, who has been the team’s substitute driver during Nadeau’s recovery, shares Pemberton’s feelings. “First of all it shows that Jerry’s recovery is getting better,” said Wallace. “His presence will not only be good for the team, but it will be good for him. People want to see him and wish him the best and I am sure he has missed seeing everyone. Hopefully, Jerry’s visit. will turn our luck around.” Wallace is referring to the last two races in Daytona and Chicago where the 01 Pontiac. got collected in each as a result of a multi-car crash. “It’s bound to turn in our favor,” said Wallace, the middle of three racing brothers. “I look forward to New Hampshire – the track has been repaved and from what I have heard it has plenty of grip. That’s good news. We’re going to go after it and show that this U.S. Army team is better than the results of the last two weeks.” The New Hampshire race begins the second half of the 36-race Winston Cup points schedule. “I think we’ve experienced every kind of emotion possible during the first half of the season,” said Pemberton. “The excitement of the U.S. Army sponsorship, a new team, good, bad and unlucky races results, Jerry’s accident, Jerry’s recovery and working with different drivers in Jason Keller, Mike Wallace and Boris Said. It hasn’t been dull.”(US Army Racing PR)(7-16-2003)
  • Pit-crew competition won by #15 crew: At the halfway point of the NASCAR Winston Cup season it appears that Michael Waltrip’s pit crew is well on its way to collecting the $200,000 season bonus that goes to the champion of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. Waltrip’s NAPA pit crew became the first team to win three McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championships this season when the No. 15 crew outscored the participating field in Sunday’s Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Waltrip’s #15 Chevrolet, owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc., spent the least amount of aggregate time off the track – 190.368 seconds. Jeff Burton’s pit crew came in second with a time of 193.689 and Tony Stewart’s crew was third at 225.375. The pit crew victory increased the lead for Waltrip’s team. After 18 races, the No. 15 crew has a commanding lead with 681 points. Dale Earnhardt’s pit crew is second with 609 points and Bobby Labonte’s crew is third with 582. Waltrip’s pit crew also leads in prize money with $60,000 collected — $20,000 for each McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship victory. The team’s other pit crew wins were at the season-opening Daytona 500 (Feb. 16) and at Dover (June 1). “The best part about leading this competition, is our team is just that – a team,” said crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe, “The McDonald’s/POWERade pit crew challenge is a great way for other people to see how this group has jelled since its inception. There are forty-some crew members that make up the NAPA team and only eight of them really ever get any credit for the success we’ve enjoyed this year. Those guys that make up the guts of the NAPA team put the everyday pieces into place, which allow the over-the-wall guys to excel in each of their positions. I am extremely proud of our over-the-wall team, but it’s the overall effort that impresses me the most.” The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip’s team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Pete Rondeau (catch can).
    For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(7-16-2003)

  • David Reutimann to test Pocono, may run there: David Reutimann will be testing for Morgan-McClure Motorsports [#4 and #04] at Pocono Raceway on Thursday, July 17th in preparation for the Pennsylvania 500 and may end up running for the team there. Johnny Sauter will be Busch racing at Pikes Peak (CO) next week.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)
    UPDATE: team sources tell me they will NOT be testing at Pocono on Thursday due to testing an extra aday at Indy after being rained out on Tuesday.(7-16-2003)
  • Stewart Gets a Peak at Homestead: About 45 minutes before midnight on July 7, a dark-haired man in a rental car pulled up to the main gate of Homestead-Miami Speedway, asking the security guard to see the track. The unexpected visitor whipped out an official NASCAR ID card. OK, it was enough for Bruno to at least make a phone call, despite knowing he would probably wake his boss, track vice president of operations Al García. ”Hey, Al,” Bruno said. “You’ll never believe this, but I’ve got Tony Stewart here. I swear. I have his ID.” García, who indeed had been sleeping, was ”shocked” and not exactly convinced. He asked Bruno to put the man claiming to be the defending Winston Cup champion on the phone. The voice on the other end said: “Hey Al, I’m coming back from the Keys and can’t get on my plane for another hour or two.” Stewart went on to explain that he had been scuba diving in Key Largo (on the day after the Pepsi 400 in Daytona Beach) and needed 12 hours to decompress between diving and flying. So, since he still had time to kill and just happened to be in the neighborhood, Stewart figured he would drop by to see how the $10 million reconfiguration project to add 18 to 20 degrees of banking was progressing. García was now convinced, and a few minutes later the champion driver and the security guard were driving around the apron of the 1.5-mile oval in the dark in Stewart’s rental car. Stewart said Tuesday it was difficult to see much with only the headlights of his car, “but it looked like they did a lot of work in a short amount of time. From what the guy told me, they are going to put up one more foot of dirt and then start paving. I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like.” When told that the computer simulation done by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. shows that there will be three distinct racing grooves on the track, which will have unique variable banking, Stewart was about as convinced as García was when he first heard that Stewart was at his track at midnight. ”We’ll see,” Stewart said. ‘I hope it’s not like the Dynos [short for dynamometer, a machine that measures an engine’s horsepower]. A Dyno will say this motor is better and we should win and then when we don’t, the guys will say, `But the Dyno said we should win.’ I’ve never got a paycheck or a trophy from a Dyno.”(see full story at the Miami Herald)(7-16-2003)
  • SC Racing Museum gets more cash: Spartanburg City [SC] Council has decided to increase its contribution to a South Carolina Racing Museum. Council gave initial approval Monday to increasing its 10-year commitment from $200,000 to $300,000 annually. The money will help pay for renovations and design work for the $20 million racing museum that could open as early as 2005 in an old mill building. The city will use money from more than $1 million expected in annual hospitality tax collections. The hospitality tax is charged on prepared food and beverages sold in the city and must be used to benefit tourism. Museum development director Paul Ianuario expects race fans to stop by on their way to events in Charlotte, Atlanta and elsewhere. Fans also may make the South Carolina Racing Museum part of day trips. The museum will offer an interactive experience focused on the history of drivers and owners from the late 1930s to the present. A visitor may walk through a section with equipment from an old textile mill and buildings designed to reflect what life was like for drivers and owners at that time. Tim Brett, president of Brett Public Relations in Greenville is working with the museum project. He said they have enough money to begin renovations and design but still need to raise $8 to $10 million to fully fund the project. Money and donations have come from grants, from events such as the Legends race, from individuals and from businesses such as the donation of land from Piedmont Natural Gas. Jimmy I. Gibbs Limited Liability Co. would agree to invest in the mill building and donate space to the museum. It also will provide a $1 million contribution for interior renovations, according to a memo from city community development director, Ed Memmott. If the museum fails to open or operate as expected, the Gibbs company will buy the museum from the city for the amount invested, the memo stated.(Greenville News)(7-16-2003)
  • Double Cars for Morgan-McClure at NHIS UPDATE 2 for the remainder of the season?: The Morgan-McClure team has two cars entered in the New England 300 at New Hampshire this weekend. Johnny Sauter will drive the #4 Kodak Pontiac and David Reutimann [who is testing for the team at Inmdy this week] will attempt to get the #04 Kodak Pontiac in the race.(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR Show)(7-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports made a major announcement Tuesday regarding the upcoming New England 300 NASCAR Winston Cup event at New Hampshire International Speedway. For the first time in its 20 year history, the Abingdon, Va.-based team will field two Winston Cup cars. The #4 Kodak Easy Share Pontiac will be driven by 25-year old Johnny Sauter with Chris Carrier as the crew chief and Steve Gray as the car chief. Sauter was behind the wheel of the #4 Kodak Grand Prix at Chicagoland. It was the Necedah, Wis.-native’s first time in a Winston Cup car. He currently competes in the Busch Series, having moved up from the ASA ranks. The #04 Kodak Perfect Touch Pontiac will have David Reutimann, 33- year old Zephyrhills, Fla.-native, as the driver. Tim Brewer will step into the crew chief position while Morgan-McClure Motorsports veteran Robert Larkins will serve as car chief. Reutimann tested in Indy this week for the Brickyard 400 in the #4 Kodak Pontiac. He has competed in 10 Busch Series events with two top-fives and two top-10 finishes. He joined the upper ranks of NASCAR from the All Pro Series.
    Larry McClure, owner-President of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, is quoted as saying: “Morgan-McClure Motorsports is proud to make a positive addition of the #04 Winston Cup Pontiac to its racing stables. We wanted a second car for some time and now seemed like an opportune time to act. We feel we have two very talented young drivers to give an opportunity to drive in Winston Cup. This will give the team time to work with both drivers. Having the support of Kodak to field this project was helpful. Johnny Sauter did a good job for the team in Chicago last week. Even though we had an unfortunate tire problem, he continued to remain focused on his efforts. David Reutimann has made great progress in the Winston Cup car this week on one of the circuit’s toughest tracks. He has never been behind the wheel of a Winston Cup car before. The team is pleased with his progress and performance. This is an exciting opportunity for Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Kodak. The guys at the race shop are working a non-stop pace to ensure that both cars are competitive. We hope to have a double-shot of success in New Hampshire.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(7-16-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Beginning this weekend at New Hampshire, Morgan-McClure Motorsports will begin fielding two Winston Cup teams for most of the remainder of the 2003 season. Both teams will compete for most of the rest of the season, but the drivers may change.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-16-2003)
  • NASCAR Experimental Escape Hatch: Ken Schrader Discusses Test: Ken Schrader, driver of the #49 At&T Dodge for BAM Racing, Tested NASCAR’s Experimental Escape Hatch [or as NASCAR calls it – Alternative Exit] Recently. NASCAR has made no announcements regarding it. Schrader’s comment’s: “NASCAR just called me up and asked if I would go over to the Tech Center there in Mooresville (N.C.) and try out the new escape hatch. To me it’s a wonderful improvement, looks fairly easy to implement, and it’s not complex. Personally I can’t see any draw backs . . .you know, makes perfect sense. It’s going to make a big difference, especially after an accident that ends with the driver’s side up against the wall. Now, you can’t get out of the driver’s side in that situation, because a lot of these walls are higher than the top of the car. With the escape hatch you can get out just as quickly as any other situation.. It’s also easier for emergency workers to get to the driver in that situation. You still have to unfasten all the safety equipment, so as far as it saving time in other situations, I’m not sure it will. However, now it’s impossible to get out with the wall right beside you – with the escape hatch you will be able to. I look for the thing to be implemented soon. Personally, I think it’s great.”(Williams Company of America PR)(7-16-2003)
  • Final Chicago TV Ratings: Sunday’s Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway had a final overnight rating of 4.9 on NBC, making the race the weekend’s most-watched sporting event on television. (Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research.)(NASCAR PR)(7-16-2003)
  • Homestead banking to get pre-race testing: The new banking being installed at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be tested for three days prior to the season-ending Nov. 14-16 weekend featuring NASCAR’s three national series. The tentative schedule has Truck teams testing Monday, Nov. 10; the Busch Series is slated for Nov. 11 and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series is set for Nov. 12. All three days, there will be two sessions: 9:00am – 12:00noon/et and 1:00-5:00pm/et.(NASCAR PR)(7-16-2003)
  • New Hampshire Nuggets: Did You Know #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored only one top-10 finish in seven races at New Hampshire. #22-Ward Burton won the New England 300 last July. It marked his only top-five finish in 15 races at New Hampshire and only top-10 finish there in his last six races at the New England superspeedway. #19-Jeremy Mayfield has scored only one top-10 finish in the last 14 races at New Hampshire. #24-Jeff Gordon has led 912 laps in 16 races at New Hampshire [may be why Gordon is all the oddsmakers favorite this week], almost twice as many as closest competitor #99-Jeff Burton who has led 595. Burton led all 300 laps in September 2000. He also led the fewest laps of a race winner in July 1999 (two of 300 laps).(Insider Racing News)(7-16-2003)
  • Roush wants more races? Car owner Jack Roush said he wants to add more races to the Winston Cup tour. Listen to the gasping in the NASCAR garage. “Who says we’re burning drivers out?’ Roush said.’If these were milk farmers, they’d be milking cows twice a day. If they were hay farmers, they would be bailing hay every day. What we do is carry a very exciting entertainment product 36 times a year, and I think we need to race 40 times or more.”(see full story at Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2003)
  • Andretti to Toyota? Trucks? DENIED The latest on Toyota: John Andretti may get the call to Truck duty next season for the Japanese giant.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has no plans to reenter the truck series in the foreseeable future.(Team Sources)(7-16-2003)
  • Stewart Says NO: Tuesday morning, Tony Stewart again denied rumors that he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing and said no other teams have contacted him.(NASCAR.com)(7-16-2003)
  • Why did Harvick run out of gas at Chicago? Kevin Harvick’s team discovered a fueling problem this week that prevented the car from getting all the fuel possible on its final stop Sunday, a team official said. The team thought it had filled the car with fuel on that stop. Harvick ran out of fuel while running second with about two laps to go. He finished 17th. The team was not specific on the fueling problem but said that all three Richard Childress Racing cars had the same issue and changes were being made to correct the problem. Harvick stopped with 69 laps left Sunday. With 17 laps of caution – where cars get better fuel mileage at the slower speeds – run after that final stop, Harvick should have had plenty of fuel to finish the race.(Roanoke Times)(7-16-2003)

    (7-15-2003)

  • Simpson vs NASCAR may be resolved UPDATE suit dismissed: Safety manufacturer Bill Simpson’s lawsuit against NASCAR over the death of Dale Earnhardt is scheduled to start Sept. 13 here [Indianapolis] in Federal Court but it may have been decided Monday. NASCAR president Mike Helton and Simpson met for three hours Monday afternoon with U.S. Federal District Court magistrate Sue Shields and the result of that meeting will be announced Tuesday. “There will be a joint statement issued tomorrow by NASCAR out of Daytona Beach and that is all we can say,” said attorney James H. Voyles, who along with Robert Horn, are representing Simpson. Helton declined to speak to reporters as he left the building, as did Simpson. Judge Sarah Evans Barker was scheduled to preside if the suit went to trial but Shields requested an audience with Helton and Simpson on Monday. And Tuesday’s announcement will likely reveal an out-of-court settlement, state that the case has been thrown out or that the suit will make it to trial, as scheduled, in two months.(see full story at ESPN.com by Robin Miller)
    UPDATE: The following joint statement is issued by Bill Simpson and NASCAR in connection with Mr. Simpson’s voluntary dismissal of his defamation and false light invasion of privacy lawsuit against NASCAR pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. “Simpson and NASCAR are happy to announce that they agree that it is in the best interest of racing that they direct their time, energy and resources away from litigation and toward their joint goal of improving safety for professional racing drivers. Any misunderstanding between the parties, and the public, which gave rise to this litigation, can now be put to rest.” NASCAR said it is pleased that Simpson dismissed his lawsuit. NASCAR President Mike Helton said, “We recognize that Bill has contributed significantly to the safety of motorsports for over 43 years, and we are glad the issue has been resolved.” Simpson intends to supply teams and drivers with safety products from his new company. “I’m looking forward to doing what I do best,” Simpson said, “and that’s helping drivers and teams be as safe as they can at the track.” This statement is the only consideration for the dismissal and the parties do not intend to discuss this matter further.(NASCAR PR), and see past news on the lawsuit on my Lawsuits Page.(7-15-2003)
  • More on Stewart and Gibbs UPDATE 3 announcement today? NO DENIED: Will Tony Stewart stay at Joe Gibbs Racing? The reigning Winston Cup champion’s contract runs through the end of next season, but team owner Joe Gibbs knows his driver is receiving feelers from other teams wondering if he could get out of his contract to drive for them next season. “I’d say there’s probably a lot of people that have been trying to come after him,” Gibbs said. “One thing about this sport is that if you’re real good, chances are there’s going to be some people knocking at your door.” Gibbs said the team’s management is “kind of working on” a contract extension with Stewart and would prefer to re-sign him to a long-term extension. Gibbs recently re-signed teammate Bobby Labonte to an extension, and Stewart’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, has told Stewart that Gibbs wants to talk to him about an extension. Gibbs seems confident that Stewart will want to stay put. “I know that I feel real good about our relationship,” Gibbs says. “I think we speak the same language. I think what Tony’s interested in, first and foremost, is where he can win the most races. I feel pretty good about that.”(USA Today)
    AND Tony Stewart’s future is a hot issue in the Winston Cup garage, but Cary Agajanian, his business manager, yesterday declined to comment on widespread reports that Target has targeted the NASCAR champion with plans to buy out the final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs and move him to Chip Ganassi’s Dodge team, replacing Casey Mears. Doug Duchardt, the head of GM racing, said he expects Stewart to remain in the Chevy camp. “There is probably interest in Tony, but certainly we want to keep Tony and Joe Gibbs Racing in Chevrolets for a long time, so we’re working that through with Joe.” The prospect for Stewart in a Ganassi ride? “I’d be surprised if that’s the case,” Duchardt said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-14-2003)
    MORE UPDATES: Amid rampant speculation that Tony Stewart might consider testing NASCAR’s open market or even returning to the Indy Racing League, the reigning Winston Cup champion and team owner Joe Gibbs said this weekend they are in the process of negotiating a contract extension. Gibbs recently re-signed his other driver, 2000 Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte. Stewart’s contract expires at the end of next season, which will be his fifth with Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart said the only holdup is finding time for him and Gibbs to sit down and talk. “Joe’s been gone and I’ve been gone, but I know he re-signed Bobby already and Greg (crew chief Zipadelli) talked to me about Joe wanting to sign me soon,” Stewart said. “So I’m sure it will happen pretty soon.” Sponsor Home Depot has agreed to up the ante knowing Stewart’s asking price is bound to increase. Gibbs said he’s not surprised that rumors have surfaced about other owners being interested in Stewart, who has finished in the top 10 of the standings in all four of his Winston Cup seasons and has won 16 races. “There’s probably a lot of people that have been trying to come after him,” Gibbs said. “One thing about this sport is that if you’re real good, chances are there’s going to be some people knocking at your door.” But Gibbs said he’s confident of keeping the 32-year-old driver. “We’re hard at work for the future trying to get something done,” the former NFL champion coach said. “We like long-term deals, and that’s what we’re kind of working on.”(Indianapolis Star)
    HOWEVER the Winston Salem Journal continues to report….Tony Stewart will hold a press conference today at which he may discuss rumors of a possible contract buyout by Target in a deal that would move him to Chip Ganassi’s Dodge team. Those reports come amid Stewart’s contract renegotiations with Joe Gibbs.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-15-2003)
    UPDATE 3: been informed that Stewart is NOT holding a press conference today and is simply the third guest on the Winston Teleconference, following Ricky Craven and Call Wells. The #20 team and Stewart has had numerous interview requests from New England media as they prepare for the New England 300, and they thought that making Tony available via the Winston Teleconference would be the best way to take care of those interview requests. Mr. Mulhern’s report in the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal is inaccurate.(Team Sources), see my #20 Team News and Links page for the past rumors over the last few days.(7-15-2003)
  • Odd Rumor; Jarrett and DEI? Denied UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Inc., is looking at Dale Jarrett [NOTE: signed thru 2006 with Yates], according to sources. Ty Norris, the general manager of DEI, said: ‘If Dale Jarrett was on the market, and if DEI were looking for a driver, there’s not a more experienced guy, with tons of class, who sponsors love, and who has tremendous ability … but we’re still hot and heavy in our sponsor search. And if you rated it hot, medium or cold, we’re pretty cold right now. “When we have a sponsor who is ready to sit down and talk about what driver they’d like, we’ll approach it then. But there’s not an organization in this garage that wouldn’t love to have Dale Jarrett. Dale and I are friends, and Dale is friends with Dale Jr. But I’ve never had a conversation with him about driving for us … except ‘who wouldn’t want him to drive for you.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Can You Address Jarrett’s Situation? “We do the same thing to other teams. When they get down we put some pressure on them, too. Everybody would love to have Dale Jarrett drive their race car. That’s natural. In a way, it’s flattering to us that other teams would be interested because we think the world of Dale. Dale and I have talked and we’ve come a long way together as an organization. He started that 88 team and we expect him to finish out his career in that car. Our goal is to give him something good to drive and for him to give us good feedback to make it good.”
    What is Dale’s Contract Status? “We’re working on an extension for Dale right now. We have a contract through next year with him and we’re working on an extension. UPS is signed for three more years after this, so things are real solid there. It’s embarrassing to us and Ford and UPS, and that’s really the biggest thing. We’re gonna have good and bad days, but UPS is a great sponsor and we’re letting them down right now. That’s what we’ve got to do a better job of and that’s a lot of our responsibility. The big brown truck doesn’t need to run in the back.”(commnets by RYR’s Doug Yates at Ford Racing)(7-15-2003)
  • To the Dyno’s UPDATE: hearing that NASCAR put the following cars on the chassis dyno : #12, #20, #48, #15, #99, #42, #38 and #19. Odd, no Richard Childress Racing cars even though the #29 ran 2nd until two laps to go and the #31 finished seventh.(7-13-2003)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart didn’t win Sunday, but his engine man, Mark Cronquist, won the post-race chassis dyno battle, according to NASCAR sources. That leads credence to reports that Roger Penske no longer has a big edge under the hood, although Ryan Newman and Elliott Sadler had motors equal to Stewart’s. The surprise was that Jeff Burton’s engine was considerably off, by some 40 horsepower, according to one engine specialist.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-15-2003)
  • #99 Team Getting Calls UPDATE: In the two weeks since CITGO announced it was leaving the sport of NASCAR Winston Cup auto racing, the phones at Roush Racing have been ringing. The calls are inquires from potential sponsors to take the primary sponsor place on Burton’s #99 Ford. “In just two weeks we’ve got three prospects already,” Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said, today. “Two of them are from outside of the sport, and we feel good about that.” Smith added, “Hopefully next week there’ll be another one. We feel pretty good about it.” Interestingly, calls from the new-to-the-sport sponsors came as a result of advertising agency recommendations. This trend of agency involvement, if it should continue, will help owners market their team more easily as the ad agencies frequently can help a third party realize the value of NASCAR type racing. “Both of [the new companies to the sport] work with agencies we work with. They view this as a great opportunity for bringing in a couple of clients that they’ve been working on in other projects. Over time, probably the last five years, the mainstream agencies are more familiar with motorsports now and will take a look at it now.”(Ford Racing)(7-14-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing reports that Mayflower Transit is considering becoming the primary sponsor of the #99 Ford in 2004.(7-15-2003)


    (7-14-2003)

  • Get Well Jeff: Gell Well Wishes go out to former Championship Crew Chief and current NASCAR on FOX analyst Jeff Hammond [and a very good Darth Vader]. Jeff had his gall bladder removed today and is resting comfortably at home.(7-14-2003)
  • Andretti to test for DEI and may run the Brickyard 400: John Andretti, released last month by Petty Enterprises, is scheduled to be at the Speedway on Monday testing a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car. DEI executive vice president Ty Norris said if the test goes well, Andretti will be given a chance to qualify it for the Aug. 3 race. “We talked to John on Saturday morning. He’s excited about the opportunity and we’re excited to give it to him,” Norris said. “You’ll have the Andrettis and Earnhardts working together at Indy. That’s kind of neat.” Andretti will be driving the #81 Chevrolet that Jason Keller failed to qualify this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Chicago-based sponsor Kraft Foods, after missing the race in its backyard, decided Indy was the next-best option.(Indianapolis Star)(7-14-2003)
  • Andretti and Ganassi? UPDATE and more on Stewart: Rookie Casey Mears may be on the hot seat at Chip Ganassi’s, and crew chief Jimmy Elledge said he realizes the team will have to pick up its performance the second half of the season [seems to have done pretty good at Chicago so far]. Mears’ best finish is a 15th at Las Vegas, and his average is 29.0. ‘I’m sure the boss isn’t too happy this team is on this side of the garage (34th in the standings),’ Elledge said. ‘I haven’t heard anything … but if we don’t pick up, we may all be looking for jobs.’ John Andretti [sure won’t be Michael] is one name being mentioned for the ride. Andretti was under consideration for the ride last fall.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-12-2003)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi was adamant: Casey Mears will not be released in the near-future, nor is Tony Stewart signed to be his replacement. “As far as I know, Tony Stewart is still under contract,” Ganassi says. “But who in his right mind wouldn’t consider hiring a former Winston Cup champ if he was available?” Ganassi, whose Cup teams use Dodges, says Joe Gibbs, Stewart’s current boss, can offer the driver more, but that’s rubbish. Sterling Marlin proved last year that Ganassi’s equipment is capable of winning a NASCAR championship. The bigger prize for Stewart could be winning the Indy 500, a feat Ganassi accomplished with Juan Montoya in 2000. Stewart already is building his relationship with Dodge through his World of Outlaws team, and DaimlerChrysler would be thrilled to have him behind the wheel of an Intrepid in Winston Cup.(Sporting News)
    AND As quickly as that buzz was killed, a new one emerged: Ganassi was supposedly working on a deal with John Andretti, who was released in June by Petty Enterprises. The rumors are fueled in part by Casey Mears’ mighty struggle as a Winston Cup rookie. Yesterday in the Tropicana 400, he started a five-car chain-reaction crash before eventually going into the wall himself on lap 233. “I read all the same rumors,” said Ganassi, who also fields cars for Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray. “That’s what they are — rumors. We like the job all the guys are doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if you would see all three of them back here next year.”(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)(7-14-2003)
  • did ya know? that #17-Matt Kenseth failed to finish on the lead lap for only the second time all year at Chicago? he was 12th, 1 lap down.(7-14-2003)
  • #38 Wins Kelly Stewart, driver of the #38 M&M’s/RYR Hauler [see an image of the hauler on my 2003 Cup hauler Schemes page] win the International Truck Challenge race at Chciagoland Speedway on Sunday morning.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required) – have not been able to find any results, columns or standing on this at the International or NASCAR.com sites.
    AND The International Truck and Engine Corporation held its third annual International Truck Challenge at the Chicagoland Speedway over the past weekend. With a perfect score of 200 and a time of 54.67 seconds, Kelly Stewart, team hauler driver for Elliott Sadler’s #38 M&M’s Ford, won this year’s International Truck Challenge, which pits drivers against each other on an obstacle course for the chance to win a handsome cash prize and bragging rights for the winning team driver. Stewart came in 47.46 seconds before the second place finisher Tommy Mullis, team hauler driver for Dale Jarrett’s #88 UPS Taurus Racing Team, to take the win. After receiving the winning check for $5,000 Stewart said, “I knew this was a one-shot event. I tried not to think about it too much and just wanted to be in the top three.”  Stewart, who is in his third season with Yates Racing, drives the same 9400i model for the #38 team. “I like the way it pulls. It upgrades in the mountains better than other haulers I’ve driven.” Terry Cook, driver of the #29 Truck Series Power Stroke truck, drove the course first to challenge the hauler drivers. Cook scored 195 points and completed the course in 1:44.83.
    As part of the company’s exclusive four-year sponsorship program with NASCAR, International Truck and Engine Corporation developed the International Truck Challenge as a way to showcase the skill of NASCAR’s rig drivers and the high performance International equipment that helps them do their jobs.  The primary CDL licensed team hauler from each NASCAR Winston Cup team gets the chance to demonstrate their capabilities by competing in a series of timed obstacles that test drivers’ nerves and driving prowess. The 2003 International Truck Challenge kicked off Friday, July 11 with qualifications at the drag strip adjacent to Chicagoland Speedway where eighteen drivers attempted the course. The top three qualifiers based on style points and time advanced to Sunday’s finals. Prior to the Winston Cup Tropicana 400, Stewart, Mullis and third place finisher Peter Jellen from the #18 car competed in front of early arrivers and to the amusement of the pit crews.
    Name……….. Points Time
    1st  #38-Kelly Stewart. 200…. 54.67
    2nd #88-Tommy Mullis 200…. 1:42.13
    3rd #18-Peter Jellen…. 195…. 1:44.83 (Ketchum.com PR) no season standings found….yet.(7-14-2003)
  • NASCAR Seeking $150 Million Fuel Deal: NASCAR’s asking price to replace ConocoPhillips’ 76 as its official gasoline brand is $15 million a year in barter and cash for at least 10 years, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports this week. Staff writer Terry Lefton says the current deal is valued at $5 million to $6 million a year, mostly barter as fuel for the Winston Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series. The story says the probable contenders include ExxonMobil, Shell, Sunoco and BP/Amoco.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-14-2003)
  • Early TV Ratings for Chicago: NBC’s broadcast of the Tropicana 400 Winston Cup race from Chicagoland Speedway easily outdistanced all other sports events in the overnight ratings from Nielsen Media Research, according to the Sports Business Daily. The race drew a 4.9 rating and an 11 share to finish well ahead of the 3.6/10 that Fox drew for its Major League Baseball broadcast. The race will need a bump from smaller television markets, however, if it’s going to match last year’s final figures of 5.3/14 or 2001’s 5.6/14.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-14-2003)
  • Pennzoil gone…may stay as an assoc: Dale Earnhardt Inc. officials are looking for a company to replace Pennzoil as the sponsor of the No.1 car after this season, a team official said Sunday. Pennzoil’s contract expires after the season, and the company will not renew that contract. Ty Norris, executive vice president of motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc., says that the group is talking to Pennzoil about remaining as an associate sponsor on the No.1 car along with those of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip.(Roanoke Times)
    AND DEI’s No. 1 team will lose Pennzoil after this year, and Kraft had emerged as a possible replacement. Kraft already has associate deals with the three DEI teams, but team president Ty Norris said he does not expect Kraft to go too far too fast. “They step up their program every year,” he said. “It’s one thing to take a step, and it’s another to take a running leap to a Winston Cup primary. We’ve talked to them about it. Right now they’re pretty happy with the program they have. It makes sense for them financially, and they’re comfortable with their level of spending right now.” As for anything DEI might have going for the 1 car as of now, Norris said, “You look at it cold, medium, hot, I’d say we’re pretty cold right now.”(Speed Channel)(7-14-2003)
  • Censorship? The roar of powerful engines is an integral part of the racing experience for most fans. But, for a growing number of NASCAR spectators, the sounds of cars is only a muffled distraction. Instead, they put on their headphones and tune into the radio frequencies that give them the behind-the-scenes conversations between pit crews and drivers, and a host of other colorful voices. The unguarded comments of drivers, crew chiefs, track officials and TV crew members may be in limited supply. One of the rumors around NASCAR is that new title sponsor Nextel might have some say in monitoring those communications. After all, that is their business.(Beacon News)(7-14-2003)
  • Why? #12-Ryan Newman’s win paid $191,000, but runner-up #20-Tony Stewart topped that with $213,468, thanks to contingency money from sponsors.(CNNSI/AP)(7-14-2003)
  • Michelin vs Goodyear? Denied: Michelin is testing NASCAR-type stock car tires in Europe, according to sources familiar with the situation, and that may revive speculation about the future of the French tire maker in NASCAR racing. But Stu Grant, head of Goodyear racing, dismisses any talk about another tire maker infringing on NASCAR turf: ‘Absolutely not. We’re full-speed ahead on our relationship with NASCAR. We’re committed to our involvement to Winston Cup, Busch and Truck. And I don’t see anything changing in that at all.'(Winston Salem Journal)(7-14-2003)
  • USA Today Commets on NBC: NBC offered a more informative Bill Weber-led prerace show on Sunday’s Tropicana 400 than Fox has done on NASCAR. But NBC also had difficulty coming up with replays that sufficiently showed the crashes of Bobby Labonte and Mike Wallace late in the race and referred to cars by numbers. Third-year analyst Wally Dallenbach remained largely a no-show in providing insight.(USA Today)(7-14-2003)
  • Hendrick not moving Vickers up: But Rick Hendrick denies plans to bring Brian Vickers up from the Busch Series.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-14-2003)
  • Sauter in the #4 at NHIS: Johnny Sauter is expected to return to Morgan-McClure Motorsports’ #4 Kodak Pontiac next weekend at New Hampshire. Sauter was 35th Sunday in his Winston Cup debut. Team officials confirmed that Sauter would not test with the team this week at Indianapolis, as previously hoped. The team is considering using Busch driver David Reutimann at the test.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-14-2003)
  • Black Flag from ThatsRacin.com – the #18 Fire: Even though Newman did win, the “something huge” he talked about nearly happened on Lap 215 when Bobby Labonte’s Chevrolet caught fire when it backed into the wall and had its fuel cell erupt during a seven-car crash. Labonte allowed his car to roll down the banking to the apron and immediately began scrambling out of the cockpit. He squeezed out just as track safety crews arrived. “I’m fine,” he said after the scary incident. “I smell like a barbecue pit, but I’m OK.”
    The Black Flag: How many more times do we need to see drivers scrambling out of burning race cars to get things moving? Hey, NASCAR, hire a traveling safety team already and end the madness of racing back to the yellow flag so the safety vehicles can get rolling when a wreck happens. And, while you’re at it, get those escape hatches in the cars’ roofs, too.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-14-2003)
    AND The most frightening moment came when Bobby Labonte’s #18 car burst into flames when he backed into the wall after getting tagged by #10-Johnny Benson, caught up in a tussle with #41-Casey Mears on the 215th of 267 laps. “I thought I had it made,” Labonte said of his dramatic crash. “And then we had this problem with the fuel cell blowing up, and it made for a bad scene. It looked worse than it was. I smell like a barbeque pit, but I’m fine.” NASCAR confiscated his car for further examination.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-14-2003)
  • Petty Sorry: After finishing 27th at Chicago, #45-Kyle Petty apologized for being too harsh on his engine builder, Mike Ege, last week at Daytona. Only one of three Petty Enterprises cars qualified for the Pepsi 400. “They worked 96 hours straight to send us to Chicago with something different, and in 98 hours, they made some big gains,” Petty said. “My hat’s off to them. There’s daylight at the end of the tunnel. We just have to keep plugging at it.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-14-2003)
  • The Meaning of the Nextel Deal Teleconference: NASCAR will hold a teleconference with car owners this week to review the meaning of the new Nextel deal to the sport and, more importantly to the owners, the sponsor pool. According to one owner, the NASCAR teleconference this week will cover in more detail what Nextel has purchased from NASCAR, and what the owners will have to steer clear of when they’re speaking to potential sponsors. In a letter to the teams that was issued two weeks ago it was explained, in fairly clear-cut terms the definition of “competing with Nextel.” And the list of exclusions is lengthy, according to team sources.(Ford Racing)(7-14-2003)
  • PF2 Motorsports postpones Cup debut: After taking the first half of the season off, Fred and Pam Bickford were looking forward to debuting in the Winston Cup Series at the New Hampshire Speedway. With Rich Bickle as their driver, they were getting a team geared up for the New England 300 on July 20th, 2003. Unfortunately, time has not been on their side. “The Winston Cup arena is the most competitive motorsports playing field today,” commented Bickford. “We want to be sure that when we debut in the series that our equipment and team effort are as well prepared as it needs to be competitive with the rest of the competitors. We don’t feel like that is where we are right now.” PF2 has used the resources from Pam Bickford’s [#94] Busch Team to train a crew as well as getting everyone acquainted with the NASCAR process. “If we brought our current program to the track right now it wouldn’t be in our best interest and it would be a step in the wrong direction,” replied Bickford. With this knowledge, they will postpone their debut to a later date. Excited to return to the Winston Cup Series, Rich Bickle has to agree with the Bickfords. “Pam and Fred are committed to this program and getting it off in the right direction. If they don’t think we’re ready to run the series yet, I trust their judgment. I think that is the right decision and I look forward to when we are back at the track,” replied Bickle. “I know I will be giving 150% effort behind the wheel of the No. 94 insure94.com / knotlessboatrope.com Chevy.” PF2 Motorsports will announce their debut at a later date.(PF2 Motorsports PR)(7-14-2003)

 


(7-13-2003)

 

  • Newman wins the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway: #12-Ryan Newman won the Tropicana 400 for his third 2003 win and fourth career win. His sponsor for the race was Mobil One Speedpass. #20-Tony Stewart was the runnerup after #29-Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel. #18-Bobby Labonte was involved in a scary wreck in which his car was engulfed in fire and it took him a while to get out, but he did and is ok. Stewart led the most laps with 80. Points leader, #17-Matt Kenseth ended up 12th, a lap down [and this is reported as a ‘bad’ day]. #8-Daler Earnhardt Jr. had a ill handling car all day and finally wrecked and ended up 38th. See my race rundown, with laps led, caution commentary, notes, on my Tropicana 400 Race Info page
    Re-air: the race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, July 16th, 8:00pm/et and Thurs, June 17th, at 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Lineup/Qual Results/Lineup Links at Jayski’s Tropicana 400 Grid page.
    Race re-air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, July 16th, 8:00am/et and Thurs, Jyly 17th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Race Results at Jayski’s Chicago Race Results page
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com(7-13-2003)
  • Arnold Motorsports to Debut at Indy; Occupies Melling Shop: Arnold Motorsports will field the #79 Dodge in seven races as the 2003 season winds down, with hopes of embarking on the full NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule in 2004. Billy Bigley Jr., the former Hooters Cup and NASCAR All Pro late-model champion and Craftsman Truck Series leadfoot, will occupy the driver’s seat. Having completed two days of test laps this past week at the USA International Speedway in Lakeland — and with two days of tweaking ahead Monday and Tuesday at the storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Arnold Motorsports’ initial foray into the most competitive stock car arena of all will be a qualifying attempt for the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis on Aug. 3. After Arnold got the green light from NASCAR this past fall to move forward, he officially registered the team and began the process of finding a location where the operation could fit in. Arnold negotiated on a number of race-team warehouses and workshops in the Charlotte, N.C. area, ultimately reaching an agreement with Mark Melling, son of Harry Melling, to occupy a 21,500 square foot, turn-key operation. The Melling team that had transformed Dawsonville, Georgia’s Bill Elliott into a marquee name in the sport, ceased operation due to lack of sponsorship after the 2002 NASCAR season. Now leasing the modest shop with an option to buy, Arnold took possession on Feb. 1 and went right work, inventorying the goods and ordering in additional supplies that were needed. Doug Howe is now the crew chief of the #79 Dodge that at least initially, will have Arnold Development Companies plastered on the hood and rear-quarter panels as the team sponsor. Arnold now has 14 employees on his race-operation payroll — still bare bones compared to the established, highly financed, multi-car teams that compete week in and week out. Arnold says he thinks he already as established a good rapport with the powers that be in the Dodge Motorsports headquarters. Two cars built by the established Bill Davis Racing operation and driven by Ward Burton have been purchased. Two others are being built from scratch. A fifth car, which also was built over a two-month span in the Arnold Motorsports shop, was demolished after only three laps of practice recently at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Because of its connection with Dodge and record of race reliability, Arrington Manufacturers of Martinsville, Va., has been chosen as the engine supplier by Arnold. He will lease the engines under what is called the “Arrington A” program. The involvement of NASCAR Legend Bobby Allison — the patriarch of the famed “Alabama Gang” has been on board about six weeks — came about largely because of Bigley’s long career in the All Pro late-model ranks. The team’s seven race schedule [6 Cup, 1 ARCA]: Aug. 3: Brickyard 400; Aug. 23: Bristol; Sept. 6: Richmond: Sept. 21: Dover; Sept. 27: ARCA race at Talladega; Oct. 19: Martinsville; and Nov. 16: Homestead.(Naples Daily News), see past news and rumors about the team on my #79 Team News and Links page.(7-13-2003)
  • IROC winner to see who won the Chicagoland IROC race and leads the points and other stuff, see my 2003 IROC page. TV: the race aired last night on ESPN, but will re-air on ESPN2 TODAY at 12:00noon/et [good buffer after FSN’s NASCAR This morning and the race coverage at 2:30pm/et] and on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 at 3:00pp/et.(7-13-2003)
  • Schrader to Retire after this season? UPDATE: Ken Schrader, driver of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge, dropped a minor[?] bombshell at The Beacon News Celebrity Sports Club dinner on Thursday night at Long Island Sound. “This might be the last year for me,” Schrader told the near-capacity crowd. “There’s no sense racing if you’re not having fun. It’s a profession where you have a lot of fun and I’m the oldest guy running now.” The 48-year-old from Fenton, Mo. wasn’t able to finish three of his last four NASCAR Winston Cup races. He had accidents June 8 at the Pocono 500 and June 15 at the Sirius 400, running his season total to four. He also crashed in the season-opening Daytona 500. Last Sunday in the Pepsi 400, engine troubles prevented him from crossing the finish line. Schrader, who spoke in an easy-going manner and showed a bit of comic timing, made it clear that he wasn’t considering abandoning the sport entirely, just the NASCAR circuit. He avoided crashing Tuesday at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, winning a short-track race at the Hawkeye Downs Raceway. Schrader races his self-owned team in the Craftsman Truck Series, Winston West Series, ARCA and Southwest Tour Series. He still finds time to race on dirt tracks in the Midwest.(Beacon News)(7-11-2003)
    UPDATE: Ken Schrader was quoted this week as saying 2003 might be his last year, but Schrader said that was taken just a little bit out of context. He did say that is a possibility, but it more hinges on whether or not his current team gets good sponsorship. That’s the Beth Ann Morgenthau team, the [#49] BAM Racing operation. If they get good, solid sponsorship, or if he gets a ride offered to him in 2004. There are a lot of solid rides open out there, including Petty Enterprises and the Morgan-McClure team so Schrader may or may not be back in 2004.(NASCAR This Morning)(7-13-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans Rumblings – Chicagoland: #12-Ryan Newman had enough gas to last today and powered to his 3rd win of the season in the Tropicana 400. It was the 4th career win for Newman (moving him into a tie for 63rd on the all- time win list) and the 45th for Roger Penske as a car owner. Still not enough side-by-side racing at this place….but it’s getting better. NBC had an interesting look at the racing groove before the race, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that type of view before. As anybody who’s ever lost a file on a computer knows….”it pays to save”.
    #42-Jamie McMurray (8th) had his best finish since he was 5th at California Speedway in April.[he used the same car]
    #1-Jeff Green (16th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Texas in March [when he was in the #30 car].
    #30-Steve Park (26th) had his best finish since he was 24th at Martinsville in April [when he was in the #1 car].
    #43-Christian Fittipaldi (29th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 35th, accomplished twice…..at Michigan last month and at Daytona in February.
    STREAKIN….Jeremy Mayfield has 3 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Robby Gordon (+28), followed by Ricky Rudd (+24), and Jeff Burton (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Casey Mears (-30), followed by Joe Nemechek (-25), Dave Blaney (-22), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (-22). Gordon’s Operator award makes him part of a 6-way tie at the top with two Op’s this year.
    Matt Kenseth still has a healty points lead (165), but Jeff Gordon moves back ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr to take the runner-up spot. Tony Stewart advanced the most spots (11th to 8th), while Kurt Busch, Rusty Wallace, and Joe Nemechek each dropped two spots each.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-13-2003)
  • Sad News: Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Mark Lovell, 43 , and Roger Freeman, 52, both of England, were fatally injured Saturday during the first special stage of the Oregon Trail SCCA ProRally event. The first car away from the starting line, driver Lovell, and co-driver Freeman, left the prescribed course moments into the stage and struck a tree in their Subaru Impreza WRX. The two were pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel. Details of the incident were held until the families were notified. The duo who had been rallying together for twenty years were competing in their third event together of 2003. They entered the Oregon Trail fresh from success winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb of June 27. The 2001 Overall Drivers Champion, Lovell is survived by his wife, Julia, and his children Oliver and Thomas. Roger Freeman is survived by his wife, Alison, and children Becky and John. A decision was made to finish Day One of the rally while information regarding the accident was gathered and after rally organizers had consulted with SCCA national staff, national safety stewards and at the request of Subaru Rally Team USA Manager and close personal friend of Lovell and Freeman, David Campion. The field then ran an abbreviated schedule of stages later in the day. The rally will continue with the completion of the final six stages on Sunday as scheduled.(see full story at the SCCA site)(7-13-2003)
  • Gordon under the weather: #24-Jeff Gordon has been fighting a bug of some kind this week that left him sick as a dog before he got to Chicago. “I’m on the upslope of getting better,” Gordon said. “I don’t know what I caught, but I was in bad shape Tuesday and Wednesday. Today’s a lot better. I had a high fever. I’m on a decongestant and an antibiotic.”(NASCAR.com)(7-13-2003)

    (7-12-2003)

  • Latest on Jerry Nadeau UPDATE: Jerry Nadeau, who suffered head, lung, shoulder and rib injuries in a wreck during practice May 2 at Richmond, is likely to make his first public appearance at a race track in the next couple weeks. MB2 Motorsports general manager Jay Frye said Friday it was “very possible” Nadeau would make an appearance at next weekend’s race at Loudon, NH. He would almost certainly make a visit by the July 27 race at Pocono. New Hampshire would be a logical choice since it is the closest Winston Cup venue to Nadeau’s hometown of Danbury, Conn. Nadeau spent several weeks following the accident in a hospital in Richmond, Va., and at the Charlotte (N.C.) Rehabilitation Institute. Recently, he has been undergoing outpatient therapy at the institute.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-11-2003)
    UPDATE – Racing Program Planned: Frye said the team will develop a testing program to prepare Nadeau for his racing return. That would start with Nadeau driving a go-kart for a few weeks, then move to a full-body car at a short track. That process would take four to six weeks before he moved into Cup car.(Roanoke Times)(7-12-2003)
  • Kmart back? on the quarter panels of the #17 Ford in the Busch Series that Matt Kenseth is driving at Chicago……The big Kmart ‘K’.(7-12-2003)
  • Skinner to test at Indy…but for who? it was reported in an XM Radio interview with Mike Skinner, that he will test for an independent team at Indianapolis on July 14-15th. Said he would give feedback and could even end up running the race.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required) – hearing it could be the #79 Arnold Motorsports team.(7-12-2003)
  • Stewart Looking? UPDATE 3 – DENIED: Though Bobby Labonte re-signed with Joe Gibbs Racing [thru 2008] , there are persistent rumors that teammate and defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart is looking for a new ride. Stewart’s contract doesn’t expire until 2004, and it would take deep pockets to buy out the remaining year.(Sporting News)(7-7-2003)
    UPDATE: The big news in the Tony Stewart camp is yet another unconfirmed report about Stewart’s future: Will he jump to Chip Ganassi’s Dodge operation? It is being rumored that Dodge wants to sign Stewart to a five-year contract. If so, would Home Depot stay with Joe Gibbs or follow Stewart to Ganassi? Already there is talk that Stewart, in his negotiations with Ted Johnson to find a new owner of the World of Outlaws, has been talking with Home Depot execs about its becoming title sponsor of that series. And if Stewart were to leave, would crew chief Greg Zipadelli go with him? Right now Stewart would simply like to get back to winning. “People talk about momentum in this sport and how important it is,’ Stewart said. ‘We’d like to create a little bit of our own. This is typically the point in the season where we excel, and we need to make the most of it. We have four DNFs already this year, so we need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The latest rumor, offered by no fewer than two respected publications, has Tony Stewart leaving Joe Gibbs Racing for Chip Ganassi Racing. However, Stewart still has more than a year remaining on his contract with Gibbs, and if he’s frustrated with his current employer, he’s made no public remarks to that effect. If Tony Stewart’s in at Ganassi and Home Depot stays put, would Casey Mears be the odd man out? For Gibbs, do you promote veteran Mike Bliss or son Coy into the No. 20? Or could another veteran with star power — Dale Jarrett, perhaps — be enticed into switching from Ford to Chevrolet?(more at a column on NASCAR.com)(7-11-2003)
    UPDATE 3: after Stewart win the pole and was in the media center, David Poole of Thatsracin.com asked about the rumors of him leaving Gibbs. As heard on XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio, Stewart talked about the contract deal in the media center and said he hasn’t read the latest rumor mill [and doesn’t read the papers, uses them in his fireplace only]. Stewart said “That’s not a rumor that’s true. My contract is up at the end of next year. Joe’s been gone and I’ve been gone but I know that he resigned Bobby already and. I know that Greg had talked to me about Joe [Gibbs] wanting to re sign me soon so I’m sure that will happen pretty soon.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(7-11-2003)
  • Petty Not Changing Engine Builders: Kyle Petty said Friday he had no intention of removing Mike Ege Racing Engines as the engine builder for Petty Enterprises, despite his scathing statements last week at Daytona. Petty said he went public with his criticism of Ege because private efforts to get Ege’s attention went unheeded. Petty said Ege’s company responded by working 72 straight hours to bring better engines to Chicago. Petty practiced well, posting the 20th-best speed. But he and Fittipaldi still needed provisionals to make the field.(NASCAR.com)(7-12-2003)
  • Andretti and Ganassi? Rookie Casey Mears may be on the hot seat at Chip Ganassi’s, and crew chief Jimmy Elledge said he realizes the team will have to pick up its performance the second half of the season [seems to have done pretty good at Chicago so far]. Mears’ best finish is a 15th at Las Vegas, and his average is 29.0. ‘I’m sure the boss isn’t too happy this team is on this side of the garage (34th in the standings),’ Elledge said. ‘I haven’t heard anything … but if we don’t pick up, we may all be looking for jobs.’ John Andretti [sure won’t be Michael] is one name being mentioned for the ride. Andretti was under consideration for the ride last fall.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-12-2003)

    (7-11-2003)

  • Stewart wins pole at Chicago: After a near two-hour delay due to a rain storm, #20-Tony Stewart won the Bud Pole for the Tropicana 400 at Chciagoland Speedway, blistering the old track record [183.717] with a lap of 184.786mph. Five other drivers ran faster then the old track record, including #24-Jeff Gordon who is on the outside pole at 184.445. And how about #4-Johnny Sauter, out of provisionals and qualifies 20th, the highest Pontiac, not bad for his first start. For qualifying results, speeds, and other qualifying stuff, see my Jayski’s Chicago Qualifying/Grid Page for speeds, practice speeds, qualifying order, provisional rank, if a team is out of provisonals, where a driver started and finished in 2002 at Chicago. Due to the small entry list and #81-Keller not being fast enough to make the race and since it was the first attempt for the race, it had no provisonals avaiable to use, #43-Fittipaldi and #49-Schrader, both out of provisonals, made the field by Owners Points postions and will starts 42nd and 43rd.(7-11-2003)
  • Some Chicago Stuff: #29-Kevin Harvick, #6-Mark Martin, #97-Kurt Busch and #9-Bill Elliott are the only drivers to score top-10 finishes in both races at Chicagoland Speedway. Elliott is the only driver to start and finish in the top 10 in both races at Chicagoland Speedway. Only two other drivers have started in the top 10 at both Chicagoland events, #40-Sterling Marlin and #25-Joe Nemechek. Only Harvick, Martin and #38-Elliott Sadler have led at least one lap in each race at Chicagoland.(NASCAR PR)(7-11-2003)
  • BACE trying Hendrick for Chicago: during an interview with #74-Tony Raines, it was mentioned that his #74 BACE Chevy was using a Hendrick Engine AND to gauge its existing engine program, BACE Motorsports used a Hendrick Motorsports engine Friday at Chicagoland Speedway and came away with good results. Driver Tony Raines was 16th fastest during the Friday practice session and posted the 29th fastest speed in qualifying, safely making the field for Sunday’s Tropicana 400. The team has been relying on Amick Engines for power. “We needed to know where we stack up,” Raines said. “This is a new team and everything. We’ve got a different power plant to see how we stack up and it runs a little better, and that’s something that we needed to answer for sure.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-11-2003)
  • No AT&T for the #49 in 2004? UPDATE: hearing that Nextel has said AT&T can NOT sponsor the #49 car next year. NASCAR has told the team it will have to find another sponsor for 2004. Apparently NASCAR gave Nextel the choice because of the grandfathering of current sponsors, and Nextel said no. AT&T has sponsored the team all year. Not sure how this affects the #49 for next season or Ken Schrader.(7-11-2003)
    UPDATE: BAM Racing officials confirmed Friday NASCAR has informed them that AT&T will not be allowed to become a full-time primary sponsor of their #49 Dodges next season. Cingular Wireless and Alltel, which sponsor the #31 Chevrolets of Robby Gordon and the #12 Dodges of Ryan Newman, respectively, were allowed to remain with their teams when Nextel signed a 10-year agreement last month to sponsor what is now the Winston Cup series beginning in 2004. AT&T has been an associate with BAM all season and has been a primary sponsor on the car for several races. Despite the existing relationship, BAM will not be allowed to use AT&T as the primary sponsor in 2004. “Nextel has blocked the ability of AT&T to become primary sponsor on a full-time basis next year. We’ve been informed of that,” said BAM Racing’s general manager, Gus Larkin. “NASCAR has been very supportive of us and went to Nextel on our behalf and explained to them how critical it is for us to continue this existing relationship with AT&T. And the reply back was ‘no.’ ” NASCAR officials confirmed AT&T’s relationship with BAM Racing would not be allowed to change or expand beyond what it already enjoys with the team. Nextel officials could not be reached for comment. Larkin said there were three points Nextel sought in order to allow AT&T to remain with the team: AT&T marketing personnel would not be allowed at tracks; AT&T would be restricted in what products they could offer; and the use of the AT&T globe logo would be restricted on the car. Larkin said the third item was the main hang-up in the process. “Given those terms, it’s hard to do anything on the race car,” Larkin said. Team co-owner Tony Morgenthau said he was confused over Nextel’s reluctance to allow AT&T to remain as a primary sponsor. “I find it exceedingly hard to believe that Nextel didn’t do due diligence and realize AT&T didn’t have a presence in the series. I don’t think they really cared,” he said. Morgenthau said the loss of AT&T would be hard on the team, but he didn’t think it would be a “death blow.” “We have some other prospects. We’ll see how it all turns out,” he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-11-2003)
  • New Minimum Bolt Size: NASCAR on Thursday mandated a minor equipment change in reaction to an incident Sunday in which the hood of Robby Gordon’s #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy flew off into the frontstretch grandstand near the end of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. A NASCAR investigation found the bolt securing a tether that connects bars in the engine bay to the hood failed on Gordon’s car. Those bolts now must be at least 5/16th of an inch, NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said. There previously was no minimum size. NASCAR officials did not release the size of the bolt that failed during the 156th lap of the Pepsi 400, causing Gordon’s hood to injure a woman who was treated and released from Halifax Medical Center. It was the second time a hood flew into the stands at Daytona since 1997. Hoods also are secured with steel hinges and pins. NASCAR is not expected to fine Gordon. The new requirements will be in effect for Sunday’s Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.(St Petersburg Times)(7-11-2003)
  • Burton to run Busch race at NHIS: In 2002, Jeff Burton raced the #9 Ford in 14 Busch Series races. In 14 starts he chalked up five wins, two poles, and eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes. This brought his career totals in the Busch Series to 20 wins, 10 poles, 61 top-five and 103 top-10 finishes in 233 starts. Burton is hoping to add to his win column in New Hampshire next weekend. Burton will race the Roush Racing #9 Ford, sponsored by SKF and Chicago Rawhide, Saturday, July 19 in the New England 200. Kevin “Cowboy” Starland will serve as the crew chief. Five of the over the wall members come from the #60 team [which suspended racee operations]; Al Tully (rear tire changer), Chris Burger (rear tire carrier), Gary Pierce (front tire carrier), Mike Freeman (gas man) and Eric Gifford (catch can). Burton’s front tire changer, Jason Myers, will come over from the #99 CITGO team to help out and Tony Martin will resume his Saturday duties as jack man for the #9 team. These seven along with Jeff Zarella (tire specialist), Jason Brenkus (pit sign/windshield), Brian Chase (second gas can), Lucas Tucker (support), Jeremy Brickhouse (spotter) and Kim Fisher (scorer) will make for a strong team heading to New England.(Roush Racing PR)(7-11-2003)
  • StockCarFans.Com: Ramblings — Chicagoland: It was a record-bustin day at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday afternoon. A little delayed….a little damp….but certainly not a little slow. #20-Tony Stewart nabbed his first Bud Pole of the season today, and he led five other drivers who were all quicker than the previous track record. Tony will start from the top-spot for the first time since Atlanta last October, but that was a rain-out for qualifying…..just like at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earlier that month when he again led the points thereby getting the #1 starting spot. So….this is his first pole on speed since he won the one back home in Indiana at The Brickyard last August. It’s the sixth Bud Pole of Stewart’s career, and he’ll be joined on the front-row by Jeff Gordon. For Gordon, this is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Martinsville in April.
    #9-Bill Elliott (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at California Speedway in April.
    #41-Casey Mears (4th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 10th at Talladega in April. Throw in a Busch pole for tomorrow’s race and Casey had a banner day
    #16-Greg Biffle (7th…and another guy who’s had a pretty good week) has his best starting spot since he started 5th at Homestead last November.
    #4-Johnny Sauter (20th….just how many Sauter’s are there?) will make his first Cup start on Sunday.
    #37-Derrike Cope (25th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 24th at Bristol in March (only 4 starts, tho).
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races. Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Elliott Sadler has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Provisionals were taken by: Ricky Rudd, Kenny Wallace, Todd Bodine, Mike Wallace, Kyle Petty, Christian Fittipaldi, and Ken Schrader. We’re into the Special Provisional part of the rules now as both Fittipaldi and Schrader were out of freebies, but make the event since this was the #81 car’s first attempt (Keller). If you’re scoring at home (and I know you do), this is the #43 car’s 8th total provsional….one non-charged, six charged, and one special. It’s gonna be a tough stretch for the #4, 43, and 49 till we get to Bristol the end of next month.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-11-2003)


    (7-10-2003)

  • Now this should be fun: Jim McMahon the often outrageous former quarterback that piloted the 1985 Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl XX victory [and was a Philly Eagles QB for a few year – a Jayski Fave], is scheduled to be piloted around Chicagoland Speedway by NBC analyst Wally Dallenbach for Dallenbach’s “Wally’s World” segment in NBC’s “Discover Card Countdown to Green” pre-race show.(NBC PR)(7-10-2003)
  • Brett Bodine Ready to Return to the Track: After suffering multiple injuries in an accident last month at Michigan International Speedway, Brett Bodine has healed and is anxious to return to racing. Doctors have released him to race again after a successful recuperation period following surgery on his right clavical and some other minor injuries. Bodine is scheduled to test next week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with plans to return to competition at the Brickyard 400 next month. “I am really looking forward to getting back on the track. I’m afraid I don’t make a very good spectator,” Brett said following his return from the Pepsi 400 where he watched his brother race. “I really glad the Brickyard 400 will be my first race back. I love racing there and have a little history in my books from that place….a 2nd place finish in the inaugural race and the NASCAR speed record in 2000. This year, being the 10th running of the Brickyard, will also be special for us, as we will be running a special paint scheme specifically for this event. Fans, whether individuals, groups or small businesses,. have an opportunity to buy a “brick” on the car. The “bricks” will display their name and these special sponsors will receive a sponor’s certificate and. a limited edition 1:24 scale die cast collectible car,” shared Brett. “The interest has been good and we hope to have the car covered in “bricks”. for the Brickyard 400. This opportunity is available either on my website or on eBay for two more weeks,” he stated.(Brett Bodine Racing PR), plus buy a brick on the #11 car at the site www.brettbodine.com.(7-10-2003)
  • Testing at Watkins Glen: July 28th and 29th are the annual NASCAR Winston Cup test days at Watkins Glen International. The tentative lineup signed up to attend:
    #24-Jeff Gordon, #17-Matt Kenseth, #6-Mark Martin, #31-Robby Gordon, #88-Dale Jarrett, #40-Sterling Marlin, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip, #16-Greg Biffle, #45-Kyle Petty, #44-Christian Fittipaldi, #18-Bobby Labonte, #1-Ron Fellows, #33-Paul Menard, #74?-Joe Varde, #4-Johnny Miller.(Watkins Glen PR)(7-10-2003)
  • Raines fastest at Weds Indy testing: #74-Tony Raines turned in the fastest lap of the first week of private testing July 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recording a lap of 179.918mph. For the second day in a row, #1-Jeff Green was second fastest at 179.874 followed by #41-Casey Mears at 179.696. Speeds increased dramatically from Tuesday, as the top seven drivers all recorded speeds faster than #19-Jeremy Mayfield’s 176.214 lap, fastest Tuesday. Rain showers forced the lunch hour to be extended an extra hour today, and the track was closed an hour early at the end of the day due to a thunderstorm. Most drivers focused on qualifying setups in cooler temperatures Wednesday after a day of finding race trim in the 90-degree heat Tuesday. Although testing pays nothing and earns the team zero Winston Cup Series points, Raines said being at or near the top of the charts in any test – but particularly in preparation for an important race like the Brickyard 400 – is great for a team such as BACE, which lacks a major sponsor. “It gives this team a boost,” he said. “When you’re on top of the charts, they (the crew) just walk different, stand a little taller. That is certainly good for morale – everyone works a little faster, little harder. When you have a good car, it stays a good car. It’s hard to make a bad car fast. It gives us a little more confidence when we come back in August.” #40-Sterling Marlin is as confident about his chances for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400, scheduled for Aug. 3, as he has been in years. While he clocked the fourth-fastest lap of the day at 179.341. A second round of NASCAR Winston Cup Series private testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets underway Monday, July 14. Reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Brickyard 400 remain available. Tickets and parking can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.imstix.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.(Brickyard400.com)(7-10-2003)
  • Arnold Motorsports tests at Lakeland? UPDATE 2: hearing that Arnold Motorsports, supposedly #79 with driver Billy Bigley Jr., tested at Lakeland, FL on Tuesday in Dodge’s purchased from Bill Davis Racing [#22 and #23]. Scott Wimmer was also testing, but wasn’t told if it was his Busch Chevy, a Davis Dodge Cup car or for Arnold Motorsports, who has a press conference scheduled at Chicagoland Speedway this Sunday to announce their 2003-2004 plans. Also hearing that Bigley may now NOT be the driver for the team, but have not heard who else may be. Past news can be found on my #79 Team News and Links page.(7-9-2003)
    UPDATE: P.J. Jones was testing with Arnold Motorsports at Lakeland – USA International Speedway along with Bigley Jr, both will test with the team next week at Indy, where the team plans to debut in the Brickyard 400. Bigley Jr. has not been cleared by NASCAR to run a large track, so another driver will debut the car, maybe Jones, maybe another driver.(7-9-2003)
    UPDATE 2: been told Bigley Jr., has been cleared to test and run Indy.(7-10-2003)
  • IRL Driver Scott Sharp Replaces Injured Felipe Giaffone in IROC race: IRL driver Scott Sharp will replace the injured Felipe Giaffone in the 2003 True Value IROC Series. Giaffone suffered a fractured leg and pelvis as a result of a crash in the July 6 IRL event at Kansas Speedway. He is recuperating from surgery performed at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2003 True Value IROC season. This will be Sharp’s third appearance in the IROC series. His first came in 1994 representing his Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) title and again in 2002 representing the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. Sharp finished 12th overall in 1994 and 9th overall in 2002 with his best race finish, third in the 2002 IROC opener at Daytona International Speedway. Going into the Chicagoland Speedway event this Saturday, July 12, Giaffone/Sharp is 11th in the point standings and will start second, in the outside pole position, next to fellow IndyCar Series driver, Helio Castroneves, currently 12th in the standings.(IROC PR), and see my 2003 IROC page for past news and info.(7-10-2003)
  • ASA at Lowe’s? ASA is hitting the “Big Time” once again. “Big,” of course, in terms of the size of the track they are testing on this week. ASA, with drivers Mike Garvey and Robbie Pyle, began their experimental session at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway, just outside Charlotte, NC, on Tuesday. There are a lot of question marks surrounding a possible race date for ASA at a place like LMS and ASA knows it. But that’s why ASA is conducting this test and it’s also why they did certain things during day number-one of the session. ASA is tinkering with a lot of different things to make the cars the best they can be on the big track, but day number-one was more about making the car comfortable than it was about making it race-ready. When Garvey was wide-open, he turned a lap of 32.67 seconds at an average speed of 165.289mph. His top speed on the fastest portion of the track was 169mph; his slowest point on the track was recorded at 157mph. In fact, the entire day went without incident. In fact, the only issues the test team faced were with the telemetry they were using to record tire temps; it rubbed on the tire in the first laps of the day; and they also had a faulty battery at one point. Veteran ASA driver Robbie Pyle also climbed in the car at one point, but he only had four laps at speed. Garvey has experience at LMS, but for Pyle, it was the first laps he had ever turned at the facility.(51 Sports PR)(7-10-2003)

    (7-9-2003)

  • Points – standing and race are now adjusted and corrected. NASCAR.com changed their race results for the points earned at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. #15-Waltrip from 135 to 110; #45-Petty from 99 to 74; and #4-Stacy Compton from 64 to 39. See my Pepsi 500 Race Results page. As for the Drivers and Owners Points; each driver had 25 drivers points deducted and each team had 25 points deducted. The Owners Points standings rank didn’t change. Howerver the dirvers points had a few changes. #15-Waltrip stays 5th in points going from 2159 to 2134 points. #45-Petty goes from 1190 to 1165 and drops from 35th to 36th, #0-Sprague moves up a spot. #4-Compton lost 3 spots, going from 56th to 59th [only 60 drivers listed] 64 points to 39. See the Drivers/Owners Points stadning after Daytona page and my Provisional Land Rules and Standings page.(7-9-2003)
  • #4 Fuel Cell Confiscated before race UPDATE 2 Penalty announced cash and points: Morgan-McClure Motorsports faces a hefty penalty this week after NASCAR officials confiscated the entire fuel cell assembly from the team’s #4 Pontiac prior to Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The car was delayed in pre-race inspection and not did not get on the track until the race’s pace laps had already started. The fuel cell was expanded beyond regulation size, NASCAR officials said. The assembly was tagged and placed outside the NASCAR hauler during the race. Team officials declined to comment on the issue.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-6-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing Morgan McClure Motorsports will be penalized heavily today by NASCAR due to their fuel cell infraction last weekend at Daytona. Hearing a member of the Kodak crew inserted a air-pressure type device into the fuel cell of the #4 attempting to stretch it. The problem is he went too far and the fuel cell actually blew up like a balloon. Supposedly the fuel cell stretched so much that it bent the brackets which hold it in place. “It looked like the shape of a football,” according to one person who got a glimpse of the fuel cell. NASCAR especially frowned on this since 1) it was a blatant rules violations and 2) attempting to enlarge the fuel cell could have resulted in an explosion.(7-9-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports Pontiac was penalized for having an unapproved fuel cell container modification that was found by NASCAR officials during pre-race inspection. Crew chief Chris Carrier was fined $25,000, Stacy Compton forfeited 25 championship driver points and Larry McClure forfeited 25 championship owner points for the infraction. The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
  • Waltrip’s Carb Pulled, other parts taken UPDATE 2 Fines and Points, no Suspension: NASCAR officials confiscated the carburetor from Michael Waltrip’s #15 Chevy during pre-qualifying inspection Thursday morning at Daytona International Speedway. Winston Cup series director John Darby said the carburetor had problems with openings through which air travels. Larger openings theoretically can mean increased horsepower, especially at Daytona and Talladega where NASCAR mandates speed-reducing carburetor restrictor plates. Darby said Waltrip’s Dale Earnhardt Inc.-owned team will likely be penalized. No penalties are expected until early next week, however. Waltrip, who won the season-opening Daytona 500, said he was not aware of any problems on his car when asked about it Thursday afternoon. Waltrip’s car was also found to have unapproved window braces. The carburetor, as well as other unapproved parts confiscated Thursday, will be placed on display at the NASCAR hauler on Friday, Darby said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-3-2003)
    AND Kyle Petty ‘s #45 Dodge had unapproved rear jacking bolts confiscated during an inspection before practice.(Roanoke Times)
    ALSO: taken was an unapproved spring from the #09 Dodge of Buckshot Jones.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-4-2003)
    UPDATE: An illegal carburetor discovered during inspection at Daytona was expected to bring a penalty, possibly a two-week suspension, for Richard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief for #15-Michael Waltrip. Expect Bobby Kennedy, Waltrip’s Busch Series crew chief, to make the calls on race day, if needed.(Sporting News)(7-7-2003)
    UPDATE 2: The #15 DEI Chevrolet was found to have an unapproved carburetor modification during opening-day inspection. The result was a $25,000 fine for crew chief Richard Labbe, the loss of 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship driver points for Michael Waltrip and the loss of 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship owner points for Teresa Earnhardt. Labbe also received an additional $500 fine for an unapproved roof strip, which was found during the opening-day inspection period as well.The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book.(NASCAR PR)
    Labbe’s Comments: “NASCAR didn’t like what they saw on that particular carburetor and took it during inspection on Friday morning. We all have to abide by their rules and accept our penalty. All we can focus on from this point is moving ahead.”(DEI PR)(7-9-2003)
  • #45 Unapproved Jacking Bolt UPDATE Penalized and docked points: Kyle Petty ‘s #45 Dodge had unapproved rear jacking bolts confiscated during an inspection before practice.(Roanoke Times)(7-7-2003)
    UPDATE: The #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge was found to have unapproved rear jacking bolts during opening-day inspection. Crew chief Steven Lane was issued a $25,000 fine while Kyle Petty forfeited 25 championship driver points and Pattie Petty forfeited 25 championship owner points.The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
  • Sad News: Jett Field, driver of the Jett Force jet dragster and former Top Alcohol Funny Car racer, passed away Tuesday, July 8, from injuries sustained in an accident at Spokane (Wash.) Raceway July 5. Funeral arrangements for the Idaho native will be posted at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway site. “Jett had performed with us on several occasions during the last two years, with his most recent appearance taking place at The Strip on Saturday, June 14,” said Chris Blair, LVMS’ director of drag racing operations. “We were joking at the last event that he had made so many runs at The Strip in the last two years that we should make him ‘the official jet dragster of LVMS.’ He always went out of his way to make the show better. His last pass at LVMS was the last-minute match race we put together between his jet dragster and an alcohol funny car that brought the crowd to its feet. He was a good friend and a great racer. He will be missed.” AND Spokane Raceway Park was informed by a press release on July 8th, 2003 that Jett Field of Team Jett Force has passed away. Spokane Raceway Park, the Staff, tech crews, extend their condolences, and prayers to Jett, Jett’s family, friends of Jett, and the racing community. You will be truly missed as your influence in the racing community has been one of true admiration.(7-9-2003)
  • #16 when Greg Biffle won with the #16 at Daytona on July 5th, 2003, it was the first time since September 1st, 1975 at Darlington when Bobby Allison won that the #16 has been in victory lane. See my Wins by Car Number/First and Last wins by car number page.(7-9-2003)
  • Testing at Indy SPEEDS: NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will test July 8-9 and July 14-16 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 10th annual Brickyard 400 on Aug. 3. Unlike previous years, the 2003 tests are not mandatory for teams. The hours of testing for each day are 9:00am – 5:00pm, with a lunch break from 12:30-1:30pm. Although the tests are private, the public can view testing at no charge from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. Testing Roster for July 8-9, tentative, subject to change: #6-Mark Martin, #16-Greg Biffle, #18-Bobby Labonte, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #32-Ricky Craven, #40-Sterling Marlin, #41-Casey Mears and #77-Dave Blaney.(Ford Racing)(7-6-2003)
    UPDATE – Tuesday – CORRECTION: #19-Jeremy Mayfield turned the fastest lap on the first day of 2003 Cup Series private testing July 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recording a lap of 176.214mph. #1-Jeff Green was second fastest in today’s practice at 175.446, followed by #91-Casey Atwood at 174.690 and #41-Casey Mears at 174.514. Teams are testing at the world’s greatest racecourse in preparation for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Aug. 3. Eleven drivers turned laps July 8, and testing for the same group of drivers continues July 9. Another round of teams is scheduled to test at IMS July 14-16. Others testing included #6-Mark Martin, #16-Greg Biffle, #18-Bobby Labonte, #40-Sterling Marlin [who was reported as the fastest earlier], #77-Dave Blaney and #32-Ricky Craven [11 drivers tested, so missing one]. No other speeds reported.(Brickyard400.com)(7-9-2003)
  • Gordon’s hood goes over fence fan injured UPDATE 3: the hood of the damaged #31 Chevy of Robby Gordon flew over the catchfence and into the crowd, there were some injuries, no reports of the extend of the injuires yet.(NBC Post-race coverage)(7-5-2003)
    UPDATE: The hood from Robby Gordon’s #31 Chevrolet came off on Lap 156 in Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway and went into the grandstands on the frontstretch, injuring at least one race fan. The fan, an unidentified woman, was taken to Halifax Medical Center for observation, track officials said. Her condition was unknown. Gordon’s car was heavily damaged in an accident on Lap 74, but he returned to the track later in the race in order to help curb the damage in the series points race. While Gordon was exiting Turn 4 and driving down the frontstretch, the hood came off, flew high into the air and over the catch fence. It dropped down into the stands, where it was soon swarmed by fans.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND The hood from the damaged car of Robby Gordon came off his car and flew into the frontstretch grandstands at Daytona International Speedway late in the Pepsi 400, injuring one fan, according to spectators [which we saw on the NBC broadcast]. Track and NASCAR officials said immediately after the race they were aware of the hood going into the stands but did not have any other information. Gordon’s car sat in the garage area after the race under a car cover. Its hood, obviously, was not there. NASCAR officials stood next to the car. The hood came off along the tri-oval and went 30 to 40 feet in the air, according to spectators near the area where it came down [could be seen on an NBC replay also]. “It fluttered up in the air for a while,” said Ty Crosthwaite of Melbourne, Fla., who estimated the hood landed 50 feet to his left. “It landed about three or four rows up.” Crosthwaite said a female spectator was carried away on a stretcher but appeared to not have any serious injuries, other than a gash on her forehead. The fan was transported to Halifax Medical Center, where she remains under evaluation. Her name was not released. “She was waving to the crowd when they took her under the stands,” Crosthwaite said. The hood was later taken back to the garage area.(NASCAR.com)(7-6-2003)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway confirmed only that a person had been injured when the hood flew off Robby Gordon’s car and sailed into the frontstretch grandstands late in Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 . . . and that the person was taken by speedway-provided ambulance to nearby Halifax Medical Center for evaluation. Medical privacy law prevented release of the name, they said. She was released from the hospital Sunday, according to a Daytona International Speedway spokesman.(Orlando Sentinel)(7-7-2003)
    UPDATE 3: NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said Monday that no determination has been made as to what caused the hood from to come off of Robby Gordon’s car and fly into the grandstands and injuring a spectator in during Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. “The process is underway to investigate and we will find out what happened,” Branham said. “We take things like this very seriously.”(full story at ThatsRacin.comAND Following is a statement from Kevin Hamlin, crew chief of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy driven by Robby Gordon, concerning the incident Saturday evening at Daytona International Speedway in which the hood of the #31 Chevrolet flew off the car. “Following the accident, we took our time and made all the proper repairs to the Cingular car and prepared to return Robby to the race.. We correctly secured the hood and the hood tethers per NASCAR’s specifications.. NASCAR is investigating how and why the hood flew off in an effort to ensure this does not happen again.”(RCR PR)(7-8-2003)
    UPDATE 4 the reason the hood flew off: NASCAR officials have determined a bolt connecting the hood with a safety tether failed in Winston Cup driver Robby Gordon’s #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, causing the hood to fly off the car and into the grandstands during last Saturday’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said Tuesday officials continue to investigate the incident, including finding a cause for the bolt’s failure. “There remains a lot of work to be done on this,” he said. NASCAR officials are working on ways to prevent the bolt failure, including the possible use of different size bolts, Zizzo said. No penalties are likely to be assessed to the #31 team. Zizzo said it appeared the team had followed all NASCAR guidelines while preparing the car for a return to the race track. Winston Cup cars are required to have two tethers made from a fiber called Vectran attached from bars in the engine bay to the hood at points approximately 12 inches from the rear of the hood. The hoods are also anchored by steel hinges in the rear, attached with bolts, and pinned in front with four steel fasteners. It was one of these bolts that failed in Gordon’s car, Zizzo said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-9-2003)
  • Biffle Joins Exclusive Crowd: With his Winston Cup win at Daytona on Saturday night, Greg Biffle became the sixth driver to win a race in all three of NASCAR’s national series [Cup, Busch, Trucks]. The club also includes Mark Martin, Bobby Hamilton, Kevin Harvick, Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader. Biffle owns Busch and Truck championships.(FoxSports)(7-9-2003)
  • New RYR Chassis Engineer: Bill Riley, technical director and co-owner of Indianapolis-based Riley & Scott Racing, is leaving the chassis design company to become chassis engineer for NASCAR’s Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88] on July 21.(Indainapolis Star)(7-9-2003)
  • Harvick looking to make history: #29-Kevin Harvick will be gunning for his name to be written in the record books by winning his third Tropicana 400 in a row at Chicagoland Speedway. No driver in recent NASCAR Winston Cup Series history has ever won the first three races at any track. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Richard Petty have set the standard with two consecutive wins at a new track, but no driver has made it three in a row.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-9-2003)
  • Nice Gesture by CAT: Caterpillar will host the family of Mike and Donna James, their son Grant and nephew Adam at this weekend’s race. The James family lost their son Evan in the Iraq war. The James Family is from LaHarpe, Ill., and their son Evan was a Marine Corporal. Chicagoland Speedway will provide race tickets and Caterpillar will provide hospitality passes as well as give them the opportunity to meet Ward Burton, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, during his visit to the hospitality tent Sunday morning.(Bill David Racing PR)(7-9-2003)
  • #500 for Martin: #6-Mark Martin is scheduled to run a special paint scheme for his 500th Consecutive Winston Cup Start at New Hampshire Intl Speedway in Sept. See an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery – Cup page 1.(7-9-2003)
  • #01 Camo Scheme The #01 US Army Pontiac will run a special camouflage paint scheme at Kansas in October. See an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery – Cup page 1.(7-9-2003)
  • Rudd Consecutive Race Streak scheme: #21-Ricky Rudd is scheduled to run a special paint scheme for his 700th Consecutive Winston Cup Start at Pocono Raceway. The secret paint scheme is ‘supposedly’ not to be unveiled until the day of the race. See an image of the logo on my Paint Scheme Gallery – Cup page 1.(7-9-2003)
  • Younger Labonte wins again: Twenty-two year-old Justin Labonte, son of 1984 and 1996 Cup champion Terry Labonte, won his second Late Model Stock Car race of the season in last Thursday’s Firecracker 300 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. Labonte, of Trinity, NC, is seeking his first track championship in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at the same track where his uncle, Bobby Labonte, won 12 races and the 1987 track championship.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2003)
  • DW and the Stooges: Darrell Waltrip will run the #17-Aaron’s Rent/”3 Stooges” Chevy Truck on October 18th at Martinsville Speedway. This program is a joint venture between Michael and Darrell due to sponsorship.(7-9-2003)
  • Cat in the Hat Schemes: hearing some some drivers will run special Cat in the Hat schemes at Atlanta in October, so far the only driver known is Michael Waltrip in his Busch #99 Aarons/Cat in the Hat Chevy, also World of Outlaws driver Danny Lasoski will run the scheme, maybe Tony Stewart in Cup?(7-9-2003)

    (7-8-2003)

  • Congrats: Shawn Parker, crew chief of the #88 UPS Racing team, and his wife Tara, welcomed a new member to their family on Sunday, July 6th as adopting Jagger Alexander Parker after he was born at 7:05am/et weighing in at 6 pounds and 12 ounces and 20 inches long. Jagger is the first child for Shawn and Tara.(Elevation Group/UPS Racing PR)(7-8-2003)
  • Jeff Burton’s Team Claims Pit Crew Win in Daytona: The pit crew for Jeff Burton’s #99 Citgo Ford joined a growing list of multiple winners of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE after claiming top honors in last week’s NASCAR Winston Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. The #99 crew, which also collected the $20,000 first-place prize at the May 3 Richmond race, became the sixth team to win the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship twice during the first 17 point races of the season. The other two-time winners are: Michael Waltrip’s Team, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Team, Bobby Labonte’s Team, Robby Gordon’s Team and Bill Elliott’s Team. The fast and accurate performance by the #99 crew was key in Burton’s second-place finish in Daytona. Burton’s car spent 132.222 seconds on pit road. Elliott Sadler’s M&M’s Ford was second (132.659) and Earnhardt Jr’s Chevrolet was third (134.002). “I am so proud of this team,” said Burton.. “Every member has given 110% all year and that’s what this team is all about.” The #99 pit crew consists of Donnie Brown (front tire changer), Ryan Buscaglio (front tire carrier), Richard Boyles (rear tire changer), Chip Goode (rear tire carrier), Joe “Haas” Karasinski (gasman), Eric Slade (catch can) and David Cox (jackman). The windshield/drink person is Jason Myers and the crew chief is Paul Andrews.(DMF Communications PR)
    For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(7-9-2003)

  • #48 Looking…. Ryan Pepe, the rear tire changer for the #48 Lowe’s Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson, tore an ACL and is likely out for the year. The team will be looking for a replacement. Get well Ryan. ANDany tire changers with Winston Cup experience looking…. Please contact the folks at www.racecityresumes.com they are currently receiving many inquires from CUP Teams looking for experienced tire changers. Also see other job sites on my Racing Schoools/Jobs page.(7-8-2003)
  • Early TV Ratings for Daytona UPDATE: NBC’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 drew a 5.1 overnight rating and 10 share from Nielsen Media Research to top all sports events on television this weekend, the Sports Business Daily says. The race ratings easily outdrew the 4.0/11 NBC garnered for the Wimbledon women’s final. Final figures in 2002 show that the race drew a 5.2/12 for Fox, while the 2001 race on NBC drew a 6.1/13.(Winston Cup Scene Daily NewsletterAND NBC’s coverage of NASCAR’s Pepsi 400 led to a comfortable ratings win for the night, as viewers began to return to the television after a boisterous 4th of July. Overall, NBC averaged a 5.4 rating/12 share, well in front of CBS’ 4.1/9. FOX averaged a 2.6/6 and finished third, beating ABC’s 2.5/5. Among adults 18-49, NBC lapped the field with a 3.3 rating. FOX took second at 1.4 and ABC, 1.3, and CBS, 1.1, were close behind. Due to the nature of live events, particularly sporting events that air in primetime in much of the country, but not all, numbers are subject to change. At 8 p.m., NBC’s NASCAR coverage took the hour with a 5.4/12. CBS was second with a repeat of “The Price is Right,” which lost the showcase showdown with a 4.3/10. FOX was third with “Scream 2,” beating ABC’s presentation of “Star Trek: First Contact,” which had a 2.1/5 for the hour. The NASCAR race culminated during the 9 p.m. hour for most of the country, averaging a 5.7/13. “The District” had a 4.3/9 for second place. FOX’s “Scream 2” concluded with a 2.8/6, ahead of ABC’s “Star Trek” movie. NBC was still in first at 10 p.m. with lingering race coverage. “The Agency” took second for CBS with a 3.9/8 and “Dragnet” on ABC trailed with a 3.2/7.(Zap2It)
    UPDATE: NBC’s coverage of NASCAR’s Pepsi 400 from Daytona International Speedway was watched by 20 million viewers and earned a 6.0 national rating/13 share, a gain of 15 percent over last year’s 5.2/12 on Fox, according to Nielsen Media Research. This also marks the fifth time in three years that NASCAR on NBC has cracked a six national rating. The rating built throughout the race and peaked with a 7.1/15 from 10-10:24pm/et as rookie Greg Biffle took the Pepsi 400 checkered flag to score his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory. The Pepsi 400’s 15 percent ratings increase starts the 2003 NASCAR on NBC & TNT season in impressive fashion and continues two years of significant ratings growth. NASCAR on NBC & TNT experienced a 59 percent increase from 2000 (2.7/8) to 2002 (4.3/10).(NBC PR)(7-8-2003)
  • Odd Fact: did ya know a #99 Vehicle finished 2nd in the three major NASCAR series this past weekend? #99-Jeff Burton at Daytona in Cup; #99-Michael Waltrip at Daytona in Busch; #99-Carl Edwards at Kansas in Trucks.(Monday’s FSN’s Totally NASCAR)(7-8-2003)
  • Testing for Jarrett: The #88 UPS Racing team begins an aggressive month of testing starting at The Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin this Tuesday. The team will spend two days at the flat, one-mile track before leaving for Chicagoland Speedway for Sunday’s 400-mile event. The team will travel from Chicago to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for another two-day test session. Two more tests will take place in the last two weeks of July with the first at the road course of Virginia International Raceway, and then at Watkins Glen before the Brickyard 400.(Elevation Group/UPS Racing PR)(7-8-2003)
  • Parrott back at the Track: former #88 Crew Chief and RYR Team Manager Todd Parrott made his first appearance at a race track Saturday since he parted ways with Dale Jarrett [actually Robert Yates Racing] in April. “I missed eight races, the most since 1983 when I graduated from high school,” he said. “From that point until this year, I had missed just one race and that was in 1992 when my son was born.” Since stepping back from the sport, Parrott said he’s been spending time with his family. He almost went to the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte in May, but got stuck in traffic and turned around and went home. But he came to Daytona with his father, Buddy, and the two were making their way through the garage Saturday, stopping every few feet to exchange greetings with old rivals. Then Parrott went to the Winston Cup sign-in and officially announced his arrival by signing his name on Jarrett’s list of team members. He’s under contract at Robert Yates Racing, but said he’s talking with other teams about opportunities. “I’ve missed it,” he said. “I probably shouldn’t have stayed gone so long, but I’ve been resting and relaxing and I feel great.” Parrott, who spent seven seasons as Jarrett’s crew chief and won the 1999 Winston Cup championship, and his younger brother, Brad, both left the #88 team in April as Jarrett [actually team owners Robert/Doug Yates] tried to shake things up and get his season back on track. Todd had been working as the team manager at the time and Brad was in his first stint as a Winston Cup crew chief.(Sporting News/AP)(7-8-2003)
  • UPS to Debut Newest Race the Truck Ad: All season, UPS has been pleading its case to Dale Jarrett to race the big, brown truck. The newest installment of the “Race the Truck” campaign debuts this weekend during NBC’s broadcast of the Tropicana 400 at Chciago.(Elevation Group/UPS Racing PR)(7-8-2003)
  • HOF Racing may start in Busch instead of Cup: Bill Saunders, the managing partner of the Hall of Fame Racing team of Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, said Monday the team probably will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004 instead of Nextel Cup. The former Cowboys quarterbacks announced in January the formation of the team and their plans to race Winston Cup in 2004, which switches naming rights to Nextel Cup. But they have not been able to secure the sponsorship dollars needed to run in the Cup series next season. “Running in Cup next year is unlikely at this point,” Saunders said. “It probably will be 2005, but that’s not to say we won’t be . . . racing in 2004. We are still in negotiations on that and probably will finalize things within 30 days.” Saunders said they don’t know if the team will run one or two Busch cars next year. He said an announcement on a sponsor and a driver, or drivers, probably would be made soon in Dallas. “But we probably would unveil a car at a Busch event later this season,” Saunders said. “All this depends of completing an agreement with a sponsor. Nothing is done yet, but things are progressing.” The going rate to sponsor a competitive team in the Busch Series is $4 million to $5 million a year. The top-tier teams in Winston Cup receive sponsorship dollars in the $12 million to $15 million range. Saunders said Hall of Fame Racing will have a working agreement with an existing NASCAR team but would not reveal which one. Winston Cup team owner Joe Gibbs, the former Washington Redskins head coach, has been a consultant to Staubach and Aikman to help them get started. Saunders said he also hopes the Busch sponsor would be willing to move up to Nextel Cup with the team in 2005.(Mercury News/Dallas Morning News), see past news on the team on my HOF Team News and Links page.(7-8-2003)
  • More on Horish: Decision time is nearing for Sam Hornish Jr. as the two-time defending IRL champ determines the direction of his racing career. Hornish could stay at Pennzoil Panther Racing if his agent, John Caponigro, is able to increase his salary with the team. Or he could end up at Penske Racing, where one official admitted “anyone would be crazy not to consider Sam Hornish Jr.” as a driver, depending on the type of sponsorship. And for the first time in months, Hornish actually is discussing the possibility of competing in NASCAR. “NASCAR is an option. It’s definitely possible,” he admitted. “I don’t have any room to say anything further. Whatever my decision is in the end, it’s going to be what is the best opportunity for me and my best opportunity to win. There are people within the IRL that I have talked to and there are people outside of Indy car racing that I’ve talked to. I’m not at liberty to say who I have talked to and who I haven’t.” DEI president Ty Norris said last month he did not think Hornish’s heart was in a stock car career and that the driver wanted to remain in open-wheel racing. Norris had a plan of running Hornish on a limited Busch series schedule and a few Winston Cup races this season with a full-time shot at the elite series when it becomes the Nextel Cup in 2004. “I want to be in the biggest series. I want to be in the series that gets the most attention and has all the best drivers because you don’t want to be a big fish in a small pond,” Hornish said. “But the IRL continues to grow. NASCAR is the biggest right now, but that doesn’t mean the IRL can’t grow and be the biggest right now.”(ESPN/Sportsticker)(7-8-2003)

    (7-7-2003)

  • Sad News: Mr. Thomas “Tommy” Wilson Turner, 66, of Huntersville, NC, died Friday, July 4, 2003 at his residence. Tommy was born February 21, 1937, a son of the late Withers Wilson Turner in Charlotte, NC. Tommy had a life long career in racing, building high performance engines for NASCAR and other racing venues [including Holeman Moody, Rosuh Racing and the Wood Brothers]. Mr. Turner was well known in the racing industry for his ability to construct the finest of racing engines. He was an avid golfer and was a member of Carolina Golf and Country Club in Charlotte. Tommy was very fond of Classic Cars, especially ’57 Chevys and had a few of his own. Mr. Turner is survived by his wife of forty-six years, Mrs. Bonnie Blue Turner of the home; daughter, Delana Snead and husband Charlie of Monroe, NC; sister, Janet Ratterree of Charlotte; and two grandchildren, Neil Thomas Rappe and Lauren Michelle Rappe, both of Monroe, NC. Memorials may be made to Independence Hill Baptist Church, c/o “Hearts and Hammers Fund”, 10220 Eastfield Road, Huntersville, NC 28078.(Charlotte Observer)(7-7-2003)
  • Sad News: Clarence Cagle, who helped save the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from oblivion after World War II and served as track superintendent for 30 years, died July 5 in Daytona Beach, FL. He was 88. Cagle, a native of Terre Haute, Ind., returned from 33 months of Army duty, much of it in the European campaign, in 1945 and went back to work for the Hulman family. When Tony Hulman purchased the dilapidated Speedway a few months later, he called in Cagle from his road job as expediter of raw materials for the family-owned Clabber Girl Baking Powder firm to help put the track in shape in time for resumption of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, barely seven months away. In a quiet and methodical way, Cagle spent the next 50 years working either as superintendent or consultant for the track he considered “my baby.” He saw it rise from the ashes of World War II disuse – the track was closed from 1942-45 – into the magnificent Mecca of automobile racing that it is today. He worked for Hulman until 1977 and, many years later, provided advice for the track’s current president and Hulman’s grandson, Tony George. The Speedway Hall of Fame Museum was the only project during Cagle’s time that took two years to complete. It was opened in time for Hulman to see thousands of fans streaming through its doors before his death in October 1977. Cagle was born July 29, 1914, the first of Tom and Molly Cagle’s seven children. His father taught him the value of hard labor. As a youngster, Cagle helped the Hulman’s harvest their crops and Tony Hulman Sr. took a liking to him. As soon as Cagle graduated from high school, he was hired by the senior Hulman to work in the family’s various businesses. In August 1977, Cagle retired and settled down in Ormond Beach, Fla., just north of Daytona Beach. Of course, retirement to Cagle meant a lot of times only 10-hour workdays. He had known NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. since 1946 and became France’s troubleshooter while continuing his steady relationship with the Hulman-George family. Whenever an old track needed paving or new one went up, Cagle was on call. Ironically, Cagle’s last assignment before health problems slowed him was in the construction of Kansas Speedway, which opened in 2001. Cagle’s death came on the same weekend that the Indy Racing League, which he enjoyed, raced for the third time on the 1.5-mile oval. Cagle was inducted into the Indianapolis 500 Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2000. His memberships included the 500 Oldtimers Club. Survivors include: Wife, Gladys; stepdaughters Linda Weber of Speedway, Ind., and Cheryl Cantrell of Manchester, Mo., five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a sister, Juanita Willan of Milton, Fla. A memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. (EDT) Friday in the Ormond Funeral Home, 733 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach, Fla. 32174. A memorial service will take place in Indianapolis later this summer on a date to be announced.(see more at the IMS site)(7-7-2003)
  • TV Renegotiations? UPDATE 2: The TV package with Fox, NBC and TNT runs out in 20 months, and renegotiations are hotly anticipated. ABC says it too plans to make a bid for the Winston Cup series. It is not clear if any of the three networks has actually turned a profit on NASCAR, and that could make upcoming talks difficult from the NASCAR side. It is also not clear who will be the chief TV negotiator for NASCAR; last time around it was Bray Cary, who drove amazingly hard bargains and then took his percentage and vanished. This time Neil Pilson, the former CBS executive and a long-time NASCAR TV adviser, could get the call to the boardroom.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-24-2003)
    UPDATE: The TV package with FOX, NBC, and TNT does not run out in 20 months. The contract, which was signed in November of 1999, runs from 2001 – 2006 for NBC and TNT. For FOX, the contract is for the same six years, but also includes an option to go two more years. Furthermore, FOX is already billing itself as the TV home of the 2007 Daytona 500, so it sounds like they are counting on the option being exercised through 2008. However, even if the option with FOX was not exercised, the earliest that a new TV partner would be in place would be for 2007. Negotiations probably wouldn’t start until the second half of 2005, at the earliest. Also, there’s no indication this early in the process that ABC or any other network will or won’t make a bid for NASCAR. ABC Sports president Howard Katz resigned about a month ago and the new boss is ESPN honcho George Bodenheimer. It is doubtful that Bodenheimer has even thought that much about ABC making a bid for a 2007 NASCAR TV package. Of course, however, it’s likely that big names like ABC, CBS, and ESPN will all inquire about the NASCAR rights, but no one has made a definitive decision to go after the rights this early in the game.(see full story at MotorsportsTV.com)(3-25-2003)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR is also midway through the third year of its six-year, $2.4 billion television deal with Fox and NBC. Buoyed by ratings that have increased over 56 percent from the prior deal, television executives predict that extension negotiations may occur early next year. The future remains bright in the media area as well. Speed Channel now reaches over 60 million homes, and other entertainment projects include NASCAR.com Entertainment, an IMAX movie titled “The NASCAR Experience 3-D” (in conjunction with Warner Bros.) — international television distribution is also being increased.(Sports Business News)(7-7-2003)
  • License Plates: NASCAR-inspired license plates are racing to the front of the pack in Mississippi. After a year of sales, more than 12,000 NASCAR tags are on the road statewide, 900 in DeSoto County alone. “NASCAR’s in about five states now, and Mississippi, it appears, has sold the most of any of those five states in the first year,” said Patsy Holeman, Mississippi director of motor vehicles. Mississippi’s NASCAR tags, which were introduced in July 2002, are the third most popular specialty tags in the state. Only wildlife and university tags adorn more vehicles, and they’ve been available for a decade, Holeman said. The racing tags feature the name and number of a popular driver – 28 are now available. As of July 1, Tennessee also offers NASCAR plates, but 1,000 motorists must commit to buying them before any hit the roads, said Beth Tucker Womack, public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Safety.(GoMemphis). See past news on NASCAR licenece plates on my Collectible Links page.(7-7-2003)
  • Stewart was fast: Did you know Tony Stewart posted his 10th NASCAR Winston Cup victory earlier in his career than any driver in the modern era. His 10th victory came at Richmond on May 5, 2001, in his 79th career race. It was the quickest that a driver had posted 10 victories since Dick Hutcherson posted his 10th win on March 20, 1966, in his 61st career race.(Insider Racing News)(7-7-2003)
  • Waltrip’s Carb Pulled, other parts taken UPDATE Two Week Suspension?: NASCAR officials confiscated the carburetor from Michael Waltrip’s #15 Chevy during pre-qualifying inspection Thursday morning at Daytona International Speedway. Winston Cup series director John Darby said the carburetor had problems with openings through which air travels. Larger openings theoretically can mean increased horsepower, especially at Daytona and Talladega where NASCAR mandates speed-reducing carburetor restrictor plates. Darby said Waltrip’s Dale Earnhardt Inc.-owned team will likely be penalized. No penalties are expected until early next week, however. Waltrip, who won the season-opening Daytona 500, said he was not aware of any problems on his car when asked about it Thursday afternoon. Waltrip’s car was also found to have unapproved window braces. The carburetor, as well as other unapproved parts confiscated Thursday, will be placed on display at the NASCAR hauler on Friday, Darby said.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-3-2003)
    AND Kyle Petty ‘s #45 Dodge had unapproved rear jacking bolts confiscated during an inspection before practice.(Roanoke Times)
    ALSO: taken was an unapproved spring from the #09 Dodge of Buckshot Jones.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-4-2003)
    UPDATE: An illegal carburetor discovered during inspection at Daytona was expected to bring a penalty, possibly a two-week suspension, for Richard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief for #15-Michael Waltrip. Expect Bobby Kennedy, Waltrip’s Busch Series crew chief, to make the calls on race day, if needed.(Sporting News)(7-7-2003)
  • Biffle helps boost a rookie streak, and takes points lead: A Raybestos Rookie Contender has now won at least one race every season since 1999, dating back to Tony Stewart’s win at Richmond in September, 1999. Other freshman drivers to win: Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond, 2000), Matt Kenseth (Charlotte, 2000), Harvick (Atlanta, 2001), Newman (New Hampshire 2002), and Johnson (Charlotte and both 2002 Dover races). The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is held by Stewart, who won three races in 1999 (Camp and Assoc PR). With the win Saturday night, Greg Biffle vaulted past Jamie McMuarry in the Rookie of Year race and has a 6 pointss lead, with one less race run [Biffle DNQ’d at Las Vegas](7-7-2003)
  • Stewart Looking? Though Bobby Labonte re-signed with Joe Gibbs Racing [thru 2008] , there are persistent rumors that teammate and defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart is looking for a new ride. Stewart’s contract doesn’t expire until 2004, and it would take deep pockets to buy out the remaining year.(Sporting News)(7-7-2003)
  • Hatch Test: NASCAR was scheduled to test the “ultimate exit,” a rooftop escape hatch, this week at the University of Nebraska. Technical director Gary Nelson said engineers planned to hook a car to a cable and pull the car into the SAFER wall at 135-plus mph to see what happened to the barrier, the test dummy and the new hatch during the crash. Nelson planned to roll the car over during the test. With that additional data, NASCAR hopes to make a decision about how soon the hatch can be installed in racecars.(Sporting News)
    AND Another area where NASCAR is attempting to address safety issues deals with driver escape hatches, and how to best implement a workable system into the roofs of the cars to allow for easier driver exit in the case of a wreck. “In my opinion NASCAR needs to work on expediting a roof hatch,” Jeff Burton said of the ongoing project. “The effort is there. The desire is there but there are times when I wish they could expedite a little better. How can you make it so it opens to the left or to the right because you might have to open it one way or the other way, or the bottom or the rear. When you start getting into OK, how do you do it? NASCAR painted some scenarios where the thing wouldn’t open with what they had done [in an original design]. So they had to go back and come up with a different idea. There are a lot of things that go into it and that’s why it feels like it doesn’t happen quick enough. NASCAR tries to paint every scenario and then they go through a practice and they come up with something. Then they’ve got to go paint another scenario. Then they’ve got to redo everything. Their unwillingness to compromise on the unknown is why it’s slow,” Burton added. “Some people could say, ‘Well, I’d rather have something that doesn’t work very well versus something that doesn’t work at all and so those people get impatient. But then it’s wrong to do something that’s worse than what you’re doing. There have been many examples where I’ve had conversations and I’ve said, ‘What the hell, let’s just do it.’ And it’s like, ‘Well, yeah but look at this’ and they’d walk me through some scenarios that I hadn’t thought about and I’d say, ‘Yeah, it was more complicated than I thought it was.’” NASCAR’s Darby told TFR Thursday that the full court press is on to get the roof hatch completed and that some crash testing will be required before the system is implemented. Darby cited several reasons why the roof hatch is not as simple to implement as say roof flaps. The roof flaps, which are the only approved pieces that are supplied as kits, attach only to the cars’ roof sheetmetal. The roof hatch, however, would need to be secured to the roll bars to give it the strength it needs in the case of a rollover accident. Slowing the process somewhat are the roll bars which, while close to being standardized, are not at a point where a “one size fits all” approach can be taken, such as is the case with roof flaps.(Ford Racing)(7-7-2003)

 


(7-6-2003)

 

  • #4 Fuel Cell Confiscated before race: Morgan-McClure Motorsports faces a hefty penalty this week after NASCAR officials confiscated the entire fuel cell assembly from the team’s #4 Pontiac prior to Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The car was delayed in pre-race inspection and not did not get on the track until the race’s pace laps had already started. The fuel cell was expanded beyond regulation size, NASCAR officials said. The assembly was tagged and placed outside the NASCAR hauler during the race. Team officials declined to comment on the issue.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-6-2003)
  • Horish to Penske? in the IRL…not DEI? Rumors continue to circulate that Sam Hornish Jr. will join Team Penske for 2004. But the team’s president, Tim Cindric, said his drivers, de Ferran and Helio Castroneves, are signed for next season and intend to return. “There are no plans to run three cars,” Cindric said. “If we had wanted to run three, we probably would have done it at Indy this year.” It should be noted that Team Penske essentially ran a third car in the 500, releasing one to Sam Schmidt Motorsports for Richie Hearn. Toyota Racing Development president Jim Aust said any IRL team wanting to make its program better, including Team Penske, will make a move to hire Hornish, the two-time league champion. “Undoubtedly there will be a lot of interest in Sam,” Aust said. Hornish said he hasn’t ruled out re-signing with Panther Racing. But part of that will depend on how the new Chevrolet-Cosworth engine deal, expected to be signed and announced within the next 10 days, works out. Chevy’s current engines were the slowest six cars in qualifying Saturday at Kansas.(Indianapolis Star)(7-6-2003)
  • Drivers to test Homestead…..virtually: Winston Cup drivers won’t be allowed to test their cars on the new banking at Homestead-Miami Speedway until the week of the season finale, but they will be able to race the new course on a new computer-program simulator being developed for NASCAR’s stock-car teams by Electronic Arts. “This will be the first time ever that the teams will be able to set up a race car on a computer on a track that was computer built – so you can set up a car for a track while that track is still dirt,” said Curtis Gray, who runs the track for Bill France Jr.’s International Speedway Corporation. “Or at least it’s a good starting point.” NASCAR officials spent time at Homestead last week to review progress on the track’s reconstruction. Gray said the project, which began in May, ‘is right on schedule. In the first five days we had the whole track torn apart, and it took them 22 days to build the actual dirt banking, 55 feet wide.'(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2003)
  • Gibbs getting resumes: Joe Gibbs Racing has received about 200 resumes for its diversity Late Model racing program it plans to start. Steve DeSouza, vice president of Busch operations and special projects, said the program would probably make it to the track next season. Former NFL player Reggie White is a partner in the program.(Roanoke Times), see past news about the program on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(7-6-2003)
  • More on AT&T as a team sponsor UPDATE 2: NASCAR executives are still studying AT& –T’s sponsorship program with #49 car owner Beth Ann Morgenthau [driver, Ken Schrader qualified 4th forthe Pepsi 400], who has had a contract this season allowing AT& –T to become primary sponsor whenever it desires. AT& –T wanted to up its stake in NASCAR in 2004 by putting its Wireless division on the quarterpanel of a Jack Roush [#99] car or a Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#1] car. But NASCAR insists that the new series sponsorship contract with Nextel precludes any such new deal, that only current wireless sponsors Cingular and AllTel could be ‘grandfathered’ in, and that Cingular and ALLTEL could only remain in the sport as long as they remain with current car owners Richard Childress and Roger Penske. But AT& –T officials are not willing to be pushed out of the picture so easily. Even now, two weeks after NASCAR and Nextel signed, NASCAR officials have been unable to resolve the AT& –T situation. The specifics at issue with AT& –T are unclear, but NASCAR faces a situation where it must avoid the appearance of one set of rules for powerful car owners like Childress and Penske yet another set of rules for less powerful car owners such as Morgenthau. The AT& –T situation has stunned observers in the Winston Cup garage because AT& –T is currently one of NASCAR’s ‘official’ sponsors and thus presumably in close contact with the sanctioning body. There are also a number of legal issues related to the Nextel-NASCAR-ATT affair – does NASCAR have the legal right to read any car owner’s contract?(Winston Salem Journal)(7-4-2003)
    UPDATE – AT&T can sponsor #49 in 2004: #49 Car owner Beth Ann Morganthau learned that AT&T will be allowed to sponsor her #49 Dodge next year. The new title sponsorship contract with Nextel prohibits other telecommunications companies from coming into the sport, but NASCAR agreed since AT&T had been a part-time sponsor this year for Morganthau’s BAM Racing, it could return.(Florida Times Union)(7-5-2003)
    UPDATE 2: “AT&T wants to expand its program long-term,” #49 BAM Racing program manager, Gus Larkin said. “But we have to be sensitive to NASCAR’s deal with Nextel. We have to be very careful we do this properly.” One hot debate is paint – AT&T’s blue-and-white globe logo. It’s a registered trademark of AT&T, but Nextel said the Morgenthaus can’t use it next year on their car because it’s also a logo used, under lease, by AT&T Wireless. “AT&T has been on our car all year long, this is one of the important points,’ Larkin said. ‘We’ve had an agreement with them, and this entire program was based on building something they could expand. That means running several different brands within the AT&T consumer group. That’s why you saw the AT&T car in California. You’ll see another one in Atlanta, and another paint scheme in Darlington. Those are things that NASCAR obviously wants to take a look at – ‘What are your plans, how creatively are you going to do it on the car? AT&T said the program has gone very, very well, they’re happy with BAM Racing, and they’re aware that if AT&T is going to stay within the sport, it’s going to be with BAM racing. Their long-term plan has always been one of expanding and turning it into a full-time program, and being able to pull from several different budgets internally. Let’s face it, NASCAR did a very good deal with Nextel, and we’ve got to be sensitive to that agreement. There was confusion this was an AT&T Wireless deal. But that is a completely separate company. This is the AT&T consumer group, that’s the point we’re trying to stress. AT&T Wireless was spun off years ago, and there is a licensing agreement with Wireless to use the AT&T globe logo. That is specifically what we’re starting to get down to – how that globe is used, what does it mean, and the actual branding of the race car – what will it look like.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2003)
  • More about Nextel/NASCAR/AT&T at Transition tough for Nextel by Mike Mulhern of the Winston Salem Journal.(too long and too much info to be a blurb here)(7-6-2003)
  • Nextel boss at Daytona: Tim Donahue , president and CEO officer of Nextel, which recently signed a 10-year agreement to sponsor what is now known as the Winston Cup series beginning in 2004, was on hand for Saturday’s drivers meeting at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR President Mike Helton introduced several Nextel representatives and when Donahue was introduced, he was greeted by a standing ovation from those in attendance. “We’ve never been in anything as big or as exciting as this sponsorship. We want to make it a great time for the fans, for the teams, for the drivers, for the owners, for everyone involved,” Donahue said. “No one understands the importance of relationships more than I do. This is a partnership in the true sense of the word. We really want to enhance the relationship and do everything we can to take the NASCAR sport you all started to the next level.” Donahue also thanked officials with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for their work sponsoring the series since 1972. “We are humbled by the opportunity and I think RJR has done a fabulous job over the last 30-plus years, and we’re going to work real hard to fill those very big shoes.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-6-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans: Rumblings – Daytona: In what can only be labeled as a major shocker from Daytona International Speedway, #16-Greg Biffle had just enough fuel to last and captured his first ever Winston Cup victory in the Pepsi 400. In becoming the first first-timer since Johnny Benson won at Rockingham last November Biffle proved once again that the race doesn’t always go to the swift.
    Biffle’s win was the 65th for Roush racing, and ties him for 109th on the all-time win list. One interesting point…..Roush Racing’s last 11 victories have been gained by drivers other than Mark Martin or Jeff Burton (arguably Jack’s premier teams). Or maybe it proves they really have figured out a way for equal equipment for all.
    Quite a night for Roush engines….1, 2, 3 and 6.
    Biffle is the 14th different winner in the first 17 races this season. His previous best was a 5th at Bristol in March.
    #99-Jeff Burton (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Phoenix in October of 2001.
    #21-Ricky Rudd (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Martinsville last October.
    #5-Terry Labonte (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon Raceway in June of 2002.
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th when we were here in February.
    #23-Kenny Wallace (15th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Martinsville in April.
    #09-Buckshot Jones (17th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Atlanta in March of 2002 (only 5 races).
    #45-Kyle Petty (23rd) had his best finish since he was 11th at Talladega in April.
    STREAKIN….Bobby Labonte has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races. Matt Kenseth has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Burton (+34), followed by Matt Kenseth (+31), Greg Biffle (+29), Jimmy Spencer (+28), Todd Bodine (+28), Ricky Rudd (+24), and Terry Labonte (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Steve Park (-38) followed by Ken Schrader (-34), Jamie McMurray (-29), Ricky Craven (-26), and Robby Gordon (-22). Nearly 30% of the field was “in the shaft” this week.
    Six of the Top-10 in points changed hands this week. Matt Kenseth now has a 180 point lead over second place as Dale Earnhardt Jr re-assumes that spot.
    Greg Biffle advanced the most spots (25th to 20th), while Ricky Craven (14th to 17th) and Dave Blaney (23rd to 26th) fell three spots each in the standings.(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-6-2002)


    (7-5-2003)

  • HUGE UPSET at THE PEPSI 400: Rookie of the Year candiate, #16-Greg Biffle WON the Pepsi 400 at Daytona…WOW. Biffle’s teammate, #99-Jeff Burton ended up 2nd as #18-Bobby Labonte ran out of gas with a 1/2 lap to go, Lanonte ended up 5th as he coasted to the start/finish. Biffle is the first ever Rookie of the Year Candiate in the Modern Era [1972-present] to win a race at Daytona. See my Pepsi 400 Race Info page for my race rundown, caution explanations, notes and stuff.
    Race Results at Jayski’s Pepsi 400 Results Page or at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com(7-5-2003)
  • Trouble at School? NASCAR Technical Institute – Mooresville, NC’s high-profile school that attracts would-be automotive and race car technicians from across the country – is battling stormy public relations in its own hometown. The school’s students have been keeping Mooresville police busy over the past several months. From Nov. 14, 2002 to June 27, 2003, police received 176 calls involving NTI students – from traffic infractions and noise disturbances to reckless driving, property damage, harassment, burglary, DWIs and assault. NTI Director Mike Fritz said he distributed a letter on May 9 – “right after the meeting with Capt. Hillard” – to be read aloud to students in each NTI class. “It was reminding them of the student code of conduct in the student’s success guide,” Fritz said of the letter, adding that it also reminded students that their actions “on and off campus can and will be dealt with by the school.” He told the Tribune on Monday that the letter “seems to have curbed (the police calls involving NTI students) to Capt. Hillard’s satisfaction.”(Mooresville Tribune – maybe the future ‘home newspaper’ of Jayski)(7-5-2003)
  • Petty: Engines to Blame UPDATE: Why did two Petty Enterprises cars [#43 and #44] miss the Pepsi 400 at Daytona? What went wrong? Simple, Kyle Petty said. The engines weren’t up to snuff. “It’s the way things go, especially at a restrictor-plate race,” Petty said. “Somewhere, we’ve gotten behind on our engines, and we just ain’t caught up. It’s been showing everywhere we’ve been, but it really showed up here. Mike’s engines have been really, really good, but these are the same cars that we ran here before. We lost ground this time. You can’t say it’s got a lot to do with the cars. I’ve got to put all this on our engine department.” Petty Enterprises engines are built by Mike Ege Racing Engines, a company started before the 2002 season to exclusive construct engines for the Pettys. Ege came from Robert Yates Racing, long known as one of the best engine-building companies in NASCAR. But Ege hasn’t gained any horsepower on restrictor-plate engines. That doesn’t sound too bad, but when you consider everyone else is gaining a few horsepower, the Pettys slide backwards.(NASCAR.com)(7-4-2003)
    UPDATE: After two of the team’s three cars failed to qualify for the Pepsi 400, car owner and driver Kyle Petty was seen holding engine builder Mike Ege against the chain-linked fence in the garage area. Petty said Ege will continue to build engines for the team and that the two had a confrontation after time trials.(Florida Times Union)(7-5-2003)
  • Tony HANS ready: Tony Stewart is about to start wearing a HANS device while racing. Stewart was the last Winston Cup holdout before NASCAR made it mandatory in October 2001 for drivers to wear head and neck restraints in the aftermath of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death from head injuries in 2001. Because he is claustrophobic, Stewart chose to wear the less-constrictive Hutchens Device, which uses belts and straps, rather than the Head And Neck Support, a collar that restricts mobility. But that is about to change. “We’re still wearing the Hutchens,” Stewart said. “But we recently have been working with the HANS device at test sessions, trying to get more comfortable with it. Test results that we’ve seen have shown a pretty big discrepancy as far as HANS vs. Hutchens.” The biggest problem in the switch remains comfort. “We’re trying to see what we can do to make it comfortable to wear,” Stewart said. “Kind of the same things we had to do with the Hutchens. It took time to get comfortable with it. We’re taking the opportunity during test sessions to try to fabricate cars with the HANS device and trying to make it more comfortable for me.”(Tampa Tribune)(7-5-2003)
  • More on Jesse Jackson and NASCAR: Both black and white conservatives are calling for NASCAR to end its relationship with its most unlikely of partners: the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. It’s a difficult spot for NASCAR, which is trying to diversify its fan base but doesn’t want to alienate its traditional supporters, who tend to be politically conservative. Headed by the staunchly Republican France family, NASCAR has also given $250,000 to the Citizenship Education Fund, an arm of Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. The group says it has used the money to boost minority participation within motor sports. But critics — including a network of black conservatives — accuse Jackson of intimidating NASCAR into giving him money to keep him from making a public fuss about the lack of minorities in motor sports. See full story at the Orlando Sentinel.(7-5-2003)
  • New Car Chief for the #38 and #24 crew changes: Since #38 Elliott Sadler lost his car chief to the #88 team [as crew chief, Shawn Parker], Sadler has just one top-ten finish in the last five races. Former Roush Racing and Hendrick Motorsports crewman Dave Smith has joined the M&M’s team as car chief and front tire changer to help the #38 return to contention. “It was something that I wanted to do so I think that was the easiest decision,” Smith said. “It’s close to the house, but it’s still that shot at winning the championship. If we get Elliott in Victory Lane and get him winning some races and win a championship, it’ll be more gratifying than with Jeff (Gordon) because he’s won so much.”
    “We were lucky enough to get Dave to come over, and he’s got some great experience,” Sadler said. “He’d been with Matt Kenseth for a while and with the 24. Very young, seems very eager and optimistic and I think he knows what he’s doing.”(FSN’s Totally NASCAR)
    AND – so who replaces Smith at the #24? Rear tire changer David Smith left the DuPont team after the Sonoma race to become the car chief for #38-Elliott Sadler. Smith, who departed Matt Kenseth’s team for Hendrick Motorsports after the 2002 season, joins his third race team in less than seven months. Smith will be replaced by Adam Davis on Jeff Gordon’s pit crew. Davis was formerly a tire changer for Joe Nemechek’s Winston Cup team. Davis, 24, came to Hendrick Motorsports after spending last season with Petty Enterprises. He was a tire changer on Kyle Petty’s car in 2002. Prior to entering the NASCAR world, Davis attended High Point University in North Carolina on a soccer scholarship. He holds a degree in sports medicine. In addition to his pit crew duties, Davis will continue his role as a mechanic for HMS.(Jeff Gordon Online)(7-5-2003)
  • Helton Talks About the ‘gentleman’s agreement’: During Saturday’s pre-race drivers meeting at Daytona, NASCAR President Mike Helton reiterated the need for drivers to adhere to the gentlemen’s agreement not to race back to the caution flag. “It was realized a long time ago the drivers really don’t want NASCAR into that part. We would be better off if NASCAR didn’t have to get into this issue,” Helton said. “Drivers came up with an agreement that if the caution came out, the leader would put out his hand signaling other drivers to (slow down). It’s been working pretty well up until recent years. We joked at Sears Point (now Infineon Raceway) about there really wasn’t much of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ anymore. The point is there should be.” Helton acknowledged the debate that has raged over the issue since the Sonoma race. He warned if drivers fail to adhere to a gentlemen’s agreement, NASCAR would be forced to implement a rule. “You are the only ones that can make this happen. There should be a ‘gentleman’s agreement,’ ” Helton said. “If there’s not going to be one, and it gets out of hand, then NASCAR will step in. We don’t want to do that and I don’t think you want us to do that.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-5-2003)
  • Rusty Busch Team? Penske Involved? UPDATEs: Rusty Wallace is planning to field a Busch team next season, and the questions now are: Who might drive for the Winston Cup veteran, and will this team be a step toward the expansion of Penske South to a three-team Cup operation?(Winston Salem Journal); Chad Blount?(6-9-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing Chad Blount could be the driver and it will not be a Penske fielded car. The announcement should come this week or next week.(6-11-2003)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Miller beer is involved somehow and that Jessel Motorsports, who ran the #36 and #66 Dodges in the Busch Series last year will be involved somehow or rent cars/equipment/shop. Also of note, some folks think this may a team for his son Stephen, who will run a Late Model at Hickory, NC this year, but he is only 15 and won’t be 18 until Aug 2005, in NASCAR, you need to be 18 to race in the top three divisions.(6-11-2003)
    UPDATE 3 – Rusty’s team? Hearing that Chad Blount will be in the #66 Miller Dodge at Milwaukee and will be testing at that track next week.(BGNRacing.com)(6-13-2003) AND Miller Brewing Company announced that it will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of its High Life brand by bringing together High Life Racing’s past and present to sponsor a stock car in the upcoming Busch Series race at the Milwaukee Mile, June 29. High Life is returning to the track with the Jesel Racing team and the #66 High Life Dodge, which will be driven by rookie Chad Blount.(Tom Roberts PR)

    UPDATE 4 No 3rd Penske Team: Don Miller, president of Penske Racing South, said the team is not looking to field a third car to join #2-Rusty Wallace and #12-Ryan Newman.(Roanoke Times)(6-4-2003)
    UPDATE 5: Penske Racing part-owner Don Miller said the team, which fields Dodges for drivers Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman, has signed NASCAR Busch Series driver Chad Blount to an agreement to test the organization’s Winston Cup cars. Miller said, contrary to recent reports, that Blount has not been hired to drive for a Busch program. “We don’t have a Busch team and we don’t have any Busch cars,” Miller said. Miller said Penske’s agreement with Blount lasts through the end of the year.(ThatsRacin.com)
    ….so Blount is not with Rusty in a Busch deal, but did run the #66 Miller High Life car for Wayne Jesel at Milwaukee with Penske-Jasper engines…AND The field at Milwaukee last week was set per owners points/the rules book [past winners, race attempts and qualifying draw]. No matter how #66 team owner Wayne Jessel figured it out, he was not able to get driver Chad Blount in the race as it was their first race of the season [no owners points of race attempts] and they hadn’t drawn a high enough position in qualifying [34th]. Jessel convinced the teams of #52-Brad Teague [10 attempts, 43rd owners points, 2nd in qualiying order], #70-Morgan Shepherd [4, 53rd, 21st], #97-Kenny Hendrick [3, 73rd, 11th] and #67-Brad Mueller [actually #66 was in better position then this team also attempting it’s first race and was 45 in qual order]…..to withdraw from the event and ensure his team a spot in the race [starting 43rd and finishing 40th]. No one would comment, but it reportedly took a low five-figure range to seal the deals. PLUS have heard that word around the garage area at Daytona this weekend is that Roger Penske funded the payoff of the four Busch teams to withdraw. It reportedly cost Penske $50,000 total to convince those four drivers to withdraw.(7-5-2003)

  • oops…practice ABOVE the yellow line: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s performance during Friday evening’s final Winston Cup practice drew a stern warning from series director John Darby. After Earnhardt Jr. apparently dropped below the yellow line during the final 10 minutes of practice, Darby came over the NASCAR channel on the radio, wanting a message sent to Earnhardt Jr.’s spotter. “I know this is just practice,” Darby said, “but it would be a good thing to practice that yellow line rule since we’ll be enforcing it tomorrow night.” NASCAR received much criticism in Arpil when Earnhardt Jr. dipped below the yellow line in the final laps of his win at Talladega. No penalty was assessed. There has since been a large amount of discussion among drivers about the intent and enforcement of the yellow line rule, which was first introduced in 2001.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-5-2003)
  • The Yellow Flag ‘rule’: Mike Helton says a change is not imminent. For the time being at least, NASCAR will allow drivers to race back to the flag under yellow. It is, perhaps, the most controversial rule, or non-rule, in the sport. A “gentleman’s agreement,” whatever that is, which allows some cars to pass the race leader under some conditions, none of which are clearly defined.(Lakeland Ledger)
    …..seems to be the ‘big’ topic today, see my Article/Column/Story links page, there are a big ole’ batch of columns about it, with various opinions.(7-5-2003)
  • Win #400 in modern era for Chevy possible at Daytona: With five Chevrolet drivers starting in the first three rows of tonight’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, odds are that the manufacturer could get its 400th Winston Cup win in NASCAR’s modern era. Retired driver Bobby Allison got Chevy’s first modern era win at Atlanta on March 29, 1972. Robby Gordon grabbed the latest two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway. Going back to the beginning of the Cup series in 1949, Ford leads with 536 victories to Chevy’s 515, but since the modern era began in 1972, Chevy leads Ford 399-261.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-5-2003)

    (7-4-2003)

  • Special UPS Scheme? UPDATE 3, it is official: hearing there may be an #88 UPS Store special scheme to be run later this year, not sure which track.(6-20-2003)
    UPDATE: the #88 UPS Store special scheme is for Atlanta in October; why the scheme do you ask? UPS acquired Mail Boxes Etc. a few months back and are converting all the stores to UPS Stores.(6-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: UPS will announce plans this weekend to run a special paint scheme later in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. The announcement is scheduled to take place at 3:00pm/et, on Friday, July 4th at the front entrance to Daytona USA.(Elevation Motorsports/UPS PR), hmm..was told by RYR just before Texas that the #88 would be making NO paint scheme changes and would NOT run any special schemes in 2003…..oops.(7-1-2003)
    UPDATE 3 – it is official – wonder where I hear this before…. UPS today announced plans to showcase The UPS Store on the #88 UPS Ford Taurus for the upcoming Georgia 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 26. The new paint scheme was unveiled today at Daytona International Speedway. The UPS Store car takes on a decidedly different flare from the normal paint scheme run by the #88 UPS Racing Team. UPS yellow is the predominant color on the car, and The UPS Store logo is featured on the hood, which is normally adorned with the new UPS shield logo that was introduced this past March. NASCAR enthusiasts and collectors can also look forward to the release of a unique 1:43 scale die-cast car that will commemorate the #88 The UPS Store race car run at Atlanta Motor Speedway in October. .The 1:43 scale car, which has not yet been released, will be made available later this fall exclusively through participating locations of The UPS Store. Beginning in September, race fans can also register to win a trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the October race as part of a special consumer promotion. Visitors to The UPS Store locations will discover a wide range of products and services, including UPS shipping at lower prices direct from UPS, full-service packaging, mailbox and postal services, black-and-white and color copying, document finishing, office and packaging supplies, and other business services. UPS acquired Mail Boxes, Etc., Inc. in 2001, and in April 2003, more than 3,000 Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees across the U.S. opted to convert their locations to The UPS Store brand. To find The UPS Store locations and other information, log on to www.theupsstore.com.(Elevation Group/UPS PR), have not seen any images of the car….yet.(7-4-2003)
  • 2004 Taurus meets NASCAR requirements: NASCAR’s John Darby told Team Ford racing that the new 2004 Taurus has met the requirements set forth in the rulebook as they pertain to new car submissions. The NASCAR rulebook clearly states that all cars that are to be considered for competition in the following calendar year must be submitted to NASCAR no later than July 1 of the current event season. “The submittal process is well underway,” said the director of NASCAR. “We’ve seen the first iterations of nose and tail and things like that and have worked through that process. From there they’re going back to clean some real small minor issues up.” Estimating when he’d get the car Darby said, “I think probably mid-August we’ll have the car where we’ll be able to track and tunnel test it.” The track and tunnel test are a sure sign that the 2004 Taurus is well on it’s way to NASCAR’s final scrutiny, including a visit to Atlanta Motor Speedway for on-track runs. Once those laps are completed the car will be loaded onto a hauler and transported to the Lockheed wind tunnel for aero testing.(Ford Racing)(7-4-2003)
  • New Cowl Template: According to NASCAR’s John Darby the surveying of car builds with the unofficial new cowl template will continue. The new template ensures that the cowl is on the car squarely, which keeps the teams from fooling the dreaded “F3” template.(Ford Racing)(7-4-2003)
  • Safety Meeting UPDATE and the hatch: NASCAR has driver safety update meetings scheduled for July 4th for competitors in the Cup and Busch Series at Daytona. The series has been holding such meetings a couple of times a year or so since Dale Earnhardt ‘s fatal crash at Daytona in 2001.(Roanoke Times)(6-23-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR has a safety seminar scheduled for Winston Cup drivers this morning, to bring them up to speed on projects like the roof escape hatch and third roof spoiler. The seminar is expected to be closed to the media.(Winston Salem JournalAND NASCAR’s Gary Nelson said NASCAR is moving ahead with other safety devices. A rooftop escape hatch is now a top priority, and its worthiness will be tested at the University of Nebraska’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. ‘We’re hoping to induce a rollover and see how it performs,’ Nelson said. ‘It’s directly above the driver.’ The hatch could be extremely important if there is a fire. Neither Ken Schrader nor Dale Jarrett was injured after their cars burst into flames after crashes last month at Pocono Raceway, but both drivers had to squeeze through narrow side windows and barely escaped being burned. Nelson said hatches will be an immediate option for teams this season and probably mandatory next year if the Nebraska test goes well. Jimmy Spencer said he was impressed when he saw the hatch.(Winston Salem Journal/AP)
    AND more on the hatch: NASCAR’s stock cars may soon have escape hatches. ”You mean alternative exits,” said Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of competition who is now headquartered in NASCAR’s new research and development center at Concord. Several drivers tried out the car equipped with the roof exit. It’s almost like a T-top. NASCAR plans to take a car donated by Michael Waltrip’s team and fit it with the new exit to take to its testing facility in Nebraska next week. If it passes the safety tests, Nelson said it will become an option for drivers. The cost is minimal. ”It’s for some of the bigger guys,” Nelson said. “Small guys maybe don’t need it. I saw Matt Kenseth a year ago jump out of his car in a blink of an eye. Maybe he wouldn’t see the need for it, but it would maybe be good for the bigger guy who has to shoehorn himself in and out.” Winston Cup drivers Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton and Ken Schrader and Busch Series driver Coy Gibbs have all tried it, and Nelson said they liked it.(Miami Herald)(7-4-2003)
  • WD-40 Joins Bill Davis Racing: WD-40 Company announced that it has entered into a professional services agreement with NASCAR Winston Cup team Bill Davis Racing [#22 CAT and #23 Stacker 2 Dodges]. The sponsorship will include the company’s WD-40 brand logo on the uniform of #22 driver Ward Burton for the remainder of the NASCAR racing season. Burton has served as a spokesperson for WD-40 the past two seasons, including a current online promotion that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the WD-40 brand. WD-40, the Multi-Purpose Problem Solver of NASCAR, plans to use Burton in various aspects of an integrated marketing campaign as well as point-of-sale materials for the remainder of the year and next season. The brand’s association with Bill Davis Racing will be even more visible in marketing materials through the use of Ward’s race uniform, which will include the famous WD-40 logo as well as the Lava logo. Lava is. a heavy-duty hand cleaner also made by WD-40 Company. Additional information about WD-40 Company may be obtained at www.wd40.com.(WD-40 PR)(7-4-2003)
  • Homestead Next with SAFER? during an interviw on TNT’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona qualifying coverage, Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray was interviewed and said the track plans to install the SAFER barrier, either for the races in November or for the 2004 season.
    AND Homestead-Miami Speedway will get more than just new 20-degree banking during its $10 million reconfiguration project. The 1 ½-mile oval is one of three tracks NASCAR has chosen to have soft walls installed this season as part of its safety study in a “real-world environment.” ”We’re just waiting on NASCAR for approval of the timing,” speedway president Curtis Gray said. NASCAR and Gray would like to have the soft walls put in before Ford Championship weekend in mid-November, when NASCAR’s top three series — Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck — end their seasons. But it will happen by then only if engineers can quickly design a tethering system that will enable the soft walls to attach properly to the new steep banking. The walls are made of tubing that has to be custom fit to each track.(Miami Herald)(7-4-2003)


    (7-3-2003)

  • Park on the pole at Daytona: #30-Steve Park won the pole for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona with a speed of 184.752mph, his 2nd Bud Pole of 2003 [1 with the #1 car, and 1 with the #30]. On the outside pole is Park’s teammate, #29-Kevin Harvick. Petty Racing had a tough night qualifying, #45-Kyle Petty had to use a provisional, #43-Shane Hmiel and #44-Christian Fittipaldi [in a cool Bugle’s car] both missed the raceas did #83-Kerry Earnhardt and for the first time in 2003, rookie of the year #74-Tony Raines misses a race. #09-Buckshot Jones, #80-Mike Bliss and #60-David Green are among the non-regular’s who made the race. #4-Stacy Compton just made the race, using a provisional and the team is now out of provisionals until Bristol in August. See the qualifying results, DNQ’s, Provisionals, Other lineup links and other stuff on Jayski’s Pepsi 400 Qualifying/Grid Page.
    Odd Daytona fact the Busch Series pole was 186.308mph by Dale Earnhardt Jr., the Cup pole is 184.752mph [just my opinion, but that shouldn’t happen, and the Busch run was in the heat of the day].(7-3-2003)
  • It’s SAFER Day! NHIS will also install SAFER: New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) has announced plans to install the SAFER barrier. “We are very pleased to announce that following Dr. Dean L. Sicking’s recommendation to NASCAR, we will be installing the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier at New Hampshire International Speedway,” said Bob Bahre, Chairman of the Board. Dr. Sicking, the Director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has developed the barrier that will be attached to the outside walls at NHIS. The SAFER barrier will cover all four of the track’s turns. “It is our plan to have the SAFER barrier in place for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Sylvania 300 weekend this September,” Bahre stated. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series Sylvania 300 weekend, from Thursday, September 11 through Sunday, September 14, will also feature the New Hampshire 200 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; the New Hampshire 125 for the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series; and the New Hampshire 100 for the Featherlite Modified Series, NASCAR Touring.(NHIS PR), see the story about Richmond installing SAFER below and for past news, see my Softwalls/SAFER page.(7-3-2003)
  • SAFER at Richmond in Sept: A major safety upgrade awaits Richmond International Raceway, which will become the first short track fitted with the energy-absorbing Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barrier in the coming weeks. The 0.75-mile oval, where a handful of NASCAR’s most violent crashes have occurred the past two years, will have the SAFER system in place for its NASCAR tripleheader Sept. 4-6 [Cup,Busch,Trucks]. The barrier, which relies on steel tubes and foam to absorb the impact of a crash, will be attached to the outside walls in two 1,100-foot sections that will cover the track’s four turns. RIR President Doug Fritz said construction would begin a few weeks before the race weekend, which will feature NASCAR’s top three touring series. “We’re proud to be one of the first tracks to have the system installed,” Fritz said. “The installation of this state-of-the-art safety system is an example of Richmond International Raceway and International Speedway Corp.’s ongoing commitment to driver safety.” The “soft wall technology” has proved highly effective since being installed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 2002. Several Indy Racing League and Winston Cup drivers have endured hard collisions at IMS in the past year, but there have been no serious injuries. Because the barrier originally was designed for Indianapolis’ 2.5-mile oval, months of testing were required to adapt SAFER for shorter tracks. Dr. Dean Sicking, who was commissioned by the IRL in 1998 to build the barrier, led a team of researchers that conducted several tests on a replica of an RIR wall at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility in Lincoln, Neb. NASCAR President Mike Helton recently said the goal is to erect the SAFER barrier at several tracks by next spring. New Hampshire International Speedway, a 1-mile oval where Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin Jr. were killed in separate crashes in 2000, likely is next to implement the SAFER barrier, possibly for its Sept. 15 Winston Cup race.(Richmond Times Dispatch) and more about SAFER on my Softwalls/SAFER page.(7-3-2003)
  • A Sauter in the #4? UPDATE 3 Sauter to run Chicago: hearing that Busch Series driver [#’s 21 and #43] Johnny Sauter will test the #4 Pontiac for Morgan-McClure next week in Chicago.(6-19-2003)
    UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports owner Larry McClure said he is in no hurry to find a permanent replacement for driver Mike Skinner in the team’s #4 Kodak Pontiacs. McClure is using Trams-Am series driver Johnny Miller this weekend at Sonoma. “I don’t have any pressure from (our sponsor) other than pressure to perform well, but that can’t be any more pressure than we already put on ourselves to perform,” he said. McClure said he would try out a few drivers, including taking some to test, before settling on a replacement. Busch series driver Johnny Sauter is among those under consideration.(ThatsRacin.com); also hearing Stacy Compton may test with the team too.(6-21-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Stacy Compton is expected to be in Larry McClure’s #4 Kodak Pontiac at Daytona next week, in what is a one-shot ride for the moment.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2003)
    UPDATE 3: NASCAR Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter will drive Morgan-McClure’s No. 4 Pontiac next weekend at Chicagoland, team officials confirmed. Sauter recently tested with the team at the track where Sauter won the Busch race last year. “It was a good test. It’s a good opportunity for me to get in a Winston Cup car,” he said. “I was happy. I think they were happy. We’re going to run the race and see how it goes.”(ThatsRacin.com)(7-3-2003)
  • Bodine offers fans a chance to sponsor #11 car at Indy UPDATE another brick in the wall: Brett Bodine Racing will offer fans an opportunity to become a sponsor on his #11 Ford Taurus entry for the 10th running of the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 3, 2003. The #11 Ford entry will have a special “brick” paint scheme for the event and fans will have an opportunity to help Brett Bodine build his Brickyard 400 entry, brick-by-brick, by purchasing a “brick” in the paint scheme. In addition to being known as a sponsor of this special “brick car”, those participating will receive an autographed Sponsor Certificate and a 1:24 scale Racing Champions limited edition commemorative diecast replica of the “Brick Car” for each “brick” purchased. Information on how to participate can be found on Brett Bodine’s website www.brettbodine.com. “I really like running the Brickyard 400. In addition to the prestige of racing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I have a second-place finish at the inaugural Brickyard 400 and also broke the track record for the fastest stock car during qualifying in 2000,” said Brett. “In addition to this being the 10th running of the Brickyard 400, this will be my first race since I was injured at Michigan last month. We plan on testing Indy in a couple of weeks and the team has had additional time to prepare while I was healing. Since we lost our sponsor mid-season, we have had lots of inquiries from fans who want to help us while we are searching for a full-time sponsor, so we thought we could make this race and this race car something extra special for all of us,” he continued.(Brett Bodine Racing PR), see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-1-2003)
    UPDATE: Brett Bodine has been courting a new sponsor for his NASCAR Winston Cup team to replace Hooters, which unexpectedly dropped its deal late last month. Bodine wants to run in the lucrative event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 3 even if that deal doesn’t materialize. An Indiana marketing man came up with a clever idea for Bodine to raise money for that race by allowing fans the chance to become sponsors on his #11 Ford Taurus. The car will have a special brick-colored paint scheme for the event and fans can purchase one of the bricks for $500. The promotion, which began Tuesday, allows fans to put a name on a brick decal that will be applied to the body of the car. Fans also receive an autographed sponsor certificate and a commemorative replica of the car for each brick purchased. “The response has been incredible,” team spokeswoman Carolyn Carrier said Wednesday. “The fans have come up with some very creative ways to purchase a brick.” Carrier said some fans are forming groups and pooling their money to buy bricks. Carrier said if Bodine’s potential sponsor signs a deal before the race, the team may run a second car at the Brickyard 400 for Brett’s older brother Geoffrey.(Elmira Star Gazette)(7-3-2003)
  • American history on display at Daytona: As part of Fourth of July festivities, NASCAR fans attending this weekend’s activities at Daytona International Speedway will have an opportunity to view one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence. The display is part of The Home Depot’s sponsorship of the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, a traveling exhibit featuring the document.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-3-2003)
  • Sad News: Briggs Swift Cunningham, an icon of American road racing, died Wendesday of complications related to Alzheimer’s Disease in Las Vegas at the age of 96. Cunningham was at the forefront of the rebirth of road racing in America following World War II, and was renowned as a sportsman of the highest caliber. He represented America superbly in the 24 Hours of Le Mans throughout the 1950s and ‘60s as a driver and team owner, both with cars bearing his own name and others. His induction this year into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala., was richly deserved and long overdue. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Laura, of Las Vegas, son Briggs S. Cunningham III of Danville, Ky., daughters Lucie McKinney of Green Farms, Conn., and Cythlen Maddock of Palm Beach, Fla., stepsons Bill Elmer and Joe Elmer, 19 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren Services will be held on at 2:30 p.m. on August 8 at the Pacific View Cemetery, 3500 Pacific View Dr., Corona Del Mar, Calif. The family has requested that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in lieu of flowers. See full obit/column at vintagemotorsport.com.(7-3-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans Ramblings – Daytona: #30-Steve Park grabbed his second Bud Pole of the season tonight at Daytona Internations Speedway, and it was in the same car that Jeff Green put on the pole for the 500 in February. It’s the 4th pole of Park’s career (he was the fastest qualifier at Fontana when he was still in the #1 car in April). He’ll bring ’em to the green on Saturday Night for the Pepsi 400 with his Richard Childress teammate #29-Kevin Harvick alongside. For Harvick, this is his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at Talladega in April.
    #40-Sterling Marlin (4th) has his best starting spot since he started on the pole at Darlington last September….but qualifying was rained out there and the field lined up by points. This is his best starting spot on time since he lined up 4th at Chicagoland last July.
    #15-Michael Waltrip (6th) has his best starting spot since he started 6th at Atlanta last March.
    #49-Ken Schrader (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Martinsville in April.
    #42-Jamie McMurray (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Rockingham last February.
    #14-Larry Foyt (26th) has his career-best starting spot. His previous best was 29th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    A buncha Welcome Back’s this week: Buckshot Jones (19th) makes his first start since Martinsville in April of 2002, David Green (21st) makes his first start since Darlington in September of 2000, Mike Bliss (32nd) makes his first start since Martinsville last October, and Stacy Compton (43rd) makes his first start since Lowes Motor Speedway last October.
    STREAKIN…Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
    The Trouble Train had four cars on it tonight. Kerry Earnhardt (he’s 0 for 3 this season), Tony Raines (that team had made every race….quite a feat considering they’re grossly underfunded), Shane Hmiel (in the #43 this week), and Christian Fittipaldi (in the #44 this week). For Petty Enterprises, it wasn’t a night to remember. This is the first DNQ for the #43 since John Andretti missed the May race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 2001.(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(7-3-2003)
  • Jeff Gordon Promotes Safety Program: Jeff Gordon promoted the DuPont Get Real Behind the Wheel teen driver safety tour during an appearance on “The Today Show” on NBC Wednesday, July 2nd. The traveling exhibit is scheduled to make more than 20 stops in 11 cities through October, appearing at concerts, festivals, NASCAR races and other venues that attract young people. A 45-foot Get Real trailer houses a simulator in which teens can take two-minute test drives to assess their skills in hazardous driving conditions. . Details about the program are available at www.dupontgetreal.com.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-3-2003)
  • Fuji Film Scheme for #41 at Chicago: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced a new paint scheme for the #41 Target Dodge in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The green, white and red of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., will be the featured artwork on the #41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears for this one event. Fujifilm is recognized around the world for its technological innovation and high quality, offering a complete portfolio of imaging and information products, services and e-solutions to retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. Fujifilm has been a valued partner of Target Chip Ganassi Racing for over six years and the Tropicana 400 will mark Fujifilm’s second primary sponsorship of a Winston Cup car. “Fujifilm has been riding along with me all season and I’m proud to carry the company’s colors as the primary sponsor for the Chicagoland race,” said Mears. “Race fans instantly identify with the Fujifilm green so I’m sure I will have plenty of fans behind me at the Tropicana 400.”(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-3-2003)

    (7-2-2003)

  • Bootie Call on Speed: NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Robert “Bootie” Barker has been added to Speed Channel’s on-air team and is scheduled to host a regular segment each Saturday as part of SpeedNews – NASCAR Edition. The new segment—”Bootie Call”—debuts this weekend from Daytona and will be an insider’s look at what’s going on in the NASCAR garage area from week to week. “Most of what is said about what’s going on at the track is from an outsider’s perspective,” said Barker, crew chief for the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford piloted by Dave Blaney. “This will be an effort to get the SPEED Channel viewers even closer to the action.”(Speed Channel)(7-3-2003)
  • Some NBC Stuff: The technology that superimposes lines across football fields, to show where teams need to go to get first downs, is coming to NBC’s NASCAR coverage. NBC, picking up the second half of the NASCAR season starting with Saturday’s Pepsi 400, has used the lines on Olympic ski jumping and swimming. On NASCAR, it will show viewers where drivers, coming out of caution flags, begin to break formation and accelerate to resume racing. NBC will also use a ”virtual engine” — a computer simulation letting viewers see re-creations of what’s going on under the hood without the grease — as well as put an aluminum engine in the broadcast booth, also for educational purposes. NBC producer Sam Flood also promises the network will put ”more celebrities” in the race car that analyst Wally Dallenbach drives around tracks before races for taped features. Says Flood, likely speaking for many viewers: ”We like to have Wally scare the [heck] out of people.” But not sponsors: Amidst speculation that NASCAR broadcasters sometimes give more exposure to race teams whose sponsors are also TV advertisers, Flood says he’s ”never had any pressure from anyone” to do such a thing.(from USA Today)(7-2-2003)
  • Watch car get fixed: Watch the Andy Petree Racing/Menard”s sponsored #33 Road Course Cup Car get new sheet metal at Body Dynamics Racing Bodies on cam.(7-2-2003)
  • Elliott’s Foot – update: “I’m telling you what, these guys have done a fantastic job of keeping us moving forward. I struggled trying to get a feel for what I had to do to drive with this foot, and I feel like I was a little bit of a negative to this team. We kept on plugging away at it though and Sonoma was a good day for us. We needed that little boost after what we’ve been through the past month or so. I’m anxious to keep that going into the part of the season where’re we’ve done pretty well in the past.” says Bill Elliott, driver of the #9 Summer Days Sales Dodge Dealers Dodge.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(7-2-2003)
  • Jeff Green injury update; going synthetic: Jeff Green, driver of the #1 Pennzoil DEI Chevy, about his broken tailbone: “I feel very good this week. Having the past two weeks off was actually a blessing for me. I am able to do things this week that I wasn’t a week ago, and a week ago I could do things that I wasn’t able to before. Truly it’s not an issue for me. I feel great.” Green returns to action in the Pennzoil Synthetic Scheme car this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The specialized silver paint scheme promotes Pennzoil’s synthetic brand of lubricants, which protects a car’s engine through extreme temperatures. This same paint scheme has previously been used during the Coca-Cola 600.(Jeff Green site), see images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-2-2003)
  • A Dream Date with Mears: Into the rugged adventurer, sultry music lover or international soap opera star? How about an incredibly fast NASCAR driver or a professional NBA star? Whatever type strikes your fancy, Regis and Kelly have got ‘em. Ready for the chance to go on a dream date with one of these five eligible bachelors? The NASCAR driver is….Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodge in the Cup seires. See more at Dream Day Search, what? no Jayski….more like a mightmare…(7-2-2003)
  • Twilight Rides at Daytona: After the the Pepsi 400, fans get a chance of their own to ride the historic high banks of Daytona International Speedway under the lights with the Twilight Richard Petty Driving Experience ride-along program. For the second straight year, the RPDE program will offer rides to guests under the lights on Sunday, July 6 and Monday, July 7 from 5-10pm. The Twilight Richard Petty Driving Experience costs $134, which is the regular price for Richard Petty Driving Experience at DIS. It’s recommended that fans sign-up in advance for an hour time slot to participate in the Twilight Rides, but walk-ins are allowed. Call DAYTONA USA Guest Services at (386) 947-6530 for more information or to sign up for Richard Petty Driving Experience Twilight Rides. Only individuals who purchase tickets for a Twilight RPDE ride can participate. Tickets are not transferable.(DIS PR)(7-2-2003)
  • Ward Burton Special Guest: #22-Ward Burton, along with recording artist Ricky Van Shelton, will be special guests for a “Return to Nature” benefit dinner in Lynchburg July 22nd, at Cattle Annie’s. Ward Burton, South Boston NASCAR driver – “We’re going to be able to help ‘Return to Nature’ which is good for the people of Virginia. I’ll be able to meet a lot of neat people down in the Lynchburg area. And I feel like every time I’ve done stuff for like Schewel’s down there, I’ve had a lot of people show out and a lot of race fans. And I think we’re going to have a great night, it’s going to be a lot of fun.” The “Return to Nature” benefit July 22 includes an autograph session with Ward, a NASCAR auction and Ricky Van Shelton book signing. Tickets are $60 per person, and can be purchased at Trackside Collectibles in Lynchburg. (wset.com)(7-2-2003)
  • Schrader and Sadler at South Boston UPDATE postponed: on Wednesday, July 2nd, Hermie Sadler and Ken Schrader will join the ARCA regulars to run a 150-lap ARCA Race at South Boston Speedway in VA. Plus Matthew Carter, son of longtime Winston Cup team owner Travis Carter [#26 and #66], is also entered.(7-1-2003)
    UPDATE: The July 2 ARCA RE/MAX Liberty 200 presented by Bank of America at Big Daddy’s South Boston Speedway has been postponed due to rain. The event has been rescheduled for Saturday September 20, 2003.(SBS PR), Why called so early? the racewas postponed due to the weather system associated with Tropical Storm Bill.(7-2-2003)
  • Florida Court Won’t Consider Earnhardt Case: The Flordia state Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider whether the law restricting access to autopsy photos is constitutional, letting stand a decision stemming from Dale Earnhardt’s death. The publisher of the Independent Florida Alligator was seeking to have the law overturned, but the Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, declined to take up the case. The court did not comment on its decision. The law generally bars public access to autopsy materials. Campus Communications asked the high court a year ago to review a decision by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach. The appellate court had upheld the law and said the unauthorized viewing of autopsy photos is a violation of privacy. The law was passed in 2001 following Earnhardt’s death in the Daytona 500. Newspapers sought access to the photos as questions arose over how the star driver died in a crash and whether better safety equipment might have saved him. Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, obtained an injunction barring medical examiners from making the photos public, then asked the Florida Legislature to pass a bill sealing autopsy photos, which it did in March 2001.(ThatsRacin.com/AP), past news on the autopsy photos and laws, see my Dale Earnhardt Tribute – Reactions page.(7-2-2003)
  • Waltrip going for a rare triple: If #15-Michael Waltrip wins Saturday night’s Pepsi 400, he’ll become only the second driver to win three consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup points races at Daytona. Cale Yarborough is the only driver to have a Daytona “triple”. Yarborough won the 1967 Firecracker 400, then swept the Daytona 500 and Firecracker 400 in 1968.(NASCAR PR)(7-2-2003)
  • Herman to run special scheme at Daytona UPDATE: #23-Kenny ‘Herman’ Wallace will run a special Stacker2 scheme at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona promoting the new energy drink, YJ Stinger. YJ Stinger, the newest energy drink from Stacker 2 [NVE Pharmaceuticals], is set to launch this summer and comes in three flavors: Pounding Punch, Sinful Citrus and Enraged Raspberry.(mentioned by Kenny Wallace in Speed Channel’s Inside Winston Cup TV progran)(6-24-2003)
    UPDATE: NVE Pharmaceuticals, the parent company of Stacker 2, “The World’s Strongest Fat Burner,” has announced it has created special paint schemes for Kenny Wallace and Scott Wimmer in NASCAR events at Daytona International Speedway this weekend and at Dover International Speedway in September. The special schemes will coincide with the launch of new energy drink YJ Stinger, an extension of NVE’s current Stacker 2 product line. Kenny Wallace will drive the #23 YJ Stinger Red Dodge in the Winston Cup Series race while Scott Wimmer will pilot the #23 YJ Stinger Green Chevrolet in the Busch Series race. YJ Stinger is a new energy drink that comes in three great tasting flavors: Pounding Punch, Sinful Citrus and Enraged Raspberry. It is scheduled to launch in stores around the country the middle of July. “Stacker 2 is about creating marketing programs that inject enthusiasm for our brands into our consumers, and we know they’ll be revved up about YJ Stinger when we unveil the YJ Stinger cars that Kenny and Scott will drive,” said Bob Emilian, Vice President of marketing for NVE Pharmaceuticals. “Once we have the fans energized, we’ll give them ample opportunities to use up that energy at our interactive exhibits outside the tracks.” The YJ Stinger energy drink can be sampled at tracks around the country. Look for the “Splash of Energy” display, scheduled to appear at 12 tracks.(Keystone Marketing), see images of the cars on my Paint Scheme Gallery, notice the nose/front shot, that grill sure looks like a Ford Taurus. Been told the car is a showcar ONLY and Wallace will be in a Dodge at Daytona, thought so, just having fun with the image.(7-2-2003)
  • NASCAR visiting NASA: #88-Dale Jarrett, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #12-Ryan Newman on Wednesday have been invited to take a special NASA tour at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. The group, which also will include Newman’s crew chief Matt Borland and Penske Racing South Vice President Don Miller, is scheduled to visit various facilities and sites at the Space Center including the Space Station Processing Facility, Shuttle Pad A, NASA Crawler vehicle, Orbiter Processing Facility and Astronaut Memorial. One of the highlights of the visit will be at the Orbiter Processing Facility. The drivers are scheduled to get the rare opportunity to actually sit in a shuttle cockpit behind the controls.(NASCAR PR)(7-2-2003)
  • Dry Spell at Daytona for Pontiac: There have been 38 Cup races since the last Pontiac victory at Daytona when Richard Petty drove the #43 STP Pontiac to a win, with President Ronald Reagan in attendance, on July 4, 1984. It was Petty’s 200th and last NASCAR Winston Cup victory.(NASCAR PR)(7-2-2003)

    (7-1-2003)

  • Testing at the Magic Mile: Racetrack officials imported pavement all the way from Trinidad and placed it around the turns at the New Hampshire International Speedway this spring. The hope was, in part, to create a track resistant to rising in hot temperatures, thus eliminating one of NHIS’s several notable problems. Then, folks at NHIS rolled out the red carpet — or at least the new, black pavement — for the five Winston Cup and Busch Series racers who accepted the invitation to test their cars on the track. Yesterday [June 30th], the selection of racers sped along the resurfaced speedway and, after zipping through a morning of test runs, issued a verdict on the track, a verdict much more mundane than the foreign-imported surface on which they drove. ”The track itself is the same track,” Ricky Craven said. ”There’s really not that much difference.” Among the five drivers — #32-Ricky Craven, #37-Derrike Cope, #77-Dave Blaney, #20-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon — reasons for accepting invitations to NHIS varied. Cope wanted to experiment with two car models [Chevy/Pontiac] and decide on which he preferred. Craven wanted to improve his team’s short-track program. Gordon aimed to make amends for his two disappointing races here last year. But the drivers also were valued for their responses to the track, and taken together, their input could be grouped into something of an NHIS State of the Union. In short, the feedback sounded a lot like last year’s, with a lot of recycled observations: The track is flat, challenging, and, at times, problematic. ”To me, this is one of the trickiest tracks on the circuit, it really is,” Gordon said. ”It’s very flat and has a tight radius, and if you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to go fast.” All four drivers who spoke with the media yesterday (Stewart chose not to) said the track was slippery in the morning but improved considerably following a few test runs.(Boston Globe)(7-1-2003)
  • Keller tests at Kentucky: Jason Keller was at Kentucky Speedway on Monday, June 30th, testing the #81 DEI Chevy he will run at Chicago next week.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(7-1-2003)
  • Compton in the #4 at Daytona as a pirate (puffy shirt?) UPDATE: Eastman Kodak Company and The Walt Disney Company announced a joint promotion of Disney’s epic motion picture, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, through Kodak’s NASCAR marketing program. A Pirates of the Caribbean ‘wrap’ will adorn the Kodak #4 car during the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5. The movie theme also will appear on the suit worn by driver Stacy Compton. “NASCAR is the perfect venue to build awareness for a fast-paced, adrenaline-rush-type of motion picture such as Pirates of the Caribbean,” said Eric Rodli, president, Entertainment Imaging and senior vice president, Kodak. “This is the first time ever that a Kodak race car has featured a motion-picture film theme – and we wanted to involve our studio partners in this exciting opportunity. Disney is one of our long-standing partners – in fact, Pirates of the Caribbean was shot and printed on Kodak film – so this promotion is just a great fit for both companies.” From producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Pirates of the Caribbean stars Johnny Depp as the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow whose nemesis Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) steals his ship, the Black Pearl. When Barbossa later attacks the town of Port Royal and kidnaps the governor’s daughter, her childhood friend (Orlando Bloom) joins forces with Captain Jack in a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl. The movie is scheduled for release on July 9. Disney and Kodak also will host a Pirates of the Caribbean show car at the movie’s premiere at Disneyland in Los Angeles. During the week of July 7, the show car will be on display at Walt Disney World in Orlando. (Business Wire)(6-25-2003)
    UPDATE – Official – Compton to drive #4 Kodak Pontiac at Daytona: Morgan-McClure Motorsports named Stacy Compton as the driver of the #4 Kodak Pontiac for the upcoming Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Compton, who currently races weekly in the Busch Series [#59 Kingford/Johnsonville Chevy], has 87 Winston Cup starts with one top-10 and two pole positions to his credit. Both poles were at Talladega Superspeedway in 2001. Compton will drive the #4 Kodak Grand Prix featuring Disney’s epic motion picture, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The special “wrap” will be the first time a Kodak-sponsored race car has featured a motion picture theme. Stacy Compton quotes: “I am excited to get a chance to work with Larry and Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Larry and I have known each other for many years. I raced at Lonesome Pine Speedway every weekend and would stop by their shop on the way to the track. It is. nice having a Virginia-based team paired with a Virginia driver. Morgan-McClure is a good organization. To have the opportunity to work with a sponsor the caliber of Kodak is exciting also. The Pirates of the Caribbean car is probably one of the coolest cars I have ever seen. It is sure to be a big hit.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR), past news about the team on my #4 Team News and Links page and see images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-1-2003)
  • Update on the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert: Just like Dale Earnhardt used to rack up victories at Daytona International Speedway and bring fans to their feet, his Tribute Concert did the same. Tens of thousand [estimates are about 40,000] of fans packed the infield and trioval grandstands to bond and reconnect their love and devotion of the seven-time Winston Cup Series champion on Saturday, June 28. FOX will telecast two hour primetime special on Thursday, July 10, at 8:00pm/et. The special, hosted by Teresa Earnhardt, will feature highlights from the music and memories of the seven-time Winston Cup champion from the Saturday, June 28th tribute concert at Daytona International Speedway. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation focusing on the charities that Dale championed during his life – children, education and wildlife preservation. The overwhelmingly large crowd at the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert was treated to seven, Grammy Award-winning acts entertaining them on an immense stage. Alabama, Kenny Chesney, the Goo Goo Dolls, Sheryl Crow, Brooks & Dunn, Hootie & he Blowfish and Delbert McClinton echoed their musical talents off the famed grandstands. Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s NASCAR Winston Cup stars Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Michael Waltrip even surprised the fans helping a couple of the headliners as they performed at the start-finish line of the “World Center of Racing,” Earnhardt and defending two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip will be performing a bit differently at the historic track this weekend as they will power their Winston Cup cars at speeds over 200mph to in attempts to be the first to cross the hallowed finish line at Daytona International Speedway in the “Pepsi 400”. Before Alabama took the stage, Teresa Earnhardt, president and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. welcomed the crowd. She appeared on stage between each act to pay tribute to her husband with video highlights and to introduce the next artist. When she first appeared, the fans roared a welcome to their hero’s wife before she even uttered a word. “Welcome,” she said, as the crowd applauded and yelled much like they did during driver introductions for Dale. “It is great to see and have you all here. It is just wonderful to see all of you here to pay tribute to Dale and enjoy the musical guests we have lined up for you to enjoy.” To kick off the festivities, four Navy F-14 Tomcats flew over the huge crowd. In honor of the event, the squadron was renamed E03 and Teresa called them in as they soared above in formation.(DEI PR and another article at the DEI site)(7-1-2003)
  • M&M’S Hoops For Hope raises over $45k: Elliott Sadler announced today a donation of $45,093 to the Autism Society of America, with the donations stemming from the M&M’S Hoops For Hope basketball game Sadler hosted on May 21, 2003. A combined effort of ticket and t-shirt sales, memorabilia auctions and private donations helped Sadler and his Hoops for Hope game raise money for autism research. Sadler will make the presentation via video to the Autism Society of America at their National Conference in Pittsburg on July 19, 2003. Autism hits home for Elliott Sadler as his niece Halie Dru — brother Hermie’s daughter — was diagnosed with the condition in 2001. When sponsor M&M’S signed on board, they asked Sadler what charity was close to his heart and how they could help support his efforts. With that conversation, the idea of M&M’S Hoops for Hope to raise awareness of autism was born. In addition to participating in the M&M’S Hoops for Hope game, Sadler attends various bowling and golf events to raise money for the fight against autism all year long.(see full PR at the Sadler Fanclub site)(7-1-2003)