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June 2003 News Archives


 

  • (6-30-2003)

  • Showcar site: one thing I never had time for is to keep track of showcars and schedules since there are so many out there, heard of a site that cover that called Outside the Pit Box, see it at www.outsidethepitbox.com, it will be linked on my Driver Appearances/Races/TV/Cruises/Links page from now on.
  • Hornish to Decide by August on 2004 plans: Chevrolet might need to move quickly with its possible Cosworth engine program to keep two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. in its camp for the 2004 season and beyond. Hornish, whose three-year contract with Panther Racing expires at season’s end, said his future will be shaped in August. “I’ll know soon, but no sooner than the beginning of August and no longer than the end of August,” he said before Saturday’s SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. That’s a window that coincides with a possible Cosworth debut in an IRL race. Chevy tested the engine June 19 at Chicagoland Speedway but has not applied to the IRL for a change (due to its relative lack of power against the Toyotas and Hondas). Chevy officials aren’t saying what their plans are, much less what their time schedule might be. Some competitors believe a Cosworth engine or two could race by the end of July, but they doubt enough can be prepared for all five Chevy teams by the end of the season. IRL officials have said it’s an all-or-nothing move for Chevy. Hornish said he knows the parameters of Panther’s contract extension offer. Team co-owner John Barnes can’t predict if it will be enough to keep Hornish from jumping to a Toyota or Honda team — or even a NASCAR team — and he’s not fretting over it, either. “Sam knows what this team is about and if he wants to stay, he’ll stay,” Barnes said. “If he doesn’t, that’s fine, we’ll move on. But at this point, we can’t worry about it.”(Indianapolis Star)(6-30-2003)
  • Brett Bodine Plans UPDATE: For now, Brett Bodine’s Winston Cup cars will sit idle in his Mooreseville, NC, race shop until another sponsor is signed. “The next 10 to 15 days are very critical to our future,” said Bodine, who is trying to accelerate a potential sponsor deal that was meant for 2004. Regardless, he is planning to compete in the Brickyard 400 in August with a one-race sponsor. He is scheduled to test there in mid-July. Bodine had been running a scaled-down Winston Cup schedule with his limited Hooters sponsorship this year. He’d been courting this potential sponsor prior to learning of Hooters’ decision to pull its money. “I feel real good about it (the potential sponsor), but I just hope the timing works out,” Bodine said. “They weren’t planning on this season and it might be tough to get them to speed up, that could be the issue. They are trying to make it happen. When you’re asking people for a lot of money there are issues. They’ve got to get their issues taken care of so that this thing can come around and be a good sponsor for us.” If the sponsorship comes through, Bodine said it will allow him to compete full time again. More importantly, he said it would be substantially more money than Hooters and his biggest deal ever, one that could take his team up a level. “It would be a long-term, multiyear deal,” Bodine said of the sponsor, which would be new to NASCAR and would begin no later than the Brickyard 400. If so, he would also compete in the Sirius at the Glen on Aug. 10, an event that wasn’t on his schedule with Hooters.(Elmira Star Gazette)(6-26-2003)
    UPDATE: Brett Bodine said yesterday [at the Canada Day Shootout at Cayuga Speedway, where his brother Geoffrey subbed for him] he has a new three-year deal on the table and should have it signed within 10 days.(Toronto Sun)(6-30-2003)
  • Auto Museum Renovation, scheduled to re-open in 2005: The Frederick Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum is undergoing a spectacular, $85 million transformation. Borrowing from the success of popular theme parks and advances in digital-age technology, the new Frederick C. Crawford Museum of Transportation and Industry will be a far cry from the auto-aviation museum located in Cleveland’s University Circle. The new museum, which will be in Cleveland’s vibrant downtown, will feature state-of-the-art activities along with a wonderful collection of classic autos and aircraft. It will stand a stone’s throw from Memorial Shoreway, one of the nation’s oldest expressways. The new museum, which will encompass some 150,000 square feet, will use digitalized and interactive displays to create an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages, director Ed Pershey says. Museum visitors will experience what it was like to ride in a one-cylinder automobile or compete in a 1930s air race. At the Assembly Line Diner, visitors can get in classic vehicles parked outside the eatery, turn on radios, and learn about the cars and their owners. The museum will feature eight “environments.” Among those is the Time Zone, which will house some of the Crawford’s formidable collection of automobiles, as well as aircraft and a locomotive. About 60 automobiles at a time, from the museum’s collection of 190 cars, which include everything from the world’s first enclosed car, an 1887 Panhard et Levassor, to the March Indy car Bobby Rahal drove to the win in the first Cleveland Grand Prix, will be on display. Meanwhile, all 15 of the Crawford’s classic aircraft will be on permanent display. The new facility will feature a multimedia theater located inside a 1930s airship, highlighting Cleveland’s role in aeronautics. From 1929 to 1949, the Cleveland National Air Races were a showcase of design and performance. The new Crawford museum was set to open in 2004; funding problems and a limping economy have pushed completion to 2005.(Autoweek)(6-30-2003)
  • CASCAR Race: The Dodge Canada Day Shootout started out being about Kenny, Sterling and Geoff[rey]. It ended up being a great battle of the Petes. Peter Gibbons of Stouffville led all but 12 of 200 laps to win the CASCAR Super Series race last night before 7,000 people at Cayuga Speedway. Pete Vanderwyst of St. Thomas, who hadn’t raced since May 18 in the Mopar 300 at Delaware, shook off the cobwebs to finish second. NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Kenny Wallace, Sterling Marlin and Geoffrey Bodine finished 18th, 23rd and 32nd respectively in the 37-car field. Last year, NASCAR’s Matt Kenseth drove around CASCAR champion Don Thomson Jr. of Hamilton with two laps remaining to win the inaugural Canada Day Shootout. Wallace started last in that 19-car field and passed 12, nudging a few out of his way, to finish seventh. “We just had to move ’em out of the way a little bit and get on with the program. I’m glad nobody got spun,” he said. “These are great race car drivers up here. You just can’t come in and whoop ’em.” Marlin finished fifth in the second 50-lapper. Bodine wasn’t happy with the car he was provided. He didn’t finish the second 50-lapper. “Hopefully the crew got it all glued back together,” he said before the 200. Adding to his embarrassment was the car stalled on the front straightaway before the feature.(London Free Press/Toronto Sun)(6-30-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans: Ramblings – Offweek: Our last free weekend of the season….hope you mowed the lawn cause that grass is gonna get awful long by the time we get to Homestead in November. And, a final chance for us to catch up on some oddball numbers….
    First, Mr. Lead Lap. [note: have a few of these pages/stats linked on my Stats Menu and Links page] You remember him….he’s the driver who always finishes as the last car on the lead lap (or, for you half-empty types, the first driver one lap down). Ol’ LL is coming off a horrible effort. He’s never liked the road courses, and last week at Infineon was no exception. He suffered through his worst finish since the season opening Daytona 500, struggling home with a placing of 30th. He fell 4 spots in the standings (he’s now in 14th), and that dismal afternoon moves his average finish to 16.3 for the season. As bad as that looks, our hero is actually on the improve from last season. After 16 events in 2002, he had 47 points less and was residing in 16th place with a 17.6 average finish.
    Some comparison of the point standings from last year at this time to the present. The first thing that jumps at you is that Matt Kenseth has nearly 200 more points as the leader than Sterling Marlin had last year. Might be why he’s got a 174 point advantage, huh? With his 2396 point total, recent history tells us Matt is right on schedule for where he wants to be in November. At this point in 2000, Bobby Labonte had 2400 markers, and in 2001 Jeff Gordon had 2351….and those drivers went on to win the Championship.
    In the Top-10, Kevin Harvick shows the most improvement from 2002. At this point last year he was 32nd in the points…he’s 9th right now (course he missed the Martinsville event because of that little run-in with NASCAR), while Bobby Labonte have gone from 20th last year at this time to 4th this season. Ricky Rudd has certainly not improved with his change of ride….he’s dropped from 7th to 26th in a year. But then, Dale Jarrett (his teammate last year) stayed put and he’s gone from 11th to 29th, so go figure.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(6-30-2003)

 


 

  • (6-29-2003)

  • Elliott sticks by Friend: For the past four weeks, Bill Elliott has traveled to the federal courthouse in Atlanta to sit in silent support of his long-time and close friend Curtis Colwell, who was convicted Wednesday on four counts that prosecutors say involved falsifying company records to save money on worker’s compensation insurance premiums. Elliott said Colwell was there to help when several members of his pit crew were struck and injured at Riverside in 1987, and he was there trying to get help for crewman Michael Rich, who was killed at Atlanta in 1990. “He was with me at Evergreen Speedway in Washington state in the 1980s when I wrecked and the car caught on fire,” Elliott said. “I was coming off Turn 4, and a guy hit me in the left front and caught me on fire. I was sitting there in the middle of the track burning, and Curtis came running across the race track and drug me out of the car.” Colwell spent countless hours with Elliott’s nephew Casey before the youngster died of cancer in 1996, and he was there with Elliott when Elliott broke his foot at Charlotte last month. “I don’t know that I’ve slept a wink this week until last night,” Elliott said Friday, adding that the distraction of the trial has hampered his ability to refresh himself between races. It’s not just the time I spent at the trial; it’s the anxiety, the worry, not just for Curtis, but for what this has done to his parents, Carlton and Odetta,” he said. “I just don’t think they’re bad people.” Elliott said that in recent years, the elder Colwells, who were not charged, have treated him like one of their own. The Colwells maintained that they trusted their insurance matters to others, including their agents and consultants Bill Plemons and Russell Smith, who both pleaded guilty in the case and testified against the Colwells. Elliott plans to speak for his friends at their sentencing hearing, even if it means missing qualifying or possibly a race.(see full story at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-29-2003)
  • Busch at F-1 Race: Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie/Rubbermaid Ford, was a fascinated visitor at the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. The 24-year-old from Arizona was on his first trip to Europe, taking advantage of a rare weekend off from NASCAR activities. Busch was impressed by the technology of the Formula 1 cars. “It is just surreal,” he said. Busch says that he began watching Formula 1 racing in 1993 when Nigel Mansell went to CART and has kept an eye on the F1 scene ever since. “I always try to catch it on TV ,” he said. Busch tested a Team Rahal CART car last winter at Sebring thanks to his Ford connections and he hopes that Jaguar Racing might give him the opportunity to have a run in an F1 car at some point. “I’d love to do a test if it was possible,” Busch said. “But I am an oval racer and I am committed to NASCAR until at least 2006.”(GrandPrix.com)(6-29-2003)
  • New Team? UPDATE 4: AutoRacing1 [who as we are told on their site, reported this first] is reporting Billy Bigley Jr will attempt to run a nearly complete Winston Cup schedule in 2003 driving a Ford for Arnold Motorsports. Bigley Jr will make his first Winston Cup appearance at Las Vegas, and will run a total of 34 point races in 2003 using car #79 [they have #78 as the car number, but been told it will be #79]. The team and its sponsor, who have been kept under wraps until now, will be announced on NBC the day after Christmas. Arnold Motorsports, new to the Winston Cup scene, confirmed today that Bill Bigley Jr would drive their #79 Ford in 2003. This information was shared with AutoRacing1 by the team manager and co-owner of Arnold Motorsports, Keith Coleman, from his Naples, FL location. Arnold Motorsports, co-owned by real estate developer Don Arnold, will have their race shop located in Statesville, NC. The team has procured Hopkins chassis’ for the majority of their race cars, and is looking to run Laughlin chassis’ for their superspeedway program. While Coleman couldn’t confirm who would be supplying Arnold’s engines, it appears that Robert Yates Racing will be supplying power plants for the team. Coleman also stated that the team is planning to field a second race team later in 2003, with its debut at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona. Even though Arnold Motorsports is still seeking a driver for their second Winston Cup entry, it is planning for their second team to run a complete schedule for the remainder of the 2003 season.(AutoRacing1 – need sub to read), NOTE: I had heard a few days ago that Bigley would run some BGN races in Yates equipment (from the defunct #98 Yates BGN team)(12-17-2002)
    UPDATE: been asked by some readers on this and got an answer: hearing that the team’s sponsorship deal is taking much longer to complete than originally thought and supposedly Bigley will still be driving the #79 Arnold Motorsports car this year, but the team is unsure which track the team will make their debut at.(AutoRacing1 – need sub to read)(3-12-2003)
    UPDATE 2 – announcement: Arnold Motorsports has scheduled a press conference on Sunday July 13th [not 6th] at Chicagoland Speedway to unveil their hiring of a new Vice President (a Stock car legend who makes his return to Winston Cup Competition), their driver and race schedule for the NASCAR 2003 Winston Cup and 2004 Nextel Cup Season.(SportsONE, Inc. PR)(6-27-2003)
    UPDATE 3 Driver/Consultant/Car named: Arnold Motorsports Is Pleased To Announce The Formation Of Their New Team Which Will Compete In A Partial NASCAR Winston Cup Series Schedule This Year And Go Full Time In 2004. In Addition To Announcing The New Team, Donald L. Arnold, Team Owner, Is Pleased And Privileged To Announce That NASCAR Great Bobby Allison Will Serve As V.P. And Consultant. “I’m Looking Forward To Them Putting This Deal Together,” Allison Said. Dodge Has Been Chosen As The Manufacturer Of Choice By Arnold Motorsports. Billy Bigby, Jr. Has Been Named The Driver And The Engine Program Of Choice Is The Arrington “A” Engine Program. “Bobby Will Consult With Us On Testing And Also Be A Spokesperson For Our Team With Sponsors,” Arnold Continued.(Bobby Allison Site)(6-27-2003)
    UPDATE 4: While Bigley has been reluctant to reveal the new team’s activities over the past few months, he recently confirmed that Arnold Motorsports now has four Winston Cup cars in its garage and a test is scheduled for the USA International Speedway near Lakeland in early July. He said two days of testing in Indianapolis also are planned next month. While Arnold could not be reached for comment in North Carolina, he has announced that a partnership with racing legend Bobby Allison has been formed. The pioneer of the famed “Alabama Gang” will serve as the team’s vice president and consultant. No official announcement has been made regarding sponsorship on the Arnold Motorsports Dodge.(Naples Daily News)(6-29-2003)


    (6-28-2003)

  • Thunder Road For Sale: Faced with mounting debt and minimal tourist traffic, Thunder Road USA is about to go on the selling block. The $12 million NASCAR racing attraction and museum celebrated its first anniversary in mid-May. Late last week, the Dawson County/Dawsonville [GA] Joint Development Authority, which oversees the property, voted to accept bids in full or in part on the 40,000-square-foot building and its 36-acre site. Friday, museum executives and area business leaders hoped this would not signal the end of the museum, located about 30 miles west of Gainesville on Ga. 53. The site will continue to operate during the bid process, which is set to begin Wednesday. Sealed bids will be accepted for 90 days. General manager Tom French said bids will be advertised in The Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and two Dawson County newspapers. The authority reserves the right to reject all bids if they do not satisfy Thunder Road’s outstanding debt services, said Dick Bergen, head of the four-member group. Thunder Road is behind on a $9.8 million loan owed in part to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The museum opened in May last year amid hopes of luring 150,000 to 250,000 visitors annually, generating hundreds of new jobs and increasing sales tax revenues. None of those expectations, however, have been met. Last year, about 48,000 people visited the complex. Staff has been reduced and operating hours scaled back.(Gainesville Times), see their site at ThunderRoad USA.(6-28-2003)
  • 2003 Race Fest at Chicago raises over #50k: For the second year in a row Race Fest at Chicagoland Speedway raised over $50,000 for the Mike Guglielmucci Sr. Racer’s Benevolent Fund. The fund was created eight years ago to honor the memory of Mike Guglielmucci Sr. and to benefit race car drivers who were injured in auto racing-related accidents. The fund has grown over the years to include scholarships to 12 students enrolled in the Automotive Program at Joliet Junior College and monetary donations to local high schools to improve their automotive programs and shops. Race Fest has grown from the basement of the local Moran A.C. to the Joliet Knights of Columbus to the Joliet Armory and now to it’s new home at Chicagoland Speedway. The Ninth Annual Race Fest was held Saturday, June 21, 2003 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill where over 700 race fans were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Activities included live and silent auctions, Chicagoland Speedway Pace Car rides, photos in Winner’s Circle with the Tropicana 400 trophy, riding shotgun with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, as well as drinks and dinner in the Chicagoland Speedway garages. For more information about the Mike Guglielmucci Sr. Racers Benevolent Fund or 2003 Race Fest, please call Mike Guglielmucci at (815) 467-2058 or visit www.mikegracefest.org.(Chicagoland Speedway)(6-28-2003)
  • Why No Fuel Injection In NASCAR? Steve Peterson, NASCAR’s technical director for Winston Cup, said one of the main reasons NASCAR hasn’t switched to a fuel-injection engine is the belief that it would be harder to control rules violations. “Fuel injection can be very difficult to police once it gets beyond the basic computer controls and programming,” Peterson said. “Computer code must be downloaded, analyzed and verified, and it will always be suspect. Fuel injection is a real opportunity to tune the system and attempt to add in driver aids and devices beyond the technology limits.” But other racing series are using fuel-injected engines without any problems. Making the switch would mean many NASCAR inspectors would need to be retrained, as would many of the mechanics who work in the sport. Even if NASCAR stays with the push-rod, carburetor engines indefinitely, the way the engines are produced could undergo changes. Most teams build their own engines from components supplied by the manufacturers. Some smaller teams lease engines from a team that builds motors. Toyota might want to do it the way it has in other racing series – build engines in house and supply them to teams through a sale or lease agreement. That could eliminate a lot of jobs in NASCAR, but it also could reduce the costs of team owners.(Dallas Morning News)(6-28-2003)

    (6-27-2003)

  • ARCA Driver up for #4 Ride/test: Keith Segars, who races on the ARCA Series, is among the candidates to replace Mike Skinner in the Morgan-McClure Motorsports #4 Kodak Pontiac. Segars was en route to Talladega Superspeedway Tuesday for two days of testing the race set-up Morgan-McClure plans to use for next week’s Pepsi 400. According to Segars, he will meet with team owner Larry McClure while at Talladega. The 40-year-old has never started a Busch or a Winston Cup race in his career, but he drives the #4 Monte Carlo on the ARCA RE/MAX circuit for the Morgan-McClure team. He has worked for the team for three years on research and design projects and car testing. The team called Segars about the test session after Skinner was released last week. “[McClure] is tired of going through recycled people,” Segars said. “They’re looking for someone with new blood. I’m familiar with Morgan-McClure and familiar with the team and the equipment. I’ve got great relationships with Larry [McClure] and with everyone at Morgan-McClure. I feel like I’m home whenever I’m up there.” Segars is one of several drivers who could replace Skinner for at least some races during the rest of the season. (Florida Times Union)(6-27-2003)
  • Final Sonoma TV Ratings: Final Nielsen Media Research figures show that Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway wound up as last weekend’s highest-rating sports program. MotorsportsTV.com says the race wound up with a 4.8 rating and 11 share, a 7 percent increase over 2002, to easily top the 3.2/8 that ABC drew for its final-round coverage of the Buick Classic golf tournament. The Web service says the race drew 5.084 million households.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-27-2003)
  • Andretti still looking: John Andretti said he has spoken to his cousin, Michael, but not about the opening Michael had on his Indy Racing League team. “He’s got a path he’s set on, and I’m not looking to change from one (series) to another at this point,” Andretti said. “I guess it might have looked like we were in a position to help each other out, but more people thought about that than we did.” He also confirmed talks with #4 NASCAR team owner Larry McClure, who has an opening from the firing of Mike Skinner. But just as McClure told The Star last week that he isn’t looking for a “recycled driver,” Andretti isn’t looking to join another struggling team. “Right now, I’m looking more at 2004 than 2003,” he said. “I’ve got to look at this as an opportunity. I don’t necessarily have to do something now.” That doesn’t mean he isn’t getting antsy. Andretti said this weekend, the last open date on the Winston Cup schedule ahead of 20 races without a break, is easier to take than the last two.(Indianapolis Star)(6-27-2003)
  • College Motorsports Program: Greenville Technical College, hoping to join the motorsports momentum, has started a racing technology program that offers instruction and insights — complete with racing “field trips” — into various aspects of what for some is a business and for many others is a weekend hobby. Ken Williams, the school’s motorsports industry liaison, sees Tech’s program, which began in May and will accelerate with more classes in the fall session, as attractive both to local short-track racers and crew people who want to learn more about the inner workings of race cars and to individuals interested in going into auto racing in an engineering or mechanical position. The program includes instruction in engine and drive train assembly, welding, suspension, sheet metal fabrication, chassis setup, painting and tires. On weekends, class members travel to race sites — Myrtle Beach Speedway and Road Atlanta, for examples — to learn about scoring, timing, pit work and track operations. Instructors with experience and expertise in various motorsports areas are teaching portions of the program. Local driver Mardy Lindley, for example, will lead a session on chassis setup for oval-track racing.(more at the Greenville News) and more info on many other programs on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(6-27-2003)
  • Bye-Bye NASCAR Cafe in Vegas? UPDATE Nope: The Sahara is moving to evict the NASCAR Cafe from its Strip-front property in Las Vegas, but the roller-coaster operator is fighting back. The 1,750-room hotel notified the roller coaster and restaurant operator, Dyer Ventures, on May 23 that it wants the property at 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South vacated by Monday. Gordon Gaming Corp., holding company for the 51-year-old Sahara, wrote Dyer on April 22 outlining nonmonetary defaults in the property’s 25-year lease. NASCAR Cafe said it offered to correct the alleged defaults in a “conciliatory reply.” But its response was a letter saying the lease was being terminated and the cafe was being evicted, said Efrem Rosenfeld, a partner in Rosenfeld & Money, the law firm representing the NASCAR Cafe.(more at the Las Vegas Review Journal)(6-17-2003)
    UPDATE: The Sahara Hotel and Casino and Dyer Ventures, Inc., owner of the NASCAR Cafe Las Vegas entertainment complex at the Sahara, today announced an agreement settling recent differences.  Details of the agreement will not be disclosed, but both sides emerged from a meeting Wednesday satisfied and optimistic about the future.  The NASCAR Cafe at the Sahara opened in March, 2000, with a 300-seat restaurant, 150-seat Carzilla Bar, Las Vegas fastest thrill coaster, SPEED The Ride, and the Las Vegas Cyber Speedway race simulator attraction. Many of the top names in the NASCAR Winston Cup racing series have visited the facility in its three-plus years of operation.(NASCAR PR)(6-27-2003)
  • A Friendly Contest: Friendly’s Ice Cream is offering children the opportunity to get more from their pre‘burger artistic moments than something for the family refrigerator. A coloring contest unlike any other in NASCAR history began Monday, June 23, and will continue through August 8. The response has already been very strong. Using a special coloring contest entry form at Friendly’s restaurants, kids can enter a coloring scheme for Derrike Cope’s #37 Friendly’s Chevy. The winning entry will be the design used on the car in the Sylvania 300, Sunday, Sept. 14, at the one mile New Hampshire International Speedway near Loudon, NH. “I’ve heard of ‘design a car’ contests before but this one is different,” said Cope, who said he is eager to see what his Chevrolet will look like in September. “Everybody on our team was so impressed with the idea, we wanted to add a little bit more. The Friendly’s folks were more than willing to work with us,” he said. Cope and his team will bring the #37 Friendly’s Chevrolet to the school of the contest winner, with permission from school officials. The coloring contest is the first by a NASCAR sponsor aimed directly at children, and including the appearance of the driver and team.(Williams Company PR)(6-27-2003)

    (6-26-2003)

  • Gibbs/Labonte extend contract thru 2008: Even though his current contract did not run out until the end of the 2004 season, Bobby Labonte and Joe Gibbs Racing wasted little time in renegotiating their existing contract to keep Labonte in the #18 Chevrolet Monte Carlo through the end of the 2008 season. With the new contract signed, the goal of course for Labonte and Gibbs is to bring more victories and more championship rings home to Joe Gibbs Racing in the years to come. “I feel great that I know where I am going to be driving for quite a few more years,” said a very happy Labonte. “Joe, Pat, J.D. and Coy have all been wonderful to work with and work for and they have made me feel like a part of their family since day one. I am very blessed to have been able to drive for Joe and be a part of such a great organization. He has taught me a lot over the nine years I have been here, not only about myself, but also more importantly about being a good Christian, a good husband and a good father. The wins we have shared and the championship are really incredible, but I appreciate those life lessons he has taught me more than anything else. For Gibbs, the feelings are mutual. Having seen the good, the bad and the ugly in professional sports, Gibbs knows how lucky he is to have Labonte representing him and all of JGR’s sponsors. “Bobby is a class act,” boasted Gibbs. “He is a guy that every kid in the country can look up to and every parent can feel good about. He has done a superb job for us and I don’t think I could ever thank him enough for what he has meant to Joe Gibbs Racing. We are happy to be able to make this announcement about Bobby staying with us for a while and we hope that shows our level of commitment to the fans, our employees and most importantly our sponsors that we will continue to field the most competitive teams in the industry.”(Camp & Assoc./Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(6-26-2003)
  • Special NASCAR TV Guides: As NASCAR approaches the second half of its 2003 Winston Cup season, TV Guide hits newsstands with its July 5 special Winston Cup mid-season issue (on sale June 30th), featuring two different collector’s covers. The sport’s two leading pairs-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip; and Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch-will each command a cover. In addition, newsstand issues of the magazine will include two special TV Guide bonuses. The first is a pair of cut-out trading cards, depicting Jeff Gordon’s #24 DuPont Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 Budweiser Chevrolet on one side, with racing statistics and exclusive quotes from each driver on the reverse. The second bonus feature is a two-sided pullout poster with a photograph of Earnhardt Jr. on one side and Gordon on the other. Both sides of the poster also include the schedule for the remainder of the Winston Cup 2003 season. In addition to giving complete up-to-date stats on the first half of the Winston Cup season, TV Guide auto-racing expert Robert Edelstein examines the effect of stress on NASCAR’s top drivers. As he reports, frustration got the better of Earnhardt Jr. last season after a vicious crash during the Winston Cup California race left him with a severe concussion and led to his drop from the top 10 in points. While his physical recovery played a role in his comeback this season, Junior’s the first to admit the big reason for his success is all in his mind: “A bad attitude is like a virus, and it all starts with me,” he tells TV Guide. “I felt that way at the start of this season; the results made me a believer.” This special mid-season TV Guide NASCAR report also examines whether anyone has a shot at beating Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Michael Waltrip at Daytona’s July 5 prime-time race. Edelstein, author of NASCAR Generations, looks at this winning team’s strongest competition and analyzes the five top contenders: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Ward Burton, Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace.(TV Guide PR)(6-26-2003)
      

  • Brett Bodine Plans: For now, Brett Bodine’s Winston Cup cars will sit idle in his Mooreseville, NC, race shop until another sponsor is signed. “The next 10 to 15 days are very critical to our future,” said Bodine, who is trying to accelerate a potential sponsor deal that was meant for 2004. Regardless, he is planning to compete in the Brickyard 400 in August with a one-race sponsor. He is scheduled to test there in mid-July. Bodine had been running a scaled-down Winston Cup schedule with his limited Hooters sponsorship this year. He’d been courting this potential sponsor prior to learning of Hooters’ decision to pull its money. “I feel real good about it (the potential sponsor), but I just hope the timing works out,” Bodine said. “They weren’t planning on this season and it might be tough to get them to speed up, that could be the issue. They are trying to make it happen. When you’re asking people for a lot of money there are issues. They’ve got to get their issues taken care of so that this thing can come around and be a good sponsor for us.” If the sponsorship comes through, Bodine said it will allow him to compete full time again. More importantly, he said it would be substantially more money than Hooters and his biggest deal ever, one that could take his team up a level. “It would be a long-term, multiyear deal,” Bodine said of the sponsor, which would be new to NASCAR and would begin no later than the Brickyard 400. If so, he would also compete in the Sirius at the Glen on Aug. 10, an event that wasn’t on his schedule with Hooters.(Elmira Star Gazette)(6-26-2003)
  • Bethea Remembered: In 1973, Randy Bethea, a black race driver from Newport, Tenn., rolled into Fairgrounds Speedway for a NASCAR race and bumped hometown hotshot Darrell Waltrip off the pole. Bethea, now 55 and still racing periodically, is one of a few — perhaps only four — black drivers who have competed at the 45-year-old track. Joe Henderson III, an 18-year-old Franklin High senior, was the latest, running a Late Model Stock Car feature earlier this month. A story in The Tennessean about Henderson’s race drew widespread response from fans who recalled Bethea’s Late Model Sportsman race with the present Late Model Stock Car division. The Late Model Sportsman division in which Bethea competed was a national touring series that eventually evolved into the NASCAR Busch Series. Ralph Earnhardt, father of the late Dale Earnhardt, won a Late Model Sportsman championship. The Henderson story inspired debate about who was the first black driver at the track and drew attention to how few black drivers have raced there over the years.(see full story at the Tennessean)(6-26-2003)
  • Sad News: Emanuel T. Zervakis, age 73, died June 25, 2003 following a lengthy illness. He is survived by three sons, Antonious “Butch” Zervakis and his wife, Tracy, Ronald and his wife, Beverly, Michael and his wife, Elva. He is also survived by his wife, Marie Zervakis of LaCrosse, Virginia. Included in the family are three grandsons and two granddaughters. Mr. Zervakis was a Richmond businessman, automobile racer, promoter and fostered the careers of many nationally known racecar drivers. Mr. Zervakis received early fame as a racer, known as “The Golden Greek.” He won his first Winston Cup race in 1961 at Greenville-Pickens Raceway in Greenville, S.C. He established Stock Car Products to build racecars and became a national figure on the racing scene for many years. The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 27 at the Bliley Funeral Homes’ Chippenham Chapel, 6900 Hull Street Rd. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 28, at 11 a.m. in the Joseph W. Bliley Funeral Homes’ Chippenham Chapel, 6900 Hull Street Road. Interment at Dale Memorial Park. Following the funeral, there will be a reception for close friends at Mr. Zervakis’ home.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-26-2003)
  • Ran Fans for a Cure raises $12k: Race Fans for a Cure raised $12,133.48 in four days at the Ford Centennial Celebration. All proceeds go directly to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. It is one of the largest amounts ever raised by the program at a single event. Race Fans for a Cure – a charitable initiative comprised of Ford Credit, the Komen Foundation, and Dale and Kelley Jarrett – has raised $46,594.17 so far this year, and more than $315,000 since 2000, for the Komen Foundation and the fight against breast cancer. More info on my Racing Charities page, next race is the Busch/Truck weekend at Milwaukee.(6-26-2003)
  • a car? or a coffee table? #10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson loved his superspeedway car ##4518. It was the white car he used to lead 38 laps and nearly win the 2000 Daytona 500. It was a car that ran well at most superspeedway races after that. But it was also the car he was racing in the top 10 at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona last year when he was wrecked on lap 8. Benson suffered three broken ribs on his right side in that wreck and missed the Chicago and New Hampshire races. The team retired the car, but Benson didn’t want to let go of his favorite superspeedway car. So what do you do when you are a race car driver who has a car you really likes but it’s too damaged to race again? It’s easy. You make it into a coffee table for your race shop. Last month, Benson took the damaged Valvoline Pontiac up to a salvage yard in Statesville, N.C. and crushed the car into a cube. Now he’s going to make it in a table to put it in his race shop. Benson is putting the finishing touches on the table and expects to be complete in a few months.(MBV PR) See images of the car and the coffee table on my #10 Team News and Links page.(6-26-2003)
  • Free Preview NASCAR in car in Demand: iN DEMAND will offer NASCAR fans and viewers a free-preview of the innovative and ground-breaking NASCAR IN CAR on iN DEMAND package “ television’s first enhanced multi-channel digital sports package “ on Saturday, July 5, for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The July 5 free preview of NASCAR IN CAR on iN DEMAND marks the start of the second half of the 2003 NASCAR season and the availability of the package to digital cable subscribers for the half-season rate of $89. NASCAR fans were first invited to preview the NASCAR digital package on iN DEMAND at the start of the season during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16, 2003, at Daytona International Speedway. More information at www.indemand.com.(6-26-2003)
  • Free Trackpass for Daytona: This year NASCAR.com is providing fans free access to TrackPass for the weekend of the Pepsi 400 on July 3-6. NASCAR.com users will have full access to all of TrackPass’ features, including PitCommandcoverage of the Pepsi 400 on July 5 at 8:00pm/et. Users will be able to view Live Leaderboard timing and scoring coverage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series practice and qualifying events, NASCAR Busch Series qualifying and race, as well as exclusive multimedia features such as live in-car race audio, condensed races, and searchable video clips. To take advantage of the free TrackPass trial, fans only need to log on to NASCAR.com July 3-6. Since its launch in February 2002, TrackPass has attracted over 150,000 signups.(NASCAR PR)(6-26-2003)

    (6-25-2003)

  • Robby Gordon’s Pit Crew Wins For Second Time After Outstanding Performance in Sonoma: Call it a double win for the #31 Cingular Wireless team during Sunday’s (June 22) Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Team driver Robby Gordon won the race on the twisting 11-turn road course and his pit crew won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE. “It took the entire Cingular Wireless team to win at Sonoma and the pit crew played a huge role in our victory,” said Gordon. “Pit strategy and pit stops are huge at Sonoma and the guys came through for me when it counted.. They’ve been awesome all year long and they were really on top of their game Sunday. They helped pull the Cingular car into Victory Lane.” Thanks to fast and accurate work by the Cingular Wireless pit crew, Gordon’s car, owned by Richard Childress Racing, spent the least amount of time of pit road during Sunday’s 110-lap race on the 1.949-mile road course. The total pit road elapsed time for the No. 31 Chevrolet was 104.101 seconds. Finishing second was the yellow #1 Pennzoil Chevrolet, driven by Ron Fellows, with a time of 107.361. Michael Waltrip’s NAPA Chevrolet was third at 108.861. It was the second time this season that Gordon’s pit crew collected the $20,000 first-place check for winning the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE. The team also won at Texas Motor Speedway (March 30). Gordon’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Josh Yost (jackman), Shane Westerberg (front-tire changer), Mike Barry (front-tire carrier), Ron Otto (rear-tire changer), Jason Fowler (rear-tire carrier) Larry Hartle (gasman) and Rich Burgess (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Kevin Hamlin. The No. 31 Cingular Wireless team is in third place in the McDonald’s/POWERADE season pit crew standings. Michael Waltrip’s pit crew continues to lead in the point standings and Dale Earnhardt Jr’s team is second.(DMF Communications PR)(6-25-2003)
  • Sadler signs up with Speed Parks: #38-Elliott Sadler has signed on as an official spokesman for NASCAR SpeedParks, currently located in Myrtle Beach, SC; Sevierville, TN; and Concord, NC. The 28-year-old driver of the # 38 M&M’S Ford joins Dale Jarrett and Tony Stewart as Official NASCAR SpeedPark spokesmen. Sadler began his racing career at the young age of seven and has accumulated more than 200 wins, racing his way up from Virginia go-kart tracks to NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series. As an official spokesman for NASCAR SpeedPark, Sadler will help promote NASCAR SpeedPark through use of his name and likeness in NASCAR SpeedPark’s marketing material as well as personal appearances. .Elliott Sadler is currently scheduled to do appearances at all three NASCAR SpeedParks on the following dates:
    NASCAR SpeedPark……….. Concord Mills ……….. August 6, 2003 ……….. 6-8 p.m.
    NASCAR SpeedPark……….. Myrtle Beach. ……….. September 1, 2003 ……….. 6-8 p.m.
    NASCAR SpeedPark……….. Smoky Mountains……….. September 10, 2003 ……….. 6-8 p.m.(Elliott Sadler Enterprises PR)(6-25-2003)
  • Scholarship Awarded: Shannon Bednarek, an 18-year-old Wisconsin native who is a student at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC, has won a $1,000 scholarship from a fund set up by Mark Martin and the family of Christian Martin Lovendahl. The scholarship honors Lovendahl, a Busch Series crew chief who died in an auto accident in 2000, and was set up by his parents, Joe and Glenda White, and his uncle, Martin.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-25-2003)
  • Another Candidate for the #4? Hearing that road racer David Murry has expressed an interest in driving the #4 Kodak car. Murry, who has ARCA and Winston Cup experience, reportedly had a recent conversation with Larry McClure. Apparently, the Atlanta resident is hoping to land one of the tryouts that McClure has indicated will take place in the coming weeks.(6-25-2003)
  • Pemberton Says Nadeau May Be Back Soon: Ryan Pemberton says that injured driver Jerry Nadeau is coming by the shop everyday, calls at every practice and qualifying session and is getting ansy to get back into the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac. Pemberton said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Nadeau back at the track very soon.(Totally NASCAR via Insider Racing News)(6-25-2003)
  • Compton in the #4 at Daytona as a pirate (puffy shirt?): 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)
  • More Fox TV Ratings Info: Despite having three races negatively impacted by America diverting its attention to Operation Iraqi Freedom and having a major race (Coca Cola 600) cut in half due to rain, NASCAR on FOX posted a remarkable 5.8 household rating and 14 share, placing it even with last year and 2001 (5.8). Of all the sports directly impacted by the war in Iraq, NASCAR is the only one that didn’t show a ratings decline for the year. While NASCAR’s regular-season average is flat, the NCAA Tournament dropped -23% on CBS, the NHL regular season was down -21% and the NBA regular season was down -10% on ABC, and PGA golf is down -6% to date. This season’s rating is based on a fast national for Sunday’s race provided by Nielsen Media Research.(see more on MotorsportsTV)(6-25-2003)
  • Terry Labonte helps raise $61,750 for benefit: Excited laughter and the noisy sound of motorcycle engines were a good enough mix on Wednesday, June 18th, to get the kids at the Ronald McDonald House smiling. But the smiles got even brighter when famed NASCAR driver Terry Labonte handed over a check for $61,750 to benefit the children and families who call the house their home. Labonte and his wife, Kim, were a part of the second annual Terry Labonte/Ronald McDonald House Roam For A Home benefit to help the house. The group raised $59,050 more than last year. Ninety-two motorcycles and 152 people participated in the 650-mile, mid-April ride from Corpus Christi to Austin, Austin to San Antonio and back to Corpus Christi. The non-profit Ronald McDonald House in Corpus Christi provides a place for families to stay while their children receive medical care at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. It is at 3402 Fort Worth St. Donations go to running the house and providing food for the families. Labonte said that he and his wife help a lot of charities but this one was special because it gave them both a chance to help children and a high school friend, Randall Hicks. Hicks is the co-founder and president of the Roam For A Home Foundation.(Corpus Christi Caller-Times)(6-25-2003)
  • ‘Hollywood Hammond’ beats Larry Mac: Radio and television was the theme for round three of the 10th annual Summer Shootout Series Tuesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as local radio personality Mr. Bill won the wild-and-wacky School Bus race and FOX commentator Jeff Hammond topped the NASCAR Celebrity Grudge Match. Utilizing skills honed during several seasons of Summer Shootout Legends Car competition, Mr. Bill, the afternoon D.J. on radio station WRFX 99.7 The Fox, lined up third, took the lead early and was never seriously challenged in the eight-lap battle for the behemoth creations. Rozak of radio station WEND 106.5 The End settled for second with Dirty Dan the Fan third in a race that miraculously ran without a caution flag. In their third annual NASCAR Celebrity Grudge Match, Hammond topped fellow FOX commentator Larry McReynolds in a best two-out-of-three showdown. Driving Winston Cup-style convertibles, McReynolds won the first three-lap race with Hammond topping the second. The two former Winston Cup crew chiefs traded paint early in the finale before Hammond pulled away and stopped McReynolds’ winning streak at two.(LMS PR)(6-25-2003)

    (6-24-2003)

  • Hmiel in the #43 at Daytona: Shane Hmiel, the 23-year-old hard-charger whose #48 Innovative Motorsports team has been a major player in the Busch Series, will drive the Daytona race for Petty Enterprises in the #43 Berry Burst Cheerios Dodge in the July 5 400-mile Winston Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. Christian Fittipaldi, who has been driving the #43, will move to the #44 Bugles Dodge for this race. “We are very excited to have a young talent like Shane Hmiel drive the #43 for us at Daytona,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “George deBidart and Innovative Motorsports were very gracious in allowing us to ‘borrow’ Shane for this event. They have a tremendous program there, so I know Shane will be used to what he sees on the Winston Cup side of the fence.” Hmiel will be driving a special paint scheme carrying the Berry Burst Cheerios colors. Normally, the #43 carries the Cheerios and Betty Crocker paint scheme.[see image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery] “Daytona and Petty are some pretty special names, and I know Cheerios is especially excited since this is one of their Berry Burst races,” Hmiel said. “I’m really excited at this opportunity, and I am so glad George deBidart and Kyle Petty could work this out.” Hmiel is currently 11th in the NASCAR Busch Series points, notching two top-five finishes and five top-10s in his 16 starts this season.(Williams Company PR)(6-24-2003)
  • More on possible #4 Drivers UPDATE Testing at Chicago with Sauter and Talladega with Compton: Morgan-McClure Motorsports team general manager Larry McClure spent part of Monday pondering one of the hottest questions in NASCAR. Who will replace Mike Skinner in the No. 4 Kodak Pontiac? “We’re looking at a couple of drivers,” McClure said. “We’re not going to do business like we have in the past where we just offer somebody a contract and do the deal. You are stuck with each other in that type of situation. We’re going to wait until we have confidence that we’re making the right move and choice.” At this point, the choices include Busch Series regulars Stacy Compton and Johnny Sauter along with ARCA Series veteran Keith Segars. McClure said that unemployed Winston Cup veteran John Andretti, favored to replace Skinner last week, is out of the picture. “We’re going to test at a couple different places this week, including Wednesday and Thursday at Chicago with Sauter,” McClure said. “Our plan is to put some different people in our car. That’s going to be our selection process. We may do it for six races, eight races or the rest of the season. If everything works out, those drivers I mentioned will potentially be the one that we will use.” A face familiar to veteran NASCAR fans recently returned to the Kodak shop. In fact, veteran crew chief Tim Brewer has been working closely with McClure and longtime crew member Robert Larkins since just before the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in late May.(Bristol Herald Courier), see past news on my #4 Team News and Links page.(6-24-2003)
    UPDATE: This will be a very busy week for area driver Stacy Compton. 13 Sports has learned that Compton will head out Tuesday for Talladega, where he will test the #4 Kodak Pontiac for Morgan-McClure Motorsports. That could lead to Compton driving the 4 car in the Winston Cup Pepsi 400 at Daytona a week from Saturday. Johnny Sauter may also test the car next week in Chicago. After testing at Talladega this week, Compton heads out early Friday for this Sunday’s Busch Series race in Milwaukee.(ABC 13)
    AND Stacy Compton is looking to return to Winston Cup racing. If Morgan-McClure Motorsports wants him, he could accept a deal. Compton is contemplating the possibility of signing a deal with Morgan-McClure sometime in the near future. “It’s a real good possibility you may see me in that four car,” Compton said in a phone interview Monday night. “Kodak’s a great company to work for. If I could get some seat time, it would help both programs. I’ve entertained ideas of running both series, but there’s not really been any serious talk. As we’re going and testing, talks will get more serious.” Compton is already involved in a full-time Busch Series ride, driving the #59 Kingsford/Johnsonville Chevy owned by Tad Geschickter. “I’ve got a really good Busch deal right now. If a Winston Cup ride becomes available and if they asked me to do the Cup ride and not the Busch ride, I would stick with the Busch car. In case of a double duty, I’ve still got time left on my contract with the Busch car,” he added. “Tad’s been awful good to me. I would love to run both series.” A two-day test session in the #4 Cup car is scheduled for Compton on Wednesday and Thursday at Talladega Superspeedway. Whether Morgan-McClure will approach him about finalizing a deal remains uncertain. (Lynchburg News and Advance)(6-24-2003)
  • Testing at Chicago – June 25th: on Wednesday, June 25, Cup Series drivers #29-Kevin Harvick, #16-Greg Biffle and a driver from Bill Davis Racing (to be named later) will be testing at Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for the July 13th Tropicana 400, NASCAR Winston Cup Series event. Also testing will be Busch Series drivers #18-Coy Gibbs and #4-Mike Wallace for the July 12th Tropicana Twister 300, NASCAR Busch Series event. Two Busch Series drivers will also be on hand testing Winston Cup cars. Johnny Sauter will testing the #4 Kodak Pontiac for Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Jason Keller will be testing the #81 Kraft Chevy. This is the third test session of the 2003 season at Chicagoland Speedway and it is not open to the general public.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(6-24-2003)
  • Craven out, Gordon in: with #31-Robby Gordon’s win at Sonoma, the #31 RCR team moves into the 2004 Winner’s Circle program and it knocks the #32 PPI Motorsports team out. The #31 is 13th in Owners Points while the #32 is 14th, both have one win in 2003. For more in the program, see my Winners Circle page.(6-24-2003)
  • Laps/Miles Led – Bonus Points: of the 4738 laps run in 2003, #24-Jeff Gordon has leds the most laps with 716, followed by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 527. Earnhardt Jr. leads the Bonus Points over Gordon 70 to 55. Gordon also has led the most miles at 691.156, followed by…..you guessed it, Earnhardt Jr. at 668.486 miles. Chevy has led over half the laps run with 2648 [helps having Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart this year]. Pontiac has led the least amount of laps [no Stewart/Labonte] with only 24. When #01-Boris Said led at Sonoma, it was the first time since California Speedway in April that a Pontiac driver has led a lap. But again there are only five full time Pontiac teams [01,4,10,14,32]. See Laps Led by Driver and Manu, Bonus Points standings, Miles led by Driver, Laps led by race on my Lap/Bonus/Miles Leaders Page.(6-24-2003)
  • Big Changes for SPEED Channel’s Weeknight Lineup: the Sports Business Daily cites a Sports Business Journal article that breaks the news of some big programming changes during weeknights at SPEED Channel. Here’s a summary:
    — Less racing and more magazine shows during prime time.
    — Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain will now be live from 9:00 – 10:00 each night.
    — The “Two Wheel Tuesday” and “Dirty Thursday” programming of motorcycle and dirt track racing is “eliminated.”
    — A NASCAR programming block will air each weeknight from 6:00 to 8:00.
    — There will be more NASCAR programming during the day on Fridays.
    — There will be no more extended replays of the Winston Cup race on Wednesday nights. Instead, only a highlights package with “the most exciting portions” will be shown.
    AND more MotorsportsTV heard from Speed….
    — The motorcycle shows are being re-worked and will air in the 10:00 p.m. slot on Tuesday.
    — “Two Wheel Tuesday” will continue in some form, but the entire day won’t be dedicated to motorcycles.
    — There will be racing every night from 10:00 to midnight.
    — No original programming is being removed.(MotorsportsTV)(6-24-2003)
  • Nextel and the Ponies: Less than a week after announcing a blockbuster sponsorship deal with Nascar, Nextel Communications has signed a multiyear marketing deal with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Nextel says it will become the title and divisional sponsor of the Nextel Breeders’ Cup Distaff, part of the $14 million Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, beginning in 2004. Nextel will get promotional and hospitality benefits, as well as print media and commercial advertising during televised horse races, including scheduled races on NBC, CBS and ESPN. Nextel joins other National Thoroughbred Racing Association sponsors that include John Deere, FedEx and Guinness. Last week, Nextel signed a deal to become the official sponsor of what was previously titled Winston Cup Series. Under that 10-year deal, the Nascar racing circuit will be renamed the Nextel Cup Series, beginning in 2004. It replaces R.J. Reynolds, which had sponsored the races since 1971.(Washington Business Journal)(6-24-2003)
  • New from the Sporting News: NASCAR Superstars – Start your engines with our glitzy review of the top personalities in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. Get up close and personal with 15 of the sport’s biggest drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and many others, and learn what it’s like to be a superstar of NASCAR. From the dirt tracks to the stage of Saturday Night Live, we bring you the inside scoop and photographs that bring you face-to-face with all of your favorites in the sport. Choose from among three different covers. More info at the Sporting News site. For more racing books, videos, magazines, see my Racing Bookstore [proceeds to charity].(6-24-2003)
  • Sad News: Sprint car driver Joe Whitcomb died after crashing during a weekend race at Selinsgrove Speedway in Selinsgrove, PA. The 35-year-old driver was injured Saturday night and died Monday at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, racetrack officials said. Whitcomb won two 358 Sprint Car features at Selinsgrove Speedway during the 2002 season. His last victory was June 22, 2002, one year to the day before the crash that took his life. The previous racing-related fatality at Selinsgrove Speedway was in 1976, according to track records.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(6-24-2003)
  • Gordon and the F-1 Rumor: #24-Jeff Gordon wants to set the record straight about a proposed Formula One deal offered to him by BAR-Honda. The Toronto Sun reported last week that Craig Pollock, BAR’s former team principal, said he had offered Gordon a contract to drive with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve when the team was formed in 1999. Gordon, however, told The Sun it wasn’t quite as simple as the way it was described by Pollock. Gordon said that while there were discussions about him going to F-1, the deal Pollock offered was dependent on him driving in the CART Champ Car series for two years as a teammate for Toronto’s Paul Tracy at Team Kool Green. “There were discussions about it. I was flattered that they wanted to talk to me about F-1,” Gordon said. “But it never got to the stage of ‘Okay, you’re going to come over here and you are going to test our car and be our driver.’ “(Toronto Sun)(6-24-2003)
  • Herman to run special scheme at Daytona: #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)
  • Sonoma TV Overnight Ratings: NASCAR on FOX from Infineon Raceway finished as the highest-rated sports program for the weekend, checking in with overnights of a 4.8 rating and 10 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. This is up almost 7 percent over last year’s 4.5 overnight rating. Last year’s final rating had no small market bump and finished with a 4.5 rating and 12 share. The closest competitors this week were PGA golf (3.7), Major League Baseball (3.6), and the U.S. Gymnastics Championship (2.3). (This year’s ratings provided by Sports Business Daily)(MotorsportsTV)(6-24-2003)
  • Said to run the #01 at Pocono and Watkins Glen? Jeff Hammond reports on FoxSports.com that it was heard through the grapevine at Sonoma that there’s an outside possibility that Boris Said may run Pocono as well as Watkins Glen for the #01 team so he may get a couple more opportunities not only to sit on another pole but, maybe, to win a race or two.(FoxSports)(6-24-2003)
  • Fireproof Hoods: Ryan Newman pulled aside veteran driver Bill Elliott at Infineon Raceway last weekend to ask him about the fireproof hoods, which are common in other series but are used by only a handful of NASCAR drivers, Elliott and Kyle Petty included. Newman, who sustained slight burns in an accident June 8 at Michigan International Speedway, says his unwillingness to try wearing a hood was “just more laziness than anything.” Winston Cup series director John Darby says NASCAR is not requiring drivers to wear the hoods and notes that many helmets have fireproof lining that serves the same function. “I think every driver is aware of the fact that they have the option to pick their own protective clothing,” he says.(USA Today)(6-24-2003)
  • Scanners Obsolete? Um…NO: there were some rumors floating around that once Nextel takes over in 2004 that all the scanners fans own will be obsolete starting in February 2004. That’s not the case, seems someone was spreading this rumor on many message boards. A response from Nextel: “No, we understand that fans listening in to the conversations is one of the most exciting aspects of the sport, and we wouldn’t want to change that. We haven’t begun the planning for how we would approach this from a technology perspective, but we know the most important thing we can do is to put the fans’ interests first. That’s the priority that will drive all decisions and plans.(6-24-2003)
  • The Great Race 2003 UPDATE: A unique automobile race, beginning on Saturday, June 21st – one that emphasizes precision over absolute speed, an arduous 15-day, 15-state, 4000-mile precision speed rally with a purse of $250,000 divided among the top finishers in the field of 110 teams. One of the event’s special features is that it is open only to historic and vintage automobiles, 45 years or older. In fact, three of the cars competing this year, a 1909 Lozier driven by Corky Coker, a 1910 Selden driven by Frank Currie, and a 1911 Marmon Speedster driven by Chic Kleptz, were manufactured within ten years of the historic 1903 speedfest. And another six were built before 1920. Teams are divided into four classes, but despite the wide range in age and performance of the cars, every team is able to compete for the overall Grand Championship because technically the Great Race takes the form of a Time-Speed-Distance rally. Event officials use modern technology, including video cameras and electronic timers at checkpoints, to keep score. Jack Roush, one of NASCAR’s prominent team owners has a direct interest in The Great Race.. Roush, who fields five Winston Cup teams, has two teams entered in The Great Race and is a member of Rally Partners as well. Check out daily reports during the event on the Great Race’s website at www.greatrace.com.(6-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Jack Roush not only supports the Great Race; for one day, at least, he plans to be a participant. Roush, along with Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Grainger Ford fielded by Roush Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, will make the trip from their corporate offices in Concord, NC to Darlington Raceway in high style, driving a maroon 1940 Ford Deluxe 5/W Coupe to the track “Too Tough To Tame” as the Great Race visits Darlington on Wednesday, July 2.(Darlington Raceway PR)(6-24-2003)


    (6-23-2003)

  • Helton: There’s no “gentleman’s agreement”: The whole issue – this “gentleman’s agreement” Winston Cup drivers have about passing during a caution period — remains as clear as the northern California fog that rolls over the golden hills above Infineon Raceway. Does the “gentleman’s agreement” still exist? It happened again Sunday during the Dodge/Save Mart 350. Race-winner Robby Gordon, in a move called “chicken” by Kevin Harvick and “crap” by Jeff Gordon, passed Richard Childress Racing teammate Harvick on the way back to the start-finish line after a yellow flag was waved on Lap 71. It was the third time this season that drivers used their interpretation of the agreement to further their own interests. At Dover earlier this month, Tony Stewart got bent out of shape when leader Ryan Newman – who had a lap on Stewart – would not let him back on the lead lap during a caution. In March at Texas, second-place Jeff Gordon – of all people – passed leader Matt Kenseth under yellow, although Gordon was trying to keep some lapped traffic lapped. Let’s let Winston Cup Series director John Darby explain what’s supposed to happen when a yellow flag flies: “Once a caution flag is displayed, the only cars technically under caution are the ones who have driven under the caution flag,” Darby said. “If a big group is beyond the start-finish line and the caution flag comes out, they’re still officially under green until they get back to that start-finish line. At that point, the drivers have a choice of either easing up, everybody getting in line and coming back; or in many situations racing back.” At a drivers meeting Sunday before the Sonoma race, Robby Gordon said he repeatedly asked if it was OK to pass during a caution. NASCAR president Mike Helton responded to Gordon and the rest of the drivers: “There is no gentlemen’s agreement, we figured that out a couple of races ago. Guys, this not a new gig, this is the same deal we’ve done before. I know everybody wants to be up front and you want to get every chance you can get. In the event we feel like you got one unfairly, we will react. In the meantime it’s up to you guys to work it out up there. If you’re going to be obnoxious about it, we’ll get into the middle of it. Nine out of ten times we’ll let you guys have it.”(much more at ThatsRacin.com)(6-23-2003)
  • #9 and #19 get a Mane: hearing #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jeremy Mayfield will sport Lion King paint schemes at Kansas Speedway in Oct.(6-23-2003)
  • Popcorn colors: hearing the #43-Christian Fittipaldi will have the Pop Secret colors [as the #43 normally does for this race] at Rockingham’s final November race, in the Pop Secret 400 [which goes to California in 2004](6-23-2003)
  • Hands of Victory Charity: hearing #45-Kyle Petty will run a “Hands of Victory” scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Oct. A portion of all sales will be donated to the Hands of Victory Charity – not sure what that is.(6-23-2003)
  • ZZ Top out – Sugar Ray in: ZZ Top will NOT be the featured band for #29 Kevin Harvick for the Chevy Rock & Roll Program – Sugar Ray will now be on the car, Ozzy Osbourne was rumored in the past.(6-23-2003)
  • Safety Meeting: 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)
  • Hermie Sadler to skip Daytona for his own team, looking: Despite participating in a test session last week at Daytona, #02-Hermie Sadler will not enter his Pontiac in the Pepsi 400. “We went and tried some things we thought would improve our speedway program, but we.are not where we need to be at this point. We did not want to risk going not prepared,” stated Sadler “Hopefully another opportunity will become available for Daytona”. Sadler will return to his short track roots July 2nd as he has entered the Liberty 200 ARCA race at South Boston Speedway.(6-23-2003)
  • Pruett wins at Sonoma….in Trans-Am: Scott Pruett led from start to finish to capture the 100-mile Trans-Am race that followed the Winston Cup NASCAR race. Boris Said finished second. Said completed running in all three main races of the weekend by finishing in the top 10 of each. He earlier was sixth in the NASCAR Winston Cup race and was second in the NASCAR Southwest Tour race on Saturday. “When I got the Winston Cup pole, my head wasn’t really into my (Trans-Am) car,” Said said, “and I couldn’t do a good enough job setting it up.” Pruett said he was thrilled with his ride in the Trans-Am car but disappointed in his Winston Cup race in which he finished 34th in a #09-Target Dodge for the Chip Ganassi team. “We had a great race car, and I think Kurt (Busch) got us confused with Jimmy Spencer’s big red target from last year. A tangle with Busch sent Pruett to the pit in the Cup race after he had moved up as high as fourth. Busch had damage and finished 28th.(Oakland Tribune)(6-23-2003)
  • Fins Increased: NASCAR recently told teams to increase the rear window fins from 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches for the Pepsi 400 July 5 at Daytona. While officials were researching the possibility of adding a third roof flap to the cars for restrictor-plate races, they discovered that adding an inch to the fins improved the efficiency of the two existing flaps. NASCAR still is working on adding a third flap, but for now the larger fins should make the cars more stable.(Sporting News)(6-23-2003)
  • Terry Labonte looking to extend contract thru 2004 UPDATE longer?: 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)
  • NHIS Testing? #24-Jeff Gordon and #20-Tony Stewart were scheduled to test this week at New Hampshire to prepare for the New England 300 there July 20. Both teams are concerned that their programs on the 1.058-mile oval have become stale and were looking at ways to improve. Many drivers had problems at the track last year because the surface was breaking up, but the corners were repaved and extended 12 feet in April. In theory, the extra asphalt should promote more side-by-side racing.(Sporting News)(6-23-2003)
  • Skinner back to the trucks? Mike Skinner will likely be driving for Michael Waltrip’s new Truck team, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2003)
  • A Sauter in the #4? UPDATE Compton at Daytona in the #4?: 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)
    UPDATE 3: #4-Team owner Larry McClure is in no apparent hurry to find a permanent replacement for recently released driver Mike Skinner and will use the next few races as a tryout. Road-racing specialist Johnny Miller finished 24th in the #4 Kodak Pontiac Sunday. McClure said he hasn’t decided who will drive it in the next race in two weeks at Daytona. Busch Series regular Johnny Sauter is a candidate. McClure confirmed conversations with John Andretti, fired recently at Petty Enterprises, but the owner seemed to nix the Indianapolis native as a candidate by saying he doesn’t want a “recycled driver.” “Whoever we get is going to have to have the ability and desire to drive my car,” McClure said. “I don’t want to hire anybody who’s already got a bank of excuses.” Andretti did not attend Sunday’s race.(Indianapolis Star)(6-23-2003)
  • #8 Jackman Injured: #8-Budweiser jackman Kevin Pennell injured his left hand during a pit stop on lap 62. Pennell fell to the ground when he stepped on loose lug nuts while running around the front of the car. The impact with the ground snapped the handle on the jack. Pennell suffered swelling on his left hand after the incident but refused treatment until after the race. He went over the wall on the team’s two final stops.(Budweiser PR)(6-23-2003)
  • 60-G’s for Bodine: Injured driver Brett Bodine [#11 Ford] says his car’s black box data recorder registered a hit measuring 60-Gs when he crashed into the wall between turns one and two during [Last] Saturday’s practice at Michigan knocking him out. Bodine is being evaluated by several doctors after suffering a concussion, a broken clavicle and a shoulder injury. His dentist is examining damage done to eight of Brett’s teeth. Bodine says the accident won’t deter him from getting back into the racecar, in fact he’ll look into some sort of mouth guard when he’s ready to get back into the racecar, however he won’t come back until he’s completely healed. And when he does, there’s a strong possibility he’ll have a new primary sponsor, backing Bodine says will give him the funding to finally be competitive with other teams.(PRN’s Garagepass & XM Satellite Radio)(6-23-2003)
  • The ‘Pass’: Race winner, #31-Robby Gordon, was involved in “one of those racing deals” on his way to victory, according to car owner Richard Childress. Gordon got the lead for the final time when he passed teammate #29-Kevin Harvick as the field came back to take a full course caution. Gordon scooted his car under Harvick’s as the field was coming to take the yellow on lap 70 of the event after Christian Fittipaldi made one of his several runs off course. Gordon and Harvick have some history at Infinion Raceway as the two tangled several years ago when Gordon was working towards his first career WC victory. Harvick, who was a lap down in that scenario, ran his future teammate hard enough to allow Tony Stewart to take the victory in that race. The two tangled again today when Harvick tried to force a pass for the lead earlier in the event, and opened the door for Ron Fellows to take the spot. Gordon expressed his displeasure with his hands. Gordon, who was hammering NASCAR during the pre-race drivers meeting about yellow flag procedures for this event, apparently took NASCAR’s description of the gentlemen’s agreement to heart and worked his teammate under caution for the lead and eventual race win. But none of the action mattered to car owner Childress, who placed the Cingular Chevy into victory lane the weekend immediately following the announcement of wireless competitor Nextel as the series sponsor for 2004. “I hate it was our team car. Kevin had a great car today and I hate it for Kevin, but I’m happy as can be for Robby,” said Childress, who later added that he’d sit his drivers down for a chat during the upcoming week.(Ford Racing)(6-23-2003)
  • Money Raised: Dale Earnhardt was the big draw as the first “Race-n-Rock” charity auction at Infineon Raceway raised $65,240 for Speedway Children’s Charities. A commemorative toolbox, featuring a flip-up lithograph of the seven-time Winston Cup champion, netted $7,000. Two Dale Earnhardt tribute concert guitars – each signed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. – fetched $4,500 each.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(6-23-2003)
  • Stock Car Fans Newsletter’s Rumblings – Infineon Raceway [in part]: #31-Robby Gordon won today’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Inineon Raceway….and his teammate [Harvick] and the “other” Gordon didn’t seem all to happy about it. [Robby] Gordon dominated the road course event pretty much from start to finish, tho if the cautions had fallen different it may have been #1-Ron Fellows in Victory Lane at the end of the race. We ended up with a Gordon/Gordon finish….and we have seen this before. Robby held off Jeff for his second career win (he won at NHIS in November of 2001) and moved into 88th on the all-time list. This was win #72 for Richard Childress. With the way some of these cars looked by the end of today’s race, you’d have thought we were in Bristol or Martinsville. And that triple spin at the bottleneck with Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, and Scott Pruett looked like the swimming pool scene from Caddyshack.
    #29-Kevin Harvick (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Talladega in April.
    #01-Boris Said (6th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 8th at Watkins Glen in August of 2001.
    #1-Ron Fellows (7th) had his best finish since he was 2nd at Watkins Glen in August of 1999 (only 5 races).
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th in the Daytona 500.
    #10-Johnny Benson led today for the first time since he led once for one lap at Phoenix last November. #1-Ron Fellows led today for the first time since he led once for three laps at Watkins Glen in 2001. #01-Boris Said led today for the first time since he led once for nine laps at Watkins Glen in August of 1999. We’ve now hit 40 drivers to lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 46.
    STREAKIN….Bobby Labonte has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races. Ryan Newman has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races. Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Jeremy Mayfield (+21), followed by Jimmie Johnson (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kurt Busch (-23), followed by Jeff Burton (-22). Not a good week for Roush….on the track or at NASCAR headquarters.(Stock Car Fans Cup Newsletter)(6-23-2003)

 


 

  • (6-22-2003)

  • Robby Gordon wins at Sonoma: #31-Robby Gordon won The Dodge / Save Mart 350k at Infineon Raceway, his first win of 2003, his first ever road course win, and his 2nd career Cup win. It Robby Gordon’s first win since the Thanksgiving race at New Hampshire on Nov 23rd, 2001, 51 races ago. #24-Jeff Gordon [no relation] was a close 2nd. The win puts Robby Gordon into the 2004 All-Star race [whatever it’ll be called and where ever it’ll be run]. Points leader had his best road course finish, 14th and now leads 2nd place #24-Gordon by 174 points going into Daytona in two weeks. Pole Sitter #01-Boris Said finished 6th. #42-Jamie McMurray was the highest finishing rookie of the year with a 20th place finish.
    For my race rundown, top 10, caution info, lap leaders, notes, race result links, see my Sonoma Race Info Page.
    Race Results at Jayski’s Sonoma Results Page and For full standings, see Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Sonoma page.
    other race result links: ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com(6-22-2003)
  • New Gas Can Rule: Beginning with the July 13 race at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR will prohibit teams from throwing or tossing gas cans or gas catch cans over the pit wall during a pit stop. The change was announced in Sunday’s prerace drivers’ meeting. If a violation happens under caution, the driver will have to restart at the end of the longest line. If it occurs under green-flag conditions, the driver must return to pit road to serve a 15-second penalty. The change is being made to reduce the liklihood of gas spills during pit stops.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-22-2003)
  • AT&T/Carrot Top on the #49 at Sonoma UPDATE: Adding another NASCAR Winston Cup event to its strong schedule the past two years, AT&T – 1-800-CALLATT will sponsor the #49 BAM Racing Dodge this week at Infineon Speedway’s 350-kilometer race. This will mark the fifth event this season the company’s colors have served as primary sponsor on the #49 Dodge of Ken Schrader. AT&T has been an associate sponsor on the car all season. As was announced at the beginning of the season, AT&T will also sponsor the car in two weeks in the 400-mile NASCAR Winston Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in the Pepsi 400, and has already reached agreement with the team for events later this season. “AT&T has been a strong sponsor of ours all season long,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns BAM Racing along with her husband Tony. “The addition of this race is exciting for all of us at BAM, and knowing they will be with us in the future is exciting too. We have had AT&T on our car throughout this season, and plan on them being sponsors with us for a long time to come,” she added.(Williams Company PR), Schrader starts 42nd in the race.(6-20-2003)
    UPDATE: The possibility of an AT&T-sponsored car in what will be known as the Nextel Cup next season took on new life Saturday. NASCAR officials confirmed Saturday they have received a request from BAM Racing to determine whether AT&T could serve as a primary sponsor for its #49 Dodges next season. NASCAR spokesman Terrence Burns said the request was specific to BAM Racing, since AT&T has an “existing relationship” with that team. AT&T had been in talks with several Winston Cup teams, including Roush Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., about sponsorship in 2004, but those negotiations were squashed when this week’s 10-year deal between NASCAR and Nextel was announced in New York. Only existing team sponsors of rival telecommunications companies would be allowed in the Nextel-sponsored series, which ended DEI and Roush’s bids. However, BAM has had AT&T as an associate sponsor on its cars since the beginning of the year and it has also served as primary sponsor for several races. On Friday, AT&T added Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway to the list of races with which it would serve as primary sponsor. AT&T has not yet indicated whether it will join BAM full time in 2004, but team co-owner Beth Ann Morgenthau called AT&T’s addition this weekend “exciting.” “We have had AT&T on our car throughout this season, and plan on them being sponsors with us for a long time to come,” she said.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-22-2003)
  • Harvick wins at Sonoma….the Southwest series event: Kevin Harvick ran away from Said and the rest of the field Saturday in the Southwest series event at Infineon Raceway. For both, it was a tuneup for Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 Winston Cup race. Harvick started fourth, but took the lead on the first lap and relinquished it only during pit stops. Despite four caution flags in the last 23 laps, Harvick quickly opened a substantial lead over Said, who used his blocking skills to hold off third-place finisher David Brown. Harvick’s margin of victory was 3.938 seconds. Said starts on the pole Sunday with Harvick sixth on the grid. Harvick’s Winston Cup teammate, Robby Gordon, who starts beside Said on the first row Sunday, was a late substitute in the Southwest race. He went out with a mechanical problem on the 28th of 65 laps.(ThatsRacin.com, see results and more at Racing West)(6-22-2003)
  • Gordon Rapping for donors: #24-Jeff Gordon will carry a special “Jes Us 4 Jackie” decal on his car this weekend at Infineon Raceway to promote the Jes Us 4 Jackie program, a nationwide effort developed by superstar rapper Nelly and his sister, Jackie Donahue, to raise awareness about the need for marrow and blood stem cell donors. Donahue needs a marrow transplant and is searching for a donor. Through the Jes Us 4 Jackie campaign, Nelly and Jackie hope to increase the number of donors on the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. Jes Us 4 Jackie plans to sponsor donor drives on June 21 in New York, St. Louis and Los Angeles. The campaign will focus on recruiting more African-American donors and donors of mixed heritage.(NASCAR.com)(6-22-2003)

    (6-21-2003)

  • New Template for the future?: NASCAR introduced a template to the teams at Infinion Raceway. The new measuring stick is designed to keep the car bodies from twisting out of the approved shape in the hands of the teams. As TFR first reported from Pocono, some teams have found a way to skirt the intent of NASCAR’s strict body templates — sloping every so slightly the right rear roof panel. That slope allowed five teams a little extra rear downforce on the right-rear wheel. The handful of teams increased by a few at Michigan. NASCAR had been watching the rear of the car and performing spot measurements to develop the best approach to policing that area of the car. The result was this new cowl template, which lays on the car directly between the car’s hood and the windshield in the position of the air intake. This spot on the car bodies was getting twisted and fooling the templates to indicate the car was square. The new roof template displays a team’s altered cowl, intended to gain the clearance needed for the latest trick. If the alteration doesn’t disappear from the team’s toolbox, the enforcement tool could go into action with the Chicago race. NASCAR is simply showing the template to the teams this weekend. Dealing with the aftermath of the new template one crew chief said of NASCAR, “They give us a [metaphorical] box to build these cars in and they should just leave us alone for the year. They just need to leave us alone or give us the cars – either way.”(Ford Racing)(6-21-2003)
  • A Sauter in the #4? UPDATE: 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)
  • AT&T Squashed with Roush too UPDATE and with DEI’s #1 – Riggs to DEI?: from a USA Today Q&A. Q:) How does NASCAR’s new deal with Nextel affect Jeff Burton’s team?
    A:) Roush Racing’s #99 team is losing CITGO as its primary sponsor at the end of the year and had worked out a deal with associate sponsor AT&T to become Burton’s primary sponsor next season. Although the Nextel deal has grandfathered in Nextel competitors Cingular [#31] and Alltel [#12], allowing them to remain as primary team sponsors, NASCAR now will not allow AT&T to move up from an associate to a primary sponsor for Roush. That means Roush will have to shop Burton and the team around to other potential sponsors. Smith wonders why NASCAR officials weren’t able to negotiate with Nextel to allow competing cell phone companies to keep coming into the sport as team sponsors. Winston, of course, is the only cigarette manufacturer allowed to advertise in NASCAR, but Smith says that deal is outdated.(USA Today)
    AND The issue is exclusivity [with Nextel], and NASCAR’s definition isn’t setting well in parts of the garage. NASCAR’s definition may cost Jeff Burton an AT& –T sponsorship that his team has been negotiating. “I understand the series sponsor wanting exclusivity”, Burton said. “But it is confusing when Cingular is in here and Alltel is in here. What’s the problem with one more, or two more or three more? That’s difficult to understand. Something is either exclusive or it’s not. This is almost exclusive, or exclusive to some people. It doesn’t seem fair that Cingular and Alltel can be here but Sprint and AT& –T can’t.” Essentially, the immediate question is exclusivity. NASCAR has promised Nextel a modified version of exclusivity, because it was unable to offer complete exclusivity as R. J. Reynolds has had. But AT& –T officials are apparently not quite buying into the concept that NASCAR can allow three of the nation’s six cell-phone companies – Nextel, Alltel and Cingular – access to the stock-car racing field and yet not allow the other three. AT& –T has been in negotiations to put its wireless division on the quarterpanel as sponsor either for Jack Roush or Dale Earnhardt Inc. NASCAR has vetoed those plans. However, yesterday AT& –T officials decided to ‘make a stand’ about their company’s determination to stay involved in Winston Cup racing by expanding its sponsorship of Ken Schrader’s #49 car [see PR below] for this race. AT& –T has been a part-sponsor of that team, and AT& –T, through its Comcast division, has been a part-sponsor of both the Matt Kenseth and Burton teams. Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, has been negotiating with AT& –T to become full sponsor of Burton’s team, and Ty Norris, general manager at DEI, has been negotiating with AT& –T to become full sponsor of the #1 DEI team that features Jeff Green [looks like Pennzoil is out]. ‘We were in the final stages of negotiations with AT& –T Wireless,’ Norris said. ‘But we were quickly informed that if Nextel happens, that only the people who were already in the sport would be grandfathered in.”(Winston Salem Journal)(6-21-2002)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that Scott Riggs may be the new driver for the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004 if a sponsor is signed.(6-21-2003)
  • Hamilton Jr offered #4 Ride UPDATE turned down, why?: during an interview, #25 Busch Series driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr., talked to #4 Morgan-McClure team owner Larry McClure about the now open #4 Kodak Pontiac ride in Cup, but turned it down as he is committed to Team Rensi and is signed with them thru 2004.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio Subscription Required)(6-17-2003)
    UPDATE: So why did Bobby Hamilton Jr. earlier this week pass up an offer to drive the 4 Kodak Pontiac as a replacement for released Mike Skinner? ”First, it was a matter of loyalty to my Busch Series team,” Hamilton Jr. said yesterday. ”This team has worked hard and come a long way, and I can’t just bail out on it. Also, the Kodak team has been struggling and I’m not sure it’s that good of a situation right now. I may kick myself later, but I turned it down.” Most Winston Cup drivers command starting salaries of $1 million a year, and Hamilton admitted the ”financial part was tempting. But there’s more to this sport than money. ” Hamilton, 25, is coming off his second career Busch Series victory. He intends to run one more full Busch season, then move up to Winston Cup along with the entire Team Rensi Motorsports operation. ”Winston Cup has always been my goal,” he said, ”but I want to take my time and do it right.”(Tennessean)(6-21-2003)
  • New Ford Taurus on Tuesday UPDATE 2: NASCAR officials will get their first look Tuesday at a prototype of the new Taurus that Ford plans to race in the Winston Cup next season. The car was built by [#21] Wood Brothers Racing, and the preview will be at the team’s shop in Stuart, VA. Greg Specht, manager of Ford Racing, said if all goes as planned the next step will be to run the car on a racetrack, then take it to the wind tunnel before further development. NASCAR said approval of the car for competition could come as early as August. That would give the Ford teams plenty of time to begin building new cars for next season. The Taurus currently being raced was introduced in 2002. Pontiac and Chevrolet introduced new cars this year, while Dodge has the same model it introduced in 2001. The Tauruses and Intrepids being raced this year both have aerodynamic modifications for 2003.(Thatsracin.com/AP)(6-16-2003)
    ??? heard nothing on this at all on Tuesday, no PR’s or articles.(6-18-2003)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR looked at the 2004 Taurus this week during a visit to the Wood Brothers Racing shop. The visit went well according to those in attendance, but NASCAR indicated a few items need further addressing. The NASCAR visit did not constitute a formal submission, but rather the opportunity for the sanctioning body to become familiar with the car prior to NASCAR personnel’s thorough review prior to its competition approval. Dan Davis, director Ford Racing Technology, said that there are a few ways to get a car through the approval process, but that the best one is to keep NASCAR up to speed on the goals for the new car. Those issues can be born from minor communication problems and easily resolved with a quick look-see as the new car is developed. Davis said, “We want to show NASCAR the car up front, in case there are issues.”(Ford Racing), have not seen any images…yet [the images found are also shown on 2003 models].(6-21-2003)
  • Skinner Comments: Mike Skinner is not surprised he was let go by Morgan-McClure Racing because he said this is a performance business and the bottom line is we weren’t performing…primarily on Friday’s. Skinner thinks his former team has great race cars and hopes they have success and that “I’m a damn good racecar driver and I’m gonna find a job and maybe it’ll work out better for both of us.” Skinner says “I’d love to drive a Winston Cup car next year but I’d also love to go back to the truck series. I would rather be in a competitive situation. I’m not gonna take any long term commitments unless I know it’s got a chance to win races and finish high in the points. I would step down a class or two because sometimes steppin’ down is steppin’ up.”(PRN’s Garagepass radio show)(6-21-2003)
  • Humpy Expects to Keep All Star Race..at least another year UPDATE to Richmond?: Humpy Wheeler is fairly confident NASCAR’s annual all-star race, known since 1985 as The Winston, will return to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., next season. Beyond that, he said, it’s anyone’s guess. “I don’t see how it could possibly be anywhere else next season,” said Wheeler, president of the speedway and of its parent company, Speedway Motorsports Inc. “Logistically, you need at least a year of lead time to do it right. “We have had two very successful Winstons the past two years that would be hard for anyone to match.” NASCAR introduced Nextel on Thursday in New York as the new sponsor of what is now known as the Winston Cup Series. Wheeler did not attend the announcement, instead traveling to California for the Cup race SMI’s Infineon Raceway hosts on Sunday. The existence of The Winston, held every year but one at Lowe’s since its inception in 1985, was written into NASCAR’s contract with current series sponsor, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. Thursday, NASCAR said the sanctioning body and Nextel would co-sponsor the event beginning next season, but left its location unresolved. At least in the short-term, Wheeler said Nextel, too, might prefer the all-star race remain where it is. “I don’t think Nextel, in its very first season sponsoring the series, would want to take the negative reaction that would be incurred by moving the race from Charlotte,” Wheeler said. “Nobody wants to start a new relationship off on a bad note.” Wheeler also believes NASCAR’s all-star event can’t easily be compared with similiar events in other professional sports, which often rotate locations for their all-star events. “Our all-star event isn’t like baseball and the NBA, because we have over 100,000 seats to fill,” Wheeler said. “You just can’t pick it up and move it around like just another game. Certainly, Nextel is going to want anything they associate with or pay to sponsor to be a success. We haven proven we could make The Winston a success.”(ThatsRacin.com)(6-20-2003)

    UPDATE: NASCAR’s Nextel deal raises another major issue – the fate of The Winston all-star race, which NASCAR sources say almost certainly will be moved to Richmond, Va., closer to Nextel’s home office in Reston, Va. The date of the all-star race hasn’t been set.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-21-2002)

  • Geoffrey Bodine to run Daytona road race: Daytona 500 Champion Geoffrey Bodine To Compete In Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway when he races in the Paul Revere 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race on Thursday, July 3. Bodine, who first raced at Daytona 29 years ago on the road course, will share the driving duties on the #8 G&W Motorsports BMW Picchio Daytona Prototype with Darren Law. In the 1974 Permatex 200, Bodine drove a modified Vega to a fifth-place finish on the DIS road course. The Chemung, N.Y., native raced in the modified race for four years before making his first Daytona 500 start in 1979. He has won six races at the historic track, including the 1986 Daytona 500. Bodine will be part of the driving team on the G&W Motorsports BMW Picchio Daytona Prototype for this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International and hopes to get accustomed to the sleek and stylish Daytona Prototype. This year’s Paul Revere 250 will go green following the completion of Kraft/Nabisco Qualifying for the Pepsi 400 on Thursday, July 3. Tickets for Kraft/Nabisco Qualifying Night and the Paul Revere 250 are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(6-21-2003)
  • Ramblings – Infineon Raceway: #01-Boris Said set a new track record at Infineon Raceway Friday afternoon, and his crew had their hair done for the occasion! Boris cruised around in a smooth 76.522 sec (93.620 mph) for his first ever Winston Cup pole. As a sub for a sub, he’s now eligible (along with 10 other drivers thus far) for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This is Said’s best qualifying effort since he started on the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August of 1999. Boris will be joined on the front row Sunday for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 by #31-Robby Gordon. This was his best qualifying effort since he started 2nd at Talladega in April of 2002. #1-Ron Fellows (3rd) had his best qualifying run since he lined up on the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August of 1998.
    #29-Kevin Harvick (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega in April.
    #21-Ricky Rudd (9th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Daytona in February.
    #09-Scott Pruett (18th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Watkins Glen in August of 2001.
    STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Tony Stewart has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races. Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    The road course event brought us a healty car count of 47 this weekend….4 on the Trouble Train. PJ Jones (in AJ’s #14 this week), #02-Brandon Ash, #33-Paul Menard, and #00-Jim Inglebright all got the early out. For the #14, this was their 5th DNQ of the season….but they’ll have a provisional available at the next race at Daytona.
    The provisionals this week went to: Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Craven, Jimmy Spencer, Steve Park, Christian Fittipaldi, Ken Schrader, and Hideo Fukuyama. For Fittipaldi and Schrader, they got an additional provisional this week…. and promptly used it up. They can expect their next freebie at Bristol in August, till then they have to make the race on time….or hope for only 43 or less competitors showing up.
    This will be Fox’s swan song for ’03 as NBC takes over at Daytona in two weeks [thru the 2004 Daytona 500, next Fox race is Rockingham in 2004].(Stock Car Fans Winston Cup Newsletter)(6-21-2003)


    (6-20-2003)

  • Special UPS Scheme? 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)
  • What Ever Happened to….Chuck Rider, the Cup team owner? Chuck Rider, a former Charlotte businessman and Winston Cup team owner who fielded cars in the Winston Cup series for Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson and Derrike Cope from 1987 through the first 10 races of 1999, is continuing to battle cancer with chemotherapy treatments.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read – wonder what it’ll be called next year?)(6-20-2003)
  • Boris Said wins pole at Sonoma: #01-Boris Said [who is subbing for Mike Wallace, who is subbing for Jerry Nadeau] won the pole at Infineon Raceway for the Dodge / Save Mart 350k. It is the first pole for Pontiac in 2003 and put Said into the 2004 Budweiser Shootout. Said speed of 93.620mph [76.522 seconds] is a new track record in the current 1.99 mile configuration. #31-Robby Gordon is on the outside pole, with #1-Ron Fellows starting 3rd. Points leader, #17-Matt Kenseth will start 4th, Kenseth will leave the race still in the points lead, even if he finishes dead last. All six of the Rookie of the Year candidates [who made an attempt] made the race, only one used a provisional. Missing the race were all road warriors: #00-Inglebright, #02-Ash, #14-Jones, and #33-Menard (using a backup car). Two teams used a provisonal: #43-Fittipladi and #49-Schrader and are now out of provisionals again until Bristol in Aug [the 24th races], unless there is a race with 43 or less teams entered or either team gets into the top 25 in owners points, where provisionals are not charged, which is unlikey since the #43 is 35th in owners points and the #49 is 39th at present.
    For qualifying results, with practice to pole progression, how did the rookies do? how did the road warriors do? the top manufacturers starts, qualifying speed comparisions, provisional rank, lineup links, notes and more, see my Jayski’s Sonoma Qualifying/Grid Page.(6-20-2003)
  • Some Qualifying Notes at Sonoma: #48-Johnson spun out in turn 9-10 after locking up his brakes. #49-Schrader ran off into the grass in turn 9 but recoverd and finished his lap. #23-Wallace locked up the brakes which slowed his lap. XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required) reports that #30-Steve Park was replaced in the #30 AOL Chevy halfway thru practice at Infineon Racway, team owner Richard Childress, asked Simo to shake the car down for Park and Park will qualify the car.
    #97-Kurt Busch wrecked towards the end of practice in turn 9 and pancaked the right side of the car, the crew is working to fix the car for qualifying.(Speed Channel’s Qualifying coverage), they also reported that the following drivers had problems, but didn’t specify: #00-Inglebright, #38-Sadler, #33-Menard and #7-Spencer.
    UPDATE: Jim Inglebright and Paul Menard both found the tire barrier. Inglebright’s crew was busy pounding out the bent-up trunk area on the #00 JellyBelly Chevy, while Menard’s crew was hurrying to prepare the backup #33 Turtle Wax Chevy, which made it back to the track before the session ended. #38-Sadler and #7-Spencer spun in practice but didn’t damage the cars.(NASCAR.com)
    #32-Ricky Craven blew and engine or oil line at the start of his qualifying attempt, left debris on the track, took it right to the garage with no speed recorded and used a provisional.(6-20-2003)
  • Bestwick to broadcast track and field: This weekend track and field and gymnastics national champions will be crowned as NBC provides live coverage of the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships presented by Verizon on Saturday and taped coverage of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Saturday and Sunday. NBC will take a slice of NASCAR to its live broadcast of the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships presented by Verizon from Palo Alto, Calif., 4-6 p.m. ET this Saturday. NBC’s NASCAR play-by-play commentator, Allen Bestwick will be in the booth with 1996 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Dan O’Brien and Steve Holman, America’s top miler of the 1990s. Carol Lewis and Lewis Johnson will provide reports from the infield.(NBC PR)(6-21-2003)
  • Dale Jr. In Photo Shoot: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Oakland A’s star pitcher Barry Zito spent about an hour-and-a-half at Infineon Raceway this morning in a photo shoot and interview for USA Today Weekend. Zito was the CY Young award winning pitcher in 2002 for the Oakland Athletics in the American League. The theme of the shoot was centered around the idea of “Is NASCAR replacing baseball as the American Pastime?” The article is expected to be published sometime in August 2003.(Insider Racing News)(6-20-2003)
  • Allison, Miller High Life and Blount at Milwaukee: 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 was a prominent backer of all forms of auto racing for two decades beginning in the 1970s and sponsored the High Life stock car in which Bobby Allison captured the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup championship. Now, 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. The car will feature a paint scheme to honor High Life’s 100th Anniversary and a design that resembles Allison’s championship-winning High Life car. This sponsorship commemorating the 100th Anniversary will make High Life the primary sponsor of Blount and the Jesel Racing team at the Milwaukee Mile, June 28-29. Extensive visibility for High Life on the team’s car and crew uniforms, as well as on the driver’s suit, is included in the deal. A 23-year-old driver who has participated in 11 Busch Series race, Blount will be making his first-ever start at Milwaukee’s one-mile oval in the GNC Live Well 250. This season, Blount has recorded one top-five finish (Texas Motor Speedway, March 29) in the series. In 2002, Blount competed in the ARCA Re/Max series and finished second in the championship point standings. Blount, a Walkerton, Indiana native, recorded four ARCA wins, five pole positions and 11 top-five finishes, en route to earning series Rookie-of-the-Year honors. The car driven by Blount will resemble Bobby Allison’s familiar High Life stock car in which he won his 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup championship.(Tom Roberts PR), past rumors/news about this on my Busch Series page – nothing to do with Rusty Wallace or Ryan Newman as rumored.(6-20-2003)
  • Marcis helping ASA Team UPDATE: Rite Track Racing announced NASCAR legend Dave Marcis and his resort Camp 28 have become an associate sponsor for  the  #75 entry piloted by Darren Jones, who attempts to make his ASA debut at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway in the Ohio 250 on Saturday, June 21. Marcis, who is second only to Richard Petty in all-time Winston Cup starts and holds the record for the most starts in the Daytona 500 has assisted Rite Track Racing as a technical consultant since the inception of the team. This is the first occasion Camp 28 has become a sponsor. Camp 28 is a year round resort offering visitors the finest hospitality in the Rib Lake, Wisconsin area. You can visit them at www.camp28.com or call them at 1-800-414-6407.(ASA Racing PR)(6-20-2003)
    UPDATE: ASA Debut Postponed – After shaking the car down Thursday night a major problem was discovered. After a subsequent phone call to Dave Marcis was made it was decided in the best interest of associate sponsors SemiSurplus.com and Camp 28 that Darren Jones and Rite Track Racing will make their debut on June 28th at IRP with his continued assistance.(6-20-2003)


    (6-19-2003)

  • AT&T Wireless Turned down? UPDATES Bang Racing? hearing NASCAR turned down an AT&T team sponsorship in the past few days due to the new deal with Nextel. Wonder if it was for the #99 team since they used to sponsor the #17 team as an associate?
    AND from USA Today: Though Nextel will not be granted the same exclusivity [as Winston/RJR] — existing team sponsors such as Alltel and Cingular will be ”grandfathered” into the series, even though they are Nextel’s competition — Roush Racing officials are not sure what that means to their sponsorship deal with AT&T Wireless. In anticipation of losing CITGO, an oil company, as the sponsor of Jeff Burton’s #99 Ford, Roush executives have been working the last few months to line up AT&T, one of the team’s associate sponsors, to become Burton’s primary sponsor next season. Team President Geoff Smith says NASCAR officials have not made it clear to him whether they’ll allow the sponsorship. ”We have something in place there,” Smith says. ”Whether or not it survives scrutiny, I don’t know.” The team might have to find another sponsor for Burton’s car, but Smith isn’t giving up hope for AT&T: ”It may still be a very real opportunity, depending on what the announcement is as to what the rules are.”(6-19-2003)
    UPDATE – Bang Racing? hearing that a new Winston Cup team – Bang Racing was in line to receive the AT&T Wireless sponsorship – not Roush Racing. Bang Racing is a new team founded by Alex Meshkin, a young technology executive from Reston, VA. Ironically – the same city where Nextel is headquartered. Meshkin founded a software company that he sold when he was just 19 years old – he is now 23. Also hearing that Bang Racing is not just another race team – but a technology-based team that enables corporations to make NASCAR sponsorships interactive and measurable using a patented wireless technology. Apparently, this technology will allow fans to interact with teams and sponsors using any wireless phone – not just Nextel phones. Have heard that Bang Racing has been in talks with Nextel about a car sponsorship deal – but Nextel decided to become the title sponsor instead. Nextel and Bang Racing are still talking about a technology deal that would allow Nextel to exclusively offer this technology to their subscribers. Also, hearing that Larry McReynolds may be one of the owners along with Alex Meshkin and other technology executives from Reston, VA.
    AND the #49 BAM Racing team is sponsored for seven Cup races in 2003 by AT&T with 1-800-CALLATT and Carrott Top, no word on if this sponsorship will continue in 2004 or be effected.(6-19-2003)
  • Final Michigan TV Ratings: Huge Overnight Bump for NASCAR; Michigan Up 13% Over 2002 NASCAR executives, already downright giddy today because of the Nextel announcement, have to be thrilled with the massive overnight bump from the small markets that gave the Winston Cup race from Michigan a 13 percent ratings increase over last year. The Sirius Satellite Radio 400 on FOX turned in final numbers of a 5.4 rating and 16 share, according to Nielsen Media Research, up from last year’s final 4.8 rating. 5.7 million households and 8.4 million people tuned in. The 0.9 small market bump (from 4.5 to 5.4) is one of the largest in recent memory. This “bump” is the increase in the ratings that was caused by factoring in the one-third of viewers from the smaller markets that were not counted in Monday’s overnight rating. Importantly, NASCAR leapfrogged over both days of the U.S. Open golf tournament on NBC to finish behind only the NBA Finals in the sports ratings. The pre-race show turned in a 3.2 rating and 10 share.(MotorsportsTV)(6-19-2003)
  • News on Brett Bodine UPDATE 3: Brett Bodine returned to North Carolina on Sunday evening. He has dentist and doctors appointments the first part of the week but will be traveling to Watkins Glen for the Sahlen Six Hours at the Glen this weekend. Brett was scheduled to co-drive with brother Geoffrey and Darren Law, but will have to sit out and offer support to the team from the sidelines.(Brett Bodine Racing)(6-16-2003)
    UPDATE: Brett Bodine will undergo surgery this afternoon at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte to repair the broken clavical, a plate will be inserted to allow the shoulder to heal. Dr. Patrick Connor of the Miller Orthopaedic Clinic will perform the surgery. Bodine will stay in the hospital overnight.(6-17-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Brett Bodine underwent surgery last night on his right clavical. A plate was inserted to help the bone heal correctly.. He says his shoulder feels good and he has a good range of movement in his arm and shoulder. Bodine will be released from Carolinas Medical Center today.(BBR)(6-18-2003)
    ALSO check out the new Brett Bodine Racing site, where you can leave Get Well Messages to Bodine.(6-18-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Brett Bodine has successfully undergone surgery to repair a break in his right clavical from an accident during final practice on Saturday, June 14 at Michigan International Speedway. Dr. Patrick Connor performed the 90 minute procedure on Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Bodine is expected to recover in 4-6 weeks. “I have seen the replay of the accident and realize how fortunate I am. The first thing I saw upon regaining consciousness was my brother Todd’s face – what a welcome site that was! Everyone has been incredibly supportive. You just don’t realize how many people truly care about you until something like this happens. In addition to having so many people remembering me in their prayers and thoughts, I have received cards, flowers, emails, and gifts from fans across the country. I am truly humbled that so many people – some I don’t even know – care so much,” said Brett.
    Bodine is expected to make a full recovery from the broken clavical and broken tail-bone. “I am real pleased at how well the shoulder surgery went,” said Bodine. “If all goes as anticipated, I hope to get back to racing by mid-July. I am so proud of my race team. They never missed a beat getting the job done. Everyone did a great job getting the back up car ready for my brother, Geoff, to drive the very next day and I truly appreciate it” continued Brett. In the meantime, the 44-year old driver will travel to Watkins Glen this weekend to support his brother, Geoffrey, who is co-driving in the Sahlen Six Hours at the Glen. Brett was to have also been a co-driver with Geoffrey and Darren Law, but the injury won’t allow it. He will offer support and visit with friends and family. Brett will begin a physical therapy regime on Monday.
    Bodine credits Robin Morrisey and Debbie King, the NASCAR Medical Liaisons for their help in coordinating the efforts of the team at the Michigan infield care center, Foote Hospital in Jackson, Michigan and the various medical exams and procedures upon his return to Charlotte. He also applauds Dean Kurtz, the ISC Chief Guest Services Officer, who assisted with other details at each facility.”They have made the medical process so much less stressful and accommodating for the competitors, their families and teams,” added Bodine.(Brett Bodine Racing PR)(6-19-2003)
  • Eury Sr. to miss Sonoma: There will be a very familiar face missing from the #8 Budweiser Chevy team this weekend at Infineon Raceway. Tony Eury, Sr., crew chief for the team, had elective surgery on his neck Tuesday afternoon. Doctors removed two vertebra in his neck and replaced them with titanium ones. Surgery lasted one hour and 45 minutes Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. He will rest at home through the weekend and part of next week. “I went and saw him last night,” said Tony Eury, Jr, his son and the team’s car chief. “I think he’s doing pretty well because the first thing he asked me was if I brought him a hamburger. This is the first race Pops will miss since the Japan exhibition race when Dale Jr. and Dale drove the Coca-Cola cars over there.” Tony Sr. will rest the next two weeks and is scheduled to return to action for the night races at Daytona International Speedway the first weekend in July. He will have to wear a supportive neck brace for a few weeks before switching to a foam one at a later date. Doctors predicted it would take a few months until for a total recovery. For this weekend, Tony Jr. will play the role of car and crew chief in his father’s absence. Since the team is down one man, Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier) will head out to Infineon Raceway early to help the team. Everyone at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. wishes Tony a speedy recovery and look forward to his return.(DEI Site)(6-19-2003)
  • Hornish Could End Up in NASCAR: A lot of people are taking notice [of IRL driver Sam Hornish], including some of the top teams in NASCAR. Hornish has stated he wants to stay in the IRL, but that seems unlikely now. Some Winston Cup team owners are going to offer Hornish financial deals the IRL can’t match. With his Pennzoil connection, Hornish could be in line for the #1 Pennzoil Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Inc. Pennzoil officials haven’t decided if they are going to continue as the major sponsor on the car, but having Hornish as the driver might keep them around. Hornish talked to DEI officials last season about driving a few races this year, but elected to concentrate on the IRL. His frustration level with his current situation may have changed his perspective. The problem for DEI is it won’t be the only team bidding for Hornish’s services. The racing community is a close-knit group. Everyone in NASCAR understands what Hornish has done this season in inferior equipment. A few team owners may wonder if he can transfer those skills from open-wheel to stock cars, but most of them believe the guy is so good he could sit on a riding lawnmower and finish in the top 10. Hornish is Tony Stewart without the baggage. No temper tantrums, at least not publicly. Hornish isn’t the most colorful guy around, but neither is Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman or a dozen other talented drivers in Winston Cup. If you can drive, team owners and sponsors will work around your people skills. And Hornish is driving better than anybody in racing.(Dallas Morning News via the Mercury News), past rumors about Hornish and DEI on my #1 Team News and Links page.(6-19-2003)
  • Chris Myers good thru 2005: USA Today reports that Chris Myers [the Hollywood Hotel] has signed on for two more years as the host of NASCAR on FOX/FX.(MotorsportsTV)(6-19-2003)
  • Parents face charges: Felony arrest warrants were issued Tuesday for a borough couple accused of leaving their three young children unattended for nearly 18 hours while they went to a NASCAR race. James Wendling, 52, and his wife, Denise Heyer-Wendling, 37, both of Old Forge Drive, are expected to be arraigned before District Justice Elmo Frey Jr. on three counts each of endangering the welfare of children. As of 4:15 p.m., the couple had not surrendered to authorities. Police said they were called to the Wendlings’ Old Forge Drive home June 8 after Heyer-Wendling’s ex-husband arrived to drop off an 8-year-old child and a 6-year-old child from their dissolved marriage. At that time, the unnamed ex-husband discovered that Wendling and Heyer-Wendling had left a 10-year-old child to watch over a 2-year-old child and a 3-week-old child while they attended the Pocono 500 on June 8 at Pocono Raceway.(Express Times)(6-19-2003)
  • Testing at Daytona UPDATE 2: Testing for the 45th annual Pepsi 400 is scheduled for Tuesday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 18, 3:00 – 11:00pm/et at Daytona International Speedway. Winston Cup teams expected to test in preparation for the for the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, July 5 include 2000 Pepsi 400 champion #99-Jeff Burton, #44-Christian Fittipaldi, #49-Ken Schrader, #60-David Green, #02-Hermie Sadler and #09-Phoenix Racing (Buckshot Jones? or Joe Ruttman?). Expected to test for the second annual Winn-Dixie 250 Presented By PepsiCo are Casey Atwood (#82-FitzBradshaw Racing) and Mike McLaughlin (#34-Frank Cicci Racing)(DIS PR).(6-14-2003)
    UPDATE: The test session is free and open to the public with access to a section of the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DaytonaUSA.(DIS PR).(6-16-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Nine teams invaded Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday for a two-day test session for the upcoming Pepsi 400 weekend on July 2-5. Prepping for the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, July 5 were #99-Jeff Burton, #80-Mike Bliss, #02-Hermie Sadler, #44-Christian Fittipaldi, #60-David Green, #09-Joe Ruttman subbing for Buckshot Jones) and #49-Elton Sawyer subbing for Ken Schrader. #82-Casey Atwood and #34-Mike McLaughlin were shaking down their cars for the second annual Winn-Dixie 250 Presented By PepsiCo on Friday, July 4.(DIS PR), no speeds were reported.(6-18-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush Racing were among the eight teams that wrapped up a second day of Pepsi 400 testing on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. The three powerhouse teams were searching for speed that they hope will help them catch Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars on the restrictor-plate tracks at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have both entered their research and development teams in the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 5. Green, with Hendrick Motorsports mechanic Gary DeHart, was shaking down the #60 Chevrolet while Bliss had Joe Gibbs Racing team manager Jimmy Makar and engine builder Mark Cronquist working on his #80-Chevrolet during the test session. Hermie Sadler left the Pepsi 400 test session after the first day. No speeds were reported.(DIS PR)(6-19-2003)


    (6-18-2003)

  • Road Course Victories: Jeff Gordon is the all-time series lead for road course [including the 11 Daytona beach courses] wins with seven. Tied for 2nd is Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace, Richard Petty and Bobby Allison with six in 103 road course races. 43 drivers have won a road course race.(6-18-2003)
  • Road Course Poles: Darrell Waltrip is the all-time series lead for road course [including the 11 Daytona beach courses] pole wins with nine. Terry Labonte and David Pearson both have eight, and Richard Petty and Ricky Rudd have six in 101 road course qualifying runs, two had no qualifyings [rain/weather]. 41 drivers have won road course poles.(6-18-2003)
  • Did ya know? 25 of all the 92 Winston Cup road course races [not including the 11 Daytona beach courses] have been won from the pole – 27.2%; Lowest start of a Sears Point winner: 13th by Davey Allison, 1991; The winner of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 has gone on to win the championship once in the last 12 seasons (1998-Jeff Gordon); Chevrolet has the most road course wins in NASCAR Winston Cup – 30 road course wins, 28 in the Modern Era, Ford has 29, 14 of which have been in the Modern Era (1972 to present).(6-18-2003)
  • Pole for Fellows? Testing Record: During Winston Cup testing in April, Ron Fellows posted the fastest lap for a Winston Cup car ever recorded at Infineon Raceway. Fellows circuited the 2-mile [or 1.99 mile] road course in 1 minute, 16:24 [76.24] seconds [94.439mph]. #20-Tony Stewart holds the current track record of 1 minute, 16:64 [76.64] seconds [93.946mph].(6-18-2003)
  • THANK YOU from NADEAU 6/18 3:30pm/et: It’s been almost two months since my accident and even though I feel like I’m in the early stages of my recovery, I’m ready and anxious to say a simple thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s a humbling experience to know that people have been praying for me and I want them all to know their prayers were answered. I can’t say enough about the overwhelming support from fans, sponsors, NASCAR and the entire racing community.
    It’s hard to know where to begin – starting with the emergency workers who rescued me from the car to the EMTs in the ambulance, the infield medical center and the helicopter. They all acted so quickly to get me the help I needed. The doctors and staff at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond were just awesome.
    And now, here in Charlotte, I am being “coached” through the rehabilitation process by a great group of people at the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation.
    I am very grateful to be part of an exceptional race team. It’s taken plenty of hard work to go on without me and want to thank every crew member and the front office staff for their support. They’re the greatest.
    I’ve never been more proud of my sponsor, the U.S. Army, and how they stood by me through the tough days. You know, I had the privilege of visiting some of the injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center two days before the accident. It meant a lot when they sent me a special greeting from the people I met there.
    Of course, when it comes right down to it, family is what pulls you through a crisis, and my entire family has been there every step of the way. But I’ve saved the “best for last” in thanking my wife, Jada. She has amazing strength and you can imagine how difficult this has been for her, particularly with our baby daughter Natalie Kate.
    I am going to take this recovery process day-by-day and I’m not going to rush back. I’ll know when the time is right. Until then, I’m going to keep working hard to rebuild my body. I want to come back stronger than ever. I look forward to answering questions from the media in the future and we’ll let you know the details when they have been determined.
    I’m sure I’ve left out someone, but I want everyone to know how much I appreciate their support and encouragement – thank you to everyone who has helped, prayed and offered support through this ordeal. I feel incredibly blessed.(US Army PR), see past news on my #01 Team News and Links page.(6-18-2003)
  • #94 News: PF2 Motorsports will run a Chevy at New Hampshire in July, Rich Bickle is the scheduled driver, so far the team has Knotless Boat Rope as an associate sponsor. Past news on my #94 Team News and Links page.(6-18-2003)
  • Pruett at Sonoma: Matt Chambers will serve as crew chief for #09-Scott Pruett this weekend. The team will be comprised of CGR’s test team members. In addition to running the #09 Target Dodge in the Winston Cup race at Infineon Raceway, Pruett will also race in the Trans Am Road Racing Series for Rocketsports Racing.(PR)(6-18-2003)
  • Simo to stand by for Elliott: Bill Elliott will drive the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge this weekend. However, Trans-Am Series driver Brian Simo tested the #9 Dodge at Carolina Motorsports Park and is scheduled to standby for Elliott at Infineon Raceway in case Elliott needs relief for his broken foot.(Golin Harris PR)(6-18-2003)
  • Double Duty for Harvick: #29-Kevin Harvick will run the Featherlite Southwest Tour Series race on Saturday in the #29 Kevin Harvick Inc. Snap-on Chevrolet Monte Carlo. This will be the second year in a row he’ll participate in this race, finishing 35th in 2002 due to an ignition box problem halfway through the 64-lap event.(RCR PR)(6-18-2003)
  • Double Duty for Said: Along with driving the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac this weekend at Infineon Raceway, Boris Said will also compete in Saturday’s NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Series race for Kenny Schrader’s team and Sunday’s SCCA Trans-Am event, which follows the Winston Cup race.(US Army Racing PR)(6-18-2003)
  • #31 Crew Chief getting married: #31-Cingular Wireless crew chief Kevin Hamlin will marry Patti Miles Thursday in Napa, CA. Gordon and the Cingular Wireless team members will attend.(RCR PR)(6-18-2003)
  • Who is Nextel? NASCAR will announce Thursday that the wireless communications company Nextel will replace R.J. Reynolds as title sponsor of its top series. Some information about the company:
    — Nextel is based in Reston, Va., and trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol NXTL. It is the nation’s leading provider of all-digital wireless service.
    — The company was founded in April of 1987 under the name Fleet Call. It became Nextel in March of 1993.
    — According to the company’s most recent annual report (2002), Nextel accumulated $8.7 billion in domestic revenue, and had a net income of $1.66 billion.
    — The company reported nearly 11 million subscribers in 2002, up 22 percent from the year before.
    — Nextel is no stranger to auto racing. The company has served as the title sponsor of a sports-car event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as well as the sponsor of a PacWest entry in the CART series.(Charleston Post and Courier), more on my NASCAR Sponsor page.(6-18-2003)
  • What of the Cingular and Alltel sponsorships? One change that fans won’t have to worry about is the status of #31-Robby Gordon and #12-Ryan Newman’s teams, which are both sponsored by Nextel rivals. Alltel is signed to sponsor Newman’s team through 2006, and Cingular Wireless is signed to sponsor Gordon’s team through 2005. Richard Childress, car owner for Gordon’s team, said Tuesday he expected both Cingular and Alltel to be grandfathered in, allowing them to remain in the series despite Nextel’s presence.(Roanoke TimesAND However, expect Cingular and Alltel to get the cold shoulder, much like RJR grudgingly tolerated the Skoal and Copenhagen sponsorships.. Those cars didn’t appear in NASCAR ads, video, promotions or on program covers. Other companies presently in the sport might not fare as well. Cellular One (Busch) and Verizon (ARCA) might have moved up to the Cup series. Now what? If Nextel insists on tracks and teams using only their radio/phone technology, what happens to longtime NASCAR and team sponsors Racing Radios and Racing Electronics? They supply the Motorola two-way radios used by the teams as well as the scanners fans use to eavesdrop on driver to team communications.(6-18-2003)
  • Marlin’s Pit Crew Wins at Michigan: The pit crew for Sterling Marlin’s #40 Coors Light team grabbed top honors for the Michigan round of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. Marlin’s pit crew earned $20,000 for the win and the victory moved the #40 crew into a fifth place tie in the overall McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship season point standings. Marlin’s car, owned by Chip Ganassi Racing, spent the least amount of time on pit road during Sunday’s Sirius 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The total pit time for the Coors Light Dodge was 188 seconds, four seconds fewer than Kurt Busch’s race-winning Ford. “That’s great – these guys really deserve the award,” said Marlin, who posted a sixth-place finish in Michigan. “The Coors Light pit crew did a great job on pit road – they never messed up once and kept us out in front all day. I’m just sorry I lost the race for them. Just wait for Daytona, we’ll have something for them there.” The over-the-wall Coors Light pit crew consists of: Steven Wolfe (front tire changer), Trent Davis (front tire carrier), Mike Atwell (rear tire changer), Tim Shore (rear tire carrier), Greg Pasi (jackman), Jerry Schweitz (gasman) and Mike Motil (catch can). The crew chief is Lee McCall and the team trainer is Al Shuford.(DMF Communications PR). For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(6-18-2003)
  • School Visits USAR: Students in Greenville Technical College’s new McKinney Regional Automotive Technology Center will be involved in some “hands-on” motorsports activities this year as a result of an agreement between the school and the United Speed Alliance Racing motorsports series. Students in the Greenville Tech program are scheduled to attend one or more of several USAR races this summer and will be paired with a series official, track official or race team member to learn about the operations of a race weekend. “We are very honored to be involved in this unique educational partnership with Greenville Technical College,” said Tony Cox, USAR’s director of operations.(Greenville News)(6-18-2003)
  • New Ford Taurus on Tuesday UPDATE well actually…no update: NASCAR officials will get their first look Tuesday at a prototype of the new Taurus that Ford plans to race in the Winston Cup next season. The car was built by [#21] Wood Brothers Racing, and the preview will be at the team’s shop in Stuart, VA. Greg Specht, manager of Ford Racing, said if all goes as planned the next step will be to run the car on a racetrack, then take it to the wind tunnel before further development. NASCAR said approval of the car for competition could come as early as August. That would give the Ford teams plenty of time to begin building new cars for next season. The Taurus currently being raced was introduced in 2002. Pontiac and Chevrolet introduced new cars this year, while Dodge has the same model it introduced in 2001. The Tauruses and Intrepids being raced this year both have aerodynamic modifications for 2003.(Thatsracin.com/AP)(6-16-2003)
    ??? heard nothing on this at all on Tuesday, no PR’s or articles.(6-18-2003)


    (6-17-2003)

  • Men and Speed – updated: The new edition of “Men And Speed” by G. Wayne Miller, with new cover, new photos and a whole new chapter on the 2002 season (behind-the-scenes on Mark Martin’s title run, Jack Roush’s accident, Kurt Busch’s charge, etc.), is now out. More info on my Racing Bookstore page.(6-17-2003)
  • Ganassi Closing Down IRL team? Dixon to NASCAR? UPDATE: AutoRacing1.com [love how they ‘hear it first’ a day after the team press release is out on stuff – LOL] is reporting that the IRL series will be loosing one of its top teams at the end of the season. Target Chip Ganassi Racing will be closing its Indianapolis offices at the end of the IRL season. No CART team, no IRL team. They are currently looking at offers on the property and equipment. They are looking to take Scott Dixon with them to NASCAR land. There is a very small chance, that if they win the championship, they would continue on for one more season. There are some at Ganassi, that are looking for funding to buy the operation, and continue on in open wheel racing, CART or the IRL.(AutoRacing1.com need subscription to read)(6-17-2003)
    UPDATE – from Ganassi Racing: “We’re fully committed to the IRL and fully committed to the operation and my employees in Indianapolis this year and in the future, ” owner Chip Ganassi stated.(6-17-2003)
  • Cup Car Cam: Watch as the guys at Body Dynamics Racing Bodies fabricate the body of a 2003 Winston Cup Travis Carter/Belcar Ford Taurus live on their web cam.  You can see them fit up templates and lay in the green house of the car at bodydynamicsracing.com.(6-17-2003)
  • Hornish and DEI rumor resurfaces UPDATE or is it Mayfield?: Sam Hornish’s name is again being mentioned prominently as the man who could join Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season as team mate with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. The 23-year-old Hornish, the 2001 and 2002 IRL champ, is sponsored by Pennzoil, which is the company DEI is trying to re-sign [for the #1 Chevy now driven by Jeff Green/Ron Fellows]. There is word that Hornish might get a shot at a DEI ride at Michigan in August.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-9-2003)
    UPDATE: First in line for the DEI job appears to by Jeremy Mayfield, who currently drives for Ray Evernham’s #19 Dodge team.(Toronto Sun)(6-9-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Jeremy Mayfield said during an interview with XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) that he had no plans to go to DEI and hopes to re-sign with Evernham Motorsports to stay in the #19 Dodge(6-17-2003)
  • Hamilton Jr offered #4 Ride: during an interview, #25 Busch Series driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr., talked to #4 Morgan-McClure team owner Larry McClure about the now open #4 Kodak Pontiac ride in Cup, but turned it down as he is committed to Team Rensi and is signed with them thru 2004.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio Subscription Required)(6-17-2003)
  • Petree Racing back at Sonoma with Menard: Paul Menard will get his chance to see where he stacks up with the Winston Cup boys this weekend in Sonoma, CA, ruuning the #33 Chevy at Infineon Racway for team owner Andy Petree. Petree, who has been involved in Winston Cup racing since 1982 but had to sit out this year after he was unable to land a major sponsor for his cars, will have his Andy Petree Racing logo back on a Cup track this weekend at Infineon Raceway. Menard will be making his first-ever Winston Cup start as part of Petree’s 18-race summer school for the up-and-coming driver. So far, Menard has competed in two ARCA races and two Busch Series events. Those four races were on ovals, but Menard doesn’t mind turning both ways for a change. Menard’s father, John, a home improvement businessman and owner of an Indy Racing League car, decided to help with the finances by co-sponsoring the cars with Turtle Wax.(Hendersonville Times News)(6-17-2003)
  • Newman and Blount? Not Rusty? UPDATE: hearing Chad Blount is going to drive a Busch Series car at Milwaukee. Miller Brewing is going to paint the car up to look just like the #22 Miller High Life car that Bobby drove in 1983, the year he won his and Miller’s only championship, as a tribute and celebration of the 20th anniversary of that winning season. Allison will be present for the Press Announcement and for the race. Miller called him and asked him to take part. Rusty Wallace will not be the owner, but his teammate Ryan Newman will be. Rusty Wallace is building a new shop for a part-time Busch Series team, but doesn’t have a driver for the deal, yet. See past news/rumors on this at my Busch Series site.(6-16-2003)
    UPDATE: other sources say Newman is not part of this deal and FoxSports reports: Chad Blount will drive the 66 Busch car at Milwaukee for Wayne Jesel.(FoxSports)(6-17-2003)
  • G.P. Putnam’s Sons Acquires North American Rights to D.W., NASCAR Legend Darrell Waltrip’s Autobiography: G.P. Putnam’s Sons has acquired the North American rights to D.W., which chronicles the remarkable life of NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip, who retired in 2000 with 84 career victories, leaving him tied for third all-time. Now a popular commentator and analyst on FOX Sports’ NASCAR broadcasts, Waltrip will write his autobiography with bestselling co-author Jade Gurss. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Senior Editor Rob McMahon will edit the book, which was acquired from literary agent Richard Abate of ICM. D.W. will be published in hardcover by Putnam in February 2004. Darrell Waltrip commented, “Over the years, people have always told me I need to share my stories and experiences in a book. This is my first attempt at capturing the life, times and characters I have experienced in racing. It’s been fun for me to re-live the highs and lows when going back to compose my thoughts. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed living it.”
    Waltrip, who began his NASCAR career in 1975, was the sport’s brightest and most controversial star in the 1980s. Early in his career he was feared, loathed and admired in some measure by fans and fellow drivers alike. But as the decade wore on, he won over the hearts of his detractors and was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver in 1989 and 1990. He has continued to attract new (and younger) fans with his folksy style as a color commentator for FOX Sports’ NASCAR coverage.
    Waltrip exhibits genuine wit and charm in D.W., the story of a man who lived his dream every time he stepped into a racecar, and whose dreams got better every time he climbed out in Victory Lane. Honest, engaging, amusing and always entertaining, the book also provides an up-close and personal look at the evolution of NASCAR and its greatest drivers, including racing immortals Richard Petty and David Pearson, modern-day legends Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon, and rising stars Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
    In addition to his television duties for FOX Sports, Waltrip is a frequent guest on the Imus in the Morning show during the racing season. He lives in Franklin, TN. Jade Gurss is the bestselling co-author of Driver #8, with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He lives in Denver, NC. Hearing that signed copies of DW’s book will be available at www.dwstore.com.(PR)(6-17-2003)
  • More Engine stuff: Ssome in the NASCAR GM camp at MIS were already bracing for the barbs that’ll likely be coming their way after it’s officially announced that Ford’s Cosworth engine group will help Chevrolet overcome their horsepower deficit the IRL series. GM, which has been looking at the back ends of the Toyota and Honda entries all season in IRL events, should announce.mid-week that Cosworth will be the answer to GM’s power problems in that series. One positive spin could be for the GM folks to look it is American forces joining with the English for the second time this year to keep America safe from oversees oppression — or perhaps the gearing up for the reality of the 2006 Cup season. For recent past news/rumors, see my Engines page.(6-17-2003)
  • Racing Champions Introduces new NASCAR Collectibles: Racing Champions-a brand of RC2 hits the ground running with four new product introductions that will be in stores in August. “This brand-new NASCAR Ultra Series of 1:64-scale die-cast cars is more detailed than anything we’ve done before,” said Dell Torgerson, Managing Director for RC2 Corporation. “As the premier marketer of authentically detailed NASCAR replicas and toys, we’re noted for the exceptional authenticity of our die-cast products, but the Ultra Series raises the bar to a new level.” Four new vehicles-Ford, Dodge, Pontiac, and Chevy-will be included in the initial series offering, all of them featuring die-cast bodies and chassis, rubber tires, authentic decoration, and detailed interiors. The Ultra Series will also continue the Chase the Race program of silver chase cars, car covers, and race-used memorabilia which are randomly inserted into car assortments. Suggested retail price is $3.99.(Racing Champions PR)(6-17-2003)
  • Sad News: A race car driver died after his car struck the pit wall with full force during a race at Oxford Plains Speedway. Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston confirmed Sunday morning that Dennis Dee, of Poland, Maine, had died, but wouldn’t release any other information. Dee was extricated from the wreckage of his late-model stock car and rushed in an ambulance to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway after the accident. He was later transferred to CMMC. Trooper Andre Paradis said Dee’s car and a second vehicle were unable to negotiate Turn 2 after they got bunched up with other cars on the first turn. One vehicle locked its brakes and slowed down, but Dee’s vehicle continued going straight and “hit the wall with full force at whatever speed he was traveling,” the trooper said. Dee’s car appeared to be traveling about 75 mph seconds before the crash, the Sunday Sun-Journal of Lewiston said. Dee began racing weekly at western Maine’s Oxford Plains in the mid-1990s and had competed in three different divisions. He was a three-time feature winner in the strictly stock class, which is two notches below late model stock.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-15-2003)
    AND The deaths of two drivers — one in Connecticut and the other in Maine — are at least the 307th and 308th in U.S. auto racing since 1990, according to a Charlotte Observer study. George Smith of Troy, N.Y., was killed Saturday after his car hit a guard rail during a Sports Car Club of America regional race in Lakeville, Conn. Smith, 68, died after crashing on the 13th lap at Lime Rock Park, state police said. State police ruled out mechanical problems, driver error, unsafe passing and contact with another car as possible causes. In Oxford, Maine, driver Dennis Dee, 38, died after his car struck the pit wall with full force during a race Saturday at Oxford Plains Speedway. Trooper Andre Paradis said Dee’s late-model stock car and a second vehicle were unable to negotiate Turn 2 after they got bunched up. One vehicle locked its brakes, but Dee’s vehicle continued going straight and “hit the wall with full force,” Paradis said. Dee’s car appeared to be traveling about 75 mph seconds before the crash, the Sunday Sun-Journal of Lewiston said. The other vehicle also hit the concrete wall, but the driver was uninjured.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-16-2003)
    UPDATE: The Charlotte Observer/AP stretches the truth in counting “racing deaths”. The paper, self-appointed keeper of a racing fatalities list, boosted their grim tally by writing that 68 year old George Smith “was killed after his car hit a guardrail…” last Saturday at Lime Rock Park. It is believed Smith suffered a fatal heart attack while driving the race car, and did not die from forces sustained in the resultant crash.(sources at Lime Rock)(6-17-2003)


    (6-16-2003)

  • Driver named for #4 at Sonoma: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced that Trans-Am Road Racing Series points leader Johnny Miller [info at www.milleracing.com] will drive the #4 Kodak Winston Cup Series car at Infineon Raceway this weekend. Miller, who resides in Johnson City, TN, will make his first start in a NASCAR Winston Cup race. Miller, a road course specialist, tested a #4 car in 2002 at Road Atlanta prior to the Sonoma, CA. event for Morgan-McClure. Miller joins a list of road course “ringers” to compete in the Dodge/Save Mart 350. The 37 year-old currently leads the Championship points for the Trans-Am Series. In his past 29 Trans-Am Series starts, Miller has finished in the top-10 an impressive 28 times. For the 2003 season, he has four starts resulting in two third place finishes, a second place, and a win. The Industrial Engineer graduate of the University of Tennessee began racing professionally in 1996 and has captured 32 top-five and 58 top-10 finishes in 95 Trans-Am Series starts.(more at Morgan-McClure Motorsports site)(6-16-2003)
  • Morgan-McClure to examine car UPDATE Skinner released: XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio reports that #4 Morgan McClure team owner Larry McClure said they will take the #4 Kodak Pontiac back to their VA shop and lokk it over and find if anything is wrong with the car and if they find nothing, changes may have to be made, but wasn’t specific. The team and driver Mike Skinner missed the race at Michigan due to lack of speed and being out of provisionals.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)
    AND quotes by Mike Skinner from Morgan-McClure PR: “It is a situation no one wants to experience. I am devastated. I am proud of our engine shop and our body shop. We brought a new car here that did not have a lap on it. We had not tested it. We all thought it would be better, obviously it was not. We missed it somewhere. This was a group decision made on Tuesday, so there is no one to point fingers at. I feel bad. I wish I could have done more as a driver. Our cars and race team is strong enough to make races and compete. We have dug in a hole and they are not easy to dig out of. We are going to find out how tough we really are.. I cannot say enough about the progress we have made with our engines and the racing. This team has had some tough breaks on the race track. This has dug us in a hole for points.”
    AND II: “This is a tough situation and I’m going get to the bottom of it. I hope I can go home and find something wrong with the car, some reason we didn’t run good,” said team owner Larry McClure. “That is just a piece of metal, though. After that, it’s people. I will make the decision regardless of what I have to change – whether it’s me, the people working on the race car or whoever is driving it.” McClure said he had not talked with any other drivers, but that all options were “on the table.”(ThatsRacin.com)(6-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced today that Mike Skinner has been released from his driving duties of the No. 4 Kodak Racing Pontiac. The change is effective immediately. An interim driver for the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. will be announced this week. A permanent driver will be announced at a later date. Skinner has been with the race team since the end of 2001 and began piloting the car in Daytona 2002. Skinner had only one top-10 finish in 50 races with the Abingdon, Va.-based team. Strong efforts and changes, including that of key personnel, were made to counteract the performance of the team, but Larry McClure, team owner, decided a major change was necessary. “We feel it is necessary to perform better for our race team and for our sponsor, Kodak. We appreciate Mike’s efforts in the car, but it is time for a change. We have to finish races and that has not been happening. We went to Charlotte a few weeks ago and qualified third. Then earlier in the year, we qualified sixth at Bristol. I feel this shows our team has potential that is not being utilized in a maximum way,” stated McClure.(Morgan-McClure PR); past news and rumors and Smutski on the #4 Team News and Links page. John Andretti for the future?(6-16-2003)
  • CITGO leaving #99 Roush Racing team at end of 2003: Roush Racing announced today that it has launched a search for a primary sponsor for the Jeff Burton driven, Roush Racing #99 Ford in Winston Cup competition. CITGO announced earlier today that it was ending its long running NASCAR sponsorship. “I am committed to Jack Roush, Roush Racing and my entire No. 99 team,” said Burton. “Jack and I have had a very successful history together, and we look forward to sharing and extending that history with a new primary sponsor. We’re convinced that the best is still in front of us, and we’re both committed to attaining our goals.”
    “So far 2003 has been a banner year for attracting sponsorship interest in our programs,” said Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president. “Now that the Jeff Burton, No. 99 program is available for sponsorship, we can complete our program sales mix by offering one of the top primary sponsorships in NASCAR Winston Cup. The sport is at a great point in its history, with the “blue sky” potential of television being realized, and dynamic sponsorship programs being implemented by many great sponsors throughout the sport.”(Roush Racing)(6-16-2003)
  • Robby’s Angel’s at Sonoma: The #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy and driver Robby Gordon will carry a special Charlie’s Angels II paint scheme this weekend at Sonoma as part of Cingular’s relationship with the movie.(RCR PR), it was rumored to run at Dover a few weeks ago, see an image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(6-16-2003)
  • Pruett in Target car at Sonoma: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that road-course specialist Scott Pruett will drive a fourth entry for the team at Sonoma this weekend. Pruett will be entered to drive the #09 Target Dodge [listed as the Phoenix Racing/James Finch #09 team] in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 22, 2003. This is in addition to Ganassi’s current stable of drivers: #40-Sterling Marlin, #41-Casey Mears and #42-Jamie McMurray. “I’m excited to put Scott behind the wheel of the Target Dodge this weekend in Sonoma,” owner Chip Ganassi said. “Scott has a proven track record on road courses and has had great finishes with our team in the past two years. This team is committed to winning and adding value to our sponsors.” Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has hired Pruett on two other occasions. Last year, Pruett drove the #41 Target Dodge to a sixth place finish at Watkins Glen. In 2001, Pruett qualified eighth and finished 11th at Watkins Glen in the #01 Ganassi entry. “It’s great to be able to work with the Chip Ganassi racing team again,” Pruett said. “This is a first class organization that’s out to win races. I’m hoping to take the Target Dodge to the Winner’s Circle in Sonoma.” Pruett has one full season of NASCAR Winston Cup experience under his belt, racing in 2000 for #32 PPI Motorsports in its first season in the NASCAR Winston Cup series. Pruett’s best finish was 10th place in the Brickyard 400. In addition to racing in the Trans Am Road Racing Series for Rocketsports Racing in 2003, Pruett also serves as a race announcer for Speed Channel’s CART races.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-16-2003)
  • TV Ratings for Michigan: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Sirius 400 at Michigan International Speedway, which was won by Kurt Busch in Roush Racing’s #97 Ford, drew an overnight 4.5 rating and 11 share from Nielsen Media Resarch’s largest national markets, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The network will need a bump from the nation’s smaller TV markets if it’s going to match the 4.8/13 that it drew in the final ratings last year. The ratings lagged well behind those for two NBA playoff games on ABC and the third and fourth rounds of the U.S. Open golf tournament on NBC.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter), see past ratings on my 2003 TV Ratings page.(6-16-2003)
  • Davis back to GM in 2004? #22 and #23 Team Owner Bill Davis, although he’s officially off the Dodge deal, is expected to keep running Dodges the rest of this season because of his huge inventory of parts and pieces. But next season, he might well be back with General Motors, possibly with Pontiac.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-16-2003)
  • Little E wants F-1 rules at road courses: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is lobbying NASCAR to adopt the old Formula One qualifying rules when the Winston Cup teams go to road courses. It would allow drivers to run multiple laps, with the fastest counting as their qualifying time. Under the current setup, drivers run only one lap for qualifying. That leaves little room for error and is challenging for many who aren’t as savvy on road courses. “I can race all right, but I just can’t get a decent starting spot,” Earnhardt says. “If we don’t get the opportunity to do that, then I’m looking to do more road racing stuff, maybe with Jim France’s (Grand American) Series to get a little more experience on the road courses.” Junior, who won the 1999 Busch Series race at Watkins Glen, considers road courses the most physically demanding tracks on the Cup circuit.(Sporting News)(6-16-2003)
  • John Kernan and ESPN Going Separate Ways: John Kernan will not be returning to ESPN when his contract expires at the end of this year, making him a free agent able to pursue other opportunities. No decision has yet been made on the future of RPM 2Night.(MotorsportsTV)(6-16-2003)
  • Weather delays Victory Junction work: Seated on the spot that will be the heart of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Scott McPherson looks over a row of buildings under construction. As workers trudge through the red Randolph County mud, he takes stock of the progress on the $24 million project. See more on my Racing Charities page.(6-16-2003)
  • Bodine at the Track: Brett Bodine, who broke his right collarbone in a wreck during final practice Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, was on hand for Sunday’s race as his brother Geoffrey Bodine drove the #11 Hooters Ford in his place. Brett Bodine hit the wall between turns 1 and 2, then his car shot down to the inside and he hit a wall of tires head-on. In addition to the collarbone injury, Brett Bodine suffered a concussion and knocked eight caps off his teeth. “To take two hard hits like that is a testament to our cars and safety stuff that we’ve put in these cars to make them safer for the drivers,” Brett Bodine said. “The second hit on the inside was in the soft wall that the speedway had installed and that certainly did its job because I hit that running probably over 150 mph. I was unconsciousness and pretty much hit it straight on, so everything did its job for me to be here today.”(ThatsRacin.com)(6-15-2003)

 


 

  • (6-15-2003)

  • Busch wins at Michigan #97-Kurt Busch won the Sirius 400 at Michigan International Speedway, his 3rd win of 2003 and 7th of his career. #18-Bobby Labonte was 2nd in the Hulk car. #54-Todd Bodine wrecked on Lap 192 of 200 forcing a caution and setting up the final five-lap sprint to the end. Sunday’s race got off to a slow start as Ken Schrader and Ricky Rudd wrecked in Turn 2 on Lap 2 for the first caution. Dave Blaney’s spin on Lap 11 provided the first pit stops of the day but then-race leader Stewart stayed out to keep the lead. Ryan Newman, who led twice in the early going, blew his engine on Lap 37. His No. 12 Dodge caught fire but Newman escaped unhurt.(Story at Thatsracin.com)
    See my Michigan Race Info page for the top 10, lap leaders, out of race, caution narrative and notes..
    Unofficial Race Results at my Michigan Race Results/Awards page or at
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com
    For full unofficial points standings see my Drivers/Owners Points after Michigan page.(6-15-2003)
  • Toyota Engine Heads Approved UPDATE: So three weeks ago, when NASCAR gave a thumbs up for Toyota’s new 358 cylinder heads for next year’s Truck tour, NASCAR also approved a brand new General Motors engine [R99], block and all – first for next year’s Truck tour and then for the Winston Cup tour when Toyota jumps in. And NASCAR has told Ford to get cracking and come up with some new engine stuff, too. The deadline to have something approved is Aug. 1.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Been told that NASCAR does not have a final submission from GM on the R99 and that all that been seen from Toyota, as of Pocono, was the rapid prototype pieces and that they’ve got to give NASCAR aluminum heads and steel block.before the piece is “approved”.(6-15-2003)
  • A First at Fairgrounds: Joe Henderson III, a lanky 18-year-old from Franklin, made local racing history last night at Fairgrounds Speedway. Henderson became the first black driver to compete in the 45-year-old track’s premier Late Model division, driving a car fielded by Bobby Hamilton. And although it was short — he dropped out after seven laps — he said it was sweet. Henderson said he hopes to race again, ”as soon as Bobby gets ready. It’s all up to him.”
    ”We wanted to put Joe in a car, turn him loose and see what he can do,” said Hamilton, who was on hand to coach the young racer. ”I’ve watched him run in some [in lower divisions] and I think he’s got promise. I like his spirit.”(Tennessean)(6-15-2003)
  • Mears on the pole again….for ARCA race UPDATE Mears wins race at MIS: Casey Mears and Team Target are two for two. Mears, driving his #77 Target Dodge, set a new track record while earning the pole at Michigan International Speedway for the ARCA race. This is the second ARCA pole in a row for Mears. He won the ARCA pole last weekend at Pocono but the race was postponed due to rain [will run July 25th]. Mears’ lap was recorded at 188.073 mph (38.283 seconds). His lap was three miles faster than the old track record set by Jason Jarrett (185.000mph). Mears qualified 22nd for the Winston Cup race later Friday afternoon. His fast lap was recorded at 187.446 mph (38.411 seconds). The Michigan ARCA race will be broadcast on Speed Channel at 8:00pm/et.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Casey Mears won his first career stock car race today in his #77 Target Dodge in the Michigan ARCA race. This is the first win for Team Target in a stock car as well. Mears set a new track record while earning the pole at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. His lap was recorded at 188.073 mph (38.283 seconds), which was three miles faster than the old track record set by Jason Jarrett (185.000mph). Although Mears won the pole, he had to start 26th due to a misunderstanding in the garage area before the race. Team Target did not get their car through tech in the allotted time. Team Target was not the only team who had the misunderstanding, seventeen other cars had to move to the rear of the field for the start of the race. The 26th place start was no problem for Mears; by lap 13 of the 100-lap event he was in fourth place. Mears took the lead on lap 45 and never looked back. Team Target dominated the race and took home their first stock car victory.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-15-2003)
  • Rumblings – Michigan: (comments about this post should be directed to StockCarFans.Com Newsletter):
    #40-Sterling Marlin had a fast car, but #97-Kurt Busch had a fast car and great pit stops today….and that’s a tough combination to beat. In a race that Marlin dominated, Busch’s #97 Rubbermaid Ford proved to be the best at the end of today’s Sirius 400 at Michigan International Speedway. It was Busch’s 3rd win of the season (his previous wins came at Bristol and California) and the 7th of his career (he’s tied for 52nd on the all-time win list). Busch now has six of the last eight wins for Roush Racing….they’ve got 64 all-time.
    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an engine grenade like the one #12-Ryan Newman experienced today. There was more fire inside the car than on the business side of the firewall
    #15-Michael Waltrip (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Darlington in March. #19-Jeremy Mayfield (13th) had his best finish since he was 8th in the Daytona 500. #0-Jack Sprague (19th) had his best finish since he was 19th in the Daytona 500. #41-Casey Mears (20th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Las Vegas in March. STREAKIN….#17-Matt Kenseth has 13 Top-10’s in the last 14 races, #18-Bobby Labonte has 6 Top-3’s in the last 7 races.
    #16-Greg Biffle led today for the first time since he led once for 12 laps at Richmond last September. #43-Christian Fittipaldi led today for the first time in his career; #02-Hermie Sadler led today for the first time in his career. We’ve now had 37 different leaders this season….last year’s number was 46.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a tie between Sterling Marlin (+25) and Jamie McMurray (+25), followed by Ricky Craven (+22). DOWN: It’s lonely at the top as Ryan Newman (-33) is The Big Dropper. This is the 4th time this season that Rocket Ryan has captured this award. Matt Kenseth padded his lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr by 9 points today. That lead is now 185. Jeremy Mayfield gained the most spots in the point standings today (32nd to 29th), while Dave Blaney lost the same number of spots (21st to 24th). The Top-8 remain unchanged after today’s race.(StockCarFans.Com Newsletter)(6-15-2003)


    (6-14-2003)

  • Bliss in a third Gibbs car? UPDATE #80: Mike Bliss reportedly will drive a third Winston Cup car for Joe Gibbs Racing at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona and the EA Sports 500 at Talladega in September. Bliss currently drives for Gibbs in the Busch Series.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read)(5-29-2003)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced Saturday that they will field a third car out of their Huntersville, NC shops for the Daytona and Talladega races this season. Piloting what will be the #80 Chevy is 2002 Truck Series champion Mike Bliss. Sponsorship for the team will be coming from one of Joe Gibbs Racing’s major associate sponsors. GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder), a leading asthma maintenance product, will be the primary sponsor of the #80 car. Earlier this year, GSK and Joe Gibbs Racing announced a joint asthma education initiative, Racing Against Asthma, designed to help raise awareness of Advair and help bring information about asthma and effective asthma management to the public. As part of the education initiative, fans attending the Daytona and Talladega races will have the opportunity to visit the Racing Against Asthma trackside education center, which offers free lung function testing and interactive displays that provide fans with an engaging way to learn more about asthma. In his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, Bliss, the driver of the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy in the Busch Series sits in seventh-place in the current point standings.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR), see full PR on my #18 Team News and Links page.(6-14-2003)
  • #97 and Irwin Tools UPDATE 2: hearing that Kurt Busch will run a #97 Irwin Tools scheme at Daytona in July, Chicago, Talladega in Oct and Lowe’s in Oct.(2-5-2003)
    >UPDATE The Box: at Michigan Internation Speedway on Saturday, June 14th, Kurt Busch will open some sort of ‘big box’ in a press conference with sponsor Rubbermaid [it was for Irwin Tools], Busch drivers the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpies Ford.(6-14-2003)
    UPDATE: While race fans have grown accustomed to seeing Kurt Busch’s red, black and silver #97 Rubbermaid Racing Ford running up front in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, they will get an exciting surprise in four races, kicking off the second-half of the season. It was announced today that Busch’s #97 Roush Racing Ford will don the new trademark blue and yellow colors of IRWIN Industrial Tools beginning with the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2003. IRWIN will also be the primary sponsor of the #97 Roush Racing Ford for the Chicagoland Speedway race on July 13th as well as the races at Talladega SuperSpeedway (Sept. 28th) and Lowe’s Motor Speedway (Oct. 11th). The formal announcement was made at Michigan International Speedway, site of this weekend’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series event. Just like the #97 IRWIN car, both product and packaging feature IRWIN’s new trademark blue and yellow color scheme. IRWIN brand products are available at industrial and contractor supply houses, hardware stores, home centers and automotive tool distributors worldwide.(Irwin Tools PR). See images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(6-14-2003)
  • Morgan-McClure to examine car: XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio reports that #4 Morgan McClure team owner Larry McClure said they will take the #4 Kodak Pontiac back to their VA shop and lokk it over and find if anything is wrong with the car and if they find nothing, changes may have to be made, but wasn’t specific. The team and driver Mike Skinner missed the race at Michigan due to lack of speed and being out of provisionals.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)
    AND quotes by Mike Skinner from Morgan-McClure PR: “It is a situation no one wants to experience. I am devastated. I am proud of our engine shop and our body shop. We brought a new car here that did not have a lap on it. We had not tested it. We all thought it would be better, obviously it was not. We missed it somewhere. This was a group decision made on Tuesday, so there is no one to point fingers at. I feel bad. I wish I could have done more as a driver. Our cars and race team is strong enough to make races and compete. We have dug in a hole and they are not easy to dig out of. We are going to find out how tough we really are.. I cannot say enough about the progress we have made with our engines and the racing. This team has had some tough breaks on the race track. This has dug us in a hole for points.”
    AND II: “This is a tough situation and I’m going get to the bottom of it. I hope I can go home and find something wrong with the car, some reason we didn’t run good,” said team owner Larry McClure. “That is just a piece of metal, though. After that, it’s people. I will make the decision regardless of what I have to change – whether it’s me, the people working on the race car or whoever is driving it.” McClure said he had not talked with any other drivers, but that all options were “on the table.”(ThatsRacin.com), see my #4 Team News and Links page for past Smutski rumors.(6-14-2003)
  • Ned Jarrett Honored: Ned Jarrett was honored Friday night with the Spirit of Ford Award as part of the Ford Centennial Celebration in Dearborn, MI. “When they told me a couple of years ago that I had won more races in a Ford than anybody else, I was extremely proud,” Jarrett said. “We ran a lot more races back then, but I’ve always valued my relationship with Ford, and I’m honored to receive this award during such a special time in Ford’s history.” The Spirit of Ford Award is the highest honor in Ford Racing and goes to a person who has made significant contributions on and off the track to the sport of auto racing. Edsel Ford, along with Dale and Jason Jarrett, presented Ned Jarrett with the award during a reception at the Henry Ford Museum.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-14-2003)
  • Congrats: After the crowds left and the sound of the engines quieted, Teresa and Don Bertke led a small group of friends and family to the winner’s circle. That’s where they got married. “We’re both huge race fans,” Teresa said. Huge enough that six months ago, they started asking if they could hold their wedding at the track. It was the first such ceremony at MIS. Teresa has attended races there for 25 years while growing up in Camden. Don is an Earnhardt Jr. fan. They wore their wedding clothes around MIS all day and posed for pictures with drivers. To them, it was the perfect wedding. “It was what we wanted,” Teresa said. “The best part was getting our picture taken with Richard Petty.” The honeymoon begins Sunday — at MIS, of course.(Detroit Free Press)(6-14-2003)
  • Nextel a done deal? NASCAR has completed negotiations with Nextel to be the next series sponsor replacing R. J. Reynolds, according to industry sources. The only questions left are when the announcement will be made, what happens to The Winston all-star race, and who will do all the behind-the-scenes work that RJR executives have done for many years. NASCAR officials would like to wait until the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in three weeks for the announcement, according to sources. No financial figures are available on the Nextel deal or how Fox, NBC and TNT will share in the new TV ad revenues. RJR pays NASCAR between $40 million and $50 million a year on a roll-over five-year contract, sources say. Visa offered NASCAR $80 million a year (apparently including monies for TV ads) with a 10-year contract, according to sources — NASCAR liked the package but could not provide exclusivity.(Winston Salem Journal), see past news posted here a few days ago on my NASCAR Sponsor page, Nextel and VISA seem to be the front runners.(6-14-2003)
  • Andretti rumors: John Andretti, released Tuesday as driver of the #43 Petty Dodge, could be under consideration for a Pontiac ride with the #01 US Army/MB2 Motorsports team, as a sub for ailing Jerry Nadeau, or for a ride with #4 car owner Larry McClure, sources said.[McClure denies talking to any other drivers – see above story]. Mike Skinner, who has had a tough season with McClure, failed to make the field. Just last week McClure denied speculation of changes [remember Smutski?]. MB2’s Jay Frye dismissed the Andretti talk.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-14-2003)
  • Mayfield to Petty? So this weekend rookie Christian Fittipaldi is in the Petty car that Andretti drove the last five years, and Andretti is looking for a job. And Petty is hearing speculation that Jeremy Mayfield may be on his list as a driver. Mayfield’s year and a half with car owner Ray Evernham has been very disappointing.(Winston Salem Journal); Mayfield has also been rumored to the #1 DEI car.(6-14-2003)
  • Gordon/Montoya Tradin’ Paint UPDATE more re-airs on Speed: Video, Notes and Transcripts of Jeff Gordon driving an F-1 car and Juan Montoya driving the #24 DuPont Chevy on Indy’s road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway site. The event will be re-aired on Speed Channel June 20th at 8:30pm/et.(6-12-2003)
    More Re-Air Dates/Times: For those of you who missed the Gordon-Montoya Tradin’ Paint special on Speed Channel, the entire 1 1/2 hour special will replay in three time slots, replacing the rained out Busch North race:
    Monday, June 16th, 8:00pm/et
    Tuesday, June 17th, 1:00am/et
    Wednesday, June 18th,10:00am/et. The one-hour version will air Friday, June 20 at 8:30 p.m. following Winston Cup qualifying.(Speed Channel PR)(6-14-2003)
  • President Norris? DEI’s Ty Norris could be under consideration to become a track president for one of the facilities in International Speedway Corp., according to sources. However, Norris insisted that he is happy where he is. ‘I love DEI and I’ll be here as long as Teresa Earnhardt wants me,’ Norris said. ‘They say anything in the world is possible, but I have a lot of passion for what I do.'(Winston Salem Journal)(6-14-2003)
  • Dodge Rides: Winston Cup drivers Jimmy Spencer and Jeremy Mayfield, spent several hours on Thursday at the DaimlerChrysler proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan, giving rides for the media. Spencer was driving a Dodge SRT-4 with the performance upgrade package and when Ron Felix [of Insider Racing News] toured the 1.7 mile road course track with him, Spencer held nothing back. He obviously was honing his skills for the Sears Point race, next week. At one point we took an off road excursion into the grass. Spencer managed to hang on and we returned safely to the start-finish area. Next, it was two laps on the road course with Jeremy Mayfield, filling in for the injured Bill Elliott, in a Dodge Viper. The ride with Spencer was hair raising to say the least but Mayfield, not to be outdone by Spencer, unleashed all the power of the Viper and it made for a very exciting ride. At one point the speedometer displayed 140 mph, and that was entering a long sweeping turn, similar to the “Tunnel Turn” at Pocono.(Insider Racing News)(6-14-2003)
  • Indy Speedway historian loses personal treasures in fire: Between 30 and 40 photos of famous race car drivers were destroyed after fire damaged the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s historian. IIt could have been worse,” Donald Davidson said Friday as he emerged from his basement after inspecting the damage with a firefighter. “I lost stuff I’d forgotten I had.” The lost photos included one of Davidson standing next to drivers such as Arie Luyendyk and Emerson Fittipaldi, and another picture of Ray Harroun – the winner of the first Indy 500 in 1911. The fire appeared to have started in a basement dryer at Davidson’s house Thursday night, and fire officials estimated there was $20,000 in structural damage. Davidson said his official files and memorabilia collected from more than three decades as a statistician and historian for the U.S. Auto Club and the speedway were safe.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-14-2003)
  • Ramblings – Michigan: (all comments about this post can be made to Stock Car Fans)
    #18-Bobby Labonte grabbed the 24th Bud pole of his career at Michigan International Speedway this afternoon, knocking his teammate Tony Stewart off the catbird’s seat with a time of 37.822 sec (190.365 mph). Bobby’s 3rd pole this year puts him only one behind #12-Ryan Newman in that contingency program.
    #20-Tony Stewart (2nd) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the pole at Atlanta last October (but that was by points). It’s his best spot on time since he had the pole at The Brickyard last August.
    #97-Kurt Busch (4th) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the pole at Homestead last November.
    #29-Kevin Harvick (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at Talladega in April.
    #1-Jeff Green (13th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at the Daytona 500 in February [in the #30 car].
    #02-Hermie Sadler (18th) has his best starting spot since he started 8th at Martinsville last October (only 4 races).
    #31-Robby Gordon (19th) has his best startin spot since he started 6th at Talladega last April.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 13 Top-10 starts in a row. Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
    The Trouble Train contained two cars today….both of them OOP (out of provisionals). Mike Skinner & Larry Foyt both got the early out….for Foyt it’s the 4th time this season he’s been a DNQ. For the #4 car, this is the first race they’ve missed since The Brickyard in August of 2001. They missed two events that year (Fontana as well) with Kevin Lepage in the saddle.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(6-14-2003)


    (6-13-2003)

  • Some Rules Changes for Daytona: NASCAR on Friday issued a four-page technical bulletin to all Winston Cup teams outlining several changes that must be made to cars for next month’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The most visible change is the requirement of an additional rear roof air deflector, which will likely slow the cars slightly as well as help keep them stay grounded should they get involved in an accident. NASCAR recently conducted a wind-tunnel test with a third roof flap and discovered a change in the air deflector improved the efficiency and performance of the two flaps currently in use. Several other, minor changes were outlined in the bulletin, including rules mandating the height and thickness of air filters, quarter panels, and the fuel cells.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-13-2003)
  • No Rookie of the Year for Fittipaldi: Despite being inserted in Petty Enterprises #43 Cheerios Dodge with 22 races remaining in the season, Christian Fittipaldi will not run for rookie of the year. According to NASCAR officials at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, a driver needs to declare his intent to run for the award and then compete in at least eight of the first 20 races. Since 14 races have been completed and Fittipaldi was not registered for the program in the two races he competed in earlier this season, he is ineligible.(NASCAR.com)(6-13-2003)
  • Rusty Busch Team UPDATE 3: 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)
  • Buckshot back: Buckshot Jones will be driving the #09 Miccosukee Resorts & Gaming Dodge for Phoenix Racing and team owner James Finch in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. He will be filling in for Mike Wallace who is subbing for Jerry Nadeau in the #01 US Army Pontiac.(Buckshot PR)(6-13-2003)
  • Part of an interview with Joe Gibbs: a recent interview with Cup/Busch car owner Joe Gibbs at the Sports Business Daily where he discussed a new business venture he’s got with his son Coy:
    THE DAILY: One of your latest business ventures is a company called Joe Gibbs Performance, which is the brainchild of your son COY. What’s that all about?
    Gibbs: We’re working with GM, and we’ll be coming out with a truck. Basically, it’s going to have a different look to it. It’ll be a Joe Gibbs Performance look, and then it’s going to have a performance enhancement to it. We’re going to be putting out 1,000 Silverados and hopefully 1,000 Tahoes … over the next 2 1/2 to three years. We’re in the car business, and we think that we have a feel for looks — what people like — and performance. It’s a new venture for us, and we’re excited about kicking it off.(Sports Business Daily, need subscription to read)(6-13-2003)
  • Sad News: Condolences to Steve deSouza, VP of Busch Operation for Joe Gibbs Racing. Steve’s younger sister, Marianne Barden, passed away May 20 following a 7 month battle with lymphoma (cancer). Steve had donated one of his kidneys to Marianne in March of 1994, which brought an end to his career as a professional powerboat (F-1) racer. MA had 8 1/2 perfect years with her “man-kidney,” as she called it, thanks to his unselfish generosity.(BGNRacing.com)(6-13-2003)
  • New Petty Museum: Already one of the most popular attractions in Randolph [NC] County’s $6.3 million annual tourist trade, the Richard Petty Museum opened with little fanfare three weeks ago at its new location. All of the work should be completed there next month. Started in a storage room at the shop, the 15-year-old museum has grown into Randolph County’s answer to Elvis Presley’s Graceland. “We just needed a bigger place,” Richard Petty said, getting up off the floor where he helped workers position a heavy glass display case. “And we needed the room at the shop.” Petty said the 12,000 square feet looked a lot bigger when it was empty. He estimated that it would hold only about half of the family’s memorabilia. “We knew how much room we had; we just didn’t know we had this much stuff.” David Caughron, executive director of the Randleman Chamber of Commerce, has been so eager for the museum’s arrival that he spent several afternoons working there. He’s excited about the shot in the arm that the museum will give the city’s Oct. 18 fall street festival, NASCAR Day. Although the museum focuses primarily on Richard Petty’s 35-year career, exhibits include Lynda Petty’s doll collection and the 1998 Pontiac that the late Adam Petty drove when he won his first — and last — super speedway race. Don’t ask Doris Gammons, the museum’s executive director, how many items have been added to the museum. “We’re putting it out so fast, I can’t even tell,” she said.(News and Record), more info on the museum at the Petty Racing site.(6-13-2003)
  • Women’s NASCAR Clothes: NASCAR has struck a licensing deal with Los Angeles clothing manufacturer Jerry Leigh Inc. to make NASCAR-branded clothes for women — including pants, shorts, shirts and miniskirts — and funnel them into the mainstream. The for-profit enterprise, based in Daytona Beach, Fla., says that 40 percent of its 75 million fans are women. Retail behemoth Wal-Mart Stores Inc. began selling the NASCAR line in women’s and plus sizes in some of its stores earlier this year. Kmart Corp. also carries the line. And specialty and department store chains, including Sears, Roebuck & Co., are testing the brand in juniors’ sizes.(Charleston Post and Courier)(6-13-2003)
  • It’s Over? UPDATE Yep – Gordon divorce final: hearing that Jeff and Brooke Gordon are close to a settlement on their divorce.(6-12-2003)
    UPDATE: Brooke Gordon’s’s lawyers released a statement saying the couple “amicably resolved” their divorce case. “Brooke Gordon is very pleased with the terms of the settlement,” said the statement released by Orlando attorney Terry C. Young, who represented Brooke along with West Palm Beach attorney Jeffrey D. Fisher. “Brooke is very happy the divorce is now over, and she wishes Jeff Gordon well in his racing career.” NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said the sanctioning body had not comment on the divorce. “Whatever happens in that divorce is between Jeff and Brooke,” Hunter said. “People’s personal lives are their personal lives, and I’m sure both of them are looking forward to getting on with their lives.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)….well put and enough said.
    Jeff Gordon reached a divorce settlement that guarantees his former wife at least $15.3 million. Brooke Gordon waived alimony and will get the money from the sale of two properties, including the couple’s oceanfront home in Highland Beach, according to court documents.(Thatsracin.com). Links to other articles on this, see my Article/Column/Story Links page.(6-13-2003)
  • Final Pocono TV Ratings: Sunday’s Pocono 500 on FOX turned in a 5.3 final rating and 14 share, up 4 percent from last year’s 5.1 final number. The race had 5,680,000 households tune in, according to Nielsen Media Research. The race finished behind two NBA playoff games and the Belmont Stakes in the TV ratings. The 5.3 final rating is the best ever for a race from Pocono. Also, along with last year’s effort from Watkins Glen on NBC, the 5.3 is the strongest rating for NASCAR in recent history in the summer months of June, July, and August for a race outside of Daytona, Indianapolis, or Chicago.(MotorsportsTV)(6-13-2003)
  • Double Duty for Bodine again: Todd Bodine will once again be pulling double duty, as he will be he splitting his time between the Busch Series event at Kentucky Speedway and the Winston Cup event at Michigan International Speedway. Because Bodine will not be able to be in Kentucky in time for Friday’s initial practice, veteran Busch Series driver Mike McLaughlin will be practicing the #92 Monster.com Busch Chevy, something he has done in all non-companion events this season. Bodine is driving the #54 National Guard Ford in Cup.(Herzog Jackson Motorsports PR)(6-13-2003)
  • Wallace double duty: Mike Wallace will run the Cup race at Michigan in the #01 US Army Pontiac and the Busch Series race at Kentucky in the #4 GEICO Chevy, no word on if he will have help practicing or qualifying either car.(6-13-2003)
  • It’s OFFICIAL – California gets 2nd race, on Labor day, Darlington moves to 2nd Rockingham slot, which loses a race: Beginning in 2004, California Speedway will get a second NASCAR Winston Cup date — Sunday night during Labor Day weekend. This first official move of the Winston Cup Series’ “realignment 2004” was announced Friday. The inaugural Pop Secret 500 is scheduled to begin at 8:00pm/et on Sunday, Sept. 5th, and will be telecast live on NBC. California Speedway is touting it as the first Sunday night prime time Winston Cup event. NASCAR president Mike Helton deflected all questions about additional future changes to the schedule. In 2004, North Carolina Speedway, a 60,113-seat oval in Rockingham, NC will lose its second date on the schedule, in the fall. This season Rockingham’s spring race was held Feb. 23, a date that has been weather-plagued through the years. The Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, a 60,000-seat oval, will replace Rockingham’s fall date. The Southern 500 has been held on Labor Day weekend for 53 years at Darlington, the 1.336-mile South Carolina oval. Darlington maintains its spring event, held annually in March since 1957.(NASCAR.com)(6-13-2003)

    (6-12-2003)

  • Sad News: Tammy Stanley, wife of Don Stanley, Racing Electronics Busch Series National Rep., lost her long battle with Cancer on June 11th. Tammy lived in Concord NC and worked for many years for BSR Products. Anyone that knew Tammy was blessed to have know such a sweet, loving, and wonderful person. A service in the Charlotte, NC area is expected but not yet finalized. Information regarding the service will be posted on the Racing Electronics web site. Tammy was 35. Condolences to the Stanley family and friends. Racing Electronics is the sponsor of Jayski’s Scanners Freq Links, News and Equipment page.(6-12-2003)
  • Largest lead since 1990: Not since Dale Earnhardt led the standings by 213 points in 1990 has a driver enjoyed such a healthy lead in the rankings after 14 races. Kenseth’s 176-point lead already has lapped the field in the race for the championship. And if he stays on his pace of finishing in the top 10 in 12 out of every 14 races, he could turn the 2003 season into one of the biggest racing blowouts of all time.(Augusta Chronicle)(6-12-2003)
  • New Title Sponsor Soon? UPDATE 5 VISA?: NASCAR officials are on the verge of announcing a new series sponsor, according to NASCAR sources. Visa, Nokia, Motorola and Nextel have been mentioned. However NASCAR itself may try to handle the bulk of the PR operation when a new sponsor takes over. Also, there are reports that NASCAR executives are preventing present PR men from joining the new sponsor in order to keep more control of the sport inside the Daytona headquarters.(Winston Salem Journal), past news on my NASCAR Sponsors page.(6-8-2003)
    UPDATE: some ‘sources’ have told me it’ll be ‘Nextel’….we’ll see.(6-10-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Depending on the day and the source, either VISA, Nextel, Motorola or Nokia will replace Winston as NASCAR’s primary sponsor, perhaps as early as next year. Nextel was the most-rumored sponsor at Pocono, a week after sources at Dover said VISA had the inside track. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, previously the top rumored companies, have dropped out of the running.(Autoweek), so much for the ‘Big Mac Cup’.(6-11-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Nextel, a Reston, Va.-based provider of wireless communication services, is in negotiations with NASCAR to become the title sponsor of stock-car racing’s premiere series, now known as Winston Cup. Several sources confirmed the negotiations to The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday, but cautioned that no deal has been signed and that major issues must be worked out before Nextel takes over the sponsorship deal that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco has had since 1972. One source said the deal could be worth as much to $90 million per year, a figure that would include about $40 million for television advertising and other media buys. Two other sources, however, said those numbers were too high. Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications, said Wednesday it would be accurate to say that the sanctioning body’s search for a replacement for RJR has moved from efforts to find companies that might be interested to talks with companies that have expressed interest. Hunter would not say whether Nextel is one of those companies. Word of the talks with Nextel, however, has begun to reach other teams in the sport who may have conflicting sponsorship issues.(more at ThatsRacin.com/Charlotte Observer and some info: The Nextel Cup?)(6-11-2003)
    UPDATE 4 DENIED: A report that wireless giant Nextel Communications is the leading contender to become the title sponsor of NASCAR’s top racing series is “fundamentally premature,” NASCAR chairman Bill France said Wednesday. France said that discussions are still ongoing with four or five companies to replace R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which sponsors the Winston Cup. “It is fundamentally premature to say we are in final negotiations with anyone,” France told The Associated Press. “We’re still talking to several people and have not finalized anything with anyone.”(USA Today/AP)(6-12-2003)
    UPDATE 5: however, sources tell me it is gonna be VISA, not Nextel.(6-12-2003)
  • Bickle to attempt NHIS Cup race: hearing that Rich Bickle is teaming up with the newly formed PF2 Motorsports, owned by Pam and Fred Bickford, to attempt the July 20th Winston Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Their number will #94 (Not #91) and will have signed with associate sponsor KnotlessBoatRope.com (www.knotlessboatrope.com) a company formed by Tim Greer who works on the team, invented and developed the Knotless Boat Rope in Bickle’s facility in Mooresville, NC. The team is currently looking for primary sponsorship but will run the race regardless. Bickle is also scheduled to run the Truck Series race at Gateway that weekend and would be his priority, the team is talking to some Busch Series regulars in case he can’t make it,(6-12-2003)
  • Sadler and Team CLR team up UPDATE: Team CLR [usually the #57 Ford] is going to Michigan. They have been hired as a team by #02-Hermie Sadler to take one of his cars to the ARCA race this weekend in Michigan. The car was prepared in the Sadler shop in Virginia and Team CLR will put it in their hauler with equipment, tools, and employees and head for Michigan on Wednesday. Their roll will be to get the car through inspection, get the car Qualified, and pit the car during Saturdays ARCA race, plus Team CLR will pit the #02 Cup car on Sunday if Sadler makes the race.(Team CLR site)(6-11-2003)
    UPDATE: Hermie Sadler will make his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut this weekend in the Flagstar 200 at Michigan International Speedway. Sadler, a former Busch Series Rookie of the Year and a frequent competitor in the Nascar Winston Cup Series, looks at this race as a great opportunity for him and his team. “We’re looking forward to running the ARCA RE/MAX series race at Michigan. I have won a pole there in the Busch Car and it is a track where you can race three and four wide. We are running a brand new car and this is a great way for us to test it. We have power from DEI under the hood, so we should be very competitive.” The car will be sponsored by NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, who is celebrating their One Year Anniversary with a special pay-per-view on June 18. TNA broadcasts every Wednesday night, but this one will be special, with three World Title matches slated, along with many surprises. Total Nonstop Action has made its reputation for providing surprises, and this special anniversary show will be no different. After the show will be a party sponsored by Sony Pictures’ Charlie’s Angles: Full Throttle in which attendees will receive merchandise and have a chance to meet TNA talent. You can catch TNA on Wednesday nights at 8:00 pm EST for only $9.95. Call your local cable or satellite provider for information on log on to www.nwatna.com for more details. Sadler, who has been on the TNA pay-per-view and is a loyal watcher, says fans will not want to miss the June 18 show. “They have a great show lined up. I am even thinking about asking for World title shot if I win the race on Saturday. I know Jeff Jarrett (NWA Heavyweight Champion) will be watching close on Saturday.” The Flagstar 200 will be broadcast on same day coverage Saturday night at 8:00 pm eastern on Speed Channel. In addition to the ARCA RE/MAX series, TNA is also sponsoring Sadler’s car at the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 Winston Cup race.(Sadler PR)(6-12-2003)
  • Todd Bodine’s National Guard Crew Wins Pit Crew Title at Pocono: Round 14 of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by Powerade was won by the pit crew of Todd Bodine’s #54 National Guard Ford. Bodine’s Ford spent 237 seconds on pit road – the least amount of time for cars participating in the program during Sunday’s (June 8) Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Elliott Sadler’s #38-M&M’s Ford was second at 238 seconds and the race winning Home Depot Chevrolet of Tony Stewart was third with 250 seconds. The victory earned the National Guard crew $20,000, the amount that is paid to the weekly winning pit crew. After 14 races, the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE has paid out $280,000 to Winston Cup Teams.(DMF Communications PR), For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(6-12-2003)
  • Johnson Helps Build a House: This past Monday, Team Lowe’s driver Jimmie Johnson joined former President of the United States Jimmy Carter to kick off the 2003 Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) in Anniston, Ala., one of three sites on which the JCWP plans to build nearly 100 Habitat homes this week. “Being able to put on my tool belt and help build these homes was an uplifting experience,” said Johnson, an accomplished do-it yourselfer. “My association with Lowe’s has allowed me to do some amazing things and meet some amazing people over the past couple of years. To be able to help build homes for families that need assistance and to be able to do this along side a former President of the United States was a rare treat.” In support of the JCWP, Lowe’s has joined forces with Whirlpool and The Valspar Corporation to provide Habitat for Humanity with the products necessary to build and furnish the homes being built this week.(Golin Harris PR)(6-12-2003)

    (6-11-2003)

  • Hooter’s Leaving Bodine as sponsor: Hooters Racing will end their sponsorship of the Brett Bodine Racing #11 NASCAR Winston Cup team at the end of June. After being the primary sponsor for most of the 2002 season and the first half of this season, Hooters’ last event with the team will be the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15th. “We are clearly disappointed in the performance of the team both this season and last. We respect and like Brett and really want to see him succeed. However, it does not make business sense to continue to pour money into a marketing venture that is not getting exposure on race days. We wish the best for Brett in the future, and hope that he is able to find support from a company looking to fund a NASCAR team,” said Mike McNeil, Vice President of Marketing for Hooters.(Brett Bodine Racing PR), no word on if Bodine will run anymore races in 2003, see full press release on my #11 Team News and Links page.(6-11-2003)
  • Boogity..Boogity…Boogity…..DW to be Inducted: Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip will be inducted Thursday night into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at the State Theatre. Waltrip, who won 84 Winston Cup races, will be one of eight inductees. Others are open-wheel and sports car racer Bob Bondurant, midget and Indy car star Mel Kenyon, safety equipment innovator and supplier Bill Simpson and motorcycle racer Gary Nixon. Inducted posthumously will be drag racing engine builder Ed Donovan, hydroplane racer and designer Ted Jones, and dirt track sprint champ Tommy Hinnershitz. NBC broadcaster Benny Parsons, a former Winston Cup champion, will be the master of ceremonies. Parsons, who grew up racing at short tracks around Detroit, was the first driver to qualify a stock car at more than 200mph, doing so at Talladega in 1982. Supporting Parsons onstage will be 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti, Winston Cup hotshot Ryan Newman and drag racing icon Don Garlits. All three will present awards. Previous inductees scheduled to attend the ceremony include Junior Johnson, Bobby Unser, Ned Jarrett and Chris Economaki.(Detroit Free Press) More info on my Hall of Fame/Museum page.(6-11-2003)
  • Andretti out Fittipaldi in the #43 UPDATE Andretti Surprised: Christian Fittipaldi will drive the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge for most of the rest of this season, beginning with this weekend’s 400-mile race at Michigan Speedway. Petty Enterprises announced this morning Fittipaldi would replace John Andretti, who has driven for the team since 1998. “Christian Fittipaldi has shown, every time he has gotten in a Winston Cup car, including Phoenix, Texas and Daytona, that he has the talent to drive these cars and help us get to the front,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “We look forward to showing everyone what Christian can do week in and week out.” A driver to be determined will drive the #43 in the three races Fittipaldi drives the #44 Bugles Dodge, and his one race under the New York Yankees pinstripes colors. “This decision was finalized this week. We then informed General Mills of what we were going to do, and we are moving forward,” Petty said. Fittipaldi, one of the top young names in Formula One and CART racing before moving to Petty Enterprises, will be starting his fourth NASCAR Winston Cup race this week. He ran in October’s race at Phoenix, as well as the season-opening Daytona 500 and April’s 500-miler at Texas Motor Speedway. “We appreciate what John has done for us,” said Richard Petty. “We had some successes, won some poles and won a race but we feel like where we are right now it’s time for a change for Petty Enterprises and for John. “Speed and Fittipaldi go together,” he continued. “He knows how to run fast, and he knows how to race fast. We feel he is going to do a great job for Petty Enterprises and for Cheerios and Betty Crocker.”(Williams Company PR), no word on Andretti’s plans. Fittipaldi is scheduled to drive the #44 Dodge with Bugles [yummy snack food] at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, the EA Sports 500 at Talladega, and the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and the #44 New York Yankees scheme at Watkins Glen. ALSO: no word on if Christian Fittipaldi will run for rookie of the year.(6-10-2003)
    UPDATE: John Andretti was the most surprised person in NASCAR when he was fired Tuesday by Petty Enterprises. The Indianapolis native, who re-signed with the Winston Cup team in December, has been driving the #43 car made famous by team owner Richard Petty since 1998. “I just tested their car (Monday) at (Virginia International Raceway),” said Andretti, 40, a nephew of racing great Mario Andretti. “I don’t know what to say.” Team leader Kyle Petty was not available for comment Tuesday. Andretti and the Pettys have been close over the years. “You want to be loyal to people, to things, whatever,” Andretti said. “That’s what digs the deepest.” Andretti said the team’s sponsor (General Mills) played no role in the firing. But he said Kyle Petty’s explanation, which he didn’t reveal, didn’t make sense. Andretti said he intends to pursue another Winston Cup ride.(Indianapolis Star)(6-11-2003)
  • Laps, Miles led…: So far in 2003, #24-Jeff Gordon has led the most laps, 699, 2nd most is #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr at 526, after 4428 laps run in 14 races. #8-Earnhardt Jr. leads in miles led at 666.485miles to 657.156 by #24-Gordon after 5612.749 miles run in 2003. #8-Earnhardt Jr, has led in 10 of the 14 races, with #24-Gordon, #17-Matt Kenseth and #18-Bobby Labonte leading 9 or 14 races. #8-Earnhardt Jr also leads in Bonus Points with 65. Chevy has led the most laps of any manufacturer by far, leading 2497 laps to Dodges 993 (of 4428). Pontiac has only led 16 laps, and has not led a lap since #32-Ricky Craven led at California in April on lap 93, 1426 laps ago. For more such as All Time Lap Leaders, Laps led by Race, see my 2003 Lap/Miles Leaders/Bonus Points.(6-11-2003)
  • Rusty Busch Team UPDATE 2: 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)
  • Schrader and Wallace at Quincy: Quincy’s Mark Burgtorf won the 25-lap Ken Schrader Night United Midwest Promoters (UMP) late model feature at Quincy Raceways, a feat which seemed at best improbable, if not totally impossible, at the onset. The stars of the night were supposed to be NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace. Burgtorf, a 10-time Quincy track champion, was forced to use a 500-horsepower IMCA spec engine against a 20-car field which featured 800-horsepower UMP power plants in 11 of the first 14 cars on the feature grid. Denny Woodworth of Quincy, Mike Hammerle of St. Charles, Mo., Gary Webb of Bluegrass, Iowa, and Johnny Johnson of West Burlington, Iowa, rounded out the top five. Wallace, using a car owned by Iowa driver Jody Wood, was never a threat and finished otuside the top 10. Schrader did not run his late model, but not by design. Schrader’s crew could not get the No. 99 Federated Auto Parts late model out of its hauler, being unable to get the door opened. That frustration ended a three-day run of sour luck for Schrader. On the way to Quincy, the rig Schrader and Wallace were riding in was involved in an accident near St. Louis. That delayed their scheduled 5 p.m. arrival in Quincy by about two hours. Schrader was able to race his modified Tuesday night. The modified was in a second hauler. He won a heat race and finished sixth in the feature, but said he was disappointed in not being able to run a late model like most of the fans were expecting.(Herald-Whig)(6-11-2003)
  • Dodge Money Problems? DaimlerChrysler warned Wall Street investors the struggling company may likely show a $1.1 billion loss in the second quarter. Not since Chief operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard captured the helm at Chrysler two years ago has the car giant shown this type of earnings warning. A restructuring in 2001 laid claim to 26,000 lost jobs for the Detroit auto maker. Some analysts suggested the move was enough to return DamilerChrysler to a profitable status but now breaking even may be the restructured business target. The German-American company blames higher than expected incentives and direct competition from General Motors for the projected loss. Chrysler claims to have 518,000 unsold models setting on car lots around the country and is cutting production by 10% for the second quarter. Chrysler suggests that GM can afford to out-spend them in the area of consumer incentive and the hurt is starting to show up in the bottom line. Chrysler “just doesn’t have the pockets deep enough to match GM,” said Art Spinella, who follows the auto industry for CNW Marketing/Research. “GM is defining what incentives are going to be.” Higher GM sales volume has caused concern for Chrysler as they struggle to compete with the GM incentive programs. No further job loss is expected at Chrysler and the auto maker is not backing down from offering consumer incentives. What this means to NASCAR Dodge teams is difficult to gauge at this point as further cut-backs may show up on the race track in the form of less capital investment.(Insider Racing News)(6-11-2003)
  • Benson comes in 2nd: Tim DeVos, the current Late Model points leader at Berlin Raceway, outdueled hometown boy [and track owner] Johnny Benson to win the Meijer/Tony’s Pizza 100. Benson, a one-time track champion here, and Tony Stewart, the defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion who won the Pocono 500 two days earlier, displayed their skills in front of a season-high crowd of 6,517 race fans who took a chance on the weather and won that battle..(Holland Sentinel)(6-11-2003)
  • Jarrett To Receive Fatherhood Award: Dale Jarrett will be recognized for his fatherhood efforts during the month of June when he will be presented with a 2003 Fatherhood Award at the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Each year, the Fatherhood Awards are presented to individuals, corporations and organizations that make a substantial contribution to strengthening involved, responsible and committed fatherhood in their work or personal lives. The Fatherhood Awards were inaugurated in 1997 by the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), the premier fatherhood renewal organization in the country. The NFI is a non-partisan, non-sectarian civic initiative that works in every sector and at every level of society to end father absence. In addition to Jarrett, other 2003 Fatherhood Award winners include actor James Early Jones, Dr. Stephen Covey, Frank W. Abagnale, General Nutrition Centers and State Farm. Past recipients of the award include actor Tom Selleck, country music singer Tim McGraw, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and AT&T.(See full article at UPS Racing)(6-11-2003)
  • Update on Bill Elliott’s Broken Foot: “I go to the doctor tomorrow (Wednesday) for another x-ray. We’ll know more then but I don’t expect that it’s gotten any worse. We’re just going on a day-by-day basis just like last week. The team is really doing a great job helping me stay comfortable and dealing with the situation. I didn’t race with the protective boot this weekend and we’ll just have to see what we’ll do for this weekend. Tomorrow we should know a little more.”(Golin Harris PR)(6-11-2003)
  • Square Pants for Johnson UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to run a Sponge Bob Square Pants paint scheme at Daytona in July for the Pepsi 400.(3-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Lowe’s announced on Tuesday that Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants is swimming onto the NASCAR scene and taking over the #48 Lowe’s Chevy paint scheme for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway later this summer. Team Lowe’s will run the special SpongeBob paint scheme over the Fourth of July weekend to promote American Tradition Signature Colors Design Centers located in Lowe’s stores nationwide. Lowe’s and The Valspar Corporation have joined forces to deliver a breakthrough paint formulation in distinctive palettes with colors inspired by children’s favorite Nickelodeon programs as well as five other popular American brands. In addition to the SpongeBob SquarePants palette, the Nickelodeon collection will feature five other color families inspired by favorite children’s programs, including Blues Clues, Oswald, Dora the Explorer, Rugrats and Jimmy Neutron. These exciting and familiar bright colors are especially designed for children’s bedrooms and playrooms, as are the coordinated kits of themed sponges and appliqués.(Golin Harris PR), see an image on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(6-11-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert Stuff: Father’s Day comes once a year, and the perfect gift is now available only online at www.daleearnhardtinc.com. Purchase two tickets for the price of one and be a part of the celebration to honor one of America’s all-time heroes Dale Earnhardt, the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert. The special ticket promotion is available through June 13th and good for all reserved grandstand seating only. To take advantage of the promotion, just click on www.daleearnhardtinc.com for the special password and details of the offer.
    AND Teresa Earnhardt was in Music City [Nashville, TN] this past weekend surprising the 15,000+ fans in attendance at Fan Fair as well as the hottest duos in country music — Brooks & Dunn and Montgomery Gentry. Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s CEO/Car Owner was at country music’s biggest event of the year to promote the upcoming Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert on Saturday, June 28th at Daytona International Speedway. Teresa Earnhardt introduced two-time Entertainers of the Year Brooks & Dunn on Friday evening’s RCA Label Show at The Coliseum in Nashville. The following night, when Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry hit the stage and could not locate his guitar, she surprised him onstage delivering his custom #3 Dale Earnhardt guitar prior to the duo’s performance of their current hit single “Speed.” While in Nashville, Teresa Earnhardt interviewed Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley and Billy Ray Cyrus. Tributes were also shot over the Fan Fair weekend with Alabama’s Randy Owen, Diamond Rio’s Marty Roe, Delbert McClinton, and T. Graham Brown. The vignettes will be featured at the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert. The artists reminisce about when they first met the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, their friendships, and share their thoughts on Dale Earnhardt and his legacy.(DEI PR’s), more info on my Racing Charities page.(6-11-2003)
  • Donlavey car at MIS in ARCA: NASCAR Winston Cup Series #90 team owner Junie Donlavey has always been known to give a young driver a helping hand. A perfect example is the support he has given to his team manager’s ARCA effort for the past couple of years. For this week’s ARCA race at Michigan International Speedway, Donlavey has additional help. Jason Hedlesky, a native of Clinton, MI, will drive the EMP Stewart Components Ford in Saturday’s Flagstar 200. EMP Stewart Components is an industry leader in high performance cooling systems. This will mark Hedlesky’s fourth trip in as many years to MIS. He has been headed for top-10 finishes the past two seasons until engine and pit road glitches spoiled his effort. The only competition Hedlesky has seen this season is The Winston Open in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Donlavey will be accompanying the team to Michigan to help Ford celebrate its 100th Anniversary. Donlavey has been associated with Ford for more than 50 years and received the Spirit of Ford award.(Keystone Marketing PR)(6-11-2003)
  • Larry Hicks Honored: Larry Hicks was honored in a joint session of the Alabama Legislature Tuesday, receiving the Legislative Medal of Honor for Law Enforcement Officers, the state’s highest honor for law enforcement officers. On April 20, 2002, Hicks paddled a small boat out to the smoking plane that NASCAR race car owner Jack Roush crashed into the small lake outside Hicks’ home and dove into the water covered with flammable aviation fluid, to save Roush’s life. During the ceremony, Hicks and three other nominees were praised by top state officials, including Gov. Bob Riley and Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley. Roush was unable to attend the ceremony, but a videotape was played in which Roush described Hicks as his “new brother.” Hicks, 53, was receiving cancer treatments at the time and said he might not have been able to help Roush if he had not just received a shot to increase his energy. Riley credited Hicks’ ability to save Roush to his “love for another human being.” Hicks, a retired Marine sergeant major and Vietnam veteran, said he is not comfortable being honored as a hero by the governor and other state officials. “I’m more comfortable in the woods in a pickup truck,” Hicks said. But he admitted that he now looks at life differently. “Before I was more concerned with things I couldn’t do. But the good Lord had a way of reminding me that there were things I could do,” Hicks said. Hicks said he rescued Roush by using skills he learned in the Navy as part of training to rescue downed helicopter pilots.(Tuscaloosa News/AP)(6-11-2003)

    (6-10-2003)

  • Sad News: Geoffrey, Brett & Todd Bodine’s aunt passed away over the weekend. Marion Bodine Piper. (sister of Geoffrey, Brett, Todd’s father, Eli), Age 88, Lived in Mooresville, NC. Viewing: Wednesday, 6/11 at 10am – Craven-Cook Funeral Home in Mooresville. Service: Wednesday, 6/11 at 11am – Cavin-Cook Funeral Home. Graveside Service:. Saturday, June 14 at 1pm – Roberts Funeral Home, Chemung, NY.(6-10-2003)
  • Green injured but will drive at Michigan: After his Pocono wreck. #1-Jeff Green visited his personal doctor for further tests on Monday, Green was diagnosed with a fractured tailbone. “Dr. Petty ran an MRI and CAT scan on me yesterday,” Green said. “Everything is fine. My neck muscles are a little pulled and my tailbone is fractured. There’s nothing I can do about either one of those but grin and bear it. We are working on a special padding to put in the seat for this weekend though. That should definitely help. With how hard of a hit that was and how badly damaged the car is, I consider myself very lucky. Everything worked properly inside the race car–the seatbelts and the seat. The steering collapsed very well to keep it away from me. It was just a horrendous accident.” Green will be behind the wheel this weekend as the team carries their renewed sense of confidence with them to Michigan International Speedway.(Pennzoil PR)(6-10-2003)
  • Gibbs Racing gets the #20 back: The #20 Home Depot Chevy of Joe Gibbs Racing, impounded March 28 by NASCAR for failing to meet its body measurement specifications during pre-event inspection of the race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, was released in part Tuesday to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, NASCAR officials announced. Joe Gibbs Racing was allowed to retrieve the chassis and engine of the #20 entry, but NASCAR will retain the body since it did not meet the specifications of the 2003 Chevrolet body submitted by General Motors. “We met with the teams in September of last year and clearly laid out to them what our goals and objectives were in regard to the construction of the bodies and inspection process for the 2003 season,” NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director John Darby said. “We have a tremendous amount of support in the garage for these objectives “ of which the specifications and body types are very critical for NASCAR’s aerodynamic goals and direction “ and this was done in support of all those teams who are doing it correctly.” During the impoundment period of nearly 10 weeks, the #20 car was checked against the car templates, re-measured and late last week underwent a full-body digital scan process that records all the measurements and angles of the car in a digital file. During the entire impoundment period, the #20 car was held under lock and key in a totally secured storage room at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, NC.(NASCAR PR)(6-10-2003)
  • Five Have Finished: Five drivers have finished all the 2003 Cup races and have no DNF’s (did not finish): #5-Terry Labonte; #15-Michael Waltrip; #17-Matt Kenseth; #29-Kevin Harvick; #31-Robby Gordon. See my DNF Page for who has the most DNF’s, when their last DNF was and race-by-race of DNF’s.(6-10-2003)
  • Pocono Overnight Ratings Up 11%: The Winston Cup race from Pocono on FOX turned in solid overnights of a 5.1 rating and 12 share, an 11 percent increase over last year’s overnights of 4.6/11. Last year’s race got a nice overnight bump to finish with a 5.1 and 15 share. The 2001 race had overnights of 4.3/11 and finished with a 4.4 rating and 11 share. Both the NBA playoff game and Belmont Stakes turned in significantly higher numbers than NASCAR this weekend.(MotorsportsTV)(6-10-2003)
  • Morgan-McClure Motorsports has Double Duty as McClure debuts in Michigan: Morgan-McClure Motorsports, the Abingdon, VA.-based Winston Cup team, which houses the #4 Kodak Pontiac, will participate in a double-header weekend in the upcoming Michigan International Speedway events. Eric McClure, 24 year-old son of team co-owner and raceday spotter Jerry McClure, will attempt to qualify for the Flagstar 200, his first ARCA RE/MAX Series event. The younger McClure, who competes on Saturday nights in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Division at Lonesome Pine Speedway in Coeburn, Va., will drive a Morgan-McClure prepared #4 yellow Chevrolet used last year. McClure has also stepped into the role of Research and Development driver for the Winston Cup team. Team manager, Tim Weiss, and chief engineer, Gary Grossenbacher have spent hours of testing time with McClure in an effort to teach him about the heavier, faster cars. They are convinced the nephew of Larry McClure has the raw talent required to compete in upper divisions of Motorsports. Their combined efforts have also shown up in the Winston Cup entry driven by Mike Skinner. Without the wrecked cars and bad luck this season, the veteran team would be on track to a competitive season. The entire Morgan-McClure Motorsports pit crew will be on hand to offer their services and support to McClure at the 2 mile oval, while also focusing their efforts on the Sirius 400. One year ago, the team started 15th and finished the race 30th in the car McClure will qualify on Friday.(Morgan-McClure PR)(6-10-2003)

    (6-9-2003)

  • Harvick/Benson UPDATE: NASCAR.com and ThatsRacin.com have #29-Harvick finishing 24th (91 points) at Pocono and #10-Johnny Benson 25th (88 points), while some AP results have Benson 24th and Harvick 25th. A Press Release from MBV states Benson finishing 25th. Will know for sure around 12:00noon/et on Monday when NASCAR releases the official results from the race.(6-8-2003)
    UPDATE: the official results at NASCAR.com, show #29-Harvick 25th and #10-Benson 24th.(6-9-2003)
  • Hornish and DEI rumor resurfaces UPDATE or is it Mayfield?: Sam Hornish’s name is again being mentioned prominently as the man who could join Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season as team mate with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. The 23-year-old Hornish, the 2001 and 2002 IRL champ, is sponsored by Pennzoil, which is the company DEI is trying to re-sign [for the #1 Chevy now driven by Jeff Green/Ron Fellows]. There is word that Hornish might get a shot at a DEI ride at Michigan in August.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-9-2003)
    UPDATE: First in line for the DEI job appears to by Jeremy Mayfield, who currently drives for Ray Evernham’s #19 Dodge team.(Toronto Sun)(6-9-2003)
  • Flying High: Mike Wallace and Johnny Benson will make sky dives Thursday [June 12th] in Tecumseh, MI, when they participates in a tandem jump with members of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute team that is based at Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, NC.(NASCAR.com)(6-9-2003)
  • New Chevy Engine: NASCAR tentatively approved the new R99 engine General Motors wants to use in the Craftsman Truck Series next year. The R99 is expected to generate more horsepower than the current SB2 engine, but GM is more focused on durability. The R99 has larger camshafts and more bore spacing that is similar to the engine Dodge uses now and that Toyota will run in 2004. If the R99 performs well, GM will push to use it in Winston Cup races in 2005, but NASCAR isn’t likely to grant approval before Toyota joins the Cup series.(Sporting News)(6-9-2003)
  • Johnson and Carter help out: #48-Jimmie Johnson will travel to Anniston, Ala., on Monday to join former President Jimmy Carter in working on a Habitat for Humanity project. Johnson’s sponsor, Lowe’s, is donating materials to three Habitat projects this summer.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-9-2003)
  • Rusty Busch Team: 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)(6-9-2003)
  • Changing the ‘pitting over the line’ penalty? NASCAR officials are considering changing the penalty for pitting over the line, the violation that cost Tony Stewart a shot at victory at Dover. The new penalty will likely be a 15-second penalty instead of the current one-lap penalty.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-9-2003)
  • Elliott needs no relief: #9-Bill Elliott completed all 200 laps Sunday, despite problems shifting and braking with broken bones in his left foot. Elliott broke the bones in a wreck at The Winston all-star race at Charlotte. He finished 19th, the last car on the lead lap. He would likely have finished higher but was caught in a three-car wreck with two laps to go.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-9-2003)
  • Green Ticked: #1-Jeff Green got tagged in the rear by #5-Terry Labonte while the two were battling for seventh on the final restart on lap 198 of the 200-lap race. Labonte complained that Green was mirror-driving. Green, who spent nearly 20 minutes in the infield hospital, emerged without comment as he was wheeled off in a golf cart — his PR rep said he was too angry to say anything. Steve Hmiel, Green’s spotter, came out of the hospital after checking on Green and said that his driver had clearly had his bell rung. ‘He’s not blinking as much as I’d like him to be, so you can tell he took a pretty good lick. It was an awfully hard lick. They need to do something about that earthen wall. You could be all mad, but it was just two cars coming together, and it’s not like Terry Labonte doing anything intentional. Terry had a real good run on Jeff, and there are three laps to go, and I’m sure Terry had his foot to the floor and so did Jeff. And Terry just caught Jeff a little bit, just enough to pick him up and turn him around. But nobody wrecked anybody. Now Jeff got wrecked and I’m sure people will be upset about it. But knowing Terry Labonte, that’s not how he races. It was just two objects coming together at the same time.'(Winston Salen Journal)(6-9-2003)
  • More on the filter system: NASCAR officials are not happy with Mark Martin for so publicly complaining about the new carbon monoxide filtering system that NASCAR just OKed. Martin has been worried about the carcinogenic aspects of the alumina catalyst in the system, which uses a special filter to keep the alumina dust out of a driver’s air stream.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-9-2003)

 


 

  • (6-8-2003)

  • Stewart wins the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. #20-Tony Stewart won the Pocono 500, his first win of 2003, his first win since Watkins Glen in 2002 (27 races) and his first in a Chevy and Chevy’s first win at Pocono in five years. #6-Mark Martin was 2nd, for the 5th time at Pocono. The race ended under caution after #1-Jeff Green got punted by #5-Terry Labonte when both drivers moved down at the same time. Points leader #17-Matt Kenseth was third and added to his lead a bit. For the top 10, Lap Leaders, Cars out, Caution explanations and Jayski notes, see my Pocono 500 Race Info page.
    Lineup/Qual Results/Lineup Links at Jayski’s Pocono 500 Grid page.
    Unofficial Race Results at Jayski – Pocono 500 Race Results
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com – unofficial
    And for the Points Standings, see my Jayski – Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono.(6-8-2003)
  • Skinner not to be re-newed? UPDATE 2: hearing the option on Mile Skinner’s contract will not be re-newed for the 2004 season with the #4 Morgan-McClure team, no word on who would take over the driving duties. Been told it would NOT be Eric McClure, who currently runs late models at Lonesome Pine International Raceway in VA and plans to make his ARCA debut in June at Michigan.(6-3-2003)
    UPDATE: #4 car owner Larry McClure says theres no truth to the rumors that sponsor Kodak may leave his team anytime soon….perhaps for DEI….or that driver Mike Skinner is on the way out. As far as Kodak is concerned McClure says they’re on the third year of a five year deal and says “all those rumors on that thing have no validity whatsoever.” As for his driver McClure says “nothing has changed.” Skinnner has a series of three one-year contracts with Morgan-McClure Racing and both are planning to talk in August about 2004.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-5-2003)
    UPDATE 2: It appears winless Mike Skinner will be searching for a job after this season. Representatives from #4-Morgan-McClure Racing said Skinner’s contract more than likely won’t be renewed for 2004.(Patriot-News), Skinner is the only driver who has started every race that has yet to finish on the lead lap in any race.
    ALSO McClure was interviewed by MRN Radio and said there is no validity to the rumor that Kodak would leave at the end of 2003 and will be with the team for two more years and was not sure why this Jayski guy writes this smut. DEI also apologized to McClure saying they have not talked to Kodak, McClure said DEI had no reason to apologize. Guess I can forget getting a Christmas Card.(6-8-2003)
  • Smutski…..?
  • Stock Car Fans Newsletter Rumblings – Pocono: #20-Tony Stewart snapped a 27-race losing streak as he won the Pocono 500 under caution on Sunday. What we thought was going to be a three lap shootout turned out to be only a one lap sprint as #1-Jeff Green and #5-Terry Labonte got together on the Long Pond straight and the race back to the caution was led by Stewart over #6-Mark Martin. This was Stewart’s first win since he took the road course event at Watkins Glen last August, and he becomes the 12th different winner of the 14 races this season. His 16th career win gives him sole possesion of 39th [27th if you count ties] on the all-time win list.
    If #49-Ken Schrader and #88-Dale Jarrett had known this was gonna be a weenie roast, they’d have brought some mustard. Two fiery crashes at the end of the front-straight but both drivers were okay.
    #6-Mark Martin (2nd) had his best finish since he was 2nd at Rockingham last November.
    #54-Todd Bodine (11th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Texas in March.
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield (15th) had his best finish since he was 8th in the Daytona 500.
    #41-Casey Mears (21st) had his best finish since he was 15th at Las Vegas in March.
    #14-Larry Foyt led a lap today for the first time in his Winston Cup career. He’s the 34th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 46
    STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 12 Top-10’s in the last 13 races.
    The Rookie Report: Greg Biffle (20th) was the top-finishing freshman for the 6th time this season (tho he was sitting on pit road at the end). He was followed by Casey Mears (21st), Jack Sprague (22nd), Tony Raines (30th), Jamie McMurray (32nd), and Larry Foyt (41st).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: A tie for the Operator of the Week between Matt Kenseth (+22) and Ricky Craven (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Dale Jarrett (-35), followed by Kurt Busch (-26), and Joe Nemechek (-23). This is Op #2 this season for both Kenseth & Craven.
    #40-Sterling Marlin re-joins the Top-10 this week in 10th. The top nine positions remain unchanged as Matt Kenseth adds 5 points to his lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr. #22-Ward Burton gains the most spots (25th to 20th) while Robby Gordon (10th to 15th) and Joe Nemechek (13th to 18th) fell the commensurate number of spots.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter – all comments from this post, direct to them, thanks)(6-8-2003)
  • Andy Houston back to PPI: Driver Andy Houston is exploring new racing options. Houston began the 2003 season as the driver of the #15 Billy Ballew Motorsports truck in the Truck Series. He posted the team’s best-ever finish in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, bringing the truck home in the fifth position. Houston and Ballew decided to part ways recently due to the lack of sponsorship for the team. “Since I can’t be in a good quality ride right now, I want to stay on top of things with the latest technology,” explained Houston. “I want to stay sharp in the driver’s seat so I am prepared when a good ride opens up.” While Houston is currently assisting PPI Motorsports in their testing efforts, he continues to look for a successful team to drive for. “I love being back with Cal Wells and the PPI crew, however, I want everyone to know that I am available if a ride opens up. I have agreed to help Cal and Ricky [Craven, driver of the #32 Tide Ford] until I can find a more permanent position within the racing community.” Houston made his Cup debut with Wells in 2001, running 17 races in the #96 McDonald’s Ford before McDonald’s reduced their primary sponsor efforts.(globalPERFORMANCE Company PR)(6-8-2003)
  • A Blaney Wins at Pocono: Ryan Blaney, Dave Blaney’s 9-year-old son, won a 15-lap quarter-midget race Thursday at Pocono Quarter-Midget Raceway on the grounds of Pocono Raceway. Other noteworthy racers in the Lehigh Valley Quarter Racing Club-sanctioned events Thursday included Tyler Labonte, 8, son of Bobby Labonte, and Chase Mattioli, 12, grandson of Pocono Raceway’s owners, Drs. Joe and Rose Mattioli. Labonte and Mattioli finished third in their respective events. Young Blaney, of Hartford, Ohio, drove a red and white #50 car — the same color scheme and numeral his grandfather Lou Blaney and father have featured on their race cars for years. Young Labonte’s midget is detailed in green with No. 18, emulating his father’s Interstate Batteries Chevy. Dave Blaney starts 22nd in the Pocono 500 today. Bobby Labonte starts third.(Express Times)(6-8-2003)
  • Good to see Mast: Speed Channel reporter Rick Mast, whose NASCAR racing career was ended last year by carbon monoxide poisoning, believes the new catalytic converters recently made available to drivers should be mandatory. The devices, which NASCAR says reduces carbon monoxide inhaled by drivers by 75%, are optional. ”Believe me,” Mast said, ”most drivers will be using them.” Mast, who reported from the pits during last night’s Chrome 300, still experiences problems from the poisoning. ”I can’t be in the garage when the motors are running,” he said. ”Even out in the open I have to be careful. I can tell if I’m getting too much exposure.” Mast, noted for his sense of humor during his racing days, won the inaugural Brickyard 400 pole at Indianapolis. He began joking with the media about trading a milk cow for his first race car, ”and that story has kept growing and growing. Everywhere I go somebody asks me about it.”(Tennessean)(6-8-2003)
  • Sad News – at Texas: Two people on a motorcycle were killed after a collision in the Texas Motor Speedway parking lot following the Bombardier 500 IRL race Saturday night. The accident occurred just after the race, Fort Worth police spokesman K.R. Ulrickson said. The motorcycle apparently hit a van, immediately killing a woman riding on the motorcycle, Ulrickson said. A man who also was on the motorcycle died while being transported to the hospital. Both victims weren’t wearing helmets, Ulrickson said. The man and woman have yet to be identified. Further details of the accident weren’t immediately available. The race was attended by about 92,000 fans and won by Al Unser Jr.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(6-8-2003)
  • Tire War in ARCA? Hoosier has been the spec tire for ARCA at the NASCAR tracks for several years, a backup tire in case something happens to Goodyear. Now, though, Hoosier may have to make way for one of the two tire giants, Bridgestone-Firestone and Michelin/B.F.Goodrich, that want to step up to play the Winston Cup game eventually. With Goodyear holding exclusive rights to NASCAR’s top three divisions, ARCA offers the only good road for a rival tire company to learn how to play the game at some of the sport’s fastest tracks. ARCA president Ron Drager is on his toes. If Bridgestone or Michelin were to come to Drager and make an offer to become the exclusive tire supplier, it could be quite a lucrative deal for ARCA, not just monetarily but in promotion and marketing. Hoosier simply doesn’t offer those options.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-8-2003)
  • Now – an open test at Homestead [good move]: first it was NO testing at the soon to be newly configured Homestead-Miami Speedway track, then it was gonna be a few non-title contending teams in a Goodyear tire test, now from NASCAR.com: NASCAR has scheduled an open test date for this fall — complete with data acquisition systems — when Homestead-Miami Speedway reopens with reconfigured 20-degree banking. The season finales for NASCAR’s three national touring series: Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck, are all scheduled between Nov. 14-16 at Homestead. Cup crew chiefs and car owners were called to small group meetings in NASCAR’s office trailer with Winston Cup director John Darby on Saturday and told the schedule for the Ford 400 would include an open test day on Wednesday, Nov. 12 in which the cars would be allowed to run with onboard telemetry systems. Currently, that data acquisition technology is allowed at tests, including NASCAR’s Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway in January, but has never been allowed during an event weekend. Winston Cup teams will be allowed to change engines and dismantle their onboard telemetry on Thursday, when Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams are scheduled to begin practice. The standard Winston Cup weekend will begin Friday with practice and Bud Pole Qualifying for the season’s 36th [and final] event.(6-8-2003)

    (6-7-2003)

  • Some Pocono ‘Improvements’: during Speed Channels coverage of Pocono 500 qualifying on Friday, they showed the guardrail area between turns 1 and 2 where Steve Park hit and flipped last July, it has been protected and backed up and reinforced with dirt to help soften the blow, were it to happen again. Also, it appears the work Pocono did to resolve their drainage problem (remember the water seeping up through the track last year (cancelling qualifying in June) has seemed to work as the area has gotten a lot of rain in the last month and of course today it has rained all day. So far no signs of any water seepage on the track [on Friday at least and hopefully none on Sunday](6-7-2003)
  • Kimmel Cleared: NASCAR cleared reigning ARCA champion Frank Kimmel to drive in Sunday’s Pocono 500 in relief of Bill Elliott, despite Kimmel not getting any seat time because of bad weather on Saturday. Elliott, who broke bones in his left foot in an accident at The Winston all-star race, has not decided whether he will use a relief driver Sunday, but car owner Ray Evernham has been making preparations in case one is needed. NASCAR typically requires relief drivers to have spent some time in the car during a practice prior to the race. “We went already and spoke to (Winston Cup series director) John Darby and (NASCAR President) Mike Helton just to make sure if Frank didn’t get a chance to practice the car if he’s cleared, and he is cleared,” Evernham said. “He’s driven plenty Winston Cup races, and he’s driven here in a Winston Cup race. He has raced here quite a bit and was on track yesterday. If Bill gets out of the car, Frank is cleared to drive it.”(ThatsRacin.com)(6-7-2003)
  • Stewart Leaving NC? NASCAR champ Tony Stewart, on the road constantly, plans to leave North Carolina for a return to his native Indiana. Owner of two luxurious homes in the Tarheel State which are for sale, he was quoted as telling one prospective buyer. “…and I’ll leave the Ferrari in the garage.” Earl Baltes told this columnist in Indy recently that Tony is a prime candidate to be the new owner of his Eldora Speedway.(National Speed Sport News – need subscription to read online)(6-7-2003)
  • Ramblings – Pocono: #48-Jimmie Johnson wrestled the pole away from #18-Bobby Labonte at Pocono Raceway, then had to wait for (as he referred to #12-Ryan Newman) the Rocket Man to make his run as the final car out. Johnson ended up 4/100th’s of a second quicker and takes his first pole of the season and 5th of his Winston Cup career. The last time he started from the top-spot was at Talladega last October….but qualifying was rained out and we lined up by points that day. The last time he took a Bud Pole by time was at Richmond last September. Johnson also becomes the 10th driver to qualify for next February’s Budweiser Shootout. Got the looks of a full field already.
    #6-Mark Martin (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Rockingham in February.
    #88-Dale Jarrett (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Darlington last September.
    #54-Todd Bodine (14th….and a frequent flyer this weekend) has his best starting position since he qualified 10th at Darlington in March.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 12 Top-10 starts in a row. #20-Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    Two cars on the Trouble Train….#37-Derrike Cope (for the 5th time this season) and Morgan #89-Shepherd (his first Cup attempt of the year). But it may behoove these guys to show up next week….see next paragraph.
    The provisionals went to: #31-Robby Gordon, #23-Kenny Wallace, #49-Ken Schrader, #45-Kyle Petty, #4-Mike Skinner, #74-Tony Raines and #14-Larry Foyt. Gordon’s was a freebie, but Schrader, Skinner, and Foyt now join John Andretti on the OOP (out of provisionals) list. With the exception of Foyt, they’re bare till Infineon. Foyt & his #14 team skipped Martinsville…..they won’t get their next provisional till Daytona 4th of July weekend.(Stock Car Fans Daily Newsletter)(6-7-2003)


    (6-6-2003)

  • Cancelled: NASCAR senior vice president Brian France is no longer scheduled to speak at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference [Jesse Jackson], scheduled for June 21-25 in Chicago. The agenda item, “Motorsports — Increasing Minority Participation,” has been deleted from the conference’s schedule.(Gaston Gazette)(6-6-2003)
  • Stewart wins Sprint Race: Tony Stewart may be the defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion, but last night at Williams Grove Speedway [PA] he was just one of the guys. Stewart and Winston Cup race Dave Blaney stopped by the Cumberland County half-mile oval for the first time and signed 800 autographs. Then they climbed aboard a modified stock car and raced 20 laps against a select number of drivers. Stewart won a nicely scripted modified race while Blaney was second and Billy Pauch was third. Stewart, who raced USAC Midgets, Sprint Cars and Silver Crown cars before transitioning into the NASCAR circuits, raced in a midget race Wednesday night at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill. Stewart destroyed a car after flipping late in the feature race.(Patriot-News)(6-6-2003)
  • BAM Sponsor for Pocono: Blair.com, which has been an integral part of the BAM Racing marketing effort, will serve as primary sponsor of the #49 Dodge of Ken Schrader in this week’s Pocono 500. “We’re excited to help one of our marketing partners, especially this close to their home town,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns BAM Racing along with her husband, Tony. Blair headquarters are in Warren, Pa., approximately 250 miles from the speedway. “Blair.com has been a big part of BAM Racing, and we’re hoping to give them a great run at their home track,” Morgenthau continued. “The association with BAM Racing, Kenny Schrader, Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau.has provided Blair Corporation with a unique opportunity to sponsor.an.up and coming.NASCAR team and an exciting means of promoting our.growing Blair.com web site to value-driven consumers,” said Jeffrey Parnell, Blair Corporation’s Vice President of E-commerce. Blair Corporation sells a broad range of women’s and men’s apparel and home products primarily through direct mail marketing and its Web site at www.blair.com, in addition to other Web sites.(Williams Company PR)(6-6-2003)
  • Toyota Acknowledges Partnership, Denies Charges [by Dodge]: A Toyota spokesman says the company is working with Bill Davis Racing to develop its first entry into the Craftsman Truck Series but denies using the team to siphon trade secrets from Dodge, USA Today reports. Spokesman Xavier Dominicis says Toyota hired the team to help develop a chassis and body for its Tundra truck for the series and says the team is one of about 12 companies providing assistance. The story notes that Toyota is not named as a defendant in Dodge parent DaimlerChrysler’s breach of contract suit against the team but points out that the suit “expresses concern that Davis’ team has or will share DaimlerChrysler’s confidential information with Toyota.” Dodge announced last week that it was dropping its factory support of BDR, which enters Dodges for Ward Burton and Kenny Wallace in the Winston Cup Series. The team does not have an entry in the Craftsman Truck Series.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-6-2003)
  • Bodine to race at Pocono and Nashville: Todd Bodine driver of the #54 Army National Guard Ford in Cup and the #92 Monstor.com Chevy in the Busch Series will be forced to miss Friday’s first Busch Series practice. Mike McLaughlin, who has been helping with the practicing and qualifying of the #92 in all non-companion events this season, will once again be sitting in the driver’s seat for the initial practice. If it happens that Bodine is not able to arrive in Nashville in time for Friday’s Bud Pole qualifying, McLaughlin will also be qualifying the #92.(Eclipse Management PR)(6-6-2003)
  • Mears on ARCA Pole: Casey Mears set a new one-lap ARCA RE/MAX Series track record Thursday at Pocono Raceway. Mears, in Chip Ganassi’s #77-Target Dodge, won the Old Milwaukee Pole with a speed of 169.802mph surpassing Stuart Kirby’s old mark of 169.329. #9-Hideo Fukuyama starts 10th.(ARCA Racing site)(6-6-2003)

    (6-5-2003)

  • More on the #4 Rumors: #4 car owner Larry McClure says theres no truth to the rumors that sponsor Kodak may leave his team anytime soon….perhaps for DEI….or that driver Mike Skinner is on the way out. As far as Kodak is concerned McClure says they’re on the third year of a five year deal and says “all those rumors on that thing have no validity whatsoever.” As for his driver McClure says “nothing has changed.” Skinnner has a series of three one-year contracts with Morgan-McClure Racing and both are planning to talk in August about 2004.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show), see past rumors about this on my #4 Team News and Links page.(6-5-2003)
  • Double Duty for Wallace: #01-Mike Wallace will pull double duty for the second time this year as the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series part ways. The Winston Cup Series will be competing at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA, while the Busch Series will be competing in Nashville Superspeedway. Wallace will fly back and forth between the two venues throughout weekend. Mark Green is standing by to qualify the Busch car if Wallace is unable to make it to Nashville prior to qualifying.(Biagi Bros. Racing PR)(6-5-2003)
  • #77 Sponsor for Bristol: First Tennessee has partnered with Jasper Engines and Transmissions and the #77 Jasper Engines Ford driven by Dave Blaney. A special paint scheme prominently featuring the well-known First Tennessee logo will appear on the #77 car at the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 23. First Tennessee recently announced that the company has renewed its partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway as the Official Financial Services Provider of BMS and Bristol Dragway. To celebrate these partnerships, First Tennessee is offering NASCAR fans the Ultimate Bristol Experience through a sweepstakes that will run during July. Grand-prize winners will receive trips for four to the Sharpie 500, where they will stay in an exclusive motor coach at the track, meet the owner of the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford and have seats in the First Tennessee suite. First-prize winners will receive four suite tickets to the Sharpie 500. And second- and third-prize winners will receive First Tennessee racing merchandise. During the Sharpie 500, the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford will be referred to as the #77 First Tennessee car. Throughout the summer, a replica of the #77 First Tennessee car will make appearances at First Tennessee financial centers across the state.(Jasper Motorsports PR), see an image of the car at the BMS site, Jasper Motorsports site or my Paint Scheme Gallery.(6-5-2003)
  • #15 Pitcrew fastest at Dover UPDATE: The pit crew for Michael. Waltrip’s No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet won the weekly McDonald’s/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship at Dover worth $20,000. The #15 spent 284 seconds in the pits, lowest among teams competing in the program.(NASCAR PR) have not gotten the PR on this for the standings or any other info.(6-4-2003)
    UPDATE: see full press release with standing from Dover and overall standing at my Pit Crew Page.(6-5-2003)
  • Boris Said in the #01 at Sonoma? UPDATE 2: Rumors are that Boris Said will be in the #01 US Army Pontiac at Infineon Raceway, since he’s known as a road racing specialist and has worked with Ryan Pemberton in years past [with Jasper Motorsports]. Currently Said is serving a 45 day suspension in the Trans-Am Series.(Insider Racing News)(5-26-2003)
    UPDATE: Boris Said, the road racing specialist, will run for the #01 US Army team in two weeks at Sears Point and will test next week. Mike Wallace is currently in the car.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-2-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Road course specialist Boris Said has been named by MB2 Motorsports to drive the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac in the June 22 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Said, 40, will be substituting for Jerry Nadeau, who is recovering from injuries sustained in a May 2 accident at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Mike Wallace, who has been the team’s substitute driver, will continue in the same role at the oval races. One of the leading national and international sports car drivers, Said has competed in seven career Winston Cup races. Six of his seven starts have come at NASCAR’s two road courses — Infineon Raceway (2000, 2001, 2002) and Watkins Glen (1999, 2001, 2002). His other start was at Homestead Miami Speedway in 1999. Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., has enjoyed success at Infineon Raceway. As a NASCAR driver, he finished 11th in the 2001 Winston Cup race and won the 1998 Craftsman Truck event. As a sports car racer in the American Le Mans Series, he won at Infineon in 2000 and was runner-up in 2001. Said, the 2002 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans Am Series champion (eight wins in 11 races), is scheduled to test the U.S. Army road course car June 9 at Virginia International Raceway.(US Army PR)(6-5-2003)
  • Raines will participate in NASDAQ Market Open in NYC: Tony Raines, driver of the #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy, will join Robert Forney, President and CEO of America’s Second Harvest, in presiding over the NASDAQ Market Open in recognition of National Hunger Awareness Day on Thursday, June 5. The #74 America’s Second Harvest Chevrolet that Raines piloted in Dover will be on display outside of the NASDAQ MarketSite Studio on the corner of 43rd and Broadway in Times Square. BACE President Bill Baumgardner will join Raines in a presentation to America’s Second Harvest as a result of the “Monster Meals” program that took place this past weekend at Dover International Speedway. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of parent company Kraft Foods, Tombstone Pizza donated 100 pizza slices for every lap of the 400-lap race this past weekend in Dover. The first installment of the “Monster Meals” program tallied 40,000 servings providing a contribution to the 23 million food insecure individuals in America – nine million of which are children.(Tony Raines Site)(6-5-2003)

    (6-4-2003)

  • Update on Elliott’s Broken Foot; Kimmel to stand by: Bill Elliott: “Right now we’re looking at several options (for Sunday’s race at Pocono). I have been able to right-foot brake in the past at some places, but it’s not the normal way of what I’m looking for. To have driven as long as I have and try to change all of a sudden, as competitive as things are today, you just can’t up and change what you’re doing in the middle of the stream. It’s difficult to do, and I’ve not been able to do it. You do a lot of shifting and a lot of different stuff at Pocono. It’s not hardly as bad as Sears Point or Watkins Glen, but it’s a long day because it’s a 500-mile race. Right now I don’t know what we’re going to do, whether we try to look at it when we get there or what. I’ll know more tomorrow (Wednesday). I’ve got a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. He’s going to re-X-ray my foot and see where it is. The last X-ray showed the same as the one before, which they tell me X-rays lag behind until your bones kind of bridge together and that shows a sign of healing. I’ve not seen that yet, but I’ll know more when I go see the X-ray tomorrow.”
    Four-time ARCA RE/Max Series Champion, Frank Kimmel, will be on hand at Pocono Raceway this weekend in the event that the No. 9 team needs a replacement driver.
    Elliott is scheduled to the same car he ran last year at Pocono, Indianapolis and the 2001 Homestead-Miami race. Elliott drove this car to victory in all three events.(Evernham Motorsports/Golin Harris PR)(6-4-2003)
  • Stacker 2 VP leaves: The Vice President of Marketing for Stacker 2, Karen Finocchio has resigned from NVE Pharmaceuticals the manufacturer of Stacker 2 to pursue a business of her own as a one stop media shop. Karen Finocchio, was the person behind building NVE pharmaceuticals brand Stacker 2 “The Worlds Strongest Fat Burner” with a highly targeted media plan. For the rest of the release and contact info, see my Press Release News and Links page.(6-4-2003)
  • Testing at MIS: five drivers tested at Michigan International Speedway on Monday and/or Tuesday; #7-Jimmy Spencer, #29-Kevin Harvick, #38-Elliott Sadler, #77-Dave Blaney and #0-Jack Sprague. Most teams found themselves behind schedule Tuesday because of light rain in the morning. Instead of running 20-30 laps straight, they were restricted to shorter bursts on the two-mile oval. No speeds mentioned.(Detroit Free Press)(6-4-2003)
  • 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)
  • Atwood’s Busch Schedule Increased UPDATE Cup race dropped: FitzBradshaw Racing has announced a revised schedule for the #82 Navy Chevy driven by Casey Atwood. FitzBradshaw Racing will add the June 14 Meijer 300 at Kentucky. FitzBradshaw Racing is also adding on the June 25 GNC 250 at the Milwaukee Mile to the schedule. The race has been added as a make-up race for the missed race in Charlotte. Look for Atwood to feel very comfortable at the Milwaukee Mile, the same track where Atwood won the Diehard 250 from the pole in 1999. “It will be great fun going back to Milwaukee,” said Atwood. “If there was one place I would love to race again it’s the Milwaukee Mile.” Added track time is just what Casey Atwood wants. After sitting out the first 12 races of the season, Atwood says the more time behind the wheel the better. Team owner Armando Fitz says he is very pleased to be able to add on two races for the Navy, “We were all disappointed that the #82 did not qualify in Charlotte so we are excited to be able to provide the Navy with added track time.”(ThatsRacin.com)(6-3-2003)
    UPDATE: the team will NOT run the Talladega Cup race as previsously announced, the race at Kentucky will take the Cup race’s place.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(6-4-2003)
  • #20 to test at NHIS: Crew chief Greg Zipadelli said that Tony Stewart ‘s team plans to test at New Hampshire later this month.(Roanoke Times)(6-4-2003)
  • Martin to run some Busch races in 2004: #6-Mark Martin, after retiring from competition in the Busch Series in 2000 with 45 wins from 200 starts, will run in four select races in 2004. Not all details are clear yet, but it is known that Martin will run one of those four races with the colors of his Winston Cup sponsor, Viagra, on his Ford Taurus. Martin, who fielded part-time Busch Series entries for nine years, was the man to beat during the Saturday races. Martin last put the hurt on the field at Darlington Raceway in September of 2000, besting teammate Jeff Burton by 0.410 seconds doing so.(Team Ford Racing)(6-4-2003)
  • Testing for the #5: #5 Kellogg’s / got milk? Racing will be busy testing throughout the month of June. They will take a new road-course car to Road Atlanta on June 10th in preparation for the June 22 event at Infineon Raceway, followed by a visit to the Milwaukee Mile on June 16 and 17 to test for the July 20 New England 300 at New Hampshire.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-4-2003)
  • CAT Team Sends a Present to the Boys: The GUNDEVILS of the 3rd battalion 319 airborne field artillery regiment got a little gift from the CAT Racing team. Outfitted with their very own CAT Racing hats, the GUNDEVILS are looking good in their CAT hats.(see image at Bill Davis Racing site)(6-4-2003)
  • IROC Testing at Chicago: The True Value International Race of Champions [IROC] held a two-day test session Monday and Tuesday in preparation for the July 12th IROC event at Chicagoland Speedway. Drivers testing were current IROC drivers Danny Lasoski (Word of Outlaws) and Felipe Giaffone (IRL IndyCar Series), as well as IROC test drivers Dave Marcis and Jim Sauter. Current NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps and NHRA Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta also stopped by to try their hand at turning left in an IROC car. According to IROC president, Jay Signore, the focus of this week’s test session is to continue on improving the set-up for race day. “Right now we are trying to get a chassis underneath us that will perform great for each of the drivers.” “Today,” Signore continued, “we are working on springs, shocks, aerodynamics and getting balance into the cars. We are always trying to improve and make the cars more drivable for these guys.” Fresh off competing in last weekends’ Lucas Oil Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Chicagoland Speedway’s sister track, Route 66 Raceway (1/4-mile drag strip), NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps and NHRA Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta, both took the track in the colored IROC machines. Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, owner of Ron Capps car, was also on hand at Chicagoland Speedway checking out the 18-degree banked speedway. Marcis liked what he saw during the test with Capps and Kalitta. “I think them coming here to the speedway is great. They are true racers, have the interest and are willing to come here and try this out. They are doing really good in these cars. Their lap times are coming down each time after we talk to them,” said Marcis about their progression today. NHRA drivers joining IROC is something Marcis sees as a positive. “It would be great for NHRA drivers to join the IROC series. It will be that much more interesting to the spectator having them there.”(IROC PR)(6-4-2003)
  • Ruttman Testing the #09 at Daytona this week UPDATE: Phoenix Racing and the #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming Dodge with test driver Joe Ruttman will be preparing for the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, July 5 at Daytona International Speedway. Ruttman is scheduled to test on Tuesday, June 3 and Wednesday, June 4, 9:00am – 5:00pm/et. The #09 car has a strong record at Daytona, coming home third in the 2002 Daytona 500, capturing the outside pole for last year’s Pepsi 400 and posting a top-10 finish in the 2003 Daytona 500. The test session is free and open to the public with access to a section of the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.(Speedway PR)(6-2-2003)
    UPDATE: On Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway, Ruttman tested a pair of owner James Finch’s #1 Transportation Dodges in preparation for the Busch Series 250 on Friday night, July 5. Jamie McMurray, in his rookie Winston Cup season driving the #42 Havoline Dodge, will be behind the wheel of the #1 Dodge for the NASCAR Busch Series 250. The 58-year-old Ruttman regularly tests for Finch and expects to be back at Daytona in a couple of weeks for another test session with the #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming Dodge that will compete in the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 5. Finch had slated Mike Wallace to drive the #09 car in the mid-summer classic. But Wallace was recently tapped as the substitute for the injured Jerry Nadeau in the #01 Army Pontiac leaving Finch with a driver vacancy that he has yet to fill. Ruttman, who has won an ARCA race at Daytona in 1982 and most recently captured the 2001 Florida Dodge Dealers 250 Craftsman Truck Series race, didn’t hesitate when asked if he would be interested in driving in the Pepsi 400 for Finch. “Are you kidding me?” Ruttman said. “I keep thinking each year, maybe this is my year to try it.” Ruttman will continue the test session on Wednesday. Testing is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through DAYTONA USA. Tickets for both the Pepsi 400 and the NASCAR Busch Series 250 are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(Speedway PR)(6-4-2003)
  • NASCAR gives a car and engine to Toyota? UPDATE 2 NASCAR denies: Another of the big stories here concerns car owner Bill Davis, who spent most of the day repeating ‘No comment.’ The bottom line is Dodge’s one, big happy family isn’t so happy, or as big, anymore, with the abrupt decision by DaimlerChrysler to cut Davis’ two-car operation out of the fold a little more than a year after Davis and Ward Burton put Dodge in victory lane at Daytona. When Dodge returned to NASCAR’s top division three years ago, it came with Ray Evernham, Petty Enterprises and Davis. Since then, Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske have jumped on the train, and those two Indy-car giants have been overshadowing Dodge’s original threesome. Dodge’s decision to drop factory support of the Davis team, because DaimlerChrysler officials hint the team has been providing technical advice to Toyota, was the talk of the Winston Cup garage yesterday … except in Davis’ hauler, where he and his crew were mum. ‘No comment for the foreseeable future,’ is all Davis is saying this weekend.
    AND The surprising Dodge move has some key Winston Cup figures thinking that Toyota may be preparing to jump into Winston Cup racing sooner than expected. Tony Stewart said he has been told that NASCAR officials have given his Texas car to Toyota engineers for scrutiny — NASCAR confiscated that car for uncertain reasons, and the sanctioning body hasn’t given it back. Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s crew chief, said NASCAR also has given a Robert Yates’ Ford motor to Toyota for detailed examination, in order to give Toyota a quicker jump out of the box. Stewart and Zipadelli are angry over those developments.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-31-2003)
    UPDATE – denied bt NASCAR: NASCAR strongly denied published reports that it gave parts confiscated from the Winston Cup garage to the Toyota startup effort. One such written account attributed Tony Stewart and crew chief Greg Zipadelli saying NASCAR had given Toyota the #20 Home Depot Chevy, which was confiscated during the Texas race weekend. The same report indicated NASCAR had given Toyota the Robert Yates Racing engine confiscated during The Winston weekend. However, NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communication, Jim Hunter, addressing both allegations said that the parts are still in NASCAR’s impound in the Concord, N.C., Research and Development Center. Hunter added, “We spoke with [Joe] Gibbs last Tuesday about getting the parts back to the car, that we’re going to give him and he’s working to comply with the requirements. NASCAR would never give a competitor a confiscated part,” Hunter added. “It would be foolish to put confiscated parts back into circulation.”(Team Ford Racing)(6-1-2003)
    UPDATE 2 – more: Hunter said on an XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio interview that the #20 team would be getting most of the car back, but not the body as it didn’t conform with the template rules. And that the story that NASCAR gave the car and the #88 engine to Toyota was ludicrous [ludicrous speed?] saying why would NASCAR want to put illegal parts back into circulation.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required), heard this ‘rumor’ was started as ‘fun’ by a Cup driver/crew chief., to see if it would get picked up.(6-4-2003)


    (6-3-2003)

  • Skinner not to be re-newed? hearing the option on Mile Skinner’s contract will not be re-newed for the 2004 season with the #4 Morgan-McClure team, no word on who would take over the driving duties. Been told it would NOT be Eric McClure, who currently runs late models at Lonesome Pine International Raceway in VA and plans to make his ARCA debut in June at Michigan.(6-3-2003)
  • Kodak to the #1 in 2004? hearing Kodak is considering leaving the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports team at the end of the season [but last I heard they were signed thru 2005??] and will end up on the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004, who is possibly looking for a sponsor as past rumors [see #1 Team News and Links page] have Pennzoil leaving at the end of 2003. Current driver, Jeff Green [except for the road courses when Ron Fellows takes over] is signed thru September. Some rumors have 2-time IRL champ in the #1 in a few races late this season and maybe in 2004, but some of those rumors were wrapped around his link with Pennzoil, his sponsor in the IRL. Some rumors put Dixie Pottery as the #4 sponsor or assoc sponsor in 2004.(6-3-2003)
  • Dodge Sues Davis: A lawsuit filed by Dodge’s parent company, DaimlerChrysler, alleges that Davis’ team breached its contract by building and testing a prototype Toyota vehicle for NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck series. Toyota has announced plans to enter the truck series next season — leading to speculation that the Japanese automobile industry giant eventually will field cars in the marquee-level Winston Cup series. NASCAR rules require teams to race approved “American-made” cars, but Toyota manufactures several models at U.S. plants. In the lawsuit, DaimlerChrysler alleges that at least one member of Davis’ team represented Toyota at a NASCAR wind tunnel test in Marrietta, GA, on April 30. The suit says NASCAR officials performed aerodynamic tests on a Toyota prototype that bore decals from Davis’ team and was powered by a Dodge engine. The suit says this violates a clause in Davis’ contract with DaimlerChrysler that requires Davis and his team to “represent, endorse or otherwise promote” Dodge products. The suit, filed in a Michigan state circuit court on May 23, does not ask for a specific dollar amount in damages. But as a reward for racing Dodges, DaimlerChrysler pays its designated “factory” teams an annual sum believed to be in the low seven-figure range. The suit estimates that Davis’ team has spent only 50-60% of this year’s money, and asks for the remainder to be repaid. The suit also says DaimlerChrysler “fears that (Davis’ team) has or will share DaimlerChrysler’s confidential information with Toyota, in violation of the agreement,” and wants the courts to force Davis’ team to keep secret any confidential information they have obtained from Dodge. DaimlerChrysler officials declined comment Monday. Officials from Toyota and Davis’ team did not return messages seeking comment. NASCAR vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter could not say for certain whether officials tested a Toyota prototype in the presence of Davis team members on April 30, but he said wind tunnel testing is common in NASCAR’s approval process for new vehicles.(USA Today)(6-3-2003)
  • Johnson to test at VIR UPDATE five drivers test: The key to winning any title is consistency, and #48-Jimmie Johnson and his team are looking to tackle the only weakness in the program: road courses. “This year,” Johnson says, “we’re making an effort to get me some more experience testing some different tracks that aren’t necessarily NASCAR tracks but ones that I can get some more road course experience.” Weather permitting, Johnson will test this week at Virginia International Raceway, a 3.27-mile road course in Alton, VA.(Sporting News)(6-2-2003)
    UPDATE: At least five Winston Cup drivers tested the Virginia International Raceway Roadcourse Tuesday in preparation for the June 22nd Dodge Save-Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. Among those turning laps were #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #20-Tony Stewart, #18-Bobby Labonte and #22-Ward Burton. Rain cut short the day’s activities.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-3-2003)
  • TV Ratings for Dover: The MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 at Dover International Speedway on FX garnered a 4.7 rating on Sunday, making it the third highest rated show on cable TV for the week. This is equal to last year’s rating for the Dover race on FX. The race reached 3,807,000 households (5,377,000 viewers). It also finished third in the Adult 18-49 demo, with a 2.8 rating in that group.(MotorsportsTV.com)(6-3-2003)
  • Georgia-Pacific, Petty and USO: Volunteers from Georgia-Pacific, the maker of Brawny paper towels, presented Delaware’s United Service Organization with a check for $2,000 Monday. Kyle Petty attended the press conference at Dover’s City Hall in support of Georgia-Pacific, his racecar sponsor. Mr. Petty and Georgia-Pacific are working together to honor charitable organizations on the second an-nual Brawny Brigade service tour.(Dover Newszap)(6-3-2003)
  • Stewart Stormy UPDATE: The snarl on his face never left as Tony Stewart stormed past reporters on his walk down pit road following Sunday’s MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 at Dover International Speedway. He walked past Ryan Newman’s car, which was coming in for its coronation in victory lane, and snarled again. Then he stopped, turned around and yelled an expletive. It was hard to determine if it was directed at Newman, who prevented Stewart from getting back on the lead lap midway through the race, or if it was directed at the unknown NASCAR official who penalized Stewart one lap for stopping outside the box on a pit stop. Afterward, Stewart kept walking briskly to his trailer, the snarl omnipresent. He whipped the door open and slammed it shut, disappearing for good. After several minutes, Stewart’s public relations director emerged and said Stewart had left. “How?” he was asked. “You must have blinked,” the P.R. director responded.(Delaware News Journal)(6-2-2003)
    UPDATE: Stewart soon had a chance to get his lap back, and when a yellow flag came, he needed to beat leader Newman to the start-finish line to do so. One of the sport’s unwritten rules says if a race leader can let a driver he thinks isn’t a threat to win back onto the lead lap, he should. The way Stewart was running, he clearly could have been considered a threat. Newman certainly thought he was. Imagine what Newman would be dealing with, had he allowed Stewart back on the lead lap and Stewart won the race. As it was, Stewart finished fourth and moved up to 16th in points, so that would have been a real possibility. Stewart, who didn’t talk to the media after the race, was still able to clearly express his feelings with the following:
    • Nearly putting Newman into the wall during the ensuing caution.
    • Making an obscene gesture toward Newman’s crew during a later pit stop.
    • Yelling at Newman’s crew chief, Matt Borland, after the race.
    “We’re racers,” said Newman. “We compete against each other and try to be friends, but it’s a competitive sport. He’s not going to invite me to dinner tonight. There have been times I haven’t wanted to invite him to dinner either, but we can get through it. To me, it was his own fault. What happened, happened.”(Charlotte Observer)(6-3-2003)
  • Gordon sorry, Marlin ticked UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon spunout #40-Sterling Marlin Sunday at Dover International Speedway early in the race. Gordon was apologetic. Marlin was furious. “The 24 got up under us and turned us around again,” said Marlin, who wound up 35th. “That’s twice in three races. It’s getting kind of old. I don’t know what’s wrong with the 24, but we need to find out. You’ve got to give and take in this league, and he has done a lot of taking.” Gordon called it a mistake, not an intentional act. He said his car might have hit the apron. He shot up toward the wall and caught the left rear of Marlin’s Dodge. “I’m sure he’s mad, and I was mad when I got hit by him one time in Richmond,” Gordon said. “Hopefully, we’ll get past it and move forward. He’s not a guy I really talk to a lot and he doesn’t talk to me a lot, so I guess we’ll see each other on the race track.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(6-2-2003)
    UPDATE: After Sunday’s MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway, Sterling Marlin is mad at Jeff Gordon. Gordon says he’s not angry with Marlin, but he’s not backing down. Marlin took exception to Gordon’s bump coming off Turn 2 on Lap 114 at Dover. It was the continuation of a mini-trend for Gordon, who hit Marlin and Ward Burton at The Winston all-star race two weekends ago at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I definitely got into him, no doubt about it,” Gordon said of the Dover bump, which took out Marlin’s No. 40 car — one of the field’s stronger cars. “I didn’t mean to. Sure he’s mad. I was mad when I got hit by him one time at Richmond. Hopefully, we’ll get past it.”(Charlotte Observer)(6-3-2003)
  • and Petty not happy with Bodine: Kyle Petty also got into the act after Todd Bodine bumped him out of the race. Petty walked past Bodine’s crew chief, Derick Finley, and pointed to his sunglasses — probably not as a goodwill gesture to help Bodine see more clearly on the track.(Charlotte Observer)(6-3-2003)
  • Nationally Televised Food Fight For Andretti: They aren’t giving anything away yet but John Andretti, driver of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, and Martha Jane Bonkemeyer, assistant to legendary Richard Petty, competed in the national television show Food Fight Monday, June 2, at a Charlotte restaurant. The contest? Cooking, under strict guidelines, against two members of a Reggae band, while a television crew taped it all. From shopping to presentation, the two teams each had $20 and two hours to out cook, out razz and out-plate their competition. Local experts such as food writers, cooking school instructors, and home economics teachers judged the raucous cooking contest and determined which reaped prizes. Andretti and Bonkemeyer competed together as a team, going in with no knowledge of what dish would be required and only with some information gleaned from background that comes from an association with General Mills. Food Fight is broadcast nationally by the Food Network. An air date has not yet been scheduled [the show normally air’s Thursdays at 10pm and Friday at 1:00am]. Hosted by J.D. Roberto, Food Fight pits two teams that have nothing in common but their love of good food against each other in a take-no-prisoners competition. This half-hour series features match-ups like Hell’s Angels vs. soccer moms, and grandmas vs. construction workers in a show that’s one part “Beat the Clock” and one part “Iron Chef.” Casting calls were held in Chicago, Tampa, New York, Dallas, Nashville, San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Pittsburgh throughout 2002 and early 2003. Teams are presented with a regional specialty, which is the focus of the dish. Petty Enterprises is the only race team featured this season. The show will air in prime time on the Food Network. Domestically, the show reaches approximately 75 million households. The show also airs in Canada, and parts of England as well.(Williams Company)(6-3-2003)
  • New driver for Ganassi? in Trucks? Shelby Howard, a 17-year-old who is expected to join the NASCAR world very shortly – perhaps racing a truck for Chip Ganassi – won Sunday’s ARCA 200 at Kansas. Howard, that tour’s youngest-ever winner, was quick to praise Ernie Elliott’s motor [Ganassi’ s engine builder].(Winston Salem Journal)….a Toyota truck maybe?(6-3-2003)

    (6-2-2003)

  • Jones in for Foyt at Sonoma: Road course racer, P.J. Jones will driver the #14 Harrah’s Dodge at Infineon Raceay in Sonoma, CA on the road course there on June 22nd, in place of regular driver, rookie Larry Foyt.(Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR)(6-2-2003)
  • Speed Channel Stuff: Following their story about the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series hosting participants from the Philadelphia Urban Racing League a the Dover International Speedway, the SPEED Channel did a spotlight clip on Herbie Bagwell, Jr., and African-American race car driver from Connecticut. When sponsorship money is available, Bagwell plans to race in the NASCAR Busch Series in 10 races. NASCAR recently approved Bagwell to drive in their north series as a prelude to entering into NASCAR Busch Grand National competition in 2004.(Hawk Motorsports PR)
    AND SPEED Channel will strap in with four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and Formula One standout Juan Pablo Montoya as the pair swap hot rods for the afternoon on June 11 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The live program, entitled Gordon/Montoya Tradin’ Paint, will air from 1:00 to 2:30pm/et Wednesday, June 11th. A special one-hour edition will replay Friday night, June 20th at 8:30pm, immediately following Winston Cup Qualifying, and be hosted by Bob Varsha, former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds and former F1 mechanic Steve Matchett. Both drivers will be wired for sound and the cars will be equipped with multiple on-board cameras. Montoya, fresh of his impressive win at the Grand Prix of Monaco, is expected to bring his 2002 race car – the FW24. The engine alone has 5,000 individual parts. This year, Montoya is racing a FW25 with the next generation P83 BMW powerplant. A comparison of the two cars:
    #24 Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    Horsepower: 770 HP @ 9,000 RPM
    Engine: Cast iron 5.7L V8
    Top speed: 200 mph
    Fuel: 110-octane gasoline
    Chassis weight: 3,400 lbs. (w/o driver)
    HP Williams BMW FW24
    Horsepower: 900 (max RPM of 19,000)
    Engine: 3L BMW P82 V10 (aluminum block)
    Top Speed: 225 mph
    Fuel: Unleaded racing gasoline
    Chassis weight: 1322.76 lbs. (w/driver)(SPEED Channel)(6-2-2003)
  • No Bud in F-1: A few months ago August Busch III, the chairman and chief executive of Anheuser Busch [Budweiser], met Ferrari’s Jean Todt [of F-1 / Formula 1] to discuss a sponsorship deal between Ferrari and Budweiser, Anheuser Busch’s biggest brand. Grandprix.com heard at the time that an agreement was made, at least in principle for Budweiser to become a significant Ferrari sponsor, with the longterm aim being that the beer company would eventually take over from Marlboro when tobacco advertising ends in 2007. It seems that the deal has now falllen through and Budweiser has recently announced a three-year extension to its current deal in NASCAR with Dale Earnhardt Inc. This deal is believed to be worth $60m to the team although Budweiser will recoup much of that investment as it will take a percentage of the income raised by Dale Earnhardt Jr’s merchandising operations.(Grandprix.com)(6-2-2003)
  • Pfizer extends with the #6: #6-Mark Martin’s sponsorship with Pfizer [Viagra] has been extended another two years, according to team officials who had been awaiting word last week from the pharmaceutical company on whether or not it would exercise a bailout option in its contract. When that deadline came and went, with no word from Pfizer executives, the contract was automatically extended.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-2-2003)
  • Boris Said in the #01 at Sonoma? UPDATE: Rumors are that Boris Said will be in the #01 US Army Pontiac at Infineon Raceway, since he’s known as a road racing specialist and has worked with Ryan Pemberton in years past [with Jasper Motorsports]. Currently Said is serving a 45 day suspension in the Trans-Am Series.(Insider Racing News)(5-26-2003)
    UPDATE: Boris Said, the road racing specialist, will run for the #01 US Army team in two weeks at Sears Point and will test next week. Mike Wallace is currently in the car.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-2-2003)
  • First for Dodge at Dover since 1975: #12-Ryan Newman’s win at Dover was the first ever Winston Cup race won by a Dodge in the spring race and the first at the track since Richard Petty won in Sept 1975.(Fox Sports)(6-2-2003)
  • Last Race For Triplett: Sunday’s was Kevin Triplett’s last race as NASCAR’s managing director of business operations. He announced earlier this season he was leaving to become a consultant and perhaps make a run for public office in Virginia.(ThatsRacin.com) – Good Luck and Thanks (6-2-2003)
  • Toyota to help Davis with $$? Regardless of what Bill Davis’ problems might be with Dodge, Toyota officials are saying privately that money will not be a problem for Davis, that they’ll do whatever it takes. Dodge officials are declining to confirm reports that they have filed legal papers in Michigan over the issue or to describe the gist of those papers. The Dodge-Davis story was one of the biggest this weekend, along with worries about Toyota increasing among Winston Cup tour teams. According to two sources, Toyota’s entry into NASCAR’s Truck series could lead both General Motors and Ford officials to reconsider their companies’ sponsorship support. If Ford and GM back off, the Truck tour could become a Dodge vs. Toyota battlefield, with the Japanese car maker challenging the German automaker.(more at the Winston Salem Journal)(6-2-2003)
  • Evernham’s Return to Racing rained out: Ray Evernham’s much-ballyhooed return to driving at Wall Township Speedway Saturday ended like most of New Jersey’s races this year with a driving rainstorm. But it wasn’t from lack of trying. Speedway officials waited out Saturday’s morning and afternoon rains, and track safety vehicles circled the third-of-a-mile asphalt oval during a brief respite in the rain from 4:30.-6:00/pm/et. But another shower that hit shortly after 6:00pm/et officially canceled the show that was to include a 15-lap match race featuring Hazlet native and NASCAR Winston Cup car owner Evernham. The race is not expected to be rescheduled. Ticket stubs from Saturday’s show are good for admission to any Wall race for the rest of 2003, with the exception of the June 29 NASCAR Modified Series race and the July 26 appearance of NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Michael Waltrip, Steve Park, Sterling Marlin and Kenny Wallace.(Newark Star Ledger)(6-2-2003)
  • Rumblings – Dover: #12-Ryan Newman figured out how to make it last longer than a lap today at Dover International Speedway…and the payoff was a victory in the MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 on a cold, windy, and wet day in Delaware. Newman scored his second win of the season (he snatched up the win at Texas in March) and the third of his Winston Cup career (he’s now tied for 78th on the all-time win list), and he’s the first driver to win from the pole this season (Kurt Busch took the closer at Homestead last November from the top-spot).
    #20-Tony Stewart (4th….and from a lap down) had his best finish since he was 4th at Atlanta last October. #10-Johnny Benson (5th) had his best finish since he won at Rockingham last October. His Top-5 gives us 27 drivers to hit that mark this season…last year’s number was 31. His Top-10 gives us 36 drivers to score that standard this season…last year’s number was 42.
    #14-Larry Foyt (28th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 30th at Texas in March.
    STREAKIN….#18-Bobby Labonte has 5 Top-3’s in a row. #17-Matt Kenseth has 11 Top-10’s in the last 12 races. #2-Rusty Wallace has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week is Robby Gordon (+29), followed by Johnny Benson (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jimmie Johnson (-33), followed by Sterling Marlin (-29), and Steve Park (-22).
    Matt Kenseth padded his points lead today by 11 markers. He’s now 171 points up on Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Newman’s win translated to a six-spot move up in the points (24th to 18th). Dale Jarrett’s blown engine was worth an equal move in the opposite direction (18th to 24th).(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(6-2-2003)

 


 

  • (6-1-2003)

  • Newman wins the MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 at Dover International Speedway. Pole sitter, #12-Ryan Newman won at Dover, without power steering, plus leading the most laps. Newman is the first pole-sitter to win the spring race at Dover since Bobby Labonte in June 1999. #24-Gordon ended up 2nd. Points leader #17-Matt Kenseth finished 7th and increased his points lead to 171 points over #8-Earnhardt Jr. #18-Labonte finished 3rd, his 5th top three in a row. #10-Johnny Benson gets his first top five of the year and since he won last November at Rockingham. For the unofficial top ten, lap leaders, cars off track, cautions and other stuff (all unofficial of course) see my MBNA Armed Forces Family 400 Info page
    Race Results at my Dover Race Results page or at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com – official
    Winston Cup Driver/Owner Standings after Dover
    Dover Race Results
    Dover Lineup(6-1-2003)
  • NASCAR gives a car and engine to Toyota? UPDATE NASCAR denies: Another of the big stories here concerns car owner Bill Davis, who spent most of the day repeating ‘No comment.’ The bottom line is Dodge’s one, big happy family isn’t so happy, or as big, anymore, with the abrupt decision by DaimlerChrysler to cut Davis’ two-car operation out of the fold a little more than a year after Davis and Ward Burton put Dodge in victory lane at Daytona. When Dodge returned to NASCAR’s top division three years ago, it came with Ray Evernham, Petty Enterprises and Davis. Since then, Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske have jumped on the train, and those two Indy-car giants have been overshadowing Dodge’s original threesome. Dodge’s decision to drop factory support of the Davis team, because DaimlerChrysler officials hint the team has been providing technical advice to Toyota, was the talk of the Winston Cup garage yesterday … except in Davis’ hauler, where he and his crew were mum. ‘No comment for the foreseeable future,’ is all Davis is saying this weekend.
    AND The surprising Dodge move has some key Winston Cup figures thinking that Toyota may be preparing to jump into Winston Cup racing sooner than expected. Tony Stewart said he has been told that NASCAR officials have given his Texas car to Toyota engineers for scrutiny — NASCAR confiscated that car for uncertain reasons, and the sanctioning body hasn’t given it back. Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s crew chief, said NASCAR also has given a Robert Yates’ Ford motor to Toyota for detailed examination, in order to give Toyota a quicker jump out of the box. Stewart and Zipadelli are angry over those developments.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-31-2003)
    UPDATE – denied bt NASCAR: NASCAR strongly denied published reports that it gave parts confiscated from the Winston Cup garage to the Toyota startup effort. One such written account attributed Tony Stewart and crew chief Greg Zipadelli saying NASCAR had given Toyota the #20 Home Depot Chevy, which was confiscated during the Texas race weekend. The same report indicated NASCAR had given Toyota the Robert Yates Racing engine confiscated during The Winston weekend. However, NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communication, Jim Hunter, addressing both allegations said that the parts are still in NASCAR’s impound in the Concord, N.C., Research and Development Center. Hunter added, “We spoke with [Joe] Gibbs last Tuesday about getting the parts back to the car, that we’re going to give him and he’s working to comply with the requirements. NASCAR would never give a competitor a confiscated part,” Hunter added. “It would be foolish to put confiscated parts back into circulation.”(Team Ford Racing)(6-1-2003)
  • No Testing at the ‘new’ Homestead: NASCAR announced in Sunday’s drivers meeting it will not allow testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway this season, but is expected to grant Winston Cup, Busch and Truck teams additional practice time the week of the November season finales. The track recently announced it was adding variable banking to all four previously flat turns. The work should be completed before the November races.(ThatsRacin.com), more info on the reconfiguation on my Homestead News and Info page.(6-1-2003)
  • Interesting Comments by Kyle: #45-Kyle Petty has been around stock-car racing so long that he can laugh off or shrug off just about any misfortune or odd bid of luck. But he said he’s continually amazed at how people who say one thing one day, sometimes wind up doing something different the next – with a straight face. “Why don’t you reread all those press releases these people keep sending out … because you’d catch everybody here in ultimate lies,” Petty said with a laugh. “That’s always the best part. I want you to write a book someday on things that were said one year about how things were going to be, and then go back six months later, or two years later, and see how things changed. Because everything in here changes. Everything. It changes. But it stays the same.”(Winston Salem Journal)(6-1-2003)
  • a few Dover facts: The polesitter has won only 10 of 66 races at Dover. #18-Bobby Labonte was the last to do it, after taking the pole for this race in 1999. David Pearson is the only driver to have two pole-race sweeps in one season, turning the double in 1973. #49-Ken Schrader got the last of his four career victories 12 years ago in the June race at Dover, and is winless in his last 387 starts.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(6-1-2003)
    UPDATE” now make it 11 of 67 as #12-Ryan Newman won from the pole.(6-1-2003)
  • More Toyota Stuff: Just say the word ‘Toyota’ in the Winston Cup garage here [Dover], and you can feel the shivers. Yes, the Japanese auto maker, even though it has yet to put a truck or a Winston Cup car on the race track, is already scaring the heck out of NASCAR regulars. Not just because they believe that Toyota’s racing department is willing to spend money. Not just because Toyota has some good engineering talent. But because, rivals say, Toyota men have already upped the ante in ruthless behind-the-scenes battling for some of stock-car racing’s key technical secrets and because many Winston Cup regulars fear that NASCAR officials will do for Toyota what they feel NASCAR did for Dodge – bend over backward to help the new car manufacturer make a successful entry into NASCAR. “Toyota is going to come in here and run teams right out of this sport,’ said a top Winston Cup team owner.”
    Some notes:
    –Over the winter, Dodge executives said they were angry at Toyota for moves they said it was making to hire Winston Cup engine builders who could provide proprietary secrets about engine designs.
    –At least one Chevrolet team has provided engine builders to help Toyota with its new designs.
    –Last week NASCAR approved Toyota’s new cylinder head, according to NASCAR sources. And Toyota did more than that, providing NASCAR with some of the sophisticated 3D computer programs used in the CAD-CAM designing of those heads. That could be a precedent-setting move if NASCAR now insists that rival car makers provide the same computer programs.
    –Tony Stewart said that NASCAR has given his Texas Chevy to Toyota to study.
    –Crew chief Greg Zipadelli said that NASCAR has given a Robert Yates Ford engine to Toyota to examine.(Winston Salem Journal) and see past news on my Toyota page.(6-1-2003)