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PAST NEWS MARCH 1997



    (3-30-97)

  • Craftsman Truck Driver Mike Bliss attempted to make the WC field in 4/6/97’s Interstate Batteries 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway in the #02 Dickies sponsored Ford but rain washed out qualifying. Barry Dodson is the crew chief, the car is pale yellow with blue numerials, no idea what future plans might be(3-30-97)


    (3-29-97)

  • Bobby Hamilton, Kenny Schrader, Dave Marcis and Jim Sauter tested Goodyear tires Monday through Thursday at the two-mile brand new California Speedway near Los Angeles. The four drivers combined for 1,108 laps with Hamilton clocking a fast lap of 179mph covering 2,216 miles. Hamilton used his #43 STP Pontiac, Schrader tested a Winston West series car while Marcis and Sauter tested the IROC Pontiac Firebirds. Winston Cup returns on May 5-7 for an open test session(3-29-97)
  • Saw a message on the R.A.S.N. newsgroup that the Albuquerque Journal reports that Al Unser Jr will run run a second Penske car at the Brickyard 400, as long as both teams are doing well. This rumor was reported here 2-23-97, now it seems it may come to fruition. I looked it up on the Albuquerque Journal online and could not find the article, and the message did not mention a date of the story(3-29-97)


    (3-22-97)

  • Info from the AP on the judgement on the Alan Kulwicki lawsuit. A federal court jury on Friday ruled that manufacturers of a plane that crashed and killed NASCAR star Alan Kulwicki and three others were not negligent. The jury awarded no damages to the Insurance Company of North America, Eastern Foods and Hooters of America. The question asked to the jury was whether the plane was unreasonably dangerous. Kulwicki’s Ford Thunderbird(the underbird) car was sponsored by Hooters, a restaurant chain owned by Eastern Foods. Plaintiffs were seeking $1.5 million. The defendants were Allied Signal Inc. and Fairchild Aircraft Inc. AlliedSignal was dropped from the case on March 14, 1997. The Fairchild Merlin aircraft crashed in Blountville, TN in March 1993 as Kulwicki, the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup points champion, was headed to a race in Bristol, TN. The National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) said the pilot of the plane failed to use the plane’s engine-inlet anti-ice system and ice was sucked into the engines, causing them to fail.(3-22-97)
  • Look for NASCAR to tear down Geoff Bodine’s and/or Hut Strickin’s engines because the NASCAR officials believe there might be something on the edge there. The Cup officials are looking at Glidden hard(3-22-97)
  • Looks like those rumors of either Bruton Smith or the Richard Petty group buying Phoenix were nothing but rumors. Phoenix owner Buddy Jobe stated in a Phoenix paper article that he will not sell the track and that if a bill to improve the highways entering the area of the track is passed he hopes to add 25,000 more seats.(3-22-97)


    (3-21-97)

  • Sad News: John Nemechek who was critically hurt in 3-16-97’s NASCAR Truck race, passed away today in Miami, FL. His brother, Winston Cup regular, Joe left Darlington and did not race there and Phil Parsons subbed for him in the #42 SABCO Chevy, my condolences and sympathies go out to his family(3-21-97)
  • Per Winston Cup Scene: Bruton Smith says he will not consider running a special non-points event in 1997. He still hopes to get a second points paying event either this year or next. As for Bristol, the dome is still under consideration and being studied(3-21-97)
  • The rumors that either Jeff Purvis or Larry Pearson would drive the #15 Bud Moore Ford at Darlington have been proven false as the #15 was not at qualifying(3-21-97)


    (3-20-97)

  • From the Charlotte Observer: Former Winston Cup stock-car driver Stanley Smith remained hospitalized after a weekend crash in a race at Montgomery, Alabama. “Smith suffered several broken vertebrae in last Saturday’s crash and was fitted with a brace at Carraway Methodist Center. Smith, who wears a permanent eye patch, has been in his share of accidents. He was caught in a seven-car wreck early in the DieHard 500 at Talladega, Ala., on July 25, 1993 and his skull was cracked from ear to ear. Doctors had to block a major artery to keep him alive during the operation. He’ll wear the patch for the rest of his life because his left eye doesn’t move and probably never will. His peripheral vision is limited, but with special mirrors he is still able to drive.” He was rumored in a truck ride that never materialized.(3-20-97)
  • Jeff Purvis will not be the driver for the Sadler Racing #95 Feed The Children Chevy. Ed Berrier will be the driver at Texas and probably after, they will skip Darlington. I still hear Purvis will have an announcement soon on a deal(3-20-97)


    (3-18-97)

  • Homestead Raceway has started construction on renovations that will make the track a true oval and not like a small Indy anymore. In present configuration the track is disliked by CART, BGN and Truck series drivers and Winston Cup has shown no interest in scheduling a race there in it’s present setup. Owners are hopeful that the changes will attract a Winston Cup race in 1998(3-18-97)


    (3-17-97)

  • Rumor has it that the Texas Motor Speedway will host the 1998 Winston Select? This is supposedly a report from the Charlotte Observer(3-17-97). I also hear that the drivers do not like this track after the test last week(3-18-97).


    (3-16-97)

  • Tim Steele, ARCA standout and possible 1998 WC driver ran the #4 BGN James Finch Chevy at Las Vegas, and did quite well, he says if they offer him the seat he will take it(3-16-97). Per RPM2Nite Steele has the ride for the year, I imagine the ARCA ride will now be part time, I guess Steele has no real ties with Ford(his ARCA car is a Ford)(3-19-97)


    (3-14-97)

  • BGN News:Rodney Combs and Dennis Setzer have switched rides. Rodney takes over the 78 and Dennis will drive the 43(3-14-97)
  • Latest Randy MacDonald news: there has been a hitch with the sponsorship and that things have been delayed a bit. Other than that he may race in more truck races. MacDonald had expected to announce a solid Winston Cup effort with an Indiana-based team -Atlanta this weekend was to be the first start – but those plans are on hold after a planned test at Atlanta fell through.(3-14-97)


    (3-13-97)

  • NASCAR Driver Bill Elliott had the final testing session on the old Atlanta Motor Speedway 1.522-mile oval before the wall was wrecked. Once he finished that, he got on a bulldozer and struck the first blow against the backstretch wall on 3/11/97, from what I understand this was a symbolic test and will not count against his test dates(3-13-97)
  • On RPM2Nite Rich Bickle said he will drive approx 5 races for Darrell Waltrip starting at the Brickyard, no news on if he is the replacement for DW in 1998 or who may sponsor the 1997 limited ride(3-13-97), This ride was reported before on the page and is on the Team Chart and the old news, this is the first confirmation of a race that he will run I have seen


    (3-11-97)

  • Jeff Purvis has left the #4 BGN(and #51 WC) Phoenix Racing team and owner James Finch, he is trying to start his own WC team(3-11-97)


    (3-9-97)

  • Jeff Purvis does not have deal for Winston Cup next year as rumored before. James Finch says he isn’t going up to WC at all and if Purvis goes it will be with someone else. Purvis had been working on a deal to run 10 WC races but it fell through(3-9-97)
  • Looks likes things are settled between Ernie and Jeff as they were fooling and joking around before the Atlanta race(3-9-97)


    (3-7-97)

  • I have heard rumors that Loy Allen will replace Robert Pressley in the #29 Diamond Ridge car(3-5-97). UPDATE: Diamond Ridge knows they are having problems in WC but not all of which are Pressley’s fault. They are working on some inside stuff but no talk of replacing Pressley. Look for Loy to be in a Busch car or ARCA ride.(3-7-97)
  • BGN news: Rumor has it that the Diamond Ridge BGN team are real close to securing a sponsor for ONE of the Busch teams but not sure say which one. Look for one of them to have a sponsor on 2 – 3 weeks.(3-7-97)
  • An Finally??: I hear a few veteran drivers had a meeting with the Cup officials Monday or Tuesday to complain about Gordon’s judgement in recent races.(3-7-97)
  • #08 Mike Miller is attempted to qualify in Atlanta with the #08 UniSeal Chevy. He is an ASA driver who is from Georgia and won a few races last year in ASA. BTW: He qualified 49 out of 49 and failed to make the race(3-7-97)


    (3-6-97)

  • The rumors of rules changes at Daytona and Talladega may be major spoiler changes but no talk of the engine or restrictor plates changes(3-6-97)
  • Here is some more news about the Ernie/Jeff incident:

    Jeff Gordon was on QVC 3-5-97, a caller asked, “I know Ernie was upset after the race about the incident between you and him, and I’d like to here what you have to say about it.”, to which Gordon replied, “We were coming back for the restart and I was trying to move to the front of the line and I saw Ernie move up the track and I
    thought he was going to let me by, but turns out he was scrubbing his tires in for the restart and I got into him. It was just a mistake, I’ll talk to him at the track this weekend and try to straighten it out.”(3-6-97)


    (3-5-97)

  • Rumor has it that David Blair, the owner of the 27 team is trying to work a deal with Ron Barfield Jr. for 8 races this season. I am told there was a possibility of a sponsor and they may make an announcement soon(3-5-97)(Thanks NASCAR Fans Newsletter)


    (3-4-97)

  • Robby Gordon fined $5,000 and Chad Little fined $10,000 their
    little altercation at the end of the Richmond race that started when Gordon bumped Little into the wall in the fourth turn of the final lap. Little retaliated by ramming
    the back of Gordon’s car as the cars circled the track after the race.(3-4-97)
  • Here is a condensed version of the incident between Ernie Irvan and Jeff Gordon from three eye witnesses: “I was at Richmond, right out of turn 2 where the incident happened. I had my scanner on Ernie, so I heard and saw what happened. Right before the restart everybody was lined up but Gordon, he was trying to move up to be the first car on the lead lap for the restart. He was riding in the middle of the lead cars and lapped cars but no one would let him move up (Gordon). Then he flat out ran over Ernie’s left front I saw the cars collide, both cars bounced in the air and then I heard Ernie say on the scanner “&*%$# Gordon just ran over my left front”. When it turned green Ernie radioed in and said his left front is going down, and going down fast, Marc Reno told him to try to ride it out, and only pit if he really needed and right after he said that all I saw was smoke from the 28″. Please keep your flames to yourself, just reporting what I have heard as I have gotten many questions on this incident(3-4-97)


    (3-1-97)

  • Another rumor has Firestone returning to Winston Cup, but it couldn’t happen until 1999 due to NASCAR requiring testing at each track it races at before approval would be given(3-1-97)