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March 2001 News Archives


 

  • (3-31-2001)
  • Another #15 Crew Change: The #15 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., which has not quite matched its season opening Daytona 500 winning performance in the five races since, has made a change. Jackman Britt Goodrich was let go Friday morning after struggling the past few weeks(NASCAR.com Buzz)(3-31-2001)
  • No HANS for Dale Jr: Earnhardt Jr. said that he’s not ready to try the HANS device, a head and neck support system that some contend might have saved his father’s life. Since Earnhardt’s fatal crash, the number of Cup drivers using the HANS has more than doubled. About 15 drivers are expected to wear it for Sunday’s race and another dozen are expected to wear a different type of a head-restraint system. “I’m not going to be too quick to start strapping on all kinds of gizmos,” said Earnhardt Jr., one of the few drivers in the series who wears an open-face helmet. “I’ve been running for several years and I’ve been using the equipment that I feel is necessary. I think it should be [driver] preference. Nothing should be mandatory aside from what we have until they really come up with a sure-fire invention that isn’t commercialized.”(Roanoke Times)(3-31-2001)
  • New Seat: #32 and #96 team owner Cal Wells just received a full-blown prototype of his proposed new Winston Cup seat, which he plans to crash test soon(Winston Salem Journal)(3-31-2001)

    (3-30-2001)

  • DW interviews Little E: Fox’s Darrell Waltrip interviewed Dale Earnhardt Jr today in Earnhardt Jr’s first “official” interview since his fathers death, the interview will air on Fox on the Texas pre-race show from 12:30-1:00pm/et. (the CBN interveiw was not official, see my #8 Team News and Links page for info on that)(3-26-2001), see link to a FoxSports story about the interview by Darrell Waltip on my Story/Column Links page(3-30-2001)
  • 1-2 #21 and #43 and vs: After the historically reminiscent 1-2 finish by the 21 and 43 cars last Sunday a lot of people wrote to ask me when was the last time that happened. I finally broke out the books and a half cup of rock and rye to research it. The best I can tell the last time the 21 and 43 cars finished 1-2 in that order was the 1976 Southern 500. (The 43 and 21 cars finished 1-2 three times that year, most notably in the Daytona 500, with Pearson winning all three races.) The last time the 43 and 21 car finished 1-2 in that order was the June, 1977 Riverside race. ( Petty and Pearson also finished 1-2 in the race previous to Riverside, the World 600.)(SpeedFX – Random Thoughts)(3-30-2001)
  • Dale Jr attends a Hockey game: Dale Earnhardt Jr attended a NHL hockey game in Minneapolis, MN where the Minnesota Wikd set an attendance record for NHL expansion teams Wednesday night. Earnhardt Jr. led the crowd in the Let’s Play Hockey cheer before the opening faceoff.(St. Paul Pioneer Press)(3-30-2001)
  • Mike Wallace to run in the BGN: Mike Wallace is expanding his 2001 race schedule to include the BGN beginning with the Auto Club 300 at California Speedway on April 28th. Wallace will drive the Biagi Bros. Racing Chevy in seven BGN races. “This is a new program we.re excited about doing,” said Wallace. “Fred Biagi, who has become a good friend of mine, wants to get more involved in this sport. So, we’re going to run seven competitive races that will hopefully enhance our Winston Cup program and possibly grow into something more in the future.” Wallace, who is competing full-time in Cup for the #7 Ultra Motorsports team , has known California businessman and race enthusiast Fred Biagi for more than four years through Biagi’s associate sponsorship on his CTS team. “My association with racing began as a fan and grew into an associate sponsorship of the Ultra Motorsports Truck Team for two years,” said Biagi. “We wanted to get more involved, so we decided to put something like this together. We’re going to start with a limited Busch Series schedule and hopefully build that into a full-time Busch program followed by a full-time Winston Cup program.” In addition to the event at California, the Biagi Bros. Racing Team plans to compete in the races at Chicagoland, Michigan, Homestead Miami, Phoenix and both events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Biagi Bros. Racing Chevys will be prepared in a shop located in Mooresville, N.C. with the engines supplied by Gasoline Alley Engines. The team does not have a sponsor for their limited BGN program, but that will not interfere with their plans to run these seven races in any event(Motorsports Decision PR)(3-30-2001)
  • Falk to run ARCA: #91 team owner Joe Falk is supposedly putting together a car, but this one is not for Winston Cup. The latest effort is for his son Jeff Falk, who will make his ARCA debut at Kentucky Speedway in May. And if things work out, they will try another debut for Jeff in a Busch race at Richmond (fall race?)(Victory Lane Online)(3-30-2001)
  • Another Allison UPDATE: Robbie Allison, son of Davey and Liz Allison, is slated to make his racing debut March 30 in the Bandolero division at Twin Fountains Raceway Park in Shelbyville, Tenn. Robbie was just a few weeks shy of his second birthday when father Davey died July 13, 1993.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to see online)(3-29-2001)
    UPDATE: been told that Allison will be driving in a new car developed by Pro Chassis called “Jr Racing League” not a Bandolero(3-30-2001)


    (3-29-2001)

  • Musgrave back in Cup? hearing Ted Musgrave, currently running the full 2001 CTS season for Ultra Motorsports will run a Ddoge in some selected races during the year as a teammate to #7 Mike Wallace in Winston Cup, Wallace will supposedly stay in a Ford but the #7 could switch to a Dodge in 2002(3-29-2001)
  • #32 to look different at Texas: The familiar orange #32 Tide Ford has undergone a minor facelift for the Cup race at Texas, courtesy of regional grocery chain Albertsons. Albertsons has joined the Tide team as a race sponsor for the popular Texas Winston Cup event, adding their blue and white logo to the rear “TV panel” of the Tide Ford for race weekend(PPI Motorsports Site), no images seen yet(3-29-2001)
  • Nadeau hits the Dirt: Jerry Nadeau, driver of the #25 UAW/Delphi Chevy, tested a big-block DIRT modified at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway in preparation for the April 7 Eckerd 100 Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series event. Driving a car owned by Hendrick Motorsports team members and former DIRT modified mechanics Charlie Langenstein and Ray “Rizzo” Schepler, Nadeau tested for nearly three hours Monday night on the four-tenths-mile clay oval. It was the first time in more than 10 years that the 30-year-old Danbury, Conn., driver had been on a dirt track. Langenstein, who has over 200 DIRT modified victories on his résumé as a crew chief, was pleased with the results of the team’s initial outing. The team plans to run four or five DIRT races this season beginning with the April 7 Eckerd 100. Nadeau had a literal army of support as several members of his UAW-Delphi Winston Cup team, including crew chief Tony Furr, were on hand. Former dirt late model driver Rodney Combs and Tony Hunt, an open-wheel racer who will drive a pavement sprint car co-owned by Nadeau and Tom Cotter later this season, were also in attendance.(LMS PR)(3-29-2001)
  • More NASCAR Personnel News: Tom Deery is relaxing at his Florida home this week after resigning Monday as a NASCAR vice president. The former Rockford Speedway(IL) general manager said he reached an impasse with top NASCAR management and decided to resign.(See full story at the Rockford RegisterAND am hearing that NASCAR is looking to upgrade its public relations effort as well in the form of two high-level media relations experts. As stated in a recent issue of PR Week, which is a public relations trade magazine, NASCAR has hired a New York City search firm, Marshall Consultants, to help fill these spots. The Marshall Consultants representative in charge of the search, Justin Meyer, was quoted as sayinig “They (NASCAR) are restructuring the (PR) department, designing it to ensure they have first rate coverage of the Winston Cup Series.” As an aside, Meyer denied that the hires were connected to the Dale Earnhardt tragedy. Hearing that the former Director of Racing PR for Exide, Chris Dirato, may be a candidate for one of the two positions(3-29-2001)
  • Murry Looking at the Glen and Sears Point: While it’s only March and the Winston Cup Series still has many venues to visit before embarking on trips to the road courses at Sears Point and Watkins Glen, Road Racer David Murry has already begun formulating plans to try and grab a ride for both of those races. “I’ve had one discussion with a prominent Cup owner and hope to speak with several more about those races,” said the Atlanta resident. “I’m getting started much earlier this year than I’ve done in the past. I’m really intent on getting in those races. I’m confident, with the right equipment, I can make some team real happy.” Murry, who is competing in the American Le Mans Series with the Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche Team, attempted to land a ride at Watkins Glen last season, but Mother Nature wreaked havoc with his plans. Murry’s last foray into Winston Cup racing came at Watkins Glen in 1999 when he drove for an ARCA team out of Cartersville, GA. He got in the show on time, qualifying 31st, and ran as high as eighth in the race, before suffering an oil line problem. He ended up finishing 36th(www.davidmurry.com/KG PR)(3-29-2001)

    (3-28-2001)

  • #43 Too Low UPDATE Penalty: John Andretti’s second-place finish will stand, but there will be a penalty coming to his #43-Petty Enterprises team because his car was found to be lower than the minimum height requirement for a Winston Cup car in postrace inspection. NASCAR spokesperson Danielle Humphrey said the penalty will likely be announced Monday. Andretti’s finish is the best for a Dodge so far this season in the manufacturer’s return to Winston Cup racing(That’s Racin’)(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Greg Steadman for rules violations found in post-race inspection following Sunday’s Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. Steadman, crew chief for the No. 43 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $20,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-T in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “…any car found to be under the specified height requirement after the completion of time trials or the race…”(NASCAR PR)(3-28-2001)
  • #10 Paint: Team Valvoline’s Johnny Benson will roll out the special Eagle One Pontiac at Texas Motor Speedway for the Harrah’s 500 Sunday. The car features the “Screaming Eagle” design. It will be the first of three consecutive Eagle One cars for the coming weeks’ Winston Cup races(Valvoline Racing)(3-28-2001)
  • New #97 Crew Chief: Effective immediately, Ben Leslie has been promoted to crew chief of the #97 Roush Racing Taurus driven by Kurt Busch. Matt Chambers, Busch’s crew chief in the Craftsman Truck Series and Winston Cup since the 2000 season, will be assuming another role within Roush Racing. Leslie gained his experience at Roush Racing by working with several of its teams and drivers, including Mark Martin and most recently as car chief for 2000 Rookie-of-the-Year Matt Kenseth(Roush Racing PRAND NASCAR>com’s Buzz is reporting that Chambers could end up back in the CTS series as the crew chief of the #99 truck driven by NCTS rookie Nathan Haseleu.(3-28-2001)
  • New Cup Team? UPDATE: from the USA Today – Phoenix Suns(NBA) forward Rodney Rogers has a need for speed that he hopes to satisfy by becoming a team owner on the NASCAR circuit. Rogers and Barry Dodson, crew chief(and part owner) of the #27-Eel River racing team owned by Jack Birmingham, are seeking sponsors to field a team for next season. Rogers said he needs roughly $15 million to field a team.(USA Today), seems odd as Dodson is already looking for sponsorship for the #27 team, let alone a new team, unless Rogers is going to buy into the #27 team(3-26-2001)
    UPDATE: from a Kenny Wallace chat on the Kenny Wallace Site: “My father, Russ called me and told me about the deal. I laughed so hard because all that amounts to is Rodney, a great friend of Barry’s and all it was about is saying he would like a WC team. There is no truth to it and Barry is surprised as much as everyone else. I think one day it would be cool to have Rodney involved with WC because we don’t get enough athletes involved in WC(3-28-2001)
  • Billy Ray on the #90: Donlavey Racing will display the image from the cover of Billy Ray Cyrus’ latest album, “Southern Rain,” on both doors of the Hills Bros Coffee Ford at the Harrah’s 500. The decal will be located just behind the familiar #90.(Keystone Marketing)(3-28-2001)
  • Testing at Martinsville UPDATE 3 Speeds: A few teams will be testing at Martinsville Speedway in the new few weeks: March 20-21 – #1-Steve Park, #24-Jeff Gordon, #6-Mark Martin, #97-Kurt Busch, #21-Elliott Sadler. and on March 27-28 – #12-Jeremy Mayfield, #44-Buckshot Jones, #96-Andy Houston and #??Hermie Sadler(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE: Originally there were supposed to be several Winston Cup teams testing today and tomorrow, but rain has just about washed all of that out. Steve Park may or may not test on Wednesday, but won’t know until in the morning. With everyone getting washed out this week, the testing schedule has doubled for next Tuesday and Wednesday. Drivers scheduled to test both days include: #12-Jeremy Mayfield, #44-Buckshot Jones, #96-Andy Houston, #??-Hermie Sadler, #29-Kevin Harvick, #6-Mark Martin, #97-Kurt Busch, #01-Jason Leffler, #10-Johnny Benson, #25-Jerry Nadeau, #24-Jeff Gordon, #27-Kenny Wallace and #21-Elliott Sadler(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-21-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Johnny Benson’s #10 Valvoline Pontiac will test at Martinsville Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Texas on Thursday. #21-Elliott Sadler tested at Martinsville on Monday(3-26-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Fifteen teams tested at Martinsville Tuesday. Kevin Harvick had the best time Tuesday, posting a 93.742mph lap in the Goodwrench Chevy. Kenny Wallace was next best at 93.372mph in the unsponsored #27 Eel River Pontiac. #24-Jeff Gordon was 3rd at 93.189mph, 4th was #21-Elliott Sadler at 93.051 and fifth was #1-Steve Park at 92.960mph(from ESPN2’s RPM2Night and Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-28-2001)


    (3-27-2001)

  • Mercedes Benz In NASCAR:? No – April Fools: Been getting email about a story in a recent Mercedes Benz Newsletter(called The Star), a story talking about Mercedes Benz competing for three years starting with 2002 starting at the Daytona 500 with an announcment at the end of April. Been told that this is an April Fools joke(3-27-2001)
  • Junie switches engines: Hills Bros Coffee Racing Team owner Junie Donlavey has announced a decision to switch to Robert Yates Racing engines for the remainder of the season. Donlavey Racing fields the #90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford driven by veteran Hut Stricklin. The team will use Yates horsepower and engineering for the remainder of the 2001 season. “We went through this engine change with the understanding that Mark Smith with Tri-star motors was doing an outstanding job,” Donlavey said. “We have an obligation to be on the track and we decided to try something new so we can represent Hills Bros Coffee in the manner in which they expect.” Yates Racing engines are currently run by eight teams in the Winston Cup Series and have a win, seven top-five finishes and two poles in the 2001 season. Donlavey Racing will begin using Robert Yates Racing engines this week at Texas Motor Speedway for the Harrah’s 500.(Keystone Marketing)(3-27-2001)
  • California Testing: Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 Citgo Supergard Ford, along with Shawna Robinson, the first woman to attempt to compete in a Winston Cup race in 12 years, will be at the speedway April 2nd and 3rd to test. The two-day test session will serve as a tune-up for the drivers heading into the NAPA AUTO PARTS 500 weekend, April 27-29.(California Speedway PR)(3-27-2001)
  • Questions on the Earnhardt probe: More than a month after Dale Earnhardt died at Daytona, the detective leading the death investigation knows little more about how Earnhardt died than he did Feb. 18. From Day 1 of the case, according to the lead investigator, Robert Walker, Daytona Beach police have abandoned previous procedures and blocked detectives from making routine inquiries about the death of Earnhardt. Some points noted in the story: Walke was ordered by a supervisor on the night Earnhardt died not to attend the driver’s autopsy or to inspect and photograph the racer’s wrecked car; Earnhardt’s helmet and racing suit went to his family and have never been examined by police or the Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office; NASCAR never told Walker about the broken seat belt it later blamed for Earnhardt’s fatal head injury; Police have done more thorough investigations of previous racing deaths at Daytona. For example, after the 1994 death of racer Rodney Orr at Daytona, Walker attended the autopsy and examined the car. See Full story(very long) at That’s Racin’: Earnhardt investigation was unusual, detective says(3-27-2001)
  • TV Ratings at Bristol: For the sixth consecutive week, FOX Sports scored a solid overnight rating for its coverage Sunday of the Winston Cup race from Bristol. The 5.3 overnight rating, 12 share was a tenth of a point higher than last week’s Darlington overnight, which jumped to a 6.1 final national rating.(SpeedVision)(3-27-2001)
  • Labonte Honor Postponed: Corpus Christi City Council members gave the green flag on Tuesday to renaming Nueces River Park after NASCAR drivers Terry and Bobby Labonte. The unanimous vote to change the name to Terry and Bobby Labonte Park was great news for NASCAR fans like David Gibson, a state construction inspector. In a time when news about athletes often is negative, such as drug abuse or domestic violence, it is great to recognize role models like the Labontes, said Gibson, 56.(Caller-Times 2/28AND A ceremony to rename Nueces River Park in Corpus Christi, TX after NASCAR drivers Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte has been delayed until June, officials said. The Labonte Brothers Special Recognition Committee initially wanted to rename the park to coincide with the April 1 NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth(Caller-Times 3/18)(3-27-2001)
  • Bass to Expand: Five months after expanding his Charlotte-based gallery, Sam Bass is once again expanding — this time to Texas. Members of The Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway will now have the opportunity to experience the artwork of Sam Bass, NASCAR’s premier artist, first-hand as the new Sam Bass Gallery is set for it’s grand opening on Saturday, March 31. The gallery, located on the 8th floor of The Speedway Club(Catchfence)(3-27-2001)

    (3-26-2001)

  • Stewart/Gordon UPDATE Stewart Penalized: ….#24-Jeff Gordon had been working #20-Tony Stewart from behind for the fourth-place position for several laps, but entering Turn 3 on the last lap, he slid all the way down to the apron to try to get past Stewart. As Gordon tried to pass, he and Stewart collided and Stewart spun out. Gordon was able to hang on and finish fourth. Stewart ended up 25th. But it wasn’t over. Stewart came back around and drove onto pitroad and hit Gordon’s car causing Gordon’s car to spin. The drivers, their crew chiefs and team owners were all called to the NASCAR hauler following the race to discuss the incident. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s director of operations, said penalties may be forthcoming and would likely be announced by Tuesday.(That’s Racin’ and see a story at NASCAR.com Buzz)(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Tony Stewart for intentionally running into the car driven by Jeff Gordon during the cool-down lap of the Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. Stewart, driver of the #20 team, was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 29th. Stewart was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “…actions deemed by NASCAR Officials as detrimental to stock car racing…”(NASCAR PR). Been asked too much so here it is: What does probation mean? “Probation may be for a specified time period to review the conduct of a member to determine whether a more severe penalty is warranted”. In other words, stay out of trouble. Probation is NOT a suspension.(3-26-2001)
  • Drivers skipping Talladega?? UPDATE 2: in part from the Winston Salem Journal – …But the big story of the day was furious driver reaction to NASCAR’s continued inaction on Talladega rules. Bobby Labonte, the Winston Cup champ, said some sponsors have told their drivers if they want to skip the April Talladega 500 they’ll support that decision. See the comments at the :Winston Salem Journal in the middle of the article(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: ..Everyone is scared to death over the Talladega race right now. There is even talk, not that anything is likely to materialize, of sponsors telling their teams they will allow them to skip the race, or of some drivers talking about running only a token lap and then parking their cars in protest. They aren’t telling NASCAR that. They’re afraid their car won’t get through inspection, or that NASCAR will start hitting them with arbitrary requirements that make it impossible for them to be competitive.(Gaston GazetteAND see a story at the Stock Car Reporter: Talledega?(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE 2: No one seriously expects any of the stars to pass up the April 22 race(at Talladega). But the fact that sponsors are getting into the safety debate is significant, because NASCAR executives who might dismiss complaints by drivers won’t easily write off worries by the companies whose advertising dollars keep this sport running.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-26-2001)
  • New Changer for the #10 UPDATE: Two team members who changed the rear tires on Johnny Benson’s #10 car last year will be back in that role this weekend. They will replace two crewmen who’ve moved to the crew of #36 Ken Schrader, Benson’s teammate(That’s Racin’), AND Two pit crew members for the #10 MBV Motorsports Pontiac have been relieved of their duties at the track. Those two individuals, which were unnamed, still hold positions at the team’s shop, but were replaced at the track by two former pit crew members of the #36(NASCAR.com Buzz) (3-24-2001)
    UPDATE: The rear tire changer and carrier on the #10 Valvoline Pontiac at Darlington served as the rear tire changer and carrier for the #36 car at Bristol. On the #10 car at Bristol, Gary Putnam, car chief, served as rear tire carrier and Carroll Luft, general mechanic, served as tire changer. Both Putnam and Luft worked on the rear tires the entire 2000 season on the #10 car. Nobody was fired or lost their job on the #10 team(Team PR)(3-26-2001)
  • New Belts for Labonte UPDATEs: #18-Bobby Labonte will use a different seat belt system in today’s Food City 500. Labonte will use a system designed and manufactured by the European company Willans(www.racecar.co.uk/willans) — making him the first driver in recent memory to use a restraint device not manufactured by Bill Simpson and Simpson Racing(Kingsport Times News)(3-25-2001)
    UPDATE: also been told that Terry Labonte, Michael Waltrip and Steve Park also use Willans belts, not Simpson AND Bobby Labonte used belts from a different manufacturer Sunday. Labonte, who had been using Simpson products, had belts from Willans in his car. The company is in England and provides seat belts for some Formula One teams. Crew chief Jimmy Makar said that Terry Labonte has been using the belts for about two years and the team began to look into those belts. Makar says that teammate Tony Stewart used seat belts from that manufacturer when Stewart drove in the Indy Racing League. Makar said Stewart’s car would be outfitted with those belts soon(Roanoke Times)(3-26-2001)
  • Lepage stays thru Texas and helps Test: team owner Larry McClure quote: ” Kevin was new driver, we had new pit guys. They all communicated well. That helped us. Everything was really smooth. We changed the car every pit stop. His first performance with us was admirable. That is what we needed. We needed a settling factor as much as anything. We will go to Martinsville and test with Kevin this week then we will move on to Texas. We will talk next week. One race does not say everything. This team just went through something that I do not want to go through again. I will make sure the right decision is made this time for Morgan-McClure.”(Morgan-McClure PR)(3-26-2001)
  • New Series Rumor…again UPDATE: CBS, the first network to carry a Winston Cup race live from start to finish, a daring decision back in 1979, has been approached or will soon be approached about a proposed new stock-car racing series, according to NASCAR sources. And various stock-car teams have been approached to gauge interest in such a venture, according to team owners. Winston Cup team owners have been watching Fox’s on-camera handling of car sponsors with an increasingly skeptical eye, some noting that Fox’s coverage at times appears to be avoiding or downplaying teams whose sponsors haven’t bought into the big TV advertising package(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2001)
    UPDATE: Last weekend there were reports that CBS might be interested in counter-programming a new racing series. Now ABC executives have confirmed that such talks have taken place at their network. ABC and CBS have invested some 20 years in Winston Cup coverage, but they lost out in bidding to Fox and NBC for the next six years. When asked about the possibility of a package of counter-programming to NASCAR on Fox and NBC, Mark Quenzel, the senior vice president of programming for ESPN, said: “I know it’s been brought up once or twice in the last year, that various people have discussed it. But my opinion is that this isn’t football or baseball, where you have fields all over the country. There aren’t that many race tracks, and the ones you do have are pretty much tied up. It would be very tough to start a competitive series. That is an expensive sport to run.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-26-2001)
  • News rules for the Winston UPDATE: Drivers this year will make a four-tire change instead of a two-tire change on their pit stop at the start of qualifying for The Winston all-star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 19. Teams were allowed to pit anytime during a three-lap qualifying run until last year, when the stop was moved to the beginning of the run. This year, teams will make a four-tire change, then complete a three-lap run with total time being used to determine starting order for the event. The Winston will again be run in segments of 30, 30 and 10 laps, with only green-flag laps counting. After the first segment, as few as the top six and as many as the top 12 positions will be inverted using a process that will be announced later. Drivers not qualified for The Winston can earn a spot in the event by winning the 30-lap Winston Open or the 16-lap No Bull Sprint that precede the main event on May 19. There will be no 25-lap qualifying races for the Open or the Sprint this year – a two-lap qualifying run will be used instead. If there are no more first-time winners between now and May 19, John Andretti and Joe Nemechek will be in The Winston. If there is a first-time winner, however, both Andretti and Nemechek would be knocked out(That’s Racin’)(3-24-2001)
    UPDATE: it happened – Elliott Sadler’s victory earned him a spot in The Winston and knocked John Andretti and Joe Nemechek out of the field(unless they can win by Richmond or Win the WInston Open of No Bull Sprint).
    see my 2001 The Winston page for drivers eligible and the rules(3-26-2001)
  • #27 almost had a full sponsor: Barry Dodson was close to gaining sponsorship for the #27Eel River racing team driven by Kenny Wallace, but NASCAR turned down the liquor company that was offering to pay the bill for the season. Crown Royal, with its sponsorship of several fishing tournaments, was barred by the sanctioning body. Beer but not liquor sponsorships are allowed in NASCAR(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-26-2001)
  • Sad News: Legendary stock car driver Kenny Shoemaker died at his home in Albany, NY, on Thursday after a long battle with heart disease. He was 71. Shoemaker, known as “The Shoe,” thrilled generations of racing fans with his “take no prisoners” driving style on both dirt and asphalt. He raced from 1948 to 1978-a period that saw the sport grow from infancy to its present form. He won a heat race on opening night at Fonda in 1953, and developed a love affair with the Montgomery County oval that transcended three decades and included 140 heat wins, 54 feature wins, and the 1958 Fonda track championship. He raced regularly at Fonda, Rochester, Victoria, Stafford Springs, Utica-Rome, Malta, Plattsburg, and Lebanon Valley. He drove the high banks of Daytona in the first modified race held on the super speedway in 1958, and again in 1961. Funeral services are at 10:00 AM Tuesday from the DeMarco and Stone Funeral Home, Heldeberg Avenue, Rotterdam, NY. Visiting hours are on Monday from 5:00 – 8:00 PM. Contributions may be made to the Community Hospice of Albany County, 445 New Karner Rd., Albany, NY 12205, or the New York State Stock Car Association, P.O. Box 1136, Clifton Park, NY 12065(Vintage Modifieds)(3-26-2001)

(3-25-2001)

  • Earnhardt NOT to replaced in IROC: Dale Earnhardt’s entry will not be filled in the remaining three International Race of Champions (IROC) events this season. Earnhardt, a four-time IROC series champion – including the past two seasons – died in the Daytona 500 in February. According to sources, IROC officials will issue a news release this week explaining their decision not to use a replacement driver in Earnhardt’s car the remainder of the season. Earnhardt had 11 wins in 58 starts in the IROC series, with his last victory coming in the 2000 season opener at Daytona. He was series champion the past two seasons. In addition, Tony Stewart is expected to continue to fill in for Gil de Ferran, last season’s champion of CART. Stewart substituted for de Ferran in the season opener because de Ferran had injured his foot in a CART test session weeks earlier. Since de Ferran has not had any practice or test sessions in the IROC cars, he is not expected to compete this season(That’s Racin’)(3-25-2001)
  • The 17 Wood Bros Winners: The 17 drivers to win Winston Cup races in Wood Brothers-owned cars are Glen Wood, Speedy Thompson, Marvin Panch, Tiny Lund, Dan Gurney, Curtis Turner, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Parnelli Jones, Donnie Allison, A.J. Foyt, Neil Bonnett, Buddy Baker, Kyle Petty, Morgan Shepherd, Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler.(That’s Racin’), quite a list. It was the 97th win for the Wood Brotherss and the 90th win in car # 21(3-25-2001)
  • #8 Special Paint? UPDATE 2: hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr will have a special Ducks Unlimited paint scheme at the Winston with an announcement at Talladega in April. Also hear Earnhardt Jr will also run a All-Star Baseball scheme sometime in the summer, possibly at the Pepsi 400 in July(3-8-2001)
    UPDATE: sorry folks, been ‘asked’ by Action Performance to remove the image and will honor that request, do not email asking for me to send the image, I won’t, sorry. The car is white, with red lettering, the All-Star or baseball was blacked out. Will be announced at Texas on March 31st (3-16-2001)
    UPDATE 2: the Ducks Unlimited car will be run at Charlotte in October, the Baseball scheme at The Winston and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona(3-25-2001)
  • Weekend Sponsors for the #27 UPDATE: The #27 Eel River Racing Pontiac and driver Kenny Wallace will have a one race sponsorship from Food City at Bristol(Kenny Wallace Racing), see scheme on my Paint Scheme page(3-23-2001)
    UPDATE: Wallace was understandably grinning broadly Saturday when he announced Food City, a grocery chain that has its name on today’s Food City 500, and Rayovac Batteries have stepped in for a one-race sponsorship deal(AJC)(3-25-2001)
  • Best Finishes of 2001: Four drivers scored their best 2001 finishes at Bristol: #21-Salder 1st(previous was 11th); #43-Andretti 2nd(6th); #22-Burton 5th (11th); and #17-Kenseth 14th (17th). Two driver tied their seasons best: #12-Mayfield 3rd and #55-Hamilton 8th. And #4-Kevin Lepage gave Morgan-McClure their best 2001 finish of 15th, 20th was the best Robby Gordon had in his five races with the team(3-25-2001)
  • Head Trauma Project: A research project detailing head trauma in a crash could lead to safer equipment for drivers in all racing series, including NASCAR. Dr. Steve Olvey, director of medical affairs for Championship Auto Racing Teams, is leading a project that essentially will create a crash data recorder for the head. The device will fit in a driver’s custom-fitted earpiece. The device that is placed inside the foam earpiece is an accelerometer – which is basically like an airplane’s black box for the head. An accelerometer measures the direction the head travels in a crash and the forces applied to it.(Roanoke Times)(3-25-2001)

    (3-24-2001)

  • #50 Changes? hearing that Team Manager Charley Pressley and the #50 Midwest Transit Racing team have parted ways effective immediately(3-24-2001)
  • CBS Show: CBS’ show “48 Hours” has completed filming for a piece it is doing on Petty Enterprises and Kyle Petty. The segment is scheduled to run in late April (hearing April 19th or 21st) and be part of a show dedicated to comebacks(Roanoke Times)(3-24-2001)
  • New Cup team UPDATE a little history: Eric Smith, of Akron, New York, will again become the First and only Native American in the NASCAR Winston Cup during the modern era(1972-present) and the Arca RE/MAX series this year. Smith plans to compete in an extensive schedule with #92 entry in the Arca RE/MAX with a limited schedule in the #49 entry in the NASCAR Winston Cup series in 2001. Smith is a Native of the Iroquois Indian Nation and the Tonawanda Band of Senecas located in upstate New York. He is currently the only Native American competing in NASCAR Winston Cup and ARCA RE/MAX. With his appearances in the NASCAR Winston Open at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1995 and 1996, Smith became the only Native American Indian ever to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in the modern era. With a broad background in electrical engineering technology, Eric is also a professional fixed wing and helicopter pilot. After serving in the US Marine Corps for a 1 1/2 year tour in Vietnam, Eric began his life long career in stock car racing. Jim Michael, a native of Binghamton, NY, will again serve as crew chief for the NWC#49 and Arca RE/MAX#92 entries if he is free from his current situation(E & E Motorsports PR)(3-22-2001)
    UPDATE – history: after I posted the above, I got a few inquiries about the statement (before it was corrected) that Eric Smith was the first ever Native American driver in NASCAR Winston Cup. Been told that a driver from 1957 thru 1970 Roy Tyler was the first (or one of the first) Natice American drivers in the Cup (then Grand National series). A reader sent me some info from an old copy (1969) of the SCR Magazine: Roy Tyner was born in Lumberton, N.C. “…with half the blood that pulsed through him carrying the heritage of the Lumbee Indians. One suspects that the other half might be found to consist of gasoline, grease, and a trace of Wynn’s Friction Proofing. Roy is proud of his Indian blood. The boyish humility and half-embarrassed grin that prevail when he is talking about himself, fade and are replaced by an air of authority when he speaks of his ancestry. The Lumbees were composed of bands of Indians who broke away from their own tribes. There were Cherokee, Comanches….” “The names of his children, India Dawn and Forrest Truitt, reflect his heritage….”(thanks Phil) and from the Forty Years of Stock Car book – Vol 2 – Tyler’s best finish was a 2nd at Greenville Pickens, SC in 1959. And ironically Stooges Racing site even has a story with some images of Tyler and his cars, see it at Ask The Stooge: Roy Tyner(3-24-2001)
  • Engine News UPDATE and tires?: NASCAR is considering a cost-cutting one-engine rule for Winston Cup weekends at tracks with races 300 miles or shorter, such as Martinsville, Richmond, Loudon and perhaps Sears Point and Watkins Glen. At those tracks, teams would have to run the same motor all weekend, barring some emergency. The thinking is that a team could use one motor as long as the driver doesn’t have to put more than 500 total miles on it over the weekend, including qualifying and practice. Some teams are generally against the one-engine rule for longer races or for big tracks(Winston Salem Journal)(3-18-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials, who have been under criticism for not doing more to curb the cost of racing, are moving to cut costs for Winston Cup team owners on two fronts: by limiting the number of tires each team can use during a race weekend, and by limiting teams to one engine per weekend at many tracks. The rules could go into effect by Richmond in early May(Winston Salem Journal)(3-24-2001)
  • 3rd RCR Driver? ESPN2’s RPM 2Night reports that the scheduled press conference to announce the Richard Childress Racing 3rd driver for the #30 AOL Chevy has been postponed until next week at Texas. Jeff Green is rumored to be the driver for it’s limited 5-7 race schedule. And what about 2002? (see below for one story and…) AutoRacing1 is reporting: According to our sources, Austin Cameron was seen wearing an AOL shirt and cap at a store. When our sources asked him “what’s the deal with you wearing AOL stuff” Austin replied “It’s something in the works between me AOL and a big named Cup Owner.” When asked if is is with RCR he said “Possibly…. we’re working on a deal right now.” When asked if you do come too an agreement will you go straight to Cup, Austin said “Probably not…….will probably run a double weekend.” Then from the NASCAR press conference yesterday… What are your plans for a third team? Richard Childress: “We took a step back because that’s where we originally had Kevin lined up to do those races, and Atlanta was actually going to be his first race with the America Online car. So now, what we’ve done is we’re going to make the announcement of the driver this weekend. We’re going to run seven races and we’ll give that schedule out at Bristol as well. We’re excited about it. It’s a great company and great people to be with. I feel you need the third team. That’s one thing that Dale and I had talked about in depth this past winter, about what we needed to do at RCR to keep these teams stronger.”(3-24-2001)
  • What’s Up with: Geoffrey Bodine, see an AP story at the ESPN site: Bodine admits returning too quickly. A few tidbits – Bodine was at Bristol this weekend with his brothers, Brett and Todd, who will race in Sunday’s Food City 500. He’s been out of ride a this season and is looking to get a program together so he can run again this year(3-24-2001)
  • The Burton Seat: A revolutionary racing seat being developed for Winston Cup drivers has further tests scheduled. Among those involved in the seat project is Jeff Burton, PPI Racing and Dr. John Melvin, a Michigan-based biomechanical engineer and one of the world’s leading authorities on racing injuries. The carbon fiber seat, which was constructed in England, is in the United States, Burton said. Crash testing has been scheduled for the seat, although Burton did not say when. Crash tests were performed on an earlier prototype in October. Burton says that the seat has been designed to incorporate the HANS device, for head and neck support.(more at the Roanoke Times)(3-24-2001)
  • Fuel Cell Changes? Mike Skinner’s fiery crash at Darlington has NASCAR officials planning safety changes in the fuel-cell area. The top piece of Skinner’s fuel cell, a cast aluminum piece with a safety-check valve to prevent spillage, was sheared off when Skinner backed into the wall after being hit by Rusty Wallace. NASCAR is looking at making the safety-check valve piece more “crushable.”(Winston Salem Journal)(3-24-2001)
  • #15 and DEI? UPDATE 2: have heard it was reported on Fox Sports Net show on Tuesday night that some crew members have left or were released from the #15 DEI team
    UPDATE: hearing Car Chief Mike Kelly and Front Tire Changer Tim Sheets are two of the three who left(3-21-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Three members of Michael Waltrip’s team are no longer a part of the DEI operation. Car chief Mike Kelly, front-tire changer and tire specialist Tim Sheets and shop mechanic Steve Durne have left. Kelly now works with Casey Atwood’s #19 team at Evernham Motorsports and Sheets is now with Morgan-McClure Motorsports, which fields the #4 Chevys(That’s Racin’)(3-24-2001)
  • New Changer for the #10: Two team members who changed the rear tires on Johnny Benson’s #10 car last year will be back in that role this weekend. They will replace two crewmen who’ve moved to the crew of #36 Ken Schrader, Benson’s teammate(That’s Racin’), AND Two pit crew members for the #10 MBV Motorsports Pontiac have been relieved of their duties at the track. Those two individuals, which were unnamed, still hold positions at the team’s shop, but were replaced at the track by two former pit crew members of the #36(NASCAR.com Buzz) (3-24-2001)
  • Ingle to the TV Booth/Studio? Bill Ingle, the former Winston Cup crew chief who most recently was the crew chief for driver Dennis Setzer at the #46 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports team, could be heading to a television career. If that is the case, look for chief mechanic Todd Meyers, who built TKO Motorsports into a CTS contender before the team had to suspend operations earlier this season due to a lack of sponsorship, to fill the role for Setzer. Meyers replaced Ingle — who was absent while attending to personal business — at the most recent CTS race, at Mesa Marin Raceway, where Setzer was running third late in the race before he hit the wall and ended his chances(NASCAR.com Buzz)(3-24-2001)
  • More #4? Gordon Notes UPDATE 6 Gordon gone/Lepage In for now/Mast in the mix? $4 Million? during Fox Sports Net practice coverage, a few things were mentioned. That they heard that Kevin Lepage was fitted for the seat in the #4 car. Robby Gordon’s and Morgan-McClures lawyers are talking. Gordon would only say he has a 5-year contract. The chassis being run at Darlington is a Morgan-McClure chassis not a Gordon Chassis as rumored and not a third party chassis such as Laughlin or Hopkins. Lepage seen talking to a Kodak crew member(3-17-2001)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon has heard all the rumors, that car owner Larry McClure is planning to make a driver change quickly, that Kevin Lepage might be the man in McClure’s cars. But Gordon said he’s not going gently into the night. He’s got a five-year contract with McClure, he plans to live up to his part of the bargain and he doesn’t plan to be the fall guy in any sponsor debates. But now again there are more rumors of a pending change. Lepage said he can’t say anything. Gordon said he’s not giving up without a good fight.(Winston Salem Journal)(see next story for more)(3-18-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Controversy continues to shroud the Larry McClure team. This weekend, Robby Gordon pointed to his five-year contract and said he’s staying with the team. Kevin Lepage said on a Grand National prerace show that he’ll be in the McClure car in a matter of time. Crew chief David Ifft said he doesn’t want to spend a whole year with the team. And McClure, for his part, isn’t saying much(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-19-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Morgan-McClure Motorsports/Kodak and driver Robby Gordon have agreed to terminate their contract. This change is effective immediately. A driver for the No. 4 Chevrolet for the this weekend’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway will be announced on Thursday. Morgan-McClure will name a permanent driver at a later date(Morgan McClure PR), still hearing Kevin Lepage will be the driver at Bristol but may not be the permanent driver(3-21-2001)
  • UPDATE 4: Kevin Lapage has been named to drive the #4 car at Bristol, a permanent driver will be named at a later date. Gordon was on ESPN2’s RPM 2Night Thursday and says he has talked to some Cup owners and IRL teams
    see more on my #4 Team News and Links page(3-22-2001)
  • UPDATE 5: ESPN2’s RPM 2Night reports that Rick Mast has talked to #4 Owner Larry McClure about driving the Kodak Chevy(3-24-2001)
    UPDATE – $4 million? the price tag for Robby Gordon’s release? According to one source of the Winston Salem Journal, it was $4 million, to buy out the rest of his five-year contract with car owner Larry McClure(Winston Salem JournalAND from an AP Story: Gordon, a former Indy-car driver, said he doesn’t want to go back to open-wheel racing. Although he said he’ll probably run in the Indianapolis 500 in May, he’s looking for sponsorship for the stock car he owns and operated last season in Winston Cup(AP/That’s Racin’)(3-24-2001)
  • Pardus to run the BGN: Management of The Outdoor Channel, Inc. announced the signing of an eight race agreement with Jim and Judie Motorsports to compete in the BGN. Dan Pardus, who ran The Outdoor Channel Chevy at the ARCA event in Daytona this February, will continue on as driver of the #32 Monte Carlo. His first race will be April 14th in Nashville, TN. The tentative schedule for the remainder of the season includes: Charlotte on May 26th, Chicago on July 14th, Michigan on August 18th, Darlington on September 1st, Charlotte on October 6th, Phoenix on October 27th, and Homestead-Miami on November 10th. All of the events are companion events to NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series, with the exception of Nashville(Outdoor Channel PRAND The team bought three GN-ready Monte Carlos from Bill Amick, father of GN and Truck Series driver Lyndon Amick. The team will abandon the ARCA Series in favor of competing in the BGN(Daytona Beach News Journal), Pardus run in a Winston Cup race at Daytona in 1999 and attempted a few in 2000 but didn’t make the field(3-24-2001)

    (3-23-2001)

  • Jeff Burton to Childress? um…NO – UPDATE 3: it was reported on the radio show The LTN Hour NASCAR Radio Show(RA) last Sunday(3-18), that while Jeff Green will drive the #30 AOL Chevy fielded by Richard Childress Racing this year in seven races, there will be a big surprise who will drive the #30 car next year and said it will be Jeff, but not Green and will come from a Ford team. That leaves…Jeff Burton, one catch I see a problem with, Jeff Burton has a contract with his current team owner Jack Roush through 2005. Also said that Jeff Green will move up to Winston Cup with his current BGN team, ppc Racing in 2002
    AND from this weeks Winston Cup Scene: Jeff Burton, who’s been with Ford his entire Winston Cup career, was also rumored to be in the running for the full-time AOL ride. Despite Burton’s terrible start, Burton denied the rumor, as did Childress. “I’m very committed to Roush Racing. I’m very committed to (primary sponsor) Citgo,” Burton said. “I have no desire to leave Roush Racing. We are a team that has been in the top five in points the last four years and we’ve won a lot of races the last four years. The fact we’ve gotten off to a slow start isn’t my team’s fault.” Asked if Burton was being considered for the AOL ride, Childress said, “Right now, no. I haven’t talked directly to Jeff. Nobody (has). I wouldn’t even throw his name in the rumor mill.” As for ppc Racing, they tried unsuccessfully to put together a limited Winston Cup program for Green this year. Green would like to stay with team owners Greg Pollex, John Bender and Bob Campbell, if possible.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(3-22-2001)
    UPDATE: Green apparently will have to prove himself to stay in the #30 car for 2002. Other drivers whose names have come up in connection with the ride are Stacy Compton and Roush Racing drivers Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle(Dallas Morning News)
    UPDATE 2: from The Morning Buzz radio show on 100.3 WHEB, and Rock 101 in New Hampshire. They had Frank Stoddard, #99 Crew Chief on the show this week (as they do each week) and today they interviewed Jeff Burton. Their first question was about the rumors of his move to Childress. He flatly denied the rumors, and added that the story makes him “furious”. He said he has “no idea” where the story came from, and that there is no truth at all to it. He wants everybody to know for a fact that he is NOT leaving Roush Racing – Also an announcement is expected at Bristol on Friday about Jeff Green driving this year(3-22-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Jack Roush uses direct reasoning as he states his case and makes the point that he is always willing to address the fodder that climbs the grapevine. NO, Jeff Burton isn’t leaving Roush Racing to drive for Richard Childress Racing. NO, Burton and Martin didn’t demand that the organization lease engines from another organization until the reliability and horsepower woes are resolved. And NO, heads aren’t rolling in the engine departments at Livonia (Mich.) and Mooresville (NC).(Sporting News)(3-23-2001)
  • ESPN and NASCAR: been getting this question a lot, ‘Why is ESPN2’s RPM 2Night not showing race footage of the Winston Cup races and only still photos?’ – the answer: Mark Quenzel, the senior vice president of programming for ESPN, said he’s baffled by NASCAR’s intransigence in the RPM2Night affair. It was his network, he said, that carried many of NASCAR’s races for nearly 20 years when no other network was interested. Now NASCAR has been barring ABC-ESPN reporters from the Winston Cup garage this season. ESPN are still not allowed to use highlights for the NASCAR events, unfortunately. It is a little awkward having to use still photos of the races. (Brian)France said he wants to be a good business partner with Fox and NBC and help get Fox’s new NASCAR shows off and running. He said ESPN should use its 11:00pm SportsCenter to carry Winston Cup coverage, instead of the motor sports specialty show RPM2Night. Is Fox part of the problem? NASCAR executives and Winston Cup team owners and their sponsors are finding Fox to be a little tougher than they expected. “I really don’t know,” Quenzel said. “Fox is in a difficult position.”(Winston Salem Journal)(3-23-2001)
  • Cup teams test at Kentucky UPDATE 3: #32-Ricky Craven and #96-Andy Houston are testing PPI Motorpsorts Fords at Kentucky Speedway, Tuesday March 20th and Wednesday March 21st. #19-Casey Atwood will test his Dodge on Wednesday(Kentucky Speedway PR)(3-19-2001)
    UPDATE: Ricky Craven and Andy Houston began a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday. The #32 Tide Ford and the #96 McDonald’s Ford worked on chassis and aerodynamic set-ups. It was Craven’s first trip to the $152 million super speedway, which is situated just outside of Cincinnati, OH, the home base of his primary sponsor Procter and Gamble. “I had heard a lot about the track and how good it was to run on, but I had no idea just how nice it was until I pulled in, ” said Craven. “It is definitely a fast track. I would love to have the Winston Cup dates include Kentucky”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(3-20-2001)
    UPDATE 2:NASCAR Winston Cup Driver’s Ricky Craven and Andy Houston tested for the last two days at Kentucky Speedway™. The #32 Tide Ford and the #96 McDonald’s Ford of PPI Motorsports worked on chassis and aerodynamic set-ups for future races. Both cars turned laps on Tuesday and Wednesday. The session, Wednesday though, was delayed until the afternoon because of overnight showers. Evernham Motorsports postponed its scheduled Wednesday test with the #19 Dodge Car, driven by Casey Atwood(Kentucky Speedway PR)(3-22-2001)
    UPDATE 3: hearing the #50 Blairs.com Chevy will test at Kentucky with driver Rick Mast next week, March 27th and 28th(3-23-2001)


    (3-22-2001)

  • #97 Sponsor update: hearing the announcement will probably be at Texas and not Bristol that Sharpie®/Sanford/Newell Rubbermaid will be Kurt Bucsh’s sponsor. Hearing the car will be primarily black with a white hood having “Sharpie” in black letters with a blue Sharpie pen underneath it on the hood. The lower left side of the car is blue … the lower right side of the car is red (almost like somebody’s been scribbling on it with a … Sharpie) or an all black with a red “Rubbermaid” logo. Sharpie is on the quarter panels and Paper*Mate is on the deck lid(3-22-2001)
  • Talladega Rules Changes Ford/Dodge UPDATE: Ford teams will get a rules break after all, NASCAR decided yesterday. Ford will be allowed a two-inch narrower rear spoiler, giving them the same size rear spoiler as the Chevy at Talladega. Dodge teams will have to add a larger roof spoiler to their Intrepids. The new Dodge spoiler would be the same size as the one Ford teams used last fall at Talladega. Ford will still be allowed to run the smaller roof spoiler at Talladega even though the Ford and Dodge use essentially identical body templates(Winston Salem Journal)(3-22-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today modifications for the Ford and Dodge teams to be used in the Talladega 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 22, 2001. The width of the Ford’s rear spoiler will be decreased from 59 inches to 57-inches wide. The Pontiac’s rear spoiler will remain at 59-inches wide, while the Chevrolet’s rear spoiler will still be 57-inches wide. The Dodge teams will still use a 1 3/8-inch tall roof mounted air deflector. However, the deflector will now have to form a straight line, which will raise the outer edges’ height. Prior to this modification, the deflector had a shape similar to the contour of the roof. Measurements for the Chevrolet and Pontiac models remain unchanged(NASCAR PR)(3-22-2001)
  • Buckshot at Texas: Buckshot Jones’ #44 Dodge, one of three Petty Enterprises cars, will carry a special “four generations of Petty’s” paint scheme at TMS. The car will be unveiled in a news conference on pole qualifying morning (Friday, March 30). Adam Petty, the fourth-generation driver, made his Winston Cup debut last spring at TMS. He was killed a few weeks later in a crash at New Hampshire.(Dallas Morning News)(3-22-2001)
  • Expert Chosen to Review Photos: A Duke University professor who specializes in neck injury research has been chosen by a mediator to evaluate the fatal injuries of Dale Earnhardt. Barry S. Myers, a physician who also has a degree in mechanical engineering, will study the various reports and photographs related to Earnhardt’s injuries. The selection of a medical expert was part of an agreement reached last week between Teresa Earnhardt and the Orlando Sentinel, which has been seeking such an evaluation by an an independent medical expert. At a Thursday afternoon press conference in Daytona Beach, Sentinel attorneys praised the selection of Myers and said there were no changes to the agreement reached last week with Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa.(Orlando Sentinel)(3-22-2001)
  • Trickle News: Dick Trickle was in Darlington last weekend. Trickle spoke with Richard Childress about competing in the #2 AC Delco BGN car when they have conflicts in schedule with Kevin Harvick now driving in Cup for Childress. Childress said they haven’t made any decisions yet, since it won’t be a problem until May, but told Trickle that they would be talking(Dick Trickle Fan Club site)(3-22-2001)
  • Simpson Belt Passes Test? UPDATE: hearing it was reported on FSN’s Totally NASCAR that Bill Simpson completed his independent test of an identical lap belt to the one Dale Earnhardt was wearing in the Daytona 500. The belt material used in the test was from the same batch as the one used by Earnhardt. The test was conducted by the SFI test facility outside San Diego, CA. A test video showed a lap belt drawn across a jig to represent the size and shape of a human lower torso. The belt was then pulled on until it broke. The test showed that the belt failed at greater than 4500 pounds on either end for a combined weight of greater than 9000 pounds. Simpson said that his seat belts will not fail unless improperly installed(3-22-2001)
    UPDATE: Tests of six lap belts from the same batch used in the car in which Dale Earnhardt was killed show the restraints were able to withstand far more pressure than might be expected in a crash during a race. One of the six belts tested did not fail at all under a maximum load of 5,800 pounds placed on it during the tests at SFI Foundation’s facility in Poway, CA.. The remaining five did fail, but none at lower than 4,750 pounds. According to test reports obtained by The Observer, the six 3-inch-wide nylon belts were tested on March 8. Bill Simpson, owner of the Mooresville-based company that supplies safety equipment to most NASCAR teams, took the belts from that same batch made in November 2000 that were used in Dale Earnhardt’s car at Daytona. See more at the Charlotte Observer(3-22-2001)
  • Hillenburg BGN and Cup plans: Andy Hillenburg will attempt to qualify for the March 31 BGN race at Texas in a car owned by Wisconsin businessman Tom Mohrhauser. The car will be fielded out of Hillenburg’s Fast Track High Performance Driving School shop in Harrisburg, NC. Its sponsor, Quail Unlimited, a non-profit wildlife organization, also backed the driver during last year’s Indianapolis 500. Hillenburg’s also got a seven-race Winston Cup deal with BAM Racing, set to begin at Talladega next month(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online), sorry folks, no idea who BAM Racing is….yet, know they run ARCA(3-22-2001)
  • #92 Crew Chief Penalized and Suspended UPDATE 2 Knaus back at the track: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Chad Knaus for rules violations (shoulder harness) discovered in preliminary inspection prior to the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. Knaus, crew chief of the #92 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $5,000 and suspended from the next two NASCAR Winston Cup Series races (suspension ends April 4, 2001). Knaus was penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform… or have not been approved by NASCAR…”(NASCAR PR)
    UPDATE: Melling Racing owner, Mark Melling, issued the following statement in response to the suspension of Knaus: “I stand soundly by the safety record of Melling Racing over the many years that we have been participating in this sport. We are one of the first teams to use a neck restraining device (developed in conjunction with associate sponsor Autoliv, the number one automotive safety company in the world). That device was in place prior to this year’s Daytona 500. From owner to driver to crew chief to mechanic safety truly is our utmost concern. We are appealing this penalty immediately. For NASCAR to call us out on a “technicality,” two weeks after the discovery of the alleged infraction, is just wrong. We have been a leader in the safety area long before it became the recent “buzz” word in NASCAR. I’m deeply troubled that NASCAR chose to make an example out of us.”
    Melling Racing crew chief, Chad Knaus, made the following statement: “NASCAR’s concern is that safety belts are up to current standards. The belts in question are brand new belts, and we can prove that. As a matter of safety, we trim off excess shoulder belt material,” continued Knaus. “If we did not discard the extra 16 to 24 inches of material, the unused part of the belt would hang free in the cockpit. We don’t believe rolling up the excess material provides as safe an alternative as trimming off the excess. When we trimmed off the excess belt material, we also cut off the tag. However, the other belts from this set still had their dated tags, which indicated that this set was new. If NASCAR fined and suspended every crew chief because only one belt was not dated, then every crew chief would be fined and suspended because not every belt is dated. Only three of the five belts that make up a safety restraint system have dated tags, and Simpson even makes a set of belts, harnesses and hardware that come in one box and has only one date tag. So how does NASCAR know the other belts or harnesses are up to spec? They look at the other belts or harnesses that are dated, and they judge the system as a whole. They didn’t do that in Atlanta. It’s unfortunate, because I personally make sure that our team goes above and beyond the industry standard to ensure the safety of our cars,” said Knaus. “Let me add that I’m glad that NASCAR leaves the choice of safety equipment to the teams. I want that responsibility, and I think NASCAR generally does a very good job policing the safety equipment in these cars. In this case, however, I feel like we are being made an example of.” During his absence, the #92 Kodiak Racing Team will operate under a “crew chief-by-committee” structure at Bristol and Texas. Race-day-calls will be made by team owner, Mark Melling, car chief, Dean Johnson, and mechanic, Cory Stott(Melling PR)(3-21-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Chad Knaus, crew chief of the #92 Kodiak Dodge driven by Stacy Compton, will work with his Melling Racing team in this weekend’s Food City 500 at Bristol after team owner Mark Melling appealed Knaus’ $5,000 fine and two-race suspension to NASCAR officials. Matt Chambers, crew chief of the Roush Racing #97 JR’s Garage Ford driven by Kurt Busch, received the same penalty as Knaus, but did not appeal it.(NASCAR.com)(3-22-2001)
  • TV Ratings: According to Nielsen Media Research, the late NCAA Baskeyball games Sunday pulled a 7.1 overnight rating on CBS. The games that ran opposite the Cup race at Darlington pulled a 5.8, while the race managed a 5.2 (12 share) on Fox(SpeedVision)(3-22-2001)
  • Marcis 2001 Schedule: been asked enough, so here it is, Dave Marcis’ 2001 Cup schedule:
    Daytona 500(missed), Talladega(both), Winston Open, Dover(June), Daytona, Chicagoland, Indy, Darlington and Atlanta(fall)(Marcis Racing Site), Marcis also was going to attempt last weeks race at Darlington but got fogged out(3-22-2001)
  • Sad News: Condolences to Mike and Scott Beam, whose sister, Kathey, died of cancer March 15. Mike is the crew chief for PPI Motorsports driver Ricky Craven and Scott is the shop foreman for Jason Keller’s ppc Racing organization(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to read online)(3-22-2001)

    (3-21-2001)

  • Martinsville Hotel Fire UPDATE 2: A massive fire gutted a portion of the Dutch Inn hotel in Collinsville, VA (near Martinsville) late Monday. Flames engulfed the portion of the building adjacent to an automotive parts store and the Dutch Inn Plaza shopping center. Thick smoke rose into the sky from flames that shot from the top of the structure. Firefighters were still battling hot spots in the hotel’s windmill tower early this morning. A portion of the building’s roof caved in about 12:20 a.m. as firefighters extinguished the blaze. A firefighter atop a ladder truck sprayed water onto the fire from high above it(Martinsville Bulletin). So with the Martinsville races coming up in a little over two weeks, folks who were planning on staying there may wish to check out the situation in a few days when things calm down at the hotel(3-20-2001)
    UPDATE: Except for the two suites in the tower, none of the guest rooms was damaged, so the hotel will be able to accommodate almost everyone booked there for the April 8 race at the Martinsville Speedway. Electricity and cable television were restored Tuesday. The hotel should reopen next week(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE 2: The good news is all of the rooms are inhabitable and will be ready for the Virginia 500 weekend. The bad news is all of the paperwork concerning room reservations for the Virginia 500 were burned. Martinsville Speedway is trying to help the management of the Dutch Inn get in contact with anyone who might have had reservations for that weekend so the paperwook can be recreated. If you have made reservations with the Dutch Inn for the Virginia 500, and have not already spoken with Amanda at the Dutch Inn, please fax her a copy of your contract or any other paper work. Her fax number is (540) 647-4119. The folks at the Dutch Inn have assured Martinsville Speedway they will honor all reservations for race week(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-21-2001)
  • New #44 Crew Chief: Bryant Frazier has been named crew chief for driver Buckshot Jones and the #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge team. The announcement was made this morning by Petty Enterprises CEO Kyle Petty. Frazier, 36, is no stranger to winning. The Alabama native began his racing career with driver Steve Grissom in NASCAR.s All-Pro Series and Busch Grand National Series, winning national championships in each division. Since 1996, he has been working – and winning races – with drivers Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart in the BGN. Frazier has already begun his new duties. His first NASCAR Winston Cup race as crew chief will be this weekend.s Food City 500 at Bristol(Williams Company), no word of the status of the former crew chief, Mark Tutor(3-21-2001)
  • #15 and DEI? UPDATE: have heard it was reported on Fox Sports Net show on Tuesday night that some crew members have left or were released from the #15 DEI team
    UPDATE: hearing Car Chief Mike Kelly and Front Tire Changer Tim Sheets are two of the three who left(3-21-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel UPDATE 2: NASCAR took #’s 88, 24, 40 and 18 to the wind tunnel in Marietta, GA., following the race on Sunday at Atlanta(Sporting News)(3-12-2001)
    The information from NASCAR’s wind-tunnel last week showed all four brands within 20 pounds of each other in downforce. But Bobby Labonte’s Pontiac showed the least drag, according to one GM official, which was a surprise(Winston Salem Journal)(3-18-2001)
    UPDATE 2: some numbers(unofficial):
    Test 1 Tested at inspection height, and with the nose taped off as for qualifying, at 3 degrees of yaw, slightly sideways as in entering a corner:
    #18-1,344lbs of total downforce
    #88-1340lbs
    #24-1331lbs
    #40-1325lbs
    Test 2 Tested with the nose lowered, in more of a real-race situation:
    #88-1521lbs of downforce
    #40-1481lbs
    #18-1456lbs
    #24-1432lbs
    Test 3 Drag Comparison – horsepower needed reach 200-mph in the wind tunnel:
    #24-505
    #88-513
    #40-517
    #18-538
    These are the only numbers I have seen, can’t say I totally understand them so don’t ask me to explain, see the full story at the Winston Salem Journal(3-21-2001)
  • Skinner and the HANS UPDATE: many folks have emailed me and wondered what Mike Skinner thought about the HANS device and the situation where there was quite a bit of fire. On ESPN2’s RPM 2Night Skinner said he may had taken him a little longer to get out with the HANS device, but he was happy with it’s performance and he will continue to wear the device. He said the length of time to get out of the car had more to do with him shaking off the effects of the crash and trying to get the steering wheel and unstrapping the belts and the HANS device(3-20-2001)
    UPDATE: Mike Skinner credits the HANS device with helping him avoid serious injuries in a crash late in Sunday’s race at Darlington. “I’ve taken a lot less severe hits than this and hurt a lot worse,” Skinner said. “I give a big thumbs-up to the HANS device. It kept me from hurting a lot worse than I did.” Car owner Richard Childress said the HANS device did not prevent his driver from exiting quickly. Skinner told Childress that he didn’t drop the left net, which is between the driver’s head and the window net, at first and that held him up. Skinner said that he slid forward in the seat in the wreck and got his belt stuck against the steering wheel, further slowing him(Roanoke Times)(3-21-2001)


    (3-20-2001)

  • Earnahrdt Tribute Hats and Decals UPDATE: been asked a ton on this and had no answers – Officials with Richard Childress Racing say the Dale Earnhardt hats worn by drivers and crew members on race day at Rockingham last month were provided by Action Performance. Fans can contact Action Performance about the hats’ availability by visiting their Web site for merchandise sales, www.goracing.com, or by calling (800) 342-7612, Monday through Friday, 6:00am to 6:00pm/et. Team spokesman David Hart said there are no plans to reprint the memorial decals that were displayed on the cars during the race at Rockingham(That’s Racin’)(3-17-2001)
    Sites: been told of many sites offering the hats, see my Collectible Links Page for links to many, many Collectible/Apparel Sites(3-18-2001)
    UPDATE: For the first time since the tragic accident in the closing lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. is addressing the issue of souvenirs and merchandise that bear the likeness of seven-time Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt and the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet. As the winningest active driver in the series, Earnhardt led the sport’s merchandising efforts by single-handedly commanding 30% of the collectible market. Unfortunately, as witnessed in the untimely demise of other fallen heroes, tragedy can often trigger immoral behavior in the souvenir industry. Joe Hedrick, Director of Licensing at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) stated, “We would like to think at a time like this, the souvenir business would be the last thing on anyone’s mind. Unfortunately, we’ve been forced to address this issue and bring it to the attention of the many Dale Earnhardt fans across the country who are being exploited by those who are merely trying to profit from this tragic situation. We want to assure the fans of Dale Earnhardt and Richard Childress Racing that there will be an adequate supply of Official Licensed souvenirs and collectible in the future. Dale Earnhardt, Inc is looking forward to honoring his life and career and will do it in a very honorable way. That is what Dale would want”, stated Hedrick. In the mean time, DEI is urging fans to be very selective in what they purchase and what is being offered for sale. At this point in time, there are no official products “In Memorial” to Dale. Any products that promote or memorialize his passing are not the wishes of the family and have not been authorized. Specific unauthorized products that have been witnessed for sale are: T-shirts, Plaques, Stickers, and other various items that have placed the “1951-2001” script somewhere on the item. DEI would also like to inform fans to be very discriminating on purchasing autographed items. “We have witnessed many forgeries on some of the larger auction sites on the Internet,” added Hedrick. “To help fans determine what is officially licensed, they should look for “Officially Licensed” hangtags and taglines. On apparel, Chase Authentics and Competitors View are the only brands endorsed by Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. To help police any unauthorized activity, fans may call 1-877-337-3600 (corrected) to report any manufactures or retailers that might be involved with this appalling behavior. Hedrick went on to conclude, “Dale Earnhardt took all the necessary measures before his death to protect his rights now and for many years to come. DEI is going to keep those rights intact and will continue enforcing those rights in a manner that would make Dale proud”.(Champion Sports PR)(3-20-2001)
  • #3 to Return? NASCAR.com Buzz for today reports that Richard Childress said Tuesday that he was unsure about the future of the black No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, as driven by the late Dale Earnhardt. The car, arguably the most beloved number and paint scheme in NASCAR history, won’t be run the rest of this year, but Childress hasn’t ruled out running it in the future(NASCAR.com)(3-20-2001)
  • Virginia Lottery to Sponsor who ? UPDATE 2: interesting – the Virginia Lottery will have its own NASCAR Winston Cup racing car that will run at Martinsville and Richmond this spring. The contest is to guess the driver and car number. For more info, see my Racing Contest Page(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE: The Virginia Lottery has scheduled a major NASCAR Winston Cup announcement for Friday, April 6, at 1:20 p.m.. The press conference will take place at the Martinsville Speedway infield media center.(3-16-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Continue to hear rumors that the Virginia Lottery Nascar Winston Cup Program will involve Hermie Sadler. Sadler is testing Martinsville next week. Also hearing the deal involves some type of partnership with Team Amick Motorsports. A press conference has been scheduled at Martinsville Speedway on April 6 by the Virginia Lottery(3-20-2001)
  • Bristol Rememberance: Bristol Motor Speedway, along with thousands of fans, will pay tribute to the late Dale Earnhardt during this weekend’s racing activities. In addition to a special tribute during Food City 500 pre-race ceremonies, the speedway has painted Earnhardt’s familiar #3 on the track apron in each of the four turns. The “Earnhardt Wall of Remembrance’’ is located beneath the Kulwicki Grandstand near the speedway’s main office outside of turn one. The wall provides a place for fans to express their feelings, thoughts and memories of the nine-time BMS winner(Kingsport Times News)(3-20-2001)
  • NASCAR Personnel Moves in the future? UPDATE 2 new Darlington President: a NASCAR shakeup appears in the works, with Darlington’s Jim Hunter expected to get a promotion to NASCAR’s Daytona Beach headquarters, and with NASCAR’s Tom Deery being reassigned, according to NASCAR sources(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND Gary Nelson’s duties could pass to subordinates Buster Auton and Brian DeHart as the season goes on. NASCAR is developing a research facility in Dale Jarrett’s old Busch shop in Conover/Hickory, N.C., and it appears likely that Nelson is being pointed in that direction. SpeedVision hear conflicting reports on Busch Series director John Darby, a) that he would be offered Nelson’s job for 2002 and would take it, and b) that he would be offered Nelson’s job and turn it down, preferring his present role(SpeedVision)(3-19-2001)
    UPDATE: Darlington Raceway and International Speedway Corporation are expected to announce later this week that Andrew Gurtis will be the track’s new president. Jim Hunter, current president of NASCAR’s original superspeedway, will be promoted to a position within NASCAR. He will continue to oversee Darlington Raceway, North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., and Richmond International Raceway. He will continue to reside in Darlington.(Lap by Lap)
    UPDATE 2: Andrew Gurtis, who has served as vice president of Daytona International Speedway the past four years, is the new president of Darlington Raceway. Gurtis replaces Jim Hunter, who has served as president of the International Speedway Corp.-owned facility since 1992. As president, Gurtis will be responsible for overseeing all strategic and daily operations at Darlington. He assumes his duties later this month. Gurtis will report to Hunter, who will remain with ISC in his current position as vice president and continue his duties as regional director of the company’s Atlantic division, overseeing Darlington, North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., and Richmond International Raceway(That’s Racin’/DIS PR)(3-20-2001)
  • Best Finishes: at Darlington, six drivers (unless I missed someone) has their best finsihes of the five race 2001 season:
    #88-Dale Jarrett 1st (and best since win at Rockingham last Oct)
    #12-Jeremy Mayfield 3rd (and best since a 2nd at Phoenix last season)
    #26-Jimmy Spencer 4th (and best finish since a 2nd at Bristol in Aug 1999)
    #43-John Andretti 6th (and best finish since a 3rd at Sears Point in 1999)
    #99-Jeff Burton 18th (hard to believe, best since his 12th at Atlanta in the 2000 season ender)
    #90-Hut Stricklin 28th (ties his best finish of 2001 last week at Atlanta)(3-20-2001)
  • #66 Sponsor: Ralston Purina Company announced that Purina Dog Chow brand dog food will be an associate sponsor on the No. 66 Route 66/Kmart Ford Taurus, driven by Todd Bodine.  Dog Chow along with the Purina flagship red and white checkerboard logo will be displayed on the rear quarter panel of the car(Kmart PR)(3-20-2001)
  • Lawsuit: Five states announced plans Monday to sue R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.. contending the company has violated a promise to stop marketing to youngsters. Lawyers for Arizona, California, Ohio, New York and Washington allege R. J. Reyolds has violated parts of a master settlement agreement signed by the major tobacco companies and the states, including provisions concerning stock car ads. Four states, Arizona, California, New York and Washington, want the company to remove Winston Cup billboards after a NASCAR race has been run instead of leaving them up at tracks on the Winston Cup circuit throughout the racing season. The agreement allowed signs to stay up for 10 days after “the last sponsored event.” Reynolds said its signs comply with that rule(AP/Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-20-2001)
  • Gordon/DW on Larry King UPDATE 2 Transcript: Jeff Gordon will appear on Larry King Live on Monday, March 19th. The show airs on CNN from 9:00 – 10:00pm/et. Also hear Darrell Waltrip will appear on the show with Gordon(3-17-2001)
    UPDATE: Joining Larry King will be DW, Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty. The 3 are supposed to be the only guests for the entire hour. King wants to do a “positive” piece on NASCAR since the last time dealt only about Dale’s passing(3-18-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Larry King Live – What Is the Future of NASCAR?, a transcript of Monday’s show with Gordon, Petty and Waltrip. Also NASCAR.com has some highlights at Larry King Live Video(3-20-2001)


    (3-19-2001)

  • Special Budweiser Commercial? UPDATE 2: According to Speedway Illustrated, watch for a very special Bud commercial during the race this Sunday at Darlington. Seems Dale Earnardt and Dale Jr. were scheduled to do one together, Budweiser contacted Jr. and asked him what he wanted to do about it and he said he would like to do it as a tribute to his dad. He was supposedly given complete control(Speedway Illustrated)(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE: great commercial, no idea if it will be re-aired during Fox Sports Net’s replay of the race at Darlington today at noon or ever again
    UPDATE 2: A special Budweiser commercial featuring Dale Jr. aired for the first time during the race telecast on Fox Sunday. It will air once per race for the next several weeks as a tribute to his father, the late Dale Earnhardt. Much of the script was based upon a column that Dale Jr. had written about his father last winter. .Dale Jr. wanted to do another tribute to his dad and also wanted to provide a positive message urging race fans to continue to support and enjoy NASCAR racing. The commercial was shot on a windy, cold day at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC, while Dale Jr.recorded his narration the following day in a studio near uptown Charlotte(Budweiser/fingerprint.inc PR)(3-19-2001)
  • Rethinking Qualifying: Darlington president Jim Hunter said the track and NASCAR will rethink the abbreviated Winston Cup schedule for the track’s spring race. Until this year qualifying was held on Friday. But Saturday’s qualifying for the Cup race at Darlington was fogged out to get in a morning practice for Winston Cup drivers(That’s Racin’/AP)(3-19-2001)

(3-18-2001)

  • DJ wins Darlington: #88-Dale Jarrett wins the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington, his 25th of his career and 9th year in a row that Jarrett has had a Cup win. Jarrett had the HANS device on. Jarrett’s win is Ford’s first of 2001 and the first not in a Chevy. The others in the top five: #1-Park, #12-Mayfield, #26-Spencer and #40-Marlin. Jarrett now leads the Winston Cup points championship by 65 points over #10-Benson and #40-Marlin. 24-Gordon who entered the race leading the points drops to 4th after encountering Overheating problems that cooked his engine and put him out of the race, finishing 40th. Jarrett also becomes the first driver of the year to win the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus of $50,000 for leading the points and winning the race (Bobby Labonte last won the award, $50,000 at Lowes/Charlotte on Oct 8, 2000). The $360,000 annual award is paid at $10,000 per race to the point leader at the end of each event if he is also the winner. See unofficial results at That’s Racin’: Dodge Dealers 400 results and see a story at: Jarrett’s Ford first at Darlington.(3-18-2001)
  • Crew Chiefs Return: Two NASCAR Cup crew chiefs, suspended for rules violations at Daytona, will be able to return to the race track next weekend at Bristol for the Food City 500. Winston Cup crew chiefs Tony Furr, from Jerry Nadeau’s #25 Chevy team, and Kevin Cram, from Jason Leffer’s #01 Dodge operation, were suspended for four races after rule violations at the season opener at Daytona. Furr was fined and suspended for unapproved fender braces and altered suspension parts, while Cram was suspended for an additive to fuel(That’s Racin’)(3-18-2001)
  • Seat Belt Blamed: Steve Hmiel, team manager for Dale Earnhardt Inc., has seen the car and the broken seat belts from Dale Earnhardt’s car at Daytona and says he believes the broken belt led to the death of his boss(Dale Earnhardt)(SpeedVision)(3-18-2001)
  • No Rules Changes at Talladega: NASCAR President Mike Helton said he does not anticipate changes in the rules for the April 22 race at Talladega, where the engine and aerodynamic conditions are identical to Daytona and produce tight packs of cars traveling at high speeds. Those rules, first used at Talladega in October, provide breath-taking action but can create major multi-car crashes. There was a 19-car crash in the Daytona 500 in which Tony Stewart suffered a concussion. Helton said that while NASCAR recommends drivers use the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device or a similar restraint, he does not think it’s a good idea to make that mandatory(That’s Racin’AND NASCAR said Saturday that it is sticking with the controversial new aerodynamic rules at the next superspeedway race, the Talladega 500 on April 22. Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, revealed the decision on the eve of today’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. “We are looking at different things as we normally do, but we are not anticipating any changes at the next restrictor-plate race that just happens to be at Talladega,” Helton said.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-18-2001)
  • Aero Changes? NASCAR President Mike Helton and Cup Series Director Gary Nelson said during a press conference, said that there will likely be some changes made by the end of next week but did not mention what those changes could be(FSN Practice Qualifying)(3-18-2001)
  • Gordon/DW on Larry King UPDATE 2 Transcript: Jeff Gordon will appear on Larry King Live on Monday, March 19th. The show airs on CNN from 9:00 – 10:00pm/et. Also hear Darrell Waltrip will appear on the show with Gordon(3-17-2001)
    UPDATE: Joining Larry King will be DW, Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty. The 3 are supposed to be the only guests for the entire hour. King wants to do a “positive” piece on NASCAR since the last time dealt only about Dale’s passing(3-18-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Larry King Live – What Is the Future of NASCAR?, a transcript of Monday’s show with Gordon, Petty and Waltrip(3-20-2001)


    (3-17-2001)

  • Gordon Gone? UPDATE 6 NO, it’s Gordon!: hearing Robby Gordon and the #4 Morgan McClure Kodak team have parted ways effective immediatedly, no word on who will drive the car at Darlington. Rick Mast? Loy Allen? Wally Dallenbach? Morgan Shepherd? Kevin Lepage?
    UPDATE: from NASCAR.com Buzz – Reports filtered throughout the industry Tuesday that Morgan McClure Motorsports and Robby Gordon had parted ways, effective immediately, but according to a team spokesperson, that is not the case. Not yet anyway AND a column from SpeedVision by Ben Blake: R. Gordon Out of 4 Car?
    UPDATE 2: ESPN2’s RPM 2Night reports that #4 owner Larry McClure said there is a possibility of a change but at this time Gordon is still the driver(3-13-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Rumors of a breakup have been circulating through the garage area for weeks. Contacted Tuesday, team officials said Gordon, 32, was expected to be in the team’s #4 Kodak Film Chevy this weekend when the series heads to Darlington. Beyond that, however, officials could not confirm that Gordon would be the driver of record for the 19-year-old organization(Kingsport Times NewsAND Although team sources said Tuesday evening that no official move has been made with the Abingdon-based team, various reports indicated that Gordon could be replaced by this weekend’s event at Darlington. M-M general manager Larry McClure said Tuesday night that he could not comment on the matter at this time. Sources did confirm that McClure has been talking about replacing Gordon(Bristol Herald Courier)
    UPDATE 4: Although rumors to the contrary continue to fly throughout the NASCAR industry, McClure said Wednesday morning that no changes have beenmade to his race team at this time. That apparently is not the case, NASCAR.com BUZZ reports, according to an industry source. Although Robby Gordon will be the driver of the #4 Chevy this weekend, he’ll be using his own chassis for the first time this year. The source said that Morgan-McClure’s chassis are antiquated and have plagued drivers for years(NASCAR.com BUZZ). Hearing Kevin Lepage coulde be in the #4 car at Darlington or Bristol(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE 5: Robby Gordon has been released and Kevin Lepage will drive the #4 Kodak Chevy at Darlington, announcement is supposedly to be made at Darlington on Saturday morning. Lepage is not consiedered a permanent replacement for Gordon. Gordon doesn’t have another ride lined up but sources say he has spoken to a couple teams in the last few weeks(ESPN2’s RPM 2Night)(3-16-2001) AND a few names I hear being tossed around is Bobby Hillin Jr, Kenny Wallace(but he insists he is not going anywhere and is sticking with the #27 Eel River Racing team, so don’t look for that to happen), Rick Mast(but the #50 just signed a sponsor) and Wally Dallenbach(3-17-2001)
    UPDATE 6: To the surprise of many, Robby Gordon showed up to drive Larry McClure’s #4 car in morning practice Saturday at Darlington Raceway. McClure said Gordon would be in the car through this weekend’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, but he would not say more. All signs pointed to Gordon’s having been dismissed this week, after just four races in the car. Apparently, however, whatever difficulties there are were patched over, at least for one more week. In fact, team representatives had prepared to announce that Kevin Lepage would drive #4 this weekend, on a spot basis(SpeedVision)(3-17-2001)
  • #7 Team Crew Changes UPDATE: NASCAR.com Buzz is reporting that several key Ultra Motorsports #7 team members left the team after the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Travis Block, front tire changer and a key mechanic in research and development is going to Chip Ganassi Racing. Eric Wakeland, a fabricator and rear tire carrier, moved on to Ray Evernham’s #19 Dodge team and Tommy Smith, a fabricator, tire specialist and front tire carrier, left in favor of the #36 Pontiac team(NASCAR.com)(3-12-2001)
    UPDATE: From Team Owners Jim Smith – “There apparently have been some reports on the Internet this week stating Ultra Motorsports and the #7 NationsRent team had lost three crew members within in the past week. The Internet being what it is, we normally just go on with our lives knowing what the truth is. Since this particular rumor has begun to pick up some steam, I wanted to go ahead and cut it off. We did have one crew member who found another job this week. People move around in this business and no one found it particularly unusual. Actually, there have been a total of three people, including this one gentleman, who have moved to other jobs since the first of the year. That, too, is certainly not unusual. In fact, I believe you would find Ultra Motorsports has some of the lowest employee turnover in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. We are in this to be competitive and we.re in this to win. Because we are a company of a few hundred employees, there is going to be change every once in a while. One person find another job doesn’t change that desire and it doesn’t change our goals. These kind of Internet rumors are not true but they are not going to distract us from our goal to win races.”(Williams Company)(3-17-2001)
  • Sad News: 58-year-old sportscar ace, Bob Wolleck, whose passions also included cycling and skiing, was killed Friday after being struck by a car while riding his bicycle near Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway(AJC). Thoughts go out to his family(3-17-2001)

    (3-16-2001)

  • Green to Childress? UPDATE yes: hearing it was reported on FSN’s Totally NASCAR Thursday night that 2000 BGN Champ Jeff Green is under consideration for the #30 AOL Richard Childress 3rd Winston Cup ride, which would be 6-7 races this year and full time in 2002
    UPDATE: Jeff Green, defending BGN champion, will run five to seven Winston Cup races this season for Richard Childress Racing. A formal announcement of Green’s move will come next weekend at Bristol, according to sources. Green will drive the No. 30 Chevrolets, originally scheduled to be the Cup ride for Kevin Harvick.(That’s Racin’)(3-16-2001)
  • #50 Sponsor UPDATE: Blair Corporation, a national catalog and direct mail marketer of women’s and men’s apparel and home products, today announced that its e-commerce website, Blair.com, has agreed to a sponsorship role with the #50 Midwest Transit Racing Chevrolet, driven by Rick Mast. While details of the agreement are still being finalized, Blair.com is committed to working with the #50 car for the rest of the 2001 Winston Cup season(Midwest Transit PR)(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE: Blair Corporation and Midwest Transit Racing, owner of the #50 Winston Cup Chevrolet driven by Rick Mast announced today that a portion of all sales resulting from shoppers entering Blair.com through the Midwest Transit/Rick Mast Welcome Page (www.blair.com/50) will be donated to the Carolina Foundation in honor of the late Dale Earnhardt. This agreement will last thoughout the 2001 Winston Cup season(Blair Corp PR)(3-16-2001)
  • IROC Replacement UPDATE: getting asked much about what driver will replace Dale Earnahrdt in the IROC Series, sorry, no idea have not heard, if they follow suit when Gil de Ferran was replaced at Daytona, it could be the #7 driver in Cup points from 2000, Rusty Wallace, or id de Ferran comes back for Talladega, Tony Stewart, who subbed for de Ferran could be the driver, BUT I have not heard anything….yet(3-13-2001)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt could earn a piece of the International Race of Champions title after running in the season-opening round at Daytona. If IROC follows its 1993 precedent, it will name a driver to replace Earnhardt and give that driver Earnhardt’s points. Terry Labonte raced the IROC finale for Davey Allison, who was killed in a helicopter crash. Labonte scored enough points to earn the IROC title for Allison(Daytona Beach News Journal/Speed Magazine), hearing the replacement driver will be named next week(3-16-2001)
  • Elliott at Michigan UPDATE: hearing #9-Bill Elliott will have a special paint scheme at Michigan in June on his Dodge(3-15-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the scheme will feature Muhammed Ali as a movie will be coming out soon starring Wil Smith and Dodge is doing some type of promotion with it(3-16-2001)
  • #8 Special Paint? UPDATE: hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr will have a special Ducks Unlimited paint scheme at the Winston with an announcement at Talladega in April. Also hear Earnhardt Jr will also run a All-Star Baseball scheme sometime in the summer, possibly at the Pepsi 400 in July(3-8-2001)
    UPDATE: sorry folks, been ‘asked’ by Action Performance to remove the image and will honor that request, do not email asking for me to send the image, I won’t, sorry. The car is white, with red lettering, the All-Star or baseball was blacked out. Will be announced at Texas on March 31st (3-16-2001)
  • #18 and #20 Special Paint? hearing the the two Joe Gibbs cars, #18-Labonte and #20-Stewart will run a speical paint scheme at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona, a tie in with a movie being released this summer, possibly Jurassic Park III(3-8-2001)
    UPDATE: Jurassic Park III it is, see the diecast images on my Paint Scheme Gallery(3-16-2001)
  • #7 Sponsor News: NationsRent, Inc., primary sponsor of the #7, NationsRent, Ultra Motorsports Ford Taurus Racing Team is making available associate sponsorship positions for the remainder of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup racing season and beyond. See my Team Address page for contact info (along with all the teams)(3-16-2001)
  • Points Question: been asked quite a bit on this – So, what if Jeff Gordon(currently leading the Driver Points) won the driver championship and Richard Childress(#29 was #3) captured the car owner title? According to NASCAR, the Winston Cup championship would be split between the two camps. Gordon and Childress would both earn seats at the head table of the Winston Cup Awards Banquet as co-champions. But it would be more than a symbolic gesture. Gordon and Childress would divide the championship money. “The money would be split down the middle,” said Danielle Humphrey, NASCAR manager of communications for the Winston Cup Series(Daytona Beach News Journal/Speed Magazine)(3-16-2001)
  • Big Announcement UPDATE 2: a press conference is scheduled for Wednesday, Mar 14th at 11:30am/et: Making the most significant announcement in NASCAR Winston Cup racing in the past 20 years(Williams Company). Hearing it could be an announcement involving Shawna Robinson(AOL? no..) running in the Cup series or something else. Nothing to do with the Chicagoland announcement on Wednesday(3-13-2001)
    UPDATE: Team owner and Michael Kranefuss and driver Shawna Robinson announced Wednesday that Robinson would run six NASCAR Winston Cup stock car racing events beginning April 29 at California Speedway. Robinson will be the first female driver to start a Winston Cup race since 1989 and the first to run a multi-race schedule in 20 years. Crew chief is Joe Dan Bailey, who has word with Robinson in her ARCA starts(Williams Company). AND from Speedway Illustrated: The rest of this years schedule includes events at Michigan, Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas and Homestead. Kranefuss indicates he and Shawna have a three-year deal that includes running for Winston Cup Rookie of the Year in 2002. They are currently seeking major sponsorship but Kranefuss has made the commitment to fund the team for the 2001 schedule out of his own pocket if necessary. Robinson will race Ford Taurus cars with Robert Yates engines. Also see a full story at That’s Racin’. No word on a car # yet(3-14-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Robinson’s car number will be #84 (not sure how this effects Norm Benning who also uses #84, may share it if they do not run the same races)(3-16-2001)
  • Harvick to be Honored: The Coleman Company, Inc., will present a commemorative gold lantern to first-year Cup driver Kevin Harvick, acknowledging his first career Winston Cup win. The presentation will take place in the Darlington Raceway infield, behind the #29 transporter at noon on Friday, March 16th. Coleman created the Coleman(r)Gold Lantern award to recognize NASCAR Winston Cup teams and drivers involved with the Coleman family of licensed products for extraordinary accomplishments throughout their careers. This Gold Lantern recognizes Harvick’s thrilling victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 11. Harvick is the fifth Gold Lantern recipient since Coleman began the recognition program in March 2000. Past recipients include:
    Dale Earnhardt Sr. 1st NASCAR Winston Cup Victory as a member of the Coleman family of licensed drivers – Atlanta Motor Speedway, March 2000
    Rusty Wallace 50th Career NASCAR Winston Cup Victory – Bristol Motor Speedway, March 2000
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1st Career NASCAR Winston Cup Victory – Texas Motor Speedway, April 2000
    Jeff Gordon 1st NASCAR Winston Cup Victory as a member of the Coleman family of licensed drivers – Talladega Superspeedway, April 2000(GMR Marketing)(3-16-2001)
  • Press Conference Canceled? NASCAR officials have scrapped plans for a press conference this weekend to discuss their investigation into Dale Earnhardt’s death and possible safety measures that they plan to order, according to NASCAR sources(Winston Salem Journal)(3-16-2001)

    (3-15-2001)

  • #97 Sponsor? UPDATE 4: rumor floating around that Newell-Rubbermaid may be a sponsor for the #97 Roush Racing team and driver Kurt Busch. But sources with the team say they have not heard that at all(3-5-2001)
    UPDATE: actually hear the sponsor will be Sanford with their Sharpie Marker Line being featured, Sanford is owned by…..Newell Rubbermaid. An announcement could come in Texas in a few weeks, if that is the sponsor. Sharpie will also be the title sponsor of the race at Bristol in August, the Sharpie® 500(3-6-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing, which fields four Winston Cup, two BGN and two CTS teams, has had several high-profile sponsors and two dot-com companies leave or reduce their participation because of economic reasons. Despite losing companies like Northern Light, Exide and John Deere, Roush has been able to find new sources of cash, company president Geoff Smith said. Smith said he expects to add sponsors for rookie Kurt Busch’s #97 Winston Cup car and for one of the two trucks. Gain detergent recently agreed to back Jeff Burton’s Busch car(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE 3: the weeks Speedway Scene mentions Pizza Hut as a psooible sponsor for either the #97 or one of the Roush CTS teams(3-10-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith expects to announce a sponsor for Kurt Busch’s Winston Cup team and the truck team of Chuck Hossfeld at Bristol. He would neither confirm nor deny that the sponsor would be Sanford, the company that manufactures Sharpies. Earlier this year it was announced that Sharpie would sponsor the August Bristol race(Winston Cup Scene need to be a subscriber to read online)(3-15-2001)
  • TV News: Members of the United States military around the world will have a chance to follow their favorite NASCAR drivers like never before. NASCAR and the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) have announced that 2001 NASCAR programming will be aired live and tape delayed to U.S. Armed Forces personnel, Department of Defense (DOD) civilian employees and their family members stationed around the world. More than 800,000 servicemen and women in 170 countries, including approximately 100,000 sailors and marines onboard U.S. Navy ships, will have access to NASCAR events. This gratis agreement, in cooperation between NASCAR and its television partners FOX, NBC, Turner, FX and ESPN, covers NASCAR’s top three national series: Wisnton Cup, Busch, Truck Series events. The AFRTS is the military broadcasting agency of the DoD. Through its Broadcast Center on March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA, AFRTS delivers commercial-free American radio and television news, sports and entertainment programming to U.S. military bases located in 170 countries and aboard U.S. Navy ships-at-sea. All programming is distributed via digitally compressed, encrypted satellite signals.(NASCAR PR)(3-15-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel: Ottawa’s Dr. Vinh Nguyen is doing his absolute best to keep it the wind tunnel in Ottawa a secret. Dr. Nguyen operates the National Research Council’s wind tunnel at Uplands Air Force base, which is the home away from home for many of NASCAR’s Winston Cup teams. One team that testes there often is the #10 MBV Motorsports team of Johnny Benson and crew chief James Ince who tests there about 20 times a year. See full story at the Toronto Sun(3-15-2001)
  • Data Box: A data box similar to those carried by airplanes that records information when a crash occurs could be on the horizon for stock cars. The devices are already found in open-wheel cars so a crash can be correlated to an injury. But it’s more complicated when one begins dealing with stock cars(Winston Cup Scene need to be a subscriber to read online)(3-15-2001)
  • New Cup team/driver: ARCA driver, Brian Conz recently came to an agreement with new to NASCAR Field & Stream Watches® Racing and other soon to be announced associate sponsors. Plans are being made for the #79 Field & Stream Watches® Chevy to make their Winston Cup debut at Talladega Superspeedway on April 22, 2001. Conz plans on running five Cup events, Talladega 4/22, Daytona 7/7, Michigan 8/19, Talladega 10/21 and one event that the sponsor hasn’t decided on yet(Brian Conz Site)(3-15-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel: hearing Robert Yates Racing, DEI and Andy Petree Racing all tested cars at the Lockheed wind tunnel in Maritte, GA this week(3-15-2001)
  • Bodine Looking for a Sponsor: As a lot of cars (#’s 27, 97, etc with one year deals or no deals), Brett Bodine Racing is one looking ahead to the future, as always – to renew and/or find additional sponsors. They are also continuing to seach for some smaller associates for this year, as they still have some space available(3-15-2001)
  • NASCAR Statement: The following is a statement from Bill France, NASCAR’s Chairman of the Board: “NASCAR fans have always been dedicated, loyal and supportive of their heroes. The support that has been shown the past couple of weeks from NASCAR fans over the issue regarding the autopsy photographs of Dale Earnhardt proves to all of us the strong bond between our competitors and the fans. We want to thank the fans for their continued support of both NASCAR and Teresa Earnhardt in this matter.”(NASCAR PR)(3-15-2001)

    (3-14-2001)

  • Tropicana and NASCAR? UPDATE 4 Chicagoland – Tropicana 400: hearing that Tropicana(orange juice….owned by, Pepsi) has some sort of announcement within the next week or so of a major sponsorship in NASCAR(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE: looks like it is some sort of contest where you can win one of 24 Jeff Gordon Signature Chevy Monte Carlo’s(3-8-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing it could be sponsorship of the Chicagoland Cup race? AND 3-Time Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon Will Be On Hand To Help Unveil the Announcement . Chicagoland Speedway and some very special guests will make a MAJOR announcement regarding the upcoming race on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 at 12noon/et(Chicagoland PR)(3-13-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Chicagoland Speedway announced that it has a four-year sponsorship agreement with Tropican Products and unveiled the name if its inaugural Winston Cup race – the Tropicana 400, which is scheduled for Sunday, July 15th 2001 AND NASCAR announced an all-daylong practice sessions for Winston Cup and BGN competitors Thursday, July 12. Practice will begin at 9:00am and conclude at 5:00pm/ct. “NASCAR wanted to give the drivers and teams a full day to test the track and set-up their cars for the race on Sunday”, said Joie Chitwood, Chicagoland Speedway vice president/general manager. The Thursday practice will provide fans the first opportunity to see the cars on the track and see the state-of-the-art facility. NASCAR also announced a one-day qualifying round for both Winston Cup and Busch Series on Friday, July 13th. Friday morning will provide a one hour fifty-five minute practice session for both series beginning with the Busch series at 9:00 am. Busch qualifying is scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm with a best of two laps to decide all positions. Winston Cup qualifying is scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm with the same format as the Busch Series(Chicagoland PR). Also hearing Gordon will have a special paint scheme for the event(3-14-2001)
  • Rudd’s 700th: Ricky Rudd will join a select group of drivers this weekend at Darlington Raceway when he makes his 700th career NASCAR Winston Cup start. Rudd will become the fifth driver in series history to achieve that mark. The others are Richard Petty (1,177 races), Dave Marcis (878), Darrell Waltrip (809) and Bobby Allison (717).(RacingExtra)(3-14-2001)
  • Harvick Tests at Nashville: Kevin Harvick, who won Sunday at Atlanta spent Tuesday at Nashville Superspeedway, practicing for the April 14 Pepsi 300 BGN race. Harvick will continue to run the full BGN schedule as planned, in addition to his recently-acquired Winston Cup duties. Harvick is the first NASCAR driver to test the new 1.3-mile concrete track and.turned straightaway speeds of around 165 mph. ARCA drivers testing at the track last week tested at around 150 mph.(Tennessean)(3-14-2001)
  • Pruett gets a gig: Corvette Racing announced that driver Scott Pruett would replace Chris Kneifel who leaves to take up new duties as Chief Steward of CART immediately following the Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring, March 17th. Pruett, 41, will join the two-car Corvette C5-R team immediately following the Sebring, race when the team will conduct two days of testing March 19 – 20. The team will then travel to France for the open test day on May 6th to further prepare for the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16th and 17th(Daytona Beach News Journal – Speed Magazine). Pruett was in Cup in 2000 with PPI Motorsports in the #32 Tide Ford and currently does commentary on ESPN2’s RPM 2Night(3-14-2001)

    (3-13-2001)

  • Billy Ray and the #90: Sony recording artist Billy Ray Cyrus will use the Hills Bros Coffee Ford driven by Hut Stricklin to promote his new album, “Southern Rain,” at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, announced Junie Donlavey, owner of Stricklin’s Winston Cup Series #90 machine. Decals commemorating the new album’s cover will be placed on the rear quarter panels of the Hills Bros Coffee Ford for the Food City 500. Cyrus will also be singing the national anthem prior to the start of the race. Cyrus has been a NASCAR fan for several years and met Donlavey’s team last year at Bristol. Cyrus is currently working on a new television series for PAX Television called “DOC.”(Keystone Marketing PR)(3-13-2001)
  • Dale Earnhardt Week: Former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt’s daughter and sister joined South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges on Tuesday to proclaim this week Dale Earnhardt Memorial Week. See full AP story at ESPN’s Site(3-13-2001)
  • The Championship Outlook: Only five times in the modern era(1972-present) has the eventual champion not won in the first six races. This year, that puts Michael Waltrip, Steve Park, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick in the heat of the race(Richmond Times Dispatch), when did a driver win the Championship and not win a race in the first six? 1973-Benny Parsons; 1984 and 1996-Terry Labonte; 1985-Darrell Waltrip; and 1999-Dale Jarrett(3-13-2001)
  • Robinson to run some BGN UPDATE 2: Aaron’s and Michael Waltrip Racing announced a new member to the #99 Aaron’s “Dream Machine” team, NASCAR driver, Shawna Robinson. Robinson will take the wheel of the #99 Aaron’s “Dream Machine” Chevrolet for three Busch Series events this year: Texas(3-31), Nashville(4-14) and Talladega(4-21). Robinson will continue her driving duties for Michael Kranefuss in the ARCA RE/MAX series(and the Cup series) as well as the three races for Michael Waltrip Racing’s #99 Aaron’s “Dream Machine” team(Cox Marketing Group)(3-10-2001)
    UPDATE: Robinson is the only woman to win a pole in Busch Series history, capturing the top spot in Atlanta in 1994. She has been racing for over 10 years and had hoped to run a limited Winston Cup schedule this season, but could never line up the necessary sponsorship(Sporting News/AP)(3-11-2001)
    UPDATE 2: it was mentioned on FX’s BGN race coverage that Michael Waltrip may put Kerry Earnahrdt in the #99 BGN car for a few races in 2001, as thanks for Dale Earnhardt setting up the #15 NAPA Cup ride for him(3-13-2001)


    (3-12-2001)

  • Number Game: when was the last time car #29 was in victory lane for a Winston Cup race before Kevin Harvick won at Atlanta on Sunday? 1967, when Dick Hutcherson won at Maryville, TN on July 27, 1967. It was also the 18th time #29 has been to victory lane. See my Win by Numbers page, which includes First Win by a car#, last win by a car # and number of wins by a car#(3-12-2001)
  • Third Start Winners/Rookie Winner UPDATE: Kevin Harvick becomes the fifth Winston Cup driver to win in his third Cup start. The others: Dan Gurney at Riverside in Jan 1963, Bill Norton at Carrell Speedway in Gardena, CA in Nov 1951; Johnny Mantz at Darlington in Sept 1950(he also started 43rd) and Bob Flock in 1949 at Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsboro, NC(this was the third ever race in NASCAR)(Fox Race Coverage and the Forty Years of Stock Car Racing – Vol 1)(3-11-2001)
    UPDATE:: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won in only his 12th Winston Cup start in 2000. Ron Bouchard won a Cup race in his 11th start in 1981 at Talladega, Mark Donohue won in his 5th Winston Cup start in 1973 at Riverside, the earliest in the ‘modern era'(1972 to present) of Winston Cup, he would only make one more Cup start. Others: Morgan Shepherd won in his 15th start (Martinsville) in 1981, but wasn’t named Rookie of the Year. Several other drivers won in their first year, but weren’t considered ROTY candidates: Dan Gurney at Riverside in 1963 in his third race and Mario Andretti at Daytona Beach in 1967 in his fifth start. When Kevin Harvik won at Atlanta on Sunday, he broke Bouchards ‘Modern Era’ mark, this is for a driver who is running a full season, not a one time or part time driver(3-12-2000)
  • #7 Team Shakeup: NASCAR.com Buzz is reporting that several key Ultra Motorsports #7 team members left the team after the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Travis Block, front tire changer and a key mechanic in research and development is going to Chip Ganassi Racing. Eric Wakeland, a fabricator and rear tire carrier, moved on to Ray Evernham’s #19 Dodge team and Tommy Smith, a fabricator, tire specialist and front tire carrier, left in favor of the #36 Pontiac team(NASCAR.com)(3-12-2001)
  • TV at Atlanta: FOX Sports scored an overnight rating for Sunday’s Cracker Barrell 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway of 5.7 with a 13 share. That made the Cup race the highest rated sports program for the fourth straight week, this time edging out CBS Sports telecast of the NCAA Basketball Tournament selection show(SpeedVision)(3-12-2001)
  • The car, the same?? NO Update: many folks are saying the car Harvick won in is not the same one Dale Earnhardt won in last March at Atlanta, some say it was mentioned during the Fox coverage of the race, but I failed to hear it. All I know is what I have been told and seen: on PRN’s broadcast of the race, they mentioned it was the same car; on NASCAR.com it says: “Driving the same car that Earnhardt drove to Victory Lane here in a photo finish last year, Harvick fended off a furious last lap charge by Jeff Gordon to win by a mere six thousandths of a second”. Other news sites report the same. Other sources say the car was the same one Earnhardt finished 2nd last fall in Atlanta and the car Earnhardt won with at Atlanta last March was raced at Rockingham by Harvick
    UPDATE: I have confirmed thru team sources, that the car that Kevin Harvick won in at Atlanta was NOT the same one Dale Earnhardt won with in March 2000, but the car that Earnhardt ran 2nd with at Atlanta in Nov 2000(3-12-2001)
  • 70th for Childress: Kevin Harvick’s win in Atlanta marks Richard Childress’ 70th as a car owner(NASCAR.com)(3-12-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel: NASCAR took #’s 88, 24, 40 and 18 to the wind tunnel in Marietta, GA., following the race on Sunday at Atlanta(Sporting News)(3-12-2001)
  • Sub: Steve Wolfe, a tire changer on Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’ s #8 Bud DEI team, injured his ring finger during a pit stop. He was treated and released from the infield care center. Mike Atwell, a tire changer on teammate Steve Park’s #1 Pennzoil team, filled in for Wolfe after Park’s car went out with engine failure(The State)(3-12-2001)
  • Back of the Field: #12-Jeremy Mayfield was forced to start in the rear of the field yesterday after missing driver introduction. He was sick with the stomach flu but that was no excuse, according to NASCAR officials(Winston-Salem Journal). #4-Robby Gordon and #97-Kurt Busch also missed driver intorductions and had to go to the rear of the field before the start of the race(3-12-2001)
  • The HANS at Atlanta: On Friday, #66-Todd Bodine received the results on the head and neck safety belt system he developed with Bill Simpson. After discovering his system was 40 percent less safe than the HANS device, Bodine was fitted for his own HANS device on Sunday morning before the start of the race. AND BGN driver, Elton Sawyer claims the HANS device saved his life on Saturday following his wreck on Lap 58 of the Aaron’s 312 BGN race. The device is designed to withstand a minimum of 1,500 lbs. of force but gave way, dissipating additional energy after Sawyer made contact with the wall in Turn 2. Ford Racing program manager Jay Novak said the system “did exactly what it was supposed to do.”(Sporting NewsAND Matt Kenseth said his new HANS device presented no problems when he had to make a hasty exit from his smoking car after a blown engine. Drivers have expressed worries that getting out of the car with the hefty safety collar could be a problem. NASCAR has considered widening the window opening on the driver’s side to allow for an easier exit in an emergency(Winston-Salem Journal)(3-12-2001)

(3-11-2001)

  • Incredible, Amazing, Unreal! what else can you say. What a shocking and welcome upset win at Atlanta. #29-Kevin Harvick, a rookie in his third Winston Cup race, who took over for the late Dale Earnhardt in the Richard Childress Racing GM Goodwrench Chevy (changed to #29 from #3), WON the Cracker Barrel 500 by .006 seconds over #24-Jeff Gordon. Harvick’s margin of victory was .006 of a second — a few inches. One year ago, Earnhardt had won by .010 of a second over Bobby Labonte. The car was the same car that Dale Earnhardt used at the fall Atlanta race(not won with in the spring as reported). Harvick becomes the 159th driver to win in the history of the Winston Cup series. Harvick is 11th in points after four races despite getting no driver points for the first race. All three Hendrick drivers finished in the top five, #24-Gordon was 2nd, #25-Nadeau was 3rd and #5-Terry Labonte was 5th. Gordon takes over the Winston Cup Points lead by 37 over #88-Jarrett, third is #10-Johnny Benson and former leader #40-Marlin falls to 4th after blowing an engine. It’s the first time Gordon has led the points since Feb 1999. See a story at That’s Racin’:
    Harvick wins a thriller and
    Cracker Barrel 500 results(3-11-2001)


    (3-10-2001)

  • AASE Makes Suggestions: The American Society of Safety Engineers sent an open letter to NASCAR in January, suggesting that the sanctioning body increase its safety efforts. Three drivers — Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin and Tony Roper — were killed in crashes last season. AASE president Samuel J. Gualardo asked NASCAR to “implement new safety products and initiatives such as soft walls to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.” Gualardo also recommended that NASCAR form a safety committee and offered the AASE’s assistance(Sporting News). See the letter and NASCAR’s response at the CNN/SI Site(3-10-2001)
  • #97 Sponsor? UPDATE 3: rumor floating around that Newell-Rubbermaid may be a sponsor for the #97 Roush Racing team and driver Kurt Busch. But sources with the team say they have not heard that at all(3-5-2001)
    UPDATE: actually hear the sponsor will be Sanford with their Sharpie Marker Line being featured, Sanford is owned by…..Newell Rubbermaid. An announcement could come in Texas in a few weeks, if that is the sponsor. Sharpie will also be the title sponsor of the race at Bristol in August, the Sharpie® 500(3-6-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Roush Racing, which fields four Winston Cup, two BGN and two CTS teams, has had several high-profile sponsors and two dot-com companies leave or reduce their participation because of economic reasons. Despite losing companies like Northern Light, Exide and John Deere, Roush has been able to find new sources of cash, company president Geoff Smith said. Smith said he expects to add sponsors for rookie Kurt Busch’s #97 Winston Cup car and for one of the two trucks. Gain detergent recently agreed to back Jeff Burton’s Busch car(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATES 3: the weeks Speedway Scene mentions Pizza Hut as a psooible sponsor for either the #97 or one of the Roush CTS teams(3-10-2001)
  • DW Tests the HANS: Darrell Waltrip, FOX TV commentator and former NASCAR Winston Cup driver, flanked by fellow race commentator Jeff Hammond and brother Michael Waltrip, guided Darrell into the fit and feel of the new HANS (head and neck support device system) safety device. Darrell, wearing a 1997 IROC uniform, said he wanted to “see first hand what the HANS device felt like while sitting behind the wheel.” Brother Michael’s #15 NAPA Chevrolet Monte Carlo was used for the test(AMS Site)(3-10-2001)
  • Dallenbach Free: Driver Wally Dallenbach said he has legally severed his ties with #75 Owner Darwin Oordt and is free to pursue other opportunities. Dallenbach was in the Atlanta Motor Speedway garage where he was “just making myself seen, letting people know I’m available.” Oordt hopes to return in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July(Tennessean)(3-10-2001)
  • Seat Belts: The #92 Dodge of Stacy Compton and the #97 Ford of Kurt Busch, had their seat belts confiscated because there was no proof that they were less than five years old, which is NASCAR’s age limit for belts(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-10-2001)
  • NASCAR Buys Building: NASCAR has bought a building in Conover, NC for its first research-and-development field office. NASCAR officials said that the building, formerly owned by racer Dale Jarrett’s company, would be used as a safety-testing and competition center. The center has been planned for the past year and may be open by late summer(Winston Salem JournalAND NASCAR has purchased Dale Jarrett’s former BGN shop in Hickory, NC, and officials plan to put a safety crew at that site. Todd Bodine said that crew would build and test cars to make them safer(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-10-2001)
  • Schrader to run some ARCA: Ken Schrader, driver of the #36 M&M’s Pontiac (Pedigree this weekend) plans to use his off-weekend from the series in mid-April to run in the April 13 PFG Lester 150 ARCA race at the new Nashville Superspeedway. Schrader, a seven-time winner in the ARCA series, will run a Pontiac in the inaugural race at the 1.33-mile concrete superspeedway. Schrader said he plans to run two additional ARCA events this season, at the dirt mile track at DuQuoin (Ill.) and Salem Speedway(That’s Racin’)(3-10-2001)
  • Hamilin Helps out Harvick: Kevin Hamlin, crew chief for the Winston Cup team(was #3 now #29) of the late Dale Earnhardt, will serve as race-day crew chief for Kevin Harvick during Harvick’s Grand National series races this weekend at Atlanta and next weekend at Darlington. Harvick’s crew chief in the BGN series, Todd Berrier, was suspended for two races by NASCAR for an oversized fuel cell found in Harvick’s #2 AC Delco Chevy last weekend at Las Vegas. Greg Burkhart, who works in engine shop for Harvick’s team, and car chief Darin Nestlerode will work on car setup. Harvick took over driving duties for Earnhardt’s Winston Cup team two weeks ago at Rockingham, and worked with Hamlin last season during some test sessions with Earnhardt’s team(That’s Racin’)(3-10-2001)
  • Valvoline and BBBSA: Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann announced a $1 million pledge from Valvoline to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) if Valvoline NASCAR driver Johnny Benson wins a pole position and race on the same weekend for any of the remaining Winston Cup races in the 2001 season. Swann also announced that Benson has been named an honorary Big Brother and is the new national spokesperson for Valvoline’s Caring Hands program, taking over the role held by former Valvoline driver Mark Martin. Valvoline also will make donations to BBBSA throughout the 2001 season based on Benson’s on-track performance: $5,000 for a win, $2,500 for a pole, $1,000 for a top ten 10 finish, $500 for a top 20 finish and $20 for each lap led. By virtue of Benson’s fourth place finish at last week’s Las Vegas race, Valvoline will donate $1,100 to the local BBBS agency. See more on my Racing Charities page.(Business Wire)(3-10-2001)

    (3-9-2001)

  • #27 in Trouble? UPDATE 3 – Sponsor For Atlanta: Team sources say the Eel River Racing team may be nearing the end of the line. The Pontiac team and driver Kenny Wallace have competed in the season’s first three races without major sponsorship, and the latest blow occurred supposedly when NASCAR refused to allow a proposed sponsorship from Penthouse magazine. The crewman said the team was operating practically on a “day-to-day” basis, with parts and other materials ordered over the winter still stacked up and unopened in a warehouse(Gaston Gazette)(3-5-2001)
    UPDATE: From Kenny Wallace – “Again I have to comment on rumors that have no foundation. Once again Monte Dutton has written an article which simply has very little truth to it. Don’t get me wrong, I respect Monte, but that article simply does nothing more then take our team apart from the inside out and scare away sponsors, not just from the 27, but all of NASCAR. The Eel River Racing Team, is where ME, KENNY WALLACE, drove Sunday, and WILL drive next Sunday, and the rest of the season. SIMPLE.”(Kenny Wallace Site)(3-7-2001)
    UPDATE 2: A spokesman for the Eel River Racing team disputed suggestions the team is in imminent danger. While still sponsorless, he said the team was still running full speed ahead at present and operating “as if we had sponsorship.” He also said the rumor that NASCAR had prevented the team from accepting sponsorship from Penthouse magazine was groundless.(Gaston GazetteUPDATE – Sponsor for Atlanta: Williams Bros. Lumber Company, an Atlanta based Building Material and Lumber Supplier, has agreed to be the primary sponsor of the #27 Kenny Wallace Pontiac for this Sunday’s Cracker Barrel 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This one race sponsorship will be Williams Bros. first on the NASCAR circuit, they have sponsored several local drivers at local and southeast tracks and earlier this year sponsored Mark Gibson in the ARCA race at Daytona. Jerry Johnson and Sonny Calhoun, the owners of Williams Bros., are big race fans and are very excited about the sponsorship. The #27 Pontiac race car will be white with several large red and black WB logo’s on the fenders and bumpers. The hood will remain blank due to no long term sponsorship.(3-9-2001)
  • #55 Associate: Andy Petree Racing announced today that Bari Italian Foods will join the #55 Square D team and driver Bobby Hamilton as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2001 Winston Cup season. Bari Italian Foods, a major food distributor to independent restaurants in the Southeast, will be serve as an associate sponsor on the Square D Chevrolet. Andy Petree Racing is still seeking a full-time sponsorship partner that will work with Square D for the remainder of the 2001 season(IMG PR)(3-9-2001)
  • Penalties #50: NASCAR officials announced they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Greg Conner for rules violations (A-frame not meeting the minimum thickness) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday’s UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. Conner, crew chief of the #50 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $1,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform…or have not been approved by NASCAR…”(NASCAR PR)(3-9-2001)
  • Ads: Atlanta Motor Speedway has pulled all of its Earnhardt-related advertising going into Sunday’s Cracker Barrel 500. Earnhardt is the defending race champion and had been featured on billboards around Atlanta, as well as in TV spots and other advertising. The race program cover shows Earnhardt racing side-by-side with Bobby Labonte to the finish. Track President Ed Clark, a long-time personal friend of Earnhardt’s, said the program had been printed before the fatal Daytona 500 crash(Tennessean)(3-9-2001)

    (3-8-2001)

  • Seat Belt News: NASCAR may be close to solving the mystery of Dale Earnhardt’s broken seat belt, but officials have provided no new information amid widespread speculation about what killed its biggest star. Earnhardt was killed in a crash on the last lap of the Feb. 18 Daytona 500 when his car slammed nose-first into the turn-four wall. Five days later, NASCAR officials revealed that they found a broken seat belt in Earnhardt’s car. They said only that the belt came apart, however, and have refused to divulge further details or speculate on what might have caused the belt to break. Though sources say NASCAR is having the lap belt analyzed by an outside consulting firm, NASCAR President Mike Helton declined to confirm or deny that March 2. Helton said NASCAR still has Earnhardt’s car and continues to investigate the crash. He said it has no time table for concluding its investigation.(Winston Cup Scene/need subscription to read)(3-8-2001)
  • Penalties #33: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Chris Carrier for rules violations (A-frames not meeting the minimum thickness) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday’s UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. Carrier, crew chief of the #33 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $2,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform…or have not been approved by NASCAR…”(NASCAR PR)(3-8-2001)
  • Penalties #12: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Peter Sospenzo for rules violations (adjustable braces) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday’s UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. Sospenzo, crew chief of the #12 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $250 and penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform…or have not been approved by NASCAR…”(NASCAR PR)(3-8-2001)
  • Penalties #31: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Royce McGee for rules violations (performance enhancing additive to the air filter) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday’s UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. McGee, crew chief of the #31 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $5,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-Q, 20-5.12 in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform…or have not been approved by NASCAR…”(NASCAR PR)(3-8-2001)
  • Testing at TMS: #5-Terry Labonte and #97-Kurt Busch tested at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this week(Dallas Morning News)(3-8-2001)
  • Euro TV: NASCAR was expected to announce its international TV deal this week. The deal means Winston Cup races will be televised in more than 50 countries, primarily by EuroSport. The deal also includes a couple of Busch Series races.(Winston Cup Scene/need subscription to read)(3-8-2001)

    (3-7-2001)

  • Oakwood Homes Gone: Advertising and marketing have become cost-cutting targets, and NASCAR is feeling the pinch. Team Owner Andy Petree said hard economic times for Oakwood Homes are the reason the mobile home manufacturer is not renewing its sponsorship of his #33 Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek. Petree is looking for a primary sponsor for the 2002 season, but said he would welcome a new company this year as a joint sponsor. Petree is also searching for an associate sponsor on his #55 car, which is sponsored by Square D and driven by Bobby Hamilton.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel Testing hearing that the APR #55 Sqaure-D Chevy was at the GM Tech Center in Warren MI on Monday and Tuesday doing wind tunnel testing(3-7-2001)
  • Rusty Testing? hearing that Rusty Wallace is testing the #2 Miller Lite Ford at Darlington today(3-7-2001)
  • Testing at Martinsville: A few teams will be testing at Martinsville Speedway in the new few weeks: March 20-21 – #1-Steve Park, #24-Jeff Gordon, #6-Mark Martin, #97-Kurt Busch, #21-Elliott Sadler. and on March 27-28 – #12-Jeremy Mayfield, #44-Buckshot Jones, #96-Andy Houston and #??Hermie Sadler(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-7-2001)
  • Elliott Honored: Two-time Daytona 500 winner and 15-time National Motorsports Press Association “Most Popular Driver” Bill Elliott was honored by the March of Dimes with a special “Race Car Driving Legend Award” Tuesday night at its National Athletic Awards ceremony in Detroit. Elliott has been making headlines lately not only for his performance on the track, but also for leading Dodge’s return to NASCAR Winston Cup racing. Last year, he announced his decision to join legendary crew chief Ray Evernham as the veteran driver with rookie Casey Atwood in the new Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T race cars. Elliott has long been recognized for his philanthropic efforts. He has been involved with charities such as Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation(Golin/Harris PR)(3-7-2001)
  • Jarrett’s Results net $12,500: Dale Jarrett’s success in Las Vegas this past weekend results in a $12,500 donation from Ford Credit to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help in its mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. Jarrett finished in second place in Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after winning the pole position during Friday’s qualifying.(Campbell Co PR), see my Racing Charities page for more info(3-7-2001)
  • Some Earnhardt Publishing News: Late last week, Broadway Books won the auction to pay Sports Illustrated senior writer Leigh Montville $200,000 for a bio on the late Dale Earnhardt due out in the fall. Sports Illustrated found that its Feb. 26 issue was selling out – even in the Southeast, where it cranked out an extra 126,000 copies. The 3.2-million mag usually sells an average of 89,393 newsstand copies a week, but the Earnhardt issue could easily end up tripling that amount. SI also put out 900,000 copies of a special Dale Earnhardt commemorative issue that went back on press for another 536,000(NY Post)(3-7-2001)

    (3-6-2001)

  • Yates to Supply Junie’s Engines UPDATE NO: Due to a significant lack of performance, the #90 Hills Bros Ford owned by Junie Donlavey has plans to start using Robert Yates engines(NASCAR.com BUZZ)(3-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Junie Donlavey released the following statement today regarding the status of the #90 Hills Bros Coffee Racing Team engine program: “I am confident that changing the engine program at this time is not the right move for this team. We will continue to rely on Mark Smith and Tri-Star Motors to supply the engines for the Hills Bros Coffee Ford.”(Keystone Marketing PR)(3-6-2001)
  • Trouble in the #6 Camp? UPDATE: Tensions are in overdrive on the Roush Racing No. 6 crew of Mark Martin. Last season was difficult enough, when the team had problems and lost a significant number of crew members. Now rumors coming from that camp are that both crew chief Jimmy Fennig and car chief Shawn Parker are unhappy with upper management. Parker seemed exceptionally hot last Sunday after two less-than-perfect pit stops(Sporting News)(3-5-2001)
    UPDATE: despite what was reported, being told that there are no problems at the Roush Racing #6 team. Parker was simply upset because he hurt his hand during the pit stop and showed a little temper(3-6-2001)
  • #36 Crew Chief: MB2 Motorsports announced today it has named Newt Moore as crew chief for the #36 “M&M’s”® Pontiac driven by Kenny Schrader. Most recently Moore served as crew chief for Galaxy Motorsports(#75). Moore, 38, started in Winston Cup racing as a crew chief in 1997 with driver Kenny Wallace. In his fifth year as a crew chief he has also worked with driver Wally Dallenbach and Melling Racing. He has made 103 starts as a crew chief, with one top-five, eight top 10s and one pole position. Prior to becoming a crew chief Moore was a two-time track champion at Nashville Speedway(IMG Motorsports PR)(3-6-2001)
  • 3rd RCR team UPDATE: Richard Childress just inked a deal with AOL-TimeWarner(the #30 Chevy, Harvick was to drive it), which, with Dale Earnhardt’s death, suddenly needs sorting out. Rick Mast, whose current team(#50 Team) has missed two races, is under consideration(Winston Salem Journal), AND Childress, whose operation may need a third driver next week at Atlanta for sponsor AOL, in the ride Kevin Harvick was to have. Rick Mast could get the nod there(Winston Salem Journal)(3-4-2001)
    UPDATE: The debut of the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) #30 America Online (AOL) NASCAR Winston Cup program, originally scheduled for this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, has been postponed. The postponement was originally announced Feb. 23 in an RCR release that named Kevin Harvick as the driver of the #29 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevy. It had been announced Feb. 9 that Harvick would be the driver of the AOL car but, with him assuming the driving chores of the #29 car, options continue to be explored for the debut of the AOL/RCR program. “The plan was for Kevin to run seven Winston Cup races for AOL this season and then fulltime in 2002,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “AOL has been wonderful to work with through these trying times and agreed to let us move Kevin to the GM Goodwrench team. Atlanta was originally scheduled to be our first race with AOL but they agreed to let us move that date back in order to give us some time to best determine how to move this program forward. We’ll announce both the driver and the debut as soon as a decision is made.”(RCR PR)(3-6-2001)
  • Petty Crewman Arrested UPDATE 3 Petty Announcement: A mechanic for NASCAR driver Kyle Petty was arrested after a city traffic accident seriously injured an off-duty beach patrol officer. Jeremy Lee Upchurch an engine tuner for Petty’s #45 Dodge, was arrested and charged Monday night with aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash with injuries, culpable negligence, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving(That’s Racin’/AP)(2-14-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kyle Petty visited Halifax Medical Center on Wednesday night to apologize for a wreck police say was caused by one of Petty’s mechanics, a wreck that badly injured a Volusia County Beach Patrol officer. But family members and friends said Thursday that they wouldn’t let Petty see Alan White, who at the time didn’t know the circumstances that left him with multiple skull fractures, two cracked vertebrae and other injuries. They said White was too weak to see Petty. Also, Upchurch was fired from Petty’s team and was not with the pit crew for Thursday’s Twin 125 races. See the full story at the Orlando Sentinel(2-16-2001)
    UPDATE 2: A police officer who was critically injured during a car wreck involving two NASCAR mechanics is suing the men and Petty Enterprises Inc. Alan White, 47, said in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Petty Enterprises provided a rental car for Joseph Fiorelli, 39, and Jeremy Upchurch, 25, despite knowing of their “immaturity and propensity to consume alcoholic beverages and then operate motor vehicles while under the influence.” White also named the rental car’s owner, Enterprise Leasing Co. of Orlando, in the lawsuit. He is seeking more than $15,000 in damages(Orlando Sentinel)(3-2-2001)
    UPDATE 3: While their prayers are still with an injured off-duty police officer in Daytona Beach, Fla., Petty Enterprises is disturbed with unfounded news reports that it has fired crew member Joseph Fiorelli, Kyle Petty said. Fiorelli was the victim of a passenger.s dangerous prank in an automobile during Speed Weeks at Daytona several weeks ago. Fiorelli was driving the car while Jeremy Upchurch, who was not a Petty Enterprises employee but rather an employee of an engine building company, was riding in the front passenger seat. According to police reports, Upchurch suddenly put his left foot on Fiorelli.s right foot, mashing the gas pedal down. Fiorelli fought to regain control of the car but slammed into an SUV which was making a turn. Upchurch was reportedly arrested, and Fiorelli was not cited for any violation. As the police record indicates, alcohol was not involved as none of those in the car had been drinking. “Joseph was a victim as much as anybody in this deal, and it.s sad that he remains a victim,” Petty said. “There have been unfounded rumors about his employment and I guess some news people have picked up on that. The fact of the matter is Joe Fiorelli is a solid citizen and a valued member of Petty Enterprises and continues to work with the #44 team, and we plan on him being with us for a long time. “The other guy was not our employee. He was in the car and all indications are he had some pretty poor judgement,” Petty replied. “I hate that anybody was hurt because of this but I also hate that Joe is getting dragged through the mud over somebody else.s doings.” Fiorelli will be at the 500-mile race in Hampton, Ga., this week assisting in preparations for that race. He was also at races in Rockingham, NC, and Las Vegas, NV(Williams Company PR)(3-6-2001)
  • #53 for Gordon: With his win in Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, Jeff Gordon tied Rusty Wallace for eighth on NASCAR’s all-time wins list with 53. The late Lee Petty is seventh with 55 career victories(Richmond Times Dispacth)(some list Petty as having 54 which is supposed the OFFICIAL win total)(3-6-2001)

    (3-5-2001)

  • Rules Changes? Expect NASCAR officials to shortly make a rules change that will enlarge the side-window areas of Winston Cup cars for all four makes, thus facilitating easier entry and exit for drivers equipped with the HANS devices(Gaston Gazette)(3-5-2001)
  • New Cup team/driver? Brian Conz recently came to an agreement to field the new NASCAR Field & Stream® Racing team, other associate sponsors to be named soon. Plans are being made for the #78 Field & Stream® Chevy to make their Winston Cup debut at Talladega Motor Speedway on April 22, 2001(BC Motorsports Site). That is all the info that there is on the site(3-5-2001)
  • First HANS win UPDATE: told that Jeff Gordon was wearing the HANS device today, becoming the first CUP driver to win using the device. A story earlier reported he was not going to wear it today, but the folks at HANS say he did wear it today(yes I saw him remove a device when he unbuckled from the car)(3-4-2001)
    UPDATE: Race winner Jeff Gordon also wore the (HANS) device. “It rubs on my collarbones,” he said. “I want to find a way to soften that. If that’s what I have to give up to be safer, I’m fine with that.”(Alabama Live)(3-5-2001)
  • Stricklin Tests the HANS: #90-Hut Stricklin crash-tested his HANS device Sunday. A blown right front tire sent Stricklin’s car into the wall. Stricklin was not injured and credited the head and neck support system for that. He first raced with the device last week at Rockingham. “I was pretty impressed,” Stricklin said of the HANS device. “Any other time an impact like that, you would feel your back and neck stretch.” Stricklin said his head and neck felt fine(Roanoke Times)(3-5-2001)
  • Vegas TV Ratings: Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the highest-rated sports program of the weekend, according to overnight ratings provided by FOX Sports. Sunday’s race garnered a 6.1 rating and a 13 share, which represented a 49 percent increase over the 2000 event at LVMS. Each rating point represents approximately two million people. The rating was higher than any NASCAR event in the 2000 season with the exception of the Daytona 500. The overnight rating represents ratings from the top 49 media markets in the country. The national rating will be available later in the week. Sunday’s rating was the highest ever for an event at LVMS. The previous high rating was a 6.0 for the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup event.(LVMS PR)(3-5-2001)
  • #31 Fine? Mike Skinner’s #31 team could face a penalty for a parts infraction. Skinner’s carburetor intake was confiscated before qualifying after being found with a performance-enhancing additive(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-5-2001)
  • Wind Tunnel: hearing that Hendrick Motorsports in testing at least one #24 Chevy at the Lockheed Wind Tunnel in Marietta, GA today(3-5-2001)
  • Changes at the #5? UPDATE: The Terry Labonte-Gary DeHart team has struggled, and car owner Rick Hendrick may be ready to shake things up there(Winston Salem Journal)(3-4-2001)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Gary DeHart’s job might be in jeopardy. When Kellogg’s, sponsor of DeHart’s #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, questioned the ability of driver Terry Labonte after he suffered multiple concussions in 2000, Labonte went to Kentucky Speedway and ran laps in teammate Jerry Nadeau’s #25 car. Labonte’s laps were faster than Nadeau’s, proving it’s the car and not the driver(Sporting News)(3-5-2001)

(3-4-2001)

  • Burton Sponsor in the BGN: Another of the Roush organization’s cars picked up a sponsorship this week. Jeff Burton’s Busch Series entry is now sponsored by the Gain detergent brand, meaning that the Ford Taurus was painted a garish neon green(Gaston Gazette). Not sure if this was a one race deal or for the rest of the BGN races Burton plans to run(3-4-2001)
  • Petty Casino Chip: Retired stock car king Richard Petty is being honored by a Las Vegas casino with a special edition betting chip featuring his likeness. Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, which also sponsored Saturday’s Busch Series race in Las Vegas issued the special chips for fans and collectors on Monday(AP/Speed Magazine)(3-4-2001)
  • Tragic News – not NASCAR: An Australian Grand Prix marshal died and seven spectators were injured after they were struck by flying debris during the first race of the Formula One season Sunday.(see full story at: ESPN/AP)(3-4-2001)
  • HANS News: Michael Waltrip said that he’ll wear the HANS device, a head and neck support system, in today’s race. Waltrip tried it at a test session at Atlanta last week. Last week, at least seven of the 43 drivers wore a HANS device at Rockingham. They were Dale Jarrett, Brett Bodine, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Robert Pressley, Hut Stricklin and Terry Labonte. About seven other drivers wore other restraint systems(Roanoke Times). See my Safety/HANS page for an unofficial list(3-4-2001)
  • Labonte/Earnhardt plan won’t happen: Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt had planned a celebration for Texas. Labonte had his Winston Cup-record 655 consecutive-start streak end last year. Earnhardt was on pace to tie the record at Martinsville and break it the next week at Texas Motor Speedway. The drivers made plans to run special cars commemorating the occasion at Texas(Times Dispatch)(3-4-2001)

    (3-3-2001)

  • Gordon Safe: Despite a disappointing start to the 2001 season, Larry McClure, owner of the #4 Kodak Chevy, remains confident that his team will improve soon. Contrary to rumors circulating throughout the NASCAR community, McClure is standing behind his new driver, Robby Gordon. Larry McClure, owner Morgan-McClure Motorsports, quotes: “I really do not know where these rumors get started. I am not happy with the performance of this team, but we are only into the third race of the season. During the race at Rockingham last week, we realized that no adjustments would make the race car better. We unloaded here (Las Vegas) and the same thing was happening. We changed everything on the car before qualifying. The car stayed the same. This makes us realize the chassis might need to be changed. Maybe it is a combination of items, but we are certainly going to make changes to these cars next week. The engines are showing good horsepower. Robby, David (Ifft-Crew Chief) and I are pleased with the engines this year. It is baffling to have these situations. We will get to the bottom of it. Kodak is pleased with Robby. Morgan-McClure is pleased with Robby. He has shown during the last few days that he is a team player. He has stepped up and is offering input. My crew guys are probably some of the hardest working guys in the garage right now. They have done everything we have asked them to do and more. Robby makes it a point to thank them daily for all of their hard work. This team has been down and we are going to get this situation corrected. We are proven winners, Ifft is a proven winner and we want to make Robby a winner in the Winston Cup series. I have confidence in him and his driving abilities or I would not have hired him. Having said that, I want to ensure everyone that he will remain with Morgan-McClure. Hopefully everyone can see some major improvements by Darlington.” NOTE: Robby has competed in one race at Las Vegas. He started 12th and finished 13th and led eight laps-3-5-2000(Morgan McClure PR) and from NASCAR.com: Rumors swirled throughout the garage at LVMS that Sunday’s race would be Robby Gordon’s last race in the #4 Kodak Morgan-McClure Chevy. According to a team spokesperson, those rumors are false and that the team will retain Gordon as its driver, and that rumors of Kenny Wallace taking over are untrue. Also according to the spokesperson, the team is planning to take “return to basics” approach to the rest of the season, beginning with a new chassis manufacturer(NASCAR.com)(3-3-2001)
  • Buckshot to do double duty at Atlanta UPDATE: When the BGN series swings through Atlanta, just miles from where Buckshot Jones grew up in Tucker(GA), Jones will race in both next Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 Busch Series and Sunday’s Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 Winston Cup race, an exciting double dose of action. Jones has never won at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he’s performed well in his Busch car, recording two top-5 finishes in three races. He has struggled more in his four Winston Cup races, earning a best finish of 26th, but still boasts a seventh-place start. He will try to reverse that trend next weekend as he brings his new Cup ride to Atlanta for the first time. Just two races into the year, the #00 Buckshot Racing machine has proven to be both fast and extremely competitive, with Bodine winning at Rockingham and running as high as second at Daytona before getting caught in a late-race wreck.(AMS PR)(3-1-2001)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup driver Buckshot Jones, a native of Georgia, was planning to drive his Buckshot Racing’s #00 entry in next weekend’s BGN race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but is having second thoughts. Jones has been impressed with the success of his BGN team with driver Todd Bodine – Bodine has qualified in the top three the past two races and won at Rockingham and Las Vegas – and doesn’t want to disrupt team chemistry(That’s Racin’)(3-3-2001)
  • Dodge Engines: Bill Davis, owner of the #22 Dodges driven by Ward Burton and the #93 Dodges driven by Dave Blaney, said Dodge teams are still experiencing some problems with their engines. “The motor does seem to build up a lot of water temperature. That’s something we’re learning about,” Davis said. “We had our other system worked out with the (General Motors) stuff last season. We’d run a lot of tape and never have any problems, but that’s a learning process. Davis credited his engine builder, Terry Elledge, with his teams’ strong runs to start the 2001 season. “He’s got more experience and more knowledge, or as much, as anybody here,” Davis said. “That’s one reason we’re where we’re at. We don’t suffer motor-wise.”(That’s Racin’)(3-3-2001)
  • #75 back in the 2nd Half UPDATE 2: Galaxy Motorsports announced today the launch of a major restructuring of its Winston Cup operation. The plan calls for the race team to return full time to the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit during the second half of the season. Team officials feel that a complete overhaul of the race team is required and that all facets of the race package would be analyzed and restructured. The goal is to emerge from this restructuring phase with a full time race team that exceeds expectations in terms of performance and marketing value(Galaxy Motorsports PR). No word on driver Wally Dallenbach’s status or lawsuit(see #75 Team News and Links page for info)(2-27-2001)
    UPDATE: Darwin Oordt’s hopes of getting his NASCAR Winston Cup team back on the track this weekend have crashed. Oordt said his plan now is to try to re-join the series at midseason, in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway(July 7th). When Oordt announced that he would not be able to field a car in the season-opening Daytona 500, his driver, Wally Dallenbach, filed a breach of contract suit. Neither Oordt nor Dallenbach will comment on the terms of the suit, but there have been printed reports that Dallenbach was to receive a $1 million salary this season, $600,000 for endorsements, and other perks(Tennessean)(2-28-2001)
    UPDATE 2: see an ESPN story about Dallenbach: Pizza Hut doesn’t deliver for Dallenbach(3-3-2001)
  • Stewart not Happy with CNN: Tony Stewart is furious at the producers of a CNN/SI tribute to Dale Earnhardt for running a clip that, to Stewart’s way of thinking, intentionally placed his remarks in the wrong context. What happened was that, in a program devoted to Earnhardt’s memory, the cable sports channel ran remarks that purported to show Stewart talking about Earnhardt’s fatal crash. What he was actually talking about was his own crash in the Daytona 500, and what was self-deprecating in its original intent (“… the world’s not going to end just because a race driver crashes …”) seemed coldblooded and flippant when used as if Stewart had been talking about Earnhardt. Several CNN/SI employees have personally apologized, but management has refused requests from Stewart, Joe Gibbs and sponsor Home Depot to apologize for the mistake(Gaston Gazette)(3-3-2001)

    (3-2-2001)

  • Simpson Comments on Harness Lawsuit: ‘We see the attorneys’ actions … as an opportunistic stunt to capitalize on the unfortunate death of Dale Earnhardt by sensationalizing their allegations in the news media,” Simpson founder and chairman Bill Simpson said in a statement. See the full AP story at the Boston Globe: Seatbelt makers calls lawsuit ‘opportunistic’ and see the past news on Earnhardt’s torn harness and lawsuit below in a larger story(3-2-2001)
  • Petty Crewman Arrested UPDATE 2 Lawsuit: A mechanic for NASCAR driver Kyle Petty was arrested after a city traffic accident seriously injured an off-duty beach patrol officer. Jeremy Lee Upchurch an engine tuner for Petty’s #45 Dodge, was arrested and charged Monday night with aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash with injuries, culpable negligence, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving(That’s Racin’/AP)(2-14-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kyle Petty visited Halifax Medical Center on Wednesday night to apologize for a wreck police say was caused by one of Petty’s mechanics, a wreck that badly injured a Volusia County Beach Patrol officer. But family members and friends said Thursday that they wouldn’t let Petty see Alan White, who at the time didn’t know the circumstances that left him with multiple skull fractures, two cracked vertebrae and other injuries. They said White was too weak to see Petty. Also, Upchurch was fired from Petty’s team and was not with the pit crew for Thursday’s Twin 125 races. See the full story at the Orlando Sentinel(2-16-2001)
    UPDATE 2: A police officer who was critically injured during a car wreck involving two NASCAR mechanics is suing the men and Petty Enterprises Inc. Alan White, 47, said in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Petty Enterprises provided a rental car for Joseph Fiorelli, 39, and Jeremy Upchurch, 25, despite knowing of their “immaturity and propensity to consume alcoholic beverages and then operate motor vehicles while under the influence.” White also named the rental car’s owner, Enterprise Leasing Co. of Orlando, in the lawsuit. He is seeking more than $15,000 in damages(Orlando Sentinel)(3-2-2001)
  • Another Marlin: Steadman Marlin has signed to run races in the ARCA and BGN series with Nashville-based Sadler Racing. The team, founded by Earl Sadler, has given career boosts to such prominent drivers as Steadman’s dad Sterling, Davey Allison, Jeff Green, Michael Waltrip and Jeremy Mayfield(Tennessean)(3-2-2001)
  • Atwood to own a team: Casey Atwood will field a car in this season’s Late Model division at Nashville Speedway. It will be driven by Robert Ray Baucom, who will be a rookie(Tennessean)(3-2-2001)
  • Earnhardt #6 on Forbes: Dale Earnhardt, killed two weeks ago in the Daytona 500, came in sixth on the Forbes Magazine’s list of the highest paid athletes for the year 2000 with $24.5 million. First was Formula One driving champion Michael Schumacher with $59 million in earnings. the other top five: Tiger Woods(golf), Mike Tyson(boxing), Michael Jordan(retired-NBA) and Grant Hill(NBA)(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-2-2001)
  • Interesting Challenge at Las Vegas – Drivers UPDATE 4 final: Thanks to The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, drivers who race in both the NASCAR Winston West event at the Bullring and the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race will compete for three nights of luxury at the Strip resort in The Venetian Challenge. Officials at The Venetian have agreed to offer any driver who can finish in the top three in both the Feb. 28 NAPA 300 and Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 the following:. a three-night stay in the hotel’s Penthouse suite and the driver’s spouse or significant other will receive a $20,000 shopping spree in the Grand Canal Shoppes.(LVMS PR). So far Brendan Gaughan
    is the only one I know of who will attempt both(2-6-2001)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip has committed to compete in the Feb. 28 NAPA Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Winston West Series event at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Waltrip, who drives the #15-NAPA Chevy for Dale Earnhardt in Cup, will make his first NASCAR Winston West starts since he won at Pikes Peak in July of 1997. Waltrip will be driving a car prepared by Orleans Racing and will be a teammate of defending series champion Brendan Gaughan and NASCAR veteran Herschel McGriff. Waltrip and Gaughan are scheduled to compete in both the NAPA Auto Parts 300 and the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Winston Cup event on Sunday, March 4. As part of The Venetian Challenge, they both will be eligible for a special bonus from The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. If either driver places in the top three in both races they will receive a three-day stay in The Venetian’s penthouse suite and their wife or significant other will receive a $20,000 shopping spree in The Grand Canal Shoppes(LVMS PR)(2-8-2001)
    UPDATE 2 – Hornaday Added: #14-Ron Hornaday has decided to compete in the NAPA Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Winston West Series event on Feb. 28 at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hornaday, who will be competing in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 4, will be driving a car prepared by Las Vegas’ Bobby Pangonis. Hornaday has six career wins in the NASCAR Winston West Series, but his last win came in 1996 at Colorado National Speedway in Erie, Colo. One of his wins came in 1994 at the old Las Vegas Speedway Park, which was the forerunner of the Bullring. Hornaday joins Michael Waltrip and Brendan Gaughan in The Venetian Challenge. “That is awesome,” Hornaday said. “We.re going to win that deal and enjoy it. I’ll even take the money and give it to charity.”(LVMS PR)(2-11-2001)
    UPDATE 3 – postponed: NASCAR and LVMS have postponed the NAPA 300, NASCAR Winston West Series event, scheduled for Wednesday, February 28th at the ‘Bullring’ at LVMS. The event will be run on Thursday, March 1st as a prelude to the BGN and Cup Series events at the 1.5-mile LVMS. The 300-lap event is scheduled for a green flag at 7:30pm on the .375-mile Thursday with gates opening at 8:00am and NASCAR Winston West Series Bud Pole Qualifying at 12:00pm. Waltrip and Hornaday are scheduled to compete in the 300-lap event along with the competitors from the Winston West Series including 2000 series champion, Brendan Gaughan(NASCAR PR)(3-1-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Rookie Mark Reed got his first career victory in the NASCAR Winston West Series on Thursday night at the ‘Bullring’. Mike Duncan crossed the line second, followed by Sean Woodside, Austin Cameron and Kevin Richards. Michael Waltrip was credited with a 23rd-place finish after dropping out of the race with a damaged radiator on lap 96. Fellow Winston Cup driver Ron Hornaday’s effort ended with a 20th-place finish due to an engine failure(Las Vegas Sun). So no driver wins the prize(3-2-2001)


    (3-1-2001)

  • Lap Belt Broken UPDATE 5 another driver hurt?: The lap belt in Dale Earnhardt’s #3 Chevy was broken when examined after the Daytona 500 crash that took the seven-time champion’s life, NASCAR officials said Friday. NASCAR president Mike Helton said threads on the left side of Earnhardt’s lap belt were separated. “We don’t know how, when or where, yet. We will continue our investigation,” he said. Dr. Steve Bohannon, one of the doctors examining Earnhardt on Sunday, said the broken belt could have caused Earnhardt’s body to be thrown forward and to the right, sending him flying into the steering wheel. Bohannon said Earnhardt might have hit his face on the steering wheel, causing the major head injury that killed him. The doctor said he was not sure if the HANS restraint device would have helped prevent the injuries. But, he said, a full-face helmet might have been beneficial. Earnhardt wore an open-face model(That’s Racin’ and from the AP)
    UPDATE: an updated story at CNN/SI – According to Earnhardt’s car owner Richard Childress, who was also present Friday morning, both the car and the seat belt were virtually brand new, built last November. According to Helton and Nelson, as well as officials at the belt company, last Sunday’s failure was the first example of any such event in the 52-year history of NASCAR. Both Helton and Nelson refused to offer any ideas whatsoever as to what could possibly cause such an event(can also watch the Press Conferences there via your PC)(CNN/SI)(2-23-2001)
    UPDATE 2: The New York Daily News reports: Dale Earnhardt altered the seat belt in his #3 Chevy during last week’s Daytona 500, possibly playing a hand in his death on the final lap of the race. NASCAR officials said yesterday that Earnhardt was found with a broken seat belt after the wreck in which he was killed instantly. However, one source who saw the car after the wreck told the Daily News the seat belt failure was because of alterations to the safety harness ordered by Earnhardt, not because of a design flaw or failure of the mechanism(NY Daily News). Other stories about the belt: Statement from Bill Simpson on Earnhardt’s seat belt and Belt theory has some detractors from That’s Racin’ and from CNN/SI: Defending their belt – Belt manufacturer: NASCAR shifting blame(2-24-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Mike Helton said there was no additional conclusive information about the “separated” seat belt found in Earnhardt’s car after the wreck at Daytona. But the issue continues to create speculation around the garage area. Rusty Wallace, one of the drivers who has seen the separated belt and Earnhardt’s wrecked car, told reporters that he believes the problem was not in the belt itself but in how it was installed(That’s Racin’)(2-25-2001)
    UPDATE 4 Lap Belt Inspection: NASCAR officials confirmed Monday they sent Dale Earnhardt’s seat belt out for expert analysis to figure out why the belt separated during the Feb 18th Daytona 500. NASCAR will announce the results of the analysis perhaps by week’s end, officials said.(That’s Racin’)(2-27-2001)
    UPDATE 5 David Hutchins, 29, is still recovering from an accident he was in at the Seekonk Speedway on June 17. He believes he was hurt so badly in the accident because his seat belt, made by the same manufacturer(Simpson) as the one Earnhardt used, broke. Hutchins said the seat belt gave way over his left leg, the same place NASCAR officials said Earnhardt’s seat belt came apart. As a result, he said, the force from the accident caused him to move forward, trapping him beneath the dash and throwing some of his body into the steering wheel. Brian Cunha and Associates have filed a lawsuit against Simpson Performance Products Inc., the Texas company that makes the seat belts, on Hutchins’ behalf. The suit was mailed to the U.S. District Court in Boston on Tuesday. See the full story at the Herald News: Race tragedy might have been avoided AND from the Providence Journal: A safety harness nearly identical to the one that Dale Earnhardt was wearing when he was killed in the Daytona 500 allegedly failed during a collision at Seekonk Speedway last June. The driver in the Seekonk crash, Dave Hutchins, filed a suit Tuesday against the harness manufacturer, claiming that he suffered fractures in both legs because the waist belt’s nylon webbing snapped when his car hit the wall at Seekonk Speedway(in Massachusetts a 1/3 mile asphalt track)(3-1-2001)
  • Hill Bros to sponsor two cars? UPDATE 2: Hills Bros full time sponsor of the #90 Ford driven by Hut Stricklin, has plans to sponsor Kenny Wallace’s #27 Pontiac as well in a few races. Not at Rockingham but at Las Vegas, where Wallace is a candidate for the No Bull 5. Hills Bros. sponsored Wallace during the Daytona 500 after Stricklin failed to make the race(NOL’s Buzz)(2-21-2001)
    UPDATE: Sara Lee Coffee & Tea will sponsor two teams in the Cup race next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The first entry is Hut Stricklin’s #90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford, which is fielded by Junie Donlavey. The #90 Ford has carried the brand’s logo since 1999. Kenny Wallace will drive the second entry – the #27 Pontiac. Fielded by Eel River Racing, the car will don a paint scheme featuring the 100% Columbian blend of Hills Bros Coffee. Wallace is one of four drivers eligible for the “No Bull 5” bonus, which is awarded to the winner of the race at Las Vegas. Wallace’s #27 Pontiac will sport a different paint scheme to promote the Hills Bros Coffee Columbian blend. The front half of the car will be the same Ferrari red as the #90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford, but it will fade to black toward the rear of the car. The “television panel” will display the Hills Bros Coffee 100% Columbian blend logo(Keystone PR)(2-24-2001)
    UPDATE 2: added a couple images of the #27 Hill Bros Pontiac to the Paint Scheme Gallery(3-1-2001)
  • Movie Rights? A column by Liz Smith reports that actor Tom Cruise is rumored interested in snapping up movie rights to the life of Dale Earnhardt, recently killed in a crash at the Daytona 500(Page 6)(3-1-2001)
  • Marcis to the BGN? Rumor has it that #71-Dave Marcis is considering moving to the BGN Series.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(3-1-2001)
  • #36 Assoc Sponsor: Combos Snacks, a product of M&M/MARS, announced that it will serve as an Associate Sponsor of the #36 “M&M’s Racing Team for the 2001 season. As part of the sponsorship agreement, the Combos Snacks logo will appear on the #36 “M&M’s Racing/MB2 Motorsports Pontiac driven by Kenny Schrader. Combos Snacks has served as a minor sponsor on the #36 car the past few seasons but will be increasing its role to that of an Associate Sponsor for the 2001 season.(IMG Motorsports PR)(3-1-2001)
  • Little E Gives a Guitar: Singer Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters was happy with the gift of a new guitar, but the timing made it bittersweet. The Gibson guitar came from stock car racer Dale Earnhardt Jr., who’s a big rock music fan. “Two days after I got the guitar I heard that his father had died,” Grohl told reporters last week. Earnhardt’s dad, one of NASCAR’s biggest stars, was killed in a crash at the Daytona 500. “It’s an amazing guitar,” Grohl said. “We’re doing a couple more shows in the next month and I plan on using it just to let him know that I’m rockin’ it for him.”(Infobeat/AP)(3-1-2001)
  • Donation: Van Camp’s Beans, which became an associate sponsor of Dale Earnhardt this year, has contributed $10,000 to the Foundation For the Carolinas – Earnhardt Family Fund.(Winston Cup Scene – Need Subscription to see)(3-1-2001)