March 2002 CTS Archive

  • Petree tests at Martinsville UPDATE: It was a strange gathering in the garage area at Martinsville Speedway Tuesday: a Winston Cup team owner driving a BGN car, hoping to gain enough seat time to help him make the CTS race at the track on April 13. Andy Petree, owner of the #55 Schneider Electric Chevy driven by Bobby Hamilton and the unsponsored #33 Chevy driven by Mike Wallace has an opportunity to drive a truck at martinsville, but he felt like he needed some practice laps on Martinsville’s tight .526-mile oval. But in the CTS, private test sessions are not allowed. That’s why Petree showed up with a BGN car. “We got a Busch car to come here and make some laps and get a feel for the race track,” said Petree, who ran a handful of BGN races at Martinsville in the early 1990s. “It (the Busch car) has a somewhat similar configuration as the truck deal. It has the same motor, the same carburetor, so we’re just getting a little seat time and seeing what’s going on.” Petree had a little help in the pits with him Tuesday. Robert Pressley, who won the season-opening CTS race at Daytona last month, was sort of a track tutor for Petree. Pressley’s truck owner is Winston Cup driver Bobby Hamilton, who happens to be fielding Petree’s entry in the Advance Auto Parts 250.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-6-2002)
    UPDATE: Actually, Petree will be driving the #33 Chevy (not a Dodge), so far no primary sponsor, but Petree may be close, and Craftsman and Sherwin Williams will be major associates on the truck.(3-28-2002)
  • It’s Official – DW in a Truck: Three-time Winston Cup champion and current NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip will make a return to racing on April 13th at the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in Martinsville, VA. This will mark Waltrip’s first return to NASCAR racing since his retirement at the end of the 2000 Winston Cup season. Waltrip will drive the #17 Duck Head Footwear Dodge, owned by Virginia businessman Jim Harris and Mark Melling. Stacy Compton, originally slated to be in the Duck Head Footwear truck, is unable due to a scheduling conflict with the Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race running at Nashville that same day. Waltrip will be reunited with his former crew chief and current FOX Sports analyst Jeff Hammond for this event. Additionally, the team will run the #17 which Waltrip made famous when he drove for Hendrick Motorsports and then for himself. “Jeff and I want to thank FOX Sports’ David Hill and Ed Goren for letting us take advantage of this opportunity,” said Waltrip. “We were supposed to be in Nashville broadcasting the NASCAR Busch Series event for FX, but they were kind enough to let us go racing. This is going to be fun!” Waltrip won 11 of his 84 Winston Cup races at Martinsville – five in the spring event and six more in the fall. Waltrip finished 5th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Martinsville in 1996. In 1997, the #17 Waltrip-owned truck won the Martinsville event. “This is a great opportunity to have some fun,” said Hammond. “It definitely will rekindle some great memories we had together and give us another chance to make some new ones. The Duck Head Footwear people are great to work with. D.W. and I are hoping to put their truck in Victory Lane!” Truck team owner Jim Harris was equally excited. “D.W.’s record at Martinsville is beyond belief,” he said. “When Stacy told us D.W. received the OK from FOX Sports to participate, I called Vice President of Sales, David Dunevant at Duck Head Footwear. He was really excited about DW and Jeff being associated with the Duck Head brand!” D.W. will drive the NASCAR Craftsman truck that captured four top-10 finishes and the Bud Pole Award at Phoenix last season when piloted by Compton. Melling Racing is preparing the Dodge Ram truck at its shop in Concord, NC. Qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts 250 takes place Friday, April 12. The NASCAR Craftsman trucks take the green flag at 2PM ET on Saturday, April 13.(Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. PR and a story at FoxSports), see more to the story below….(3-26-2002)

    DW’s Truck Scheme for Martinsville

  • DW to drive a truck at Martinsville UPDATE 4: although ESPN2’s Dr Jerry Punch wouldn’t say his name, he said D.W. [Darrell Waltrip] is coming out of retirement for one race only to drive a truck at Martinsville in Mark Melling’s truck that Stacy Compton ran last year [#92 Dodge won the pole at Phoenix last year].(ESPN2’s PRM 2 Night)(3-19-2002)
    UPDATE: actually been told that D.W. was ASKED to drive the truck and has NOT committed to it yet.(3-20-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The Festival of Speed [in England] will also see a genuine American racing hero return to the driver’s seat when three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip puts Chevrolet’s legendary Monte Carlo stock car through its paces. Waltrip’s quick wit is rivaled only by his speed in a race car, and he has vowed (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) to outrun the Formula 1 contingent on Goodwood’s long and winding road. What is the Festival of Speed? The ninth Festival of Speed will, once again, confirm that Goodwood is an absolute must in motor racing’s social calendar. The Festival will feature many stars of car and motorcycle racing, and a sensational array of both four and two-wheeled machinery, charging up the hill, competing against the clock. This is the closest you can get to the breathtaking speed of a modern Formula 1 car, while at the same time enjoying relaxed hospitality in Goodwood Park. It will be held on July 12-14th in Goodwood, England. DW attend the event last year.(3-21-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Darrell Waltrip is expected to come out of retirement for one event and return to racing next month at Martinsville Speedway in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck. An announcement should be made early next week. Waltrip would drive a truck owned by Winston Cup driver Stacy Compton and Jim Harris, a Lynchburg, Va., businessman. The truck race is April 13, and Waltrip had to get permission to skip FX’s broadcast of the BGN race that day in Nashville to race. Waltrip won’t be the only broadcaster missing that race. Jeff Hammond, one of Waltrip’s former crew chiefs, will work with Waltrip’s crew that weekend.(News and Record)(3-23-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Darrell Waltrip, who hasn’t driven in a race since Nov. 2000, has NASCAR’s blessing to run the April 13 Craftsman Truck Series race in Martinsville. ”Darrell’s been around long enough not to need much testing,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said yesterday. Helton’s reaction to the surprise announcement that Waltrip plans to come out of retirement for the one-race deal with Stacy Compton’s truck team.(Tennessean)(3-25-2002)
  • What happened to Donnie Neuenberger? not sure, but noticed Neuenberger, was not in the #81 CTS truck at Darlington, but hearing the owner, Rick Ware and Neuenberger had some sort of disagreement over the sponsor IHOP and went their separate ways. So Ware put Jonathon Price in the #81 truck for the race.(3-21-2002)
  • DW to drive a truck at Martinsville: although ESPN2’s Dr Jerry Punch wouldn’t say his name, he said D.W. [Darrell Waltrip] is coming out of retirement for one race only to drive a truck at Martinsville in Mark Melling’s truck that Stacy Compton ran last year [#92 Dodge won the pole at Phoenix last year].(ESPN2’s PRM 2 Night)(3-19-2002)
    UPDATE: actually been told that D.W. was ASKED to drive the truck and has NOT committed to it yet.(3-20-2002)
  • Wind Tunnel: NASCAR has impounded three trucks after Darlington, the #18-Dodge, #14-Ford, #6-Chevy, to the wind tunnel (didn’t say which one, Marietta, GA?) on April 9th, just before the Martinsville race. The #18 was taken instead of the #1 Dodge of Ted Musgrave because it has damage to the side that would effect the test.(ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night)(3-19-2002)
  • New Official Site: Bobby Hamilton Racing.(3-19-2002)
  • Race Not to be made up? NASCAR President Mike Helton said Saturday the sanctioning body has explored several options to replace the scheduled Aug. 25 Truck series race at Chicago Motor Speedway, but it appears the race may not be made up. A disagreement between the speedway and the Championship Auto Racing Teams series caused the cancellation of a CART race and Truck series race scheduled at the track this season. CART has been able to reschedule its race at the track, but NASCAR has been unable this far to work out a new race for the Trucks.(
  • Hooper gets sponsors: Ware Racing’s Craftsman Truck Series team announced two sponsors for Lance Hooper’s #5 truck. Diamond Cut Jeans and the Blair Corporation, an online retailer, will back Hooper for the 2002 season.(RacingOne)(3-16-2002)
  • Musgrave wins at Darlington: #1-Ted Musgrave won the 2nd was #18-Robert Pressley and #16-Mike Bliss was 3rd. Pressley and Musgrave are now tied with the points lead at 360. 3rd is rookie #4-Brian Rose with 317. See for Friday’s Truck series race results and a column: Musgrave, Dodge notch another win. The race can be seen on ESPN2, Saturday, March 16th at 6:00pm/et.(3-15-2002)
  • Leffler on the pole at Darlington: Dodge drivers swept the top three starting positions for Friday’s Craftsman Anniversary 200 (TV-ESPN 6:00pm/et Saturday Mar 16th), with #2-Jason Leffler leading the way with a speed at 163.702 mph to claim his first series pole. Teammate #1-Ted Musgrave will start 2nd with a speed of 163.506 and #18-Robert Pressley (who won the last CTS race, at Daytona) will start third at 162.748. Former Cup driver, #21-Morgan Shepherd made the field and will start 29th. See for Craftsman Anniversary 200 Race Lineup. Two drivers are attempting to run both the Cup and CTS races: #6-Kevin Harvick and #52-Ken Schrader (made the CTS race). One driver was attempting to make both the CTS and BGN races: #23-Phil Bonfield but he failed to make the CTS race.(3-14-2002)
  • Students to work crew: Seven students from the Universal Technical Institute’s (UTI) Houston campus will work on the pit crew for Truck Series racer Loni Richardson at tomorrow’s Craftsman Anniversary 200 at Darlington Raceway. Richardson – who will be racing the #73 Chevy truck sponsored by Intensitee Custom Race Wear, UTI and County Building Center – is a 12-year racing veteran who will be competing as a Raybestos rookie of the year contender at this year’s event. Ranging in age from 19-30, the students participating as the pit crew are: Jason Flamer, Theodore Brown, Jose Gonzalez, Ernest Herrera Jr., David Honea, Michael Kalassay and William McGoffin, who have been under the educational direction of UTI-Houston instructor Richard Hildebrandt. They will gain hands-on knowledge as they constitute a majority of Richardson’s pit crew during the race. Flamer was one of four students awarded the Dodge Diversity Scholarship for 2001 to attend UTI’s NASCAR program at the Houston campus. Created to cultivate minority participation in NASCAR and Dodge Motorsports, scholarship recipients are provided with the necessary education and training through UTI. The scholarship program prepares them to fill the many employment opportunities available as professional automotive technicians.(more info about the program on my Racing Schools/Jobs page). UTI, the exclusive educational partner of NASCAR, will open the first ever NASCAR Technical Institute in July 2002 in Mooresville, NC where an estimated 1900 students will train for careers in automotive technology annually.(NASCAR PR)(3-14-2002)
  • Money for leading lap 75: Truck Series teams competing in Friday’s Craftsman Anniversary 200 at Darlington have an extra incentive to make an early-race sprint. Series sponsor Craftsman has posted a $7,500 bonus for the driver who leads Lap 75. The award is posted in honor of Craftsman’s 75th anniversary.(
  • Crawford Special Scheme: #14-Rick Crawford will have a specially designed American flag paint scheme on his Ford at Darlington to show his support for the United States and its servicemen and women.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-14-2002)
  • #81 Gets Assoc: Online direct marketing firm SubscriberBASE, Inc. announced it will be joining forces with BG Motorsports and Ware Racing Enterprises to become an associate sponsor for a six-race schedule in the Truck Series, beginning with Friday’s race at Darlington.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-14-2002)
  • Ruttman back at Darlington UPDATE 2 One race deal: Joe Ruttman, who started back in the field in the season-opening Daytona 250, took R.D. Smith’s #79 Dodge to the front and finished fourth, earning him a start in the series’ next event at Darlington in March.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-21-2002)
    UPDATE: been told Ruttman has not secured a ride for Darlington and is actively looking for a ride at Darlington and the rest of the season.(3-6-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Ruttman will run the #28 Unsponsored Chevy at Darlington, Bob Rahilly is fielding the truck to try to keep Ruttman in the points until Joe lands a ride.(Joe Ruttman Site)(3-7-2002)
  • #29 Fined UPDATE Appeal Upheld: Officials of NASCAR announced penalties imposed for rules violations following the Feb. 15 CTS Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at Daytona. Bob Keselowski, crew chief of the #29 K Automotive Performance Ford has been fined $10,000, team owner Kay Keselowski 100 NASCAR championship owner points and driver Terry Cook 100 NASCAR championship driver points under several sections of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rulebook: Section 12-4-Q, determination by NASCAR officials that parts/equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules; and Section 20-B-5.6.1, engine cylinder head exhaust port location.(NASCAR PR) AND The engine, provided to the team by veteran NASCAR engine builder Ernie Elliott, was deemed to have cylinder head ports that were off center line by 32-thousandths of an inch. “This is the first time in 27 years of building NASCAR engines that something like this has happened to me,” said Elliott. “It was a simple machining error. There were two or three sets of heads out of that batch that got cut that way. I understand that’s wrong and I was the one that made the mistake. Unfortunately, the race team is going to pay the penalty. I can’t apologize enough for that. It was an honest mistake and it didn’t enhance performance in any way. Typically, when you see a performance gain in this area, the ports are raised. In this case, they were slightly shifted from left to right. Every other issue about these heads was correct other than the ports were shifted left to right 32-thousandths of an inch. If I was going to do something to try to enhance the performance, I would have bumped the compression or raised the ports. I certainly wouldn’t shift the ports 32-thousandths off center.” “We have complete confidence in Ernie Elliott and his engines,” stated Bob Keselowski. “According to NASCAR, the infraction last weekend in no way enhanced the performance of our truck. Terry raced his heart out and we had a great team effort to finish sixth. We are disappointed with the results of the inspection and we are planning to issue an appeal of this ruling through the proper channels.” The 100-point penalty dropped Cook from sixth to 36th in the Truck Series championship standings heading into the next race at Darlington, SC Friday, March 15.(Motorsports Management Group PR)(2-21-2002)
    UPDATE: On MArch 5, 2002 Officials of the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Kay Keselowski, Owner of K-Automotive Motorsports. The appeal pertained to 3 penalties issued by NASCAR due to cylinder head infractions on the #29 racetruck in the CTS race held at Daytona in February of 2002. The penalties were:
    Loss of 100 Championship Truck Owner points for owner, Kay Keselowski
    Loss of 100 Driver Championship points for driver, Terry Cook
    $10,000 fine for Crew Chief, Robert Keselowski
    The Commission finds the following: The rule concerning the location of the exhaust ports on cylinder heads is clearly written.. The violation was evident when the heads in question were measured using the NASCAR template. The Appellant argued that the team was depending on a third-party vendor in this case and was unaware of the infraction until after the race. In a written statement the engine builder admitted responsibility claiming that the infractions were due to a œmachining error. The Commission observed that the infractions pertained to all ports on both cylinder heads in the matched set, rather than to a single exhaust port or to one cylinder head alone. The Appellant made a compelling argument that the K-Automotive race team has a long-standing record of adherence to the rules, which NASCAR officials verified. The Commission notes same when rendering its decision in this case. However, by the Rule Book and the Entry Coupon, the owner, driver and crew chief are ultimately responsible for presenting a legal racetruck including any components supplied by third-party vendors. Such ultimate responsibility is necessary to maintain the integrity of the sport. The Commission also weighed the magnitude of the penalties. The penalties, while serious, are not inappropriate for engines modifications of this nature. It is therefore the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the penalty assessed by NASCAR. The Appellant has the right, under Section 15 of the NASCAR Rule Book, to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing.(NASCAR PR)(3-7-2002)
  • Hooper Full Time? hearing Lance Hooper will run the full 2002 CTS schedule driving the #5 Dodge Ram for Rick Ware Racing.(3-7-2002)
  • Cook helps out: Terry Cook, driver of the #29 Power Stroke Ford, teamed with Dickie Gaines and Bobby East to compete in Indianapolis’ Thunder At Johansson’s, a three-hour go-kart enduro organized by the USAC Benevolent Foundation to benefit the Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-7-2002)
  • #64 Sponsor UPDATE now ithe the #07 and #08: Squeeze Breeze/Circulair Inc. has signed a two-year deal with MLM Motorsports to serve as the primary sponsor of the #64 CTS truck. Mike Leffingwell will serve as the driver, beginning at Darlington.. The team will be at Daytona with another driver (to be named soon) behind the wheel. The 2002 season will mark Mike Leffingwell’s first full season in the CTS. Mike is very excited about working with Squeeze Breeze/Circulair Inc. Squeeze Breeze/Circulair, Inc. is an innovative Chicago-based company specializing in personal comfort products. Special emphasis is given to affordable fresh new products in bright, fun colors. ESPN, The Magazine will now move into the associate sponsor role.(Victorylane PR)(1-31-2002)
    UPDATE: Puma Tools has decided to discontinue its sponsorship of Mike Leffingwell and the #64 CTS Team. Puma Tools wishes Mike Leffingwell and the entire team much success for the rest of the 2002 season and future seasons. Puma Tools has decided to focus its motor sports marketing efforts on Greenlight Racing in the CTS, as associate sponsor. Greenlight Racing has two trucks entered for the 2002 season. The #07 CTS Truck will be driven by Jason Small and the 08 driven by Bobby Dotter. Puma Tools has a deal with Greenlight Racing for the 2002 CTS Season.(Victorylane PR)(3-7-2002)

Born On Date: June 18, 2002

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