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March 2002 News Archives


(3-31-2002)

 

  • Labonte Testing a Chevy? UPDATE: hearing that after wrecking his #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac during testing at Texas Motor Speedway, the #18 team broke out the backup car to test and it was a…….Chevy, not a Pontiac.(3-27-2002)
    UPDATE: #18-Bobby Labonte tested with a Pontiac and a Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this week, but company President J.D. Gibbs says the team is simply researching what the Monte Carlo offers. He was in both cars on Monday and Tuesday but logged extra hours in the Monte Carlo after crashing his Pontiac. Gibbs remained adamant that the team is not leaving the Pontiac ranks for the security of a make with significantly more competitors. He defined those plans as the development of the 2003 Pontiac, a project ongoing at Gibbs and the Johnny Benson-Ken Schrader shops. Gibbs said his team has studied Dodge and Ford noses as well. But putting a Chevrolet on a Winston Cup track is new ground. “As of right now, we have no plans to run a Chevrolet,” Gibbs said. Still, Gibbs said Labonte was comfortable in both cars. “They’re pretty close,” he said. “We have no plans to switch from Pontiac.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-31-2002)
  • What is up with Pontiac? Speculation is rampant about the General Motors brand’s future in the sport. Joe Gibbs Racing [#’s 18 and 20] is trying to quell the rumors, pointing to the 2003 model under development as proof of Pontiac’s staying power in the sport. First, the make dwindles to only five full-time Winston Cup teams. Then Pontiac teams start building Chevrolets, admittedly a common practice among teams, but drivers test these cars. And the make’s sponsorship contract for the Pontiac Excitement 400 [Richmond] is in the final year of a multiyear contract.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-31-2002)

    (3-30-2002)

  • California Testing: #40-Sterling Marlin was at California Speedway on Wednesday looking to improve his speed for a race that still is a month away. #49-Shawna Robinson also spent of the first off-week of the NASCAR season at the Fontana track and tried to wipe out painful memories of last year. Brendan Gaughan, 12th in the Craftsman Truck Series point scramble, also was on hand and trying to find answers about his unpainted Dodge. Together with BGN driver Greg Biffle, the quartet was at the Fontana track in preparation for the April 26-28 NASCAR weekend. Gaughan, who won the Winston West race at the track in 2001, can’t decide if he will attempt to make the field for the April race. That decision could be reached soon. Gaughan said the truck series remains the priority, but the Orleans Racing team was at the point where he could put a few laps on the Dodge. “We’re just testing and learn what we can,” Gaughan said. “If things go well, we would love to try to show and race here. This program took a big back seat when we had to re-body the truck earlier this year. It’s actually running good right now. We’re semi-impressed.”(Pasadina Star-News)(3-30-2002)
  • Labonte to Roam UPDATE: How would you spend an open weekend if you were a NASCAR driver? Terry Labonte, driver of the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet, will spend his helping others. Labonte will serve as Grand Marshal in the first “Roam For A Home,” a charity motorcycle ride [655-miles] from Thursday, March 28 through Saturday, March 30, to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. A Corpus Christi native, Labonte will not only wave the ceremonial green flag to start the ride. He also will participate in the three-day tour that carries riders through Galveston and San Antonio, and returns March 30, passing through Labonte Park to downtown Corpus Christi. In addition to the obvious goals of raising funds for and increasing awareness of the Ronald McDonald House, the “Roam For A Home” provides symbolism as the two-time champion approaches another NASCAR milestone. The “Roam For A Home” is the vision of Corpus Christi Harley-Davidson dealer Preston Douglass and Randall Hicks, a personal friend of Labonte’s. They hope to make the event an annual occurrence. Hicks is expecting a field of 60 riders, all of whom will be designated as Ronald McDonald House Good Will Ambassadors. Participants will visit RMH facilities in Galveston and San Antonio along the route as time and logistics will allow. Day 1 (March 28) will feature a kickoff rally in Corpus Christi, and pass through Port Lavaca and Angleton on the way to Galveston. Day 2 (March 29) will carry riders through Eagle Lake and Shiner before stopping in San Antonio. On Day 3 (March 30), the tour will advance through Three Rivers and Mathis before winding up at The Executive Surf Club back in Corpus Christi. Terry Labonte will then return to NASCAR competition when the schedule resumes the weekend of April 5-7 at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth.(Summit Marketing PR)(3-21-2002)
    UPDATE: see an update at the Corpus Christi Caller.(3-30-2002)
  • Gaughan to run at California? FSN’s Totally NASCAR reported Friday that CTS driver and 2000-2001 Winston West champ, Brendan Gaughan [#62 NAPA Dodge in the CTS] tested at California Speedway this past week in a Cup car and may run the April 28th Californai Speedway Cup race(3-30-2002)
  • #40 at Texas: look for #40-Sterling Marlin to run a Brooks & Dunn scheme on the #40 Coors Light Dodge at Texas.(3-30-2002)

    (3-29-2002)

  • Earnhardt Statue and Paintings/Prints: Ross Morgan, the Arizona-based sculptor selected to build the Dale Earnhardt Tribute, has officially signed on to the project and will be in Kannapolis for the next few days. Jennifer Woodford, Kannapolis’ public information officer, said the cost of the project is still to be determined. She said working out the details of the deal is one of the main reasons Morgan is in town. “This morning (Thursday) he signed a contract, so he is officially commissioned,” Woodford said. More than $20,000 has been raised for the project, and Woodford has said that should cover the cost of having the concept developed. Woodford said once Morgan completes the concept, planners should have a better idea of what the finished project will cost. The recent decision to place the statue downtown in Funderburk Park will cut down a lot on the final price of the project, Woodford said. Original plans had the statue being erected in Village Park, where the tribute was projected to cost upwards of $700,000. Morgan’s visit also allows him to check out the project’s new site. Funderburk Park, which likely will be renamed Dale Earnhardt Tribute Park, measures 140 by 207 feet. It’s off South Main Street between West A and West B Streets. Morgan said Funderburk Park works well with the mental concept he’s already developed. Woodford said among those Morgan met with were Earnhardt’s mother, Martha Earnhardt, and sister, Cathy Watkins, who is serving on a steering committee that is planning the project. Woodford said Morgan has not met with Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa Earnhardt. Ultimately the project’s concept will have to be approved by her.
    AND Other news: Phyllis Beaver, marketing director for Cannon Village, said NASCAR artist Sam Bass is hoping to get some of his artwork featuring Earnhardt to the visitors center prior to May’s NASCAR events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Bass is planning to paint a mural that will be housed inside the visitors center. The painting should coincide somewhat with Morgan’s statue.(Independent Tribune)
    AND In a small town on the Choptank River, On Maryland’s Eastern Shore; lives an artist whose expressions are not only a labor of love, but also a daily struggle. Renowned artist George Wright recently unveiled his latest creation to the world: a chronicle of the life and times of the greatest NASCAR racer of all time-Dale Earnhardt. The print traces his life from childhood to the days before the tragedy that took him from us forever. This is a joint project between Wright and Tom Brown, founder of Tom Brown’s Rookie League; a non-profit instructional youth-sports program in Salisbury, MD. The Dale Earnhardt print was recently finished and is generating a lot of attention in the collector’s world. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the prints will benefit The Rookie League and it’s great work with teaching young children the fundamentals of sports while instilling sportsmanship and fair-play. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Fund in Kannapolis, NC. More info on this print and others by white can be found at l-nsports.com.(3-29-2002)
  • New Fab Shop: Jerry Painter, formally of Robert Yates Racing and Andy Petree Racing is starting a fabrication shop called The Fab Shop and is looking for several fabricators. Thought with the recent layoff’s, this was a worthwhile post. Contact Painter at (704) 650-2660(3-29-2002)
  • Mayfield and Trickle test at Talladega for Evernham: #19-Jeremy Mayfield concluded a two-day test session at Talladega Superspeedway on Thursday. During the two-day test at Talladega, Mayfield was joined by veteran Dick Trickle in the #91 Dodge owned by Ray Evernham. “One reason we are here is to get our speedway program sorted out where it needs to be,” said Mayfield. “Dodge has certainly had a good year so far.”(Talladega Superspedway PR)(3-29-2002)
  • Martinsville Testing: #32-Ricky Craven and Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contenders #12-Ryan Newman and #48-Jimmy Johnson closed out two days of testing at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday afternoon. Testing resumes Monday when #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #9-Bill Elliott, #15-Michael Waltrip, #4-Mike Skinner and #59-Randy Renfrow hit the track for a two-day session.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-29-2002)
  • Teresa Earnhardt – Outstanding Mother of the Year: Teresa Earnhardt, the CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. — the racing and business conglomerate that fields three NASCAR Winston Cup Series race teams [#’s 1,8,15] — has been cited as an “Outstanding Mother of the Year” for 2002 by the National Mother’s Day Commitee. Earnhardt, the widow of seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and the founder of the organization that bears his name, is one of six women from the entertainment, sports, business and television fields honored by the committee.(NASCAR.com)(3-29-2002)
  • Mechanix Wear to sponsor Pit Crew of the Year Award: Mechanix Wear announced that it will sponsor an official NASCAR Winston Cup Series year-end award to honor the best pit crew for the 2002 season. The Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award is a $75,000 prize awarded to the winning pit crew as selected by the crew chiefs in the Winston Cup Series. The winning crew will be chosen from 4 quarterly finalists which will be determined by a points awarded for finishes in the top 15 of each race. For more info and rules breakdown, see the NAPCM Site.(3-29-2002)
  • IWC draws record audience: The SPEED Channel show Inside Winston Cup with drivers Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson and Ken Schrader joining host Allen Bestwick, drew its highest-ever audience on the motorsports cable channel, as 367,000 households tuned in Monday night. “The response to IWC has been very exciting,” said SPEED Channel president Jim Liberatore. “In fact, all of our new NASCAR programming has doubled and in some cases tripled the time period performance from last year. We are hoping that this new Speed Channel audience will not only enjoy our NASCAR presentations, but also enjoy all of the other diverse events that this channel offers. This from the beginning has been our goal, to expose the vast NASCAR audience to new and exciting forms of speed”. The show, which airs every Monday night from 7-8 p.m., drew a 0.73 rating number. (Speed Channel)(3-29-2002)

    (3-28-2002)

  • Texas Field down to 43 or 44?: The car count for NASCAR’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway next weekend has fallen from 45 cars to the full-field minimum of 43. Joe Nemechek’s #26 entry was pulled after Haas-Carter Motorsports announced it was suspending racing operations because of sponsorship problems emanating from Kmart’s bankruptcy filing. TMS officials also were informed by #02-Hermie Sadler that he was pulling his entry blank, and canceling hotel rooms.(Fort Worth Star Telegram), but have been informed that while the rooms were cancelled Sadler is waiting word on a sponsor and seeing how preparations go on a back-up car and will make a decision early next week, but its a better than 50% chance that Sadler will go to Texas.(3-28-2002)
  • Gordon and the Indy 500 UPDATE 2: After being announced as the driver for the #31 Cingular Chevy for the 2002 season, Robby Gordon says he may still run the Indy 500 if the right deal can be worked out (and it is with Richard Childress)(Insider Racing News/FSN’s Totally NASCAR)(11-17-2001)
    UPDATE: Word is that Robby Gordon will be pulling double duty Memorial Day weekend by driving in the Indy 500 and then flying from Indy to Lowe’s Motor Speedway to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 later that day. Gordon, the regular driver of the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet, will have backing from his team owner Richard Childress in more ways than one. It is believed that Childress will be a financial backer of the Indy team Gordon would drive for — Menard Racing. It is also believed that Cingular will come aboard with some level of sponsorship as well. If he does the double duty, Gordon would join Tony Stewart and John Andretti as the only other NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers to do so. Stewart completed the task in 1999 and 2001. Andretti did it in 1994. This would be the third time Gordon will attempt the 1,100-mile marathon. He attempted to do it in 1997, but was stopped by Mother Nature — the Indy race was delayed two days because of rain. Gordon also tried in 2000 but P.J. Jones started the car for Gordon.(NASCAR.com BUZZ)(3-27-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Cingular Wireless will sponsor both race teams in Robby Gordon’s third attempt at the Indianapolis 500/Coca-Cola 600 “double” May 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway for car owners Richard Childress and John Menard. Gordon will drive the #31 Menard/Childress/Cingular Wireless Chevrolet-powered Dallara in the Indianapolis 500 and the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in the Coca-Cola 600. Gordon had high hopes for the Memorial Day weekend feat in 2000 and 1997 but never enjoyed a true ‘double’ due to weather delays both years. A rain delay in the 2000 Indianapolis 500 caused Gordon to miss the start of the Coca-Cola 600, while rain postponed the 1997 Indianapolis 500 until the following Monday.. Although he has not enjoyed the full ‘double’ experience, Gordon has logged four top-six finishes in seven Indianapolis 500 starts and was leading on the next-to-last lap of the 1999 race before running out of fuel (he finished fourth). This year’s ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ will not be Gordon’s first venture with Menard, either. Menard co-owned Gordon’s 1999 and 2000 Indy 500 teams, as well as his 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team. Team Menard will build and crew the Menard/Childress/Cingular Wireless Dallara/Chevrolet. Gordon is also reuniting with his former crew chief Dave Forbes for the 500-mile race.. Forbes was Gordon’s crew chief during the 1999 CART Series and in the 1999 Indy 500.(RCR PR)(3-28-2002)
  • Travis Carter Statement: The following quote is from Travis Carter, co-team owner of Haas Carter Motorsports regarding his next steps and future plans in NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing. “I¹m not quitting,” Carter said. “Just because Haas Carter Motorsports has closed its doors does not mean that I intend to leave NASCAR. I¹ve been in this sport for more than 30 years and racing is what I do. I still have a lot of work to do here and my main focus is to pursue sponsors and fight to survive. I¹ll work on deals that may open the doors up in a few months or that may allow us to race in 2003. Regardless, I¹ll keep working to open these doors again. Don¹t count me out. “I have every reason in the world to stay in NASCAR. My 20-year-old son, Matt, wants to be in the sport and I want to provide him with those opportunities. There have also been a lot of people who have worked here that I want to continue working with and supporting. “Emotionally, this has been a tough load to carry,” Carter added. “But through all of this, I¹ve had a lot of support from quality people in the racing community and I can¹t thank them enough for all that they¹ve said or done for me and this team.”(Cox Marketing PR)(3-28-2002)
  • Changes at Talladega? UPDATE: this weeks Speedway Scene [March 15th edition] reports that NASCAR will ;ikely bump up the spolier on the Fords and increase the size of the restrictor plate [for everyone] at Talladega.(3-27-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced a ¼-inch increase for the rear spoiler height on the Ford Taurus to be used in next month’s Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Measurements for the rear spoilers on the Ford Taurus will now read at 6 inches tall by 57 inches wide. During the Daytona 500 in February, the Ford’s rear spoiler was 5 ¾ inches tall. The Chevrolet and Dodge teams rear spoiler will remain at 6 ¼ inches tall, while the Pontiac teams will measure at 6 ½ inches tall by 57 inches wide.(NASCAR PR)(3-28-2002)
  • Elledge to leave Yates? UPDATE No: Dodge is wooing Jimmy Elledge, one of the Winston Cup tour’s rising young crew chiefs, to leave Robert Yates’ Ford #88 operation to join Ray Evernham’s Dodge gang as crew chief for #7-Casey Atwood on the Jimmy Smith-Buddy Barnes operation. And Barnes yesterday said that Elledge could be joining his team soon. Smith, the team owner in a partnership with Evernham, and Barnes, the general manager and interim crew chief, have been rebuilding the team since losing sponsorship last fall. Atwood finished 18th yesterday, his best of the year.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-25-2002)
    UPDATE: #88-Dale Jarrett expects to have crew chief Jimmy Elledge with him, discounting recent rumors that Elledge might leave the Robert Yates Racing team. Jarrett said Elledge does not plan to leave and has told Jarrett that repeatedly this week. (Roanoke Times)(3-28-2002)
  • No Rift: Jim Smith said there is no rift between him and Ray Evernham, co-owners of the #7 car driven by Casey Atwood. ”My relationship with Ray is excellent,” Smith said earlier this week, although he admitted he was not pleased with the team’s progress when he discussed the situation with The Tennessean two weeks ago. ”You’re never happy when you’re not performing up to expectations,” Smith said, ”but I didn’t mean that to be taken as a criticism of Ray. ”He wants Casey to do well just as much as I do.” (Tennessean)(3-28-2002)
  • 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)
  • Coo Coo Recovering: Coo Coo Marlin, a four-time [Nashville] Fairgrounds Speedway champion and father of current Winston Cup star Sterling Marlin, recently suffered a mild stroke and is recovering at his home in Columbia, TN. ”I’m doing OK,” he said this week. Marlin had been active on his farm while also attending many of his son’s races and working with grandson Steadman on his race team.(Tennessean)(3-28-2002)
  • 43 cars or No Pay? UPDATE 2: this is interesting, didn’t know this: NASCAR almost had a short field (fewer than 43 cars) last weekend at Darlington. If so, it would have been the first time since 42 cars ran at Talladega in October 1997. #49-Shawna Robinson and #71-Andy Hillenburg were late entries and ran only a few laps. Didn’t matter … they’d earned their money by showing up and filling the field. NASCAR probably will have to make midweek phone calls to rustle up enough cars to get to 43.(see story below, looks like 43). There’s a good reason for that number: The contract with NBC and Fox says NASCAR must present 43 cars each weekend. If not, the networks aren’t obligated to pay as much for the rights to televise the event.(Daily Press). NOTE: being told that NASCAR has asked the #49 BAM Racing and #71 Marcis Racing teams to go to the Cup race in California to insure a full field. The race is not on either teams schedule and Bristol could be the last race for the #26 car and Joe Nemechek unless a sponsor is found. UPDATE: But California is already on the #49’s planned scheduled, the #16 Ford with Greg Biffle is supposed to run, and the #74 BACE Motorsports team with Chad Little plans on debuting there.(3-20-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Despite reports to the contrary, NASCAR executive George Pyne said that NASCAR TV contract with the networks doesn’t require that 43-car fields be provided in order to collect the full rights fees.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-28-2002)


    (3-27-2002)

  • Stewart to Skip the Indy 500? UPDATE no double this year: Even before his nasty crash Sunday, Tony Stewart apparently was re-evaluating his plans for May. Stewart has had discussions with Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske about running in the Indianapolis 500, but his NASCAR team officials said he has been weighing one other option: None of the above. Team officials said owner Joe Gibbs is not standing in the way of Stewart again doing Memorial Day double duty with either Ganassi or Penske. It’s up to the driver, and he hasn’t decided. Last year, Stewart ran in the Indy 500 and then the Coca-Cola 600, a night race at Charlotte.(Indianapolis Star).(3-18-2002)
    UPDATE: reported on Fox Sports Net, Matt Yocum is reporting that due to Tony Stewart’s stellar start in 2002 and taking into account everyone’s best interest, Stewart has decided to skip this years Indy 500 to concentrate on his other dream a Winston Cup championship. Chip Ganassi had offered him the same ride as last year.(3-27-2002)
  • #26 Team to close this week? UPDATE: hearing the one remaining team for Haas Carter Motorsports, the #26 Joe Nemechek Ford, will close down at the end of this week and not run Texas unless a sponsor jumps aboard.(3-27-2002)
    UPDATE: Haas Carter Motorsports announced today that it has ceased its NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing operation. The team fielded the #26 Ford Taurus for Joe Nemechek and #66 Ford Taurus for Todd Bodine. With the unfortunate filing of Chapter 11 by its primary sponsor Kmart Corporation just prior to the NASCAR season opener in Daytona, the timing could not have been worse for the team to find a replacement. Kmart Corporation has been a great team sponsor since Haas Carter Motorsports first entered the Winston Cup Series and we wish them well in their restructuring efforts. It is with great sadness that Haas Carter Motorsports releases its drivers and team members to pursue other Winston Cup opportunities as we realize this decision impacts families and friends.(Cox Marketing Group PR)(3-27-2002)
  • It’s Official – DW in a Truck UPDATE: 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 on my CTS Site.(3-26-2002)
    UPDATE: Jeff Hammond is not going to be the crew chief but will work as he said “an interpreter” between Waltrip and Melling crew chief Dean Johnson and Corrie Stott who are heading the effort.(3-27-2002)
  • Wallace [Kenny] full time Cup in 2003? In an online chat on racers-chat.com Monday, Kenny Wallace said he will be in the Winston Cup Series next year. Running full-time in the BGN [#48 Stacker 2 Chevy] and the former replacement for #1-Steve Park, it appears Wallace is just waiting his time. “I will tell you the truth, I am 100 percent positive I will be full WC next year,” Wallace wrote. “As of right now, I will try to win BGN races and the championship, because as we speak DEI will not let me drive any WC cars. We are still on standby for Steve. I am very excited about the years ahead of me. Things look good.” (Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-27-2002)
  • Labonte Testing a Chevy? hearing that after wrecking his #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac during testing at Texas Motor Speedway, the #18 team broke out the backup car to test and it was a…….Chevy, not a Pontiac.(3-27-2002)
  • Petty inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame: Seven individuals representing racing, design, engineering and bold innovation have been selected for induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame. The Inductee class of 2002 includes Giovanni Agnelli, Giorgetto Giugiaro, Frank McCarthy, Andre and Edouard Michelin, Richard Petty and Owen Skelton.(PRN Newswire)(3-27-2002)
  • Park to be evaluated? UPDATE: DEI and NASCAR officials will likely take a look at #1-Steve Park before next week’s race at fast and dangerous Texas Motor Speedway. Park was sidelined six months after suffering a bruise at the base of his skull as a result of a crash during a Busch Series race at Darlington last September. The swelling in his head had given him double vision. Park returned on March 17 at that same South Carolina track. Some suggest his return is pre-mature. Park had two questionable incidents in his first race back, running into #90-Rick Mast and drifting high into the lapped car of #14-Stacy Compton. At Bristol, there were three more incidents: Park spun out running by himself between Turns 1 & 2 on lap 81 [actually got together with #44-Jones]; rear-ended #31-Robby Gordon on lap 342, and spun out again on lap 408. “The released him way too soon,” one spotter said.(Knoxville News)(3-25-2002)
    UPDATE: Despite rumors to the contrary, NASCAR spokeswoman Danielle Humphrey said the sanctioning body will not re-evaluate Steve Park prior to next week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Park returned to the Winston Cup Series two weeks ago after being out since September because of a head injury. There have been published reports stating that NASCAR likely would take another look at Park after he ran into Rick Mast and Stacy Compton while leading at Darlington and was involved in several incidents in last weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Humphrey said Park’s doctors have cleared him to race, and no changes to his status are being considered.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-27-2002)
  • Biffle tests at California: Greg Biffle is testing the #16 Ford at California Speedway in preparation for the Cup race there in April.(FSN’s Totally NASCAR)(3-27-2002)
  • Marlin tests at California: #40-Sterling Marlin is testing at the California Speedway this week, Wed/Thurs, as well as attending the Denver Nuggets game in a driver appearance.(3-27-2002)
  • #32 Crew is the NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week: Ricky Craven’s #32 Tide Crew – consistent pit stops in the 15 second range and a competitive intensity makes the Tide Crew the NAPCM pick this week. Other stop times listed on NAPCM website.(NAPCM PR)(3-27-2002)
  • Baldwin wins Irwin award: Battling power system problems last Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, rallied his team back into contention midway through the Food City 500, only to fall victim once again to the voltage problems that plagued the racecar all day. As a result of his efforts, driver Ward Burton was able to climb to a 25th place finish from as far back as 40th position, earning Baldwin this week’s “Irwin Rough to the Finish Award.” Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Irwin, makers of professional power tool accessories like Marathon Plus saw blades and Speedbor flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The Irwin Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Connie Parsons Memorial Fund in the racing team’s name. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to The Connie Parsons Memorial Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338. In addition to the crew chief award, Irwin is also sponsoring the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons”, throughout the upcoming year.(Irwin PR)(3-27-2002)

    (3-26-2002)

  • Bristol Pit Road: drivers/teams did not have the choice of pit stalls at Bristol. They were assigned by the qualifying results. Some teams that qualified in the 15-22 area wanted pit on the back pit road, closer to the front but were told the stall were assigned by qualifying results. So #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr who qualified 23rd, got the first pit al on the backstretch pits.(FSN Totally NASCAR), see my Food City 500 Race Info page for the Bristol Pit Road rules and info.(3-26-2002)
  • Three Days of Texas Testing UPDATE: The first of three hectic days of testing by Cup and BGN teams preparing for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 and O’Reilly 300 kicked off Monday at Texas Motor Speedway amid cool temperatures. Three Cup teams took to the 1.5-mile superspeedway to prepare for the April 7 Samsung/RadioShack 500. #18-Bobby Labonte, #57-Ron Hornaday and #49-Shawna Robinson tested, while BGN driver #12-Kerry Earnhardt turned laps Sunday evening and Monday. A cold front that moved through the area midday curtailed much of the afternoon on-track activity after temperatures dipped. All of the participating teams practiced during the morning session. There were no incidents during the Sunday and Monday sessions. Nearly two dozen different Cup and BGN teams are scheduled to test at the speedway Tuesday and Wednesday. The sessions are closed to the public.(TMS PR)(3-26-2002)
    UPDATE: A total of 21 Cup and BGN teams took to Texas Motor Speedway en masse Tuesday as the second day of testing continued in preparation for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 race week. For most of the drivers testing, it was their initial experience with the new granite-based pavement on the 1.5-mile superspeedway that was installed after last year’s NASCAR weekend. Praise was universal among the drivers describing the new surface. “It is probably a second quicker than last year,” said Jerry Nadeau, driver of the #25-UAW-Delphi Chevrolet on the Winston Cup circuit. “The surface is so smooth.” Unofficial speeds were in the high 180mph range for several teams. Testing concludes Wednesday with another session that is also closed to the public. The drivers testing at the speedway Tuesday included from Cup: #2-Rusty Wallace, #5-Terry Labonte, #10-Johnny Benson, #14-Stacy Compton, #15-Michael Waltrip, #18-Bobby Labonte, #22-Ward Burton, #25-Jerry Nadeau, #28-Ricky Rudd, #45-Kyle Petty, #57-Ron Hornaday, #99-Jeff Burton. From the BGN: #2-Johnny Sauter, #14-Larry Foyt, #24-Jack Sprague, #26-Lyndon Amick, #27-Jamie McMurray, #34-Stuart Kirby, #37-Jeff Purvis, #87-Joe Nemechek, #98-Kasey Kahne.(TMS PR), no speeds reported. #18-Bobby Labonte blew a right side tire and hit the wall, damaging the right front of the car, Labonte is un-injured.(3-26-2002)
  • Martinsville Testing: #12-Ryan Newman, #32-Ricky Craven and #48-Jimmie Johnson tested at Martinsville Speedway today, no word on speeds.(FSN Totally NASCAR)(3-26-2002)
  • Busch at Memphis: #97-Kurt Busch tested at Memphis today.(FSN Totally NASCAR)(3-26-2002)
  • Baseball scheme for Dale Jr: hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr will run a 2002 Major League Baseball All Star scheme at Daytona in the Pepsi 400 in July. The car is mostly red with a baseball bat on the rear quarter panels. Last year Earnhardt Jr ran a MLB All Star scheme last year at the Pepsi 400 with a white scheme, and won the race.(3-26-2002)
  • Shell buys Pennzoil-Quaker State: Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., the nation’s largest motor oil maker and parent company of more than 2,000 Jiffy Lube oil change service stations across the country, is becoming part of Royal Dutch/Shell Group in a deal worth $1.8 billion. The agreement was announced Monday night in Houston, where both Pennzoil-Quaker State and Shell’s U.S. operations are based. The deal, approved Monday by Pennzoil-Quaker’s board, is expected to close in the second half of this year. It still needs the approval of shareholders and regulators.(Yahoo), no work on what, if any, effect it will have to racing sponsorships such as the #1 Pennzoil Chevy or Quaker State assoc sponsorships on the Hendrick Motorsports cars [#’s 5,24,25,48].(3-26-2002)
  • Sauter to run the #71 at Texas: The #71 Marcis Racing team had talked to Dick Trickle about possibly running the Texas race. Since then Richard Childress [owner of the #’s 29,30,31] contacted Dave Marcis and will be leasing the team for the Texas race weekend and putting Jay Sauter in the car. Sauter is under contract with Richard Childress and they wanted him to get a race in. Childress will be supplying a motor as well as crew to help with the Texas race.(Dick Trickle Fan Club Newsletter)(3-26-2002)
  • Trickle to test for Evernham: Dick Trickle was contacted recently by Ray Evernham/Evernham Motorsports [#’s 9 and 19, part owner of #7] to see if Trickle would be interested in testing a third car for them at Talladega. Trickle went last week and had his seat fitted into a car and will be testing with the Evernham teams this Wednesday & Thursday [Mar 27-28th] at Talladega.(Dick Trickle Fan Club Newsletter)(3-26-2002)
  • TRAC News: With the season set to begin in a little over a year, TRAC has begun the search for qualified crew members to compete in the new motorsports league’s inaugural year. TRAC is interested in all potential candidates, and invites any potential crew members to contact them. For more information on the hiring process, they ask that potential candidates e-mail their VP Competition, Charlie Jeter. Jeter will provide you with the requirements for application and will guide you through the process. All applications must be received by July 1, 2002 in order to be considered eligible.(see the TRAC Series site for info)(3-26-2002)
  • More on DEI case UPDATE 2 DEI wins: Testimony in the civil lawsuit between Boiling Springs resident Gray London and Dale Earnhardt Inc. is nearing an end. London’s former business associate, Rocky Wagner, and Dale Earnhardt’s brother, Randy, took the stand Wednesday. DEI lawyers are expected to call five more witnesses, including Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, before sending the case to the jury. At issue in the trial is a die cast, produced by Action Performance Co., of the car Earnhardt drove in 1974 to his first win on an asphalt track. London contends the car, which he co-owned with members of the Earnhardt family in the Earnhardt Racing Team, was a 1965 Chevelle while DEI claims it was a 1964 model. London and his company, Driver on a Mission, had a 1999 contract with DEI under which the company would receive $550,000 from the sale of the die-cast car and have the opportunity to produce other Earnhardt souvenirs. Randy Earnhardt told jury members the car Earnhardt drove was a 1964 model and carried Doc’s Cycle Center as its sponsor. London contends his company, Dainty Maid Foods, was on the side of the car when Earnhardt won. DEI filed a countersuit against London for producing souvenirs without permission.
    AND London’s lawsuit against Dale Earnhardt Inc. will resume Monday [today] when the jury is expected to begin deliberating. Superior Court Judge Richard D. Boner said he was prepared to wait out a verdict on Friday, but a unanimous vote from the jury will carry the trial through the weekend. Attorneys gave their closing arguments Friday after spending most of the morning helping the judge hammer out the details of his final instructions to the jury.(Gastonia Gazette – one day link, and the Shelby Star), see more on my Dale Earnhardt tribute page.(3-25-2002)
    UPDATE: The jury in the Dale Earnhardt trial has ruled in favor of Dale Earnhardt Inc., awarding the company $10,000 in damages. More later when full story is posted.(Shelby Star)(3-25-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Not only did Boiling Springs resident Gray London lose his lawsuit against the Dale Earnhardt empire, he must pay Dale Earnhardt Inc. $10,000 for breach of contract, a jury ruled Monday. After about three hours of deliberations, the jury found that London breached the 1999 contract with DEI when he sublicensed to a third party the right to use Dale Earnhardt’s name. The 1999 agreement released Earnhardt from the now defunct Earnhardt Racing Team, which London and Earnhardt formed with members of the Earnhardt family in 1974. London granted the release in exchange for $550,000 from the sale of a die-cast car made of one of the cars Earnhardt drove early in his career. DEI paid London $450,000. The remaining $100,000 was withheld by DEI because London filed a lawsuit against the company. Speaking for London, attorney Rob Deaton said, “I know that Gray is happy that the jury answered yes to question three, giving him the right in the future without limitations to make souvenirs, except for die-cast cars.” Question three allows London to make and sell souvenirs (other than die-cast cars) with Dale Earnhardt’s name on one or more of the three cars in connection with the Driver on a Mission logo on a souvenir such as a mug or T-shirt. The jury also found that on the night of July 19, 1974, when Dale Earnhardt won his first race on an asphalt track, he was not driving the No. 8 Chevelle with “Dainty Maid” on it as the sponsor, as claimed during earlier testimony by London.(Shelby Star)(3-26-2002)
  • NASCAR Helps Out: James Doherty came to Daytona Beach early this month to enjoy his Bike Week vacation when a terrible accident left him an amputee and put his career as a New York City patrolman in question. But as he left Monday, aboard a NASCAR jet, the 31-year-old officer was upbeat and thanked those who helped him since a terrible accident three weeks ago. On March 7, while cruising on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on State Road A1A, Doherty was struck by a car whose driver left the accident scene, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said. His arm was broken, his femur was shattered and doctors at Halifax Medical Center had to amputate part of his left leg. Hospital officials weren’t sure how Doherty could go home because a commercial flight wasn’t possible. Halifax first contacted the Sheriff’s Office, but the department is selling its own airplane, so deputies turned to NASCAR. “We were happy to accommodate him not only because it was a good thing to do but we feel indebted to the New York police personnel and the NY fire personnel for the unfortunate events of Sept. 11,” said John Graham, president of Daytona International Speedway.(Orlando Sentinel)(3-26-2002)
  • Some Wind Tunnel News: hearing the #21 Motorcraft Ford is being tested in the wind tunnel today at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. The #11 Brett Bodine Hooters team tested on Monday (along with the #90, see story below). Ford has the tunnel booked this week thru Thursday.(3-26-2002)
  • NASCAR Cafe to open: Doors of the Nascar Cafe in Greensboro will open April 2, the restaurant chain said. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant at Four Seasons Town Centre will seat 290 people. The Greensboro location will be a little different for the Nascar Cafe, which is owned by Knoxville, TN,-based H&C Racing Inc., in that it is the first one that is designed for a market where the customer base will be primarily area residents. Other Nascar Cafes are in locales such as Myrtle Beach, SC, and Orlando, FL, where tourists make up a large part of the customer base. The restaurant will feature the sights and sounds of Nascar and will have a small retail shop for officially licensed Nascar merchandise. Nascar Cafe operates under an exclusive license from Nascar.(The Business Journal)(3-26-2002)

    (3-25-2002)

  • Expect Harvick and R Gordon to be fined and penalized UPDATE penalties announced: #31-Robby Gordon and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were called to the NASCAR hauler to meet with series officials following Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol. The two traded bumps several times during the race, and after the race ended, Gordon drove his No. 31 Chevrolet into the back of Earnhardt Jr.’s car on pit road, turning it around. NASCAR officials said they planned to review the incident and that Gordon would likely be penalized in a similar fashion to Tony Stewart, who was fined $10,000 last year for spinning Jeff Gordon on pit road. After the pit road incident, Robby Gordon drove to the garage area, while Earnhardt Jr. stopped on pit road for media interviews, as is common for drivers who finish in the top five (Earnhardt Jr. was fourth). As Earnhardt Jr. was getting out of his car, Mike Scearce, the jack man for Gordon’s team, ran up to Earnhardt Jr.’s car and Scearce and members of Earnhardt Jr.’s team exchanged obscenities before they were separated.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND Kevin Harvick likely faces a large fine and probation for his actions on pit road following Saturday’s Channellock 250 BGTN race at Bristol. Greg Biffle hit Harvick’s car exiting Turn 4 on Lap 240, sending Harvick into the wall. Harvick waited in a pit stall on the frontstretch until the race was over and when Biffle brought his #60 Ford on pit road, Harvick charged after him and the two locked arms for nearly a minute before they were separated(actually jumped on and over Biffle’s car). Saturday afternoon, Harvick, his crew chief, Kevin Hamlin, and car owner, Richard Childress, all met with NASCAR officials. Childress met with NASCAR President Mike Helton again early Sunday morning, and Childress, Harvick and Helton met again for 25 minutes later Sunday morning. Harvick had to cancel an appearance in the hospitality village Sunday morning because of his meeting with Helton. Helton said penalties against Harvick will be issued this week, perhaps as early as Monday. “I think the issue we have to deal with, is how disruptive Harvick’s actions were and how detrimental his actions were to the overall scheme of things,” Helton said. Childress agreed that NASCAR had to take some action. Not only was Harvick frustrated with having his car wrecked, but he was shaken by the wreck itself. “It was a tough hit,” Childress said. “He couldn’t walk hardly last night. He’s really hurting today.”(ThatsRacin.com)(3-25-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers Robby Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., for intentionally running into each other’s car during the cool-down lap of the Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. Gordon, driver of the #31 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Aug. 28th. Earnhardt Jr. was fined $5,000. Both drivers were penalized under Section 12-4-A in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: “actions deemed by NASCAR Officials as detrimental to stock car racing.”
    A penalty was also levied against driver Kevin Harvick for his actions in the pits following Saturday’s Channellock 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Harvick, driver of the #29 NASCAR Busch Series team, was fined $15,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Aug. 28th. He was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series rule book: “actions deemed by NASCAR Officials as detrimental to stock car racing.”(NASCAR PR)(3-25-2002)
  • Elledge to leave Yates? Dodge is wooing Jimmy Elledge, one of the Winston Cup tour’s rising young crew chiefs, to leave Robert Yates’ Ford #88 operation to join Ray Evernham’s Dodge gang as crew chief for #7-Casey Atwood on the Jimmy Smith-Buddy Barnes operation. And Barnes yesterday said that Elledge could be joining his team soon. Smith, the team owner in a partnership with Evernham, and Barnes, the general manager and interim crew chief, have been rebuilding the team since losing sponsorship last fall. Atwood finished 18th yesterday, his best of the year.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-25-2002)
  • #90 to the Wind Tunnel: The #90 Donlavey Racing Team is attending a wind tunnel session today at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. The Donlavey Racing team is taking three down force cars to the tunnel. “We wanted to check the numbers on the intermediate cars to get a feel of where we are,” Crew Chief Mark Tutor said. “These are the steps we need to be doing to get things heading in the right direction.”(Donlavey Racing PR)(3-25-2002)
  • The Winston….an announcement: it was mentioned during the race coverage on PRN (radio) that R.J. Reynolds will make an announcement concerning changes to the 2002 The Winston All Star Event/Race on April 9th at Lowes Motor Speedway. For more on the race, see my The 2002 Winston page.(3-25-2002)
  • Kyles best in almost 2 years: #45-Kyle Petty finished 12th for his best finish since placing ninth at Talladega in April 2000.(News and Record)(3-25-2002)
  • 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)
  • Last Race for #26? #26-Joe Nemechek finished last for Haas Carter Motorsports in what published reports have stated could be the team’s final race since it has not found a sponsor after Kmart pulled out of its contract when it field for bankruptcy.(News and Record)(3-25-2002)

 


(3-24-2002)

 

  • Kurt Busch wins The Food City 500 at Bristol: #97-Kurt Busch won his first ever Cup race in his 48th career start. It puts Busch into the 2002 The Winston. It is the 4th ever win for a car #97 and the first time the car #97 has won since Parnelli Jones won using the number at Los Angeles on May 30, 1959. Busch also won from a back stretch pit stall. #41-Jimmy Spencer ended up 2nd and #28-Ricky Rudd was 3rd. #31-Gordon gave #8-Earnhardt Jr a nudge on Pit Road (expect a fine for that – remember Stewart last year). Gordon, Earnhardt Jr and their crew chief’s and owners have been called to the NASCAR trailer to discuss the situation.
    The top ten finishers were:
    1)  #97-Busch (89 laps led)
    2)  #41-Spencer (54 laps led)
    3)  #28-Rudd
    4)  #8-Earnhardt Jr (laps led 181)
    5)  #18-Labonte
    6)  #17-Kenseth
    7)  #48-Johnson
    8)  #25-Nadeau
    9)  #2-Wallace
    10) #29-Harvick
    #20-Tony Stewart with Todd Bodine subbing ended up 15th.
    2001 Cup Champ – #24-Gordon ended 31st, 20 laps down.
    2002 Points Leaders – #40-Marlin ended up 19th, 1 lap down.
    Cars on the lead lap: 18 of 43
    Cautions: 14 for 101 laps
    DNF’s (out of the race): #26-Nemechek (accident); #71-Trickle(?); #21-Sadler(accident); #10-Benson(?).
    Lap Leaders: #24-Gordon; #41-Spencer; #8-Earnhardt Jr; #99-Burton; #20-Stewart; #97-Busch.
    Caution 1 – didn’t take long, lap 4, #-1Park, tapped #44-Jones who spun out.
    Caution 2 – lap 42, #14-Compton got spun out by #12-Ryan Newman and hit the inside retaining wall.
    Caution 3 – lap 52, #43-Andretti spun out by #29-Harvick and went into the wall, but was able to drive it around and stay on the lead lap.
    Caution 4 – lap 82, #1-Park, passed #55-Hamilton too low and lost the car and spun it around, no damage to the car.
    Caution 5 – lap 112, #02-Sadler, got spun by #55-Hamilton, but didn’t hit anything until #88-Jarrett tried to go high to pass by Sadler and had no room, tapping Sadler in the left rear quater panel.
    Caution 6 – lap 132, #10-Benson was tapped by #40-Marlin, Benson spun out and backed into the outside wall.
    Caution 7 – lap 158, #24-Gordon went too low on the track and spun out, backing into the outside wall, quite a bit of damage, but should still be able to stay out on the track after repairs are done.
    Caution 8 – lap 165, just after the green flag flew, #23-Stricklin and #26-Nemechek got together. The #26 Ford is damgaged quite a bit.
    Caution 9 – lap 209, #20 Stewart tapped #12-Newman when Newman got loose. #90-Mast and #30-Green also spun out and got together behind the wreck. Newman’s car is extensively damage. The #24-Gordon car is back in the garage getting repaired.
    Caution 10 – lap 282, the #99-Burton car got into the #12-Newman car (just after he returned back to the track after repairs), #88-Jarrett tried to stop but could not and bumped the #12.
    Caution 11 – lap 242, #21-Sadler was tapped by #45-Petty and spun into the inside back stretch wall, and while #31-Gordon was checking up, #1-Park hit and spun Gordon.
    Caution 12 – lap 365, #20-Stewart lost it and spun a bit, after that, Todd Bodine replaced Stewart in the car and stayed on the lead lap.
    Caution 13 – lap 406, #1-Park spun by himself, #14-Compton spun slowing down, neither made contact. Leader #8-Earnhardt Jr came in to pit, the 2nd place car #97-Busch and #41-Spencer (3rd) stayed out.
    Caution 14 – lap 476, #02-Sadler cut a tire and hit the wall, he drove away. #97-Busch let #20-Bodine get his lap back.

    NOTES: On the start of the race, #31-Robby Gordon jumped the green flag start and was penalized a drive thru pit road. #15-Waltrip hit the wall with the side of his car, still out there running. #4-Skinner penalized for speeding on pit road. #24-Gordon was told after his accident to pick up the pace as he was running too slow. Todd Bodine is standing by to sub for Tony Stewart in the #20 Home Depot Pontiac.
    See ThatsRacin.com for Sunday’s Food City 500 results and for Updated Winston Cup points standings and for two columns: Sunday’s Race Rewind – Plenty of trouble to go around and Busch’s win unforgettable, Spencer says.(3-24-2002)

  • Display Debut’s: ALLTEL debuted a new traveling display at Bristol that will visit many of the upcoming NASCAR Winston Cup races. Fans have many treats in store when they drop by, including racing simulators, interactive displays, the ALLTEL long-distance basketball toss and numerous items of interest concerning driver Ryan Newman and his ALLTEL-sponsored racing team. You can even charge your cell phone or make a free one-minute call, courtesy of ALLTEL.(Tom Roberts PR)(3-24-2002)
  • Goodyear Employee Retires: Retirement’s lure finally hooked Goodyear’s longest serving salaried employee, Wayne Torrence, who joined Goodyear on Jan. 1, 1945, and has represented the Racing Division since 1969. Torrence has missed very few days in his 57-year-career and, in fact, his first day on the job was a day off – he was the only person reporting to work on that cold New Year’s holiday. “He’s at the beach right now,” revealed Greg Stucker, director of racing tire sales and marketing, “and definitely enjoying the start of a well-deserved retirement. Those in the race world who know him can be assured that Wayne will be attacking the golf courses with new gusto.” Torrence most recently had been the product manager for NASCAR racing, running Goodyear’s race tire warehouse in Concord, N.C., and also handling the at-track marketing and operations duties at many of the Winston Cup race weekends. The warehouse he coordinated serves the tire needs of the six Goodyear race tire distributors in the United States.(Goodyear PR)(3-24-2002)
  • More races for Hermie Sadler? #02-Hermie Sadler is partnering with Fox in promoting autism awareness this weekend. Sadler’s daughter, Halie Dru, suffers from autism, and Sadler has the 1-800-3-AUTISM line on his car. “Our goal hopefully is to raise money for families with autistic children that need financial help,” Sadler said. “They tell us that through the 800 number on the car that we got about 200 calls, just through our qualifying efforts.” In racing news, Sadler is considering picking up more races. He’s about “50-50” on going to Texas the week after Easter and, with only 43 Winston Cup competitors showing up some weeks, is considering adding more races to his schedule.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-24-2002)
  • No Indy 500 for Andretti in 2002: #43-John Andretti wants to run in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 this year. His NASCAR bosses are putting a halt to any double-duty plans. “John’s not going to do it,” Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises, said Saturday. “We’re just not in a position to let John do this at this time. I want John to do it, but we need his focus to be on the Winston Cup cars.” That’s disappointing news to Andretti, who tried the double in 1994. He’s been trying to do the grueling 1,100-miles of racing in the same day ever since and approached Petty on Friday to ask if he could do it this year. “I 100 percent want to do it, so I asked and then I listened for a while,” said Andretti, who is hopeful Petty might change his mind. (Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(3-24-2002)
  • No Stand-by for Stewart UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart doesn’t plan to have a driver standing by in his pits today. Stewart, sore from last week’s crash at Darlington Raceway, underwent physical therapy at the Motor Racing Outreach trailer yesterday after the final practice yesterday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-24-2002)
    UPDATE: Todd Bodine was standing by for Stewart and ran the car the last 130+ laps after Stewart spun and was not feeling good. Bodine finished the car on the lead lap in 15th, allowing Stewart to stay in the 12th place Drivers points standings.(3-24-2002)
  • Dragster at start/finish line: Doug Kalitta, who won the top fuel class in the NHRA Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway last year, will have his top fuel dragster on display at the start-finish line at today’s Food City 500. “What we’re trying to do is bring a little more awareness to the Winston Cup fans that we’ve got a race coming up next month,” Kalitta said. “We’ll start our car so the fans can hear what it sounds like, and we’re just out here trying to promote the Mac Tools brand.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-24-2002)

    (3-23-2002)

  • fan-owned NASCAR team relaunches UPDATE 2: Fanz Enterprises, which announced plans to form fan-owned NASCAR teams last fall, has re-launched its effort to allow race fans to own stock in NASCAR teams. The company’s debut was interrupted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington. The company is offering a maximum of 2.5 million shares of its common stock at a price of $10 per share. Fans can become part owners by purchasing a minimum of 25 shares (a $250 one-time investment). The money raised through the public offering is expected to allow Fanz to field a minimum of two full-time race teams. Sources of operating revenue are expected to include sponsorship monies, race purse winnings, race bonuses and sales of collectible and consumer motorsports products. For more information or to obtain a prospectus on the stock offering, visit fanzracing.com, or call (888) 444-8233.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-16-2002)
    UPDATE: In addition to Larry McReynolds, Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves has joined the Fanz team. Jones is a die-hard NASCAR fan and has dreamed about being a team owner. After learning about Fanz, Jones is “revved-up” to tell race fans across America about the benefits of Ownership and what it means to “be an Owner”.(Fanz Enterprises PR)(3-22-2002)
    AND see an article at USA Today: NASCAR fans hope stock helps them go racing.(3-23-2002)
  • Sharpie Announcement at Bristol UPDATE 2: an announcement will be made by the maker of the permanent marker, Sharpie, at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 23 at 9:00am at the brand new Victory Lane Building at Bristol. Not only will the press conference feature this announcement, it will also unveil a special paint scheme to be driven by #97-Kurt Busch of Roush Racing. “Announcements like this one don’t come along every day,” Busch said. “I’m real excited about it, and am thrilled to have the opportunity of driving this one-in-a-million special paint scheme. I have seen a lot of neat stuff on the track, but this one is sure to get everyone’s attention.” Beginning in August 2001, Sharpie came on as the title sponsor for the August night race at Bristol and appropriately called it the Sharpie 500. This year, with the addition of their special announcement, they are planning to make it a race that fans won’t forget and for one fan it may even change their life.(Roush Racing PR), hmmmm…..sounds like a contest of some sort?(3-19-2002)
    UPDATE: see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-21-2002)
    UPDATE 2: the #97 Ford of Kurt Busch is running a special scheme this weekend at Bristol to promote a sweepstakes: 10 lucky winners can win a Trip Prize: a 3-day/2-night trip for two to the SHARPIE 500 race in August 2002 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN and a chance to win up to $1,000,000. For more info see the Sharpie Site.(3-23-2002)
  • Fittipaldi and Petree? #55 and #33 car owner Andy Petree is expressing an interest in CART-Busch driver Christian Fittipaldi. Petree has cut back his two-car effort to a single-car [#55] team after losing sponsorship.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-23-2002)
  • Chevy’s get measured different starting at Texas UPDATE: Officials for NASCAR announced modifications in the inspection and measuring process, specifically for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, beginning with the NASCAR Winston Cup event weekend at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5th. The current NASCAR Winston Cup Series inspection process utilizes reference lines for inspection located on the inspection-room floor to help determine the overall length of the front of the car for each manufacturer. The Chevrolet’s reference line has been moved to the same point as the Ford Taurus and Dodge Intrepid. It will now be measured at 100 ¼ inches in length. (Prior to this modification, the Chevrolet was measured at 99 inches). The Pontiac Grand Prix is measured at 100 ½ inches.(NASCAR PR)(3-22-2002)
    UPDATE: Chevy team owners call NASCAR’s newest rules break “just a bone they’re throwing us,” according to car owner Andy Petree. NASCAR’s John Darby hinted he planned to follow up this rule with one cutting back something on the Dodges. General Motors’ Alba Colon said GM would welcome that move: “I would be very glad to hear that. We asked (NASCAR) to do something with the Dodges and the Fords, but they replied ‘What can we do for the Chevrolet? We don’t want to take anything away from them. What can we do for you?'” The new Chevy rule, Darby says, will give that make more front downforce. However, Chevy crew chiefs dismiss that, saying it may add only 10 pounds of downforce; NASCAR wind tunnel tests last week showed the Dodge with more than 130 pounds more front downforce than the Monte Carlo, out of nearly 1400 pounds of total downforce.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-23-2002)
  • Earnhardt Jr – a no show UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a no-show at Food City Family Race Night. Advance promotions for the event stressed all scheduled appearances were tentative, and someone who answered the phone at the North Carolina offices of Earnhardt’s public relations contact said their office indicated Wednesday that Dale Jr. would not attend. But among hundreds of NASCAR fans waiting in line Thursday afternoon for the doors to officially open for Race Night were scores of disappointed Earnhardt fans – some complaining they would not have made their way to the event had they known ahead of time he would not attend.(see full story at the Kingsport Times News and Bristol Herald Courier)(3-22-2002)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a no-show at a local autograph session, instead flying with Stewart to a Kid Rock concert Thursday night in Huntington, W.Va. Earnhardt also may face a civil fine for riding his four-wheeler on someone else’s property, according to a Charlotte television station.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-23-2002)
  • Spencer Hauled in: Before his team was allowed to unload his hauler and begin race preparations, driver Jimmy Spencer had to meet Friday morning with Winston Cup officials regarding his participation in last Sunday’s 11-car accident at Darlington. Event director David Hoots had asked that Spencer report to the NASCAR hauler following the Darlington race, but Spencer left the track without doing so. He was asked to come to the hauler Friday morning before practice and his team was not allowed to bring their car out until the meeting was over. “They wanted to talk to him about some stuff, about what he saw in the wreck and was there any way they could have prevented such a big pile-up,” said Tony Glover, team manager for Chip Ganassi Racing. “I guess they’re getting different answers from different drivers. I don’t think they were trying to punish him for being in the wreck. I think they just wanted his idea on what happened in the wreck.”(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND While neither Spencer nor NASCAR officials would speak directly to the issues, sources close to the situation said that NASCAR was concerned about Spencer going to Stewart’s car after the wreck and trying to help Stewart, while track safety crews were already there. However, Stewart, who had been knocked out, said that when he came to, the only man he recognized was Spencer and that he asked Spencer to help him. Stewart confirmed that to NASCAR. John Darby, NASCAR’s Winston Cup director, insisted that Spencer isn’t really in any trouble, that he just wanted to talk to Spencer about the Stewart crash.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-23-2002)


    (3-22-2002)

  • Ward and WD-40: Last week, Ward Burton announced he will serve on the Board of Directors for the WD-40 Fan Club. WD-40 recently launched its search for seven lucky WD-40 Fan Club members to join Burton and other celebrities on its Fan Club Board of Directors. Those fanatical enough to be selected will serve as a voice for Fan Club members across the globe, test new products, and share a forum with Burton and others via a quarterly “board meeting” via email. Last year, the WD-40 Fan Club was created as an outlet for die-hard WD-40 users. Now 41,000 members strong and still growing, the burgeoning Club is seeking leadership among its fan base. Once voted in, the new members will join well-known celebrities on the Board, including: Daytona 500-winning NASCAR driver Ward Burton; Linda Cobb, the self-appointed Queen of Clean (r); and Jim and Tim, the Duct Tape Guys. To nominate someone for a seat on the WD-40 Fan Club Board of Directors, visit http://fanclub.wd40.com (free to join) to download a nomination form. All nominations must be postmarked by April 6 and received by April 13. The 20 nominees selected as candidates will be posted on the Fan Club web site and will be charged with driving friends, family and “constituents” to the web site to cast a vote in their favor. Additional information about WD-40 Company may be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.wd40.com. Try WD-40 to: Remove dead insects from car grills and exterior; Lubricate sway bar arms/pads; Clean and polish bumpers; Keeps dirt and rubber off front of chassis; Remove melted rubber from vehicle chassis; Keep pit crew equipment lubricated; Lubricate lugnuts for quick removal and replacement; Lubricate heim joints on a shock or track bar; Clean surfaces before applying decal, or easily remove leftover adhesive – Lubricate shifter linkages on transmissions.(WD-40 PR)(3-22-2002)
  • Earnhardt Jr in trouble: Dale Earnhardt Jr has been charged with a crime. The Lincoln County [NC] Sheriff’s department says earlier this year Earnhardt and four other people were stopped for four wheeling on private property. The investigating officer says the men were riding all-terrain vehicles. Earnhardt’s charged with trespassing. His trial date is scheduled for April 17.(GoCarolinas/WSOC-TV Eyewitness News)(3-22-2002)
  • Darlington TV Ratings UPDATE: The overnight rating for the Winston Cup race on Fox from Darlington registered a 5.5. The small market bump for the final ratings on Thursday should bring it to 5.8 or 5.9, which would make it short of last year’s 6.1.(MotorsportsTV)(3-19-2002)
    UPDATE: Sunday’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 earned a 5.8/14 9.6 million viewers) on Fox, topping the full-weekend average of CBS’ NCAA Tournament (+12% vs. 5.2/13) and the final round of Tiger Woods’ win on NBC’s Bay Hill Invitational (+12% vs. 5.2/11). The average audience for the Darlington race was larger than the same race last year (+1%, 9.6 million vs. 9.5). Fox’s NASCAR race from Darlington also beat its head-to-head NBA on NBC (Orlando vs. Philadelphia) competition (5.8/11 vs. 1.5/4). For the season-to-date, NASCAR on Fox is averaging a 6.1, 5 percent higher than last year’s record season average of 5.8.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-22-2002)


    (3-21-2002)

  • Hooters signs with Brett Bodine for rest of 2002 and gets a teammate: Brett Bodine got some good news on Thursday. The Hooters Restaurants chain has decided to sponsor #11 Ford Bodine’s team for the remainder of the 2002 season. The company had been one-race sponsor for Bodine in the past two races [Atlanta and Darlington]. “This is a great opportunity for our race team to be involved with Hooters Restaurants for the remainder of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season,” said Bodine. “This sponsorship will put stability back into our race team so we can focus on making our team more competitive. The sponsorship agreement will give Hooters primary sponsorship of a Winston Cup series car for the first time since 1996. The company won the 1992 Winston Cup championship as sponsor of the #7 Ford driven by the late Alan Kulwicki.(ThatsRacin.com)
    and….Bodine gets a teammate: Kirk Shelmerdine, a regular in the ARCA series, will run a limited schedule this season in Winston Cup as a second team with Brett Bodine Racing. Shelmerdine, once a crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, has picked up sponsorship for his schedule by Eastern Foods Inc. The team plans to enter as many as five races this season. “This is a great opportunity for me,” Shelmerdine said. “We look forward to this new partnership.”(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND more: Hooters of America chairman Bob Brooks will sponsor Brett Bodine’s #11 Ford for no less than 26 of the remaining 31 races on the schedule and will also back a second car out of the BBR shops in five races for Kirk Shelmerdine using the Naturally Fresh brand of his Eastern Foods company. Bodine’s team has the option of selling the remaining five races to another primary sponsor, but a team spokesperson said Hooters might opt to be on the car for those events as well. Bodine’s associate sponsorship programs with Wells Fargo Financial, Timberland Pro, TEC Graphics and Express Services Inc. all will continue. Doug Richert, who joined Bodine at the season’s second race, at North Carolina Speedway, working in the crew chief’s role as a “consultant,” will continue in that position at Bristol as Bodine weighs his options.(NASCAR.com)(3-21-2002)
  • Provisonals Rules changed a bit: NASCAR Officials announced this week that teams in the Cup and BGN will not be charged for using a provisional starting position if the entry field for an event is equal to or less than the number of starting positions provided by the official entry blank.[such as 43 at a Cup race]. A team is granted a maximum season allotment of eight provisionals [charged provisional, if not in the top 25 in Owners Points] and under this amendment, provisionals assigned to fill starting positions 37-43 will not count against this allotment. Prior to this amendment, teams were charged for a provisional regardless of the number of entries at an event.(NASCAR.com). For more info on provisionals, see my Provisionals Status page.(3-21-2002)
  • No Common Templates: Common templates are not on the horizon, according to NASCAR President Mike Helton. “I don’t know that you’ll ever reach a point where there’s definitively a set of templates that are uniquely common. I think there is a benefit for Chevrolet, Pontiac, Dodge and Ford to have brand identity in these garage areas,” Helton said March 16. “That’s the backbone of the competition and the business. So the controversy that surrounds that, I don’t think will ever go away. You look at the NASCAR stock car that’s in the Cup and the Busch garages, and they’re uniquely NASCAR race cars. They have bowties and blue ovals and ram shields and Pontiac triangles in them, but they are NASCAR race cars. If you took a set of templates from a Pontiac and went to a showroom, they’re not going to fit that car. They’re going to fit the NASCAR race car that carries the Pontiac brand on them.”(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-21-2002)
  • Jones Not Looking: Rumors have been circulating for a while that Petty Enterprises would replace Buckshot Jones with Joe Nemechek, and in turn, talk had surfaced that Jones and his father, Billy, were looking to take sponsor Georgia-Pacific either to Andy Petree Racing or back to the Busch Series. On March 18, Billy Jones dismissed rumors of his and his son’s departure. “You can print this in bold letters … that’s the biggest bunch of bull I’ve ever heard,” Jones said. “Buckshot’s happy with Georgia-Pacific. He’s happy with the Pettys. And besides, Georgia-Pacific is not our sponsor to take anywhere else. It’s the Pettys’ (sponsor).”(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read), see my #44 Team News and Links page for the rumor.(3-21-2002)
  • Bo-Dyn bobsled on display at LMS: Ten years ago NASCAR Winston Cup driver Geoffrey Bodine dreamed of building a bobsled that could capture Olympic gold for the United States. After seeing that dream become a reality earlier this year, Bodine will bring one of the Bo-Dyn bobsleds to the Food Lion AutoFair, the world’s largest automotive expo, April 4-7 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. As part of the four-day Food Lion AutoFair, Bodine will autograph bobsled posters to raise money for the Bo-Dyn project in the Food Lion Pavilion on Saturday, April 6 from 1-3 p.m. In return for a small donation, show-goers can also sit in the sled while having their picture taken with the NASCAR driver and Bo-Dyn project-founder. The Bo-Dyn bobsled is one of many feature exhibits that will be on display during AutoFair. The event features show cars from nearly three dozen car clubs, thousands of parts and memorabilia vendors plus a collector car auction. See more at the Lowes Motor Speedway site.(3-21-2002)
  • LaJoie to run some Cup races: BGN driver Randy LaJoie and his BGN team owner [#7 Chevy], Ed Evans, are talking to a potential sponsor about moving up to run four or five Cup races later this season. “I’m not going to go just to ride around,” he says. “I want to go and be competitive. Like when those Cup guys come over here and kick our butt? I want to go over there and kick theirs.” LaJoie, 40, won back-to-back BGN titles in 1996 and 1997. In the past few years, he has turned down several offers to move up to Winston Cup; one would have paid him four times more than he’s making now. LaJoie says the extra money isn’t worth the additional sponsorship, media and testing hassles that would come along with it. He has several friends in Winston Cup and can’t believe how much family time they miss. “I can’t put a price tag on that,” he says. “It kind of cracks me up when you listen to all these (drivers) that are mid-40s now. I think they finally realized that they had kids. By then their kids are teenagers, you know? To me, I’ve had so much fun watching my 6-year-old get his first basket in basketball, my 8-year-old getting a hit in baseball. I can’t replace that.” LaJoie turned down one particularly enticing offer a few years ago after one of his sons asked him why he’d want a job that would take him away from home more often; didn’t he already make enough money? “He’d better not get mad at me when he goes to a state college instead of Duke,” LaJoie jokes.(more at USA Today)(3-21-2002)
  • Commercials too racy? Are some of the commercials and promos aired during NASCAR telecasts on Fox a bit too racy for racing? Some say yes, some say no. Nationally-prominent Nashville song writer and entertainer Ed Bruce falls into the ”yes” category. ”I was watching last Sunday’s race with my 7-year-old nephew when they ran a promo of a man and woman in bed together,” Bruce said. ”They also showed two women kissing. I’m no prude, but I don’t think that’s appropriate for kids to see. I think Fox needs to remember that a lot of kids watch racing on TV and they need to clean it up.” Fox is known for its edgy programming, while NASCAR fans — especially in the racing hotbed of the South — tend to be more conservative. Some fans have expressed complaints similar to Bruce’s in letters to various racing publications, but Fox Sports spokesman Lou D’Ermilio said he is not aware of widespread concerns. ”Your call is the first I’ve heard about it,” D’Ermilio told The Tennessean earlier this week. ”We have not been receiving letters or calls or e-mails from our viewers.” NASCAR, which promotes its races as ”family-oriented entertainment,” has enjoyed record-breaking ratings on Fox and has no intention of rocking the boat. ”NASCAR is happy with Fox,” said Herb Branham, Winston Cup manager of communications. ”It has promoted the sport better than it has ever been promoted. What else it chooses to promote is beyond the scope of NASCAR.” A poll at tennessean.com on Tuesday asked ”What is your reaction to some of the commercials shown during Fox’s NASCAR coverage?” Of the 275 respondents, 19.3% voted they were not offended by them, 13.1% said they were not suitable for kids, 27.3% enjoyed them and 40.4% said they don’t watch racing on TV. See full story (and notes) at the Tennessean.(3-21-2002)
  • Suspension Changes UPDATE: NASCAR announced new parameters for suspension and coil springs.(Daytona Beach News Journal) {doesn’t say what those changes are](3-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Effective March 20, NASCAR is requiring several changes that will affect a car’s suspension. The maximum height of the panhard bar frame mount, when measured from the center of the panhard bar mounting bolt to the ground, must not be more than 15 inches. And the difference in height between the center of the panhard bar truck arm mounting bolt and the panhard bar frame mounting bolt must not be more than three inches at any time. The other change is with the front coil springs. The minimum number of active coils for each spring will now be 4 1/2 coils. And all coils must be evenly spaced after the first coil on the closed end of the spring. In addition, all coils must have the same inside and outside diameter.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-21-2002)
  • #4 Jackman to return: Mike James, jackman for Joe Nemechek’s #87 BGN team, served as jackman for #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports and river Mike Skinner at Darlington. He replaced recuperating Tony Cardamone, who suffered a cracked shin at Atlanta. Cardamone, who was at Darlington, is expected to return to his regular duties March 24 at Bristol.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-21-2002)
  • Kmart’s Motion Approved: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan Pierson Sonderby approved Kmart’s motion Wednesday to get out of its NASCAR sponsorship agreement with Haas-Carter Motorsports. Kmart had sponsored two Haas-Carter cars, the #66 driven by Todd Bodine and the #26 driven by Joe Nemechek. The Kmart logo hasn’t been on either car since Feb. 24. The cars haven’t found new sponsors and the #66 has been parked for financial reasons.(Catchfence)(3-21-2002)
  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award: This week, no one would doubt that Lee McCall, crew chief for the #40 Coors Light Dodge, had the roughest start to the race and the best finish. As a result, he’ll take home the “IRWIN Rough to Finish Award” for the team’s worst to first finish at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington. Sterling Marlin, who initially qualified in the 11th position, started at the back of the field due to a weekend engine change. But that didn’t slow down Marlin, McCall and the team. Sterling drove from 43rd to the top 20 early and by lap 100 Marlin found himself in the top five. After avoiding the big wreck on lap 226, Marlin won the race. Despite the engine change and the move to the back of the field, the team’s crew chief, Lee McCall, was confident that they had a car capable enough to pull through the pack and be a top competitor in the race. “We knew we had a problem with the engine and couldn’t take a chance with it,” said Lee McCall. “We put our best motor in and started in the rear and watched Sterling drive that thing up through traffic all day long. He picked ’em off one at a time, and raced this race track all day long. He did a heck of a job, and my hat’s off to him and our whole race team. That just goes to show how strong he is.”(PR)(3-21-2002)
  • Childress off to the Artic after Bristol: Richard Childress [owner of the #’s 29,30,31] is taking a hunting trip, smack in the middle of Winston Cup season. “I’m changing my lifestyle a little bit,” Childress said. “I need to.” The change was prompted in part by the death of Childress’ friend and driver, Dale Earnhardt, more than a year ago. Not that the hunting trip will cost Childress much time in the garage, but it might. A day after Sunday’s race at Bristol, Tenn., Childress leaves for the Arctic to hunt polar bear and musk ox. Winston Cup does not race the following weekend, Easter Sunday. Childress plans to fly directly to Texas on April 7 for that race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-21-2002)

    (3-20-2002)

  • 300th for Bobby Labonte: In typical Bobby Labonte fashion, a simple shrug of the shoulders is all you get when he was told this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway would be his 300th career NASCAR Winston Cup start. For Labonte, he feels as though it’s not really that big of a deal. To him, it’s just another race, except for the fact that it will take place on the high banks of Bristol. “It’s cool that I am making it to my 300th start and all,” said Labonte. “But when you look at what Terry (Labonte – 715 career starts this weekend) has done, it really doesn’t mean that much. I remember my first Cup start at Dover in 1991. We didn’t belong there and we bit off more than we could chew and realized that real quick. There were times like that early on in my career I doubted I would even make 50 starts let alone 300. I have been so fortunate to be associated with two great owners in Bill Davis and Joe Gibbs while racing at the Winston Cup level. Without them, I wouldn’t be here that’s for sure.” When asked about racing long enough to equal the number of starts his older brother Terry has, Labonte quickly remarked, “Absolutely not! That would mean I would have to race at least 11 more years and I am not planning on racing that long I don’t think. I love racing and who I work for and all that, but I can not imagine doing this for 11 more years.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(3-20-2002)
  • Testing at Texas UPDATE 2 rained out: testing at Texas Motor Speedway continues today for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race and O’Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series races (April 6-7th). Three remaining scheduled test sessions, which are closed to the public, include 16 drivers from both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series. The following drivers/teams are currently scheduled:
    March 19-20 – #2-Rusty Wallace; #5-Terry Labonte; #45-Kyle Petty; and for the BGN – #12-Kerry Earnhardt.
    March 25 – #49-Shawna Robinson
    March 26-27 – #99-Jeff Burton; #18-Bobby Labonte; #22-Ward Burton; #25-Jerry Nadeau; #14-Stacy Compton; #55-Bobby Hamilton; and for the BGN – #2-Johnny Sauter; #29-Kevin Harvick (the Sonic car); #87-Joe Nemechek; #14-Larry Foyt; #37-Jeff Purvis.(Texas Motor Speedway PR)(3-19-2002)
    UPDATE: looks like no cars took to the track Tuesday at TMS as it rained most of the day and is supposed to rain Wednesday morning.(3-20-2002)
    UPDATE 2: testing at Texas has been rained out and the teams that were to test this week may come back and test next week with the other teams scheduled to be there.(3-20-2002)
  • 43 cars or No Pay? this is interesting, didn’t know this: NASCAR almost had a short field (fewer than 43 cars) last weekend at Darlington. If so, it would have been the first time since 42 cars ran at Talladega in October 1997. #49-Shawna Robinson and #71-Andy Hillenburg were late entries and ran only a few laps. Didn’t matter … they’d earned their money by showing up and filling the field. NASCAR probably will have to make midweek phone calls to rustle up enough cars to get to 43.(see story below, looks like 43). There’s a good reason for that number: The contract with NBC and Fox says NASCAR must present 43 cars each weekend. If not, the networks aren’t obligated to pay as much for the rights to televise the event.(Daily Press). NOTE: being told that NASCAR has asked the #49 BAM Racing and #71 Marcis Racing teams to go to the Cup race in California to insure a full field. The race is not on either teams schedule and Bristol could be the last race for the #26 car and Joe Nemechek unless a sponsor is found. UPDATE: But California is already on the #49’s planned scheduled and the #74 BACE Motorsports team with Chad Little plans on debuting there.(3-20-2002)
  • BACE and Little to Cup UPDATE: BACE Motorsports announced this week that the team will make its NASCAR Winston Cup debut at California Speedway on April 28, 2002 with driver Chad Little in the #74 Chevy. In the coming weeks, Team Manager Terry Wooten will be announcing a crew chief for the Winston Cup team, as well as a strategic alliance with another Winston Cup program that will supply engines to the new venture. Operations of the #74 BGN Team, also piloted by Little, will cease immediately. “We’re excited to make the transition to the Winston Cup level with the #74 Team,” owner Bill Baumgardner said. “We’ve made a strategic change in plan for the No. 74 and are now dedicating 100 percent of the focus of this team to our Winston Cup effort. Since BACE was formed in 1990, we’ve been committed to a standard of excellence that has led our team to success. With the elements we currently have in place, we believe that this is the appropriate time to make the move to Winston Cup.” BACE’s debut marks the return of Chad Little to Winston Cup. Little joined BACE late in the 2000 BGN campaign, posting two Top-5 and six Top-10 finishes en route to a 9th-place finish in the 2001 BGN Championship race. “This is a great opportunity for me to return to Winston Cup with a team that understands how to build a winner,” Little said. “Their success in the Busch Series is undeniable and we have high expectations for Winston Cup,” he added. “I’m excited to be a part of a team with such a great tradition and honored to drive for BACE in their first Winston Cup effort.” Little, a former NASCAR Winston West Champion, will pilot the #74 entry in a limited schedule, initially focusing on intermediate tracks, as the team actively seeks corporate sponsorship. Following BACE’s California Speedway debut, Little will run The Winston Open and Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, then the June events at Dover International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. Additional events will be named as the 2002 season progresses, with as many as 20 races possible.(Chad Little Site)(3-14-2002)
    UPDATE: Quote from note about Chad going Winston Cup racing: “We will be picking up several cars tomorrow, intermediate and I believe a speedway car. Our engines will be supplied by the same organization supplying the cars, wish I could officially tell you, however, they will make a press announcement the week following Bristol.”(Chad Little Forum)(3-20-2002)
  • Elliott tests at Talladega…short track: NASCAR Winston Cup driver Bill Elliott made a visit to the Talladega Short Track Tuesday to test his late-model dirt car against local drivers Staci Holmes and Ted Lackey and legendary short-track driver Red Farmer. Elliott tested for approximately four hours.(Anniston Star)(3-20-2002)
  • #77 Crew Member sick UPDATE: Scott Stallings, gas runner and fabricator for the #77 Fords of Jasper Motorsports, felt light-headed and dizzy before the start of Sunday’s race and was transported to Carolinas Hospital System in Florence, SC. He underwent enzyme tests to determine whether he was suffering from a heart problem. The initial tests were negative but he was kept overnight for observation.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Scott Stallings, gas man for the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions team, was transported to Carolinas Hospital System in Florence during last Sunday’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway after experiencing light-headedness, dizziness and chest pain during pre-race activities. Initial enzyme tests were negative. However, subsequent tests including a heart catheterization, have shown some cardiac damage. Stallings will remain at CHS until later this week. he is in stable condition. (ThatsRacin.com)(3-20-2002)
  • Earnhardts sued by former associate UPDATE: Gray London says he helped finance “The Intimidator’s” successful career. Now, he’s suing the multi-million dollar racing empire Dale Earnhardt Inc. to get a return on his 28-year-old investment. Jury selection took up the entire Cleveland County Court [NC] session on Monday. Juror after juror was excused from the trial after attorneys had trouble finding any who weren’t fans of Earnhardt or his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Winston Cup champion car owner Rick Hendrick was in Shelby on Monday for the trial. Teresa Earnhardt, Earnhardt’s widow and head of DEI, as well as legendary driver Harry Gant could also make appearances as witnesses, possibly as early as today. In his complaint filed in the summer of 2000 Gray London of Boiling Springs alleges he entered an agreement in 1999 with DEI to release Earnhardt from the defunct racing team the two men formed in 1974. London granted the release in exchange for $550,000 and the rights to make collectibles of three of Earnhardt’s first cars through his company, Driver on a Mission. The complaint alleges DEI violated the agreement and “used its economic clout within the racing souvenir industry to pressure individuals and businesses to refrain from or to stop doing business with DOM.” The complaint says DEI told London’s prospective business partners they would “suffer if they do business with Mr. London or DOM.” London claims that in 1974 he and Earnhardt formed the Earnhardt Racing Team, with each man putting up half of the money. “He helped Dale Earnhardt get started in 1974 after Dale’s father died. He put up the money for him to get started in racing,” said London’s attorney Irving Brenner. “Over the years, Mr. London and Dale Earnhardt talked about settling up on their agreement and in January of 1999 they did. There was an agreement between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Mr. London,” said Brenner. London filed a lawsuit against DEI because, Brenner said, the agreement between the two men was broken by DEI. “The dispute is over not paying him the money the agreement calls for,” Brenner said. London claims DEI owes him $100,000 through Action Performance, a racing souvenir company, under the 1999 agreement and alleges his company was not allowed to sell Earnhardt collectibles, which was also provided for under the agreement. DEI filed a countersuit claiming London breached the contract. Both the suit and countersuit ask for unspecified monetary amounts. “Basically, Mr. London knew Dale and his family and they had a racing team and it went under in two years,” said attorney Judson Graves, who represented the Earnhardts last year in a Florida courtroom to restrict access to Earnhardt’s autopsy photos. “London came back looking for something out of the old days and threatened a suit. DEI lived up to their agreement and they (London) didn’t,” said Graves. He said neither side disputes the existence of the 1999 contract between London and DEI.(in part from the Gaston Gazette, a short term link is gone)(3-12-2002)
    UPDATE: Lawyers for Dale Earnhardt Inc. opened their case against Boiling Springs resident Gray London on Tuesday with testimony from one of London’s former employees. Dale Earnhardt’s mother, Martha, and racing legend Harry Gant gave their testimony during Tuesday’s proceedings. London alleges in his complaint he entered an agreement in 1999 with DEI to release Earnhardt from the defunct racing team the two men formed in 1974. London granted the release in exchange for $550,000 and the rights to make collectibles of three of Earnhardt’s first cars through his company Driver on a Mission. His complaint claims DEI violated the agreement and “used its economic clout within the racing souvenir industry to pressure individuals and businesses to refrain from or to stop doing business with DOM.” Sharon Miller testified Tuesday she was told by London to pass someone else’s work off as her own while employed at his company Driver on a Mission. DEI called Gant to testify about the car Earnhardt drove to his first victory on asphalt. The car was co-owned by London and the Earnhardt family, and was purchased from Gant, who built the car. London contends the car was a 1965 Chevelle, while DEI says the car was a 1964 model. Graves said Gant testified Tuesday the car was a ’64 model. Die cast models of a 1964 Chevelle were manufactured and distributed by Action Performance, while London marketed the car as a 1965 model. Also in dispute is the sponsor of the car at the time Earnhardt captured his first asphalt win on July 19, 1974, at Metrolina Speedway. London claims his company, Dainty Maid Foods, was on the car at the time of the win, while DEI says Doc’s Cycle Center was the car’s sponsor in victory lane that night. Marshall Brooks, former owner of Doc’s Cycle Center and one of Earnhardt’s old “drinking buddies,” said his company sponsored the car the night Earnhardt took his first checkered flag on pavement.(in part from the Gaston Gazette, a one day link then a paid archive)(3-20-2002)


    (3-19-2002)

  • A 5th Hendrick team? been told that Hendrick Motorsports BGN driver, Jack Sprague, will drive the #60 Haas Chevy in the Coca Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway in May and possibly up to six more Cup events. See an image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(3-19-2002)
  • Hermie Sadler to Run Autism Awareness Car at Bristol UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler has decided to run the Winston Cup race at Bristol [March 24th] in an [#02] Autism Awareness Car. He will have the ribbon on the hood and only has an associate sponsor. We hear that he’s using a lot of his own money for this race and wanted to do something for the autism community. Sadler’s youngest daughter, Halie, was diagnosed with Autism last February.(MotorsportsTV)(3-13-2002)
    UPDATE: The promotion is a partnership with Fox, which will run a segment during the race featuring information on Autism as well as make an educational video available to special education teachers. The car will also carry the toll free number that people can make contributions to the Autism Society of America:1-800-3-AUTISM. Several associate sponsorships have been sold to companies who have been and want to be affiliated with this promotion and spots are available from $2500.00 to $50,000.00 (for the quarterpanels) and a portion of all sponsorships will donated to the Autism Society of America and all sponsors will be recognized on the Fox segment for their support. Interested parties in sponsoring the car should call (804) 586-8215.(3-16-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The #02 Car will carry Autism “Puzzle” Ribbon on the hood as well as Autism Society of America’s (ASA) Toll Free number, 1-800-3-AUTISM. Viewers can call ASA at 800.3.AUTISM, beginning Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd, to make a donation to fund autism research (also can donate online at Join Hermie’s Race for Autism(click here). Like any driver in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Hermie Sadler goes to the track with his mind set on winning.. When the Emporia, VA native takes to the track this weekend in Bristol to race in the Food City 500, however, his mind will also be on something far more important to him than winning Sadler will be also be thinking about Autism awareness and research. Sadler and his family made it public last year that his three year old daughter, Halie Dru, was Autistic after initially keeping the diagnosis private while preparing her for therapy. Now, Sadler is on a mission to educate people about htis disease that affects 1 out of every 500 children born in America. Joining Sadler on his efforts at Bristol is Car-Freshner Corporation, makers of the popular “Little Trees” air fresheners. Car-Freshner and Sadler will team up for some BGN racing also. The Virginia Lottery, who partnered with Sadler for a promotion in 2001, rejoins him as an associate sponsor for this Bristol event, leading into several more Winston Cup races for which they will partner together. Also coming on board with Sadler for this event is RealEstateCirciut.com. Gina Clark, the owner of the internet based real estate company based in Range County, NY contacted Sadler when she learned of the promotion at Bristol. RealEstateCircuit.com will be an associate on the car at Bristol, and has also generously pledged 25% of the commissions generated by her company to the Autism Society. Another big player in this weekend’s event for Sadler is Fox Sports – who will center the efforts of Sadler this weekend on their broadcast, and plans to run a feature during the race to raise awareness for Autism and the reserach that is needed. Artie Kempner, lead director for Fox Sports NASCAR events, also deals with Autism on a dialy basis. Kempner’s 7 year old son, Ethan, is Autistic. In addition to the feature story this Sunday, Kempner and Sadler plan to offer an instructional video for special education teachers across the country to help them better understand and relate to Autistic children.(The Patterson Group PR)(3-19-2002)
  • Trickle back in the #71 at Bristol: hearing that Williams Bros. Lumber Company, an Atlanta based Building Material and Lumber Supplier, has agreed to be the primary sponsor of the #71 Marcis Racing Chevy and driver Dick Trickle for this Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristola Motor Speedway. Williams Bros. was the sponsor for the team and Trickle two weeks ago at Atlanta. See images of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(3-19-2002)
  • #18 Testing at Lakeland: #18-Bobby Labonte will test at Lakeland, FL’s USA Speedway today and Wednesday. #20-Tony Stewart was scheduled to test with his team mate but is resting up from the Darlington accident.(FSN’s Totally NASCAR)(3-19-2002)
  • #500 for Martin: #6-Mark Martin will make his 500th career start on the Winston Cup circuit this week at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City 500 on March 24, 2002. Martin first raced on the Winston Cup circuit in 1981, when he ran his self-owned car five times, claiming two poles, two top-10 finishes and one top-five. He made his Winston Cup debut on April 3, 1981 at North Wilkesboro Speedway at the age of 22. A few months later in only this third Winston Cup start, Martin captured the pole at Nashville. A few weeks later Martin captured his second career pole at Richmond. “I didn’t really realize that it was coming up on 500,” said Martin. “As a kid growing up in Arkansas, and being into racing, NASCAR was the cool thing to do. It has certainly changed a lot since the early days of my career.” In 1988 Martin teamed up with car owner Jack Roush and 15 years, 441 races and 32 wins later Martin is still running the #6 Roush Racing Ford Taurus(Roush Racing PR)(3-19-2002)
  • Darlington TV Ratings: The overnight rating for the Winston Cup race on Fox from Darlington registered a 5.5. The small market bump for the final ratings on Thursday should bring it to 5.8 or 5.9, which would make it short of last year’s 6.1.(MotorsportsTV)(3-19-2002)
  • Sharpie Announcement at Bristol: an announcement will be made by the maker of the permanent marker, Sharpie, at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 23 at 9:00am at the brand new Victory Lane Building at Bristol. Not only will the press conference feature this announcement, it will also unveil a special paint scheme to be driven by #97-Kurt Busch of Roush Racing. “Announcements like this one don’t come along every day,” Busch said. “I’m real excited about it, and am thrilled to have the opportunity of driving this one-in-a-million special paint scheme. I have seen a lot of neat stuff on the track, but this one is sure to get everyone’s attention.” Beginning in August 2001, Sharpie came on as the title sponsor for the August night race at Bristol and appropriately called it the Sharpie 500. This year, with the addition of their special announcement, they are planning to make it a race that fans won’t forget and for one fan it may even change their life.(Roush Racing PR), hmmmm…..sounds like a contest of some sort?(3-19-2002)
  • Stewart held Overnight UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart, involved in a 11 car wreck at Darlington, was awake and removed from the car on a stretcher, Jimmy Spencer reported that Stewart is going to be ok and talked to Stewart in the care center, but Stewart will be airlifted to a local hospital to be checked out as he is complaining of lower back/leg pain and will have a CAT Scan of his head, back and abdomen.(Fox coverage of the race). AND Stewart lost consciousness for a few minutes and was taken to the track’s infield care center. He was later airlifted to Carolinas Hospital System in Florence, SC. The driver was awake and alert and complained of pain in his lower back and numbness and tingling in his left foot. He had CT scans of his head, chest, abdomen and pelvis. Dr. Tony Cutry said all tests were negative. Stewart was admitted overnight for observation.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac, was released in good condition from Carolinas Hospital System in Florence, S.C. earlier today. Stewart was X-rayed and given CT scans of the head, chest, back and pelvic area on Sunday, was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation, and underwent an MRI early this morning. All tests were negative.(Edelman Public Relations Worldwide), Stewart returned to his home in Cornelius, N.C., and is not expected to miss any time in his #20 Pontiac.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-18-2002)


    (3-18-2002)

  • Personal Stuff – Gordon News UPDATE: Racer Jeff Gordon’s wife files for divorce – story at the Palm Beach Post: Brooke Gordon, wife of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, filed for divorce on Friday after more than seven years of marriage. Their marriage is “irretrievably broken as a result of the husband’s marital misconduct,” according to the document. The couple has no children.(3-16-2002)
    AND: Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon declined to comment Saturday on reports from Florida that his wife of more than seven years, Brooke, has filed for a divorce. “I am not going to comment on it,” Jeff Gordon said at Darlington Raceway, the site of Sunday’s Dodge 400 race. “I hope you guys will respect me at this time and we will release something next week.” Marital misconduct is defined legally as any conduct that undermines the marital relationship or behavior that forces one spouse to assume extra burdens in a marriage.(ThatsRacin.com) and a column from NASCAR.com: Report: Brooke Gordon files for divorce(3-16-2002)
    UPDATE: Statement From Jeff Gordon:
    “As you are probably well aware, Brooke has filed for divorce. Being a personal matter, I hope that everybody will respect our privacy as we work through this difficult time. I also hope everybody will understand that it would be improper for me to discuss or comment on this matter publicly. I appreciate the support I’ve received from my family, friends and those in the racing community.”(Jeff Gordon Site)(3-18-2002)
  • Andretti a clone? UPDATE 2 image and some Star Wars/Cheerios PR: hearing the #43 Cheerios Dodge and driver John Andretti will sport a special Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones movie scheme in 2002. The movie is scheduled for release in May, been told the scheme will run in The Wintson and the Coca Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway(2-5-2002)
    UPDATE: Got an image of the scheme, check it out on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(2-6-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Cheerios announces three special edition Star Wars paint schemes and have designed a special paint scheme for Episode I, Episode II and a Trilogy edition. On their site [www.starwars.cheeriosracing.com], folks can check out each new car design, view them from different angles, pick a favorite and compare them with other. Images can be downloaded. Beginning in May in select states, specially marked packages of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Honey Nut Chex and Golden Grahams will be offering a FREE mail in for three collectible 1:64 die cast cars with #43 Cheerios Star Wars special edition paint schemes. Collect all three special edition paint schemes: Episode I, Episode II and the Trilogy car. In conjunction with the FREE mail-in offer, John Andretti will be driving a new, one-time-only Light Side vs. Dark Side Star Wars paint scheme in May at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway to commemorate the movie premier.(PR)(3-18-2002)
  • More One Engine News UPDATE: NASCAR yesterday tightened its one-engine rule, requiring teams to get NASCAR approval for any engine change. Some teams have been practicing with one engine, then changing for qualifying.(Winston Salem Journal). Previously, teams could use a different engine for the first practice session but couldn’t change engines once the car was qualified unless gaining approval from NASCAR.(News and Record)(3-17-2002)
    UPDATE: On Saturday, NASCAR said it was amending his single engine rule to include possible reduction in owner and driver points to teams that change engines.(Augusta Chronicle)(3-18-2002)
  • Baseball, Texas and Benson UPDATE: Brandweek magazine is reporting that Major League Baseball is planning a NASCAR-related promotion and licensing deal around the April 7 Winston Cup Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, today’s Sports Business Daily says. Brandweek says MBV’s #10 Pontiac driven by Johnny Benson will display an MLB Opening Day logo. The promotion will also see Benson and his team attend a Rangers game during the race weekend, and Rangers players are expected to be on hand for the race. The magazine also says the 200,000 fans expected at the race will receive a fan guide with the complete 2002 MLB schedule.(Winston Cup Scene – Daily Newsletter)(3-14-2002)
    UPDATE: the scheme is a MLB Opening Day/Radio Shack scheme, see my Paint Schemes Gallery for an image of the scheme.(3-18-2002)
  • Stewart to Skip the Indy 500? Even before his nasty crash Sunday, Tony Stewart apparently was re-evaluating his plans for May. Stewart has had discussions with Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske about running in the Indianapolis 500, but his NASCAR team officials said he has been weighing one other option: None of the above. Team officials said owner Joe Gibbs is not standing in the way of Stewart again doing Memorial Day double duty with either Ganassi or Penske. It’s up to the driver, and he hasn’t decided. Last year, Stewart ran in the Indy 500 and then the Coca-Cola 600, a night race at Charlotte.(Indianapolis Star), see more on my #20 Team News and Links page.(3-18-2002)
  • Smith blames Evernham UPDATE um..no?: #7 car owner, Jim Smith, is not happy. Smith said he doesn’t blame driver Casey Atwood for the stumbling start this season — finishes of 35th, 39th, 41st and 32nd — but instead suggested that Ray Evernham, with whom Smith merged teams, is not giving Atwood proper support. ”We’re not going to stand for this running 20th stuff,” Smith said. ”We’re going to consolidate the teams and start sharing information.” (more at the Tennessean)(3-16-2002)
    Jim Smith, co-owner of the #7 Sirius Dodge, denies rumors that there has been a lack of cooperation between his squad and partner Ray Evernham since Ultra Motorsports inherited Casey Atwood. “Ray’s given us a tremendous amount of support,” Smith says. Smith, who released crew chief Kevin Cram last week, hopes to find a pit boss who will easily interface with Evernham’s #9 and #19 teams.(Sporting News)(3-18-2002)
  • Burton to be honored: Ward Burton, the first Virginian to ever win the prestigious Daytona 500 and driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, will be officially honored by Halifax County, VA, the town of South Boston, VA., and the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, April 13 at his hometown track, South Boston Speedway. Burton’s victory will be celebrated in pre-race ceremonies preceding the Textilease 300 presented by “Little Trees”. The evening also features twin 50s for the NASCAR Textilease Late Model Stock Cars and 300 laps for the ASA series. The weekend of April 13 and 14 is a great one for race fans in Southside Virginia, with Martinsville Speedway, only 60 miles west of South Boston, hosting the Virginia 500 on April 14. Many Virginia and motorsports dignitaries are expected to celebrate with Burton at the Speedway, as well as family, friends and fans. Race fans in attendance wearing a Ward Burton hat or shirt, or with a Ward Burton poster, will be given the chance to win two Weekend VIP Suite passes for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, July 26 through 28. A large banner is being produced to commemorate Burton’s Daytona victory, as well as congratulating South Boston graduates Elliott Sadler and Geoffrey Bodine on their top-three Daytona 500 sweep. The banner will also feature names of individuals and businesses that have joined the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation Club 22. Throughout the Winston Cup season, race fans and businesses can join Club 22 for a $22 donation to the Foundation. Members will receive a Foundation decal and quarterly newsletters along with recognition on the Speedway’s banner. Information will be available to join the Club 22 at the April 13 event at the Speedway.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(3-18-2002)
  • Helton leaves MRO: MRO founder and senior pastor Max Helton is leaving the racing ministry to start another designed to work with some other series worldwide. The new ministry will be called International Motorsports Services, and he’ll work with Formula One and other worldwide series. Helton will also work with a nationwide program that will try to help troubled marriages stay together. Helton retired from his role as full-time chaplain two years ago but remained employed by MRO. He founded the ministry nearly 14 years ago.(RacingOne)(3-18-2002)
  • NASCAR Honored: NASCAR was honored Wednesday with the 2002 American Legion National Commander’s Public Relations Award, in recognition of the sanctioning body’s tradition of patriotic displays during the televising of pre-race ceremonies. NASCAR President Mike Helton accepted the award during a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, site of the American Legion’s annual Washington Conference. The award was presented to Helton by American Legion National Commander Richard J. Santos. The national anthem is played before every NASCAR race, and tributes to United States armed forces – including the dramatic jet “fly-overs” – have long been NASCAR pre-race staples. The American Legion noted that the playing/singing of the national anthem and the tributes are routinely televised in their entirety.(NASCAR PR)(3-18-2002)

 


(3-17-2002)

 

  • Marlin wins at Darlington: #40-Sterling Marlin won the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington. It is Marlin’s 2nd win of 2002 and his 2nd career win at Darlington, his 10th overall career win. Marlin started 42nd after the team elected to change an engine after Happy Hour, however, Marlin will be officially credited with starting 11th. #21-Elliott Sadler finished 2nd, his 2nd runner-up finished of 2002 (also at Daytona). The top ten finishers:
    1)  #40-Marlin (57 laps led)
    2)  #21-Sadler
    3)  #29-Harvick (first top five or ten of 2002)
    4)  #8-Earmhardt Jr (10 laps led)
    5)  #12-Newman
    6)  #48-Johnson
    7)  #2-Wallace
    8)  #17-Kenseth
    9)  #24-Gordon (176 laps led)
    10) #9-Elliott
    Lap Leaders (7): #32-Craven (18); #1-Park (19); #24-Gordon (most laps led); #40-Marlin; #22-Burton; #6-Martin; #8-Earnhardt Jr
    Cautions/Laps: 5 for 40 laps
    Cars on the lead: 12
    DNF’s (7 – did not finish): #71-Hillenburg(engine); #49-Robinson(handling/accident?); #88-Jarrett (engine); #32-Craven(handling); #11-Bodine (accident); #41-Spencer(accident/handling); #20-Stewart(accident);
    Caution 5 – lap 225: huge wreck – Stewart OK…but, at least 11 cars involved: #’s 20 (the leader), 24, 97,36,10,6,77,41,22, 18 and 44. #36-Schreader was motioning for help for #20-Tony Stewart, who was awake and removed from the car on a stretcher, Jimmy Spencer reported that Stewart is going to be ok and talked to Stewart in the care center, but Stewart will be airlifted to a local hospital to be checked out as he is complaining of lower back/leg pain and will have a CAT Scan of his head, back and abdomen. #44-Jones lost control and spun in front of Stewart, then #41-Spencer couldn’t see and t-boned Stewart.
    Caution 4 – lap 198: #97-Busch spun will trying to come into the pits, the #23-Stricklin car slowed up and the #11-Bodine Ford hit the #23. The #97 car gassed it and stayed on the lead lap. This caution came during many green flag pit stops and has jussled the field.
    Caution 3 – lap 132: #23-Stricklin nudged the #19-Mayfield car, spinning Mayfield without hitting anything.
    Caution 2 – lap 90: #31-Smacked the wall and broke off parts of the suspension and brakes.
    Caution 1 – lap 39: The leader of the race, #1-Steve Park got involved with #14-Compton as Park was passing him, #32-Craven was also involved. Looks like Park slid up into Compton as he was going high to allow Park to pass him. Park is out of his car and waved to the crowd.
    NOTES: A clean start on the first lap, #32-Ricky Craven led the first lap. #49-Robinson hit the wall on lap 2 or 3 but didn’t cause a yellow and Robinson stayed on the track but has fallen a few laps down and finally retired the car after hitting the wall a few times. #71-Hillenburg took the car into the pits, the crew lifted the hood and the car was taken to the garage. #43-Andretti wapped the wall a few times and had to make unscehduled green flag stops. #32-Craven is back on the track as of lap 90. #19-Mayfield penalized (held for 15 seconds) as the team didn’t have a catchcan person in place before refueling started. #88-Jarrett lost an engine when his oil pump belt broke/fell off. #32-Craven has retired the #32 Tide Ford. #1-Park came back in the race around lap 195. #41-Spencer came back out and ran two laps and picked up a spot and retired the car.
    So much for RaceCast today, no audio available here.
    See ThatsRacin.com for Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 unofficial results and a column: Marlin dodges trouble, takes the win and for Unofficial Drivers Standings.(3-17-2002)
  • #77 Crew Member sick: Scott Stallings, gas runner and fabricator for the #77 Fords of Jasper Motorsports, felt light-headed and dizzy before the start of Sunday’s race and was transported to Carolinas Hospital System in Florence, SC. He underwent enzyme tests to determine whether he was suffering from a heart problem. The initial tests were negative but he was kept overnight for observation.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-17-2002)
  • Car debuts on NASCAR This Morning: Through a collective effort between Fox Sports Net, and America’s Most Wanted/Body Dynamics Racing, Body Dyanamics Racing unveiled an America’s Most Wanted Car on “NASCAR This Morning” on Fox Sports Net this morning. The car will be used on the “NASCAR This Morning” Show as well as “Totally NASCAR” and “Nascar Tech” as a technical prop car and will feature a different Missing Child case each month on the car’s hood. “We are excited in working with Fox Sports Net,” Stated Scott Davis Marketing Director for AMW/BDR Motorsports, “This will be our first step in introducing our motorsports campaign at this level for America’s Most Wanted and The National Center for Missing and Exploitied Children, currently we are in negotiations with a team to actually get this program on the track as soon as possible. Our main goal is to find as many children as we can with these projects” Currently Body Dyanamics Racing holds a multi year contract with 20th Century Fox and America’s Most Wanted to create the motorsports campaign. The rest of the car features the logo’s of the corresponding shows as well as America’s Most Wanted and Body Dynamics.(PR)(3-17-2002)
  • Engine rules help for the Coca Cola 600? NASCAR may make an exception to the one-engine rule for the Coca-Cola 600, which is preceded by three days of practice.(Charleton Post and Courier)(3-17-2002)
  • Change at Talladega? NASCAR also changed a key chassis rule for Talladega [doesn’t say what the change is], a change that teams say will cost them three-tenths of a second in qualifying, perhaps more, perhaps forcing a number of teams to rebuild part of their cars.(Winston Salem Journal). NASCAR will probably not make any changes to the aerodynamic package it uses in restrictor plate races before next month’s event at Talladega Superspeedway, president Mike Helton said Saturday. NASCAR introduced a new aero package late last fall following after complaints about the racing at Talladega last October. Cars were bunched together for most of the event, leading to a 16-car accident on the last lap. So the sanctioning body tweaked the package, which was introduced in the season-opening Daytona 500. But there were still complaints, mainly from drivers frustrated by slower speeds. Helton said the sanctioning body will likely do anything to change that before the April 21 race at Talladega. “We’re going to Talladega the way we left Daytona,” Helton said. “If there’s any change at all, it will just be a tiny tweak.” Helton didn’t think the “tweak” would effect the aerodynamics on the car, but rather adjustments NASCAR made to the package before the 500. The sanctioning body gave the Fords and Dodge’s help before the race by allowing slight reductions in the rear spoiler height.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-17-2002)
  • Suspension Changes: NASCAR announced new parameters for suspension and coil springs.(Daytona Beach News Journal) {doesn’t say what those changes are](3-17-2002)
  • Marlin and Blaney teams change engines: #40-Sterling Marlin lost an engine [actually found a bad lifter] in Happy Hour Practice and will have to go to the back of the field before the start of the race as the team needed to put in a new motor.(Winston Salem JournalAND the #77 Jasper Motorsports team found water in the oli of Dave Blaney’s Ford and changed the engine and had to start the race at the rear of the field.(3-17-2002)

    (3-16-2002)

  • Hermie Sadler to Run Autism Awareness Car at Bristol UPDATE: Hermie Sadler has decided to run the Winston Cup race at Bristol [March 24th] in an [#02] Autism Awareness Car. He will have the ribbon on the hood and only has an associate sponsor. We hear that he’s using a lot of his own money for this race and wanted to do something for the autism community. Sadler’s youngest daughter, Halie, was diagnosed with Autism last February.(MotorsportsTV)(3-13-2002)
    UPDATE: The promotion is a partnership with Fox, which will run a segment during the race featuring information on Autism as well as make an educational video available to special education teachers. The car will also carry the toll free number that people can make contributions to the Autism Society of America:1-800-3-AUTISM. Several associate sponsorships have been sold to companies who have been and want to be affiliated with this promotion and spots are available from $2500.00 to $50,000.00 (for the quarterpanels) and a portion of all sponsorships will donated to the Autism Society of America and all sponsors will be recognized on the Fox segment for their support. Interested parties in sponsoring the car should call (804) 586-8215.(3-16-2002)
  • Hooters back on the #11 team at Darlington UPDATE 2 Hooters and Bodine…longer: Atlanta based Hooters Restaurants announced it has reached an agreement with Brett Bodine Racing to continue sponsoring the #11 Hooters Ford at Darlington. This will be the second consecutive race Hooters has sponsored the Winston Cup team owned by Bodine. Hooters sponsored Bodine last Sunday during the running of the MBNA America 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway where he finished 38th after motor problems ended his day on lap 276. “We are really excited about extending our partnership,” said Bodine. “It is great to see Mr. Brooks and Hooters taking an interest in our race team. We are happy they have decided to get involved with our race team and we hope this turns into a long-term relationship.”(Hooters Racing PR)(3-14-2002)
    UPDATE – Hooters and Bodine…longer: #11-Brett Bodine says a long-term deal with sponsor Hooters “is just around the corner.” Bodine didn’t have a full-time sponsor at the start of the season.(Roanoke Times), also, during MRN coverage of qualifying on Firday, it was mentioned that Kirk Shelmerdine could run a 2nd car for the team.(3-16-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Brett Bodine, who has yet to secure a major sponsor for this season, is close to signing a long-term deal with the Hooters restaurant chain. “We had some great news this week by continuing our relationship here at Darlington with Hooters Restaurants and we’re in negotiations for a longer term deal,” Bodine said. “That’s great news and now the owner can worry a little bit more about driving and we can try to get our personnel in line.” Bodine said between employees who have left on their own and those he has had to let go, his team is short about 10 people since the season started. “Hopefully, we’ve plugged the dike, so to speak, as far as losing people and we can start getting our staff back in order to where we need to be,” Bodine said.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-16-2002)
  • fan-owned NASCAR team relaunches: Fanz Enterprises, which announced plans to form fan-owned NASCAR teams last fall, has re-launched its effort to allow race fans to own stock in NASCAR teams. The company’s debut was interrupted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington. The company is offering a maximum of 2.5 million shares of its common stock at a price of $10 per share. Fans can become part owners by purchasing a minimum of 25 shares (a $250 one-time investment). The money raised through the public offering is expected to allow Fanz to field a minimum of two full-time race teams. Sources of operating revenue are expected to include sponsorship monies, race purse winnings, race bonuses and sales of collectible and consumer motorsports products. For more information or to obtain a prospectus on the stock offering, visit fanzracing.com, or call (888) 444-8233.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-16-2002)
  • Newman wrecks in Happy Hour: #12-Ryan Newman, who topped Saturday morning’s speed chart at Darlington, wrecked the car during the “Happy Hour” session and will ahve to go to a backup car for the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-16-2002)
  • APR Layoffs? hearing that Andy Patree Raicing [APR] has laid off 7-8 employee’s. APR is till looking for a sponsor for the #33 team.(3-16-2002)
  • #2 Changes Tire Changer: #2 Miller Lite/Penske Racing Ford Crew chief Bill Wilburn pulled himself off of front tire changing duties last Sunday at Atlanta.placing Dennis Terry into the spot. Terry, who changed tires for the #77 Jasper Motorsports Team last season, is expected to continue that role, allowing Wilburn to stay on the pit box and focus more on his crew chief duties.(TRPR)(3-16-2002)

    (3-15-2002)

  • Gibbs back in the NFL: Joe Gibbs, who won three championships as head coach of the Washington Redskins, is returning to the NFL as a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons. New Falcons chairman, president and CEO Arthur Blank announced on Friday that Gibbs, John P. Imlay, Jr., and John A. Williams have reached preliminary agreement to become minority owners of the team, buying a 5 percent stake for $27 million. The NFL has to sign off on the deal before it becomes official. During 12 years as head coach of the Redskins, Gibbs went to four Super Bowls, winning three of them. His postseason record –16-5 — is behind only Vince Lombardi and Weeb Ewbank. Gibbs retired from the Redskins in 1993 and turned his focus to Joe Gibbs Racing, based in Charlotte, N.C. The group includes two NASCAR teams led by Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.(ESPN).
    The connection between Blank and Gibbs? Blank is the co-founder and retired co-chairman of Atlanta-based Home Depot – the sponsor of Gibb’s #20 Pontiac with driver Tony Stewart.(3-15-2002)
  • No Changes for Talladega? Winston Cup series director John Darby said Friday that he expects little, if any, changes to the aerodynamic package for the April 7 race at Talladega. NASCAR adapted new rules following last season’s Talladega race, which included a 16-car accident on the last lap, to reduce the closely packed side-by-side racing. The rules went into effect prior to the season opening Daytona 500 and were well received by drivers for the most part.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-15-2002)
  • Latest on Stewart’s Indy 500 Plans: Ganassi Racing CART drivers Kenny Brack, Bruno Junqueira and IRL driver Jeff Ward will be in Ganassi cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May [for the Indy 500], and Ganassi is still working on a plan to bring Tony Stewart back for another try. But a contract for Stewart is not yet in place. “Chip wants to (run Stewart), and I think Stewart wants to do it,” team general manager Mike Hull said Thursday. “It should be a matter of getting everything pulled together, like Target (Ganassi’s sponsor in CART) and Home Depot (Stewart’s sponsor in NASCAR).” Stewart could not be reached for comment. Rival team owner Roger Penske admitted he’s talked with Home Depot officials — he is on the company’s board of directors — about running Stewart as a teammate to Gil de Ferran and defending champion Helio Castroneves in the 500. Ganassi said he expects Stewart to run with his team or no one’s. “I’ve always had him lined up,” Ganassi said. “And he hasn’t told me he doesn’t (want the ride).”(Indianapolis Star)(3-15-2002)
  • Money raised: The Atlanta Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, a non-profit foundation dedicated to enhancing the lives of children, raised $35,875 during a gala reception held in conjunction with the recent MBNA America 500 Winston Cup weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “This was one of the best receptions we’re ever had,” commented M/Gen. Tom M. Sadler, USAF (Ret.) and executive director of the charities. “Drivers appreciated the short-duration of the event and the fact they didn’t have to leave the speedway property to attend. Each driver spoke in support of Speedway Children’s Charites.” Fox broadcaster Jeff Hammond served as the emcee along with local radio personality Cadillac Jack of Kicks 101.5. Approximately 200 guests were in attendance including NASCAR drivers Mark Martin, Jerry Nadeau, Mike Wallace, Jon Andretti, Buckshot Jones and Hut Stricklin. Former drivers Donnie Allison and Richard Petty were also in attendance along with legendary mechanic Waddell Wilson. In addition to a fabulous Friday night reception, the charities’ “Racing for Kids 2002” drawing sales were also excellent. During the three days of tickets sales, fans gave nearly $10,000 through $5 donations to be entered in the drawing to win either a 2002 Roush Stage 2 Mustang convertible or a 2001 Indian Motorcycle. Both prizes will be given away at the next Atlanta race in October. The next opportunity to enter the “Racing for Kids” drawing will be during the Bristol races beginning Wednesday night, March 20, in Knoxville, Tenn., during Food City Family Race Night at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. The following day, SCC will be in Kingsport, Tenn., for the Food City Family Race Night at the MeadowView Conference Resort/Convention Center. SCC will then travel to Bristol Motor Speedway March 22 – 24 and will be located on souvenir row.(LMS PR)(3-15-2002)

    (3-14-2002)

  • Hillenburg in the #71 at Darlington: Stock car veteran and driving school proprietor Andy Hillenburg has been named to drive the #71 Chevy entered by Marcis Auto Racing in this weekend’s race at Darlington. Hillenburg runs the Fast Track Driving School that is based at Lowe’s Motor Speedway [see link on my Racing Schools/Jobs page]. The two-time winner of the Daytona ARCA 200 during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway attempted to make four Winston Cup starts in 2001 for BAM Racing, but failed to qualify for races in Talladega, Daytona, Pocono and Indianapolis.(NASCAR.com)(3-14-2002)
  • Atlanta TV Ratings: For the second-consecutive week, FOX earned the highest rating of any weekend sports programming, this time with its broadcast Sunday of the Winston Cup race from Atlanta. The race generated a 6.0 rating/15 share (approximately 10 million viewers), beating out CBS’s NCAA Tournament selection show (5.4/11). NASCAR buried its head-to-head NBC competition, more than tripling the delivery of NBC’s Toronto-Orlando game (+233 percent, 6.0 vs. 1.8). NASCAR also beat that NBA game by enormous margins among male viewers ages 18-49 (+383%, 5.8 vs. 1.2) and men ages 25-54 (+442%, 6.5 vs. 1.2).(ThatsRacin.com)(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)
  • BACE and Little to Cup: BACE Motorsports announced this week that the team will make its NASCAR Winston Cup debut at California Speedway on April 28, 2002 with driver Chad Little in the #74 Chevy. In the coming weeks, Team Manager Terry Wooten will be announcing a crew chief for the Winston Cup team, as well as a strategic alliance with another Winston Cup program that will supply engines to the new venture. Operations of the #74 BGN Team, also piloted by Little, will cease immediately. “We’re excited to make the transition to the Winston Cup level with the #74 Team,” owner Bill Baumgardner said. “We’ve made a strategic change in plan for the No. 74 and are now dedicating 100 percent of the focus of this team to our Winston Cup effort. Since BACE was formed in 1990, we’ve been committed to a standard of excellence that has led our team to success. With the elements we currently have in place, we believe that this is the appropriate time to make the move to Winston Cup.” BACE’s debut marks the return of Chad Little to Winston Cup. Little joined BACE late in the 2000 BGN campaign, posting two Top-5 and six Top-10 finishes en route to a 9th-place finish in the 2001 BGN Championship race. “This is a great opportunity for me to return to Winston Cup with a team that understands how to build a winner,” Little said. “Their success in the Busch Series is undeniable and we have high expectations for Winston Cup,” he added. “I’m excited to be a part of a team with such a great tradition and honored to drive for BACE in their first Winston Cup effort.” Little, a former NASCAR Winston West Champion, will pilot the #74 entry in a limited schedule, initially focusing on intermediate tracks, as the team actively seeks corporate sponsorship. Following BACE’s California Speedway debut, Little will run The Winston Open and Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, then the June events at Dover International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. Additional events will be named as the 2002 season progresses, with as many as 20 races possible.(Chad Little Site)(3-14-2002)
  • New Texas Trophy: A very special pair of hand-carved wooden cowboy boots will have a new role for the 2002 RPM-Week races at Texas Motor Speedway. The unique trophy has been promoted from being presented to the Busch Series race winner to the winner of the Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. “I think it’s so ‘Texas’ and that’s exactly what we want,” said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. “This race is one of the top NASCAR events of the season so it’s appropriate that the trophy be just as special.” The hand-carved prize is an oversized pair of wooden boots mounted on a wood base. The Texas Motor Speedway logo has been carved into the upper shafts of the boots and genuine silver spurs, outfitted with specially cut lone star rowels, complete the piece. Local artisan Robert Cortez carved the trophy and the spurs were designed and created by Joe Spiller of Wingate, TX.(TMS PR)(3-14-2002)
  • Baseball, Texas and Benson: Brandweek magazine is reporting that Major League Baseball is planning a NASCAR-related promotion and licensing deal around the April 7 Winston Cup Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, today’s Sports Business Daily says. Brandweek says MBV’s #10 Pontiac driven by Johnny Benson will display an MLB Opening Day logo. The promotion will also see Benson and his team attend a Rangers game during the race weekend, and Rangers players are expected to be on hand for the race. The magazine also says the 200,000 fans expected at the race will receive a fan guide with the complete 2002 MLB schedule.(Winston Cup Scene – Daily Newsletter)(3-14-2002)
  • #2 Changes? UPDATE: hearing the #2 and #12 team owner, Roger Penske is supposed to be in Mooresville Thursday to meet with both race teams, but to spend considerable time at the #2 (and #12) shop. Word is several personnel changes might be happening by the end of the day “to straighten things out” because of the poor qualifying to start the season (3 provisionals in 4 races)(3-14-2002)
    UPDATE: looks like this was incorrect, been told by team sources that Penske is not in North Carolina or the shop and no changes are looking to be made.(3-14-2002)
  • Wind Tunnel? UPDATE 5 No Changes….yet: hearing that NASCAR will take at least the highest finishing car of each manufacturer in the MBNA Amercia 500 at Atlanta to the wind tunnel in Marietta GA for areo testing.(3-10-2002)
    UPDATE: One car from each manufacturer was impounded by NASCAR following Sunday’s race and will be taken to a wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga., on Monday for testing. Tony Stewart’s #20-Pontiac, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8-Chevrolet, Ward Burton’s #22-Dodge and Ricky Craven’s #32-Ford were selected for the test.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-11-2002)
    UPDATE 2 – some unoffficial downforce numbers: from ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night on Tuesday:
    #22-Dodge (was 7th) – 1380lbs, 566 front, 814 rear
    #32-Ford (5th) – 1343lbs, 537, 805
    #20-Pontiac (1st) – 1297lbs, 545, 752
    #8-Chevy (2nd) – 1246lbs, 498, 748
    NOTE: in March 2001, NASCAR took the #’s 88, 24, 40 and 18 to the wind tunnel in Marietta, GA, with the unofficial results (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.(3-12-2002)
    UPDATE 3: The results from NASCAR’s post-race wind-tunnel testing of the top finishers at Atlanta are in, and General Motors’ Pontiac and Chevrolet teams – although they ran 1-2 in Sunday’s MBNA America 500 – lost to Dodge and Ford in the Lockheed tunnel in Marietta, GA. And that, said GM’s Doug Duchardt, means that NASCAR must make some rules changes, possibly for this weekend’s race at Darlington. As of late yesterday afternoon NASCAR officials had offered no word on the issue or on any possible rules changes. Ford and Dodge officials had no immediate comment. NASCAR tested Tony Stewart’s winning Pontiac, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s runner-up Chevrolet, Ward Burton’s Dodge and Ricky Craven’s Ford. Duchardt wouldn’t provide exact figures but said “The Pontiac was not as bad as the Chevy, but it wasn’t nearly as good as the Ford or the Dodge. The Dodge was the best.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-13-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Tommy Baldwin, #22-Ward Burton’s crew chief, calls NASCAR’s wind-tunnel numbers “bogus,” because the test didn’t set the cars at race-ride height into the wind. By dropping the nose down to the pavement, as cars actually do during a race with special shocks, the aerodynamics change considerably. And Baldwin said that the numbers so far leaked were for the cars in qualifying trim (Dodge’s Bill Elliott won the pole at Atlanta), and he said that in race trim, Stewart’s Pontiac had numbers just as good as the Dodge.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2002)


    (3-13-2002)

  • Hamilton changes paint to match track: Over the years Darlington Raceway has been labeled as the “Lady in Black.”. This weekend for the Carolina Dodge Dealer’s 400, it won’t be the only black beast on the 1.366-mile oval.. Bobby Hamilton will debut a new black paint scheme on his #55 Schneider Electric Chevy. The Chevy will display a large green Schneider Electric “S” logo on the hood in an effort to give the Andy Petree Racing Chevy a more distinct appearance on the race track(Motorsports Decisions). See my Paint Scheme Gallery for the image.(3-13-2002)
  • Frazier Takes Home IRWIN Crew Chief of the Week Honors It was quite a homecoming last week in Atlanta for Buckshot Jones, driver of the #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge, as he posted a 12th place finish in the MBNA America 500. However, things didn’t look so bright in the beginning for the Georgia-native. Jones, who started 14th, had a tight car early in the race. His problems escalated when he was blocked during a routine pit stop by another car, costing him track position and, eventually, a lap. Despite the setback, the team’s crew chief, Bryant Frazier, was confident that they had a car capable enough to post a strong finish. Once Jones managed to get back on the lead lap, he charged to the front and posted the best finish of his career, helping to earn Frazier this week’s “IRWIN Rough to Finish Award.” Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, IRWIN, makers of professional power tool accessories like MARATHON PLUS saw blades and SPEEDBOR flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Connie Parsons Memorial Fund in the racing team’s name. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to The Connie Parsons Memorial Fund, PO Box 443, Elerby, NC 28338.(Golin/Harris PR)(3-13-2002)
  • #59 Sched/News: Price Motorsports Inc., out of Raleigh, N.C. is ready to compete on the highest level of motorsports available—the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The team, owned by local businessman Foster Price, has now teamed with veteran NASCAR driver Randy Renfrow of Fuquay Varina to form a Winston Cup team. Over the years, driver Renfrow has proven his worth as a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pilot and overachieved in virtually every series he’s competed. In a storied 30-year racing career, Renfrow has secured over 160 dirt track victories and 93 wins on asphalt tracks. He has also often completed in the NASCAR All Pro Series, Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Late Models and the Hooters ProCup touring series. The Raleigh-based team recently made their first qualifying attempt in NASCAR’s premiere division at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, NC, narrowly missing the field for the February race. For Price Motorsports Inc., the next step will be to test their brand new Dodge Intrepid at Martinsville Speedway in early April. Martinsville. Renfrow’s biggest hurdle to date will be qualifying for the April 14 running of the Virginia 500. Despite the their newness to the series, team and driver appear to have a legitimate shot at making the show. In addition to Martinsville, the team has also announced they will attempt to qualify for several upcoming events. Races in Richmond, Charlotte, Rockingham, Indianapolis, Bristol and Atlanta are also on the agenda.(Price Motorsports PR)(3-13-2002)
  • Local Team Has an All Winston Cup Flavor; Announces Sponsor: Charlotte, NC: When the MJ Motorsports #97 NASCAR Late Model Super Truck owned by #17 [Matt Kenseth] Winston Cup Spotter, Mike Calinoff, rolls from the transporter on April 6th, it will boast the design and fabrication of an all-Winston Cup team. 19-year-old Rookie driver -, Arthur “Aazie” Zimbelmann – a standout in Midwest Sprints and Modifieds — will make his stock car racing debut in just a few weeks at the famed Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway. The Ford F-150 will sport a new sponsor, RPM – Racing Print Media of Fort Lauderdale, FL – and will have been prepared by members of a top NASCAR Winston Cup teams. RPM is a full-service printing company that specializes in the racing industry. They print autograph cards, media kits, sponsorship proposals and virtually anything related to racing. MJ Motorsports has associate sponsorship programs available, which include Internet advertising and placement on a top ARCA team.(MJ Motorsports PR)(3-13-2002)

    (3-12-2002)

  • #7 Crew Chief Change UPDATE: #7 Co-owners Jim Smith and Ray Everham took the first step in improving Casey Atwood’s training ground this morning when they released Kevin Cram as crew chief from the #7 Dodge. Veteran pitboss Buddy “Reddog” Barnes will assume the top spot for now.(The Sporting News)(3-11-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing Cram is going to the #92 BGN team (where Todd Bodine will drive) in some capacity.(3-12-2002)
  • Earnhardts sued by former associate: Gray London says he helped finance “The Intimidator’s” successful career. Now, he’s suing the multi-million dollar racing empire Dale Earnhardt Inc. to get a return on his 28-year-old investment. Jury selection took up the entire Cleveland County Court [NC] session on Monday. Juror after juror was excused from the trial after attorneys had trouble finding any who weren’t fans of Earnhardt or his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Winston Cup champion car owner Rick Hendrick was in Shelby on Monday for the trial. Teresa Earnhardt, Earnhardt’s widow and head of DEI, as well as legendary driver Harry Gant could also make appearances as witnesses, possibly as early as today. In his complaint filed in the summer of 2000 Gray London of Boiling Springs alleges he entered an agreement in 1999 with DEI to release Earnhardt from the defunct racing team the two men formed in 1974. London granted the release in exchange for $550,000 and the rights to make collectibles of three of Earnhardt’s first cars through his company, Driver on a Mission. The complaint alleges DEI violated the agreement and “used its economic clout within the racing souvenir industry to pressure individuals and businesses to refrain from or to stop doing business with DOM.” The complaint says DEI told London’s prospective business partners they would “suffer if they do business with Mr. London or DOM.” London claims that in 1974 he and Earnhardt formed the Earnhardt Racing Team, with each man putting up half of the money. “He helped Dale Earnhardt get started in 1974 after Dale’s father died. He put up the money for him to get started in racing,” said London’s attorney Irving Brenner. “Over the years, Mr. London and Dale Earnhardt talked about settling up on their agreement and in January of 1999 they did. There was an agreement between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Mr. London,” said Brenner. London filed a lawsuit against DEI because, Brenner said, the agreement between the two men was broken by DEI. “The dispute is over not paying him the money the agreement calls for,” Brenner said. London claims DEI owes him $100,000 through Action Performance, a racing souvenir company, under the 1999 agreement and alleges his company was not allowed to sell Earnhardt collectibles, which was also provided for under the agreement. DEI filed a countersuit claiming London breached the contract. Both the suit and countersuit ask for unspecified monetary amounts. “Basically, Mr. London knew Dale and his family and they had a racing team and it went under in two years,” said attorney Judson Graves, who represented the Earnhardts last year in a Florida courtroom to restrict access to Earnhardt’s autopsy photos. “London came back looking for something out of the old days and threatened a suit. DEI lived up to their agreement and they (London) didn’t,” said Graves. He said neither side disputes the existence of the 1999 contract between London and DEI.(in part from the Gaston Gazette, a short term link)(3-12-2002)
  • Still no decision on the #26 UPDATE will be at Darlington: Haas-Carter Motorsports, while still searching for sponsorship, has filed a single entry, for the #26 [Joe Nemechek], for this weekend’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington. Team owners Travis Carter and Carl Haas were in conferences right through the end of the day Monday to determine their course of action, moving ahead. Last week, a number of employees for both teams were laid off at Haas-Carter, a team spokesman said Monday.(NASCAR.com). AND both FSN’s Totally NASCAR and ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night said there was nothing to report on if the #26 is or is not going to Darlington this week.(3-11-2002)
    UPDATE: Haas-Carter Motorsports has entered Joe Nemechek’s #26 Ford for Sunday’s race at Darlington, despite their team’s uncertain sponsorship status and an impending deadline of less than two weeks to remain employed, only 12 crewmen have left Haas-Carter Motorsports in the last week.(NASCAR.com)(3-12-2002)
  • Radio Off: With 10 laps left in the race [MBNA America 500 at Atlanta], Dale Jr. turned his radio off.(Sporting News)(3-12-2002)

    (3-11-2002)

  • Stewart and the Indy 500 UPDATE 4 with Penske? no Ganassi: [Chip] Ganassi said Sunday that he is close to firming up a deal with NASCAR star Tony Stewart for the Indy 500. They teamed up to finish sixth this year.(Indianapolis Star)(11-5-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing that Stewart may run for Penske in the Indy 500 with Home Depot as the sponsor(1-3-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Winston Cup and Championship Auto Racing Teams series owner Chip Ganassi said Tuesday that he and Winston Cup star Tony Stewart are “talking about” putting together a deal for Stewart to run in the 2002 Indianapolis 500 with a Ganassi-owned car. “You know Tony, he’s like trying to nail jelly to a post sometimes,” Ganassi said. “So, we’ll see. You can play telephone tag with him for three weeks before you reach him. It’s moving along, and I would say on schedule.” Stewart ran both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte the same day last season – his second time competing in both races. He finished sixth at Indy in a Ganassi-owned car and third at Charlotte with his Joe Gibbs-owned team.(That’s Racin’)(1-8-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Penske confirmed Saturday he has had discussions with Home Depot officials about running Tony Stewart in a third team car in the Indianapolis 500. Penske, who said he has not made a decision on running a third car, is on Home Depot’s board of directors.(Indianapolis Star)(3-3-2002)
    UPDATE 4: ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night reports that Stewart and Ganassi will team up for the Indy 500 and Target and Home Depot will co-sponsor the car.(EPSN2’s RPM 2 Night)(3-11-2002)
  • first Wilson, now Hula Girl: #20-Tony Stewart has a new lucky charm, he drove with a miniature hula-girl doll secured in the rear of his car (the deck below the rear window, inside). Stewart said she soon will have a name and will be in the car again this weekend at Darlington. Last year #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr has the volleyball ‘Wilson’ in his car, a take off from the movie Castaway.(3-11-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week #48 – Jimmy Johnson’s Lowe’s Crew – consistent pit stops in the low 15 second range kept Jimmy Johnson in the front of the pack all day.(NAPCM PR)(3-11-2002)
  • Buckshot to lose ride? UPDATE: Car owner Kyle Petty danced around reports that Buckshot Jones would be fired this week. Petty, who also owns the #44-Dodge he drives and a similar #43-Dodge for John Andretti, said Petty Enterprises has a five-year contract with Jones and sponsor Georgia Pacific. Then he admitted he’s told the entire race team they’re on notice to deliver better results. Jones, a University of Georgia graduate, had no top-10 finishes last year. He finished 41st in the point standings after failing to qualify for six races. Joe Nemechek, whose team will fold today if it doesn’t secure sponsorship, already is rumored to replace Jones.(Augusta Chronicle)(3-11-2002)
    UPDATE: For Petty Enterprises, the race was an upbeat one. John Andretti crashed, but the Dodges of Buckshot Jones and Kyle Petty finished 12th and 15th, respectively. Oddly enough, after the best finish of his Petty Enterprises tenure, the subject of Jones’ job security came up. “A lot of people are on the hot seat,” said Kyle Petty, who heads the team as well as driving for it. “We’re on the hot seat: Petty Enterprises with General Mills (Andretti’s sponsor) and Georgia Pacific (Jones’). The way we’ve run for a year, if the sponsors aren’t screaming, there’s a problem with that. They’re screaming a little bit. They want us to run better. They’re not mad at us, but they want us to run better. When that happens, a lot of times rumors start.” Petty added that Jones’ job security was as great as his, but that either could be out of a job as driver if circumstances dictated the move. “(The Georgia Pacific #44 Dodge) is (Jones’) car,” Petty said, “it has been for the past year, and it will be in the future, as far as we’re concerned.” Petty added that if he decided to give up his driving career, he would hire someone else to drive the team’s #45 Dodge.(Gaston Gazette)(3-11-2002)
  • Engine Woes at Atlanta? looking at the past two Atlanta spring races DNF’s (did not finish), there were nine DNF’s last March due to engine problems and in 2000 there were six. This years race had five engine related DNFs, so looks like the new one engine rule was no biggy.(3-11-2002)
  • New Pit Road Rules: NASCAR will change its policies for speeding violations on pit road following confusion over an infraction for which eventual race-winner Sterling Marlin was never penalized a week ago at Las Vegas. NASCAR president Mike Helton announced the changes Sunday morning at the drivers’ meeting prior to the MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The new rules go into effect next weekend at Darlington Raceway. The key change is that, under green-flag conditions, the penalty for speeding on the way onto pit road will now be the same as the penalty for speeding off the pit lane. The new penalty will be what NASCAR is calling a “pass through,” meaning the offending car will have to come off the track and travel the length of pit road at its speed limit without stopping. Under the old rule, a car speeding on the way onto pit road during a green-flag stop was held for 15 seconds in its pit stall. A car speeding off pit road was brought back to its pit box for a stop-and-go penalty. During last week’s UAW 400 at Las Vegas, NASCAR officials said Marlin was speeding as he came to his pit stall after being spun out in Turn 4. NASCAR’s race control officials called for the 15-second penalty, but that message was not heard by the official working in Marlin’s pit stall. Marlin left without serving a penalty and NASCAR decided not to enforce any further sanction, saying that bringing Marlin back to pit road would be too severe of a penalty. Since the usual penalty for speeding on the exit to pit lane was to bring a car back in for a stop-and-go, that raised the question of why the sanction for speeding on the way out should be more severe for speeding on the way in. The rule change announced Sunday addresses that issue. Helton admitted Sunday that not giving Marlin a penalty last week might not have been the right decision. Helton said the change was made to avoid the kind of confusion and miscommunication that happened at Las Vegas. Under the rule that goes into effect next week, a driver speeding on the way in and on the way out on the same pit stop will be brought back in for a stop-and-go penalty. A driver who exceeds the pit road speed limit as he serves the “pass through” penalty for speeding will also get a stop-and-go. The penalty for speeding in or out of a pit stop made under yellow-flag conditions will not change – the offending car will be sent to the end of the longest line of traffic for the restart.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-10-2002)
    UPDATE: plus a nice breakdown at RacingOne:
    The New Pit Road Rules

    Speeding Entering Pit Road
    Current Penalty: 15 seconds
    New Penalty: Pass through at correct pit road speed.

    Speeding Exiting Pit Road
    Current Penalty: Stop and Go
    New Penalty: Pass through at correct pit road speed

    Entering and Exiting Pit Road
    Current Penalty: 15 seconds after stop; brought back for stop and go
    New Penalty: Stop and Go

    Speeding on Pass Through
    New Penalty: Stop and Go
    Multiple Violations: NASCAR’s Discretion.(RacingOne)(3-11-2002)

  • APR gets Assoc sponsor: Monaco Coach Corporation has joined forces with Andy Petree Racing, and will be an associate sponsor for both the #55 Schneider Electric Chevrolet and the #33 APR Chevrolet. Monoco Vice President Ed Kinney and car owner Andy Petree made the announcement this morning. “Having a quality company like Monaco become part of the Andy Petree Racing family is great for both companies,” Petree said. “Monaco has a commitment to quality and a strong belief in working hard to be the best. We do too, and that’s the type of businesses both of us want to be associated with.” The Coburg, Ore., based corporation has become one of the world’s leading RV manufacturer since it was founded in 1968, and remains one of the fastest-growing in the industry. Andy Petree Racing fields two NASCAR Winston Cup cars and was one of just three multi-car teams to have multi-car victories last season. “We have a firm belief in NASCAR fans and a firm belief in Andy Petree Racing,” Kinney said. “One of the world’s fastest growing RV manufacturers taking a larger role in the world’s fastest growing sport is just a natural. We’re proud to be a part of NASCAR racing and a part of Andy Petree’s winning operation.”(Williams Company PR), note: ot doesn’t say when the next race for the #33 will be, last reported was the April Talladega race.(3-11-2002)
  • Traveling Student: NASCAR racing has begun attracting new fans around the country, and now an anthropology grad student at the University of California at Santa Cruz, who is doing his dissertation on life on the Winston Cup tour, during a 10-month assignment, James Todd, who is living in a motorhome and traveling the series.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-11-2002)
  • Changes in the Winston UPDATE: MRN Radio interviewed Rich Habegger of R.J. Reynolds/Winston and it was mentioned that there will be some changes to The Winston all-star race that will be run at Lowes Motor Speedway on May 18th. No word on what amy of those changes will be.(2-24-2002)
    UPDATE: on PRN’s radio broadcast of the MBNA America 500 at Atlanta, they interviewed Denny Darnell with SME (Sports Marketing Enterprises/RJR) who said that in about 3 weeks they’ll be announcing a “major” change to the Winston. All that was said on Sunday was that there will still be three segments, but something about drivers not being able to lay or hold back, that they have to race to the front right away or they may not find themselves in the running at the end. Should be interesting.(3-11-2002)
  • Shawna Warned: NASCAR warned Shawna Robinson to pick up her speed early in the race after she got lapped twice in the first 40 laps. Robinson sped up and avoided any more warnings, finishing 15 laps down in 34th.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-11-2002)

 


(3-10-2002)

 

  • MBNA America 500 the race is over, the winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway is #20-Stewart wins his 13th career Cup race, his first in 2002 and his first ever 500 mile race, his 12 other wins were 400 miles or shorter.(thanks Mike of WLLR). It was also Pontiac’s 150th Winston Cup win. The Top ten finishers (unofficial):
    1)  #20-Stewart (123 laps led)
    2)  #8-Earnhardt Jr (38 laps led)
    3)  #48-Johnson
    4)  #17-Kenseth (46 laps led)
    5)  #32-Craven
    6)  #2-Wallace
    7)  #22-Burton (20 laps led)
    8)  #6-Martin
    9)  #40-Marlin
    10) #12-Newman (15 laps led)
    7 cautions for 37 laps
    DNF’s/out of race (8): #23-Stricklin(engine); #71-Trickle (accident); #30-Green(engine); #15-Waltrip(engine); #29-Harvick(engine); #11-Bodine(engine); #9-Elliott(accident); #43-Andretti(accident);
    16 (of 43) cars were on the lead lap.
    Lap Leaders (8 leaders, 34 lead changes – new record for a spring race): #12-Newman; #97-Busch; #20-Stewart; #8-Earmhardt Jr; #77-Blaney; #17-Kenseth; #45-Petty; #22-Burton;
    Pole sitter, #9-Elliott out/accident 35th.
    2002 Points Leader: #40-Marlin was 9th
    2001 Champ: #24-Gordon was16th.
    Rookies:
    #12-Newman – 10th
    #48-Johnson – 3rd
    #49-Robinson – 34th
    Caution 1: Lap 77 – trash bag on track;
    Around lap 138 while green flag pitstops were being done, #41-Spencer came out of his pitstall as #18-Labonte was starting to enter his, causing Labonte to spin ending up backwards in his stall against the pitwall, a Winston Cup official and crew member were able to fall back over the wall and not get hit by Labonte’s car, both are ok. Labonte did a nifty 180 degree spin and got back into his pitstall correctly. #41-Spencer’s Dodge was damaged on the right front and came back in to get sheet metal pulled out, also NASCAR has told the #41 team that the owners, crew chief and driver are required to come to the NASCAR trailer at the end of the race.
    Caution 2: on lap 185, #71-Dick Trickle got loose and lost control and hit the wall head on. Trickle got out of the car and walked away under his won power, also noticed he had a full face helmet on (he used to wear a open faced helmet. Just before the caution, #18-Labonte went to the garage when his engine broke, he damaged it when he over revved it during the pit road incident with. #41-Spencer.
    Caution 3: lap 207. #30-Jeff Green lost an engine and got oil on the track. #15-Waltrip also lost an engine around the same time.
    Caution 4: lap 213, side window of the #11 Hooters Ford fell out just as the green flag came out. #18-Labonte is going back on the track with 7 cylinders and will run if he can get up to minimum speed.
    Caution 5: lap 258, fluid on the track when #29-Harvick lost an engine and #22-Burton and #43-Andretti got together.
    Caution 6: lap 280, #11-Bodine lost an engine.
    Caution 7: lap 290, #10-Benson and #43-Andretti got together, spinning Benson around, came back accross the track, collecting #9-Elliott. #25-Nadeau also got some damage to the front end.
    Some Penalties Assessed during the race – stop-and-go’s: #1-Wallace, catch can left in the car; #4-Kodak and #30-Green, speeding pitroad; #29-Harvick, loose lugnet, #36-Schrader held 15 seconds for pitting outside his pit box.
    See Results at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com. See Unofficial standings at ThatsRacin.com and ThatsRacin.com for a column: Stewart holds off Earnhardt Jr., wins and see my Race Results page for each race results, lineups, etc.(3-10-2002)
  • Shock Stuff: A shock absorber from four cars were displayed for a representative of each team Saturday. A NASCAR official tore down each shock to show it was legal.(AP)(3-10-2002)
  • #17 engine change? UPDATE yes and the #29? no: it was reported on the FSN’s Totally NASCAR that the #17-Matt Kenseth team may have to change an engine after qualifying which means Kenseth would have to fall to the back of the field before the start of the MBNA America 500 on Sunday. So far only one driver has had to do so, #97-Kurt Busch at Rockingham.(3-8-2002)
    UPDATE: during Happy Hour coverage on FX, it was reported by Matt Yocum that the #17-Kenseth team did change an engine and will have to fall to the rear of the field at the start of the race. ALSO, the #29-Kevin Harvick Chevy may have an engine problem (vibration), the team will change gears and a draveshaft and it the problem does not go away, they may change engines, Harvick is scheduled to start 8th. Larry McReynolds mentioned that a few other teams may change engines anyway and go to the back of the field as it doesn’t seem to matter where a driver starts, there is plenty time to get to the front.(3-9-2002)
    UPDATE on the #29- the vibration went away after the rear end gear/drive shaft change so the team will not change engines.(FX Coverage)(3-9-2002)
    UPDATE 2: #71-Dick Trickle’s Marcis Racing team changed engines after qualifying, but didn’t have to fall back as Trickle was already starting 43rd.(3-10-2002)
  • Harvick goes Sonic: Reigning BGN Champ Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing and Sonic announced plans to enter the #29 Sonic Chevrolet in the BGN race at Texas Motor Speedway. The April 6 event marks the first race Harvick will run in the series since clinching the championship title in 2001. The #29 Sonic Chevrolet will be red and black and feature the Sonic logo on the hood and rear quarter panel. The deck lid will feature signature Sonic favorites- Cheese Coney, Tater Tots and Cherry Limeade. Sonic is giving four fans the chance to compete in a go-kart race against Harvick at SpeedZone in Dallas. To win, fans need to stop by a participating Sonic location in Dallas/Ft. Worth and enter the drawing. Sonic, which specializes in made-to-order fast food, is known for its specialty menu items and personal Carhop service. Popular menu items include Toaster Sandwiches (Chicken Club and Bacon Cheddar Burger on this Texas Toast), Extra-Long Cheese Coneys (hot dogs with chili and cheese), hamburgers, fresh-made Onion Rings, Tater Tots (hmm…a Jayski fave – love Sonic – need one in NJ) and a variety of Frozen Fountain Favorites(tm) such as Cream Pie Shakes and Cherry Limades.(Three Wide Marketing PR). See my Paint Schemes Gallery for four images of the car.(3-10-2002)

    (3-9-2002)

  • Haas Carter Motorsports to shutdown? #26/66 team owner Travis Carter could close shop Monday, putting another driver, Joe Nemechek, into the Winston Cup unemployment pool. Todd Bodine, Mike Wallace, Kevin Lepage and Derrike Cope already are among the drivers seeking full-time rides. Bodine currently is talking with the [#92] Herzog-Jackson Motorsports BGN team. He probably will secure the ride when an announcement is made Monday. “Absolutely nothing this team did put themselves in this position,” Bodine said. “We all did our jobs. . . . Yeah, we probably could have done them better, but the performance has nothing to do with us not having a sponsor. Who would ever figure a corporation the size of Kmart would go bankrupt?” Carter is one of the most likable owners in the garage, a grass-roots guy who built a team from nothing and found a way to become competitive. Cutting people has been tough on the owner and is something he prefers not to talk about at all. He says he will know Monday the future of Nemechek’s group, but team members said the outlook isn’t good. “It about killed Travis to do it,” Bodine said of the layoffs. “He’s such a good person and cares so much about the people that work for him. It’s hurt him more to have these people not have jobs knowing they have families to support than it means to him to not have a race team. That’s just the kind of person Travis is.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-9-2001)
  • Donleavy/Hill Bros drop case: Winston Cup team [#90] owner Junie Donlavey and Hills Brothers Coffee have called off legal action against one another. Donlavey verbally sparred with the company after it announced last fall it would leave his team. Donlavey replaced driver Hut Stricklin with Rick Mast, and the sponsor withdrew its support, bringing a lawsuit from Donlavey. The company later moved to Bill Davis Racing [#23] with Stricklin. (Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-9-2001)
  • Ladies set record at Atlanta: #49-Shawna Robinson qualified 31st in the Winston Cup event, and two women won starting spots in the ARCA race. Tina Gordon will start 10th today, and Sunny Hobbs 19th. Three women racing stock cars on the same weekend sets an AMS record.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-9-2002)

    (3-8-2002)

  • Hooters on the #11? UPDATE 2 more races, two cars?: hearing from some readers that it was reported on a local Atlanta sports talk radio, 790 AM The Zone, that during an interview with Cup driver/owner #11 Brett Bodine, that he will have Hooters Restaurants as his sponsor at Atlanta in a one race deal.(3-8-2002)
    UPDATE: — While Hooters restaurants owner Robert Brooks ponders future long-term involvement in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, he has reached a temporary sponsorship agreement with team owner-driver Brett Bodine for Sunday’s MBNA 500. Bodine’s #11-Ford will carry Hooters colors for the Atlanta Motor Speedway event. Bodine has been struggling to keep his team afloat because of sponsorship difficulties. Bodine and Brooks worked out the agreement Thursday night, the eve of race qualifying. Also involved in those discussions was driver Kirk Shelmerdine. Brooks sponsored Shelmerdine in a failed effort to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500, then announced that he planned to start a Winston Cup team with Shelmerdine as the driver. Brooks has been exploring options, including buying a race shop or suitable property in the Charlotte area to start a Winston Cup team. He also has talked to Bodine about becoming more involved in his operation, possibly as a co-owner, Brooks said Thursday. Brooks’ restaurants sponsored Alan Kulwicki’s unlikely Winston Cup championship run in 1992. The next spring, Kulwicki and three Hooters representatives, including Brooks’ son, Mark, were killed in the crash of a private plane on the way to a race in Bristol.(Greenville News)(3-8-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Brett Bodine’s #11 Ford will be sponsored by Hooters restaurants for the MBNA 500, a one-race deal that may turn into a larger association down the road. Bob Brooks, the Hooters CEO, met with Bodine on Thursday to begin discussions about a possible future together. Brooks had previously announced his intentions to start a Winston Cup team to run a limited schedule beginning later this season. Driver Kirk Shelmerdine, who tried to qualify for the Daytona 500 in a Hooters-sponsored Ford, was to be part of that new team. Brooks said Thursday night that if he and Bodine work out a deal for 20 or more races this year, there may be some events where Bodine and Shelmerdine both attempt to qualify.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-8-2002)
  • Park to test at Darlington/Wallace has another Cup ride lined up? UPDATE 4 park to return at Darlington: Steve Park will test twice this week at Darlington with hopes of being cleared to return to the #1 Pennzoil Chevy on March 17 at the same track in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. Though Park’s doctors were present during his three previous tests, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has yet to receive formal clearance on Park’s behalf. Kenny Wallace remains under contract. Ty Norris, executive vice president of motorsports for DEI, says Wallace could compete in races after Park returns “if the funding and cars become available and it makes sense for the other teams.” Sources close to Wallace say he has been offered another Cup ride (not the #57) as soon as he can be released from his contract with DEI.(The Sporting News)(3-4-2002)
    UPDATE: Park tested at Darlington on Tuesday and crew chief Paul Andrews said if thing proceed well, Park could race at Darlington. On ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night, Kenny Wallace said is committed to DEI for now and will stay with DEI until Park is ok and would stand by in case Park has problems in a race.(3-6-2002)
    UPDATE 2: ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night reports that DEI will meet with Steve Park on Thursday to discuss plans – and that the testing at Darlington went well and that Park could be back in the #1 Pennzoil Chevy by Darlington.(3-7-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Officials from Dale Earnhardt, Inc., are expected to announce Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway that driver Steve Park will make his return to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series March 15 [qualifying] at Darlington Raceway. Park plans to be at AMS Sunday for the MBNA America 500. According to a team source, he has satisfied all concerns his doctors or NASCAR might have regarding his return to the cockpit.(NASCAR.com)(3-8-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Injured NASCAR driver Steve Park will make his return to the Cup Series at Darlington next week. Ty Norris, vice president at Dale Earnhardt Inc., made the announcement Friday about Park’s return at Atlanta Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s MBNA America 500. “We knew Darlington was the target date, but we never said it we didn’t want anyone to put any pressure on him,” Norris said. “Darlington was not chosen because it’s a good story or out of irony. It just happened that this rce fell in our time table for his comeback.” Park, who was not at Atlanta, was unavailable for comment. He successfully completed several private test sessions in the past few months under the watchful eye of NASCAR, including one at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with DEI teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. Park also tested at Darlington last week. Norris said Kenny Wallace, who replaced Park in the #1 Pennzoil Chevy, might run selected races with the team during the remainder of the season.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-8-2002)
  • Hendrick Promotion: Jeff Turner, who has served in a variety of roles for the automotive and racing operations of the Hendrick family, today was named General Manager of Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) and will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the organization which fields four Cup Cars and two entries in the BGN. Turner, 43, will report to President John Hendrick and to Rick Hendrick. A graduate in Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Turner joined Hendrick in 1984 after five years with Price Waterhouse as a Senior Tax Consultant. He served as Tax Director of Rick Hendrick’s dealership and racing operations from 1984 until 1986. From 1986 until 1990, he was Vice President and Controller of the automotive group, then known as JRH Incorporated. As Vice President and CFO of Hendrick Motorsports, Turner has focused on finances, marketing and has played a key role as an advisor to John and Rick Hendrick.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-8-2002)
  • Cheerioes and Reading – special #43 scheme at Atlanta: on Wednesday (March 6th) Cheerios announced a national commitment to childhood literacy. NASCAR driver John Andretti appeared at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta to kick off a major book drive with Cheerios, Petty Enterprises and Kroger stores. The regional effort includes a major book donation to local charities, a book collection effort at Atlanta and Macon area Kroger stores, a free book offer on special-edition racing packages, and the Cheerios Literacy #43, which Andretti will drive in the Atlanta 500 this weekend. Surrounded by children at an after-school celebration, Andretti unveiled the new #43 and read aloud to the children. He also announced that Cheerios and Petty Enterprises will donate 43 new books to the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlanta and Macon for every lap the #43 completes in this Sunday’s Atlanta 500.. If Andretti completes all 325 laps, 13,975 new books will be donated to children in Atlanta and Macon areas. To ensure that the program reaches as many children as possible, a minimum donation of 7,500 new books will be made. Atlanta and Macon area Kroger stores are also lending a hand in the literacy initiative. Now through March 16, book collection bins will be in more than 150 Kroger stores to help collect additional books for area children. Cheerios will donate a new book for every book donated by shoppers at Kroger stores, up to 7,000 books, to double the number of books children receive. All books collected will be distributed to local children’s organizations. In addition to the book donation, over 28 million boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios will offer three award-winning children’s books. The books, published by Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group, are free with two proofs of purchase and $1.25 for shipping and handling. In select Southeast markets, John Andretti is pictured reading with his family on special-edition packages featuring this offer. As part of the program launch, Cheerios has donated $100,000 to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization, and will donate an additional 15 cents to RIF for every book redeemed through the on-pack promotion (up to $150,000). With these donations, RIF will help get even more books into the hands of children across the country.(IMG Motorsports PR/Cheerios Racing)(3-8-2002)
  • Harley and Rusty team up again: For the fourth straight year, Miller Brewing Company and Harley-Davidson, two Milwaukee landmarks with legendary racing programs, are joining together in a program that will feature Miller Lite stock car driver Rusty Wallace. Rusty Wallace will drive a special #2 Miller Lite/Harley-Davidson stock car in three races this year. The Miller Lite/Harley-Davidson stock car will debut in ‘The Winston’ night race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, May 18. Wallace and the Penske Racing team will also field the Miller Lite/Harley-Davidson stock car at Daytona International Speedway, July 6, and Michigan International Speedway, August 18. Along with partnering at three stock car races, Miller Brewing Company and Harley-Davidson will also work together to promote responsibility at a number of motorcycle rallies across the country, including events in Daytona Beach, FL and Sturgis, SD. Both companies will help dealers and distributors focus on responsible drinking and safe riding issues. In addition, both companies will prepare materials that can be used in conjunction with local activities and special events, including a poster featuring Miller Brewing’s “Live Responsibly” message and Harley-Davidson’s “Ride Straight” slogan. Another element in the partnership is a special NASCAR-themed, custom-painted 2002 Harley-Davidson” Softail” that will be on display in the Miller Lite Racing Garage, a mobile display that will visit 25 auto racing events during the year. This ultimate racing experience, which combines the best features of a racing museum with the excitement of a popular bar, will be equipped with race car displays, auto racing memorabilia and simulators. Miller Brewing Company and Harley-Davidson have worked together numerous times in the past. Last year, Wallace drove a special Miller Lite/Harley-Davidson at stock car races in Charlotte, Daytona Beach and Brooklyn, MI. Two years ago, Wallace drove a car featuring the brewery and motorcycle manufacturer at events in Daytona Beach, Bristol (TN) and Richmond.(Tom Roberts PR), see a diecast image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(3-8-2002)

    (3-7-2002)

  • Oordt-Denny Green team delayed: Darwin Oordt [Galaxy Motorsports – was the #75 team] is not sure when he and new team partner Dennis Green will put a car on the track. ”We’re working on a couple of things, but there’s nothing new,” Oordt said this week. Oordt suspended his Winston Cup operation early last year due to a lack of sponsor. Green, the former Vikings coach, last month became partners with Oordt. Oordt said they hope to begin competing at some point this season in either Cup or BGN, or both.(Tennessean)(3-7-2002)
  • #33 at Plate Tracks: ESPN2’s RPM 2 Night reported that the #33 Andy Petree Chevy only has plans to run the remaining three restrictor plate track races (Talladega in April and Oct and Daytona in July) with Mike Wallace unless a sponsor can be found to run other races.(3-7-2002)
  • Team Bristol plans Cup team: The Team Bristol Motorsports BGN [#54] team will have new sponsorship when the tour rolls into Bristol on March 23 and series regular Kevin Grubb has been tabbed to drive the team’s Chevrolets, team owner Rick Goodwin said Wednesday. Grubb, who replaced Bristol’s Kelly Denton last weekend in Las Vegas, will complete the 2002 BGN schedule in the car, with sponsorship from Toys R Us, a national toy retailer. The team also plans to run five Winston Cup races this season, Goodwin said, including Bristol in August. See more on my BGN Site (just news and rumors, no results, schedules or standings)(3-7-2002)
  • Overtime? UPDATE: Winston Cup series officials are considering adopting the so-called “green-white-checker” rule used in NASCAR’s Craftsman truck and other series. The rule, essentially a NASCAR version of overtime, says every race must end with at least two laps of green-flag racing. If there’s a crash in the closing laps of a race, officials wave a red flag to signal drivers to stop on the track. NASCAR cleans the track and, if necessary, adds a lap or two. Other forms of racing don’t bother with stoppages and simply finish some of their races under a yellow flag. Every major U.S. sport has a provision for overtime, but NASCAR faces additional challenges: By conserving fuel, a driver sometimes can make one less pit stop than his rivals and win a race. But if a car is running on fumes when NASCAR adds laps, that team gets punished. NASCAR officials are concerned that a second-place driver’s teammate might be tempted to crash his car on purpose, giving his buddy a better chance to win.(in part from the USA Today)(3-6-2002)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is studying the possible implementation of the green-white-checkered finish system, but no change is imminent. For now, it will continue evaluating each late-race situation on its own merits. “There is a lot of serious thought being given to some form of the green-white-checkered, so that the races can end up green-flag conditions,” Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications, said March 1. “The hardest thing is when you run out of time, you run out of time. There’s so many things (to consider) that it’s not just as simple as just ‘Put the red flag out.’ It’s, ‘Where is the debris on the track?’ and ‘When did the caution car pick up the leader?’ “But I think there’s some real serious thought going in. We’ve thought about it before with the green-white-checkered and the minuses have always seemed, in the Winston Cup division, to outweigh the plusses. But it’s back on the table and I know there were several conversations this week. But until we make a decision, it will be a case-by-case basis. But everyone in NASCAR wants to see the races end under green as well and, hopefully, that will happen.”(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-7-2002)
  • Irvan returns to racing…as an owner: Is it the #18? The #30? The #68? What about the #17! Former Winston Cup driver and NASCAR 50 Best driverErnie Irvan had originally requested the # 18 since that was the number of the ARCA car which he drove in 1991 when he competed in an ARCA car in Atlanta. Unfortunately, the # 18 was already assigned to someone who plans to run the full schedule this year. So, ARCA assigned the #68 to Ernie Irvan Racing. But at Atlanta, EIR driver, Kevin Conway will be racing the #17 Eagle One Chevy. This is because Ernie Irvan Racing is a new team and has no provisionals. The team is not concerned about making the race on speed. However, if qualifying is rained out and ARCA sets the field based on car owner points from last year, the team wouldn’t make it. So, they have arranged with A. J. Hendrickson Motorsports (the #17) to use their number for the race. They are 21 in owner points. The Atlanta ARCA race will run on Saturday, March 9th and is scheduled to be broadcast on Speed Channel, Monday, March 11th, at 8:00pm/et (after Inside Winston Cup). EIR will run the #68 in future ARCA races. Irvan was on John Boy and Billy Show (radio) Wedneday talking about the Sponsorship.(Irvan.com)(3-7-2002)
  • #66 Crew Members released? FSN’s Totally NASCAR reported that #66 car Chief, Jeff Buice has left the Haas Carter Motorsports team. Sources also tell me that up to 15 people were laid off on Wednesday.(3-7-2002)
  • Picabo and Petty: Downhill skiing champion Picabo Street will be in Atlanta this weekend for the MBNA America 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. She will kick off her weekend on Saturday by visiting at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty. Street and Petty will also videoconference with hospitalized children across the country at Jackson Memorial Hospitalin Miami, Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Centerin Seattle. Kids will have the opportunity to ask Kyle and Picabo questions about racing, downhill skiing, and how fast these two travel around the track and on the snow. Petty, who will be driving the #45 Sprint Dodge at Sunday MBNA America 500, and alpine skier Street share a strong commitment to communities where they live and work, and value an opportunity to connect with the communities they’re in.  Street will then head to the track on Sunday for a taste of Winston Cup racing at the MBNA America 500. She will be available for media interviews at 10 a.m. in the deadline room of the infield media center.(AMS PR)(3-7-2002)
  • Petty likes new seat: Kyle Petty was sold on the composite seat designed by PPI Motorsports long before he learned the hard way just how effective it would be when he needed it the most. Petty used the seat while testing during the offseason and began using it in competition beginning at Daytona. But in the Subway 400 at Rockingham, it was put to the test when he was caught up in a multi–car crash. “Somebody asked me on Tuesday (after the race) if I was sore and I said, ‘From (what)? You’re going to have to give me a little information. What should I be sore from?’” Petty said March 1. “And they said, ‘The wreck on Sunday.’ I wasn’t sore at all.” That’s the intention of the seat, of course, but the results thrilled Petty. “It really amazed me that the week had gone by and my neck wasn’t sore. It hasn’t been sore from my HANS for a while, and the seat was phenomenal,” Petty added. So far, Petty and PPI Motorsports’ Ricky Craven are the only two drivers using the seat, which was approved by NASCAR during the offseason. One driver who plans on giving the seat a try is John Andretti, who has a background in Indy cars where he used a seat similar to the one designed by PPI.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-7-2002)
  • New Newsletter: Beginning March 11, NASCAR Winston Cup Scene will launch a new daily e-mail newsletter service that will offer the latest news from NASCAR’s top three series each weekday. Subscribers to the Daily Scene service should receive their reports by 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Each issue will contain at least three to four short stories highlighting the latest news about the drivers, teams, events and tracks in NASCAR’s Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series. Each daily issue also will carry the weekend’s television racing schedule and a sample of a story from NASCAR Winston Cup Scene’s latest issue.(see www.sceneplus.com)(3-7-2002)
  • Congrats: Fox pit reporter Jeanne Zelasko is due to give birth to her first child in mid-April, and Sunday’s MBNA America 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be her last Winston Cup race of the season. Zelasko will head home to Southern California to be with husband Curt Sandoval, a TV sports reporter for the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles.(CNN-SI/AP)(3-7-2002)
  • Labonte helps out: Neil Goldberg, the producer of NASCAR races on Fox Sports and FX, received a telephone call during the Feb. 24 Subway 400 at Rockingham, that no parent wants to get. His 12-year-old son, Josh, had been hit by a car in Collinsville, Conn., while crossing a street in a crosswalk. But thanks to 2000 Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte and his family the Connecticut resident arrived home in a timely fashion. It was during the race’s second half when Goldberg was told to call home immediately. “I turned white,” Goldberg says. “I looked at Pam (Miller, pit producer), pointed to her and said, ‘Get up here. You’re producing. I’ll be back.’ Finally, he reached a friend who told him Josh appeared to be OK and he was at the hospital. Goldberg caught his breath and resumed his production duties. Miller, meanwhile, started checking to see if she could find a helicopter for Goldberg. Before the race was over, Labonte confirmed through Miller that he could get Goldberg to Charlotte, that he needed to meet him at his helicopter after the race. Josh, a soccer goalie, was hospitalized overnight but escaped without any broken bones. He sustained only bumps and bruises, and a deep laceration on his face that required stitches. He was back at school a week later.(Winston Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-7-2002)

    (3-6-2002)

  • Pit Road Safety: NASCAR’s Jim Hunter said yesterday that the sanctioning body has begun a major study of the Winston Cup tour’s 24 pit roads with an eye toward making changes to improve safety for over-the-wall crews. “We’re going to be all over this,” Hunter said. “I don’t think there is anything we wouldn’t look at and really analyze. And the more proactive we can be, the better off we’ll be.” The current pit-road debate comes after an incident at Rockingham in which David Bryant, a front-tire carrier for Rick Hendrick’s Jimmie Johnson team, was seriously injured when hit by Mark Martin. Bryant’s leg was broken, and he underwent surgery to have it pinned back together. He’s expected to be sidelined at least three months. Pit road on the stock-car tour has become a major battleground, as difficult as it is at most tracks to pass. Even some of the most fierce of the over-the-wall crews are looking over their shoulders these days. Kevin Hamlin, the crew chief for Kevin Harvick, said that larger pits are a solution: “The drivers do their best to try to miss these guys, but at some of the tracks where the pit stalls are a little smaller and pit road is a little narrower, it becomes another hazard. Hunter said some things are going to change on Winston Cup pit roads, although he’s not sure what. “We’re in the process right now of analyzing exactly where we might be able to make some improvements,” Hunter said. “There are two areas we’re focused on: One is the size of the pit stalls themselves. To do that we’re assessing the range of sizes at tracks on the tour, from the smallest, like Bristol and Martinsville, to the biggest, which is actually Vegas and California. And then we’ll develop a plan of action to get to the end result, whatever that might be. Two is to review the pit procedures as they apply to pit stops. And there is the possibility – maybe not the probability, but the possibility – of coming up with different procedures for different tracks. That’s on the drawing board. We’ll be talking to the tracks individually, and most track owners, when we ask them to do something for safety, they’ve been pretty cooperative.”(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2002)
  • Testing at Darlington – a few speeds: Prepping for his return to Winston Cup racing, Steve Park tested a pair of #1 Pennzoil Chevy’s at the Darlington Raceway Tuesday. Park’s supersub Kenny Wallace was not at the track. Park said the doctors told him it would be at least a six month recovery and it’s just about been six months since his Busch Series accident at Darlington. Also testing cup cars Tuesday were #48-Jimmie Johnson, #7-Casey Atwood and #99-Jeff Burton. On the BGN side, #66-Casey Mears, #2-Johnny Sauter, #40-Brian Vickers, #60-Greg Biffle and Todd Bodine in the #92 car. Robby Gordon will test the same car on Wednesday at Darlington. Herzog Motorsports hasn’t decided who will drive the Excedrin Chevy after Andy Houston was let go over the weekend. Bodine says he’s not sure if the #92 will turn into a full-time deal, however he says he’s sticking with Travis Carter for now and hoping a sponsor can be found for the #66.(PRN’s GaragePass radio show), #48-Johnson was the fastest with a lap of 165.799mph, #1-Park and #99- Burton ran 165.020.(The State)(3-6-2002)
  • New Seat Belt Requirements: NASCAR announced today additional seat belt restraint system safety requirements for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series that becomes effective Thursday, March 7. In addition to each vehicle already being equipped with a NASCAR-approved seat belt restraint system and installed in accordance with the directions provided by system manufacturers, the new mandates provide a supplement to the installation requirements for stock cars. (NASCAR PR)(3-5-2002)
    AND NASCAR late Tuesday issued a technical bulletin adopting a series of new safety requirements for occupant restraint systems used in its Winston Cup series. The bulletin outlines several new guidelines regarding the placement and mounting of seat belts and shoulder harnesses in stock cars. The guidelines take effect on Thursday, in time for this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. As part of a series of safety initiatives NASCAR said it would undertake in light of its exhaustive report issued in August on the death of seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt, a study on occupant restraint systems was commissioned by Drs. John Melvin and James Raddin. Melvin is one of the world’s leading experts on head and neck restraints. Raddin is a member of the Earnhardt report’s investigative team and heads Biodynamic Research Corp. in San Antonio. “These new requirements are a direct result of the occupant restraint study announced last August to research the hardware, webbing and mounting of seat belt systems,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said in a statement released with the technical bulletin. The new guidelines mandate the use of at least one of two latching systems for seat belts, either a latch/lever or cam lock. Their use will provide a common connection among the lap belts, shoulder harnesses and anti-submarine belts. Other guidelines focus on the webbing of the belts, an area the Earnhardt report dealt with in great detail. Earnhardt died in a last-lap wreck at the 2001 Daytona 500. The report said a separated left lap belt – likely caused by “dumping” – contributed to his death. Dumping occurs when seat belt webbing is pulled or moved significantly to one side of the metal adjustment device through which the webbing is threaded. Following the release of the Earnhardt report, NASCAR worked to educate car owners, crew members and drivers and seat belt manufacturers about the problem of “dumping.”(ThatsRacin.com)(3-6-2002)
  • No #26 or #66 at Atlanta? UPDATE 2 no #66 The sponsorship woes are nowhere more evident than in the Haas-Carter Motorsports camp. Last year, Bodine won two poles, three outside poles and posted two top-five finishes while Nemechek won the fall race at North Carolina Speedway [in the #33 APR Chevy]. They are considered at least a mid-level team, and yet even after Bodine’s pole-winning run on Friday that team does not believe it will have enough money to race next week in Atlanta. “To be quite blunt, I don’t think we are going to be going to Atlanta,” Bodine said. “We are entertaining some sponsors and talking to some people, but nothing is even close to becoming a deal.”(News and Observer)(3-2-2002)
    UPDATE: being told that the #66 Haas Carter Motorsports team will NOT enter the MBNA America 500 at Atlanta, still no word on if the #26 will go or not.(3-4-2002)
    UPDATE 2: FSN’s Totally NASCAR reports that the #26 Ford and driver Joe Nemechek will run at Atlanta while the #66 Ford and driver Todd Bodine will not run unless a sponsor is found to run the car.(3-5-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Travis Carter Enterprises announced Tuesday it will send just one of its two Winston Cup teams to compete in Sunday’s MBNA America 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The #26 Ford team of driver Joe Nemechek plans to compete in the race without a sponsor, while the No. 66 team and driver Todd Bodine will sit out. A statement from the team released Tuesday afternoon said plans could change for the #66 should the sponsorship situation change.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-6-2002)
  • Petree tests at Martinsville: 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)
  • Knaus wins Irwin Crew Chief of the Week Honors: After qualifying near the back of the pack for last week’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 in Las Vegas, Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team rallied back from a bit of bad luck to finish an eye-catching sixth, the highest finishing spot for the team this season. Johnson climbed from 25th to 13th position early in the race before falling a lap back after an ill-timed green flag pit stop. Despite the setback, the team’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, was confident that they had a car capable enough to post a strong finish and be a top competitor in the race. Johnson, who led the race at one point, managed to gain a total of 19 track positions throughout the course of the race and cross the finish line in sixth position, helping earn Knaus this week’s “IRWIN Rough to Finish Award.” Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, IRWIN, makers of professional power tool accessories like MARATHON PLUS saw blades and SPEEDBOR flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The “IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award” includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Connie Parsons Memorial Fund in the racing team’s name. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund.(Golin/Harris PR)(3-6-2002)

    (3-5-2002)

  • Pontiacs to get some help, for Atlanta? Pontiac teams may finally be on the verge of getting a break from NASCAR on the aerodynamic rules they say have their cars at a disadvantage to the other manufacturers’ cars. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter indicated Monday that serious discussions are under way about possible changes to the front end or the spoilers on the Grand Prix body. A change may come before Sunday’s MBNA America 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Atlanta Journal Constituion)(3-5-2002)
  • Autopsy Photo Hearing Today UPDATE: Several Florida newspapers and other media groups will ask a judge to overturn a year-old Florida state law restricting access to autopsy photos. Lawyers for the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and nearly a dozen other media organizations will ask Broward Circuit Judge Leroy Moe to strike down a 2001 law restricting public access to autopsy photos. The newspapers say the law, rushed through the Florida Legislature in the weeks after the death of NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt in last year’s Daytona 500, violates language in the Florida Constitution granting citizens access to state records. The law, passed at the urging of widow Teresa Earnhardt, requires anyone wishing to look at autopsy photos to get permission from a judge. It was challenged last year by The Independent Florida Alligator, the student newspaper at the University of Florida, but was upheld by Volusia Circuit Judge Joseph Will. That decision is now on appeal. Tuesday’s hearing will bring together many of the attorneys who battled in Will’s courtroom — including lawyers representing the state, Gov. Jeb Bush and Teresa Earnhardt. But rather than focusing on access to autopsy photos of Earnhardt, the hearing will center on a request by the Sentinel and Sun-Sentinel to look at photos of autopsies done by the Broward County medical examiner on bodies that were never identified. Other media organizations that have joined the suit include newspapers in Gainesville, Lakeland, Ocala and Sarasota owned by The New York Times Regional Newspaper Group; The Tampa Tribune and its television affiliate, WFLA-TV, Channel 8; the Society for Professional Journalists; Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; the Student Press Law Center; Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and the First Amendment Foundation.(more at Orlando Sentinel)(3-5-2002)
    UPDATE: After a contentious two hour hearing, a Broward circuit judge said he would rule within two or three weeks on a 2001 state law that restricts access to autopsy photos. Circuit Judge Leroy Moe repeatedly interrupted lawyers defending the law passed in the wake of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt’s death, grilling them on what was the “public necessity” for the legislature closing records guaranteed to be available under Florida’s constitution.(more at Orlando Sentinel)(3-5-2002)
  • Add a leader: It was reported on Sunday that the record for most leaders in a Cup race at Las Vegas was 13, tied this year with the 2001 race. Offical results now show 14 leaders, adding #1-Kenny Wallace leading a lap on lap 125. See my Race Result Links page for links to results and standings. Results from ThatsRacin.com, NASCAR.com and an official report from NASCAR posted on the Jayski site. Also links to Drivers/Owners Points standings as of each race.(3-5-2002)
  • Cope and #57 part ways UPDATE: Derrike Cope and the #57 Team CLR have mutually agreed to part ways and to pursue other avenues(Derrike Cope site). No word on if Cope will attempt Atlanta in his #37 team or if Team CLR will run the #57 Ford there as planned. Kenny Wallace could end up back with the team as Park is close to returning to the #1 Chevy, maybe as soon as Darlington.(3-5-2002)
    UPDATE: Two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday will attempt to qualify the #57 Ford for this weekend’s MBNA America 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(3-5-2002)
  • #71 Sponsor at Atlanta UPDATE: hearing that Williams Bros. Lumber Company, an Atlanta based Building Material and Lumber Supplier, has agreed to be the primary sponsor of the #71 Marcis Racing Chevy and driver Dick Trickle for this Sunday’s MBNA America 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This one race sponsorship will be Williams Bros. second on the NASCAR circuit, they have sponsored several local drivers at local and southeast tracks and last year at AMS was the sponsor for the now defunt #27 Eel River Racing team and then driver Kenny Wallace. Williams Bros. will be on the #71’s hood and TV panel and Warranty Gold will be on the rear quarter panels and deck/trunk lid.(3-4-2002)
    UPDATE: got a few images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-5-2002)
  • Testing at Texas: Cup driver #21-Elliott Sadler, and BGN drivers, #10-Scott Riggs, #57-Jason Keller, #38-Christian Elder and #36-Hank Parker, Jr. arrived Monday for the planned two-day test session in preparation for the April 7 NASCAR Samsung/RadioShack 500 and the April 6 O’Reilly 300. The speedway re-paved the track surface last summer with a new granite-based asphalt. This was the first chance for some of the drivers to test it out. “The track is really fast,” said Sadler, driver of the #21 Motorcraft Quality Parts Ford. “Of course, it’s always been fast, but it’s a lot smoother since they re-paved it. The track did a really good job with the new asphalt. By the time we’re out for Happy Hour, there should be plenty of rubber down for two grooves.” Fourteen Cup and BGN drivers scheduled to test at the speedway in March. (TMS PR)(3-5-2002)
  • Gibbs Crew Member in trouble: Randall Cox, a mechanic with Joe Gibbs Racing and the rear tire changer for the team of Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart [#20], was arrested Friday by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and charged with assault on a female using aggressive physical force and communicating threats. Cox was released Saturday on $10,000 secured bond and a trial date is pending. He did not make the trip to Las Vegas. Jonathan Sherman, also a mechanic at JGR, filled in for Cox at Vegas. Officials at Joe Gibbs Racing said Tuesday that Cox has been suspended until further notice. Sherman will continue to perform Cox’s duties with the pit crew.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-5-2002)
  • Las Vegas TV Ratings: FOX Sports recorded record numbers for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. The race’s overnight rating of 6.2 was up slightly over last year’s 6.1. It easily dwarfed NBC’s 5.3 rating for the PGA Tour’s Genuity Classic in which Tiger Woods and Ernie Els battled for the win. Final ratings won’t be available until Thursday, but NASCAR ratings typically increase with the final rating. Locally in Las Vegas, the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 drew a 10.5 rating and a 21 share, which means 21 percent of all television sets in use were tuned to the race.(LVMS Site)(3-5-2002)
  • New #90 Crew Chief: Mark Tutor will call the shots in the pits for Winston Cup Driver Rick Mast, effective immediately, announced Junie Donlavey, owner of the #90 Ford. “Mark has worked with Rick in the past, and the trust and communication that exists between them will help make this team better and hopefully get us to that next step,” Donlavey said. Tutor had been working on the CLR Ford with Derrike Cope. He has past experience with Petty Enterprises, Cale Yarborough Motorsports, Robby Gordon Racing and Loy Allen Racing. Tutor’s first race will be this weekend at Atlanta.(Keystone Marketing PR)(3-5-2002)
  • Bodine adds Indy, Phoenix and Atlanta(Oct): #09-Geoffrey Bodine says he will run as many as 10-12 races this season in cars from owner James Finch’s Phoenix Racing shops. Sponsorship would come from the South Florida Miccosukee Indian tribe and its associates. Phoenix crew chief Marc Reno said his crew, which also operates Finch’s BGN program that fields #1 Yellow Freight cars for Jimmy Spencer, is currently working on a couple of new Winston Cup chassis. Bodine, 52, started the year knowing the Miccosukee Indian Gaming Group would sponsor his #09 Ford in both races at Daytona, along with the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Miccosukee tribe stepped up to underwrite the two races at Talladega Superspeedway after Finch said he would reward Bodine’s effort by running there anyway. They didn’t stop there. “We’re going to do Talladega, Daytona (Pepsi 400) and Homestead with the Miccosukee tribe,” Bodine said. “And they came on to do Indy (Brickyard 400), Phoenix and Atlanta at the end of the year — and maybe a few others to make 10-12 races this year.” Bodine said the tribe, who have previously confined their sponsorship to events in their home state of Florida, “are talking to some other tribes to get them involved.” When Finch’s team came to Daytona, all it had in its Winston Cup arsenal was a pair of Ford Tauruses. Reno said the two cars currently under construction to do the Brickyard 400 test in June could become either Fords or Dodge Intrepids.(NASCAR.com)(3-5-2002)
  • Sad News: Drag racer Steve Grebeck, 36, died shortly after crashing his car Sunday at 200 mph during a race on the Orlando Speed World Dragway. It was the second racing death in the state during the weekend. Jeff Clinton, who died Friday in Grand Am road-racing practice at Homestead, Fla., will be buried Wednesday in Warson Woods, Mo.(USA Today)(3-5-2002)
  • NAPCM Pit Crew of the Week: #28 – Ricky Rudd’s Havoline Crew; Good stops all day (took Ricky from 20th to 13th during one stop)(NAPCM PR)(3-5-2002)
  • Gerhart to attempt other restrictor plate races: ARCA driver, Bobby Gerhart, plans to attempt the three remaining restrictor plate Cup races at Datona and Talladega(2). Gerhardt attempted the Daytona 500 in the #59 Pontiac.(Stock Car Scene)(3-5-2002)

    (3-4-2002)

  • Not a full field at Atlanta? wondering? will there be enough cars/teams/drivers for the normal Winston Cup 43-car field? Team owner Travis Carter wouldn’t commit to a decision about his sponsorless team, but speculation is that he will shut down the #66 Ford operation today and just bring his #26 Ford to Atlanta (because of the plan money – see story below). Only 44 cars attempted to qualify for Sunday’s race. An entry driven by non-regular #57-Derrike Cope did not make the race. The maximum number of cars allowed to start a Cup race is 43, but a race can have fewer cars, said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter who believes the field will be full.(Atlanta Journal Constitution).
    If the #66 and #33 APR Chevy (which was not at Las Vegas) fail to enter, other’s who plan to make an attempt are #49-Shwana Robinson, #71-Dick Trickle (Marcis team was not at Las Vegas), #85-Carl Long plans to make an attempt as does #57-Team CLR (before they split with Derrike Cope), so looks like a full field should happen.(3-4-2002)
  • Traction Control an issue? Traction control is once again a hot topic in the Winston Cup garage, with NASCAR officials once more on the prowl for the illegal engine control systems that keep a car from spinning its wheels in the corners. The concept is legal in some forms of motorsports, but not NASCAR, because officials here prefer that a driver use his right foot rather than some electronic gizmo. However, some teams once again suspect rivals of using traction control, perhaps in the form of some tiny portable device that can be plugged into the ignition system by a driver once inside his car. The device could later be unplugged and thrown out the window.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-4-2002)
  • Cars Tested: the cars of #40-Sterling Marlin, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #6-Mark Martin, #12-Ryan Newman, #20-Tony Stewart, #88-Dale Jarrett and #48-Jimmie Johnson were tested on the NASCAR chassis dynamometer after Sunday’s race.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-4-2002)
  • Chevy by a nose? The Chevrolet teams are trying to get a new nose approved by NASCAR to make up for perceived advantages given to Dodge and Ford during Daytona 500 week. “It’s not been approved,” Chevy team owner Richard Childress said of the proposed Monte Carlo nose. “When they reassessed all these things, it hurt the Chevrolets and we’re trying to figure out a way to make our Chevrolets more competitive.” NASCAR said it would be looking into the plight of Chevrolet teams.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-4-2002)
  • Broadcaster Mourned: Charlie Harville, a North Carolina broadcasting pioneer who died Friday at the age of 83, will be remembered as one of the first local television and radio reporters to give extensive coverage to stock-car racing. Harville joined WFMY-TV (Channel 2) in Greensboro just as it was going on the air in 1949 and worked in television and radio in the Triad until retiring in 1988. He did broadcasts for the Washington Redskins of the NFL and for N.C. State basketball during the Everett Case era. He also did radio and television broadcasts of NASCAR races and hosted “Racing Roundup,” a radio show syndicated to several states for a decade. Earlier this year, the National Motorsports Press Association voted to name its annual award for the outstanding television broadcaster in Harville’s honor. A public celebration of Harville’s life will be held Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Bryan Enrichment Center in Greensboro’s Bryan Park.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-4-2002)
  • Brack at the Brickyard 400? Andy Graves, team manager for Ganassi Racing, says he’d like to put Kenny Brack behind the wheel of a Ganassi Dodge in August for the Brickyard 400 if the team secures the necessary funding. Graves says he was pleased with the progress Brack, who drives for Chip Ganassi’s CART team, made at Daytona.(The Sporting News)(3-4-2002)
  • Colorful Dude: Dressed as RED, the famous “M,” Phillip Crosson Jr. of Hopatcong, N.J. was named THE MOST COLORFUL FAN(tm) OF NASCAR®. Phillip was chosen out of nine finalists at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday morning. There, a panel of celebrity judges that included “M&M’s”® driver Ken Schrader, Totally NASCAR host Steve Byrnes, Charlotte Observer reporter David Poole, MASTERFOODS NASCAR Sponsorship Manager William Clements and vice president of corporate marketing for NASCAR Brett Yormark helped select Phillip. Phillip was one of thousands of NASCAR® fans across the country that participated in the “M&M’s”® promotion during the 2001 season. The search for THE MOST COLORFUL FAN(tm) OF NASCAR® spanned thirty race weekends at venues around the nation. Every week, the colorful fan patrol narrowed the thousands of colorful and exciting fans down to just 12, then voters chose their favorite on an internet web site, www.colorfulfan.com. More than a half-million people logged onto the web site and cast votes for who they believed to be the most colorful and flashy fan each week. Nine monthly finalists were brought to Las Vegas by “M&M’s”® to compete in the finals Sunday morning – Phillip walked away with “bragging rights.”(IMG Motorsports-Charlotte PR)(3-4-2002)
  • #66 Crew Chief resigns: Even though #66-Todd Bodine won the pole at Las Vegas, his crew chief, Larry Carter, submitted a letter of resignation to team owner and uncle Travis Carter. That speaks volumes about the team’s uncertainty.(The Sporting News)(3-4-2002)
  • Boycott? A group of fans are circulating an Internet petition encouraging a boycott of the NASCAR.com website. The site started charging this season for its RaceCast feature, a service that lists lap-by-lap updates of races and includes the MRN broadcast. The group wants to boycott the site from March 22-24.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(sorry do not post petition links here)(3-4-2002)

 


(3-3-2002)

 

  • Streaking: #24-Jeff Gordon has not posted a top five finish since winning at Kansas in 2001, a span of eleven races. Gordon’s longest drought of his career is 12 consecutive races, from the last five races of 1999 thru the first seven races of 2000 but he has not DNF’d in 34 races since Darlington in March 2001. #6-Mark Martin’s top five at Las Vegas was his first top five since the June Pocono race, 23 races ago. #23-Hut Stricklin led a lap in a Cup race for the first time since Darlington in March 1997. #40-Sterling Marlin is the only driver who has finished in the top 10 in all three 2002 Cup races. #-48-Jimmie Johnson got his first career Winston Cup top 10 finish and led a lap for the first time ever in Cup.(3-3-2002)
  • Marlin wins at Las Vegas: #40-Sterling Marlin wins the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 after starting 24th, all three winners in 2002 so far have started 19th or worse. It is Marlin’s 9th career Winston Cup win. Marlin now leads the drivers points by 75 points over #12-Newman (507 to 432). The top ten:
    1) #40-Marlin (37 laps led)
    2) #19-Mayfield (17 laps led)
    3) #6-Martin
    4) #12-Newman (50 laps led)
    5) #20-Stewart (76 laps led)
    6) #48-Johnson (6 laps led)
    7) #88-Jarrett
    8) #9-Elliott
    9) #99-Burton
    10) #41-Spencer (45 laps led)
    6 cautions for 25 laps
    20 of 43 cars are on the lead lap.
    Lap Leaders (13): #66-Bodine; #41-Spencer; #97-Busch; #12-Newman; #40-Marlin; #20-Stewart; #23-Stricklin; #21-Sadler; #48-Johnson; #8-Earnhardt Jr; #45-Petty; #22-Burton; #19-Mayfield (ties a recoord for leaders).
    DNF’s: #55-Hamilton(accident); #49-Robinson(accident);
    NOTES: #55-Hamilton, one of the No Bull Five drivers, wrecked on lap 9 and looks to be out of the race, Hamilton’s 40 race streak with no DNF’s (did not finishes) is over as his car has been declared out.
    Caution on lap 61 when #15-Waltrip blew a tire, quite a few cars were caught in the pits when the yelloe came out and got put a lap down or close to it (#’s 66,25,31,10 and others), #19-Mayfield was in the pits for a few laps as there was some sort of problem during his stop and #41-Spencer lost a bunch of spots when a lugnut fell off the stud during his stop..
    #40-Marlin was slowing to go to the pits and got hit by #25-Nadeau, Marlin saved it after going sideways and ended up at the entrance of pit road and proceeded to hit pit stall. Fox reported Marlin would be penalized for speeding down pit road, haven’t seen or heard it happened, but communication never got to the NASCAR official so NASCAR recinded the penalty.
    Caution 3 on lap 140 for oil on the track, all lead lap cars came in to pit, #12-Newman came out with the lead as only two tires were changed. #8-Earnhardt Jr only took two tires and came out 2nd. #25-Nadeau’s Chevy is overheating but still on the track.
    Caution 4 on lap 155 when #17-Kenseth spun by himself, no damage to car. Leader #20-Stewart let #66-Bodine and #25-Nadeau back on the lead lap.
    #44-Jones was running in the top 10 before the caution (4) had a loose lugnut and was called back in by NASCAR to tighten it, went out 25th, still on the lead lap. #32-Craven had a tire go down just AFTER the 4th caution and lost a lap.
    #36-Schrader had a tired go down when he and #66-Bodine got together and Schrader had to pit on lap 182, losing a lap.
    #48-Jimmie Johnson while leading and a lug nut fell off the front right tire and the pit stop lasted longer then normal, came out in 10th place. #10-Benson ran out of fuel but made it in to the pits and got refueled but lost time (he ran 62 laps on a tank). #26-Nemechek possibly has engine trouble.
    Caution 5 on lap 232, #49-Shawna Robinson tagged the wall, pancaking the right side, Robinson is in 42nd. Most of the lead lap drivers came in to pit. #97-Busch has an engine problem and is overheating.
    Caution 6 on lap 254. #45-Petty got spun by #31-Gordon after #25-Nadeau pushed/hit Gordon.
    See ThatsRacin.com for a column: Marlin’s number comes up big in Vegas and for Unofficial UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 results and Unofficial Standings.
    The race will re-air on Speed Channel, Wednesday, March 6th at 8:00pm/et and on Thursday, March 7th at 12:00noon/et.(3-3-2002)
  • Marlin wins at Las Vegas: #40-Sterling Marlin wins the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 after starting 24th, all three winners in 2002 so far have started 19th or worse. It is Marlin’s 9th career Winston Cup win. Marlin now leads the drivers points by 75 points over #12-Newman (507 to 432). See my rundown (leaders, narrative, etc) of the race on my UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400/Las Vegas Race Info page.
    See ThatsRacin.com for a column: Marlin’s number comes up big in Vegas and for Unofficial UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 results and Unofficial Standings.
    The race will re-air on Speed Channel, Wednesday, March 6th at 8:00pm/et and on Thursday, March 7th at 12:00noon/et.(3-3-2002)
  • Hamilton DNF’s: #55-Bobby Hamilton had his first DNF (did not finish) since the Phoenix race in Nov 2000, a streak of 40 races. The new streak leaders are #24-Gordon at 34, #99-Burton at 32 and #40-Marlin with 31 straight races without a DNF. See my DNF Page for past DNF’s and who has the most.(3-3-2002)
  • Stewart and the Indy 500 UPDATE 3 with Penske? [Chip] Ganassi said Sunday that he is close to firming up a deal with NASCAR star Tony Stewart for the Indy 500. They teamed up to finish sixth this year.(Indianapolis Star)(11-5-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing that Stewart may run for Penske in the Indy 500 with Home Depot as the sponsor(1-3-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Winston Cup and Championship Auto Racing Teams series owner Chip Ganassi said Tuesday that he and Winston Cup star Tony Stewart are “talking about” putting together a deal for Stewart to run in the 2002 Indianapolis 500 with a Ganassi-owned car. “You know Tony, he’s like trying to nail jelly to a post sometimes,” Ganassi said. “So, we’ll see. You can play telephone tag with him for three weeks before you reach him. It’s moving along, and I would say on schedule.” Stewart ran both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte the same day last season – his second time competing in both races. He finished sixth at Indy in a Ganassi-owned car and third at Charlotte with his Joe Gibbs-owned team.(That’s Racin’)(1-8-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Penske confirmed Saturday he has had discussions with Home Depot officials about running Tony Stewart in a third team car in the Indianapolis 500. Penske, who said he has not made a decision on running a third car, is on Home Depot’s board of directors.(Indianapolis Star)(3-3-2002)
  • #200 for Benson: #10-Johnny Benson made his 200th Winston Cup start at Las Vegas.(3-3-2002)
  • New Pontiac? UPDATE 5: NASCAR officials have begun studying Pontiac’s plans for a new Winston Cup model for the 2003 season(Winston Salem Journal)(6-3-2001)
    UPDATE: – Pontiac Gone? Might General Motors consider dropping the Pontiac brand from Winston Cup racing? A new model is expected for the 2003 season, but will GM invest in the redesign of its Grand Prix for NASCAR? Just an ugly rumor that it won’t, said Terry Laise, General Motors competition and aerodynamics manager. “But anything is possible.”(Sporting News)(6-18-2001)
    UPDATE 2: during the Cup at Kansas, NBC mentioned that Joe Gibbs Racing had tested a new 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix in a wind tunnel and expects to present it to NASCAR for approval in mid 2002. Also have heard rumors that Pontiac would switch from a Grand Prix to their Bonneville model but being told that model is being phased out.(10-2-2001)
    UPDATE 3 New Pontiac Testing: Currently, Joe Gibbs Racing is working on the new model Pontiac for 2003 based on the Dodge Intrepid.(Sporting News)(10-26-2001)
    UPDATE 4: Pontiac officials say work is under way on a 2003 Pontiac with a new body style for use in NASCAR’s Winston Cup series beginning next season. “We are working on the car and it’s too early to talk about the details of that,” said Bob Kraut, brand manager for Pontiac Grand Prix. “We will have a car at this time next year to run Daytona if everything goes OK with NASCAR officials.” The existing body style of the Pontiac Grand Prix is seven years old – the oldest body style currently in use in NASCAR. Joe Gibbs Racing, which fields the Pontiacs of Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, is involved in the testing and development of the new car.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-16-2002)
    UPDATE: A General Motors racing official said Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that the new 2003 Grand Prix that Pontiac will submit for NASCAR’s approval will be based off similar templates used by Ford and Dodge in the development of the Taurus and Intrepids now used in Winston Cup racing.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-3-2002)
  • Template Changes? NASCAR officials are considering changes in the template used to measure the noses on the WInston Cup cars.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-3-2002)
  • Stewart in a Chevy at Texas? and beyond? UPDATE: After more than a year of wrangling unsuccessfully with NASCAR over rules that he says have kept Pontiac teams at a disadvantage, #20 Joe Gibbs crew chief Greg Zipadelli says a switch to Chevrolet appears in the cards: “It is being built as we speak,” Zipadelli said. “You’ll see it in about four weeks.” That would appear to mean that Tony Stewart could be in a Monte Carlo for the April 7 race at Texas. The politics of the whole situation, Zipadelli said, was key. By switching to Chevrolet he said he and fellow crew chief Jimmy Makar wouldn’t feel such underdogs in negotiations with NASCAR, because they would then have Chevy heavyweights Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick on their side.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-2-2002)
    UPDATE: Pontiac race teams appear to be growing increasingly frustrated with what they consider to be a lack of regard for their rules concerns from NASCAR. Joe Gibbs Racing, for instance, has built a Chevrolet Monte Carlo which, for now at least, will be used only for purposes of evaluating it against the Pontiac Grand Prix models used by drivers [#18] Bobby Labonte and [#20] Tony Stewart. Since those cars are so similar, the GM official said, the Gibbs operation wanted to also have a Chevrolet in house so it could understand how the new Pontiac would compare to all possible competition. While a GM official said Saturday such a model change is not likely, there apparently have been discussions within the Gibbs operation about whether it should switch to Chevrolets in the future if it doesn’t think Pontiac is getting a fair shake.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-3-2002)
    AND Yesterday, reports surfaced with Tony Stewart’s crew chief talking about adding a Chevrolet to the team’s arsenal. Asked about the comments, Jimmy Makar, crew chief for Bobby Labonte, said the team has built a Monte Carlo to take to the wind tunnel and compare with the Pontiacs driven by Stewart and Labonte. He added the team has no plans to race the car at this point. The problem isn’t a Gibbs issue with Pontiac. It’s a larger problem with the sanctioning body. Pontiac has only five teams competing full time in the series, compared with 15 Fords, 12 Chevys and 10 Dodges. When it comes time for crew chiefs to storm the NASCAR trailer and demand changes for their cars, the Pontiacs don’t have nearly as much leverage. So teams such as Joe Gibbs Racing want to see what separates the Pontiac from other makes before pushing their arguments further. It certainly isn’t a new practice to build other cars, but is it one that has more meaning within the Gibbs’ operation. Is he [Makar] considering running a car other than a Pontiac? Makar currently is developing the 2003 Pontiac. GM’s Terry Laise said the project is on track, and the car should be submitted well before NASCAR’s deadline. The question now is, who will be driving this new car? “We’re not going to race anything other than a Pontiac right now,” Makar said. “We’re just getting educated.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-3-2002)
  • M&M’s Vote: Candy lovers around the globe will be faced with that decision beginning March 6th when Masterfoods USA launches its Global Color Vote(tm) – the largest promotion in the 61-year history of the “M&M’s”® Brand. As consumers debate which color should be added to the famous mix in packs of the world’s No. 1 candy brand, NASCAR® fans will keep some other things in mind when making their decision. Every vote cast for the new color of “M&M’s” will be a vote cast for the color of Ken Schrader’s #36 race car. In a one-race paint scheme at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, Schrader will run the winning color car – be it purple, pink or aqua. During the voting period, Schrader will pilot a special “Global Color Vote(tm)” paint scheme. At four races – Martinsville, Talladega, California and Richmond – Schrader will drive the Global Color Vote(tm) car. The car is similar to the familiar bright yellow #36, but it features the color choices of purple, pink and aqua. The characters also get in on the fun as they are depicted painting the car their color of choice. Red is dangling from a rope as he tries to paint the driver’s side aqua. Blue has used his artistic skills to color the passenger side pink. And Yellow has painted himself and the back of the #36 purple. Residents around the globe will be eligible to vote by logging on to www.mms.com, which will be accessible in 10 different languages beginning on Wednesday March 6, 2002. Before casting a vote, consumers will have the opportunity to sample each color in specially marked packages available at retailers worldwide. The winning color will be announced in June 2002 at a gala event in New York City with the winning color car being driven by Schrader at the Bristol night race in August.(IMG Motorsports-Charlotte PR)(3-3-2002)

    (3-2-2002)

  • Practice Engines at Atlanta? Roller Cams coming? UPDATE One Engine Rule here to stay, no practice engines: Ganassi Racing’s engine builder Tony Santanicola mentions “We might get a practice motor at Atlanta (if NASCAR relents), but we’re going to get one for sure at places like Pocono and the 600 at Charlotte. I don’t know about Michigan and Atlanta yet. But I put in my two cents for practice motors at those two tracks. They need to give us practice motors.” AND Next year’s engines may have a new twist, roller cams, an endurance concept used in the BGN for several years.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-27-2002)
    UPDATE – One Engine Rule here to stay: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said it was unlikely that Winston Cup teams would receive any practice engines at larger tracks this season, except for the possibility of one being used for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May. NASCAR instituted a “one engine” rule this season, which took effect last weekend at Rockingham. Teams use one engine all weekend and if they change engines before the race, they must start the race from the rear of the field. “Charlotte may be the only race we use them at,” Hunter said. “We heard some talk from the teams going into Rockingham, but this week, we haven’t heard any requests. “I think the rule was tested at Rockingham and (Las Vegas) will be a good test. These guys aren’t building motors to blow up. Any of the motors we lost at Rockingham weren’t a result of longevity or miles.”(ThatsRacin.com)(3-2-2002)
  • Loss of Plan Money: Car owner Andy Petree’s decision not to bring his unsponsored #33 car this weekend takes that car off a few bonus plans and could cost the team as much as $750,000. Car owners Travis Carter [#’s 26/66] and Brett Bodine [#11] also face similar dilemmas as their teams search for sponsorship and may miss races later this year. NASCAR offers a variety of special payment plans to teams but those are all contingent on those teams being at the track and attempting to qualify. Petree’s #33 car was in the top 30 in owner points last year, so it was guaranteed $8,000 a race — $288,000 a year. It also was in a program where some of the TV money is distributed based on how well a team — no more than two per organization — has done the past three years. Petree’s team could earn as much as about $15,000 per race on that plan, meaning the team could have earned $23,000 through these programs per race. Since the team did not make an attempt this weekend, it is no longer eligible for such money if it returns. Under current rules, that team must now run for three years before it can be eligible for such money, according to Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s managing director of business operations. If the Carter teams of Todd Bodine and Joe Nemechek don’t go to Atlanta next weekend, both cars will be taken off their bonus plans. Nemechek’s [#26] car with Jimmy Spencer in it last year finished in the top 30 in owner points and it is guaranteed $8,000 a race. Bodine [#66] finished outside the top 30 in owner points last year.(News and Record)(3-2-2002)
  • Petree close to sponsor? #33/55 team owner Andy Petree may have a good lead on a sponsor to keep his second team up and running, and insiders say his negotiations with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may be key. Petree said only “I have no news to report.” Petree brought only the #55 team here; driver Mike Wallace wanted Petree to let him run Hamilton’s backup car [as the #33] in the 400 [Las Vegas], but Petree declined. Jones says he wants to own a Winston Cup team; Petree has been reluctant to sell.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-2-2002)
  • #66 gets a sponsor for Las Vegas: Haas Carter Motorsports announced that Checker Auto Parts will sponsor pole sitter #66-Todd Bodine for Sunday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. .The Phoenix-based auto parts retailer contacted Haas Carter Motorsports representatives after reading about Bodine’s qualifying effort on the 1.5-mile superspeedway that set a new track and event qualifying record. Checker Auto Parts, which has more than 1,130 stores throughout 19 western states including Alaska and Hawaii, will be the primary sponsor for this event with its logos placed prominently on the blue #66 Ford Taurus™s hood, television panel and quarter panels. “I read about Todd being on the pole in the newspaper yesterday and thought it was a shame that a team in that position didn’t have a sponsor,” said Maynard Jenkins, chairman and CEO of Checker Auto Parts. “I called our marketing people and asked them to get in touch with Travis (Carter) to see if there was an opportunity to help. Motorsports is a natural extension of our business, as we currently sponsor motorsports teams and events, and our customers are loyal NASCAR fans. We’re a regional auto parts company with stores in Las Vegas, and I know our employees will be excited to be affiliated with Haas Carter Motorsports and Todd Bodine. I hope this helps the team secure a primary sponsor for the balance of the season,” Jenkins added. “This allows us to not only continue supporting motorsports, but also possibly develop a relationship with Haas Carter Motorsports beyond this event.” Carl Haas and Travis Carter, owners of Haas Carter Motorsports, are actively pursuing sponsorship opportunities for both the Nos. 26 and 66 Fords since the team’s previous sponsor, Kmart, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. The team’s contractual commitment with Kmart ended after the Feb. 24 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at North Carolina Speedway.(Haas Carter Motorsports PR)(3-2-2002)
  • One Thousand Starts for RCR: Robby Gordon’s #31 Chevy will represent the 1,000th start for the Richard Childress Racing team when he takes the green flag Sunday at Las Vegas. Gordon qualified 12th on Friday, ahead of teammates Jeff Green (22nd) and Kevin Harvick (28th). More than half of the team’s cup starts were made by the late Dale Earnhardt with 529. Childress added 188 of his own. Mike Skinner has 157 starts, Ricky Rudd 60, Harvick 37, Gordon 12, Green 10, Morgan Shepherd and Neil Bonnett 2 each and Mike Dillon and Rodney Combs one each.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(3-2-2002)
  • TV Ratings at the Rock: Fox got a 6.3 rating for its coverage of the Subway 400 from Rockingham last Sunday, which was about 9 percent higher than last year’s races other than the Daytona 500. NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics gold medal hockey game between the United States and Canada, which aired against much of the race telecast, had a 10.7 rating.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-2-2002)
  • Wood tests Cup car: Jon Wood, son of Wood Brothers [#21] car owner Eddie, tested a Cup car at for Ford at a test facility in Arizona this week.(News and Record)(3-2-2002)
  • Hendrick Honored: The Charlotte, N.C.-based Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal has named Rick Hendrick its 2002 recipient of the Bill France Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, as chosen by a committee of editors. Started last year, the honor is designed to recognize an individual whose contributions have had a substantial long-term impact on NASCAR. Hendrick won his 100th Winston Cup race last season, along with a third NASCAR Truck series championship, both firsts for an owner. Hendrick Motorsports has grown into a $50 million industry leader, headquartered at a 62-acre, 400,000 square-foot facility in Charlotte and employing more than 300 people.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-2-2002)
  • $89,131 raised at Auction: The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities kicked off its 2002 fundraising drive with a home run: the fourth annual NASCAR Driver Auction raised $89,131 for the needy children of Las Vegas and southern Nevada.  The auction, held Thursday, Feb. 28, at Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Las Vegas, eclipsed last year’s event, which raised $33,000. All 44 drivers entered in the Cup race were auctioned off, as well as 20 BGN drivers. Rusty Wallace drew the highest bid: $7,000. Winning bidders on Winston Cup Series competitors received the opportunity to ride in a convertible with their driver during the pre-race driver introduction lap. Winning bidders on BGN drivers were entitled to a “meet and greet” at driver introductions prior to the start of the race today. The top 15 Auction Bids:
    1. …..Rusty Wallace — $7,000
    2. …..Tony Stewart — $3,500
    3. …..Dale Earnhardt Jr. — $3,400
    4. …..Stacy Compton — $2,500
    5. …..Jeff Gordon — $2,500
    6. …..Michael Waltrip — $1,500
    7. …..Bill Elliott — $1,300
    8. …..Mark Martin — $1,250
    9. …..Kevin Harvick — $1,200
    10. .Terry Labonte –$1200
    11. .Jeff Burton –$1,200
    12. .Kyle Petty –$1,150
    13. .Bobby Labonte –$1,100
    14. .Shawna Robinson –$1,100
    15. .Dale Jarrett –$1,100.(LVMS PR)(3-2-2002)


    (3-1-2002)

  • Dodge Motorsports Diversity Program for 2002: In conjunction with NASCAR Technical Institute, the exclusive educational partner of NASCAR, Dodge Motorsports is providing a tremendous opportunity for minority students to establish careers in the exciting world of NASCAR/Motorsports racing and automotive technology. Through the Dodge Motorsports Diversity Scholarship Program, awards to cover costs associated with tuition and housing at NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina will be offered to a limited number of students. See more on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(3-1-2002)
  • Sad News: Grand Am series driver Jeff Clinton was killed today when he crashed during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway, team owner Mike Johnson said. Clinton’s car veered off the course as he entered Turn 1 and started flipping repeatedly. He died at the scene. Clinton, 38, was driving his second season for Archangel Motorsport. The St. Louis native finished 54th in last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. This was the second deadly crash at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR truck racer John Nemechek died March 21, 1997, five days after sustaining massive brain injuries during a crash at the 11/2-mile oval. The Grand Am circuit is a support series for the Indy Racing League. More at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(no word if he wore a head and neck restraint of any kind – but team officials refused to say whether Clinton was wearing a head-and-neck restraint)(3-1-2002)
  • Earnhardt’s join the autopsy case: Seeking to defend a new state law restricting public access to autopsy photos, Dale Earnhardt’s family joined a court case Thursday challenging the law. The late NASCAR driver’s family said it was admitted as a “friend of the court,” meaning it is not an official party to the lawsuit but could argue in support of the law, which was passed last year at the urging of Earnhardt’s widow. The law prohibits unauthorized people from viewing or copying autopsy photos without a court order, punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. A group of media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Tampa Tribune, sued last month. The Sentinel sought a review of Earnhardt’s autopsy photos by a safety expert to determine whether better equipment could have prevented the racer’s death.(ThatsRacin/AP)(3-1-2002)
  • Another ‘New’ #28 Paint Scheme? UPDATE False? hearing that a new paint scheme for the #28 Ford is in the works and should debut within 60 days. All references to Texaco, including the star, will be removed along with smaller references to Havoline. Hearing Chevron will be focused and featured. Plus, word has it that all scale models with the new paint scheme will be available for purchase only with a Chevron gas card.(2-28-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing this rumor is false and that no changes will be made to the scheme this year.(3-1-2002)
  • More Toyota Stuff: Once again rumors are circulating that Toyota wants to get involved with the Craftsman Truck Series as a prelude to moving into Winston Cup. A recent interview with Mark Amstock, Toyota’s national truck and SUV marketing manager on nhra.com did little to quell such speculation. Asked about Robert Huffman’s win in the Goody’s Dash Series race at Daytona in a Toyota, Amstock stated the company’s goals: “We’re learning what it takes to work with NASCAR,” Amstock said. “The Craftsman Truck Series is next and then we’ll work our way into Winston Cup. We’ll be there sooner than some people think.” Kevin Triplett, managing director of business operations for NASCAR, said they’ve yet to be presented a truck by Toyota, which would be one of the steps to moving into the series. “We talk to manufacturers all the time about interest or how they fit in,” Triplett said Feb. 22. “Nobody’s presented us anything. Even if we’ve had conversations (with Toyota), that’s as far as they’ve gone.”(Wisnton Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-1-2002)
  • Hooters back in Winston Cup UPDATE: Bob Brooks, the controlling owner of the Hooters restaurant chain, plans to rejoin the Winston Cup Series as car owner and sponsor. Brooks said Wednesday that he plans to field a team for driver Kirk Shelmerdine and expects to be racing by midseason. They are in the process of applying to NASCAR for a car number, purchasing race cars and opening a shop near Charlotte. Brooks said he hopes to run few races this season and more next year. However, he doesn’t plan to run the full schedule. Hooters was Alan Kulwicki’s sponsor during his championship season in 1992. Brooks’ son Mark perished in the same plane crash in which Kulwicki died in 1993. Brooks sponsored Shelmerdine in an unsuccessful attempt to run the Daytona 500 last month, and he says that rekindled his interest in Winston Cup racing. He still plans to operate the Hooters ProCup series for short track racers.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(2-28-2002)
    UPDATE: Bob Brooks, who plans to return to Winston Cup as a car owner and sponsor, said he believes today’s race teams are asking sponsors for too much money. He hopes to be able to operate his team for far less than the $15 million or so that many top teams get from sponsors, even if it means not running the full schedule. Brooks, who is the majority owner of the Hooters restaurant chain and Eastern Foods, a maker of salad dressings and dips, has teamed with driver Kirk Shelmerdine and plans to run a limited number of races this season. They plan to add races next season. Brooks said he believes his money will be best spent if he owns the team rather than sponsoring someone else’s organization.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-1-2002)
  • Quest Motorsports and Cope Plans: Derrike Cope still hopes to field a Winston Cup team in conjunction with drag racing legend Warren Johnson. For now, though, he’s planning on making his 2002 debut in Las Vegas in a Ford fielded by Ted Campbell. And the team he owns with Johnson, #37 Quest Motor Racing, did field a truck for Matt Mullins at Daytona. “We’ve got some Busch stuff and some trucks and 10 Winston Cup cars sitting there,” Cope said Feb. 23. “Warren and I are just trying to find some funding to maybe get a Busch deal started so we can grow the program and get it off the ground. We’re very quiet, because we’re just trying to procure the funding necessary to do it in a class fashion. Right now, we just don’t have that at our disposal.” If sponsorship could be found for both teams, Cope said Quest Motor Racing could field a two-car entry in conjunction with Campbell’s entry. And in a few years, Cope might really have a team that will get people talking. It would feature his twin nieces, whom are 18 and graduating high school this year. Amber and Angela Cope are “blonde, blue-eyed, good-looking girls,” in the words of Derrike Cope. “We’d like to get in some ARCA races and into the truck series and bring the twins along,” Cope said. “They might run ARCA later this year and we’ll look at Winston West and ARCA for next year and then graduate them up (to the truck series).” (Wisnton Cup Scene – need sub to read)(3-1-2002)