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March 2003 News Archives


 

  • (3-31-2003)

  • Cingular Wireless and Robby Gordon race on behalf of Special Olympics athletes at Talladega: Sporting a Special Olympics Team USA paint scheme on his race car, Robby Gordon will drive Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy for a good cause on April 6 at Talladega Superspeedway. To launch Cingular’s fourth year of supporting Special Olympics, Cingular will donate $100 to the organization for every lap completed, and an additional $1,000 for each lap that Gordon leads in the Aaron’s 499. If Gordon wins the race, Cingular will donate $100,000 to Special Olympics. The promotion will help to support Special Olympics Team USA athletes who will compete at the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland, June 21-29. The games will showcase the athletic skills, courage and dignity of 7,500 athletes with mental retardation from more than 150 countries around the world. Five Special Olympics Alabama athletes will be the VIP guests of Cingular Wireless and Gordon at Talladega. Gordon has invited them to pit row to cheer him on from the sidelines in his specially painted No. 31 race car with a Special Olympics Team USA logo splashed across the car. Special Olympics athletes attending are: Elizabeth Bronold, Dothan, Ala.; Michael Crunkelton, Huntsville, Ala.; Brandi Deese, Dothan, Ala.; Joseph Gann, Prattville, Ala. and Dossie King, Montgomery, Ala. Cingular Wireless, an official partner of Special Olympics USA and an official sponsor of Special Olympics Team USA, has raised more than $28.1 million for the organization over the past three years. Cingular’s fundraising effort is the largest partnership in Special Olympics history. “This is one of Cingular’s many initiatives for Special Olympics. As an athlete, Robby knows all too well how much training, hard work and determination goes into competition,” said Marc Lefar, Cingular’s chief marketing officer. “Cingular is confident Robby will end up in Victory Lane, allowing us to successfully launch our 2003 Special Olympics fundraising efforts, and to help Special Olympics Team USA athletes train and participate in the 2003 World Games.”
    “Cingular and I both believe in the mission of Special Olympics,” said Gordon. “Realizing that my success at the Talledega Superspeedway next week can have a direct impact on the organization and can benefit Special Olympics athletes gives me more incentive than ever to win.” Visit Special Olympics online at www.specialolympics.org.(RCR)(3-31-2003)
  • TV Rating Down: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 from Texas Motor Speedway earned a 5.8 rating and 12 share in overnight Nielsen figures, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. The Winston Cup race trailed two NCAA basketball tournament games on CBS and tied with a third one among all weekend sports events on television. This year’s race also lagged well behind last year’s final figures of 7.0/18.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter – free)(3-31-2003)
  • #12 40lbs to light….out of water: Ryan Newman’s winning car at Texas was 40 pounds light during post-race inspection, and NASCAR officials couldn’t figure out why. Turns out that two radiator hose clamps broke during the race, and the radiator had run dry. Crew chief Matt Borland estimated that Newman could have run five more laps at best. So, after the team put the fluids back into the #12 and filled it with gas, the car was within the accepted weight range.(Sporting News)(3-31-2003)
  • Stewart’s Primary Car Disallowed and Impounded, has to go to a backup:
    NASCAR impounded the primary #20 [Home Depot] Chevy presented for inspection by Tony Stewart’s team Friday morning at Texas Motor Speedway, forcing the team to switch to a backup before it started practice. The confiscated car was rolled to a prominent position beside the NASCAR transporter and roped off. NASCAR officials did not allow the team to put a cover over the car, and the orange race car was drawing a lot of attention.
    While presented for inspection prior to the first practice for Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials found that the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet did not conform to the specified templates mandated by NASCAR.. The issue arose at the rear of the car, specifically the area encompassing the greenhouse and decklid. As a result, NASCAR impounded the car, forcing the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team to pull the backup car from the transporter and use it for the rest of the race weekend.. The car now being used by the #20 team for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 is Chassis No. 75. It is a brand new chassis.. A car from the Joe Gibbs Racing facility in Huntersville, NC, is currently en route to Texas Motor Speedway to be used in the event another backup is needed.
    See my #20 Team News and Links page for all the news and statements by Tony Stewart, Greg Zipadelli and Mike Helton.(3-28/29-2003)
    from NASCAR.com: #20 [and #18] team owner Joe Gibbs said on Saturday that his team was embarrassed after NASCAR impounded Tony Stewart’s #20 Chevrolet, and vowed to find out what went wrong. See full story at NASCAR.com – Gibbs apologizes, seeks answers in impropriety(3-29-2003)
    Car gone the impounded #20 Home Depot Chevy has been loaded up on a NASCAR hauler and is on the way to NASCAR’s R&D facitily near Charlotte. NC.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(3-29-2003)
    Gibbs Comments: “The first thing I want to say is that we believe in equal cars for the teams and let the teams make the difference. That’s what NASCAR is trying to do and we support that. We want that. So, for us to be in this situation is something that we don’t. First of all, I want to apologize to NASCAR. I want to apologize to Home Depot. This is our fault. We’re trying to go back through a process of figuring out how it happened. Obviously, we’ve got fast race cars. All our other cars fit the templates. This one – there is kind of an unusual set of circumstances in our construction process here and we’re trying go back and figure out exactly what happened. This thing is our fault. There is no excuse, so we apologize to everybody and we’re going try to figure out a way now to add a process and make sure that it never happens again. That’s generally our feeling.”
    see full story at the Joe Gibbs Racing site.(3-30-2003)
    UPDATE: Garage sources overheard a heated discussion early Sunday between NASCAR president Mike Helton and team owner Joe Gibbs, who lost Tony Stewart’s primary car during Friday inspection at Texas because it did not fit the “X” measurement from the corners of the rear deck up to the corners of the roof. Maybe Gibbs discovered a NASCAR official’s list of options for the impounded car: giving part of it back, giving none of it back or using it as a test car on the SAFER wall barrier in Nebraska. Fellow Chevrolet teams insist the “X” measurement, which was implemented just before the start of the season, was NASCAR’s way of minimizing an advantage the No. 20 car apparently gained over others in the offseason through creative body work.(Sporting News)(3-31-2003)
  • NASCAR Sponsor Summit Postponed: NASCAR says concerns stemming from the war with Iraq have led it to postpone a sponsor summit that was scheduled to start yesterday and run through Wednesday in Naples, FL, according to today’s Sports Business Daily. NASCAR had expected about 175 attendees for the event, which the sanctioning body now hopes to hold in the fall.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter – free)(3-31-2003)
  • Driver’s Don’t Like New Caution Lights: The warning-light system that Texas Motor Speedway imbedded in its asphalt to warn drivers of cautions failed its first test Sunday. Some drivers said the lights are impossible to see in bright sunlight. “With a cloud cover, you can see them, but I didn’t even know they were on today,” rookie Jamie McMurray said. “For the Indy Racing League guys, especially at night, I hope it works for them. I think at night with those guys doing 230 mph around here, I think I’d want it to look like a runway out there,” Jeff Gordon said. “During the day . . . I hope they didn’t spend a lot on it. I never even saw them.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-31-2003)
  • Kyle takes hardest hit: It’s no surprise Kyle Petty needed more time to recover after taking an 80-plus G-force hit that cracked two of his ribs at Bristol. According to some NASCAR officials, it was the hardest hit taken by a driver since data recorders were installed in the cars last year. Petty says he was extremely sore and credits the composite seat developed by owner Cal Wells and his driver, Ricky Craven, for lessening the blow.(Sporting News)(3-31-2003)
  • Helton reviews restart policy Following a controversial call that resulted in a late-race black flag for Brian Vickers in Saturday’s O’Reilly 300 Busch Series race, NASCAR president Mike Helton reviewed the policy for passing on the restarts at the drivers’ meeting before Sunday’s Cup race. NASCAR said that even though Vickers hadn’t completely passed Chad Blount’s car to the left before the start-finish line on a Lap 179 restart in Saturday’s race, he was in the act of passing and therefore in violation of the rule. “The act of passing is in NASCAR’s judgment when it happened,” Helton said. “Yesterday we chose that it was the act of passing taking place, therefore we had the black flag. …All passing is to the right. And the act of passing is when NASCAR deems that momentum is taking place before the start-finish line.” NASCAR officials also answered several questions about the final restart on Lap 191 in Saturday’s race, which was a double-file restart. Restarts are single file with less than 10 laps to go in a race, but with 10 complete laps left they’re double-file. “There’s a line, and it’s 10 laps to go,” Helton said. “You got the one-to-go (signal) with 11 to go and you completed that lap and got the green. …It’s 10 laps to go.”(ThatsRacin.comAND see my Story/Columns/Article Links page for many more stories and commentary on this.(3-31-2003)
  • Hall of Fame Class of ’03: The International Motorsports Hall of Fame [at Talladega] Class of 2003 consists of three builders and two racers. A.J. Watson, Ray Fox and Briggs Cunningham earned their inclusion by fabricating top-notch race cars. Fellow inductees Emerson Fittipaldi and Mel Kenyon got their laurels behind the wheel. Jim Freeman, executive director of the Hall of Fame, said the 2003 class represents a wide spectrum of motorsports. “As has been the case in the past few years, we have an excellent cross-section of the world of auto racing within this class of inductees. We have drivers, crew chiefs, car builders, engine builders and designers represented from six major sanctioning bodies.” (see full story and bios at Alabama Live)(3-31-2003)
  • Rumblings – Texas: Newman’s win in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 was the first for a Dodge this season, and was worth $406,500 from the nice $6M+ in posted awards. He becomes our 7th different winner in seven races, and now has a victory that went the distance (his win at Loudon last year was rain-shortened to 207 laps from the 300 scheduled). We got treated to some more of NASCAR making up the rules on the fly this weekend. First, they destroy the chances (and the car) of Brian Vickers in yesterday’s Busch race, then today’s lead lap fiasco reared it’s ugly head. It’s pretty obvious the most useless part in NASCAR is the rule book. How can you give two drivers their laps back when all they passed was the second place car? We can’t say we didn’t know this was coming….this policy of the leader slowing down to let drivers back on the lead lap has gotten laughable. And, this idea of a “gentleman’s agreement” is a farce. It appears that NASCAR will decide who’s a gentleman and who isn’t…and I’ll bet the drivers aren’t in agreement, either.
    Jerry Nadeau (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Atlanta in November of 2001.
    Jeff Green (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Talladega last October.
    Todd Bodine (11th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond last September.
    STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 6 Top-10’s in a row. Dale Earnhardt Jr has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Mark Martin (+27), followed by John Andretti (+24), Kurt Busch (+21), Ward Burton (+21), and Michael Waltrip (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-39), followed by Bill Elliott (-37), Bobby Labonte (-36), Joe Nemechek (-26), and Steve Park (-24). Some pretty wild swings on the down side this week.
    #30-Jeff Green led today for the first time since Phoenix last November. #1-Steve Park led today for the first time since Richmond last September. We’ve now had 28 different leaders this season.(Stock Car Fans)(3-31-2003)

 


(3-30-2003)

 

  • Newman wins at Texas: #12-Ryan Newman won the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, his first win of the year and 2nd of his 2 year career. #-Earnhardt Jr and #24-Gordon beat and banged to 2nd place, with Earnhardt Jr winning the position by about 3 feet. #17-Kenseth finished 6th and increased his points lead to 155 points. #20-Stewart lost an engine late in the race. Newman is the 7th different winner at Texas in 7 races and is the 7th different winner in 7 2003 races this season. See my Samsung/RadioShack 500 Race Info page for the top ten finishers, stats, cautions, lap leaders, dnf’s, notes race rundown
    Result Links at: Jayski’s Result page and Points
    ThatsRacin.comNASCAR.com Motorsports One.(3-30-2003)
  • Sponsor holding Money: One sponsor representative relayed to www.teamfordracing.com that his sponsor intends to hold all of their television advertising dollars until the NBC crew picks-up the broadcast duties, which will begin with the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Pushed somewhat, the rep said that his company didn’t care for the Fox network presentation of the sport. The rep said, NBC’s professional presentation of the sport is more fitting with his company’s image. Additionally, the sponsor disputed an ad buy guaranteeing coverage. “[The driver] could be banging fenders for second place and they’d show the 14th and 15th place cars nose-to-tail. It didn’t matter if [the sponsor] bought time or not. They just wouldn’t show the car. They were not getting anything out of it, so they’ve decided not to bother.”(Ford Racing)(3-20-2003), no idea who the sponsor is.
  • Fittipaldi to give Kyle Saturday off UPDATE 2 Petty has two cracked ribs and will NOT race Sunday: #45-Kyle Petty got through practice and qualifying Friday, but likely won’t get back behind the wheel again at Texas Motor Speedway before Sunday’s race. After hitting a wall at Bristol last week, Petty needed help getting out of his car and was placed on a stretcher. He was treated and released from the hospital, but is still hurting. “Kyle is pretty sore,” said Steve Lane, crew chief of the #45 Georgia Pacific Dodge. “As for the race, I’m going to let him make the call. We’re going to let Christian Fittipaldi practice the car Saturday.” Petty qualified 28th at Texas. If Petty is unable to finish Sunday, Fittipaldi – a former Formula One and CART driver – would take over.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty had xray’s taken after qualifying on Friday at Texas and it was found he has two cracked ribs. It is expected that Christian Fittipaldi will race in the #45 Brawny Dodge Sunday, not sure if from the start or as a relief driver.(FX Coverage of Happy Hour)(3-29-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Petty will not race today at Texas in the #45 Brawny Dodge, Christian Fittipaldi will start the race and run the distance.(Fox Sports Net’s NASCAR This Morning)(3-30-2003)
  • To the Back – #11, #40, #45 and #54? UPDATE; #11-Brett Bodine, who lost an engine in Friday’s practice and will fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Sunday, shame, he qualified 25th. #48-Jimmie Johnson lost an engine during Happy Hour [he was fastest], theteam will have to change engines and fall to the rear of the field before the green flag, he was to start 4th. If Christian Fittipaldi starts the #45 Brawny Dodge in place of Kyle Petty, he will have to fall to the rear of the field also. If an engine is changed at any point during the race weekend, if the backup car is used AFTER qualfiying or the driver is changed AFTER qualifying, the car must go to the rear of the field before the green flag. #40-Sterling Marlin’s team also made an engine change after Happy Hour practice and will have to go to the rear of the field before thr start of the race. And even though the incorrect car number is listed, Speed Channel site lists Todd Bodine, in the #54 (not #19 but the story may mean starting position no car#) as going to the back for an engine change also.(3-29-2003)
    UPDATE: Fox Sports Net’s NASCAR This Morning TV show lists the #11, #40 and #48 to the rear of the field for engine changes and the #45 due to a driver change. Nothing mentioned on the #54 or #19.(3-30-2003)


    (3-29-2003)

  • Dale Earnhardt Plaza is now Kannapolis’ newest city park: Kannapolis, NC officially assumed ownership of the 1-acre tribute site in downtown Kannapolis last week. David Murdock, owner of Atlantic American Properties and Cannon Village, donated the land and the statue. The city originally had planned to lease the site from the company for $1 a year, said Jennifer Woodford, Kannapolis public information officer. Now, Kannapolis will have control over the maintenance and development of the area. “It’s a good step forward,” she said. Woodford said the city plans to begin landscaping and continue working on the wall and entrances that surround the statue. “We can’t thank Mr. Murdock enough for his support and his help,” said City Manager Mike Mahaney in a press release. “His contributions have helped to make our tribute a place that truly honors Dale Earnhardt and a place that our community can be proud of.”(Independent Tribune)(3-29-2003)
  • A Parcells hired by DEI: Jill Parcells, daughter of Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, recently was hired by Dale Earnhardt Inc., as director of operations for the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert. The concert, to benefit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, is scheduled for June 28 at Daytona International Speedway, with Sheryl Crow, Alabama and Brooks & Dunn among the lead acts. Besides trying to move from New York to Mooresville, N.C., Jill Parcells, who worked for a sports marketing agency for 2 1/2 years out of college before spending almost eight years in the marketing department at Sports Illustrated, has spent the past month trying to learn the sport herself. She has read NASCAR for Dummies and watched every race on TV.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-29-2003)
  • So What Happened to Craven? #32-Ricky Craven will start 38th here on Cal Wells III’s owner provisional points after posting no speed during qualifying. Craven took the #32 Tide Pontiac Grand Prix out after #30-Jeff Green’s run. But Craven backed off, claiming there was oil on the racetrack. In his post-qualifying comments, Green admitted his #30 AOL Chevy was carrying a little too much oil in its tank, and it affected his second lap. “I guess we blew some oil out and [it] got on our right rear tire up off [Turn] 4, going to the white flag,” Green said. “I smelled the smoke, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go another lap.” NASCAR officials, however, said that Craven officially had taken the green flag and would not be allowed to make another attempt.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-29-2003)
  • Ramblings – Texas: Joe Gibbs Racing experienced both ends of the spectrum today. First, Tony Stewart’s Home Depot Chevy was confiscated and impounded by NASCAR for further inspection back in Charlotte. Some little thing about not fitting the templates and the offset in the rear deck of the car….Then, Bobby Labonte went out and grabbed his second Bud pole of the season.
    Jimmie Johnson (4th) had his best qualifying run since he started on the outside pole at Atlanta last October.
    Kevin Harvick (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at Michigan last August.
    Terry Labonte (12th) has his best starting spot since he started 5th at Richmond last September.
    STREAKIN…..Ryan Newman has 5 Top-5 starts in a row.
    Now for a word on everybody’s favorite driver, Mr. Lead Lap. His 7th place finish last week at Bristol was his best since he was 7th at Homestead in November of 2000. He resides in 9th place in the points….a drastic improvement from last year at this time when he was 15th. He’s 56 points better than last year (725-669) and now has an average finish of 14.3. This is starting to look like the salad days of the mid-90s when he consistently finished in the Top-10 in the points (as high as 6th in 1996).(StockCarFans.Com)(3-29-2003)
  • Robby Gordon takes out an ad for Indy: The Buzz recently spotted an advertisement in Sports Business Journal in which Robby Gordon is looking for primary and associate sponsorship for the May 25 classic. In it, Gordon touts the unique challenges of running two races totalling 1,100 miles on the same day — and the advantages of sponsoring his effort. “Imagine the impact” is the headline of the ad, which hopefully is not an omen for Gordon, who has traditionally done well at Indianapolis. Gordon is planning to complete the Memorial Day weekend double again this year, running at the Brickyard in the morning, then flying to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that night. There’s no price tag listed, but prospective sponsors will certainly need a hefty pocketbook. A typical IRL car and engine runs a minimum of $400,000 out of the box, not including spare parts, tires, fuel and a crew.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(3-29-2003)
  • Waltrip suggests cutting air dam: Michael Waltrip believes racing would be better at all Winston Cup tracks, not just Texas, if the cars ran slower. And he’s got a radical idea about how NASCAR should move to accomplish that. “We can go in an cut the spoiler off or raise the front air dam and slow these cars down on the straightaways,” Waltrip said. “I believe that what should happen is that the front air dam should be raised 10 inches from where it is now, which is 3½ inches.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-29-2003)
  • Plans revealed for Texas motorsports hall: Plans were announced Friday for the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame to be located at Texas Motor Speedway. The hall will honor the best performers in Texas racing, including stock cars and other forms of auto racing. The initial class will be inducted in January. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, a Texas resident, entered the room in the cockpit of the restored car that Art Cross drove to a second-place finish at Indianapolis in 1953. “When I grew up, this was the type of car I dreamed of driving,” Rutherford said.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-29-2003)

    (3-28-2003)

  • RCR to Honor POW’s: All five cars fielded by Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will carry decals recognizing the plight of United States prisoners of war in Iraq during this weekend’s NASCAR races at Texas Motor Speedway. “The men and women captured by the Iraqis are serving our country in the most honorable way possible,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing Enterprises, Inc. “They have put their lives on the line in the name of our country so we all have to keep them in our thoughts and prayers and hope that they will be returned safely.” RCR’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo teams in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series include the #29 GM Goodwrench entry with driver Kevin Harvick, the #30 America Online entry with driver Jeff Green and the #31 Cingular Wireless entry with driver Robby Gordon. Its NASCAR Busch Series teams include the #2 ACDelco entry with driver Ron Hornaday and the #21 PayDay entry of Johnny Sauter, who will be driving the car this weekend in Texas. The POW decals will be placed on the C-posts of each car. Childress was the catalyst behind a five-day visit in late January to U.S. troops stationed in Europe. NASCAR team owners, drivers and celebrities traveled to Germany, Bosnia, Sicily and Spain with the 134th Air Refueling Wing of the Tennessee National Guard. Last October at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Childress signed a statement of support for the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR). The National Guard and Reserves make up nearly half of the United States military personnel.(RCR PR)(3-28-2003)
    POW
    image from Richard Chirldress Racing (click on image for larger image)

  • Power of Pride campaign launched: The sponsor of Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, Lowe’s, created the Power of Pride initiative in the fall of 2001 as a way to pay tribute to the armed forces, police and fire departments following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. On Thursday in Washington, Johnson, Lowe’s officials and the United Service Organization (USO) unveiled the latest installment of the campaign – allowing individuals to send personal messages and care packages to members of the military overseas. The packages contain an assortment of items the personnel have requested, such as prepaid international calling cards, disposable cameras, toiletries, and sunscreen. In honor of the nearly 300 Lowe’s employees serving in the National Guard and reserves, Lowe’s launched its newest Power of Pride campaign a $100,000 contribution to the USO. Effectively immediately, donations to the program will be accepted at Lowe’s stores nationwide and SMI races. Additionally, Lowe’s will tour a giant “Thank You” banner to the military. Military supporters will be invited to write personal messages and signatures on the banner at sporting events and Lowe’s stores throughout the spring. During the Memorial Day weekend, Lowe’s will present a Power of Pride pre-race show at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which will include a military exhibition, a country music concert and a check presentation to the USO. Also, Johnson will run a special Power of Pride paint scheme during the race and at The Winston all-star race on May 17. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Lowe’s, its employees and customers raised more than $6 million, which included Johnson running a Power of Pride paint scheme in selected races in 2001 and last season.(ThatsRacin.com), also see other ways you can supports our troops on my new look Racing Charites page and see real images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-28-2003)
  • Car Raced By Earnhardt, Sr. Takes Pole At 2003 Georgia Speed Week: The late Dale Earnhardt had a winning legacy in Georgia. He dominated at Atlanta Motor Speedway winning there nine times. Even though he is gone, “The Intimidator” will again lead the way, this time at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame’s 2003 Georgia Speed Week. The third annual event will take place on Saturday, April 5th from 9:00am – 5:00pm. Events outside the Hall of Fame and in Cherry Street Plaza are free to the public. Regular admission will be required for entrance into the facility. Earnhardt’s 1978 Chevy Nova #8, that he raced before attaining NASCAR Winston Cup stardom, heads a list of over two-dozen cars that will be displayed in Cherry Street Plaza. From 1:00 – 3:00pm inside the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, some of the Peach State’s legendary motor sports figures will be signing autographs. They include 1960 NASCAR Grand National [now Winston Cup] champion Rex White, famous car owner Raymond Parks, NASCAR Grand National drivers Bob Moore and Bruce Brantley. For more information on Georgia Speed Week see their website: www.georgiasportshalloffame.com.(3-28-2003)
  • Stewart’s Primary Car Disallowed and Impounded, has to go to a backup: NASCAR impounded the primary #20 [Home Depot] Chevy presented for inspection by Tony Stewart’s team Friday morning at Texas Motor Speedway, forcing the team to switch to a backup before it started practice. The confiscated car was rolled to a prominent position beside the NASCAR transporter and roped off. NASCAR officials did not allow the team to put a cover over the car, and the orange race car was drawing a lot of attention. “When the 20 came through inspection, it was not in a condition where it would pass,” NASCAR president Mike Helton. “It was enough out of that condition that we felt like what we wanted to do was impound the car instead of letting them cut it up and try to fix it, even if they could.” Helton would not specifically say what it was about the car that was out of whack, but did say the problem was in the area from the rear window to the rear deck lid. “What I will say is that it did not fit the templates, and did not fit them very well at all,” he said. Officials from Joe Gibbs Racing said Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s crew chief, would comment on the situation following Winston Cup qualifying scheduled for Friday afternoon. Helton said NASCAR impounded the car because it was the first to be presented for inspection this year that fell “outside of the box” of a new set of rules regarding body shape and location that is more common among all makes in 2003. “This is the first we’ve seen this year of anything being this exotic,” Helton said. “There was a great deal of effort put in over the winter by NASCAR and the teams to adapt to the common body templates. …We feel that has been a success on the track and in the garage area and there is a high level of interest in trying to keep things going in that direction.” Helton said he did not recall NASCAR ever confiscating an entire car from a team before. Officials frequently confiscate unapproved parts from cars, tag them and leave them on display on a counter in its hauler. “This fits in that scenario,” Helton said. “It’s just too big to put on the counter.” Helton said the car would be taken back to NASCAR’s new research and development center in Concord where it will be examined further. He would not rule out further fines or penalties against the team pending the outcome of that investigation. “We want to understand it more,” Helton said. “We feel that taking this car out of their system is quite a reaction. The car they presented to race here is now not an option to them to use. …That car is ours for right now.”(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND #20-Tony Stewart was forced to pull his backup car from the hauler before Friday’s Winston Cup practice after NASCAR disallowed his primary, claiming it failed the common body template inspection. The car, which had not yet been used by the team, was confiscated by NASCAR and its backup, another unused chassis according to Joe Gibbs Racing team manager Jimmy Makar, was pulled out of the transporter in its place. “I’m not sure we ever have done this,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said. NASCAR impounded the car and planned to return it to its technical and research and development facility in Concord, N.C., to investigate it further.(NASCAR.com), no problems reported on the backup car.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(3-28-2003)
  • AND – Statements from Stewart and Zipadelli: While presented for inspection prior to the first practice for Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials found that the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet did not conform to the specified templates mandated by NASCAR.. The issue arose at the rear of the car, specifically the area encompassing the greenhouse and decklid. As a result, NASCAR impounded the car, forcing the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team to pull the backup car from the transporter and use it for the rest of the race weekend.. The car now being used by the #20 team for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 is Chassis No. 75.. It is a brand new chassis.. A car from the Joe Gibbs Racing facility in Huntersville, N.C., is currently en route to Texas Motor Speedway to be used in the event another backup is needed.
    The following are quotes from crew chief Greg Zipadelli and driver Tony Stewart regarding the day’s events:
    GREG ZIPADELLI, crew chief on the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet: “There’s a measurement between the offset of the decklid and the roof, and it wasn’t exactly where it needed to be.. It’s something that they check back on the plates (at the race shop) as we’re building the car.. Obviously, they didn’t check it close enough.. When they put the back window in, it seemed to change the measurement an awful lot.. It’s something (NASCAR) didn’t like.. There’s a rule on it, so I don’t have much to stand on.. I’m disappointed with the people at the shop, because it’s a measurement that’s pretty cut and dry.. We’ve done well with it this year.. We haven’t had any issues or anything like that.. We’ve just got to deal with it and move on.. We unloaded the backup car and we’re just trying to play catch-up right now.. It’s nobody’s fault but our own.. We’re working hard on some procedures in going through some templates and things like that before (the car) comes to the track to make sure we’re where we need to be so that we don’t have to go through the inspection room more than once.. Things have been going fairly well.. This was just as big a shock to me as it was to the people at NASCAR.
    “The car we have now is set up really similar to the car we had.. We put our backup motor in, which is only a couple horsepower off of what we had in the primary.. We just changed a lot of things.. There were a few little things that we weren’t able to change.. Are they worth anything?. I don’t know.. They were nothing huge, just little things.. We’ll try to change the rest of the car over after qualifying.. We needed to get a couple of laps on the race track during practice before qualifying.. It’s just disappointing.. We had a rough week last week (at Bristol, Tenn.), but everyone was still pretty pumped up because we ran well here last year.. But we’ve got to work a little harder now to overcome this deal this weekend.. We’ll race well, but this has got everyone kind of down.. It’s a distraction is the biggest thing.. But it’s self-inflicted, so we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves.
    “We called the shop and had a motor put in the car that we ran Atlanta with, set it up and scaled it with what we’re going to start the race with, and it’s on its way out here right now.. They just left at 3 o’clock (EST).. It’ll be here tomorrow morning at 7 o’clock or something.. So we’ll have a backup that’s prepped and ready to go if, unfortunately, we have a problem in race practice.. We’re just doing everything we can to try and carry on.. It’s just a bunch of extra work for the guys here.. I appreciate it because it certainly wasn’t their fault, by any means.”
    TONY STEWART, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet: “The cars all look the same from where I’m sitting.. I’ve got three things that I’m in control of – a steering wheel, the shifter and the pedals.. I’ve got everything I need to do the job I need to do with the car we’ve got now.. All of our cars are good, whether they’re a primary or a backup.”(Edelman/Home Depot Racing PR) and more on the #20 Team and Linka page.(3-28-2003)
  • News to Gaughan: teh rumor I had posted yesterday and the past few days; ‘Evernham Changes‘ with a mention of CTS driver Brendan Gaughan as a possible driver for on of Evernham’s three cars, brought this response from Gaughan: “I want to go to Winston Cup, we know that,” Gaughan said. “But I don’t ever want to hope that someone does bad. I’m rooting for all the other Dodge drivers. Right now I’m just worried about getting our team through this Craftsman Truck Series season. We’re third in points — two points out of second — and that’s right where we want to be at this point. I haven’t heard anything about the rumor, but it’s cool my name’s out there. That’s a bonus.” …(Las Vegas Review Journal)(3-28-2003)
  • Court upholds ruling against RJR: R.J. Reynolds violated its settlement agreement with the state when it failed to remove signs mentioning its Winston brand at the Sears Point Raceway [Infineon Raceway now], a state appellate court ruled Thursday. The state was previously granted summary judgment in its case against Reynolds, based in Winston-Salem, N.C. But Reynolds contended the Superior Court of San Diego County erred in concluding that the continued display of the Winston signs was a violation. The 1998 settlement was the result of the state’s lawsuit against various tobacco product manufacturers, including Reynolds. The settlement banned all billboard and outdoor advertising of tobacco products, but permitted Reynolds to continue to promote and its NASCAR Winston Cup Series as a “Brand Name Sponsorship.” Reynolds interpreted that portion of the settlement to mean they could keep their signs in place at the racetrack from 90 days prior to the first event in the series until 10 days after the final event. But the state understood the language of the settlement to cover individual events and individual locations. The fourth appellate district court agreed and upheld the lower court’s ruling.(Charlotte Obseerver/AP)(3-28-2003)
  • Who is that? been asked, and saw this: Michael Waltrip taped a Domino’s Pizza commercial with his family that airs regularly during NASCAR events. Most people know Waltrip and his wife, Buffy, have two daughters, but the commercial also includes a 3-year-old boy. “A lot of people have asked me about that, so I need to clear that up,” Waltrip said. “He’s not ours. We borrowed him. We didn’t have a boy in the age range they wanted. But the two girls [Caitlan, 13, and Margaret, 5] are ours.” In other word’s the boy is an ‘actor’.(Dallas Morning News – may need to register to view/read)(3-28-2003)
  • Real TV: NASCAR programming is everywhere on cable, with Inside Winston Cup and the nightly Totally NASCAR. But the Fox braintrust will go a step further this summer, launching a seven-week behind-the-scenes series on FX. Three drivers — Jamie McMurray (the rookie), Kevin Harvick (the relative newcomer) and Rusty Wallace (the veteran) — will be featured in the series, and shooting will begin this week at Texas Motor Speedway. “There’s a thousand things they can do with it. You’ve just got to be cautious,” Wallace said. “I think people’s personal lives are semi-private. That’s the reason the show is not a reality show. This is a documentary, and I told them I don’t want no part if it’s reality. There’s not going to be Ozzy Osbourne stuff going on.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-28-2003)
  • No Backup for Starr: David Starr will attempt to make his Winston Cup debut at Texas Motor Speedway in the #75 Chevy. Starr will race a new car that was purchased by his uncle, Mike Starr, who owns the Team Texas Driving School at TMS. Mike Starr bought the Winston Cup chassis from Larry McClure, owner of the #4 Kodak Monte Carlo [well actually a Pontiac Grand Prix, so Starr’s Chevy is probably a 2002 which can still be used and raced] driven by Mike Skinner. Starr’s engine is being leased from Richard Childress Racing. But it is the only car Starr will have this weekend. There is no backup, so keeping it intact is paramount for him to make Sunday’s race. During test sessions last week at TMS, Starr, using a modified truck series engine, drove several laps around the 1.5-mile oval in less than 29.5 seconds [approx 183mph]. Starr was hoping to have NASA as a sponsor for his car. Mike Starr sent a formal proposal to NASA officials, but reduced the asking price for the one-race sponsor fee from $150,000 to $100,000. Even though that’s not much by Winston Cup standards these days, it appears the NASA deal never came to fruition.(Dallas Morning News – may need to register to view/read)(3-28-2003)

    (3-27-2003)

  • They’ll be back UPDATE 2: hearing that #42-Jamie McMurray in Cup and #99-Michael Waltrip in the Busch Series will run Terminator 3 movies schemes, not sure when.(2-28-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing this will be for Daytona in July.(3-1-2003)
    IMAGES got images of both cars, see my 2003 Busch page and 2003 Cup page for the images.(3-27-2003)
  • Jeff Gordon fact: #24-Jeff Gordon has won on 19 of the 23 tracks currently [and also at North Wilkesboro which is no longer active] on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule. Texas, Chicagoland, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami are the only tracks he has yet to visit victory lane in a Winston Cup car.(3-27-2003)
  • Texas Fun Facts: Eight Texas Stadiums will fit in the infield of Texas Motor Speedway. Texas Motor Speedway has enough permanent lighting to illuminate 11 NFL football stadiums. If all the hamburgers served in one year at the speedway were stacked, it would be taller than a 74-story building.(Foyt Racing)(3-27-2003)
  • More things found reading PR’s: #41-Casey Mears is the only Raybestos Rookie to complete all 6 races this season without a DNF (did not finish). This weekend’s race at Texas will mark Bill Elliott’s 702nd career Winston Cup Series start. If he continues to start every race of the 2003 season, Elliott will surpass Bobby Allison to rank sixth on the all-time start list in the August race at Michigan Int’l Speedway. Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that sat on the outside pole at Atlanta this year, and qualified fourth and finished 11th in the June 2002 race at Michigan.(PR’s)(3-27-2003)
  • #0 Special Scheme at Texas: The #0 NetZero High Speed Pontiac Grand Prix will make its debut at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. The new paint scheme showcases NetZero’s HiSpeed Online Service.(NetZero Racing)(3-27-2003)
  • #17 Special Scheme at Texas: Matt Kenseth’s #17 DEWALT team will have a different look this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Smirnoff Ice will be on the hood and deck lid of the #17 Ford to kick-off a new partnership with the team. The crew will also be dressed in Smirnoff Ice uniforms. Smirnoff Ice will be the primary sponsor on Kenseth’s car for seven races this season, starting with The Winston at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.(DeWalt Racing)(3-27-2003)
  • #9 Team Fast in the Pits at Bristol: NASCAR says the crew for Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Dodge driven by Bill Elliott captured Round 6 of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by Powerade in last Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Elliott spent 223 seconds on pit road to best the Robert Yates crew of Elliott Sadler’s #38 Ford, which was second among the participating crews [not the #17 or #24 among others], at 247 seconds. Elliott’s pit crew earned $20,000 for the victory. After six races, Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #15 crew for Michael Waltrip leads the contest for the $200,000 season prize with 217 points, followed by DEI’s #8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 203 points and DEI’s #1 team for Steve Park with 199.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-27-2003)
  • Stewart and Kid Rock? UPDATE 5 at Michigan BUT not Kid Rock…3 Doors Down: hearing that Tony Stewart will drive the #8 Kid Rock Chevy in the Busch/BGN race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.(1-23-2003)
    UPDATE: however, it has been reported that Steve Park will race the #8 BGN car at Lowe’s, so not too sure about this one.(1-24-2003)
    UPDATE 2: getting a bit more info, hearing now, the scheme will race at one of the BGN Richmond races, probably May as there are rumors that Dale Earnahrdt Jr will run all three races at Richmond in Sept (CTS/BGN/Cup) and Martin Truex Jr is scheduled in the #8 BGN car at RIR in May…so this rumor has some holes in it, unless it is a 2nd Chase2 car, what is posted here is all I have heard or know.(1-25-2003)
    UPDATE 3: been told that Tony Stewart will NOT be driving a #8 Kid Rock paint scheme in the May Charlotte BGN race. This is already scheduled to be a cheese nips car to be driven by Steve Park. But could show up elsewhere. However, many diecast sheets are showing the car running in Charlotte, so it could be the Fall race.(1-27-2003)
    UPDATE 4: now being told the scheme will run at the Michigan Busch Series race in August.(3-13-2003)
    UPDATE 5: the Tony Stewart #8 Busch Series program has been changed from Kid Rock to 3 Doors Down. This special program will be racing in Michigan on August 16th. Dale Earnhardt Jr.(car owner) and Stewart both filmed footage to appear in a new rock music video with 3 Doors Down which is due out this summer.(3-27-2003)
  • Robby’s Angel’s? #31-Robby Gordon is scheduled to run a Charlie’s Angels 2 paint scheme on June 1st at Dover. It will also run again in late fall when the DVD for the movie is released, guess they are not expecting a long run in the theatres?(3-27-2003)
  • The Two Leagues ‘Rumor’: Bruton Smith’s proposal of forming multiple leagues or conferences to expand the NASCAR Winston Cup Series continues to strike out. Smith first offered his “trial balloon” in the mid-1990s and has resurrected it in response to NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr.’s realignment plan for Cup schedules starting as early as 2004. “Create an American League and a National League, where you run two [races] every Sunday,” said Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. “You’ve got a West and an East [presence]. If NASCAR wants to tackle that, it’s going to be tough to do, but it can be done. I’ve studied it to death, and it could be done.” NASCAR officials acknowledge they are pushing the limit with the current Cup schedule that fits 38 races, including two non-points events, into a 41-week calendar. But France rejected the two-league system as unworkable in February, and little support for it has surfaced since.(more at Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-27-2003)
  • Foyt Delivers Meals: #14-Larry Foyt, in town for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, delivered meals to four senior adults, including Merlene Waits. “It was a total surprise for me. I thought it was exciting,” Waits said. Foyt was escorted by a police motorcade, local news media outlets and several representatives from Harrahs Casino and Meals on Wheels. Harrahs, his principal sponsor, has pledged $1 million to Meals On Wheels for three years. Police escorts were necessary because his car is not built for stop-and-go traffic and cannot stop at lights or stop signs.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-27-2003)
  • New #88 Paint Scheme soon? UPDATE: supposedly in a few weeks, a new UPS logo will appear on the #88 Ford driven by Dale Jarrett. Supposedly after it is introduced it will run the remainder of the 2003 season(3-13-2003)
    UPDATE – UPS To Change Logo: United Parcel Service isn’t giving up its trademark color, but the box in its logo is being shipped out. A UPS Boeing 767 will touch down at Louisville International Airport this morning bearing the company’s first new logo since 1961. Gone will be the string bow atop a yellow-and-brown shield. A more contemporary look will incorporate the letters UPS in a brown shield outlined in yellow and gold. An accompanying tag line will read “Synchronizing the World of Commerce.” Work on the logo, the fourth in UPS’ 95 years, has taken about a year, said John Beystehner, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, who was formerly based in Louisville as vice president of airline operations. The transition to the new look will take years more. The 767 arriving today is one of the first of more than 88,000 vehicles, including 257 large jet aircraft, that will get the new design. About 40 planes will be repainted this year, but the air fleet changeover won’t be complete until 2008. Ground vehicles will be changed, too, mostly following their normal three-year painting schedule. The logo also will appear on 1,700 facilities around the world, 70,000 drop-off and retail access points, more than 1 million uniform pieces and more than 3 billion packages annually. The logo, designed by Future Brand of New York City, also will appear on the newly branded Mail Boxes Etc., which next month will become The UPS Store. The logo also will be seen Sunday on the uniform and car of NASCAR racer Dale Jarrett, Beystehner said.(Courier-Journal and the UPS Site), on Friday there will be a UPS Announcement at Texas Motor Speedway.(3-25-2003)
    IMAGE: got an image sent in, see my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes page – Cars #’s 24-99 for the image or see the #88 Team Page for the image and the new logo.(3-26-2003)
    AND Look for the new Dale Jarrett, DW, Larry McReynolds and Mike Joy UPS commerical to begin airing the week of the Martinsville weekend.(3-27-2003)
  • NASCAR considering Ephedra ban UPDATE: NASCAR gives random drug tests but does not check for ephedra, which has been banned by other sports leagues but is sold in malls and grocery stores. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s managing director of business operations, says an ephedra ban “is something we’re looking at.” Ephedra, which is extracted from an Asian plant, is banned in college sports, the Olympics, the NFL and minor league baseball. Although supplement manufacturer Stacker 2 sponsors Kenny Wallace’s race #23 car, Triplett says that would not stop NASCAR from considering an ephedra ban. Karen Finocchio, vice president of marketing for NVE, Stacker 2’s parent company, says the company stands behind its ephedra supplement but notes it also offers an ephedra-free version. She says users should follow the extensive set of guidelines printed on the bottle. “Take it as directed,” she says. “Consult your physician. … Know your limitations.”(USA Today)(3-26-2003)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is hiring an expert on the use and effects of dietary supplements that contain the stimulant ephedra. “We’re talking to an expert in that field,” NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Wednesday. “It’s not so much a health expert as it is a drug expert, although I hate to ever use the word drugs in relation to NASCAR.” Ephedra is banned in college athletics, the NFL, minor league baseball and the Olympics. It was partly to blame for the heatstroke death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler last month. After Bechler’s death, questions arose about the possible use of products for weight loss or extra energy by NASCAR drivers and crew members faced with a grueling 38-race schedule and heavy race-day pressure for quick pit stops and wins. NASCAR does random drug tests, but ephedra is not among its banned substances. Al Shuford, head trainer for Chip Ganassi Racing, was quoted by USA Today as saying an estimated 80 percent of NASCAR’s crew members have at least tried ephedra. “I do not believe that number,” Hunter said, pointing out that supplement manufacturer Stacker 2, sponsor of Kenny Wallace’s Winston Cup car, handed out samples to the teams earlier this year. Hunter said Winston Cup director John Darby and his staff are investigating to determine if anyone in the sport is using ephedra. He added that the investigation is also “a priority” for Gary Nelson, who heads NASCAR’s new research and development facility. “We want to find out who is using it and what they’re using it for,” Hunter said. He added that NASCAR is also talking with Bill Davis, who owns Wallace’s car. “We don’t know a lot about this, yet, and we want to find out what we’re dealing with before we react,” Hunter said. “We don’t even know if it’s a problem for us or not.” Wallace went to NVE Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Stacker 2, after Bechler’s death. “I said, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Is this going to affect us?’ And they said `Everything’s fine,'” Wallace said. NVE also markets a Stacker 2 without ephedra. “They have told me that racing has just put them to another level,” he said. “The commercials we’ve done have been a lot of fun because people react to them. And our sport is about selling product.” Dr. Scott McNair, team physician for Hendrick Motorsports, said the effects of dehydration on drivers or crew members could be serious, but added, “I’ve never been aware of (ephedra use) being a very big problem.” McNair urged anyone in the sport using ephedra to stop. “It would be beneficial in a sense to ban it,” McNair said. “People don’t understand the seriousness of the effects of drugs and ephedra is not a good drug.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-27-2003)
  • NASCAR’s ad policy baffling: Taboo sponsors in NASCAR: Hard liquor, racy magazines and Internet sports gambling sites. Approved sponsors in NASCAR: Bricks-and-mortar casinos, dietary supplements that contain the controversial stimulant ephedra, and beer — including malt-based beverages made by hard-liquor companies. Cigarette maker Winston, of course, sponsors the series. NASCAR officials look at team sponsorship issues on a case-by-case basis. Approval wasn’t automatic, for example, when Stacker 2 — a company whose product line includes ephedra supplements — wanted to sponsor a car. Supplements are sold at malls and grocery stores, but several sports leagues have banned ephedra because of potential health risks.(See full story at the USA Today)(3-27-2003)

    (3-26-2003)

  • Some Texas Facts: #5-Terry Labonte has five top-10 finishes at Texas in the six NASCAR Winston Cup events held at the track. One of those top 10s was a victory in the 1999 event “ his last victory. His average finish of 7.0 at TMS is the best among drivers with at least five starts at the track. #6-Mark Martin is the only driver to qualify in the top 10 in all six previous NASCAR Winston Cup races at TMS. #88-Dale Jarrett, the 2001 winner at Texas, has led a total of 406 laps at the track, more than any other driver. In six years there have been six different winners: Jeff Burton in 1997, Mark Martin in ’98, Terry Labonte in ’99, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2000, Dale Jarrett in ˜01 and Matt Kenseth last year.(NASCAR PR)(3-26-2003)
  • Martin special scheme in the Winston: #6-Mark Martin will drive a white #6 Viagra Ford in the Winston ay Lowe’s Motor Speedway this year, see my Paint Schemes Gallery for the images.(3-26-2003)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway says Jerry Nadeau is scheduled to test MB2 Motorsports’ #01 Pontiac at the 1.5-mile track today. Evernham Motorsports is also scheduled to test at the facility, but the track did not disclose which driver would be on hand. Testing is closed, although fans may watch from inside the track’s gift shop.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-26-2003)
  • Testing at Greensville Pickens [not Kentucky]: #10-Johnny Benson and #32-Ricky Craven are scheduled to test at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway [SC] today [March 26th].(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(3-26-2003)
  • Evernham Changes? UPDATE 3: hearing some crew changes have occurred on the #9 and #19 Evernham Motorsports teams with the rear tire changers/carriers switching. Hearing there could be other changes coming, including Crew Chief (even though they do not use a ‘crew chief’ but a CART crew formula), Supposedly #19 Dodge driver, Jermey Mayfield is under some pressure to perform better or a change could be made there.(3-21-2003)
    UPDATE: been told by sources that the rear tire changers/carriers have switched teams. Also some sources say that Brendan Gaughan’s [#62 in the Truck Series[ name hass come up as an option for Evernham Motorsports if changes are made or they choose to run the third R&D car [#91 Dodge](3-22-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Ray Evernham’s teams are among the organizations that are struggling to get up to speed this season, so he’s experimenting with the structure of his pit crews. Last week, the rear tire changer/carrier duo of Shane Russellberg and Bob Dowens on Bill Elliott’s #9 Dodge swapped spots with Joe Singerland and Eric Wakeland on Jeremy Mayfield’s #19. “I’ve got really good people,” Evernham says. “I’m just trying to get them moved around and into the right place. We just hope that the chemistry will be better in areas we were weak.” Evernham says those crew members will maintain their regular roles in the shop during the week. Elliott finished 18th and Mayfield 23rd at Bristol.(Sporting News)(3-24-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Ray Evernham is not satisfied with Jermey Mayfield’s results so far, however that doesn’t mean he is about to replace Mayfield or drastically revamp his crew. “I’m extremely happy with the team,” Evernham said. “There’s no crew chief changes, no driver changes – there’s none of that coming. The only thing that’s got to change is our performance.” The only driver opening at this point will be when Evernham needs one for the third car he will enter in select races [was #91 in 2002]. The car was going to run at Talladega with Hank Parker Jr., but those plans have been put on hold. Parker helps the team with testing.(Winston Cup Scene – Subscription Required to read online)(3-26-2003)
  • Changes to the Winston: There will be a slight change to the qualifying format of The Winston, scheduled to run at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 17th. In 2002 teams could make their madatory pit stop anytime during the 3 lap qualifying run. This year team must pit after they take the green flag to qualifyin and before the end of their 3 laps. The drive must enter pit road at the normal pit road speed [45mph I think], but after the pitstop is completed, there will be no pit road speed once they exit their pit box. Also, during the race, plans are once again to invert the field, how it will be inverted or how many drivers is to be determined. The top 20 will advance to the 2nd segment (of three) and top 14 after the 2nd segment will advance to the 3rd segment.(Winston Cup Scene – Subscription Required to read online)(3-26-2003)
  • NASCAR considering Ephedra ban: NASCAR gives random drug tests but does not check for ephedra, which has been banned by other sports leagues but is sold in malls and grocery stores. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s managing director of business operations, says an ephedra ban “is something we’re looking at.” Ephedra, which is extracted from an Asian plant, is banned in college sports, the Olympics, the NFL and minor league baseball. Although supplement manufacturer Stacker 2 sponsors Kenny Wallace’s race #23 car, Triplett says that would not stop NASCAR from considering an ephedra ban. Karen Finocchio, vice president of marketing for NVE, Stacker 2’s parent company, says the company stands behind its ephedra supplement but notes it also offers an ephedra-free version. She says users should follow the extensive set of guidelines printed on the bottle. “Take it as directed,” she says. “Consult your physician. … Know your limitations.”(USA Today)(3-26-2003)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr/Kyle Petty in TBS Baseball Promos: TBS Superstation recently unveiled a new integrated print and on-air advertising campaign that is MLB topical and focuses on match-ups and the superstars around the league that will be battling against the Braves throughout the season on the Superstation. WTBS, Turner South and the Atlanta Braves also unveiled their new campaign, which centers around the classic ballpark song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The campaign features such celebrities as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Charles Barkley, D.L. Hughley, Brian Littrell (of The Backstreet Boys), Mike Mills (of R.E.M.), Kyle Petty, Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The relaxed and casual demeanor caught on film shows viewers a different side of the players and celebrity Braves fans.(Turner Sports PR/MotorsportsTV)(3-26-2003)
  • #31 Crew Member Injured UPDATE 2: Jason Fowler, rear tire carrier for Robby Gordon’s #31 Chevrolet, was taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center during Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway after sustaining an injury on pit road. Fowler sustained a cut to his left index finger and was being evaluated for possible nerve damage.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-24-2003)
    UPDATE: Jason Fowler, the rear-tire carrier for Richard Childress Racing’s #31 Chevy driven by Robby Gordon, is recovering from an injury. Fowler, 24, suffered a severed nerve, severed tendons and chipped bone in his left index finger while working on torn sheet metal during a pit stop. He was treated and released. He is expected to perform his tire carrier duties Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.(The State)(3-25-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Jason Fowler, rear-tire carrier for Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, will miss Sunday’s Samsung/Radio Shock 500 at Texas Motor Speedway as he recovers from an injury suffered to his left index finger last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Phil Gould, rear-tire carrier for RCR’s #21 Payday Chevy Busch Series team, will fill in for Fowler at Texas. Fowler sustained a severed nerve, severed tendons and chipped bone in his left index finger while working on torn sheet metal during a pit stop on lap 229 of the Food City 500. He was treated at the infield care center and then transported to Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center. Fowler is scheduled to see an orthopedic specialist in Winston-Salem, NC, Wednesday morning for additional treatment. His status beyond this weekend’s race is yet to be determined.(RCR Site)(3-26-2003)
  • Kenny Wallace to run a Card’s car UPDATE: Kenny Wallace will run a Michael Waltrip owned/loaned #99 St Louis Cardinals Chevy in the Busch Series race, none mentioned, but it makes sense that is would be at Gateway Int’l Raceway near St Louis. See an image of the car on my Busch Series Paint Schemes Gallery.
    UPDATE: hearing the Kenny Wallace Cardinals car is in collaboration with Bill Davis Racing.(3-26-2003)
  • New #88 Paint Scheme soon? UPDATE: supposedly in a few weeks, a new UPS logo will appear on the #88 Ford driven by Dale Jarrett. Supposedly after it is introduced it will run the remainder of the 2003 season(3-13-2003)
    UPDATE – UPS To Change Logo: United Parcel Service isn’t giving up its trademark color, but the box in its logo is being shipped out. A UPS Boeing 767 will touch down at Louisville International Airport this morning bearing the company’s first new logo since 1961. Gone will be the string bow atop a yellow-and-brown shield. A more contemporary look will incorporate the letters UPS in a brown shield outlined in yellow and gold. An accompanying tag line will read “Synchronizing the World of Commerce.” Work on the logo, the fourth in UPS’ 95 years, has taken about a year, said John Beystehner, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, who was formerly based in Louisville as vice president of airline operations. The transition to the new look will take years more. The 767 arriving today is one of the first of more than 88,000 vehicles, including 257 large jet aircraft, that will get the new design. About 40 planes will be repainted this year, but the air fleet changeover won’t be complete until 2008. Ground vehicles will be changed, too, mostly following their normal three-year painting schedule. The logo also will appear on 1,700 facilities around the world, 70,000 drop-off and retail access points, more than 1 million uniform pieces and more than 3 billion packages annually. The logo, designed by Future Brand of New York City, also will appear on the newly branded Mail Boxes Etc., which next month will become The UPS Store. The logo also will be seen Sunday on the uniform and car of NASCAR racer Dale Jarrett, Beystehner said.(Courier-Journal and the UPS Site), on Friday there will be a UPS Announcement at Texas Motor Speedway.(3-25-2003)
    IMAGE: got an image sent in, see my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes page – Cars #’s 24-99 for the image.(3-26-2003)


    the new logo, as seen on the UPS Main page
  • Roush not happy about Toyota: Jack Roush, head of Roush Racing, said Tuesday that while Toyota will bring new sponsors and generate added interest in stock car racing, America would be better off if NASCAR stayed “red, white and blue.” Toyota will become the first Japanese manufacturer to compete in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions next year when it enters the Craftsman Truck Series. The company is expected to move up to Winston Cup within a few years.(Tampa Tribune)(3-26-2003)
  • Hermie back at Talladega: Hermie Sadler will make his return to the Cup Series on April 6, 2003 when he pilots the #02 Autism Awareness Pontiac sponsored by NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in the AARON’ S 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. In honor of Autism Awareness Month and the thousands of people affected daily by this disease, the car will feature the Autism “puzzle ribbon” on the hood along with 1-800-3-AUTISM, the phone number for the Autism Society of America. Sadler, whose daughter Halie Dru was diagnosed with Autism in February 2001, carried the ribbon in the Spring Bristol race last year and was amazed at the response. “The number of people we reached through this exposure was unbelievable. It was just the tool we needed-the Autism Society of America received literally thousands of phone calls following the race. This is the perfect way for us to kick off Autism Awareness month for 2003,” stated Sadler. NWA-TNA Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett is pleased to participate in this event. “Hermie has been such a huge supporter of NWA-TNA, and it is a pleasure to return the favor. I’m looking forward to the race and helping increase the awareness of Autism.” Also participating in the promotion are FOX Sports, FX, www.goteamva.com, and Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated. Fox Sports is providing an in-car camera to help promote awareness for autism and Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated is providing engines and technical support to Sadler’s team for this event. “I am honored and grateful to everyone who is involved with this program,” Sadler said. “We not only have the chance to run a great race; we have the chance to make a difference for kids and families all over the world affected by autism.” NWA-TNA Total Nonstop Action Wrestling is the first-ever weekly Pay-Per-View wrestling series that airs every Wednesday at 8:00pm/et on iN DEMAND and DIRECT-TV. With its unique blend of traditional wrestling and the high-flying cutting edge moves of the X-Division, it is the definitive alternative for the wrestling enthusiast. For more information on NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, go to www.nwatna.com.(PR)(3-26-2003)
  • Update on NC Autopsy photos: Autopsy photos would be open to viewing by the general public, but only certain people would be allowed to receive copies of such photos under a proposal that made its way out of a House committee on Tuesday. The compromise bill adopted by a House Judiciary committee would allow copies of autopsy photos to be distributed to: The chief medical examiner or his designee. The investigating medical examiner, the district attorney, a superior court judge and law enforcement officials. A personal representative of the deceased (such as the next-of-kin). A person authorized by court order and another medical examiner or doctor who would use the photo for teaching and training purposes. Anyone denied access to copies of the photos can file a special proceeding before a clerk of court. Clerks would be authorized to grant the request if they think the person asking for the photos has good cause. Rep. Karen Ray, R-Iredell, who introduced the bill, said she hopes to “achieve a balance” between the rights of privacy and a free press. John Bussian, a lobbyist for the N.C. Press Association, which opposes the bill, said that the committee should remember that the proposed new law is dealing with something that has historically been open to the public. The bill that Ray originally filed was patterned after a law that passed in Florida following the Feb. 18, 2001, death of Dale Earnhardt in the Daytona 500. Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, fought to keep the autopsy photos from becoming public record, fearing that they could be published over the Internet. A number of NASCAR teams are in Ray’s district, and she has a racing-related business. The bill would make it a felony to disseminate autopsy photos to unauthorized recipients. The next step for the bill is the House floor.(in part from the Sun Journal)(3-26-2003)

    (3-25-2003)

  • #49 BAM Racing sponsor at Texas: One of the hottest groups in Texas music will be on the quarterpanels of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge this week in Texas Motor Speedway’s Samsung/Radio Shack 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. The Derailers, which will appear in conjunction Sony Music Nashville, will be the group on the side of Ken Schrader’s car. The Derailers, formed by Tony Villaneuva and Brian Hofeldt from Oregon in 1993, is known a true “sound of Texas.” It’s 1996 debut album, “Jackpot,” began the band’s post-driving backbeat hammer-ringing Telecaster strum and steam whistle duet harmony – a sound right out of Texas. The feature band on the Sony Music Nashville Dodge, the Derailers will perform pre-race entertainment at the huge Texas Motor Speedway complex.(Williams Company PR)(3-25-2003)
  • Furr to the #0; Leaves #4? UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing has enlisted the services of former Hendrick Motorsports employee Tony Furr to work with rookie Jack Sprague’s #0 Pontiac. The team is a technical partner of HMS and uses Hendrick engines and chassis. According to Haas CNC Racing G.M. Joe Custer, Furr will join the organization on Tuesday. Furr’s knowledge of Hendrick’s systems and his organizational skills will benefit this team significantly. Furr was performing a number of duties for Mike Skinner’s team.(Sporting News)(3-24-2003)
    UPDATE: Tony Furr has left his daily duties of Competition Director for Morgan-McClure Motorsports. The Abingdon, Va.-based team announced Tuesday that Furr has left the team, although he will be retained for several projects he had begun for team owner Larry McClure. Furr had joined the team at the beginning of 2003 and leaves due to personal reasons regarding the need to be with his family in Concord, NC.
    Larry McClure quotes: “Furr was a positive addition to our team. He leaves us on good terms. We hope him the best in the future.”
    Mike Skinner quotes: “Tony Furr has been a great asset to our team. I will help Larry and the team all I can to find a replacement for Tony. We wish him well. We will miss him, along with his knowledge, tremendously.”(Morgan McClure PR)(3-25-2003)
  • Skinner Safe? Mike Skinner is rumored to be out in the #4. By the way, owner Larry McClure says Skinner is safe.(CNNSI)(3-25-2003)
  • Busch vs Spencer: Still ongoing? NASCAR’s marketing department might be trying to put together a “reality TV” show starring its drivers, but it’s safe to say Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer won’t be starring in a remake of the 1980s TV sitcom Bosom Buddies. “You’ve got to be lucky,” Spencer said after Busch won Sunday’s race. “Kurt was lucky last year, and he was lucky again. Richard Petty always said you’d rather be lucky than good, and he was obviously lucky today. I congratulate him for it.” Busch and Spencer had two on-track confrontations last season — one at Bristol and another at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After the Indy wreck, Busch called Spencer a “decrepit old has-been,” and Spencer failed to qualify for the next race. Busch, apparently, is still gloating. “I was real happy when things came to a close at Watkins Glen, when he went home and missed the show,” Busch said Sunday. “Indianapolis was a tough thing. I put myself in position to wreck and he wrecked me, and he missed the show at Watkins Glen, so I put a period on the end of the whole incident there.”(USA Today)(3-25-2003)
  • Roush ‘Virtual’ Engine? Some rival engine men say they believe that Roush Racing has been using an experimental engine-design program that creates a virtual engine inside a computer. If that is true, then Roush could be on the verge of a major breakthrough. And that would certainly be worth the risk of blowing a few motors. However, those rivals say that the problem at the moment is that those new engine designs need a lot more track time to prove their worthiness.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-25-2003)
  • TV Renegotiations? UPDATE: The TV package with Fox, NBC and TNT runs out in 20 months, and renegotiations are hotly anticipated. ABC says it too plans to make a bid for the Winston Cup series. It is not clear if any of the three networks has actually turned a profit on NASCAR, and that could make upcoming talks difficult from the NASCAR side. It is also not clear who will be the chief TV negotiator for NASCAR; last time around it was Bray Cary, who drove amazingly hard bargains and then took his percentage and vanished. This time Neil Pilson, the former CBS executive and a long-time NASCAR TV adviser, could get the call to the boardroom.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-24-2003)
    UPDATE: The TV package with FOX, NBC, and TNT does not run out in 20 months. The contract, which was signed in November of 1999, runs from 2001 – 2006 for NBC and TNT. For FOX, the contract is for the same six years, but also includes an option to go two more years. Furthermore, FOX is already billing itself as the TV home of the 2007 Daytona 500, so it sounds like they are counting on the option being exercised through 2008. However, even if the option with FOX was not exercised, the earliest that a new TV partner would be in place would be for 2007. Negotiations probably wouldn’t start until the second half of 2005, at the earliest. Also, there’s no indication this early in the process that ABC or any other network will or won’t make a bid for NASCAR. ABC Sports president Howard Katz resigned about a month ago and the new boss is ESPN honcho George Bodenheimer. It is doubtful that Bodenheimer has even thought that much about ABC making a bid for a 2007 NASCAR TV package. Of course, however, it’s likely that big names like ABC, CBS, and ESPN will all inquire about the NASCAR rights, but no one has made a definitive decision to go after the rights this early in the game.(see full story at MotorsportsTV.com)(3-25-2003)
  • Man charged with NASCAR [and other] counterfeiting: Authorities seized more than $300,000 in counterfeit merchandise and have charged a Lancaster, SC man after an undercover sting operation by the South Carolina Secretary of State’s office, in cooperation with Fairfield and Lancaster county sheriff’s offices. Adrian Pettit, 51, of 617 Eaton Court turned himself in Friday to officials at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office after Lancaster and Fairfield county officials confiscated more than $300,000 in counterfeit merchandise in simultaneous raids from two of Pettit’s businesses Thursday morning. Officials seized more than 80,000 counterfeit logos with NASCAR trademarks of drivers Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. They also seized approximately 50,000 collegiate logos, including USC and Clemson trademarks. Pettit manufactured large quantities of bumper stickers and auto decals at a facility in Winnsboro and stored them at a facility in Lancaster, according to a press release from Hammond’s office.(The Herald)(3-25-2003)

    (3-24-2003)

  • Kerry Earnhardt hopes to make 2nd Cup start at Texas; Spencer in a 2nd team Busch car: FitzBradshaw Racing will field the # 83 Aaron’s Dream Machine Chevy in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 on March 30, 2003 at Texas Motor Speedway. The car will be driven by Kerry Earnhardt. Earnhardt was slated to drive the #83 Aaron’s Dream Machine in select Winston Cup Series races during the 2002 season, however, rain cancelled qualifying for all events. Those were FitzBradshaw’s first attempts in the Winston Cup Series and no owner points had been accumulated. “We’re excited about this race,” Earnhardt said. “We tried a couple times last year to make races in the Aaron’s Dream Machine, and each time we tried we got rained out. It was a pretty big joke around the garage.”
    “This is great for us,” FitzBradshaw co-owner Armando Fitz said. “We’re going to have two Busch Series cars competing in Texas, plus Kerry in the Aaron’s Dream Machine for the Cup race. We’re taking huge steps in the direction we need to in order to be a competitive team in NASCAR.” Earnhardt, who has tentative plans to run several more Winston Cup races this year, will be joined in the Texas Busch Series race by Jimmy Spencer, who will be piloting the #82 Jani-King Chevrolet for FitzBradshaw Racing.(FitzBradshaw Racing PR)(3-24-2003)
  • Rumblings – Bristol: #97-Kurt Busch’s victory in the Food City 500 was worth $157,790 from the over $4.5M in posted awards, and was the usual hard-fought BMS win. They just don’t come easy at this fast half-miler, but being able to carry our flag around on a victory lap has got to be a feeling above all others. Teammate Matt Kenseth was 0.390 seconds behind in second place.
    Ricky Rudd (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Martinsville last October.
    Greg Biffle (5th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was last week at Darlington when he finished 12th.
    Sterling Marlin (6th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Darlington last September.
    Kenny Wallace (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Rockingham in February of 2002.
    Brett Bodine (24th) had his best finish since he was 20th at Richmond last September.
    STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Matt Kenseth (+35), followed by Ricky Rudd (+30), Kenny Wallace (+30), and Kevin Harvick (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Mike Skinner (-35), followed by Ken Schrader (-34), Ward Burton (-22), Terry Labonte (-22), Ryan Newman (-21), and Tony Raines (-20).
    Kevin Harvick led today for the first time since he led once for three laps at Talladega last October. We’ve had 26 different leaders this year.
    Matt Kenseth padded his points lead today. He now has a 138 point margin over new second place driver Kurt Busch (his lead was 57 last week over Tony Stewart). The best move forward in the points this week goes to Ricky Rudd (17th to 9th), while in the opposite direction goes Dave Blaney (7th to 16th).(Stock Car Fans)(3-24-2003)
  • Petty to the hospital UPDATE 3: Kyle Petty has been transferred to a local Bristol hospital for further observation, Petty was awake and alert otherwise. This ends Petty’s 40 race streak of not having an DNF-Did Not Finish.
    UPDATE: Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty was airlifted to Bristol Regional Medical Center for evaluation following a hard wreck on Lap 424 of 500 in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Ward Burton spun in Turn 3, hit Petty’s No. 45 Dodge and Petty’s car swung hard into the wall, driver’s side first. Petty had to be assisted out of his car by medical personnel and went to the track’s infield care center for initial evaluation. He appeared very groggy. Petty was awake and alert at the care center but was sent to the hospital for precautionary measures. Petty was expected to be released from the hospital later Sunday. “He just said he hurt all over,” said Petty’s crew chief, Steven Lane. “I think they are just going to take him for the sake of caution just to make sure he is OK. I hope that’s all that it is. He took a hard lick.”(ThatsRacin.com)(3-23-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Petty was treated and released from Bristol Regional Medical Center on Sunday night after a hard impact late in Sunday’s race.(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE 3: Kyle Petty returned home Sunday night following the Food City 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. He is expected to be ready for this week’s events at Texas Motor Speedway. Petty was examined at Bristol (Tenn.) Regional following a crash Sunday, and was released. He will obviously follow up with a routine examination from his personal physician this week. “He’s very sore,” said Steven Lane, crew chief for Petty’s #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge. “He hit pretty hard, so you would expect that. But he should be ready to go at Texas this week.”(Williams Company)(3-24-2003)
  • Bristol TV Ratings Down: Today’s Sports Business Daily says Nielsen Media Research’s overnight numbers show that Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Food City 500 Winston Cup race drew a 5.1 rating and an 11 share, well off last year’s final 6.2/16. The race figures trail four individual NCAA basketball tournament games on CBS, but the war with Iraq appears to be having a major impact on all sports broadcasts. The Daily says ratings are off more than 20 percent for CBS’s coverage of the NCAA tournament. CBS, for instance, earned a 5..2/10 overnight Nielsen rating for yesterday’s coverage of the tournament from noon to 9:15 p.m. (Eastern time), down 24 percent from last year’s 6.8/14. On Saturday CBS earned a 5.2/11 from 1 to 11 p.m., down 24 percent from last year’s 6.8/15.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-24-2003)
  • McGraw to be Honored: Andy Belmont wanted to try something a little different for this week’s Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. “From a competitive standpoint, nothing has changed. We’re going down there to run as hard as we can run, and see what we can do,” Belmont said. “But, having grown up near Philly, well, I had to do something . . .” Tug McGraw, 58, the tenacious retired major league relief pitcher, just had a brain tumor removed while in a Tampa, FL, hospital. McGraw pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies [Jayski’s team] from 1975 until his retirement in 1984 and threw the last pitch in the 1980 World Series to help win the World Championship for the Phillies. McGraw who works for the team, is also a Pitching Consultant with the Phillies. While with the New York Mets (1965-74) in 1973 he led the team with the phrase, “You Gotta Believe.” The Mets lost the World Series that year to the Oakland A’, but McGraw also pitched for the Mets when they won the 1969 World Series. “So we put ‘Get Well Tug McGraw’ on our car, and ‘You Gotta Believe.’ We have to believe he is going to recover and be fine,” Belmont said of his #91 Pontiac, which is sponsored by Southern Pan Services for this race. Verizon sponsors Belmont’s ARCA entry, the 1 800 CALL VZ Ford. McGraw, whose real name is Frank Edwin McGraw Jr., has long been one of the favorite of major league baseball fans, and was always known as fun loving. “He’s the kind of guy who helped build popularity for baseball at a time when baseball was dragging a little with the fans,” Belmont said. “He was great with kids and great with adults. I don’t know if Tug McGraw was ever at a race in his life but, at heart, I have to believe he is a racer. He is the type of person every professional athlete should aspire to be.”(Williams Company PR)(3-24-2003)
  • Harvick Plans Triple Header in August: Trucks will return to Bristol when the circuit comes back here in August. Kevin Harvick, who won Saturday’s Busch series race, said yesterday he’ll run all three events.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-24-2003)
  • Interesting 2000th race fact: Yesterday was the 2,000th Winston Cup point race. The 12 drivers who make up the top 10 in victories (ties create extra spots) have won 45.1 percent of those races. A total of 166 drivers have won at least one race, 61 winning only once.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-24-2003)
  • New Racing Show to debut in July: A new motorsports-themed show is preparing for launch in the coming months on The National Network (TNN – used to cover NASCAR as the Nashville Network). Racer’s Edge [www.racersedgetv.net] is scheduled to debut on July 6 at 11:00am Eastern and Pacific Time. Racer’s Edge is a new 30-minute show that gives an inside and detailed look at the workings of race car preparation, maintenance and set-up. Topics will explore commonalities in preparation, maintenance and set-up in various forms of motorsports, everything from drag strips to dirt tracks, motorcycles to NASCAR. A guest for interaction and expertise will accompany host Troy Selberg [former Winston Cup crew chief] during each show. Selberg is a racing industry veteran, mainly NASCAR. He’s a second-generation racer with more than 20 years experience. Selberg gained and retained a great deal of knowledge throughout the years and now plans on relaying it to racing fans across the country. As a NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief, he was in contact with thousands of fans.. It was that type of interaction in addition to his natural communication ability that made him the obvious choice to host Racer’s Edge. Racer’s Edge promises to be the highest quality instructional/educational racing show on television.. Each show will be geared towards one or two specific topics, allowing the host and guest to go in-depth, leaving no corner unturned. Each show will be shot on location in a race shop, lit like a studio, with countless racing props in the background. Having a controlled environment is the key in order to stay consistent and remain focused on production content. Hands-on visuals and will play a large part in the success of the show and, when necessary, state of the art 3D animation will be used to further enhance production.(Racer’s Edge PR)(3-24-2003)
  • Sad News: Sammy Packard, who was the last surviving participant of the meeting which formed NASCAR, died at his home here Sunday morning. Packard, 83, was part of Bill France Sr.’s stock-car summit meeting held at the Streamline Hotel in December 1947. He built, owned and raced cars throughout his career. The passion for speed and the sport of racing was evidenced by his frequent hospital visits. “Never expected to last this long,” Packard told the News-Journal in February. “Figured if I got to 60 I’d be lucky. I got banged up several times. Been in the hospital 27 times . . . no reason I should be here. “There were a few racing accidents, and some regular hospital stuff — ulcers, took my spleen out, motorcycle accidents, broken legs and things like that.” Before health problems slowed him down, Packard owned a race shop in South Daytona where he specialized in rebuilding vintage midget and sprint cars. More recently, Packard could be found in his garage at home, working on a midget car his daughter Priscilla races in vintage races around the state. At some of those vintage shows, Packard could not resist the urge to compete and would buckle into his 1950s-era vintage sprint car. “We’re listed as an exhibition, but you don’t put an old race driver in a car and tell him to take it easy,” he said. “We’re not supposed to be racing, but we are.” Packard was from the Northeast, living in Rhode Island, but he raced all over the country. His specialty was running midget cars throughout New England, but he’d also come south to drive Daytona’s beach-road course in the late 1930s. When he came here to race in the late 1930s, he would moonlight as a mechanic at France’s Main Street gas station. One reason Packard liked to race here, other than the unusual course and nice winter weather, was that Daytona always paid the advertised purse. Packard had been burned several times by fly-by-night racing promoters of the day. Paying competitors the promised purse was a major topic of discussion at the meeting which formed NASCAR. “What we discussed was getting money put in the bank before a race, so the promoter couldn’t skip out on us,” Packard said. “That seemed to be one of the main problems we were having. We’d get done running somewhere, and the promoter would skip town with the money. It happened to me several times.” While the issue of payment was important to Packard, he didn’t have much to say at the meeting, even though he and two other racers drove here from Rhode Island to participate. “I didn’t have a helluva lot to say. I was more or less a listener,” Packard said. “I ended up being the representative of the New England area, which was nothing, because there was no NASCAR up there and I was the only person who knew about it.” Of course now NASCAR has become a big-league sport on par with the NFL or MLB. Packard watched the sport grow from club racers to corporate giants over the last 50 years. “Nobody expected anything like this,” he says. “It’s grown way out of proportion. It’s taken everything away from the garage man. Now, you have to be a millionaire to even think about getting into it. My sponsorships used to be $25 and $50. And you were glad to get it. “The idea in the beginning was to take care of the drivers at the smaller tracks because that’s all we had.” As the last surviving member of the meeting that formed NASCAR, Packard gained a degree of notoriety, especially when NASCAR celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998. “It makes you know you’re gonna die before too long, when you know everybody around you is dead,” he says. “It gives the facts of life to you.” Funeral arrangements are pending.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-24-2003)

 


(3-23-2003)

 

  • Busch wins the Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway: #97-Kurt Busch backed up his 2002 win at Bristol with one Sunday, his first win of 2003 after having three 2nd’s this year. Teammate #17-Matt Kenseth was 2nd, #18-Bobby Labonte finished 3rd in his purple car. Four of the top five cars were powered by Roush Racing. The Unofficial Top Ten and stats, cautions and notes see my Food City 500 Race Info Page:
    Result Links at: Jayski – Bristol Results and
    ThatsRacin.comNASCAR.com Motorsports One.(3-23-2003)
  • Andretti still looking to do Coke 600/Indy 500 double: John Andretti still has no firm plans to run in the Indianapolis 500 this season and by his estimation, time is running out. Andretti wants to return to Indy, where he last raced in 1994 when he did both the 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. He’d like to make it happen this year so he can compete one last time against his cousin, Michael, who is retiring after the May 25th race. But he doesn’t have a sponsorship deal in place and running at Indy is contingent on him putting a package together that includes partners from his Winston Cup team at Petty Enterprises. “I’d say at one time it was 60-40 that I’d run Indy and now the chances are more like 50-50,” he said. “It’s looking more likely that it will happen next year instead of this year.” Andretti has not driven an Indy car since 1994, and although he’s confident he hasn’t forgotten any of the nuances, he wants to have a deal in place in time for him to test the car at the end of April. “There’s a lot of last-minute deals that go on with the Indy 500 and I’ve certainly been involved in my share of them,” he said. “But I’d like to test the car, get in it and get an idea of what I’ve got.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-23-2003)
  • Sad News: Tommy Moon, whose success as a race car driver made him a fan favorite in Jacksonville, FL in the late 1940s and early 1950s before being paralyzed during a 1954 race, died Thursday evening at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. He was 77. A life-long Jacksonville resident and the recipient of the Purple Heart, Moon was the oldest-licensed NASCAR driver and among the first inductees of the Jax Raceways Hall of Fame in ’91. He was honored at the ’93 Daytona 500 with a parade lap around the track, in which he received a standing ovation. A viewing for Moon will be held from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Town & Country Funeral Home on Normandy Boulevard. The funeral is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the same location. Moon, who was one of the thousands of U.S. soldiers to storm Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, received the Purple Heart after getting shot while on duty in Brest, France. With the help of his father, Thomas Henry “Pop” Moon, Tommy began his racing career after returning to Jacksonville following the war. Moon’s career was cut short when he was paralyzed during a 10-lap heat race at Jax Raceways in October of 1954. Moon was involved in a nine-car accident that sent his ’37 Ford rolling on its side before getting hit by a second car. His spinal cord was severed during the accident, leaving him unable to walk or race again. Two years after the accident, Moon became the second person ever presented with a lifetime membership to NASCAR. Red Vogt, who was one of the most successful mechanics during the 1940s and 1950s, was the first person given a lifetime membership.(Florida Times Union). Moon ran in 10 Cup races, winning a pole and having a top 5 and 3 top 10’s.(3-23-2003)
  • Petty 2003 Ride Details: Kyle Petty’s ninth annual Charity Ride Across America is scheduled for Sunday morning, June 22, through Saturday afternoon, June 28. The motorcycle caravan will help raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp being built by the Petty family on 60 acres near Randleman, NC. The ride will leave from Palm Springs, Calif., and make six overnight stops: Sedona, Ariz.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Amarillo, Texas; Shreveport, La.; Biloxi, Miss.; and Tallahassee, Fla. It will end at the Dale Earnhardt Legacy concert at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. This year’s ride is the first not to start from near a Winston Cup venue. The first two rides headed eastward after races at Sears Point Raceway at Sonoma, Calif. The third ride left from the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and the next three from the California Speedway at Fontana. The 2001 and 2002 rides left from the Sonoma area.(Daily Press)(3-23-2003)
  • Birthplace of Speed Centennial Celebration: On Friday, March 28, Daytona’s racing history will come full circle with the return of the vintage vehicles that jump-started their motorsports history, which stretches back 100 years, Birthplace of Speed Centennial Celebration. This celebration of speed and sand actually begins Wednesday, when the City of Ormond Beach, FL opens and dedicates it’s Birthplace of Speed Park at the intersection of A1A and Granada Boulevard. The following day will feature a classic car exhibit divided between Fortunato Park and The Casements. Some of the cars will make their way to the beach for parade laps. Then on Friday, racing returns to the beach for the first time since 1958. The Antique Auto Beach Races program starts at 11:00am/et and continues until 3:00pm/et. It will have a carnival-like atmosphere, including an antique airplane fly-over and a parade lap of participants.(Full Story at the Daytona Beach News Journal and see the site: www.centennialofspeed.com for full Celebration info)(3-23-2003)
  • Underbird to North Carolina: Alan Kulwicki’s “Underbird,” the #7 Ford he drove the day he won the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup title, is settling into a new nest, its owner says. Larry Bean, who restored the car, plans to move it from its current home in Daytona Beach, Fla., to the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville next week. That the car will arrive in its home just in time for the 10th anniversary of Kulwicki’s death in an April 1, 1993, plane crash, is purely coincidental, Bean said.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), see more info on the car at www.underbird.com.(3-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Contrary to some reports the #7 Underbird will NOT be at the track or do the victory lap, the car that will do the Polish victory lap is a 2nd #11 Hooters Memorial Ford [2003 model, not 1992]. Kulwicki’s real race car sits at Larry and Pam Bean’s home in Daytona, staged for transport to a new display at the North Carloina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville, NC [Jayski was there in Dec 2002, what a great place] and the Bean’s were not invited to participate in the Bristol ceremonies.(3-23-2003)
  • Sharpie Donation: Sharpie is donating $1 (up to $5,000) for every signature collected at the designated autograph area at BMS using new Sharpie metallic silver markers. The money is being raised for Sullivan East High School. Along with Winston Cup star Kurt Busch, Sharpie kicked off the weekend fundraising program on Thursday at the Bluff City school and delivered $10,000 worth of school supplies. Sharpie will be conducting the event this morning from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. outside of turn four at the Rubbermaid Block Party. In October and November of last year, East was closed due to a hazardous black mold problem. BMS allowed the school’s 1,100-plus student body along with teachers and administrators to use its facilities as a makeshift classroom.(Johnson City Press)(3-23-2003)
  • Pre-Race Victory Lap UPDATE: before the start of the Food City 500 at Bristol, Chris Duncan, son of Dan Duncan, one of those killed in the airplane crash that killed 1992 Cup champ, Alan Kulwicki on April 1st, 1993, will drive the #11 Memorial Hooters Show car around the track, backwards, doing a Polish Victory Lap, made famuous my Kulwicki when he won his first Cup race at Phoenix in 1988.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(3-21-2003)
    UPDATE: Contrary to some reports the #7 Underbird will NOT be at the track or do the victory lap, the car that will do the Polish victory lap is a 2nd #11 Hooters Memorial Ford [2003 model, not 1992]. Kulwicki’s real race car sits at Larry and Pam Bean’s home in Daytona, staged for transport to a new display at the North Carloina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville, NC [Jayski was there in Dec 2002, what a great place] and the Bean’s were not invited to participate in the Bristol ceremonies.(3-23-2003)


    (3-22-2003)

  • Congrats to ESPN’s Mike Massaro and wife Kristin on a new addition to the family, Anthony Joseph, born on Wednesday, a motorsports writer names his son A.J., seems fitting.(3-22-2003)
  • Benson To Drive Eagle One Paint Scheme At Richmond: Johnny Benson will drive the #10 Eagle One Wax-As-U-Dry paint scheme at Richmond International Raceway on May 3rd. Valvoline’s Eagle One brand includes premium waxes, polishes and cleaners. Wax-As-U-Dry is a much easier way to wax your vehicle. Wax As-U-Dry is specifically designed to wax your car as you dry it. A special blend of water reactive polymers and waxes provides that just hand waxed look in one simple spray-on formula that saves time and effort (MBV PR). See an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-22-2003)
  • Goo Goo for Rusty UPDATE: hearing that #2-Rusty Wallace will feature a Goo Goo Dolls (rock band) scheme at Chicago in July.(3-20-2003)
    UPDATE: see an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-22-2003)
  • #99 Darlington Engine Problem Found: Paul Andrews, crew chief for #99-Jeff Burton, says that a problem with the bearings caused Burton’s engine to blow during last weekend’s race at Darlington. “The bearings are coated and it looks like something with the coating might have messed up the bearings,” Andrews said. That batch of bearings was in all the Bristol engines at Roush Racing, forcing the team to change the bearings in all its Bristol cars this week.(Roanoke Times)(3-22-2003)
  • Final TV Ratings for Darlington: Final Nielsen Media Research figures show that Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 Winston Cup race from Darlington drew 2 percent more viewers than a year ago. Figures in today’s Sports Business Daily show that the race drew a 5.9 rating and 15 share, up from 5.8/14 last year. The Daily says the race was viewed by some 9.3 million people, and MotorsportsTV.com notes that it was the fifth straight week that a Winston Cup race was the nation’s most-watched weekend sports event. MotorsportsTV.com also noted that Fox’s average 6.5/16 this year (up 7 percent over 2002) means that it draws more viewers than the next two sports this season combined, the PGA with 3.4/8 and the NBA with a 2.9/7.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-22-2003)
  • DW vs Jeff Burton? Apparently there’s a bit of ill-will between TV’s Boogety, Boogety, Boogety-man, Darrell Waltrip, and Winston Cup driver Jeff Burton. Waltrip’s ire stems from comments made by Burton during Darlington rain delay coverage. Burton, who is among the best analysts in the sport, commented that driving these cars now takes everything that a driver can muster; and that drivers are up on the wheel for every foot of every race. Waltrip, at the time of Burton’s comment, fired back that modern day cars have power steering and air conditioning. Waltrip’s day, which was quite a while before he retired in 1999, saw him drive real cars, with manual steering and no spoilers. Apparently, Waltrip talked about Burton’s comments all week with anyone who would listen. The disagreement appears to be on par with countless other generation gap issues, when the old guard reminds the youngsters, how hard things were in the past.(Ford Racing Correspondent)(3-22-2003)
  • DW on Weaties Box UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip of Franklin will be featured on an upcoming Wheaties box as part of General Mills’ Legends of Racing Series.(Tennessean)(3-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Wheaties announced today the release of a new special-edition package honoring auto racing legend Darrell Waltrip. One of the most dominant drivers of his time — he was named NASCAR’s Driver of the Decade for his dominance in the 1980s — this racing champion with 84 Winston Cup victories will now be featured on The Breakfast of Champions.(full story at Allwaltrip.com)(3-22-2003)

  • Gordons’ divorce costly and aggravating, Evernham says: Car owner Ray Evernham said his fight to keep his records away from lawyers for Brooke Gordon has already cost him $18,000 – and climbing. The fact that Jeff Gordon’s divorce is costing him money doesn’t make Evernham real happy. “It’s cost me a lot of time and a lot of money and the bottom line is this is between Jeff and Brooke and I don’t want to get in the middle of it,” Evernham said. Evernham was Gordon’s crew chief when the driver won three of his four Winston Cup titles and was also the best man at his wedding to the former Miss Winston model. Brooke Gordon filed for divorce last year and her lawyers have asked to see records from most Winston Cup teams to evaluate Gordon’s worth and potential earnings.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-22-2003)
  • Not NASCAR but pretty interesting for local TX racers: Terry Dickerson can’t think of a better way to open the season than with a big event. And he can’t think of a bigger racing event in Texas to be associated with than the upcoming NASCAR Winston Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. So Dickerson, the promoter at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas, has come up with a one-of-a-kind promotion. On Lone Star’s opening night Saturday, he will offer 24 drivers the chance to be part of the big weekend at TMS – even if it is in a support race for a support race. The top 24 finishers in Saturday’s IMCA modified feature race at Lone Star will race in an IMCA support event for the O’Reilly World of Outlaws at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on March 28-29. The Winston Cup race will be held at TMS on March 30.(Dallas Morning News – may need to register to read)(3-22-2003)
  • Ramblings – Bristol: Ryan Newman left ’em all shaking their heads and with their mouths wide open after he toured Bristol Motor Speedway in 14.908 sec (128.709)….that’s more than 2 mph quicker than the previous record. The second pole of the season (he’s our first repeater of the year in that category), and 9th of his Winston Cup career came at the expense of Jeff Gordon, and by a whopping .16 of a second. Ken Schrader (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at Rockingham in February of 2002. Rusty Wallace (4th) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the pole at Dover last September. Terry Labonte (17th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Richmond last September. Tony Raines (22nd) had his best qualifying run since he started 17th at Dover last June. Derrike Cope (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Daytona in February of 2000. With the exception of Newman, we had the typical close qualifying we expect to see at this venue. Two sets of ties….Johnny Benson & Jeff Green for 20th and 21st, and Kyle Petty and Brett Bodine for 32nd and 33rd [ties go to the highest in Owners Points].
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 4 Top-5 starts in a row. Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
    A Trouble Train of two this weekend….Larry Foyt and Hermie Sadler. It’s the second DNQ for both this season.
    On the provisional front Matt Kenseth, Dale Jarrett, Casey Mears, Kenny Wallace, Todd Bodine, Jack Sprague, and John Andretti gobbled up the freebies. For Sprague, it’s his third of the year….something that may come back to haunt him in a couple weeks. He’s clear thru ‘Dega, but after that event he’d be out to lunch for seven races.(Stock Car Fans Newsletters)(3-22-2003)


    (3-21-2003)

  • Newman sets new Track Record at Bristol qualifying: #12-Ryan Newman didn’t just break the Track Qualifying Record he crushed it (it was 127.216mph), winning the Bud Pole with a speed of 128.709mph, first ever Cup lap under 15 seconds. Newman is the first driver in 2003 to win more then one pole (in 6 races). #24-Jeff Gordon will start on the outside pole with a speed of 127.343, way over a mile an hour behind Newman. Nice run by #49-Ken Schrader who qualfied 3rd. Five of the first seven cars are Dodges. The Points Leader, #17-Matt Kenseth and #88-Dale Jarrett had to use provisionals to make the race. Missing the race were #02-Hermie Sadler and #14-Larry Foyt. #16-Greg Biffle was the highest qualifying rookie of the year candidate who ran 126.005 and will start 15th, and even though he got very little mention, rookie #74-Tony Raines will start 22nd after a run of 125.740.
    see my Bristol Qualifying Page (got all my mistakes fixed DOH!) for speeds, practice speeds, lineup links, pole progression, etc.(3-21-2003)
  • Shawna Robinson in a Toyota: Part-time NASCAR driver Shawna Robinson will participate in the 27th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race April 12 on the 1.99-mile street course in Long Beach, CA. Robinson will join Supercross legend Jeremy McGrath, Angie Everhart (actress and former model), Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 astronaut), Picabo Street (Olympic alpine skiing champion), Adam Carolla (co-host of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show”) and Peter Reckell (‘Bo Brady’ on NBC’s soap opera “Days of Our Lives”), among others. As part of the race event, Toyota will help raise more than $100,000 for “Racing for Kids,” a nonprofit program benefiting Southern California children’s hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-21-2003)
  • Emmy’s: the 2002 Sports Emmy Nominations have been announced. Five nominations for NASCAR related events:
    Outstanding Live Events: NASCAR on NBC/TNT
    Outstanding Techincal Team Remote: NASCAR on NBC/TNT
    Outstanding Editing: NASCAR on Fox, Teases and Bumpers
    Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound: NASCAR on Fox
    Outstanding Studio Show – Daily: Totally NACCAR on Fox Sports Net.(Emmy Site/PR)(3-21-2003)
  • Testing at Texas Thursday: #88-Dale Jarrett and #29-Kevin Harvick, who have both visited Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway, brought the curtain down on a busy week of testing Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway. Jarrett ran a pair of UPS Fords through their paces during the cool, windy day.. Harvick also tested a pair of GM Goodwrench Chevrolets, one brand new. Both drivers focused on race-day setups during the majority of the test.. Unofficial speeds were in the 184 mph range although Harvick hit 186 mph during one of his sessions.(TMS PR – no speeds reported)(3-21-2002)

    (3-20-2003)

  • So…what is up with Lake Speed? Five years after injuries forced him to retire from Winston Cup, Lake Speed is enjoying a second life in auto racing, thanks to the recent Vintage Car trend. Speed was the guest speaker Wednesday night for the Emmanuel Baptist Church Outreach Ministry at the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club. His appearance was part of the I-40 program, which is based on the biblical book of Isaiah 40, verses 30-31. Now retired and living in Kannapolis, N.C., where he operates a real estate business, Speed, 55, talked of returning to the sport he loves to compete in road races for older Winston Cup cars.(Elizabethton Star)(3-20-2003)
  • Milestone: #30-Jeff Green is scheduled to make is 100th career Winston Cup start at Bristol Motor Speedway.(3-20-2003)
  • Up Front at Bristol Important: At Bristol Motor Speedway, starting position is more important than one might think. Despite the fact the racing is extremely close-quarters with positions changing constantly throughout the field, it pays to start close to the front. In the previous 84 NASCAR Winston Cup races at BMS, only 13 times has the winner started outside the top 10; 32 times the race winner has started on the front row.(NASCAR PR)(3-20-2003)
  • Square Pants for Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to run a Sponge Bob Square Pants paint scheme at Daytona in July for the Pepsi 400.(3-20-2003)
  • Hendrick Teams To Carry Patriotic Decal: In support of American soldiers at home and abroad, the NASCAR teams of Hendrick Motorsports will display patriotic artwork on the “C-post” of their Chevrolet Monte Carlo race cars beginning with this week’s events at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. “During these turbulent times, it’s especially important that we show support for the men and women of the United States military,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “This is a small gesture to show that our thoughts and prayers are centered around these brave individuals and their families.” In the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, the decals will be carried on the #5 Kellogg’s / got milk? Chevy of Terry Labonte, the #24 DuPont Chevy of Jeff Gordon, the #25 UAW-Delphi Chevy of Joe Nemechek and the #48 Lowe’s Chevy of Jimmie Johnson. The #5 GMAC Financial Services Chevy of Busch Series driver Brian Vickers will also display the design, which depicts a yellow ribbon wrapped around the American flag.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-20-2003)
  • Will Microsoft replace Winston as NASCAR sponsor? UPDATE: The search for a new title sponsor for the Winston Cup Series continues with the sanctioning body looking at companies who have previously lacked an affiliation with the sport and lack “baggage”. There are hints that Microsoft is a primary target, as is an as yet unnamed insurance company, with 2005 being the likely year for the introduction of a new sponsor. One thing you can bet on, the title “Winston Cup Series” will go away, despite the fact NASCAR owns the rights to the term “Winston Cup.”(AutoRacing1.com – need subscription to read/Stan Creekmore, NASCAR Editor)(3-15-2003)
    UPDATE: Rumors of interest by Microsoft as a potential new series sponsor for the Winston Cup Series appear to be wishful thinking, or so say marketing types involved in the sports marketing business. Microsoft’s experience with NASCAR dates back to 2001’s Ultimate TV program. That program featured a handful of drivers, at-track displays and fan programs in support of a device that allowed the viewer to select television programs on-demand. According to industry sources, Microsoft was not satisfied with the results of that program, and may not be ready to launch new marketing initiatives in the sport.(Ford Racing)(3-20-2003)
  • Yates teams get an assoc sponsor: Robert Yates Racing, which fields cars driven by #38-Elliott Sadler and #88-Dale Jarrett, has added Winner International as an associate sponsor. The deal involves The Club and a new WI product, Juice Batteries. The associate sponsorship program marks Winner’s first foray into NASCAR driver or team sponsorship.(NASCAR PR)(3-20-2003)
  • #30 Fastest at Darlington: The pit crew of the #30 AOL Jeff Green Chevy, owned by Richard Childress Racing, took first-place honors for eligible teams in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Sunday’s (March 16) NASCAR Winston Cup Race – Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Green spent the least amount of time on pit road — 286 seconds, edging Kurt Busch’s #97 Roush Racing Ford by three seconds. During each 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points event, the participating team whose car spends the least amount of aggregate time off the race track will be named the weekly winner provided the team’s driver takes the green flag at the beginning of the event and the checkered flag at the conclusion of the event. The team that records the most points during the season will receive a $200,000 bonus at the end of the year. The point distribution per race is: 43 points for first place, descending in increments of one.
    The McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade is the largest monetary contingency program in NASCAR history and the first to reward pit crews for performance at each race.
    Top 10 Pit Crews For Participating Teams In Sunday’s Carolina Dodge 400 at Darlington Raceway:
    1. Jeff Green, 286 seconds
    2. Kurt Busch, 289
    3. Michael Waltrip, 289
    4. Elliott Sadler, 291
    5. Dave Blaney, 295
    6. Bill Elliott, 296
    7. Dale Jarrett, 300
    8. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 339
    9. Ricky Rudd, 344
    10. Steve Park, 364
    2003 Winners of The McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade:
    Michael Waltrip team — Daytona (Feb. 16)
    Dave Blaney team — Rockingham (Feb. 23)
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. team — Las Vegas (March 2)
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. team — Atlanta (March 9)
    Jeff Green team – Darlington (March 16) (DMF Communications PR)(3-20-2003)
  • Special Elliott/Mayfield schemes? UPDATE 3: hear there will be some sort of special #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jermey Mayfield schemes, some sort of special Dodge program, but not sure what or where yet.(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing it could be a Simpson’s (TV Show and Jayski Fave) scheme, not sure what for or when.(2-22-2003)
    UPDATE 2: not the Simpsons, but a promotion scheme for the movie, “2 Fast 2 Furious”.(2-28-2003)
    UPDATE 3: been told that the Mayfield/Elliott “2 Fast 2 Furious” diecast program has been canceled by Action and that it probably also means they will not run the promotion on the #9 and #19.(3-20-2003)


    (3-19-2003)

  • Hermie Sadler gets a sponsor: At a press conference held on the State Capitol Grounds, NASCAR team owner and driver Hermie Sadler, in concert with the Honorable Mark R. Warner, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, announced today the formation of a racing partnership between Sadler Motorsports and four of Virginia’s universities. The two-year program, known as “GO Team VA”, has Virginia Tech, The University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and James Madison University teaming up to compete in a minimum of six NASCAR Winston Cup Series events in both 2003 and 2004. Each race will feature a different paint scheme, allowing all four schools their very own Winston Cup Car design. Certain races will simply feature a Go Team VA design. The first race for the GO Team VA program is March 23, 2003 at Bristol Motor Speedway, and will feature the colors of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Sadler commented on the program’s unique structure.. “Go Team VA is excitement! It brings together two of the most exciting categories of sport: Winston Cup Stock Car Racing and College Athletics in a state that is crazy about both.” Virginia plays host to six NASCAR Winston Cup Events, the largest number of Winston Cup events held in any one state. Governor Warner and the schools are equally excited about the program for various reasons; the exposure for the schools, the experience it will bring to the students, and of course the additional exposure for the state. Said Gov. Warner, “This great program has no monetary cost to the schools, which is all the more attractive during lean fiscal times. Also, students from the schools marketing and public relations colleges programs get a chance to learn more about the business of sports marketing at the NASCAR level.” Go Team VA also operates a website (www.GoteamVA.com). The site offers supporters the chance to join the Go Team VA Motorsports Club. Members can participate in a fantasy racing game and will be automatically entered into all of the special promotions that will be run at each university, as well as other special events. Prizes offered will include pit passes at races, a day of golf in Emporia with Hermie and Elliott Sadler, tickets to collegiate sporting events, standing on the sidelines at football games, WWE Wrestling tickets. and more.(Go Team VA PR), the #02 To Team VA plans to race at (per their site):
    March 23rd, Bristol, Virginia Tech;
    April 13th Martinsville, GoTeam VA
    May 3rd, Richmond, Go Team VA;
    August 23rd Bristol, Univ. Of Virgnia;
    September 6th Richmond, Virginia Tech;
    October 11th, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, James Madison;
    October 19th, Martinsville, Va. Commonwealth;.(3-19-2003)
  • Lopping off some of the spoiler coming? #2-Rusty Wallace says that NASCAR’s John Darby will cut half an inch or so off the rear spoiler “within the next six weeks.” That timetable would point toward an aerodynamics change at either the fast two-mile California track April 27 or the 3/4-mile Richmond track the following week.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2003)

    (3-18-2003)

  • Closest Finishes UPDATE: Margin Winner Runner-up Track Date
    .002 Ricky Craven Kurt Busch Darlington March 16, 2003
    .005 Dale Earnhardt Ernie Irvan Talladega July 25, 1993
    .006 Kevin Harvick Jeff Gordon Atlanta March 11, 2001
    .010 Dale Earnhardt Bobby Labonte Atlanta March 12, 2000
    .025 Jimmy Spencer Bill Elliott Talladega July 24, 1994.(CNNSI)(3-17-2003)
    BUT: the 1995 UMI NASCAR Press Guide has the Pepsi 400 in July of 1994 being only .008 seconds margin of victory, Jimmy Spencer won and Ernie Irvan was the runner up, so that whould be 4th. These are for races since electronic scoring started being used in the early 1990’s.(3-18-2003)
  • Students hosted at Bristol: Several Sullivan County, Tennessee, schools are out on Friday, and Cheez-It will host more than 4,000 of the area students as Cheez-It Pole Day special guests. Each student that attends Sullivan Central High School, or the Blountville, Holston, Bluff City, Holston Valley or Mary Hughes middle schools will receive a free Cheez-It Pole Day ticket from Cheez-It. AND When, because of a black mold problem, Sullivan East High School moved its classes from its school building to Bristol Motor Speedway’s luxury skyboxes, BMS President Jeff Byrd promised the students that the Channellock 250 would be a special day for the so-called “BMS High” students. All 1,200 students, faculty and staff members and their guests will attend Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series event. The school will provide a color guard and its choral department ensemble for special presentation of The Star Spangled Banner. The weekend’s souvenir program includes a story about the BMS High experience, penned by Sullivan East sophomore Anthony Milhorn. He will be recognized during the Channellock 250 pre-race show. The cover of the 2003 Food City 500 Official Souvenir Program takes on a patriotic flavor with “Old Glory” waving behind the racing machines of Jeff Gordon, a four-time Food City 500 winner; Dale Earnhardt, Jr., vying for his first Bristol victory; and Kurt Busch, Food City 500 defending champion. In addition to the valuable fan information and full-page color photos, with purchase of a souvenir program fans will receive a 1:64 scale die-cast car and a full-color lineup sheet for both the Food City 500 and the Channellock 250. Programs cost $10 and they will be available at the numerous program kiosks located throughout speedway property.(BMS PR)(3-18-2003)
  • Crew Chief change at the #29? hearing that former #30 RCR crew chief, Todd Berrier will be the new crew chief for the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy at RCR effective immediately. Supposedly former crew chief Gil Martin has been named #29 Team manager and Martin has been pushing for the move and to hire Berrier for the #29 team for a while.(3-17-2003)
    UPDATE: Totally NASCAR has confirmed a crew change within the #29 Winston Cup team. Todd Berrier becomes Kevin Harvick’s crew chief. Berrier and Harvick teamed up for the 2001 Busch title. Gil Martin moves to team manger.(FoxSports)(3-18-2003)
  • Goodyear NOT leaving NASCAR: Goodyear Officials say there’s nothing to talk about the company looking for a way out of NASCAR, a topic of speculation over the weekend. Adding fuel to the fire was an ad buy by Michelin on the FOX broadcast, making Michelin a presenting sponsor of the event. Goodyear has been in the financial wringer the past few months, with financial losses, layoffs, and a much-publicized reorganization. The last Goodyear was in trouble, during the 1987-88 buyout attempt, [NASCAR’s Bill] France reached for the phone and invited Hoosier Tire into the game, setting off two costly tire wars (1988-89 and 1993-94). There was speculation that Michelin’s ad play arose, perhaps, from just such an invitation, with NASCAR seeking to ensure a reliable supply of tires. According to Goodyear, not so. Goodyear’s contract with NASCAR as exclusive supplier is through 2007 and was renewed last fall. Michelin? “They’re a South Carolina company [U.S. operations based in Greeneville, S.C.], and that’s just the way they play,” marketing director Rick Heinrich said Friday. “They like to jab at us. We’ll jab back when the time is right.”(Speed Channel)(3-18-2003)
  • Petree back to racing…in the Trucks: Andy Petree hasn’t lost his focus on continuing his strong NASCAR Winston Cup stock car racing program. The winning veteran car owner will also continue his “hands-on” experience, and is driving in Sunday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Mesa Marin Raceway. Monaco Coaches, which sponsored Petree in the Daytona 500 and has enjoyed a corporate relationship with the team for several years, will sponsor Petree in this race, as well as some additional Truck races this season. “We’re still looking for sponsorship for the Winston Cup program, and we’re still working towards that every day,” Petree said. “But when that sponsorship comes about, we need to be ready to hit the ground running. Running these truck races gives our guys some time at the track and it gives us some information we can use for our car when we get back to racing.” Petree has run at the front in the Truck Series before. In his last outing as a driver – Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park in August – he led a large portion of the middle of the race, and ran in the top five through most of the night before a last-lap crash collected him. He qualified third and ran as a top 10 through most of April’s race at Martinsville. The last time the Monaco Coaches truck ran at all, Tony Stewart drove it to victory at Richmond, Va., in September. Petree said his organization was still fielding calls from potential Winston Cup sponsors. “Like I said, we’re talking to people every day, and we’re talking to anybody who wants to talk,” Petree said. “We didn’t build what we had by giving up, and we’re moving forward. We’re planning on continuing what we’ve built in Winston Cup, and continuing to build on a new Truck tradition too.” Monaco, a 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.(Williams Company PR)(3-18-2003)
  • Acts added to the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert: Add Hootie & The Blowfish and The Goo Goo Dolls to the list of acts playing at the inaugural Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert, a charity event being put on by Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa. The concert is set for June 28 at Daytona International Speedway and will be the first non-racing event to be held at the facility. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Dale Earnhardt Legacy Program, a charity that will donate money to children’s, wildlife and educational programs. Sheryl Crow, Kenny Chesney, Brooks and Dunn, and Alabama have also signed up for the event.(USA Today/AP), more info on my Racing Charities page.(3-18-2003)
  • NASCAR.com and Yahoo: Yahoo! unveiled its newest subscription service, Yahoo! Platinum (http://platinum.yahoo.com), a premium online video and audio service featuring branded programming from leading entertainment, sports and news providers for both broadband and narrowband consumers.. The new subscription service provides premium video and audio content from CBS’ Survivor Insider, FOX’s “American Idol”, NASCAR.com, CBS Sports’ coverage of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship through its Internet rights holder SportsLine.com, ABC News, CBS MarketWatch, and The Weather Channel among other providers. In coming weeks, Yahoo! Platinum plans to add programming from CNBC Dow Jones Business Video, National Geographic, Warren Miller Entertainment, and much more.
    NASCAR.com:. Provides access to live NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch series events, including GPS telemetry for Winston Cup races, leaderboard and scoring data, and in-car and broadcast audio. Subscribers can also access condensed versions of past Winston Cup races and thousands of NASCAR audio and video clips.
    At launch, for $9.95 per month, Yahoo! Platinum programming includes:. CBS’ SURVIVOR INSIDER, Fox’s “American Idol,” Discovery Networks, ABC News, CBS MarketWatch, The Weather Channel, “NASCAR Races to Go,” “NASCAR Race Day Audio,” and “Best of NASCAR” audio and video. For $16.95 per month, Yahoo! Platinum SportsPak features all 56 games from CBS Sports’ coverage of the first and second rounds and regional semi-finals of the 2003 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, broadcast for the first time ever on the Web beginning on March 18, 2003, through Internet rights holder SportsLine.com. Yahoo! Platinum SportsPak also features a robust offering from NASCAR including “Live Leaderboard,” “Pit Command,” “Races to Go,” “Race Day Audio,” and “Best of NASCAR” audio and video.(NASCAR PR in part)(3-18-2003)


    (3-17-2003)

  • Why no points for Brett Bodine? been asked why Brett Bodine got no drivers points for the race at Darlignton and the #57 Team CLR team go no owners points – they were classified by NASCAR as being ‘Post Entry’ [PE]. What does that mean? what it means is that a driver/owner is not eligible for any points as the race entry blank was received after the deadline which is normally 13 days before the race date.(3-17-2003)
  • Skinner safe in the #4: despite rumors floating around, NASCAR.com reports that after #4-Mike Skinner’s 11th place run at Darling, team owner Larry McClure was able to put to rest rumors that circulated in the Darlington garage that Skinner was on his way out as driver of the #4 Kodak Pontiac. “We’re not looking at anybody else,” McClure said. “I’ve heard everybody questioning this, that and everything else. Look, every week that goes by I question what I do and what everybody else here has done. If you don’t win, you’d better do that.” Skinner ended 2002, his first season with MMM, 31st in points with a single top-10 finish. But McClure shuffled the deck by bringing in veteran mechanic Tony Furr as competition director and switching manufacturers, to Pontiac. “We’ve been behind and trying to catch up,” McClure said. “Mike’s a good race car driver and he can help us get there. Everybody’s just got to be focused. I’m not out here looking for another race car driver. Tony Furr came over here and we only had about three or four cars started and he’s made an impact. We’re going to keep going. I think everything’s going good. As far as saying that Mike’s not going to be here — I’m not going to say that. All I’m saying is we’ve got to perform. Let me tell you how this deal works,” McClure said. “Everybody that works on that race car is in jeopardy because we’ve got to perform. Whatever opportunity is in front of us, we’ve got to perform. Well, we got an 11th place finish, but we all knew we were capable of better.(NASCAR.com)(3-17-2003)
  • Darlington TV Ratings: Fox’s broadcast of yesterday’s Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 Winston Cup race at Darlington Raceway was the weekend’s top sports draw on television, today’s Sports Business Dailyreports. The Daily says overnight Nielsen figures show the race with a 5.5 rating and a 13 share, well ahead of the 5.0/9 that CBS drew for the second-highest rated sports show, its coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament selections. Final figures from last year showed the race with a 5.8/14 on Fox, which was down from a 6.1/15 in 2001.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-17-2003)
  • Trio of drivers a focus in reality TV effort: Cable network FX has trimmed its list of likely participants in a NASCAR reality-based TV show to three drivers and their teams – rookie Jamie McMurray, third-year driver Kevin Harvick and veteran Rusty Wallace, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Although contracts have yet to be finalized, FX officials plan to begin taping during the March 29 Winston Cup race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The TV show will air for seven weeks beginning in June on Friday nights on FX. Taping is to continue through the May race weeks at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, sources said. The show will allow FX to maintain a NASCAR presence in its programming while rivals NBC and TNT broadcast the second half of the Winston Cup season.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-17-2003)
  • Texas Testing this week and an announcement: on Wednesday, March 19th, there will be a special announcement regarding the upcoming Samsung/RadioShack 500 and O’Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. Teams have also scheduled final test sessions in preparation for Texas race week. Teams are scheduled for testing Monday-Wednesday, March 17-19. Drivers scheduled are as follows:
    Monday, March 17 – Busch Series:. Stanton Barrett. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18 and 19:
    Winston Cup Drivers: #2-Rusty Wallace, #5-Terry Labonte, #29-Kevin Harvick, #30-Jeff Green, #83-Kerry Earnhardt, #88-Dale Jarrett, #75?-David Starr.
    Busch Series Drivers: Troy Cline, Mike Wallace, Stanton Barrett, Kevin Grubb, Lance Norick.(TMS PR)(3-17-2003)
  • Special Paint for Labonte at Bristol: The Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 23 will feature the first special car design of the season for Kellogg’s / got milk? Racing. Terry Labonte’s #5 Chevy will highlight the Cheez-It brand and will sport a primarily red-and-orange paint scheme rather than the customary orange and blue.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see my Paint Scheme Gallery for images.(3-17-2003)
  • NASCAR’s Go-to Guys: NASCAR regularly called the late Dale Earnhardt over the radio during races and asked him to relay track information to the tower. So who are the go-to guys now? Rusty Wallace leads the pack, but Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett also are tuned into NASCAR’s “secret” frequency.(Sporting News)(3-17-2003)
  • Rumblings – Darlington: The win was Pontiac’s first of the season, and was worth $173,150 for Ricky Craven from the over $3.8M in posted awards. This victory also guarantees him a start in The Winston in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and moves him into a tie for 86th on the all-time win list. Kurt Busch gave it all he had, but had to settle for the brides maid’s spotagain. He’s had three runner-up finishes in the five events this season. Dave Blaney (3rd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best had been 6th, which he’d accomplished three times, the last being at Homestead last November. Greg Biffle (12th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 13th, which he’d done twice including last week at Atlanta. Ken Schrader (17th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Loudon last September. Brett Bodine (31st) had his best finish since he was 26th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October.
    STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in a row. Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator…UP: Ricky Craven (+30) runs the table and nabs the Operator of the Week award. He was followed by Joe Nemechek (+25), Ricky Rudd (+24), and Mark Martin (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Todd Bodine (-33), followed by Jerry Nadeau (-32), Sterling Marlin (-31), Jeff Gordon (-28), and Ward Burton (-22).(StockCarFans.Com)(3-17-2003)

 


(3-16-2003)

 

  • WOW! now that was a great race: #32-Ricky Craven won the The Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 is on at Darlington Raceway by a few inches [2/1000th’s of a second] with him and #97-Kurt Busch beating and banging the last lap, both slapping the wall a few times. Busch had no power steering the last 10 laps. It is Craven’s 2nd career Winston Cup win and he is the 40th driver to ever win a Cup race at Darlington [thanks Mike Joy]. It is the first career win for #32 Crew Chief Scott Miller and the first win by a single car team since Craven won in 2001. Crave last won at Martinsville in Oct 2001, 46 races ago. Busch has 3 top fives this year, all 2nds. #77-Dave Blaney was 3rd, his first ever top five finish in 116 races. Only 10 drivers finished on the lead lap. After a wild start, only 4 cars ended up in the garage. Kind of funny, the two best finishes this year so far are at the tracks rumored to lose their spring race dates [Rockingham and Darlington]. #17-Matt Kenseth keeps the points lead at 760, with #20-Tony Stewart at 703. If five races so far this season, there are five different pole winners and five different race winners. The top ten unofficial finishers:
    #32-Ricky Craven (1 Lap Led – The final one, by an inch or two)
    #97-Kurt Busch (23 laps led)
    #77-Dave Blaney
    #6-Mark Martin (71 laps led)
    #15-Michael Waltrip
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr (91 laps led – led the most laps)
    #38-Elliott Sadler (12 laps led)
    #17-Matt Kenseth
    #9-Bill Elliott
    #20-Tony Stewart
    Laps Leaders (11): #38-Sadler (12 laps led); #12-Newman (1); #7-Spencer (4); #8-Earnhardt Jr (91 led the most laps); #88-Jarrett (4); #31-Gordon (1); #6-Martin (71); #24-Gordon (79); #25-Nemechek (3); #97-Busch (24); #32-Craven (1-the final one);
    Cars on the lead lap: 11 (of 43 starters)
    Off track/out of race (4): #54-Bodine (out-accident); #99-Burton (out-engine); #74-Raines(out-accident); #43-Andretti(out-accident); #40-Marlin (out-accident);
    Cautions 7 for 33 laps
    Caution 7: Laps 237-242: Debris between turn turns 3 and 4.
    Caution 6: Laps 191-196: #7-Spencer and #43-Andretti got together, sending Andretti hard into the inside frontstretch wall, car is pretty much done, Andretti is OK.
    Caution 5: Laps 68-74: #12-Newman and #22-Burton were racing side by side in turn 2, Burton drifted up and they got together and both spun. The track sent the blowers out to clean off the debris on the track.
    Caution 4: Laps 34-39: #99-Burton and #20-Stewart got together, Burton is smoking badly, looks like he lost an engine which caused Stewart toget into him.
    Caution 3: Laps 24-28: #48-Johnson got into #40-Marlin, who then went into the wall, #18-Labonte spun out, then hit by #29-Harvick. This is a wild race so far.
    Caution 2: Laps 13-16: #0-Sprague spun around on the backstretch, didn’t hit anything.
    Caution 1: Laps 7-9: #01-Nadeau spun around, followed by a spin by #17-Kenseth after getting tapped by #42-McMurray, no damage reoirted. Nadeau was running 2nd at the time.

    NOTES: On lap 283, #24-Gordon went up the track and slapped the wall and #23-Wallace hit the car, but both drove off and continued. During caution 7 pit stops, #6-Martin’s car left with a missing lugnut and had to come back into the pits to get it put on. Green flag pit stops happened around lap 128-132 range, and again around laps 185-190. #01-Nadeau had an oil leak and had to pit as he was running 3rd, was smoking bad. #40-Marlin, #74-Raines came back out to the track on lap 68-69 range but went back into the garage after running a few laps. During caution 5, ALL the cars came in to pit except #31-Gordon who led a lap, then pitted. all the cars who were a lap down (#’s 14, 57 and #29 got their laps back when the yellow flag came out. Lots of contact between many of the cars so far as of lap 30. During caution 3 all but #88-Jarrett and #24-Gordon came in to pit. All but 17 cars came in to pit on the first caution.
    Re-Air: the race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, Mar 19th, 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, Mar 20th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Result Links at:
    ThatsRacin.comNASCAR.com or Motorsports One.(3-16-2003)

  • Whats the latest on the carbon monoxide problem? Managing Director of Competition Gary Nelson said NASCAR is making steady progress on dealing with carbon monoxide. The deadly gas, which is colorless, odorless and found in exhaust fumes, has left many drivers who have been exposed feeling nauseous. NASCAR ratcheted up its approach to the problem when Lexington, Va., native Rick Mast was forced to retire after being diagnosed with chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. Random testing of volunteer drivers to measure pre- and postrace levels of carbon monoxide has yielded nothing alarming throughout the year’s first four races, Nelson said. NASCAR crews and inspectors have been trained to be more vigilant in examining their cars for small cracks or improper seals that might allow carbon monoxide to seep into the cockpit. “We think we made the most progress talking to the crews and crew chiefs and training inspectors on what to look for,” Nelson said. “If they notice anything, they bring it to the crews’ attention. . . . We’ve made tremendous gains.” Engineers at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., also are working on a catalyst system to filter air inside the car. “The efficiency of the catalyst is dependent on the speed that the air flows through it,” Nelson said. “If you have contaminated air and you run it through this catalyst too fast, the catalyst doesn’t do the job. You run it through too slow, it doesn’t do the job. We’re trying to optimize that, and we’re very encouraged that we’re seeing results.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-16-2003)
  • Michelin? Goodyear in trouble? UPDATE: Winston Cup tire men are asking why Michelin was suddenly a NASCAR tour sponsor, something unexpected and unexplained. Goodyear has a contract to be the sole supplier of tires for NASCAR racing. But some teams are becoming worried about Goodyear’s financial problems and the possible impact that could have. Of all the things it takes to put on a race, tires are the most indispensable. And the last time Goodyear’s fate was in question – in the late 1980s when the company was a takeover target – NASCAR made a deal with Hoosier Tires’ Bob Newton to provide race tires.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-15-2003)
    UPDATE: the race at Darlington, the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, will be referred to by Fox TV as the NASCAR Winston Cup race Presented by Michelin – in yet another example of how sharp and bitter the TV advertising debate has gotten. Goodyear, the exclusive tire supplier to NASCAR, isn’t buying any TV ads, so Fox sold spots to archrival Michelin. To say that Goodyear men and Michelin men don’t get along is understatement. And the mere mention of Michelin in NASCAR has been such a surprise that it has raised speculation about what might lie ahead, given the financial troubles besetting Goodyear. And there has been no word from Dodge officials about the looming Fox snub, coming in front of a predicted TV audience of about 10 million today. It is the latest example of what appears to be an aggressive push by the New York TV network executives to squeeze out more advertising dollars. NASCAR insiders are pointing to that as perhaps one reason the sanctioning body appears to be having trouble signing a new fuel sponsor to replace Unocal. And TV pressure is considered a significant piece of the RJR sponsorship puzzle. If Goodyear, Reynolds and Unocal – three of NASCAR’s most loyal and longest running sponsors – all bite the dust; one NASCAR veteran puts it this way: “If we didn’t know who ran the sport before, we sure do now – the networks.” If NASCAR officials can find a company willing to put up the $40 million to $50 million a year in a long-term sponsorship deal to be the series titlist, replacing R.J. Reynolds, the TV networks are expected to demand at least $1 million a race in advertising fees to use that name in its telecasts. According to one New York advertising official, NASCAR is looking for a series sponsorship of $100 million a year for 15 years.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-16-2003)
  • Contingency Plans for travel and TV in case of war: With the country on the verge of war, NASCAR teams and officials are considering contingency plans for travel to Fort Worth, Talladega and Los Angeles in the coming weeks. “I know that became a concern when we went to Dover last year, and I’m sure at some of these tracks there will be different restrictions that come up,” Robbie Loomis, Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, said. “It’s a pretty stressful time on all the folks in the military and their families right now.” Fox is expected to put Winston Cup races on its FX cable if or when war begins.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of communications, also an Army veteran, addressed the topic of war and racing on Friday. “I have always felt that one of Bill France’s quotes was right on target on this subject,” Hunter said. “I can remember people asking ‘Bill, who are your fans?’ And he would say, ‘I’ll tell you who our fans are. They are the kind of people that win wars for you.’ And never has that been more true than today.” Hunter said NASCAR has monitored the expected showdown with Iraq for the last several months and has worked through several scenarios which includes postponing an event if necessary. “I don’t really want to speculate but certainly that would be an option and we’ve done it before,” Hunter said. “Just to arbitrarily do that, no. It depends on the circumstances, and what is best under those circumstances, not only what is best for the racing community but what is best for the country.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-16-2003)
  • Three engines go bad for Roush at Darlington? Car owner Jack Roush’s motor troubles keep mounting. He lost four engines in the Atlanta race last Sunday, and he’s lost three more already this weekend.(Winston Salem Journal), doesn’t say what three, the #97 lost one in practice Saturday, assume the other two are the ones that overheated in the Truck Series race [#50-Jon Wood and #99-Carl Edwards](3-16-2003)

    (3-15-2003)

  • Public Records Stuff: Florida’s daily newspapers will publish articles and editorials on Sunday reminding citizens of the state’s strong public records laws at a time lawmakers are proposing an increasing number of exemptions. Spearheaded by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation, 35 papers will participate in the “Sunshine Sunday” initiative, which began last year to stress the importance of maintaining an open government. The initiative comes at a time when lawmakers are seeking to tighten access to public records following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The most publicized measure limited public access to autopsy photos. That bill was initiated at the request of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt’s widow and was signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush just three weeks after it was introduced during the 2001 session.(Wilmington Star)(3-15-2003)
  • Dale Jr Helping Out: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. went “back to school” Wednesday at Orange County Speedway. Despite being in the heat of the Winston Cup points race, Earnhardt spent the day at the three-eighths mile asphalt oval in Rougemont, NC, helping T.J. Waters [actually last name is Majors], a Late Model Stock Car Division competitor for JR Motorsports, test his new Rick Townsend ride. Earnhardt, who made the trek up Wednesday morning from Mooresville, owns JR Motorsports and, from time to time, helps out with testing and preparations. “This is like going back to a high school reunion in a way for me,” Earnhardt said as he sat back in the Orange County Speedway office after taking a break for lunch. “It’s like going back to school. It’s something different. It’s fun for me and it’s a little more relaxing.” Waters, who is originally from Buffalo, N.Y., and Earnhardt are planning on traveling around this season to various tracks to compete against NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Late Model Stock Car competition. “He’ll run here a few times and move around from track-to-track,” Earnhardt said. Waters and Earnhardt initially met through the internet. “I used to practice racing on the computer some and we (Waters and Earnhardt) had some pretty good (computer) races back then,” Waters said shortly after climbing out of the car after turning in some qualifying laps. “That was back when (Earnhardt) was in his early days of (NASCAR) Busch (Series) racing. We became good friends and one thing led to another,” Waters added. “(Earnhardt) told me that if I wanted to move up in racing that I needed to move down this way.” Waters, who is 23-years-old, would like to someday join Earnhardt as a driver in the Winston Cup Series.(Courier Times and a story at the Herald Sun with the correct name)(3-15-2003)
  • Evernham to sponsor Late Model driver: Pennsylvania/New Jersey racing legend Billy Pauch, a career winner of 596 features, seeks his 11th Hagerstown victory today. Pauch plans to race Friday nights at Big Diamond Speedway near Pottsville, PA and Saturdays at New Egypt, NJ, where he’s the defending modified champion and winner of three of the last four titles there. Pauch’s son, Billy, a sophomore at Delaware Valley Regional High School, is getting into stock car racing for the first time this year in a big way. Young Pauch, a junior varsity wrestler at Del Val, moves from go-karts and slingshot car racing at Borger’s Speedway into a modified. Pauch is teamed with his dad to race at Big Diamond. The Pauches will drive modifieds powered by Dodge engines with Billy in a car sponsored by Ray Evernham, a NASCAR Winston Cup owner.(Express Times)(3-15-2003)
  • No Racing Back to the Yellow Flag? NASCAR’s drivers have had what they call a gentleman’s agreement not to race back to the yellow flag, except in certain situations where a driver is trying to get a lap back and is within a couple of car lengths of the leader. That agreement was designed with driver safety in mind.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-15-2003)
  • Will Microsoft replace Winston as NASCAR sponsor? The search for a new title sponsor for the Winston Cup Series continues with the sanctioning body looking at companies who have previously lacked an affiliation with the sport and lack “baggage”. There are hints that Microsoft is a primary target, as is an as yet unnamed insurance company, with 2005 being the likely year for the introduction of a new sponsor. One thing you can bet on, the title “Winston Cup Series” will go away, despite the fact NASCAR owns the rights to the term “Winston Cup.”(AutoRacing1.com – need subscription to read/Stan Creekmore, NASCAR Editor)(3-15-2003)
  • Spencer to drive a truck at Bristol in August: Jimmy Spencer will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut in an Ultra Motorsports Dodge in August at Bristol Motor Speedway. Team owner Jimmy Smith owns two Craftsman Truck Series Dodge teams for #1-Ted Musgrave and #2-Jason Leffler. The teams are housed in Mooresville, NC, with the #7-Sirius Dodge that Spencer drives in the Winston Cup Series.(NASCAR.com)(3-15-2003)
  • 2003 Owners Points Go In Effect: When it comes to parking transporters and using provisional starting positions in the field, this is the start of the 2003 race season. According to NASCAR rules the first four races of the season use the final points from the previous season to decide issues, including, where the teams park their transporters and where a team will start if they should need to dip into the provisional pool. The carry-forward system was devised to somewhat protect the teams who return year after year.(Ford Racing)(3-15-2003)
  • To the back #97 and #15 – scambles the top 10 a bit: #97-Kurt Busch blew an engine in the first Saturday practice, so he will fall back from his 6th place starting spot and go to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag. Busch took the car to the garage and walked to the hauler without comment. There were also rumors that #17-Matt Kenseth had lost an engine, but it ended up being some smoke only, he took it to the garage and got it repaired. Also, towards the end of Happy Hour, #15-Michael Waltrip hit the wall and will need to go to a backup and will have to fall from his 9th place starting spot to the rear of the field.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(3-15-2003)
  • Ramblings — Darlington: Elliott Sadler had ’em covered today….from the time the #38 M&M’s Ford rolled off the truck. He grabbed his first ever Bud Pole for Sunday’s Carolina Dodge Dealer 400 by almost a light year. His time of 28.902 seconds (170.147 mph) was 13/100th’s of a second quicker than his nearest competitor. If that doesn’t sound like much, the spread from 2nd to 12th was just a hair over 12/100th’s of a second! It wasn’t even close….. We’ve had a different pole winner for every event this season (that means we’re working on a 36 car field for next year’s Budweiser Shootout), and six different pole winners in a row (dating back to last season). Sadler’s previous best starting spot was on the outside pole at Texas Motor Speedway for last April’s 500 miler. Ryan Newman edged out the rest of the crowd and he’ll start outside the front row on Sunday.
    Jerry Nadeau (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Dover last June.
    Ward Burton (7th) has his best starting spot since he started 4th at Martinsville last October.
    Matt Kenseth (12th) had his best qualifying run since he started 9th at Atlanta last October.
    Terry Labonte (29th) has his best grid location since he started 23rd at Atlanta last October.
    STREAKIN….Michael Waltrip has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races.
    43 cars this week (by the skin of our teeth), so everybody makes the race and all provisionals are non-charged. The freebies go to: Jeff Burton, Joe Nemechek, Ricky Rudd, Kyle Petty, Tony Raines, Larry Foyt, and Brett Bodine. Bodine is in the #57 this week, and (according to Mike Joy…and he knows his stuff) is a post entry. That means no points (either driver or owner) will be awarded to that team this week. Larry Foyt has gotta be thankful for short fields. He’s only qualified on time for one event this year (31st at Las Vegas). He was a DNQ at Daytona, and has used provisionals at the three other races this season…but he’s only got one charged provisional so he’s in good shape in that category.(StockCarFans.com (Winston Cup) Newsletter)(3-15-2003)


    (3-14-2003)

  • Hooters To Run Memorial Car in Bristol To Honor Alan Kulwicki and Others Lost 10 Years Ago: Hooters Restaurants will run a memorial car in the NASCAR Winston Cup Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 23rd. The car is in honor of those lost in a tragic plane crash on April 1, 1993 heading to Bristol, which claimed the lives of NASCAR Winston Cup champion Alan Kulwicki, Mark Brooks (son of Hooters chairman Bob Brooks), Dan Duncan (Vice President of Motorsports Marketing for Hooters) and company pilot Charlie Campbell. The Bristol event marks the 10th Anniversary of the fallen champions. 2003 also marks the platinum anniversary of Hooters Restaurants. The first Hooters Restaurant opened 20 years ago in Clearwater, FL and was incorporated on April 1, 1983. The #11 Hooters Ford will run a special paint scheme of platinum (the 20th Anniversary is considered the platinum anniversary) and orange with the Hooters 20th Anniversary logo on the sides of the race car and a special Four Champions Memorial crest on the hood. The memorial crest displays the initials of the four men lost in the plane crash and features the slogan “We Race In Their Memory.”
    “It is a privilege to drive for Hooters again this year, but a very special honor to be able to run this particular paint scheme at Bristol to commemorate the fallen champions. To me, this is what racing is all about, celebrating milestones and remembering our heroes,” stated #11 driver Brett Bodine.
    A poster of the Hooters Bristol car with the memorial crest will support the significance of the commemorative car and will be available prior to race weekend at Hooters Restaurants across the country. The poster will also be sold at the Hooters team merchandise trailer in Bristol. Hooters has honored the memory of Alan Kulwicki and the others over the past 10 years in addition to the memorial crest and commemorative car. Each fall Hooters hosts the annual Hooters Memorial Cup Golf Tournament at White Water Country Club in Fayetteville, GA. This tournament has raised over $2 million for scholarships, which are named for the four individuals, to Clemson University’s Brooks Institute for Sports Sciences Study. Hooters also contributed $250,000 in the mid-1990’s to the development of Alan Kulwicki Park in his hometown of Greenfield, Wisconsin.(Brett Bodine Racing PR), see images of the car and poster on my Paint Scheme Gallery or #11 Team News and Links page.(3-14-2003)
  • Triplett resigns from NASCAR front office UPDATE: NASCAR managing director of business operations Kevin Triplett has resigned his position, effective in June, to move back home to Virginia and pursue other options, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter told NASCAR.com Thursday. During his decade-long tenure with the sanctioning body, Triplett has held many positions and is well respected in the industry. Triplett joined NASCAR in 1994 and spent three years as NASCAR Winston Cup Series media coordinator. In 1997, he was promoted to director of operations, and spent nearly four years in that role before receiving yet another promotion in October 2001, at which time he was elevated to managing director of business operations. In that role, Triplett oversaw schedules, sanctions, credentials, timing and scoring procedures, plan development, point fund management and personnel, as well as all other business aspects of the Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series A career in politics could be one of Triplett’s future plans. Triplett’s decision to step away shocked some, and could be the first of many high-profile moves in NASCAR’s rumored restructuring process. Inside sources say NASCAR is in the process of placing several key personnel in different roles to best suit their strong points. Among the candidates rumored to collectively assume Triplett’s responsibilities are NASCAR director of series marketing Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR director of administration George Silbermann — who also serves as chairman of the National Stock Car Racing Commission — Joe Garone, director of NASCAR’s research and development center, and Gary Smith, Craftsman Truck Series manager.(NASCAR.com)
    UPDATE: been told that Steve O’Donnell will become the Director of Business Operations, overseeing various areas such as marketing and promotion reviews, sponsor approvals and other business aspects of the Competition Department including credentialing and registration, schedules, point fund and purse management, etc.
    Gary Smith will become Director of Event Logistics and relocate to the Concord, NC Research and Development Center to oversee security, medical liaison program, track event prep and budget management.
    Jim Cassidy’s role as Administrative Operations Manager will expand to include working with Wayne Auton in overseeing day to day operations as well as events of the Craftsman Truck Series.
    Joe Garone will become the Director of Officiating.(3-14-2003)
  • Realtree and the #29? UPDATE: hearing Realtree, who sponsored Dave Marcis for years on the #71 car, will be on Kevin Harvick’s #29 GM Goodwrench as the primary or co-primary at an upcoming race.
    UPDATE: This special paint will run August 23rd at Bristol under the lights.(3-14-2003)
  • Medical Concern at Daytona: The possible suspension of emergency services at two major Central Florida trauma centers due to the state’s worsening medical liability crisis poses a serious threat to NASCAR drivers and fans, says a top official at the Daytona International Speedway. Lesa D. Kennedy, executive vice president of International Speedway Corp., said in a March 11 letter to Gov. Jeb Bush that she is concerned about the possible suspension of Level 1 trauma services at Orlando Regional Medical Center and Level 2 trauma services at Halifax Memorial Hospital in Daytona Beach.(Orlando Business Journal)(3-14-2003)
  • Starr to make Cup debut at Texas UPDATE: CTS driver [#75] David Starr plans to make his Winston Cup debut in the race at Texas Motor Speedway on March 30. “I can’t wait,” Starr said. “We are going to do a lot of testing at the track to make sure we’ll be ready to go when it comes time to qualify.” Starr will race a new Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was purchased by his uncle, Mike Starr, who owns the Team Texas Driving School at TMS. “We are going to do this the right way,” Mike Starr said. “We are going to have the best engines and the best equipment possible. And I can tell you the pit crew won’t be a bunch of guys from the driving school. It will be veteran NASCAR people.” David Starr is the driver of the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet in the CTS. Starr has raced many times at TMS in truck and Busch Series events, but this will be his first attempt at a Winston Cup race. He said TMS officials plan to help them secure sponsorship for the event. TMS plans to have a news conference to announce Starr’s plans.(Dallas Morning News – need to register to read)(1-22-2003)
    UPDATE: CTS driver, David Starr, will attempt to qualify for his first Winston Cup Series race, the Samsung/RadioShack 500 (March 30) at Texas Motor Speedway. “Wayne and Connie Spears gave me an opportunity of a lifetime to drive for a racing team that is well funded and that has all the great pieces to a championship caliber team,” Starr says of his truck team. “We look to have a better year than we had last year. That being said, I think, if you ask every driver out there who is not part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, what their dreams and aspirations are, they would be lying to you if they didn’t tell you they wanted to be in Winston Cup.” Starr makes no bones about it. That is where he wants to be some day full time. So, with the truck series off the weekend of March 28-30, Starr is trying to make personal history. It marks the first time he is attempting to qualify for a Winston Cup race. As has been the case so many times in the past in the truck series, it is David’s uncle, Mike Starr, who operates the Team Texas High Performance Driving School, who is prepping David’s ride for his Winston Cup qualifying bid. “Ever since I was a kid and wanted to be a race car driver, I have thought of being a Winston Cup driver,” Starr says. “Having the opportunity to participate among the 43 best race car drivers in the United States, or even the world, is just hard to describe what it means to me. It is a dream come true.”(TMS PR)(3-14-2003)
  • Army probe finds winds safe for jump [at Rockingham]: An Army investigation concluded that wind speeds were within safe limits when a parachute team missed the landing area during a Winston Cup race in February. The demonstration was part of pre-race activities for the Subway 400 on Feb. 23 in Rockingham. Four soldiers from the Black Daggers, the Army special operations parachute team, were injured when winds carried them away from the planned landing area. Col. Leonard H. Kiser, a senior Army National Guard adviser for the command, injured his back. Sgt. 1st Class Stuart J. Goodall, a civil affairs team leader with 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, broke his ankle. Maj. Anthony C. Dill, executive officer for 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, broke his wrist, and Air Force Capt. Jesse L. Peterson of the 10th Combat Weather Squadron suffered cuts on his face. Maj. Gary Kolb, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said the conditions changed drastically after the jumpers left the aircraft. The winds were still within the military’s safety limits, he said. The eight-man parachute team jumped from a helicopter at 3,000 feet. All of the soldiers are expected to completely recover from their injuries, Kolb said. Due to deployments and the injuries to the four jumpers, the Black Dagger parachute team was forced to cancel its remaining demonstration jumps. ”We have a lack of team members,” Kolb said. The team will resume jumping when team members return from deployments. None of the four jumpers that were injured have deployed.(Fayetteville Observer)(3-14-2003)
  • Wild Stuff at Monster Garage, including NASCAR stuff: Wielding a cutting torch like a six-shooter, “Monster Garage” foreman Jesse James has been dazzling Discovery Channel audiences by guiding the transformation of ordinary vehicles into Frankencars. His weekly, hourlong reality show is a hit and it’s made the tattooed 6-foot-2 host the darling of the cable channel, previously known for bug and beast documentaries. Each week, a new project begins in a warehouse where cameras roll as James guides a new team of mechanics on the latest mission to create something weird — something driveably weird — in five days with a budget of $3,000. The team’s goal: “Transform it into a monster,” James says. A Porsche 944 morphed into a driving range golf ball retriever, a Ford Explorer became a garbage truck, a Chevrolet Caprice was transformed into an ice rink resurfacer, a Mini Cooper evolved into a snowmobile, a Mustang became a lawnmower, a NASCAR racer became a street sweeper and a PT Cruiser is now a wood chipper. The “Monster Garage” creations evolve on a platform inside a 60-by-60-foot structure with interior walls painted in flames. There are power drills, air-hammers, grinders and James’ beloved plasma cutter. In a corner are video games and drink machines for occasional break periods.(Charlotte Observer)(3-14-2003)
  • Well, this is goofy: What will Fox announcers call Sunday’s race? Darlington Raceway has a sponsorship deal with Dodge for this race to be called the Dodge Dealers 400 [Carolina Dodge Dealers 400]. But yesterday Fox said it would be calling the race “Winston Cup Racing on FOX Presented by Michelin.” That is curious from two angles – Did Michelin outbid Dodge for the TV plugs? And what does Goodyear think about this? Goodyear has exclusive rights to provide tires to NASCAR.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2003)
  • The Why We Call Richard Petty “The King” Fact of the Week by Fox Sports: On Labor Day of 1967, Richard Petty won the Southern 500 at Darlington. It was his third victory on the 1.375-mile oval and his second Darlington win of the season. The win was also the third of what would become a 10-race winning streak and ultimately a 27-win season. By the time 1967 was over, NASCAR sportswriters labeled Petty “The King” … and he’s been The King ever since.(FoxSports)(3-14-2003)
  • Invasion no more: The Invasion of NASCAR, a once-popular downtown York, PA event for racing fans, has likely made its final lap. It was canceled last year because of a lack of funding and commitments from NASCAR drivers, and York City officials say there is no plan to bring it back this year. The company that tried to organize an Invasion for 2002, York-based Fantasy Sports Enterprises Inc., is no longer interested.(York Dispatch)(3-14-2003)

    (3-13-2003)

  • Todd Bodine tours Washington DC: It was a once in a lifetime experience for Todd Bodine, driver of the No. 54 National Guard Ford as he spent the day touring the Pentagon, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Army National Guard Readiness Center as a guest of his NASCAR Winston Cup advertiser [sponsor], the National Guard. Bodine has gotten to see quite a bit of country thanks to his profession however; Wednesday’s visit was his first time in the Nation’s capitol. A display that touched everyone who accompanied Bodine and his BelCar Racing co-owner, Sam Belnavis was the September 11th Memorial located at the Pentagon’s Ground Zero. Both Bodine and Belnavis signed a remembrance book to pay their respects to the 59 passengers and crewmembers onboard Flight 77 and the 125 service members and civilians who were inside when the plane crashed into the Pentagon.
    Shortly thereafter it was time to switch gears as General Roger Schultz who leads the Army National Guard’s efforts escorted Bodine to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Bodine spent time talking to service members receiving treatment after being injured in Afghanistan and Bosnia. One of those patients was Staff Sgt. Michael McNaughton from the 769th Engineer Battalion, Louisiana National Guard. He lost his leg while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. McNaughton received national attention earlier this year after President George W. Bush visited him at Walter Reed. The Staff Sergeant told Bodine about his plans to go running with the President however he was more interested in discussing car set-up ideas he had for the National Guard team as they prepare for this weekend’s race at Darlington Raceway.(Cox Marketing)(3-13-2003)
  • Stewart and Kid Rock? UPDATE 4 at Michigan: hearing that Tony Stewart will drive the #8 Kid Rock Chevy in the Busch/BGN race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.(1-23-2003)
    UPDATE: however, it has been reported that Steve Park will race the #8 BGN car at Lowe’s, so not too sure about this one.(1-24-2003)
    UPDATE 2: getting a bit more info, hearing now, the scheme will race at one of the BGN Richmond races, probably May as there are rumors that Dale Earnahrdt Jr will run all three races at Richmond in Sept (CTS/BGN/Cup) and Martin Truex Jr is scheduled in the #8 BGN car at RIR in May…so this rumor has some holes in it, unless it is a 2nd Chase2 car, what is posted here is all I have heard or know.(1-25-2003)
    UPDATE 3: been told that Tony Stewart will NOT be driving a #8 Kid Rock paint scheme in the May Charlotte BGN race. This is already scheduled to be a cheese nips car to be driven by Steve Park. But could show up elsewhere. However, many diecast sheets are showing the car running in Charlotte, so it could be the Fall race.(1-27-2003)
    UPDATE 4: now being told the scheme will run at the Michigan Busch Series race in August.(3-13-2003)
  • Aikman/Staubach sponsors? UPDATE: the two rumors I am hearing for the Hall of Fame Racing team with Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach is Pizza Hut [always seems to be a rumored sponsor] and/or Radio Shack will be the primary sponsor of the team, supposedly Pizza Hut has signed and that Acme Brick signed as an associate sponsor. See past news about this new team on my New Teams page (usually teams without a car# or very new team)(3-11-2003)
    UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing, the new Winston Cup team being started by Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, is talking with several Dallas-Fort Worth companies about sponsoring the team. One of those companies is Fort Worth-based RadioShack. Staubach is directly involved in the negotiations with several corporations in an attempt to cut through the red tape and go directly to the CEOs and the board of directors. “With the amount of money involved and the high-profile nature of this, we felt it was better for Roger to use his contacts and speak with the top executives,” said Hall of Fame Racing spokesman Starke Taylor. “We have a handful of companies that are genuinely interested.” Taylor and Staubach have some impressive figures to show corporate executives what their investment in Winston Cup is worth.(Dallas Morning News – need to register to read)(3-13-2003)
  • Shav Glick Honored: One of motorsport’s most respected journalists, Shav Glick of the LA Times, was presented with the prestigious Jim Murray Outstanding Journalist Award during last night’s All-American Football Foundation’s “Banquet of Champions XXXIX” at the Pasadena Hilton. Murray’s widow, Linda McCoy Murray made the presentation citing Glick’s long friendship with the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author and commenting upon both men’s love of the game of golf, citing some humorous examples of their zeal to play even under climatic conditions that were far less than ideal (like a raging hurricane). She also indicated how proud she was to be able to give Glick and award named for Jim Murray. Glick’s acceptance speech was brief and self-effacing. He gave credit to all of the unsung heros back at the newspaper office who daily have the task of turning sportswriter’s dispatches into presentable stories for the public. He also reminisced about his displacement as Murray’s “driver” (Murray suffered from very poor eyesight which precluded him from driving a car) when Jack and Linda met in Indianapolis. A lifetime Pasadena resident, when he was contacted by the All American Football Foundation about his availability to be “in town” and on hand for the presentation, Glick told association President Jimmy McDowell that he would be there, “If I have to walk to the Hilton.”(Open Wheel Racing)(3-13-2003)
  • So, what is up with Stacker 2 and the Ephedra controversy? Should driver Kenny Wallace and Bill Davis Racing be worried about the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ recent warning that users of ephedra, the controversial diet-supplement ingredient, face “potentially serious risks.”? “They told me to go racing, you know?” Wallace said of his sponsor. “We have a two-year contract, this year and next year, and they have a lot of other products besides ephedra products. They have an ephedra-free product, and they’re coming out with a new line of power bars. Really, any more than that, that’s pretty much all I know. All I know is what anybody else would know.” In the sports world, ephedra is under fire because of its association with the deaths of two professional athletes, Minnesota Vikings tackle Korey Stringer (fall 2001), and Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler (Feb. 17, 2003). Both were believed to be taking a product [supposedly NOT Stacker 2] containing ephedra when they collapsed during workouts and later died. The Department of Health and Human Services issued its warning approximately two weeks after Bechler’s death, and the nutritional supplement industry awaits further backlash that could include a congressional investigation of the substance. Stacker 2 is owned by NVE Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures nutritional, supplement-type products, according to Karen L. Finocchio, vice-president for marketing. Advertised — and memorably, by Wallace — as a fat burner, Stacker 2 comes with ephedra, in “light” form, and ephedra-free. If there’s a day when it must be sold only ephedra-free, Finocchio says the company will do just fine. “We’re real confident,” Finocchio said. “We’ve had no problems. People are real receptive. They know the hard work we put behind our product.” NVE plans to introduce a line of ephedra-free meal replacement products (protein bars, drinks, etc.) in four to six weeks, said Finocchio, adding that the company has promoted Stacker 2, including the ephedra-free form, in NASCAR for three to four years, and in the World Wrestling Entertainment arena for five years. Finocchio said company revenues stream from multiple products, not just Stacker 2, therefore any future federal ban won’t affect NVE’s ability to back Wallace. “I still believe strongly — and we also believe in the industry — it’s safe if taken as directed,” Finocchio said of ephedra. “I mean, of course you would consult your physician before you take anything, herbal or otherwise. And our label is a peel-back label. We go to the expense of having that so that we can have every possible scenario on the label.” Wallace doesn’t use Stacker 2. Not because of any discomfort, but because he has no fat-burning problems. Nor does he need to boost his metabolism. The commercials — spoofs starring Wallace, fellow Winston Cup drivers Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, Busch series driver Scott Wimmer, and WWE wrestler Paul Wright (a.k.a. The Big Show) — are a staple of Stacker 2’s promotion. NVE began as Wallace’s Busch sponsor and transitioned to Cup with him this season.(full story at CNNSI)(3-13-2003)
  • Extra $$ for Labonte: Bobby Labonte “maxed” out at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as far as the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award program was concerned. Labonte was the race leader at the halfway point, getting $10,000. But since he also ended up winning the race, he got another $15,000 via the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Bonus. The bonus starts as $5,000, and rolls over to the next race if the mid-race leader award winner doesn’t also win the event. After four races this season, there have been four different MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award winners: #15-Michael Waltrip, #2-Rusty Wallace, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Labonte.(NASCAR PR)(3-13-2003)

    (3-12-2003)

  • Roush Engine Problem? Overly aggressive engine tuning and oil starvation: Immediately following Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which saw four of the six teams using Roush Racing engines fall from the race, Jack Roush summoned his team of top level engineers in Livonia, Mich. and set out for Concord, N.C. on a mission — search out, identify and remedy the causes that forced the cars from the race. Roush was relieved when the engine teardown revealed that only overly aggressive engine tuning and oil starvation triggered the engine failures. “The good news is that none of the very substantial horsepower gains that we have been making caused any of our problems. The bad news is that the tuning mistake was my own. Now I know how Rick Hendrick’s engine guy felt after Talladega last fall,” said Roush. “I hurt pistons on the No. 6, No. 21,and No. 97 by tuning for fuel economy that just wasn’t attainable for Atlanta and the No. 99’s problem derived from a new oil pan that resulted in oil starvation,” continued Roush. Roush says he is very pleased with the progress made by his engine department during the past year. “Our 10 wins in 2002, including wins at horsepower tracks like Atlanta, Homestead, Charlotte and Texas, and our strong start in 2003 demonstrates the strength in our engine program.” (more at Ford Racing)(3-12-2003)
  • #8 Crew ‘Fastest’: Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s crew for the #8 Budweiser Chevy driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by Powerade for the second consecutive week. NASCAR says Earnhardt Jr. spent 288 seconds in the pits on his way to finishing third in Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 to lead all participating teams. Race winner Bobby Labonte was in the pits for 318 seconds, the second-best time among eligible teams. The victory was worth $20,000 to Earnhardt’s team. NASCAR says DEI’s #15 team for driver Michael Waltrip still leads the season long battle for the end-of-the-year prize of $200,000.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-12-2003)
  • Crew Chief’s fined: NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chiefs James Ince and Mike Ford were fined $1,000 each for rules violations that occurred during Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Ince, crew chief for the #10 Valvoline Pontiac of driver Johnny Benson, was fined for an unapproved fuel filler check valve assembly. He was in violation of the following in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rule Book: Section 12-4-Q, “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules”; and Section 12-4-A: “Actions detrimental to stock car racing.” Ford, crew chief for the #9 Dodge of driver Bill Elliott, was fined for altering the car on pit road after the car had passed template inspection (Section 20-3.12.1) and actions detrimental to stock car racing (Section 12-4-A).(NASCAR PR)(3-12-2003)
  • New Tire Changer for the #12 and the #16: been told that Dennis Terry has left the #16 Roush Racing team as the front tire changer and moved to the #12 Penske Racing Dodge team. Mike Hillman [not the #11 Crew Chief] will change rear tires on the #16 with car chief, Adam Emmertt moving from the rear to be the new front tire changer. See my Pit Crew Chart for most the full time Cup Pit Crew members.(3-12-2003)
  • Update on Florida Autopsy Law: A state law approved after Dale Earnhardt’s death that restricts access to autopsy photos or tape recordings was modified by a state Senate committee Monday to allow grieving relatives to appoint a person such as an attorney, a doctor or a family friend to get autopsy records for them from a medical examiner. The current law, passed at the request of the late stock car driver’s widow, allows only relatives to get such photos or recordings. The change recommended Monday would broaden that slightly to allow the family to designate someone else in writing to pick up the items. Earnhardt attorneys did not object to the change and that it will not affect public access to such records to the press or others(Orlando Sentinel)(3-12-2003)
  • Earnhardt Jr and Stewart film a music video: on Monday night in Concord, NC, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart filmed a music video for the band 3 Doors Down. Fans gathered early to catch a glimpse of their music and racing heroes Monday night. The filming was set to continue Tuesday night. The production crew set up recreational vehicles, equipment trucks and a food tent in the city’s Bicentennial Plaza parking lot and fans wandered around freely trying to spy their favorite star. It’s due to be aired on music video channels by April or May, according to the band’s publicist. The group chose Concord for its video locale because of the racing theme behind it. The plot line, loosely, is that a woman is stopped at a red light (at the square in downtown Concord) in a Jeep Wrangler when Earnhardt pulls up beside her and begins flirting. Soon after, Stewart pulls up on the other side and begins to compete for her attention. The two rival drivers appear to quickly forget the girl and set off drag racing, leaving her behind. The racers in the video will tear through the streets and barrel through the woods only to emerge at a race track (Concord Motorsports Park) where a 3 Doors Down concert is in progress. They’ll circle the track a few times and tear off into the woods again.(Independent Tribune)(3-12-2003)
  • Bruton looking at the NBA: Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith, whose holdings include Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said he has been approached about buying into the Charlotte, N.C., NBA team. Smith told the Charlotte Observer that he met with Bob Johnson, who is paying $300 million for the Charlotte NBA franchise, and was awaiting a formal proposal from Johnson before deciding whether to buy into the club.(Las Vegas Sun)(3-12-2002)
  • New Team? UPDATE: AutoRacing1 is reporting Billy Bigley Jr will attempt to run a nearly complete Winston Cup schedule in 2003 driving a Ford for Arnold Motorsports. Bigley Jr will make his first Winston Cup appearance at Las Vegas, and will run a total of 34 point races in 2003 using car #79. The team and its sponsor, who have been kept under wraps until now, will be announced on NBC the day after Christmas. Arnold Motorsports, new to the Winston Cup scene, confirmed today that Bill Bigley Jr would drive their #79 Ford in 2003. This information was shared with AutoRacing1 by the team manager and co-owner of Arnold Motorsports, Keith Coleman, from his Naples, FL location. Arnold Motorsports, co-owned by real estate developer Don Arnold, will have their race shop located in Statesville, NC. The team has procured Hopkins chassis’ for the majority of their race cars, and is looking to run Laughlin chassis’ for their superspeedway program. While Coleman couldn’t confirm who would be supplying Arnold’s engines, it appears that Robert Yates Racing will be supplying power plants for the team. Coleman also stated that the team is planning to field a second race team later in 2003, with its debut at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona. Even though Arnold Motorsports is still seeking a driver for their second Winston Cup entry, it is planning for their second team to run a complete schedule for the remainder of the 2003 season.(AutoRacing1 – need sub to read), NOTE: I had heard a few days ago that Bigley would run some BGN races in Yates equipment (from the defunct #98 Yates BGN team)(12-17-2002)
    UPDATE: been asked by some readers on this and got an answer: hearing that the team’s sponsorship deal is taking much longer to complete than originally thought and supposedly Bigley will still be driving the #79 Arnold Motorsports car this year, but the team is unsure which track the team will make their debut at.(AutoRacing1 – need sub to read)(3-12-2003)
  • Bickford and Bickle to Cup? Fred Bickford, former owner of the DF2 Motorsports (#94 last year now #22) Busch Series team has formed a new team which will attempt about five Cup races, starting with Martinsville in April. The team is looking for a marketing partner for the show and also have some Busch cars left so they can do both Busch and Cup on a combination weekend if so desired. They are listed on www.sponsorshipcentral.com. Rich Bickle will be the driver. A crew chief has not been named yet. (Bickford PR via BGN Racing)(3-12-2003)
  • Gordon wants full-time rescue workers: Four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon wants NASCAR to hire full-time rescue workers for tracks. “I have some concerns because it’s basically local (fire and rescue workers) that they kind of train once they get (to races),” Gordon said. “I think we should have a team that travels with us that know the cars, know the tracks, know the drivers. Have these local people assist them.” CART and the Indy Racing League have teams of rescue workers who travel to each race and receive extensive training related to racing accidents and other safety issues. NASCAR relies on tracks to hire local fire and rescue workers. Three times in the past eight months, twice at Daytona and at Las Vegas, workers’ response abilities have been questioned.(USA Today)(3-12-2003)

    (3-11-2003)

  • David Poole makes a 2004 sched: ThatsRacin.com/Charlotte Observer’s David Poole has made a ‘proposed’ 2004 Winston Cup schedule:
    A proposed “realigned” 2004 schedule for the NASCAR Winston Cup series:
    February: 7 — Budweiser Shootout; 15 — Daytona; 22 — Homestead-Miami; 29 — Las Vegas.
    March: 7 — Off; 14 — Atlanta; 21 — Bristol; 28 — Texas.
    April: 4 — Talladega; 11 — Off (Easter); 18 — California; 25 — Rockingham.
    May: 2 — Martinsville; May 8 — Kentucky; May 15 — Richmond; May 21 — The Winston at Charlotte; May 23 — Charlotte; May 30 — Dover.
    June: 6 — Pocono; June 13 — Michigan; 20 — Sonoma; 27 — New Hampshire.
    July: 4 — Off; 10 — Texas; 18 — Chicagoland; 25 — Pocono.
    August: 1 — Indianapolis; 7 — California; 15 — Michigan; 22 — New Hampshire; 28 — Bristol.
    September: 5 — Darlington; 11 — Richmond; 19 — Dover; 26 — Talladega.
    October: 3 — Kansas; 10 — Charlotte; 17 — Martinsville; 24 — Atlanta.
    November: 7 — Phoenix; 14 — Daytona.
    See the full story at ThatsRacin.com: My suggestions for 2004’s realignment.(3-11-2003)
  • #750 for Labonte; #700 for Elliott; #650 for Kyle; #500 for Jarrett; #300 for Burton: a few milestones for the 100th Cup race at Darlington this weekend, the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400:
    Start #750 for #5-Terry Labonte (first start was at Darlington in Sept 1978), 5th on the all time starts list
    Start #700 for #9-Bill Elliott (first start was at Rockingham in Feb 1976), 7th all time
    Start #650 for #45-Kyle Petty (first start was at Talladega in Aug 1979), 11th all time
    Start #500 for #88-Dale Jarrett (first start was at Martinsville in April 1984)
    Start #300 for #99-Jeff Burton (first start was at New Hampshire in July 1993)(Winston Cup Updates Book)(3-11-2003)
  • NASCAR and Charity: NASCAR ON TRACK FOR CHARITY BEGINS NATIONAL FUNDRAISING TOUR IN TEXAS
    NASCAR today announced the national expansion of NASCAR On Track For Charity, a family-friendly event to help raise funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp and Speedway Children’s Charities. Due to positive feedback from fans, NASCAR On Track For Charity will take place at four tracks that sanction NASCAR races this year: Texas Motor Speedway in March, Dover International Speedway in May, Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October and Atlanta Motor Speedway in October.
    At last year’s inaugural event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, more than 1,500 NASCAR fans joined Kyle Petty, John Andretti, Terry Labonte, Steve Park, Jeff Green, Mike Wallace, Jerry Nadeau, Kerry Earnhardt, Dan Pardus and Brian Vickers for a casual walk around the 1.5-mile speedway that helped raise nearly $60,000.
    This year, NASCAR On Track For Charity will kick-off its national fundraising tour Friday, March 28 at approximately 5:00pm at Texas Motor Speedway. Registered NASCAR fans will join Kyle Petty and other NASCAR drivers in walking on the track with the opportunity to get a closer look at the 1.5-mile oval from a NASCAR driver’s perspective, the grooves of the racing surface, the 2,250-foot front stretch and the sharpness of the 24-degree banking. The funds raised from the event will reach thousands of children involved in various health, education and social programs through grants provided by Speedway Children’s Charities to youth-related organizations. In addition, funds raised will help bring kids with life-threatening illnesses to the racing-themed Victory Junction Gang Camp, scheduled to open in 2004. Early registration fee is $20 (Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult and can participate for free). Early registrants will receive an event T-shirt. Register for the Texas Motor Speedway walk and for walks taking place in 2003 online at www.speedwaycharities.org or by calling (704) 455-4396.
    Victory Junction Gang Camp, a Proud Charity of NASCAR, is located in Randleman, N.C.. Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, founded the camp, the only year-round multi-disease camp of its kind in the Carolinas and Virginia, in honor of their late son Adam. Victory Junction will include more than 36 buildings on 65 acres of land donated by Richard and Lynda Petty. Like other camps under the umbrella of The Association of Hole in the Wall Gang Camps founded by actor Paul Newman, Victory Junction Gang Camp will be geared towards making every child’s camp experience unforgettable and empowering. For more information, visit their site at www.victoryjunction.org.
    Speedway Children’s Charities, a Proud Charity of NASCAR, is a non-profit foundation dedicated to helping children in need improve their quality of life. Through donations, sponsorships and fundraising events, the Charities distributes funds to qualified non-profit organizations providing direct medical, educational, and social services to children in need. Additional information is available at www.speedwaycharities.org.(NASCAR PR), more info and links to these and other Racing charities on my Racing Charities Page, which is spotlighted every Monday on the main Jayski page and over 50 Racing Charities are spotlighted on the main page daily in a daily rotation (usually 3 a day, 7-10 hours each).(3-11-2003)
  • McDonald’s, Powerade Join Forces To Reward, Recognize NASCAR Pit Crews BUT: McDonald’s, the official Drive Thru of NASCAR, and POWERade, the official sports drink of NASCAR, have teamed to sponsor an award program that celebrates the unsung heroes in NASCAR’s three major racing series – Cup, BGN and CTS. The McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade will offer prize money in excess of $1.2 million during the 2003 season, making it the largest monetary contingency program in NASCAR history and the first season points championship for pit crew teams. The program will award $20,000 per week to the top-performing participating NASCAR Winston Cup Series pit crew.  In addition, results will be tabulated throughout the season to determine the program’s championship crew, which will take home $200,000. During each 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points event, the participating crew whose car spends the least amount of aggregate time off the race track will be named the weekly winner provided their driver took the green flag at the beginning of the event and checkered flag at the conclusion of the event.  The winning crew each week will receive $20,000 and a traveling trophy to proudly display during the next event. Following every race, participating crews will be ranked in order of pit performance, with 43 points going to the top finisher, descending to one point for the last-place team. The crew with the highest cumulative score at season’s end will win the annual championship and take home a $200,000 prize. NASCAR will measure times using the official scoring transponders that monitor the cars on the track.  A timing line at the entrance and exit to pit road will trigger the transponders and record the total time each car spends off the race track. Fans can keep track of their favorite crew’s performance during Winston Cup television broadcasts, which will feature a pre-race recap of the previous week’s competition and review of official standings, a mid-race update and a post-race announcement. Points determining weekly and year-end awards will be based on a combination of qualifying position, pit stops and finishing order.(McDonald’s PRNASCAR.com adds “participating crews” meaning those who choose to particpate in the program)(2-15-2003)

    However: the Winston Salem Journal reports…….NASCAR’s new pit-crew competition has a flaw this season: the man with the fastest pit crew on the stock-car tour, Matt Kenseth, has sponsorship contracts with Gatorade, a Pepsi product. The NASCAR pit-crew competition is sponsored by rival Coca-Cola and PowerAde. So when NASCAR releases weekly standings, Kenseth’s team isn’t included, which makes the award competition all but useless. In fact, according to one report, Kenseth was so displeased in Victory Lane at Las Vegas when Coca-Cola sponsorship promoters put bottles of PowerAde on his car that he deliberately knocked them all off.(Winston Salem Journal), wonder waht Jeff Gordon will do? and also of note, there are a few contingency awards that are like this, such as the Bud Pole award, a team must carry the Bud sticker to get thee award, the Petty teams [#43, 44 and 45] do not and some teams do not carry the USG sticker for the USG Driver of the Race. See past winners of the award on my Pit Crew pageand see my Pit Crew Chart.(3-11-2003)

  • Jayski Advertiser to sponsor Pro Cup team: www.AutoBet.US is latest corporate partner to join MJ Motorsports on the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, and will grace the “C” pillars of the Shaw Industries Chevrolet beginning this week in Pensacola. Autobet.US brings the excitement of paramutual wagering to motor sports. Every bet goes into a pool to be split amongst the winners. Their state of the art wagering module displays the odds of each driver in real time. The pools offered are Win, Top 3, Quinella, and Superfecta. In addition to the at-track exposure, AutoBet.US will enjoy several placements this season on the MJ Motorsports In-Car Camera program. MJ Motorsports will make their second appearance in the series this week with Rookie of the Year contender David Stover.(MJ Motorsports)(3-11-2003)
  • #09 To Attempt Darlington UPDATE Incorrect: The Mike Wallace Official Discussion Forum is reporting that the #09 Phoenix Racing team and driver Mike Wallace will attempt to make the Darlington Cup race this weekend.
    UPDATE: Mike Wallace will NOT be behind the wheel of a Winston Cup car at Darlington this weekend. “I guess there are some rumors on the internet that I will be in a Cup car this weekend, but I know nothing about it,” said Wallace in a telephone interview this afternoon. Wallace will however pilot the #4 Busch Series entry of GEICO Racing in Saturday’s running of the darlingtonraceway.com 200 from Darlington Raceway.(Biagi Bros. Racing)(3-11-2003)
  • Fatback gets the Boat: #18-Bobby Labonte already owns a boat, so he won’t be keeping the one he won for taking Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But he announced during a postrace interview that he would keep the bonus prize within Joe Gibbs Racing. “He gets the boat,” Labonte said, motioning toward crew chief Michael McSwain. He then turned to McSwain and said, “I’m going to talk to your wife, and she’s going to let you build that garage.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-11-2003)
  • Defendent Dropped in Bridge Lawsuit: A New Jersey company that makes grout was removed Monday as a defendant in a $27 million lawsuit by a couple injured when a pedestrian walkway collapsed at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. After plaintiffs Marty and Cindy Taylor of Nelson County, VA, rested their case Monday, the judge granted a motion to remove Anti-Hydro International Inc. of Flemington, NJ, from the case, said Doug Ey, the company’s lawyer. The Taylors’ claim continues against Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the company that built the walkway. “The judge found no evidence of negligence on the part of Anti-Hydro,” Ey said. “That ended the case for them.” The bridge over U.S. 29 in Concord collapsed in May 2000 as fans exited the speedway after The Winston, NASCAR’s all-star race. No one died, but more than 100 people were injured. The Taylors claim they both suffered head and orthopedic injuries, as well as memory loss after the accident. Each has been through several operations. Twelve people injured in the collapse settled their cases in August for undisclosed amounts. The Taylors are the first of the remaining victims to have their case come to trial.(ESPN/AP), past news on my Lawsuit page.(3-11-2003)

    (3-10-2003)

  • Atlanta TV Ratings: Nielsen’s overnight figures show that Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Winston Cup race from Atlanta Motor Speedway was the weekend’s most-watched sports program, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The race, which was won by Bobby Labonte in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Chevrolet, drew a 6.0 rating and 14 share to easily outdistance the 4.2/9 for ABC’s broadcast of the NBA game between the 76ers and Lakers. The preliminary race figures are close to last year’s 6.0/15 final figures but would need a considerable boost from small markets to match the 6.7/17 the race drew in 2001.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-10-2003)
  • Kentucky Testing this week: #6-Mark Martin, Evernham drivers #9-Bill Elliott and #19-Jeremy Mayfield are expected to join MB2’s #01-Jerry Nadeaufor tests at Kentucky Speedway this week. Martin is scheduled to drive Tuesday, March 11, while Elliot, Mayfield and Nadeau are scheduled to take to the track on Wednesday, March 12.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(3-10-2003)
  • Toyota, new shop? Ganassi? UPDATE: Toyota is buying a 240,000-square-foot building in Charlotte on a 124-acre plot of land for part of its NASCAR venture, according to NASCAR sources, who report that car owner Chip Ganassi has already gotten a check for $35 million to crank up a Toyota operation. Toyota officials are pushing NASCAR to OK fuel injection and eliminate the old-fashioned carburetors used on these 358 cubic-inch racing engines for many years. Ford also is pushing for fuel injection, in large part because the company has developed – and patented – a solid-fuel injection system for race cars, a system better than anything General Motors or Dodge has. The GM system has a significant delay when drivers try to get off the gas. NASCAR has been so eager to get Toyota involved in stock-car racing that Detroit manufacturers believe that NASCAR might approve fuel injection.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-1-2003)
    UPDATE: Toyota Motorsports’ plan to field a team of Tundra’s in the NASCAR Craftsman truck series could lead to a major Charlotte-area facility down the road. And Toyota is stressing the down the road part after a report this week in the Winston-Salem Journal quoted NASCAR officials as saying Toyota had written a $35 million check to open a 240,000-square-foot headquarters on 124 acres here. “There’s no truth to that,” says Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. Toyota is much too busy developing an engine and chassis for the truck’s planned 2004 entry to think about a presence in the country’s racing capital, Unger says. Instead the work will be done at a 60,000-square-foot plant in Costa Mesa, Calif., which employs about 250. A Charlotte-area facility may come later, though, Unger acknowledges. “Maybe after the dust settles in five to seven months, we will look for a facility,” he says.(Charlotte Business Journal)(3-10-2003)
  • Martin/Marlin on “Beyond the Glory”: Sterling Marlin and Mark Martin will be the subject of Fox Sports Net’s “Beyond the Glory“, Marlin on Mar 16th and Martin on March 30. The program looks at the lives of athletes “beyond the playing area.” Previous episodes of the hour-long documentary-style program have featured Darrell and Michael Waltrip, the Petty family, Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt, and the Andretti family. Following each episode’s Sunday night debut, the program will re-air on Fox Sports Net [FSN] throughout the week. Check your local listings for dates and times.(3-10-2003)
  • Open Testing at Lowe’s: Winston Cup testing dates for Lowe’s Motor Speedway were announced Sunday, teams have open tests scheduled at Lowe’s for the evening of April 29 and all day on April 30. In addition, two days of afternoon and evening testing are set for Sept. 2-3.(NASCAR.com)(3-10-2003)
  • Open Testing at Indy: Winston Cup testing dates for Indianapolis Motor Speedway were announced Sunday, two test sessions have been set for the upcoming Brickyard 400: July 8-9 and July 14-15.(NASCAR.com)(3-10-2003)
  • Park Called to the Big Red Trailer: Officials summoned #1-Steve Park to the NASCAR trailer for running into #43-John Andretti and #01-Jerry Nadeau on pit road [towards the end of the race].(St Petersburg Times), no word on the outcome or what happened.(3-10-2003)
  • Big Donation: The National Rifle Association [NRA], an associate NASCAR sponsor, donated $500,000 to Speedway Children’s Charities.(Tennessean)(3-10-2003)
  • Barnes leaves Ultra Motorsports? UPDATE joins the Waltrip’s: hearing that Buddy Barnes, the crew chief for the Ultra Motorpsorts #2 Truck Series team and spotter for the #7 Ultra Motorsports Cup team, has left the team.(3-7-2003)
    UPDATE: Buddy Barnes lost his crew chief’s job on owner Jim Smith’s #2 Craftsman Truck (Jason Leffler) last Friday. But Barnes says he’s looking forward to working as “a contract labor mechanic” for Leroy’s Boys Racing, a collaborative truck effort between Michael and Darrell Waltrip. D.W. will enlist the help of his Fox Sports posse: Jeff Hammond will work on the trucks, and Larry McReynolds will be the spotter. Plans are for Darrell to race the No. 17 Chevrolet April 12 at Martinsville and August 1 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The team purchased lightly used trucks from Hendrick Motorsports and will get engines from Dale Earnhardt Inc.(Sporting News)(3-10-2003)
  • Jarrett Sees Daughters Team: Dale Jarrett witnessed his daughter Natalee’s Hickory High School basketball team loss to the competition by just one point, last night, in an attempt to make the finals of the AAA State Championships. The loss came after three minutes of unanswered scoring against Jarrett’s team, which closed the season with a 24-2 record.(Ford Racing)(3-10-2003)
  • Rumblings – Atlanta: the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 was the 37th win for Joe Gibbs, and the 20th career victory for Labonte (he’s now tied for 28th on the all-time win list with Speedy Thompson). This victory also means the 18 team grabs the final wild-card spot on this year’s Winners Circle contingeny plan. Jeff Gordon (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Kansas Speedway last September. Elliott Sadler (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Infineon Raceway last June. Jimmy Spencer (7th….with Mongo leading the way) had his best finish since he was 4th at Daytona last July. Greg Biffle (13th) tied his career-best finish today. He was 13th at Fontana last April. STREAKIN….An empty category this week.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Dale Earnhardt Jr (+30), followed by Jeff Gordon (+26), Matt Kenseth (+20), and Sterling Marlin (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Bill Elliott (-37), followed by Kurt Busch (-31), Jimmie Johnson (-21), and Michael Waltrip (-21). Jimmy Spencer led a lap today for the first time since Richmond last May. We’ve got our third different points leader in four events after today. Matt Kenseth takes the point with Michael Waltrip falling to third. The big move forward belongs to Jimmy Spencer (35th to 23rd), while Mark Martin’s second blown engine in a row drops him the most spots (11th to 25th).(StockCarFans.Com)(3-10-2003)

 


(3-9-2003)

 

  • Bobby Labonte wins race at Atlanta: #18-Bobby Labonte won the MBNA Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his 6th career win at the track and 20th career win. #24-Jeff Gordon ended up 2nd, followed by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, #17-Matt Kenseth (new points leader) and #20-Tony Stewart. It was Labonte’s first win since Martinsville last April, 31 races ago and it extends Labonte’s streak of winning a race every year to 9 years. See my MBNA Bass Pro Shops 500 Race Info page for my race rundown with lap leaders, cautions and some notes.(3-9-2003)
    Re-Air: the race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, Mar 12th, 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, Mar 13th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Result Links at: JayskiThatsRacin.comNASCAR.com or Motorsports One.(3-9-2003)
  • Robby Gordon and the Indy 500: from NASCAR This Morning: Indy car ready, sponsor not – John Roberts: Is the Indy 500 in your plans again for this year? Robby Gordon: I’ve been working really hard on an Indy 500 program with Richard Childress. We’ve got an engine package lined up. We’ve got chassis lined up. We don’t have a major sponsor right now so we’re working hard, trying to get that put together. Hopefully we can get something put together here in a little while. It’s tough right now with the situation we’re in with America right now. If we’re going to go to war, not going to go to war. People don’t know if they want to spend money or not so that’s making it a little more difficult.(FSN’s NASCAR This Morning)(3-9-2003)
  • Sad News: it was reported on this morning’s NASCAR This Morning on Fox Sports Net, that Richard Childress’ mother, Virginia Hodge, passed away last night. Thoughts go out the the family. AND Just hours after signing Kevin Harvick and Goodwrench to a contract extension, team owner Richard Childress received news that his mother had died. Virginia Hodge, a resident of East Bend, NC, was 79. She passed away Saturday night after a brief illness, according to a team press release. Childress flew back to North Carolina on Sunday morning to be with family.(NASCAR.com)(3-9-2003)
  • Hamilton Jr/Team Rensi may move to Cup in 2004: Bobby Hamilton Jr. who failed to qualify Friday for a Winston Cup race for the first time in 13 tries, hopes to move to Full time Cup in 2004 with Team Rensi [#25 US Marines Ford]. His long-term goal is to race in Winston Cup for a team fielded by his father. Bobby Hamilton Sr. fields three Craftsman Truck Series entries out of his Tennessee shop. The senior Hamilton has said he would like to eventually upgrade his team to Winston Cup.(Tennessean)(3-9-2003)
  • Ford 100th Celebration: In 100 days, Ford Motor Company will celebrate its 100th year with THE ROAD IS OURS 100th Anniversary Celebration. The Thursday through Monday, June 12-16 event, on the grounds of the company’s world headquarters in Dearborn, is expected to draw thousands of people and classic Ford cars and trucks. Key activities include a concert series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights featuring headliners in R&B, country and classical music. Sporting activities and appearances by stars from the worlds of auto racing and professional bull riding, and even “Blue” from Nickelodeon’s popular TV show Blue’s Clues will be onsite. In addition, there will be thousands of classic Ford cars and trucks. The celebration begins Thursday, June 12, with a special event for racing fans. Ford NASCAR and other race vehicles will be on display, and Ford drivers such as Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett, and Mark Martin will sign autographs. The weekend’s activities conclude with the company’s Annual Shareholders Meeting on Monday, June 16. Tickets to THE ROAD IS OURS 100th Anniversary Celebration are available on-line by accessing the 100th anniversary Web site at http://www.ford.com or by calling 1-866-4-100-FORD (1-866-410-0367). Tickets are $24.95 per person (children age 12 and under are admitted free when accompanying a paying adult). Tickets for Ford Motor Company employees, retirees, D Plan-eligible dealership personnel, and their extended families (as defined by A, D and Z Plan eligibility) are $19.95 per person. Each ticket purchase includes credentials for entry all five days, which gives access to all activities, concerts and displays. Those who purchase tickets in advance will receive a daily assigned parking area and shuttle service to and from the event grounds, an opportunity to display their classic Ford car or truck, discounted admission and free shuttle service to local attractions, including Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Estate – Fairlane, and Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, a 100th Anniversary commemorative coin and discounts on 100th Anniversary merchandise.
    FORD RACING NIGHT:
    “Ford Racing Night” will kick off THE ROAD IS OURS 100th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, June 12. Beginning at 4:00pm, Ford racing fans will see some of their favorite Ford NASCAR Winston Cup drivers, and have a chance to get autographs and attend live question-and-answer sessions. More of Ford’s racing legends will be onsite and available for autographs from Friday, June 13, through Sunday, June 15, including Sir Jackie Stewart, three-time Grand Prix World Champion; Dan Gurney, winner, 1967 Le Mans 24-Hours; NASCAR Champions Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson; Bob Glidden, 10-time National Hot Rod Racing Association Pro Stock Champion; Tom Gloy, Trans-Am Champion; and Bob Bondurant, FIA Sports Car Champion. With the purchase of a ticket to the event, visitors can sign up for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive their own car or truck on Ford’s Dearborn Proving Ground. For a $50 donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Henry Ford Health System, drivers can take a parade lap around the famed test track, have their photo taken with their car and receive a commemorative dash plaque. Registration for the charity drive will open in April through the Web site at http://www.celebrateford100.com.(Stockwatch)(3-9-2003)
  • Some Stuff: #5-Terry Labonte will reach two milestones when he takes the green flag for today’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500: His 50th AMS start and 300th for Hendrick Motorsports. #24-Jeff Gordon does not have a top-10 finish in the first three races, the first time that has happened in his 11-year career.(St Petersburg Times)(3-9-2003)
  • Ryan Newman to be honored: Ryan Newman will receive an award on the National Athletic Awards to be aired on Fox Sports Net. The awards are sponsored by the Michigan March of Dimes and the ceremony will be held on Tuesday evening, March 11. James Brown of FOX Sports will be the emcee. The show will air on the afternoons of Wednesday, March 19 and Saturday, March 22 on most Fox Sports Net affiliates. Check your local listings. The ceremony is open to the public, but an admission ticket is required.(MotorsportsTV)(3-9-2003)
  • Mikey stands by ‘Patriotic’ Comments [good for him!]: From a Tennessean column: Michael Waltrip makes no apology for urging citizens to ”support our President” during a TV interview following last Sunday’s race at Las Vegas. Nor should he. If a women’s basketball player at Manhattanville College can use her sport to make a political statement —shamefully turning her back on the U.S. flag during the national anthem — then there’s nothing wrong with Waltrip doing the same. Waltrip said he had received ”a little criticism” for his comments at a time when the nation is sharply divided over U.S. military intervention in Iraq. ”Nobody has said anything to me personally, but I’ve heard some things second-hand,” said Waltrip, the Winston Cup points leader going into today’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. ”I’ve also gotten a lot of support. A lot of people agree with what I said — that we need to support the leader of our country at a critical time like this. That’s all I said, and I don’t see anything wrong with it.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution media critic Mike Tierney does. He wrote: ”[TV] interviewers should keep drivers focused on race matters. When Michael Waltrip turns the discourse toward the President and the pending war in Iraq, the questioner must take the wheel and guide him back.” While Tierney got his nose bent out of shape, NASCAR doesn’t have a problem with what Waltrip said or where he said it. ”NASCAR is supportive of the drivers, owners, crews and other constituents in our sport,” said Herb Branham, communications manager for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. ”They have the ability to express their personal views.” In other words, NASCAR has no intention to muzzle Michael. Denny Darnell, spokesman for the Winston Cup Series title sponsor, likewise said there is no problem with the points leader speaking out as Waltrip did — even though many of Winston’s customers may be on the opposite side of the emotional debate. ”We are proud of all of our drivers,” Darnell said. ”They are entitled to express their opinions.” NASCAR has historically been a conservative sport and the Waltrip family has longstanding close ties to the Bush family. Michael’s older brother Darrell campaigned actively for Bush in the last election and earlier for Bush’s father. Darrell also has been a guest of Bush on Air Force One. That association aside, Michael said his comments were about patriotism, not politics. ”This is not about Democrats or Republicans,” he said. ”It’s about being an American and respecting and supporting our President, no matter which party he represents. I’d feel the same way if the President were a Democrat; he’d be the leader of our country and I would support him. ‘These are difficult times. Think about all the pressure the President is under. I don’t see how he sleeps at night, how he breathes. I think the least we can do is let him know he has our support. That’s all I said, and I stand by it. I don’t apologize for it.” Waltrip doesn’t equate voicing his support for the President with the disrespect the women’s basketball player shows when she turns her back on the flag during the national anthem. ”It hurts me to see that,” Waltrip said. ”That flag represents us all.” But, he added, ”I guess that’s her right if she wants to do it. I don’t agree with it, but maybe she thinks she’s making a point. ‘If she can do that, it’s my right to express my viewpoint too. I’ll continue to support my president and my country and our soldiers who are in harm’s way.” Waltrip admitted that last Sunday’s comments, broadcast to millions of fans nationally on the Fox Sports broadcast, were no entirely ad-libbed. ”The situation had been on my mind,” he said. ”I had given it some thought, and I felt like it was something that needed saying. I said it, and I don’t regret it.”(Tennessean)(3-9-2003)

    (3-8-2003)

  • Harvick expected to sign long term deal with RCR UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress has scheduled a news conference for 1:00pm/et on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He is expected to announce that Harvick has signed a long-term contract extension with the team, sources confirmed Friday. In addition, the team is expected to announce that the sponsor of Harvick’s #29 Chevrolet, GM Goodwrench, has signed an extension. GM Goodwrench has sponsored the car since 1988. Harvick joined the team after Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-7-2003)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress announced two contract extensions Saturday, signing #29 driver Kevin Harvick to a three-year extension, with an additional two-year deal with the right of first refusal. In a separate agreement, RCR has extended its contract with GM Goodwrench, Harvick’s sponsor, for three more years.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-8-2003)
  • Sad News: One of the most recognizable crew members in the Winston Cup garage area is absent from Atlanta. Randall Helbert, transporter driver for Morgan-McClure Motorsports who is known in the garage for his signature black cowboy hat and large rodeo-style belt buckle, received painful news while on his way back to Abingdon, Va. from Las Vegas. His mother, Gaynell Helbert, died on Monday, March 3, 2003. She was 64. Our thoughts and prayers are with Randall and his family during this time.(Morgan McClure)(3-8-2003)
  • Spencer still bitter about parting with Ganassi: #7-Jimmy Spencer remains unhappy with the way his tenure ended last season at Chip Ganassi Racing. Spencer lasted just one season in Ganassi’s #41 Target Dodge and was replaced this season with rookie Casey Mears. “I was doing everything I was supposed to do last year,” Spencer said Saturday. “I drove my heart out. I just didn’t get along with the people there. The most excited I’ve ever been in my life and the greatest pleasure there ever was, was the day I got out of there.” Spencer has a lawsuit pending against Ganassi claiming breach of contract. Spencer declined to comment on the status of the suit.(ThatsRacin.com), past news on the #41 Team Page.(3-8-2003)
  • Wind Tunnel after Atlanta? UPDATE: If Chevy is dominant this weekend at Atlanta, a track at which it generally is strong, don’t be surprised if NASCAR hauls the top cars into the wind tunnel the day after the race. In fact, the Ford and Dodge teams will demand it.(Sporting News)(3-4-2003)
    UPDATE: According to NASCAR officials, the calls for a wind tunnel test will not yield action following Sunday’s race. The move is unwelcome news to some, but expected as NASCAR Winston Cup director John Darby has consistently told www.teamfordracing.com, since Daytona, that the goal is to not have to visit the tunnel in 2003. Even if there’s a change of heart, the tunnel is book solid on Monday by General Motors.(Ford Racing)(3-8-2003)
  • White Inducted: Rex White, the 1960 Grand National (now Winston Cup) champion, was inducted into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame on Friday. White now lives in Forest Park, Ga., but lived in Spartanburg, S.C., during his racing career and grew up in Silver Spring, Md. White, 73, won the Dixie 400 at Atlanta International Raceway (reconfigured now and named Atlanta Motor Speedway) in 1962. It was his only superspeedway victory. During his career White won 28 races and 35 poles, mostly driving a gold-and-white Chevrolet with a red No. 4 on its sides.(Gaston GazetteAND Thunder Road USA announced Friday Rex White, the 1960 NASCAR Grand National (now Winston Cup) champion has been named to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. He became the fourth NASCAR champion from Georgia to be honored, joining Red Byron, Tim Flock and Bill Elliot. During his career, which spanned a little more than eight years, White finished in the top-10 in points six times. He won 28 races, finished in the top 5 110 times and the top 10 163 times.(Macon Telegraph)(3-8-2003)
  • Special #29 Scheme: To mark its 10th season with one of the most famous teams in the history of motorsports, Snap-on Tools Company, in association with Richard Childress Racing (RCR), is unveiling a one-of-a-kind Snap-on Tools paint scheme for Kevin Harvick’s #29 Chevrolet race car, which Kevin will race in “The Winston” at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, May 17, 2003. The special-edition #29 car pays tribute to this vibrant tradition with its own unique design. As part of Snap-on Tools’ “Decade of Dedication” celebration, the special-edition #29 car will feature an exclusive paint scheme that includes metallic red, RCR crushed-glass silver, and gloss black paint with pearl-white Snap-on logos, as well as a commemorative Decade of Dedication emblem. According to Carl Johanson, Snap-on Tools motorsports marketing manager, “The Decade of Dedication celebration looks back on ten years of winning driven by a storied team and legendary tools.” As part of the celebration, Snap-on will offer commemorative tool storage units as well as equipment, hand and power tools for a limited time to automotive technicians and race fans. The tool storage units, for example, feature special graphics that depict the 10 cars raced at The Winston and include Snap-on Racing and RCR logos. Decade of Dedication collectibles including die cast pit wagons, cars, haulers and trailers and apparel are available through local Snap-on dealers. The Decade of Dedication initiative also includes GM Goodwrench – the primary sponsor on the #29 car – through the “GM Powertrain Clinics with Snap-on” program.(Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide PR). See an image that has been posted for a while on my Paint Scheme Gallery of the car.(3-8-2003)
  • Inspection Process Speeds Up: The race car inspection process at Atlanta Motor Speedway proceeded with nary a hitch, today, with the field of 45 cars getting the good to go signal at 10:40am/et. The fastidious and through inspections came off with so little commotion that there was an honest 40 minutes between the time the last car was inspected and when the first practice for Winston Cup was scheduled to start. However, NASCAR inspectors were afforded the 40-minute cushion when morning showers slid the schedule back due to track drying efforts. NASCAR Winston Cup director John Darby credits two factors for the quick inspection turn around process, which just the week before had some wondering how NASCAR could get all the cars done in a timely fashion. “Number one it didn’t rain,” said Darby of this week’s inspections. “In Las Vegas [rain] was probably the biggest thing that held them up. Race teams pay attention to what’s going on around them and when its pouring down rain and it’s 10 o’clock in the morning it’s real easy for them to figure out ‘well, it’s going to be two-and-a-half hours before they get the track dry so we don’t have to go as quick as what we normally do. “Vegas wasn’t a surprise, Vegas was created by weather,” Darby continued. “It might be a little bit ironic we get to Atlanta and the weather wasn’t messing with us. It was business as usual. We were confidant that when the day came that we’d be able to start the weekend without having to change a schedule before we did anything else, that the result would be very similar to this.” Addressing the other major contributing factor to the quick inspections was the teams’ work. “My hat’s off to the race teams. I have a ton of respect for the teams in this garage and the fabricators and the crew chiefs and everybody else that have taken the new program and taken it seriously and took the extra setup time in the shops to make sure they’re correct when they get here.” Darby’s men did find one violation. The No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac fuel cell check valve assembly didn’t meet specification. The part was replaced and the team didn’t miss practice.(Ford Racing)(3-8-2003)
  • Stewart and Home Depot Unveils Declaration of Independence-Themes Scheme: Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevy, proudly unveiled the new Declaration of Independence-themed car today prior to qualifying for the Bass Pro Shops/MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Stewart will race this car at the July 5 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway to celebrate The Home Depot’s sponsorship of the Declaration of Independence (DOI) Road Trip. Founded by producer Norman Lear, the DOI Road Trip is touring an original copy of the Declaration to inspire Americans to participate in civic activism, to exercise their rights, and above all, to vote. The Declaration of Independence Road Trip will travel to cities and towns across the United States, creatively combining elements of education, entertainment, and community outreach. The project is led by Honorary Co-Chairs and former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. The Home Depot is the Presenting Sponsor of the Road Trip. The United States Postal Service is the Official Carrier of the DOI Road Trip and AXA Financial, Inc. is also a Sponsor of The Declaration of Independence Road Trip. For additional information on the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, please visit www.IndependenceRoadTrip.org.(Home Depot PR), see my Paint Scheme Gallery for an image of the car.(3-7/8-2003)
  • Bodine gets domestic violence protective order UPDATE: NASCAR driver [#11] and Davidson, NC, resident Brett Bodine won a court order to shield him from his estranged wife after telling authorities she hit him and threatened to ruin him financially. The driver’s action comes nearly two months after his wife, Diane Bodine, filed for divorce. Diane Bodine also sued a Georgia woman she accuses of seducing her husband and ruining her marriage. See the full story at ThatsRacin.com/Charlotte Observer. For past news on this, see the #11 Team News and Links page.(3-7-2003)
    UPDATE: The domestic violence protective order, signed Wednesday by Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell, requires Diane Bodine to stay away from tracks where her husband is racing.(NASCAR.com)(3-8-2003)


    (3-7-2003)

  • Capps in IROC? NHRA driver Ron Capps, driver of the Skoal Racing Funny Car, has been invited to test an International Race of Champions [IROC] car before IROC races at Talladega Superspeedway in April and Chicagoland Speedway in July. If testing goes well, Capps would be in line in 2004 to become the first driver to represent the NHRA in the four-race all-star series. This year’s IROC series features drivers from NASCAR, the IRL IndyCar Series and the World of Outlaws. Capps leads the NHRA Funny Car standings after his semifinal finish in Pomona with his 14th career NHRA title in Arizona.(Las Vegas Sun)(3-7-2003)
  • Gordon to take flight UPDATE 2: Diecast dealers have begun taking pre-orders on a Jeff Gordon paint scheme for Charlotte in May. The scheme is a tribute to the “Wright Brothers 100 years of Aviation.”(Gordonline)(2-12-2003)
    UPDATE: see a diecast image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery, supposedly the official announement will occur in March at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(2-23-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Jeff Gordon and Amanda Wright-Lane, great-grand-niece of Wilbur and Orville Wright, unveiled a #24 Chevy at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a paint scheme honoring the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ historic flights at Kitty Hawk, NC. Gordon will drive a car with the paint job in The Winston on May 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-7-2003)
  • Kirby and Evernham? hearing that Stuart Kirby [has run in ARCA, Busch and Cup] will test for Evernham Motorsports next week and could run a few races with the team this year and may run an A-B-C schedule [like Ryan Newman did with Penske in 2001]. A=ARCA, B=Busch and C=Cup.
    UPDATE: been told that this is NOT true.(3-7-2003)
  • Evernham to build a Chevy: Car owner Ray Evernham plans to build a 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in an effort to help his Dodge operation become more competitive. “I feel like we have good equipment, but we’re getting ready to build a Chevy so we can see what the difference is,” Evernham said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Through three races, Evernham’s drivers, Jeremy Mayfield and Bill Elliott, are 24th and 31st in points, respectively. Mayfield has the only top-10 finish between them, an eighth at Daytona. “What you can do by looking at someone else’s car is better know and understand what they have and then find out where your car is better or worse,” Evernham said. “If you feel their nose is a little better, you work on front downforce. Everyone says, ‘I’m maxed out.’ But it seems you can find a little bit more if you work hard enough.” Evernham said his organization built a General Motors engine to use as comparison before Dodge debuted in 2001 and hopes to find similar benefits in building the Chevrolet.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-7-2003)
  • Marcis plans to run team in a few 2003 Cup races: Dave Marcis [#71 Chevy]has three employees at his shop in North Carolina, working on three Chevrolets he expects to enter for other drivers this season. Marcis isn’t sure who’ll drive – maybe Tim Sauter – and he’s uncertain what races the team will attend. “We do have a few sponsors that are interested in doing 10 or 12 races,” Marcis said. “I feel like we’d have a race car for any racetrack we’d run.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(3-7-2003)
  • Atlanta Rally UPDATE 2: Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and Senator Mike Crotts will host an Atlanta racing rally on Thursday, March 6, at the Georgia State Capitol, and fans are invited and encouraged to attend and show their support for the sport. Gov. Perdue will host a news conference at noon on Thursday, March 6, 2003, on the north side of the State Capitol building downtown. Fans interested in attending should be at the Capitol by 11:45 a.m. Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Bruton Smith, Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark and other racing dignitaries are all expected to attend the news conference. Earlier the same day, Smith and Clark will also be introduced in the Senate chambers and presented with a proclamation from the State Senate, promising support for keeping two races in Atlanta. Atlanta Motor Speedway’s two NASCAR Winston Cup race weekends contribute $455 million annually to the Atlanta economy – more than the combined total of the Atlanta Hawks, Braves, Falcons and Thrashers. Atlanta’s races also attract fans from all 50 states and as many as a dozen foreign nations, while another 10 million fans tune in worldwide.(AMS PR)(2-28-2003)
    UPDATE: Brett Bodine, owner/driver of the #11 Hooter’s Ford wil also attend.(3-6-2003)
    UPDATE 2: On Thursday, Georgia politicians pledged their support for keeping two NASCAR races in the Atlanta area. This weekend’s race and its associated events will bring 250,000 fans from all 50 states and 13 countries, according to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The two races rev the state’s economy by $455 million – more than the combined horsepower of Atlanta’s four professional teams. But the owners of new tracks out West want to host races, too, and NASCAR officials have suggested moving races from tracks such as Atlanta. Thursday, Bruton Smith, owner of the Atlanta track, drew the proverbial line in the sand, backed up by Gov. Sonny Perdue, Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and two dozen other state politicians. “There’s been a rumor that we might move one of these events,” he said. “We’re not going to do that.” Smith has invested more than $100 million in Atlanta Motor Speedway and said he’s going to continue his support of the track, located 30 miles south of Atlanta in Henry County.(Augusta Chronicle)(3-7-2003)
  • NASCAR ‘not a big betting sport’ in Vegas: In a town full of casinos, you’d figure NASCAR fans would be flocking to the sports books on Winston Cup weekend. Don’t bet on it. “It’s a dead sport for us,” said Robert Walker, race and sports book director for MGM Mirage’s eight casinos in Las Vegas. “It’s a huge weekend. It’s a great event for the town. It’s just not a big betting sport.”(see full story at NASCAR.com/AP)(3-7-2003)
  • Fastest Speeds at Each Track: these are the fastest speeds recently (last race at that track – barring rain out of qualifying) at the other tour tracks [track record in bracket]:
    Texas, 194.224mph [Track Record: the same]
    Atlanta, 191.542 [197.478 Nov 1997]
    Michigan, 189.668 [191.149 Aug 2000]
    California, 187.432 [same]
    Daytona, 186.606 [210.364 Feb 1987 before restrictor plates]
    Talladega, 186.532 [212.809 April 1987 before restrictor plates]
    Lowes, 186.464 [same]
    Chicago, 183.051 [183.717 July 2001]
    Indianapolis, 182.960 [same]
    Kansas, 177.924 [same]
    Las Vegas, 173.016 [same last week]
    Pocono, 170.568 [172.391 July 2000]
    Darlington, 170.089 [173.797 Mar 1996]
    Dover, 156.822 [159.964 Sept 1999]
    Rockingham, 154.683 [158.035 Feb 2000]
    Homestead, 154.365 [156.440 Nov 2000]
    Phoenix, 132.655 [134.178 Nov 2000]
    Loudon, NH, 132.241 [same]
    Richmond, 126.145 [127.398 May 2002]
    Bristol, 124.034 [127.261 Mar 2002]
    Watkins Glen, 122.696 [122.698 Aug 2001]
    Infineon Raceway, 93.476 [same]
    Martinsville, 92.837 [95.371 Sept 2000]
    (Winston Salem Journal / UMI 2003 Press Guide)(3-7-2003)
  • Some ARCA/Cup connections at Atlanta: A few driver with Cup connections will drive in the Atlanta ARCA race: Shawna Robinson will drive Vern Slagh’s Chevy in the Atlanta ARCA. Robinson gained national exposure in June 2001 when she became the first female driver to qualify for a Winston Cup race in 12 years, after making the cut for the event at Michigan International Speedway. She since has participated in seven more Cup races. But Robinson found herself looking for an opportunity in 2003. She remains under contract with BAM Motorsports in Winston Cup through December, but she doesn’t have the sponsorship to run this year. BAM permitted her to race with Slagh at the season-opening ARCA race at Daytona, and she has received permission to run in Atlanta, too. “My goal is to keep my seat time up this year and accumulate a full-season ride for 2004,” Robinson said. “That’s what I have to focus on this year. I have to keep racing this year, and I have to race right.” Slagh is a part-time driver in addition to being a car owner. He and Robinson made the field at Daytona. Robinson finished 33rd in the race after qualifying 13th, while Slagh placed 39th. Slagh also is building a car for the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series. He hopes to make his debut later this year at Kentucky Speedway on June 14. Robinson is unsure if she will have an opportunity to race with Slagh beyond Atlanta. She will have to receive further permission from BAM, which has hired veteran Ken Schrader to race for the organization this season. “BAM is doing a good thing right now,” Robinson said. “They have Ken in there, and they needed some stability to build their team. Any new team is going to have bugs to work out, and that’s what they need to do. I think it’s a definite plus for them.”(Michigan Live)
    AND Stuart Kirby who has made a few Winston Cup starts/attempts will drive the #75 Bob Schacht Motorsports Ford in the Atlanta ARCA race with sponsorship from Camping World, of Bowling Green, Kentucky.
    AND Hideo Fukuyama, who races in the Cup race at Las Vegas, will run the #9 Kikkoman Soy Sauce Ford AND Jeff Fultz, who will attempt to make the Cup race, plans to make the ARCA race.
    The Atlanta ARCA 400 will take the green flag at 1:00pm/et on Saturday, March 8. The race will be broadcast live on the SPEED Channel as well as PRN radio affiliates. Qualifying will take place on Friday, March 7 at 1:30pm/et.(more info on the race at the ARCA Racing site)(3-7-2003)


    (3-6-2003)

  • Park to be Synthetic in May/June: #1-Steve Park will run a special Pennzoil Synthetic paint scheme at The Winston thru the race at Infineon Raceway in June.(Diecast Depot Newsletter)(3-6-2003)
  • Dale Jr on TV Show: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make a guest appearance on the TV show Fast Lane on Fox. The show features actor’s Tiffani Thiessen, Peter Facinelli and Bill Bellamy as under cover cops fighting crime in the city while driving muscle cars and getting themselves into some tight predicaments. After finishing second in the Winston Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Dale Jr. immediately flew to Los Angeles, CA to shoot his scene with the cast on Monday morning. In the show, Bellamy and Fracinelli meet up with Dale Jr. at a red light and end up challenging him to drag race when it turns green. The show is set to air on March 28th at 8:00pm/et, followed by John Doe.(Dale Earnhardt Inc SiteAND Busch Series driver Stanton Barrett, driver of the #60 OdoBan Ford, does most of the driving stunts and has been doing so since the show started.(3-6-2003)
  • Brittney Movie News: Britney Spears is hoping she can lure either Josh Hartnett or Mark Wahlberg as her co-star for the upcoming NASCAR flick she’s starring in (and producing) this spring.(Chicago Sun Times), see past news about the movie and other moviews on the TV/Media page.(3-6-2003)
  • Liz Allison News: been asked often what has become of Liz Allison [widow of Davey Allison], saw this today: Former NASCAR TV commentator and author Liz Allison of Nashville has a new addition to her family. Bella Elizabeth was born last month to Liz and husband Ryan Hackett.(Tennessean)(3-6-2003)
  • NASCAR Reality Series? Officials with NASCAR and the cable network FX are gauging the interest of several Winston Cup drivers in participating in a reality-based TV show, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Sources confirmed that FX representatives spoke with up to eight drivers last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, inquiring about their interest in the show and the prospects of their participation. Among those contacted were Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rusty Wallace, Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray. The show, which would likely involve programming based on three drivers and their race teams, is tentatively scheduled for a Friday night broadcast and would air in the second half of this season, sources said. That would allow FX to maintain a NASCAR presence in its programming while rivals NBC and TNT broadcast the second half of the Winston Cup season. The first installment of the show would likely entail seven to 13 weeks of programming, the sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-6-2003)
  • UPS and NASCAR: From the crash helmet on display at its Sandy Springs headquarters to a national series of TV ads urging racer Dale Jarrett to race a delivery truck, UPS says it’s getting maximum mileage from its multimillion-dollar NASCAR sponsorship. It’s an odd pairing for the staid delivery firm known for exhaustive planning and conservative business practices. But UPS has steadily expanded its NASCAR presence since its first race sponsorship in 2000, and the company recently extended its annual contract for Jarrett’s #88 car through 2006. Now, UPS uses NASCAR events to launch new products, entertain big clients, showcase national ads and reward employees — a broader, more comprehensive approach than other NASCAR sponsors. At the Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, hundreds of UPS employees will be showing off the company’s products, selling merchandise and entertaining clients during the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. If the UPS car finishes in the top five, employees at the famously buttoned-down company will be allowed to wear casual clothes next week. When John Beystehner, UPS senior vice president for sales and marketing, showed up at his first NASCAR event in Talladega, Ala., four years ago, he was convinced it would be a good fit for the 360,000-employee delivery firm. Atlanta’s Home Depot and Coca-Cola also sponsor NASCAR racers, but NASCAR officials say no other company has adopted the sport as thoroughly as UPS. UPS has directed a variety of managers to get involved in NASCAR promotions, and they’ve come up with a broad array of promotions. This year UPS began offering “trackside services,” or next-day letters that could be sent to or from pit row at the Daytona 500. The company also began a series of humorous “race the truck” ads encouraging Jarrett to go head to head with a UPS delivery van. UPS won’t say how much it spends on NASCAR-related promotions each year. Trade journals say the going rate for a major sponsorship and a top driver is about $15 million a year. UPS has one major and one minor sponsorship. UPS sells next-day-air envelopes with #88 on them, and it recouped more than $1 million last year from the sale of shirts, hats, jackets and other goods with its corporate logo. UPS has a separate racing Web site where it promotes the sales. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-6-2003)
  • Whoops – Smith still a Billionaire: Last week, Forbes magazine released its annual list of the world’s billionaires. Bruton Smith, a previous member, was missing from the group. But one of his spokesmen said Wednesday that Smith’s personal net worth still puts him into the billionaire category. “No representative from Forbes has ever contacted Mr. Smith regarding his assets,” said Jerry Gappens, a spokesman for Speedway Motorsports. “What they are not taking into account is his private holdings.” Last year, Smith’s public holdings were worth $1.0 billion according to the Forbes list. Because Smith dropped off, the magazine did not publish the value of his public holdings this year.(Charlotte Observer)(3-6-2003)
  • #8 Team fast in the pits at Vegas: The pit crew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. won Round 3 of the “McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade” last Sunday at the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Earnhardt spent only 225 seconds in the pits, edging his Dale Earnhardt Incorporated teammate Michael Waltrip by 12 seconds. The victory was worth $20,000 to Earnhardt’s team. Waltrip’s crew leads the program’s overall standings. The program’s year-end champions receive $200,000. (NASCAR PR), sorry, have not seen the standings anywhere.(3-6-2003)
  • New Mid-Race Award: A race’s halfway point means the race is “official.” But this season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, halfway has added significance. A new contingency program called the “MBNA Mid-Race Leader” award pays the mid-race leader (provided he is participating in the program) $10,000. In addition, if the Mid-Race Leader Award winner goes on to win the race he gets a $5,000 bonus “ or maybe, more. If the bonus isn’t collected, it rolls over to the next week’s event; thus, at Atlanta, the bonus will be worth $15,000. After three races this season, there have been three different MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award winners: #15-Michael Waltrip, #2-Rusty Wallace and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(NASCAR PR), no word on if a driver gets the award if the halfway is under yellow at the time or if the award is given out if the lead is not participating in the program and if it would go to the next place car at the time.(3-6-2003)

    (3-5-2003)

  • What flew off Kenseth’s car when he did his spin in the infield after winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway? Nothing. It was part of a drainage system in the grass of the infield at the track.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio – Subscription Required)(3-5-2003)
  • N.C. House Committee Begins Debate on Autopsy Photos: North Carolina would follow Florida’s lead in limiting public and media access to autopsy photos under legislation now being considered in the state House. Rep. Karen Ray, R-Iredell, told members of the House Judiciary II Committee on Tuesday that limits are needed to prevent graphic displays like those that can be found on the Internet, which cause families further mental anguish. The legislation would bar public access to autopsy photos or videos without permission from a judge. Access would be limited to medical examiners, prosecutors, judges, next of kin, law enforcement and other government officials authorized by the courts to see the material in performing their duties. Photos that delete identifying information could be provided to professionals for training purposes or for publication in medical journals or textbooks. Anyone could petition a district court judge to release the photos or videos but would have to show “good cause.” The bill would not affect written autopsy reports. Ray’s bill is modeled after a Florida law that went into effect in 2001 after Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, began a legal battle to keep 33 autopsy photos of her husband from being released to the Orlando Sentinel. Just after Earnhardt’s death, similar legislation was introduced in the North Carolina House but the bill never received a committee hearing.(in part from the WRAL-TV site), see past news on this on my Dale Earhardt Tribute.(3-5-2003)
  • Finding an RJR replacement could be tricky for NASCAR: Over three decades, the name “Winston Cup” has become synonymous with top-level stock-car racing. So why would any company pay millions to be the second act to one of American sports’ most enduring sponsorships? “That’s one of the challenges that NASCAR’s facing in bringing in a replacement sponsor,” said William Chipps, senior editor of the IEG Sponsorship Report, a sports industry newsletter. “It’s going to take a long time before people stop calling it the Winston Cup.” According to an informal survey of sports-business sources, candidates range from the predictable – major fast food chains and soft drink companies – to the unexpected. Dean Bonham, head of Denver’s The Bonham Group, believes a financial services or high-technology company would be well-served by the association with NASCAR, which would offer a chance to interact with potential customers in a sophisticated way. Marc Ganis of Chicago’s Sportscorp Ltd. leans toward traditional mass marketers, particularly those with a large presence in NASCAR’s southeastern stronghold. He named Home Depot and Lowe’s, Coca-Cola and Pepsi as natural candidates. And several sources said they see a Wal-Mart deal as unlikely, given that the company has not been known to spend at that level in the sports marketing field. Finally, just as RJR has attributed its decision to leave NASCAR to financial difficulties, similar problems might keep a company like McDonald’s from anteing up the tens of millions of dollars NASCAR will expect for the sponsorship. Many have speculated that in the wake of RJR’s departure, NASCAR will want to avoid revolving-door sponsors and will rename the series after a top racing figure like Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt. The series would then be “presented by” a title sponsor.(in part from the Charlotte Observer/AP)(3-5-2003)
  • Benson testing at Texas this week UPDATE: #10-Johnny Benson, along with many Busch Series teams, will test Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway.(TMS PR)(3-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Johnny Benson tested a pair of Valvoline Pontiac Winston Cup cars during the session on Tuesday. Benson and crew chief James Ince debuted a brand new Valvoline Pontiac and tested one of the team’s other intermediate speedway cars. Benson ran in race configuration and posted a top lap of 186mph.. Bill Elliott set a new track record of 194.224 mph last year in qualifying for the Samsung/RadioShack 500. Test Week concludes Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway. The sessions are closed to the public.(TMS PR)(3-5-2003)
  • Testing at Darlington UPDATE: The testing schedule at Darlington Raceway this week has changed slightly. #42-Jamie McMurray will not be testing this week, #41-Casey Mears will test instead. #15-Micheal Waltrip will also test, along with a few Busch Series teams.(Darlington Raceway PR)(3-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Rookie Casey Mears picked up his first “Darlington stripe” during Tuesday’s test session at the Darlington Raceway. The #41 Target Dodge driver scrubbed the turn 4 wall during practice and it took the crew an hour to fix the damage. Mears was not injured. Michael Waltrip.is at Darlington however did not test because he is under the weather. Waltrip is schedule to turn laps on Wednesday.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-5-2003)
  • Newman Unhappy: #12-Ryan Newman.was not satifyed at the response time of the fire crews to Jamie McMurray’s buring Busch Series car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway following a practice crash with Michael Waltrip. Newman said…”He (McMurray) was out of the car and Michael Waltrip had pulled his car away way before they ever got there, and that was pretty poor there.” McMurray’s car burst into flames when it hit the wall after being collected by Waltrip during the Busch Series happy hour.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-5-2003)
  • Marlin says wreck wasn’t intentional: #40-Sterling Marlin denied intentionally hitting #48-Jimmie Johnson on the final lap at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while Johnson dismissed rumors Tuesday of a later confrontation between the two at a casino. The drivers were in the only side-by-side battle headed to the finish line in Sunday’s race. Fighting for eighth place coming out of Turn 4, Marlin’s Dodge wiggled just a touch, enough to bang into the left side of Johnson’s Chevrolet. The contact sent Johnson spinning through the grass and to an 11th-place finish, the final car on the lead lap, drawing questions over Marlin’s intent.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-5-2003)

    (3-4-2003)

  • Fultz to attempt Atlanta UPDATE: Jeff Fultz might not be a name that race fans instantly recognize, but he’s hoping that will all change at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he attempts to make his Winston Cup debut in the March 9 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Fultz will also attempt to make Saturday’s ARCA 400. Fultz was at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday testing the #57 Team CLR Ford. The full-time fabricator and test driver for Jasper Motorsports [#77] is running a limited ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2003 for Jim Craig Racing.(AMS PR)(2-25-2003)
    UPDATE: LD Mechanical, OTW Racing and SpeedwayBag join up with Team CLR Racing as associate sponsors for Jeff Fultz’s attempt to make his Winston Cup debut in the Team CLR Racing #57 Ford at the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Fultz is a full-time fabricator and and test driver for Jasper Motorsports [#77 Jasper Engines Ford]. Last year Fultz was the NASCAR All-Pro Series Champion for 2002 and has competed in some ARCA and Busch Series races with an ARCA win at Charlotte’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway last May.(PR)(3-4-2003)
  • Wind Tunnel after Atlanta? If Chevy is dominant this weekend at Atlanta, a track at which it generally is strong, don’t be surprised if NASCAR hauls the top cars into the wind tunnel the day after the race. In fact, the Ford and Dodge teams will demand it.(Sporting News)(3-4-2003)
  • Rusty’s Helmet: On lap 176 of Sunday’s race, there was a seven-car wreck that started when Mike Skinner initiated contact with Rusty Wallace. Fox reported that Wallace hit the wall extremely hard. So hard, in fact, that it cracked his helmet. They didn’t have a chance to tell the rest of the story on the NASCAR on FOX broadcast so Jeff Hammond wanted to clear up something for fans who thought a broken helmet was a bad thing. If you hit hard, believe it or not, it’s actually a good thing. These helmets are designed to absorb all the energy of a hard impact and crack. The helmets, head and neck restraints and other safety devices work together so the helmet takes the shock, not the skull or the brain. NASCAR’s approved manufacturers, including Simpson Safety Products and Bell Helmets, do an outstanding job of engineering, testing and research to protect the drivers. On Sunday, everything worked as it should to prevent serious injury to Wallace.(Fox Sports)(3-4-2003)
  • In Search of the Perfect Piston: A Western Carolina University senior is helping a NASCAR team in its search for the perfect piston. Preston McCrary’s senior project aims to use tools at the school’s Center for Rapid Prototyping to measure pistons for the Andy Petree Racing team to within two one-thousandths of a millimeter. McCrary said knowing the specific geometry of each piston could give the racing a team a competitive advantage within the tightly-ruled world of NASCAR. McCrary’s partner, Greg Siler of Salisbury, also a manufacturing engineering technology major, said he sees the potential to create a “perfect piston” by comparing pistons from exceptional racing engines to normal production pistons. The chief engineer for the Flat Rock-based racing team, Jon Dysinger, was tightlipped about what the team plans to do with the students’ research. “It will be interesting to see what these guys are able to come up with,” Dysinger said. Even Western Carolina assistant professor Richard Temple, who negotiated the project with Andy Petree Racing, said he is not allowed to talk about the specifics of McCrary and Siler’s research. Christian Fittipaldi is driving part-time for the Petree racing team in 2003. Representing Petree in the No. 33 car, Fittipaldi finished 35th in last month’s Daytona 500. McCrary admits he’s not much of a racing fan. A 1990 graduate of Hendersonville High School, his studies at Western Carolina were interrupted by a stint in the Army, where he was a turbo mechanic, and time working as a diesel mechanic and for Weaverville’s water treatment plant. He hopes to go on to graduate school or land a manufacturing job.(Charlotte Observer/AP)(3-4-2003)
  • Burton testing at Kentucky: #99-Jeff Burton is scheduled to test Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, March 4th(Kentucky Speedway PR)(3-4-2003)

    (3-3-2003)

  • Teresa Earnhardt To Unveil First Highway 3 Sign At Dale Earnhardt Inc UPDATE: At 12:00noon/et on Monday, March 3rd, 2003 (03-03-03) in front of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated [DEI] Teresa Earnhardt will unveil the first official NC Highway 3 sign. A ceremony will begin at 12:00 with Teresa Earnhardt and other North Carolina State and local officials attending. Governor Easley signed the bill this past fall to switch NC Highway 136 to NC Highway 3 in honor of NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt. Highway 3 (Dale Earnhardt Highway) is a 28 mile highway that runs past Dale Earnhardt Inc headquarters, through Iredell and Cabarrus counties and Kannapolis, NC, the hometown of Earnhardt. Dale Earnhardt Inc, is located at 1675 Dale Earnhardt Highway # 3, Mooresville, North Carolina 28115.(DEI PR)(2-26-2003)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt’s Legacy continues as the first Department of Transportation sign is being unveiled today of North Carolina Highway 3, Dale Earnhardt Highway at the Headquarters of Dale Earnhardt Inc. Teresa Earnhardt, the President and CEO of DEI, was the first to display the NC Highway 3 sign in a ceremony celebrating the legacy of her husband, NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt. “This is tremendous to have a state highway named in Dale’s honor,” stated Teresa “This highway is special to all of us; it runs past our company headquarters in Iredell County and Cabarrus County. It was with the efforts and support of many State and local officials and residents that made this name change.” North Carolina Governor, Mike Easley, signed legislation designating the North Carolina Highway #3 on October 23rd, 2002 to be known as Dale Earnhardt Highway. “Dale was a caring husband and father, a NASCAR racing legend, an avid outdoorsman and a pillar in his community” said Governor Easley. “We want to show Dale’s family, his fans and his friends that North Carolina remembers and cares. We want to say thank you for everything that you gave us and show our sincere appreciation in this lasting tribute.” Dale Earnhardt Highway is one of many tributes to the legendary racing champion in preserving his legacy to the state of North Carolina and the sport of auto racing. His citizenship to North Carolina was outstanding and the newly established Dale Earnhardt Foundation will continue those efforts with initiatives that perpetuate the Dale Earnhardt Legacy.(DEI PR)(3-3-2003)


    image by a reader, taken at the unveiling.

  • Las Vegas TV: Fox’s coverage of yesterday’s UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 Winston Cup race at Las Vegas drew more television viewers than any other weekend sports events, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The Daily says that Nielsen Media Research shows that the race drew a preliminary 6.3 rating and 13 share to finish well ahead of the 5.9/12 for ABC’s Sunday coverage of the world match-play golf event featuring Tiger Woods. No comparable overnight numbers from 2002 were reported, but the figures appear to be in line with last year’s final 6.4/13 for the Las Vegas race, according to The Daily’s figures.(Winston Cup Scene – Daily Newsletter – free)(3-3-2003)
  • Top Tens: Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson WERE the only drivers to go two-for-two in top-10 finishes to open the season. All four failed to finish in the Top-10, three [Jarrett, Busch and Martin all failed to finish the race], Johnson was close before the spin-out at the end of the race and ended up 11th.(3-3-2003)
  • GM says no way for new engine: Doug Duchardt, GM’s NASCAR field manager, dismissed Robert Yates’ proposal that NASCAR consider a new engine for the stock-car tour within the next five years, saying it’s just a publicity move for Ford’s new 4.2-liter double overhead cam engine, used in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Duchardt said that an engine like that, when prepped for NASCAR racing, “would produce 1,000 horsepower.” And Duchardt says that the proposal to move toward fuel injection instead of carburetion probably won’t fly.(Winston Salem Journal) and see past news on this on my Engine Rules/News past news page.(3-3-2003)
  • Special Guests of the Speedway: As special guest of Las Vegas Motor Speedway were Las Vegas residents Mr. Barry McCool and Mrs. Audrey McCool, parents of the late space shuttle Columbia pilot William McCool.(Insider Racing News)(3-3-2003)
  • 17th the best for #17 in 7 wins: Matt Kenseth started 17th on Sunday, the same as his car number. Kenseth has now won seven Winston Cup races and hasn’t started better than 17th in any of them.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-3-2003)
  • Toyota to build test track? in NC? there is speculation that Toyota might want to build a test track near Charlotte [NC].(Winston Salem Journal)(3-3-2003)
  • Confiscated Parts At Las Vegas..Not This Week: The teams have been on their best behaviors this week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There were no confiscated parts in the NASCAR hauler. Kevin Triplett. NASCAR spokesman said, “Las Vegas is on the low end of the scale when it comes to confiscated parts but the teams have come better prepared this week. By no means is this the end of it, they will pick and choose where they want to try something new.”(Insider Racing News)(3-3-2003)
  • Rumblings – Las Vegas: Dale Earnhardt Jr (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Talladega last October.
    Bobby Labonte (4th) had his best finish since he was 2nd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October.
    Sterling Marlin (8th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Darlington last September.
    Steve Park (10th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Talladega last October.
    Casey Mears (15th) had his career-best finsish today (albeit only 3 races). His previous best was 27th at Daytona two weeks ago.
    Terry Labonte (16th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Kansas last September.
    Jimmy Spencer (17th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Loudon last September.
    Tony Raines (24th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 29th at Atlanta last October.
    Derrike Cope (29th) had his best finish since he was 24th at Kansas in September of 2001! (only 9 races)
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Steve Park (+29), followed by Sterling Marlin (+26), Terry Labonte (+20), and Ricky Rudd (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Gordon (-35), followed by Kurt Busch (-33). To put this in Wall Street terms, advancers outpaced losers by a 2-1 margin.
    Michael Waltrip regains the point lead after this weekend (he led after his Daytona victory, of course). The best move forward in the standings was accomplished by Dale Earnhardt Jr (38th to 18th), while Greg Biffle’s DNQ cost him 22 spots (19th to 41st).(Stock Car Fans)(3-3-2003)

 


(3-2-2003)

 

  • Petty’s and Fittipaldi still plan to race: Kyle Petty still plans to wnter Christian Fittipaldi in five to ten races this season. Petty has “multiple sponosrs’ promoting the effort for each event. Petty says the team will NOT run without spoonsors.(Winston Cup Scene – need subscription to view/read)(3-2-2003)
  • SAFER test delayed: Inclement weather in Lincoln, Neb., has delayed a test on an energy-absorbing barrier [SAFER] that could be used at Richmond International Raceway this spring. The test, conducted at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska, was to have been held this week. It now is scheduled for the week of the Darlington race, a NASCAR official said. If the barrier is approved by Darlington, RIR officials would have seven weeks to install the system. That should be enough time to have the barriers installed before the Busch Grand National race on May2. If the barrier is approved, other tracks such as New Hampshire International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway could begin installing the safety devices.(Roanoke Times)(3-2-2003)

    (3-1-2003)

  • Police Officers cleared in Stewart stop: Two Ormond Beach, FL police officers were cleared Friday of sparing NASCAR driver Tony Stewart a speeding ticket in exchange for a picture with him, even though Stewart bragged on a radio show about avoiding a citation. A police car videotape shows one officer taking a picture of the other officer with Stewart after the race car driver was pulled over in a yellow Ferrari, but Chief Larry Mathieson said the officers didn’t break any rules and didn’t have enough hard evidence to give Stewart a ticket anyway. “We think they got caught up in the moment,” Mathieson said. “They’re good cops and they’re honest guys. I don’t think we need to overreact to something that was a momentary lapse in judgment.” The allegations of special treatment for the NASCAR bad boy started flying after patrol officers Anthony Zimmerer, 26, and Michael Bakaysa, 33, pulled Stewart over just before 1 a.m. on Feb. 9. Zimmerer, who has been with the department less than three years, was at the corner of Ridgewood Avenue and Granada Boulevard when he saw the yellow car zip eastward toward the Granada Bridge. Zimmerer radioed in that he thought the vehicle was going about 72 mph in the 35 mph zone. But Zimmerer never got a digital reading that decisively showed Stewart’s speed. The police car videotape showed Bakaysa taking a picture of a grinning Zimmerer with Stewart after Zimmerer ran Stewart’s license. Zimmerer still has the autographed Polaroid photograph, which will be donated for an upcoming fund-raiser, Mathieson said. A few days after the stop, Stewart was former NASCAR racer Benny Parson’s guest on a live WNDB-AM radio show broadcast from Volusia Square Mall. During that show, Stewart told Parsons he was driving 72 mph in a 35 mph zone and claimed the officer said: “If I let you off, can I take a picture with you?” Stewart claimed he responded, “Shoot yeah! You can burn the whole roll of Polaroids off for all I care. Just let me go home.” During an internal investigation, the 31-year-old racing phenom told police supervisors that Zimmerer had already given him a verbal warning and he was free to go when the officers asked about a picture. Investigators said Stewart conceded he “did in fact stretch the truth” during the radio show “because it made for a better story.” Zimmerer and Bakaysa were never taken off duty or disciplined. They have, however, been ordered to take part in a four-hour seminar on ethics and professionalism at Daytona Beach Community College in July.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-1-2003)
  • Toyota, new shop? Ganassi? Toyota is buying a 240,000-square-foot building in Charlotte on a 124-acre plot of land for part of its NASCAR venture, according to NASCAR sources, who report that car owner Chip Ganassi has already gotten a check for $35 million to crank up a Toyota operation. Toyota officials are pushing NASCAR to OK fuel injection and eliminate the old-fashioned carburetors used on these 358 cubic-inch racing engines for many years. Ford also is pushing for fuel injection, in large part because the company has developed – and patented – a solid-fuel injection system for race cars, a system better than anything General Motors or Dodge has. The GM system has a significant delay when drivers try to get off the gas. NASCAR has been so eager to get Toyota involved in stock-car racing that Detroit manufacturers believe that NASCAR might approve fuel injection.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-1-2003)
  • McMurray sore but ok: A violent wreck during Friday’s Busch series practice has left Jamie McMurray a little sore and short one car, but otherwise OK. As the practice session drew to a close Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, McMurray’s #1 Dodge was hit from behind by Michael Waltrip in Turn 4. Both cars careened into the wall as fuel from McMurray’s car was ignited by exhaust from Waltrip’s car. Waltrip was able to drive away, while McMurray hurriedly escaped from his car before it was engulfed in flames. “The fire was on me. I could see it wrapped around my left arm, but I couldn’t feel it,” McMurray said. “It took me a little while to get out of the car. I … was used to a different type of latch and I got a little confused trying to get out. I was really worried about if it started to burn, how bad it was going to burn.” McMurray’s Yellow Racing team had only a 2002 model Chevrolet as a backup – the team moved to Dodge in the off-season. Both McMurray and Waltrip were to start Saturday’s Busch race from the rear of the field after moving to backups.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-1-2003)
  • Phoenix Racing crew chief quits: Johnny Allen, crew chief of the #1 Busch Series team and car chief of the #09 Cup team, abruptly left the team in the middle of the day Saturday. Marc Reno, who crew chiefs the #09 Cup team, will assume the job for Las Vegas..(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio need subscription)(3-1-2003)
  • Hamilton Jr to run Atlanta UPDATE 2: Bobby Hamilton Jr tested a Winston Cup that Team Rensi (his BGN team) plans to run at Atlanta in March.(FSN’s Totally NASCAR)(2-19-2003)
    UPDATE: It’s been almost two years since Bobby Hamilton Jr. ran a Winston Cup race, but he believes there is no better place to make his initial 2003 Winston Cup start than Atlanta Motor Speedway. In order to prepare for his return to Winston Cup, Hamilton Jr. tested Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, posting a top speed of 185.853 mph before packing up just before lunch on Wednesday. Although he is the full-time driver of the #25 Team Marines Ford for 2003 in the BGN, Hamilton Jr. has the opportunity to run a limited Winston Cup schedule this year. So when it came time to choose the tracks where he would run, Atlanta was an easy choice.(AMS PR)(2-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Team Rensi Motorsports will make their NASCAR Winston Cup debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 with driver, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., who pilots the team’s #25 Marines Ford in the NASCAR Busch Series. Hamilton, Jr. will compete in the #35 Ford, which will have a very familiar look. Both of Team Rensi’s current advertising partners will be featured on the car. The United States Marine Corps as the primary advertising partner and the Timberland Company (on behalf of its Timberland PRO series) as associate advertising partner. Hamilton, Jr. is no stranger to the Winston Cup Series. Since his debut in 2000, he has competed 12 times in the series. In 2001, he posted three top-15 and five top-20 Winston Cup finishes. He has never failed to qualify for a Winston Cup event, something very few people can brag about. The team tested at Atlanta on February 18-19, and according to Fred Wanke, Hamilton, Jr.’s crew chief, it was a good learning experience. The 2003 season marks the United States Marine Corps’ fourth year of involvement in NASCAR and their third with Team Rensi Motorsports, owned by Ed and Sam Rensi and Gary Weisbaum. Timberland partnered with Team Rensi at the beginning of this season as associate advertising partner of the #25 Team Marines Ford in the Busch Series.(Team Rensi PR)(3-1-2003)
  • Fukuyama announcement UPDATEs: UPDATE 2: hearing Kikkoman Soy Sauce will be the sponsor on the car at Las Vegas, see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(2-23-2003)
    UPDATE 3: it was officially announced today at Las Vegas that Hideo Fukuyama will team with Travis Carter and Japanese businessman Mitsu Mita (spelling?) to run Cup, Busch and ARCA races with Kikkoman Soy Sauce and some other Japanese consumer companies.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio need subscription)(2-28-2003)
    UPDATE 4: Winston Cup car owner Travis Carter unveiled plans Friday to enter Japanese driver Hideo Fukuyama in several Winston Cup, Busch and ARCA races this season with sponsorship from Kikkoman, a food company perhaps best-known for its soy sauce. Fukuyama became the first Japanese driver to compete in a Winston Cup event when he made his debut in September at Dover, Del. “Even though I have been racing for 25 years, this is my first experience with a full schedule of stock car racing,” Fukuyama said. “The two Winston Cup races I did last year allow me to get used to racing in America – the competition and the feel of the car.” Fukuyama will make his debut this season in the #66 Ford in Sunday’s race at Las Vegas. He tested at the track Feb. 10-11.(Tthatsracin.com) see past news and rumors about this on my #66 Team News and Links page.(3-1-2003)
  • More on Rusty’s ‘cheating’ comments: Rusty Wallace said this week he really didn’t mean to directly accuse Chevrolet teams of cheating at Daytona in a widely reported comment he made before last weekend’s race at Rockingham, but he didn’t back too far away from saying there were some shenanigans. “I’m not making comments about any Chevrolet team,” Wallace said. “I just thought there were a lot of peculiar things going on and NASCAR has informed me they’re going to be for everybody at Talladega. “I’m not going to say it was Chevrolet. I think peculiar things were going on with Ford and all kind of different makes that didn’t make sense with the way they qualified and the way they ran in the race and things like that. I did say the word Chevrolet. I didn’t just mean it was Chevrolets. I saw a lot of peculiar things across the board, and the NASCAR guys did, too. They just informed me that they’d be looking at them really hard at Talladega.”(ThatsRacin.com), see past news and rumors about this on my #2 Team News and Links page.(3-1-2003)
  • They’ll be back: hearing that #42-Jamie McMurray in Cup and #99-Michael Waltrip in the Busch Series will run Terminator 3 movies schemes, not sure when.(2-28-2003)
    UPDATE: hearing this will be for Daytona in July.(3-1-2003)