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PAST NEWS MAY 1997



    (5-31-97)

  • John Andretti will host a syndicated childrens TV show titled “Kids in Motorsport” with backing from “Racing For Kids” and debuts on 6/28/97 for 13 weeks initially(5-31-97)


    (5-30-97)

  • There will be two replacements for just retired flagman Doyle Ford. The job will be shared by Dover’s Rodney Wise and Jimmy Howell on a rotating basis. When one is flagging, the other will serve as the backup flagman. Wise served as Ford’s permanent backup(5-30-97)
  • From the Fast Talk with Benny Parsons, 5-26-97 radio/phone-in show:


    1. The reason NASCAR doesn’t extend beyond the stated race laps/miles to avoid ending a race on a caution is because of the driver’s strike of 1969 – since then, the entry form is considered a legal document and binds the drivers to appear at the track for the race and thus, the printed amount of laps/miles are also binding(5-30-97)
    2. A named(?) engine builder and the #’s 10, 23 and 37 teams will form a “loose alliance” (similar to a 3 car team) to share engine and racing information, in order to be more competitive(5-30-97)(Thanks to Dave for this info)

  • #81 Square-D team crew chief Gil Martin and Team Manager Eddie Jones were both released 5-29-97. I had just got done watching “This Week in NASCAR” when I heard. Ironically Kenny Wallace was on the show(taped live Wednesday’s) and said everything was going good and he and Gil had a lot of plans. David Ifft(formally the #99 BGN crew chief) will crew chief the car this weekend at Dover but he doesn’t want the job full-time. Team owner Filbert Martocci felt leadership and harmony in the team was lacking. The team also hired veteran engine builder Keith Almond and plan on having their own engine program in the near future(5-30-97)
  • I hear several sponsor have contacted Darrell Waltrip about sponsoring his team in 1998. Apparently, Sears is the prime candidate with either the Die Hard or Craftsman name. Also, Pepsi is considering being an associate sponsor(5-30-97)


    (5-29-97)

  • Steve Park crashed the #14 Burger King Chevy testing at Pocono on 5-28-97 and it was the only car the Earnhardt team ready for Park. Supposedly Park lost control in turn 1. They expect to have another car ready for the July race at Pocono(5-29-97)
  • Ron Barfield will attempt two WC races, the 2nd Pocono race and at Indy. New Holland will sponsor the car. Barfield will park the ARCA car and attempt most of the remaining 1997 BGN races. He also plans a full BGN schedule in 1998. These are in Bill Elliott owned Fords(5-29-97)
  • Terry Labonte was fined $2,000 after the BGN Charlotte race for “Actions detrimental to automobile racing”. The penalty was a result of on-track rough driving on the cool-down lap with Hermie Sadler(5-29-97)
  • I am hearing Cale Yarborough Motorsports is not having much luck finding a sponsor to replace the rumored gone RCA for the #98 Ford and that John Andretti could end up back with The King if Hamilton heads to the #4 if Marlin leaves???(5-29-97)
  • I hear that Bobby Hamilton was offered quite a large amount of $$ to take the Washington-Erving Motorsports ride? FALSE(5-29-97)


    (5-28-97)

  • Frosted Flakes will be on the #5 Terry Labonte Kelloggs car for the 6-15-97 Michigan Race(not the Brickyard 400, sorry)(5-28-97)
  • A few readers have also emailed Western Auto about DW losing them as a sponsor. See Western Auto Response. I have seen three responses and all three are exactly the same. QVC did this a few weeks back when we bombarded them with questions about Geoff Bodine(5-28-97)
  • Kenny Wallace will be driving the Busch race at Gateway near St. Louis and his
    sponsor will be GRAYBAR an electrical company as primary and Buss Fuses as an associate. His WC crew will field the Ford(5-28-97)
  • What happened to Robby Gordon at Indy per a reader: Derek Daly stated on a local Indianapolis radio station this morning that the reason Robby’s car caught fire was a crew member had mistakenly placed a 1/16th inch thick seal on the fuel tank instead of the usual 1/8th inch think seal that is used . This allowed fuel from the tank to leak out(5-28-97)
  • Heard this: Ford Taurus WC 98 car was seen at Gateway Intl Raceway in St. Louis one day before the CART showed up for their race-this is FALSE see above 6-2-97(5-28-97)


    (5-27-97)

  • A fight broke out after the race among Kyle Petty and his crew and members of Johnny Benson’s crew. Petty explained that a misunderstanding on the track at the time of the rain delay (Benson apparently not liking that Petty and two other drivers passed him in the race to the yellow flag) sparked the incident. He said that at the red flag, when teams parked their cars on pit road, Petty parked his car in the position he felt he had earned on the track, ahead of Benson. At that time, Petty said, a member of Benson’s crew kicked the right-rear fender of Petty’s car, denting it. Petty found out and approached Benson’s people in the pits after the race. A scuffle broke out between Petty and Benson team spokesman Drew Brown, with crewmen from both sides trying to break up the mess. No one suffered any damage(5-27-97)
  • Two pit crew members were injured in separate accidents on pit road during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both men were transported initially to North East Medical Center’s Quick Care facility. Charles Hylton, a tire changer on Mark Martin’s #6 Valvoline team, received a slight contusion on his right foot when Jeff Burton ran over it with his #99 Exide Batteries Ford. X-rays were negative. The jackman on the #21 CITGO Ford driven by Michael Waltrip was not as lucky when his right lower leg was run over during a pit stop. Both bones were found to be broken with one diagnosed as a compound fracture. He was transported to a hospital in Winston-Salem where he underwent surgery on 5-26-97.(5-27-97)
  • Robby Gordon will not drive at Dover or Pocono the next two weeks, the result of burns sustained when his car caught fire during the Indy 500 on 5-27-97. Wally Dallenbach, not originally scheduled to race at Dover will fill in. While no driver has been named to replace Gordon at Pocono, expect Greg Sacks to drive either the #40 or #46 there with Dallenbach driving the other car. Could this be the beginning of the end for Gordon at SABCO and NASCAR??(5-27-97)
  • Rumor Mill for 1998(or sooner): Marlin to the #28; Hamilton to the #4; Todd Bodine to the #43; and…Irvan to the #16(the Roush connection again); That could lead Musgrave to the new Dr.J team, the #40 or maybe the #77??????(5-27-97)
  • Speaking of Dr. J, I heard he has requested #34 in honor of Wendell Scott(African American NASCAR driver)(5-27-97)


    (5-26-97)

  • Felix Sabates has announced that he will not be willing to perform an Indy/Charlotte double again in the future for his driver(s). He feels it is too much money to spend, just to have the rain ruin it all. Since this deal was part of Robby Gordon’s contract with SABCO, could this be the first public hint that Robby will not be back in 1998?(5-26-97)
  • Per JournalNow: ‘If the Federal Government succeeds in forcing RJ Reynolds Tobacco to drop Winston-brand-name marketing of sports events, NASCAR sources say that RJR-Nabisco executives are now seriously considering using the corporate name to continue sponsoring NASCAR’s Winston Cup tour.'(5-26-97)


    (5-25-97)

  • The Richard Jackson #1 Pontiac Team may fold after Dover unless they get sponsorship. Morgan Shepherd will be looking for a ride(5-25-97)
  • Rumors have surfaced again that Bruton Smith wants to hold an All-Star race similar to The Winston at Texas in November??(5-25-97)


    (5-24-97)

  • BGN News: Pure Silk Shaving Products For Women announced it has signed BGN driver Patty Moise to run a limited schedule for the 1997 season. Moise will be in a Chevrolet at Dover, 5-31-97 and Watkins Glen in June(5-24-97)
  • The EasyCare ARCA 200 on 5-21-97 was a major test for Chevy’s new SB2 engine, which GM would like approved for NASCAR competition. The SB2 models proved gas guzzlers, at 4.2 miles per gallon, to the regular Chevys at 5.0 miles per gallon. That, by implication, means horsepower(per JournalNow)(5-24-97)
  • I hear that if Sterling Marlin leaves the 4 and is replaced by Bobby Hamilton the top choice for the 43 ride is Todd Bodine?(5-24-97)
  • I hear the #78 Diamond Rio team will have some sort of announcement within the next few weeks, I have no idea what it may be(5-24-97)
  • Jimmy Foster, the son of NASCAR veteran Jim Foster, might be on Julius Erving’s short list of drivers for the Busch half of Erving’s proposed NASCAR operation next season, according to NASCAR sources. But the Fosters are mum so far about any possible ties with the new Ford team(per JournalNow)(5-24-97)


    (5-23-97)

  • Ranier/Walsh Racing Has Closed Down and laid off most employees. An auction supposedly has been set to sell equipment. Wow that was quick, so much for all those rumors about Ranier/Walsh buying Bobby Alison’s team(5-23-97)
  • Rick Hendrick’s health is improving, according to Jimmy Johnson, manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “Rick’s blood count, which went up to 125,000, is now down to 4,000, which is normal. His immature white cell count, which was as high as 40 percent, was down to one percent Friday, and yesterday it was zero(5-23-97)
  • I also hear that Robby Gordon will last the season in the SABCO #40 Coors Chevy(5-23-97)
  • More news from the JournalNow:

    1. Felix Sabates is telling his crew privately he may have a new driver in the wings for 1998 for one of his three cars. Speculation is that might be Sterling Marlin(5-23-97)
    2. Yet Another new superspeedway may be on the drawing boards. According to NASCAR sources, the Mattioli family, which owns Pocono, would like to build another three-corner track somewhere. Jayski notes: I have a story about Mattioli possibly building a track in the Baltimore area on the Track News Page(5-23-97)
    3. Brad Daugherty may step up his plans to enter Winston Cup racing, now that Julius Erving and Joe Washington have announced their own Winston Cup plans, according to sources close to the former NBA star(5-23-97)


    (5-22-97)

  • The Coca-Cola 600 marks the fourth time this season the #97 John Deere Motorsports team has failed to make a race. Officials at John Deere have called a meeting with Mark Rypien and Greg Pollux to discuss their futures together. Apparently Deere has already told the team they are leaving at the end of the 1997 season, and are now discussing whether they should even stick around for the balance of this year. The team is pointing their fingers at the T&L engines they are running this year(5-22-97)
  • Joe Falk, team owner for M. Wallace, sought to dispel rumors that his #91 Spam-sponsored team was on the ropes. He said the team needs associate sponsors but that Spam (Hormel) was solid. Falk also said he would lease restricted engines from Childress. “We’re in it for the long haul,” Falk said(5-22-97)


    (5-21-97)

  • Finally officially announced: NBA Hall of Fame basketball player Julius “Dr. J” Erving and former NFL All-Pro running back Joe Washington announced their new minority-owned team would run Fords next season on both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series circuits. The team will make its debut at Daytona International Speedway
    for Speedweeks 1998 on both the WC and BGN series. No drivers have been signed, nor has a crew chief or sponsor. However, Washington said negotiations are under way with potential backers. Jayski note: I still hear Coke or Texaco are the front runners and the team is looking for a top 10 driver(5-21-97)
  • A federal judge rejected claims that car dealer and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick was singled out by prosecutors in the American Honda bribery scandal. US District Judge Lacy Thornburg ruled there is no evidence federal authorities unfairly targeted Hendrick, who claims he is the victim of “selective and vindictive prosecution.” Hendrick was indicted in December 1996 on 15 charges of conspiracy, money-laundering and fraud. His brother, John, was indicted on one count of conspiracy. They have pleaded innocent and face an August trial(5-21-97)
  • The word is NASCAR will not allow the #24 team to run the new chassis Jeff Gordon ran in(and won) the Winston for the Coca Cola 600 this weekend, rumor has it that traction control may be the reason??(5-20-97)…but The NASCAR Fans Website Newsletter reports: Apparently according to Ray Evernham the chassis that Jeff Gordon used in the Winston had been approved by NASCAR. Ray Evernham: “NASCAR had approved the car, but there’s some serious discussion going on about it now,” he said. “We’re trying to find out what’s going on.” Gordon and Evernham had not planned to run the car in the Coca-Cola 600, but NASCAR spokesman Kevin Triplett said the sanctioning body has not said it can not be used again. “We looked at the car pretty hard Saturday night,” Triplett said. “We tore down at least five cars, and that was one of them. We did it all right there together, so everybody could see what we were doing. We found nothing in the No. 24 that would give it an unfair advantage.”(5-21-97)
  • BGN News: Nathan Buttke will drive the #78 Mark III Motorsport Chevy for 7 races with CarQuest sponsorship, plus other races with Mark III Financial Group as the primary sponsor. This starts 5-24-97 at Charlotte. Rodney Combs has been released from the ride, I hear Buttke bought into the ride(5-21-97)


    (5-20-97)

  • Sterling Marlin will drive the #4 BGN at Dover(5-20-97)
  • Rumor has it that the #24 Hendrick may build a Ford to run through the wind tunnel to compare against the Chevy Monte Carlo(5-20-97)
  • From the NASCAR Fans Site Newsletter: heard a lot of RUMORS that Ernie Irvan in 2 weeks will be with the #40 Coors Team. There seem to be a lot of speculation that Robby Gordon will not return from Indy. Only time will tell(5-20-97)


    (5-19-97)

  • Troy Ruttman, Joe’s brother and winner of the 1952 Indy 500 passed away today, he was 67(5-19-97)
  • Mark Martin to Appear on World Championship Wrestling. Martin will appear on TNT’s May 19 telecast of World Championship Wrestling “Monday Night Nitro” live from Asheville, N.C. He will appear on stage with his #6 Ford Thunderbird to talk about his plans to give away one of his cars in Valvoline’s “Big Race” promotion. Nothing to do with sponsorship of his BGN team like I erroneously reported before(5-19-97)


    (5-18-97)

  • An accident Saturday night killed 64 year old Betty Wood, the wife of Leonard Wood, owner of the Citgo Race Team and a legendary NASCAR figure. My condolences and wishes go out to the Wood family and team(5-18-97)
  • It’s official as reported here way back: Steve Park will enter the #14 Earnhardt owned car sponsored by Burger King in five Winston Cup events this season ( to maintain his 1998 rookie status). Childress will help out the team. They expect to have 4 cars prepared soon. Races they expect to run include Pocono(July), New Hampshire(not sure), Watkins Glen, Phoenix and Atlanta. Earnhardt may put Park in a Winston Cup car full time next year, but is not quite sure right now.(5-21-97). Also an Associated Press rumor also gives Jay Sauter three shots at driving the BK car(5-18-97)
  • Also From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: General Motors, meanwhile, has been trying for two years to push through its new SB2 engine package, with low-angle valves and straight manifold runners similar to the Ford package. There was widespread belief that NASCAR would allow the new engine, perhaps later this season. But that project also is not on the fast track, GM engine men say. John Wilson, engine chief for Bobby Labonte, said the heads and manifold of the SB2 had gone through several modifications and that the latest formula would be submitted to NASCAR in the next week or so. He said, however, that he had no assurance the parts would be approved. “At one time I thought it was an open-and-shut deal,” Wilson said. “Now I’m not so sure.” Wilson said the new package needs a lot of work. It shows good horsepower on the dynamometer but is not as good when put in a car on the track. “It just doesn’t accelerate,” he said.(5-18-97)
  • Nando News has an update on Chris Trickles condition at: Nando Net
  • Doyle Ford will step down from being the NASACR Winston Cup Flagman after the Coca Cola 600, May 25, 1997. No word on a replacement yet(5-10-97). Ford says the schedule is just too much for him and he can’t handle the 16 hour work days, still no new news on a replacement(5-18-97)
  • Chuck Rider, owner of the #30 Pennzoil Pontiac driven by Johnny Benson, is hot about reports he’s planning to shut down, and he says there’s nothing to it. Pennzoil is under contract to sponsor Rider’s team again next year, though there are indications the oil company would like a little more bang for its bucks. This story may be one reason Benson is another driver rumored for the #28 ride if Irvan vacates it(5-18-97)
  • The Stavola Brothers and the #8 Circuit City Team may be switching from Fords back to Chevrolets at the end of the 1997 season, according to NASCAR sources.(5-18-97)


    (5-15-97)

  • News on the Hardees/Ranier-Walsh rumor: The fact that Ranier-Walsh could lose Hardee’s as a sponsor is still up in the air. But Hardees is *not* in Chapter 11. There have been rumors that one of their former franchisees, Flagstar – based in Spartanburg, will declare Chapter 11 within the next 30 days. The Ranier deal was *not* with Flagstar. Also, it was *not* with the company that supposedly has bought Flagstar’s Hardees restaurants. Ranier’s deal was suppose to have been with Hardees out of Rocky Mount,
    NC. According to their president, the deal was never consumated with Ranier.(thanks to NASCAR Fan Site)(5-15-97)


    (5-13-97)

  • Julius Erving, “Dr. J” and Joe Washington are still planning on getting involved in NASCAR. Teams that the could be involved with are the #27 David Blair Motorsports
    team and the #7 Bodine racing team There is a possibility of partnership for these guys. These are rumors at this point(Thanks NASCAR Fansites)(5-13-97)
  • John Andretti has decided against driving in the 81st Indy 500. The logistics of getting back and forth between the two tracks for practice, qualifying and racing proved too big a roadblock. AJ Foyt was hoping to sign godson John Andretti, a seven-time Indy starter and now a NASCAR Winston Cup regular, scheduled to run the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway later the same day(5-13-97)
  • I hear the #29 rumors again…with Jeff Green replacing Pressley and Pressley going back to BGN in the #8?? or Ernie Irvan may take over the ride in 1998 if he leaves the #28(5-13-97)
  • I hear Mark Martin said his BGN sponsor will still be Winn-Dixie? Maybe WCW will be an associate on either the WC or BGN ride?(5-13-97)
  • Anyone else hear this? The #27 David Blair Ford may get Oscar Meyer as a sponsor for a few races? Hmmm a Spam-Hot Dog war(5-13-97)
  • There are rumors that #2 crew chief Robin Pemberton was not happy with Rusty Wallace’s driving the last few weeks and supposedly said “he is making rookie mistakes”, I hear there was supposed to be a teamwide meeting 5-12-97 to clear the air(5-13-97)
  • Felix Sabates said despite rumors that Robby Gordon has worn out his welcome with Team Sabco’s NASCAR Winston Cup Coors Lite team, he will continue to honor his multi-year
    agreement with the driver.(thanks to iRace)(5-13-97)
  • iRace has a story that states “Gordon’s Sabco Ride in Jeopardy”.(thanks to Greg for the heads up)(5-13-97)


    (5-12-97)

  • The #99 Exide Ford of Jeff Burton failed inspection on 5-9-97. The roof flaps were in the wrong position and NASCAR cut the roof off and confiscated the roof and flaps. The team was forced to go to a back up car and go to the back of the field.(5-9-97). Crew Chief Buddy Parrott fined $20,000 for this infraction(5-12-97)


    (5-10-97)

  • Robby Gordon qualified 12th for the Indy 500(5-10-97)


    (5-7-97)

  • I hear that on the WCW Monday Nitro wrestling show this week there would be a major announcement about Mark Martin in two weeks on Nitro show, anyone know anything about this or what it means?? (5-7-97) I hear it may be his new BGN sponsor?(5-9-97)


    (5-6-97)

  • A reader saw on Speedvision that Joe Ruttman will be driving a
    #55 Ford Thunderbird in the Winston Open. Supposedly Michael Waltrip would be listed as the car owner, although it’s essentially a second Wood Brothers car. Waltrip said they hoped to field the car in the Open and in two or three Cup races later in the year(5-6-97)
  • Tim Steele has left the #4 BGN Phoenix Racing team under a mutual agreement with James Finch. Steele will focus on running all the ARCA races and will possibly attempt a couple of Winston Cup races, starting with the first race at Pocono(5-6-97)
  • Felix Sabates says Robby Gordon or Tony Glover are staying with SABCO, contrary to rumors floating around the garage(5-6-97)
  • Did you notice the #7 tested at California? Why would Bodine test there if he was closing up shop? This from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Geoff Bodine has no plans to close up shop and quit racing, team officials say. A disagreement with sponsor QVC, seems to have cast a shadow on the team’s future. Word from Sonoma, Calif., site of Sunday’s Save Mart 300, was that Bodine had not been paid sponsorship dollars and would stop racing as of this week. That is not true. ‘Geoff made a comment some place to help make a point with QVC,’ said Lee Morse, team general manager. ‘We are having some differences, and it really gets into some of the phrasing in our contract. Suffice it to say, there’s a difference between what we feel and QVC feels on some terms. I’m not at liberty to discuss it because there’s a disclosure clause in our contract. But we’ll be at Talladega this weekend. We’ll be at Charlotte. I’m sure we’ll continue with QVC, and I hope we continue through ’98 and ’99 and beyond.'(5-6-97)


    (5-5-97)

  • Forget the rumor Robby Gordon will leave SABCO before the 1997 season is over, but I hear he will leave after the season and go to a second Kranafuss/Hass team, maybe with Coors(5-5-97)
  • I hear Geoff Bodine is just about out of money and will have to close up shop after Talladega unless he gets a sponsor? I would imagine he’ll attempt Charlotte as he is already in the Winston Select and the money is good there(5-5-97)


    (5-3-97)

  • Rumors persist that SABCO(now #42) crew chief Tony Glover being unhappy and pursuing other opportunities.(5-3-97)
  • As reported before here, Geoff Bodine is having sponsor troubles, but instead of a rumor, Speednet reports that QVC has not paid Bodine since January and there is a dispute over what money is owed to the team. QVC is still on the car because of legal issues(of course this weekend a picture of Dawn Gillis and her name, a winner of a QVC contest, is on the car). So Bodine is looking for sponsorship(5-3-97)
  • Speednet Rumors has quite a few rumors today: 1) They mention that Robby Gordon may not return to the WC and the #40 Coors Light Chevy. Wally Dallenbach would then replace Gordon in the #40, if Coors agrees to that arrangement but no mention of what happens to the #46 ride. 2) Ernie Irvan will not be back in the #28 next season. He will remain for the remainder of the season unless Yates finds a new driver soon and a deal can be worked out to swap drivers before the end of the season. Candidates mentioned in the story: Sterling Marlin and Bobby Hamilton with Bobby Labonte ruled out of the rumors. 3) Marlin is also a candidate for Dale Earnhardt’s new team(along with my rumor of Ernie Irvan), but sources close to Earnhardt say he wants to put Steve Park(now this makes sense to me) in the car. REMEMBER these are just rumors!(5-3-97)


    (5-2-97)

  • Craftsman Truck News: Another Andretti! Jeff that is, may attempt to make some NASCAR Craftsman Truck series races with a team owned by Tim Buckley and Larry Smith and share the driving duties with Bill Sedgwick(thanks to NSSN for the story)(5-2-97)
  • Ken Schrader will return to the BGN series when there is a companion event with WC. His first attempt will be at Charlotte in May. The plan is to help the WC team and Andy Petree will prepare the cars. Not sure of the sponsor(5-2-97)


    (5-1-97)

  • Here’s an odd rumor: Tri-Star Motorsports, which currently fields the #19 Ford driven by Gary Bradberry, is about to become a two-car operation. Despite the underfunded status of their existing team, they claim to already have sponsorship lined up for the second car. No time line as to when the second car will appear or who the driver may be. Loy Allen returns??(5-1-97)